Installation Final!

Closeup of the center ball.
We got the space we wanted! We (myself, Daniel, and Steve) installed this in the smaller room of the 840 Gallery last weekend. We spent several hours over the last few weeks making string orbs of various sizes. The largest, shown above, was about eighteen inches in diameter. The smallest, below, was about four inches across.
We used about 12,000 feet of string, about 35 eye hooks, and over a gallon of glue
Check out my post from a few weeks ago, called The PROTO Show, if you want to see how this all got started.

View from the back corner. There was string right in front of the camera.

I loved the shadows cast on the wall

A view from below.

Looking down, at an eye hook in the concrete floor.

We spent about fourteen hours installing this on Sunday, and then two more hours on Monday to finish up and set up the lighting.

So... what does it all mean? My original idea was to create a 3-d abstraction of the inside of the brain, where memories are stored. Each orb represents a specific memory. They are all different sizes, and can be reached easily or with difficulty, depending on their placement within the room. Some are well lit, almost glowing, while others are in shadow. They are all connected to the environment and to each other. Some of the connections are strong, others are tenuous. As we tightened the string in one direction, something else would loosen and sag, so we had to constantly pull and push new connections between the orbs.
The memory theme is important to me, because it's part of my thesis, so I'm glad my collaborators were okay with sticking with my idea. I'm also glad they wanted to work with me, because I never could have drilled into the concrete on my own (thanks Daniel!) or come up with such beautiful lighting (thanks Steve!). Plus, I wouldn't have been able to torture them with my music choices for fourteen hours straight, which was fun. How was I supposed to know they wouldn't like They Might Be Giants?


New Tricks!

A few weeks ago I cracked under stress. I was thinking way too hard. About everything. 
Between thesis, installation, advanced drawing, digital art (technology!), and other miscellaneous challenges, I was overwhelmed with the desire to make something fun. And easy. Requiring no thought. Or complete sentences.

Luckily, I had a whole bunch of lovely vellum, and some alcohol-based ink I had ordered on a whim from Amazon. These were the results of my first experiments:

I think this was my very first one.
This ink is super-brilliant and translucent. The alcohol base means it dries quickly and it resists other colors, so dropping fresh ink into dried colors pushes the original color out, resulting in those dark edges. Wet into wet creates unpredictable variations.
In some sort of experimental frenzy, I tried the ink on several types of papers and surfaces. If you want to try this stuff, don't bother with regular paper, because the ink loses all its unique properties. You have to use good vellum or acetate, because they won't absorb the ink.

I went a little crazy with this one

This one is pretty hideous. I discovered all the weird effects I could get by blowing air through a straw at the wet ink. Then I stopped, because it's just not pretty.

I started with black India ink, blew it around with the straw, and then dropped alcohol ink on later. I liked the effect, but it made the vellum all wrinkly.

Then I started having fun turning the vellum back and forth, so the ink ran in different directions as it dried.

So, I figured out that spraying rubbing alcohol onto the ink made interesting effects, like in the lower left corner. I put the alcohol in a scented body spray bottle, so now my art smells like green tea and citrus.

I went crazy with the alcohol spray on this. SO much fun!

I started using the alcohol and a paper towel to "erase" ink from the page, and then I added more ink, and more alcohol. I think this is my favorite.

I spent so much time playing with this stuff, that I felt guilty I wasn't working on thesis-related projects. (As you may or may not know, my thesis work is currently related to memory loss.) Some recent projects involved physically erasing images, or altering them through unseen forces (more on that stuff soon.) But then, I had an epiphany: with the alcohol, I could erase images, alter them, and distort them. I had been making progress on my thesis and didn't even realize it! Bonus!

The vellum is translucent, like the ink, so I decided to layer two pages in the scanner to see what happened. I love it.

I'm having so much fun with my new trick! I'm working on more elaborate experiments with this stuff, I just don't have photos yet.
I promise to post them soon.

Also coming soon: a digital animation (technology!), my most recent installation (I think I'm calling it Rendezvous), abstract videos, graphite drawings, and a secret project (might be illegal!)...