Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NeoVictorian Remix

I've just finished reading The Devil in the White City, Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America  by Erik Larson. It is a detailed account of the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. I learned so much about the era, and its people, and their inventions. It is amazing to realize what these men and women accomplished in a short time.

I had been working on this piece with ferris wheels in it before I started the book. It took on a new meaning for me after I started reading it. I have a new appreciation for Ferris' Wheel. The first ferris wheel appeared at the Columbian Exhibition, and was America's answer to the Eiffel Tower which was built for the Paris Exposition.

The piece is almost finished now. I have added wiring to the object in the woman's hands and also added a glaze to the background with words written in it.
The woman also has had many more gears and three-D objects added into her machinery. I'm going to change the flowers on her hat, and then I think it will be finished. I plan to enter it in the FCCA show, "Conceal and Reveal".

Mind Your Manners -- Leslie Brier, Controversial Artist?

 I will start this post with a photo of the genteel Miss Bordeaux, who apparently fell asleep while reading a book of Victorian Spot illustrations. No wonder the pages are dog-eared!

And now, dear readers, I will recount for you a tale of someone who was not so genteel at the Dorothy Hart Community Center on Saturday night. I entered my Electrolux Baby (Circus 2)  in the sculpture category, and was delighted to find him sporting a blue ribbon when I  arrived at the show.

A few minutes later, a group of two couples approached. Upon seeing the blue ribbon, one of the women exclaimed, "You have got to be kidding!" and then went on to say how "ridiculous" it was. I realized she had a right to her opinion, but was surprised that she voiced it so loudly.

And then it got worse. She and her group finished touring the show and we both ended up at the sculpture row once again. This time she was even more vocal, and loudly declared it to be "disgusting" among other things.

Now if a friend were telling me this story, I'd say, "Well, I definitely would have said something." But you know what? I didn't. I couldn't. I didn't stand up for Electrolux Baby, and I'm not sure why. I guess I was taken aback at how strongly she seemed to feel about the situation.

And now that I've told this story, I feel much better. It is out of my system and we need never speak of it again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Steampunk Circus Digital Remix - Working with a Net

This collage is made from 1890's era newspaper images.I built up background layers, and then added the newspaper images on top. Some are gel-medium transfers, and some are applied face-up straight from a laser print, and tinted with colored tissue and watercolor pencils.

It wasn't finished, but I wasn't sure what it needed. There were several ideas that I wanted to explore, and I wasn't feeling particularly patient. So, I decided to go to my computer and work it out in PhotoShop.

Here is the digital image. I added the top hat first, and then put in the rest of the images from there. The words went in last. I love working with type and typefaces in my job as a graphic designer, but tend to shy away from it in my altered art work, mainly because I don't love my own handwriting the way I love typefaces.

To me, a typeface can instantly set the tone for a piece whether its used in graphic design or fine art. (I used Algerian here.) I think I'll need to take a break from this image for a few days, and then come back to it and see if I still like it. If I don't, I can rework it - a major advantage of going digital. That can also be a pitfall - sometimes it's good to work without a net, so to speak, in order to make a commitment. Right now it looks a little to busy to me.

I'm still pondering what to do with the piece in the previous post. Terry Pitzel and Elizabeth Woodford have both given me some great suggestions, so I'm hoping to finish that piece this week. Stay tuned!