Tuesday, January 29, 2013

First Test Piece of the Semester

    Here is my first test piece related to my new series of photograms for this semester.  It is definitely a work in progress, since I am attempting new methods with the projection of images as opposed to just silhouetting my body in addition to the sculptural elements, and I feel like this may take a similar path to the beginning of last semester: I try to assert myself and tightly control compositions with this new and intimidating methodology until it ultimately breaks down and reveals something truer than I could have purposefully created.  
    I attempted to project words from my journal onto this fabric, but due to the luminance limitations of the projector nothing appeared in my first attempt, so I tried a double exposure and ended up with a gray mess (although there may be something profound in that no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get the words onto the fabric).  I then took the cloth and attempted to mold it to the plaster hand I created last week, and ended up with a faint impression of an object beneath the surface, which is what I wanted.
The piece is raw and unrefined, but I think that's okay.  Whatever I create from this point could not come into existence until this piece had been let out of my mind, and it is only the first step in what promises to be a frightening and illuminating journey over the next 15 weeks.

A New Darkroom!! II.

    The biggest challenge in building this room is the walls.  The current walls were left with open studs and visible tar paper, which had developed large holes from previous tenants nailing things, which is definitely no good for a darkroom.  So, we will be upgrading the structure a bit by building new, insulated, sheetrocked, and taped walls.  There was also a bit of electrical work to be done:  There was only one light, whose switch was to the right of the garage door (horribly inconvenient).  We moved the switch to the interior of the space, and added and rewired some electrical sockets, which you'll see later.
    We never use the garage door at the front so we just decided to wall it off, which meant removing the tracks for the door, building and insulating a wall and even a portion of the ceiling, which was difficult since it came up at an angle from the top of the door.  We also added a layer of plastic to add additional weatherproofing to the numerous holds in and around the door frame.  Boy oh boy has this been a LOT of work!!
    To stabilize the walls we needed to shoot bolts through the floor tracks and into the cement foundations.
    This is a shot from the interior of the room.  Thankfully the one wall that divides the garage from the house is solid enough that we don't have to build a new one.
Here you can see the current stage of the room, which is floating and taping all the seems between the sheet rock and filling in any holes we created while drilling them into the studs.
 This angle of the garage is the same angle as I showed in the previous darkroom post that you can see here.  There was no source of light for this side of the room, so we had to add two florescent lights in the ceiling, as well as adding some plug sockets near the bottom.

There is still at leas one solid weekend of work to do before the room is useable, but Gavin and I work well together and can get a lot of things done when we set our minds to it.  I am a little worried I have overstretched myself a bit, with taking Image Synthesis AND trying to complete the lighting work on the short film Sleddin', but hopefully it will work out great and I can make some rockin' art!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A New Darkroom!!

So, to accommodate the needs of turning my photograms into paintings/sculptural objects, I will need to make changes to the darkroom in order to overcome the fairly large space issue.  Even when solely producing 2D imagery I was hindered by the amount of space that I had to work in, especially since the photograms were so large.  The solution is a small construction project that will take the priority of the first few weeks of the semester.  We have a garage that has been used for very garage-like things, as in the storage of tools and the laundry machine and drier.  After measuring the space, we decided that we can consolidate the tools into 1/4 of the space towards the laundry machines and wall off the front to make a new darkroom that will be roughly double the square footage that I currently work in.  There will need to be a small amount of electrical work and the installation of sheet rock and insulation, and possibly some flooring, and an air conditioner so that I will be able to work comfortably and safely when the temperature inevitably climbs into the 90's and 100's.  As of right now, the materials for the room have been purchased for under $500 (thanks to my access to financial aid I'm able to do this!).  I expect the project to take the next two weekends, but fortunately I still have access to my previous space so I can continue to test new processes while the room in under construction.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Continuations and Expansions

This semester I will be continuing with the themes and concepts I established in the fall, but this time the subject matter will be what I consider to be the third era of my life. This period covers everything from my high school graduation and move across the country to Rochester, to the events leading up to my coming out and personal acceptance as a homosexual, my first love, and the struggles I faced in molding myself to seemingly impossible standards as a professional artist in the animation industry. When I look back on this time, I feel as if it was a rebirth and a new found infancy where everything was possible and yet horribly frightening. There were no chains to bind me except the ones I clung to from my past and the complexity of my internal struggles expanded to encompass wondrously new territories. I can reduce this bubbling concoction of experiences down to one simple word:


And so, with this new foundational concept, I have begun to examine the natural progression of form that would support my new themes. My works of last semester were primarily flat pieces that focused on images illustrating my struggles with the concealment and misdirected projections of my identity. This new theme calls for something more concrete and spatial, as it is one step closer to discarding the illusions that I had tried to maintain and, in truth, was the first time I openly invited others to peer beyond the screens of my fears.  The realization of these forms will be similar to my previous photograms with two exceptions:

1) I will be molding the fabric to my body so that it retains its shape, yet remains vague in terms of concrete detail.  The hand in the above picture is a test I did today with plaster bandages and is similar to what the fabric will look like.  You will see the form of my body as if there was a figure present underneath the fabric, still concealed but infinitely more concrete than the abstracted silhouettes of before. 

2)I will also be taking a more literal turn with the photograms by enlarging and projecting text from a journal that I had kept during college.  This act in itself is a huge leap for me in revealing things that I have yet been petrified to show. 

I hope to create a dialogue between the expression of my internal thoughts and physical manifestation of my body that reveals as much to me about this period of my life as it does to others.  It is an act of catharsis as well, for there is a lot yet left to express that has been pent up in the fortresses of my fears.  This semester will be a journey, hopefully a brutally honest one, that will allow me to openly discard my projections and reveal an intimacy that is closer to the truth of my identity and, hopefully, pave the road for a truer form of expression as a professional artist.