Sunday, September 25, 2011


Years ago I cleaned my garage and when I pulled out from the wall an old rusty cabinet that I wanted to toss, I discovered the petrified remains of a bird--most likely a sparrow.  I have carefully preserved the preserved bird for just the right project.

Then I went rummaging in my own basement one day to find something to inspire me to make a project and I came across the plastic container with the poor old dead bird.  To use it, or not to use it, that is the question.

And the problem.  Being a found object artist can be challenging if you fall in love with the objects and never actually use them in any projects. 

So, I decided to use the bird in something.  Grabbing a canvas and some a page from an old scientific encyclopedia, I was off.

Turns out, birds are in the Aves class and the page I ripped out of the encyclopedia was that page.  Put on a 5" x 5" canvas, I was able to paint it up.  Then I went in search of one of my photographs and chose a tin type of a woman who could have had the nickname Little Bird.

 After that was painted up and attached to the canvas, I added the heat of the sun to represent the process that might have petrified the bird.  A row of trees represents the homes of birds. 

I still had some spatial issues with the piece so I extended the frame with some barn nails that could have been holding up my garage if it was old enough.

And so we have it.  The piece called Aves which proves once again, I am not a hoarder, I am not a hoarder, I am not...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Repurposing My Own Art for an Exhibition

I am going to have pieces on exhibition in two member shows in the southeastern Wisconsin area.

The first is Hometown Heritage: the Racine Art Museum's Community Art Exhibition which opens Thursday, September 8th with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Here is how the Museum describes the exhibition: For the fifth year the Racine Art Museum, together with RAM's Wustum Museum, showcases the talents of its students, teachers, and staff as well as Racine school teachers. Inspired by Field of Vision: Artists Explore Place - the current exhibition at the museum's downtown location - Hometown Heritage features innovative work that explores the feelings of fond memories, local customs and historic events that connect these artists to their hometown or favorite place. This exhibition presents works created by Wustum art students on view side-by-side with well-known regional artists who teach or work at the museum.

My piece is Route 66.

I have talked about this piece before but I believe it really fits this show as it incorporates two photos I took on the trip and the class I took at the Wustum that got me in the show was a digital photography boot camp.

The other show is the Annual Members Show at Walker's Point Center for the Arts. The Opening Reception for this show is Friday, September 9th from 5pm - 9pm. Here is how the Center describes this exhibition: With a variety of talented members exhibiting their work in an array of mediums, styles and compositions, this dynamic showing of local and regional artists is sure to create an environment of juxtapositions and kinships. Featuring the work of current WPCA members, this salon-style exhibition takes a broad look at what is being produced in the contemporary Milwaukee and regional art scenes. For years WPCA has hosted its Annual Members Show in gratitude of those who have sustained the organization and as an opportunity for emerging and established artists from the area to converge, share ideas and generate dialogue.

The first piece is Free Fall. I started this piece in a workshop at Shake Rag Alley with Michael Donovan but the head fell off on the drive home from Mineral Point. This made me re-engineer the piece and the wedding dress scrap was added at home. Also, all the painting was done at home after the workshop. Denice likes to think the mom is catching the baby as it falls but I have a darker vision of what is actually happening here.

The second piece is a silly little joke that started with a very happy male and an old industrial metal label that said discharge. The main body is a paper mache piece from Artist and Display on an old watering can. I found some cool rope at Home Depot for the Rastafarian hair piece. This is called Discharge the Cherub of Virility.

Full confession time: I recently attacked the piece called The Protector and Dremeled off the evil devil doll from the top of the piece. You will still see it in this photo as I did not have time to re-shoot photos before delivering it to the Walker's Point Art Center.

Why did I hacked off the devil baby? My story for this piece is that the kachina-like figure is a protector of children but he has failed to save the baby in this piece. Sad, eh? The devil baby was the reason why the kachina failed. He was having a gay old time celebrated his victory as time ran out on the protector.

However, the more I looked at this piece, the more I thought the drama was stolen by there being too many stories being told at once. So, I hacked off the devil baby (which, trust me, was not as easy to do as it sounds).

Then I started to have second thoughts. Should I really mess around with a piece once it is done? I am still not sure what the answer should be on that one. Either way, here is the old version and if it does not sell (hahahahahahahahahahahahaha) I will take a photo of it to show you when I get it back.

The Protector (version one):