1 week of Art

I stumbled upon these two videos recently and thought they were really cool. I have been doing ‘safe’ work so far, in that I have not experimented to my full potential, and might try to take a step further, or just go down a completely different path sometime soon. I may not do graffiti art or anything as weird as is shown here, but both videos have definitely stirred something in me 🙂 Enjoy!

I still cannot decide whether the music adds or takes away from the videos…

— I do not own these videos- click to access them directly from Youtube.

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This is the latest piece that I have done for my IB diploma art class. I kept to my theme of trees and landscape, and used a new technique that I have been experimenting with recently: it consists of thickly applying layers of paint (itself previously mixed with a thickener) on the canvas, and then dry-brushing with an old paintbrush on the bumps and crevices to highlight the texture created by the dry paint. I painted the background blue afterwards, with no texture, so that the trees stood out. I made the upper part lighter and the lower part darker because it lends more depth to the painting. My goal for this piece was to create a sort of landscape, without having to draw too many elements. I focused on the texture, rather than on the shape of the trees: indeed, I didn’t include the roots and most of the branches of the trees.

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Update on Internship

Remember the post on the sketches I did during my internship?  Well here is the final product, now available in supermarkets in the Benelux region:

(see my old post at https://spillicks.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/internship/)

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International Cubism

I made this piece last year. We were studying cubism and its presence in society throughout the years, starting with Picasso’s Guernica. Our theme was fairly free, as we were to choose an issue in society that we wanted to illustrate. I had gone to India a couple of weeks earlier, and chose to make a piece portraying child labor in India. I used pictures of the Taj Mahal and other cultural ‘hints’, such as fabrics and warm colors to show the Indian context, and I used an image of a child carrying a heavy bag in the foreground. The main cubist component was the grayish hand at the top of the painting- I thought that was the hardest part: similarly to Picasso’s interpretation of cubism, I ‘deconstructed’ the volumes of the hand, and reconstructed them using squares and basic prisms. I liked the end result, and many people told me the hand looked like a robot’s hand. This piece took about two weeks to complete in class, in addition to a week of preparation beforehand to make sure the ‘cubes’ in the design were fully set up on paper before we started painting. I used acrylic, which was good for the colour blocs, but didn’t blend as well as gouache would have.

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Fur Coats and Garbage

I made this piece this summer, while I was taking classes at Yale. The assignment was to use charcoal and erasers, and make a composition’s light reflections and shadows stand out. Our teacher, Anna Betbeze, set up a still-life in the center of the room: a couple of garbage bags, some bubble wrap and an old fur coat. This choice of material was probably prompted by her eclectic tastes: she works with fur and acid herself. I decided to blacken the entire page with vine charcoal- the lighter kind-, and then draw with the eraser. I tried to get the majors highlights with the eraser, but I hadn’t planned that the charcoal would spread so much. The last step was to darken the darkest shadows with the compressed charcoal. This one didn’t spread as much, so I used it a lot, hoping to compensate for the blurriness the vine had created. I was satisfied with the final result, and liked how the white fur stood out, and looked dirty, which it was anyways. I enjoyed drawing something unusual, and that we don’t usually pay much attention to. This composition especially emphasized the contrast between the in-the-spotlight set up and the randomness of the subject.

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Fox Life

This is the 3rd major project I have been working on in class. The general theme that I chose was ‘faces’, and more particularly, what meanings or emotions a face can hide. In this case, smaller foxes were drawn into a fox’s face. I wanted to represent how a face can symbolize a group, a generation, a way of life, the influences of a certain time or place, specifically, here, being in a pack.

I used the intaglio printing technique, as with the elephants in the last post. I carved the drawing into a zinc plate though, because the copper plate hadn’t been strong enough to withstand more than 5 or 6 rolls under the press with the elephants- this made engraving a bit harder though.

I think I might get this print framed 🙂

Can you see the face?

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Intaglio Elephants

Part of the printing workshop was the intaglio process. It’s different from the regular lino printing because what you engrave or ‘carve out’ is what will be printed. I think I liked this technique better: it was more direct, closer to drawing (which is what I like best) than lino printing was.

Our teacher recommended using ‘organic’ themes and pictures, as she said the colors could look more ‘vintagey’. I chose to print elephants, as I had seen be done on a trip to India.

This time, the ink was really sticky and didn’t come off our hands until a couple of days later, with A LOT of scrubbing!

I didn’t know whether mixing different colours of ink together would create an in-between color, so I tried it with sepia and black:


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