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Obsess Over Everything

Posts tagged Sculpture

It’s all about the details for me in papercutting.  When you’re making work like mine, that’s so repetitive and consists of mostly one, patterned image, you must get detailed in order to give your viewer some surprises.  In my latest installation, Vascular Caverns, I created my largest papercut work yet: a largescale installation that formed a cavern comprised entirely of handcut paper.  It took the longest, but was one of the shortest installations thanks to a solid month of prep!  Once it was up on the wall, I ended up cutting out more and more pieces just to give that extra touch.  So, for all you type A personalities and detail oriented creators, I have posted detail photos of the installation!  Have fun detail hunting!

 

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New piece I installed this past week into the Mine Factory for the show “I Just Want the Paper,” curated by Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi.  For this piece, I handcut rice paper and added in details with graphite.  Normally, I’m adding wax, burning paper, or adding a jumble of processes into the sculpture.  But this time it was just me, my knife, and the paper.  Relaxing.  A relief, actually.  It was as though I was challenging myself to get back to papercutting basics.

Even more of a challenge was examining the space and adapting the piece to it.  Install week was renamed papercutting week in my book since I had to make an extra 400 cutouts in 48 hours.  And this is the final product!

Things this month have been absolutely amazing and absolutely busy! I am proud to announce that I am the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 VSA Young Emerging Artist Program with the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.! This year’s theme was “The Journey,” and prompted artists to submit their work that concerned their own personal journeys living with a disability. With this award, my piece is exhibited in the Smithsonian in Washington, it is also part of a nationally traveling exhibition, and I receive a cash prize of $20,000. I have been invited, along with the other 14 winners, to attend a Congressional Reception in January so I’m already starting to plan my outfit! I am extremely honored to be receiving this award and am so excited to see what this next year holds for me.1622843_10152345255192694_5115025851877106456_n

My winning papercut sculpture, Never Stopping, deals with my experiences as a heart transplant recipient, specifically the overwhelming feelings related to my physical issues as well as the desire for healing. The entire original sculpture is about 16 ft in height and is made entirely of handcut paper. I also added screenprinted cutouts of hands, legs, oranges, and bananas. These symbolize offerings and milagros, or physical representations of intentions. The idea behind it was for the viewer to become overwhelmed with the structure, in order to mimic my own feelings. For the Kennedy Center, I brought the piece down to a smaller scale, which you can see in the photo.me

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My transplant is a major part of my life, and I am open to any questions readers might have. I received my heart at the age of 14 months at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. That transplant team became my family, and I am always going back every now and then to visit. They still follow up with me and my procedure results even though I have switched to the cardiology team at UPMC Children’s Hospital. Right now, I still have my original heart making my transplant one of the oldest single organ transplants in the country.

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This past week, I opened a show in Oakland, CA for First Fridays.  It was so much fun and my first exhibit on the West Coast!  I had a bit of help with some of the bigger installation, and for the first time went on scaffolding.  Since I’m a short little lady, I was terrified of being so high off the ground.  But I did it and everything turned out so perfect.  Really, I don’t think I’ve ever had an easier install and it’s all thanks to the awesome, generous people from the gallery.  There’s an espresso bar connected, so I suggest to anyone from the area to stop by!  The show is at Hat Rac Gallery up from June 6- July 25.

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Boys setting up the scaffolding.

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Gold and black cutouts going up on the wall.  Yes, they’re all handcut!

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Lately I’ve been experimenting with some new ideas.  Well really, these are ideas that have been brewing in my brain for some time and need to just get out.  So, here they are, out in the open, and looking for a direction to go in.  These little triangle guys are a particular favorite of mine but I’m not sure where I want it to go.  I’ve covered them in wax, burnt them and here they are dyed with ink.  I’ve dyed them with turmeric which I love, but I’m not sure if I like the wax.  They look so much more delicate and like coral which is the inspiration.  _DSC0643

I’m doing a show at Hat Rac Gallery in Oakland in a bit and am thinking of doing an installation with these little guys.  They won’t be little, of course.  They have this great front window that has so much space and light that I have to go crazy with whatever I put there.  Looks like a lot of cutting in the future… _DSC0645 _DSC0650This little white situation here is a kind of collage.  It’s a rice paper cutout on top of BFK paper.  I like keeping the pencil lines in there.  Even though I won’t be using this piece for anything, I just wanted to try it out.  I would love to be able to use a press to roll it through and make an even, clean pressing.

 

 

This post is a little random, I’m aware of it so that makes it ok.  I guess…  Anyways these are some photos of my inspirations for the day and what I have going on in my studio._DSC0625

This little orange patch doesn’t leave my mind.  I found it on a rock right outside my studio while I was taking a walk.  First off, the color.  I can’t even handle it.  Second off, I love seeing how it forms.  A lot of my work deals with swarms and natural growth.  It’s nice to see some ideas on how to make my pieces seem more real…._DSC0628

Here you have turmeric dissolving in Linseed Oil.  Yeah, I know it looks just like that previous photo.  I need to figure out a way to capture this…  Ideas are brewing. _DSC0631

More turmeric pigment.  This one is mixed with water.  I’m going back to my obsession with circles.  It was only right that I made one piece with a circular shape._DSC0634 _DSC0635

These guys don’t leave my side.  That’s nice because sometimes at night it gets creepy.  But they pass out all day and all night in my studio.  I guess they like that I keep a tropical climate in here.  Plus I give them treats…_DSC0636 _DSC0637

Some more cutouts. This one is a largescale installation in progress… I was inspired when I first saw Keira Knightley wearing a hat with mesh in some movie that I really hated… anyways she had a similar pattern on the mesh and I instantly knew I had to make something with it.  It also is supposed to resemble rainforest plants/sea coral.  Really, all of my images are jumbles of representations that are only meant to seem familiar.  You know it’s some sort of organism, but not what kind exactly.  _DSC0638

My fanny pack has become my new best friend.  I take it everywhere and it’s so easy to carry.  I’ve had it for a while now, but I recently studded it.  Gold studs of course…. and this is my little hook of clothing goodies.  The dogs know it’s time to leave whenever I walk over to this hook and grab something off it.  _DSC0640

Bones out drying.  They’re all washed but the next step is to grind them down and then wash again.  _DSC0641Little branches.  So beautiful, I don’t know what to do with them first! Do I put them in a piece?  Copy the shape and the growth pattern?  I don’t know!

 

 

 

I’ve had this idea brewing in my head for some time and it just had to get out.  I definitely want to make two of these pieces, one that’s 10 x 10 and another that’s 20 x 20.  But they’re little cutout guys that resemble vaginas or those things that grow on trees in the rainforest.  Either way, it resembles something organic.  I’ve been trying to work on a smaller scale as compared to my larger installation work.  It’s far more time consuming since I want to get every single cut just right and not have frayed edges.  _DSC0602 _DSC0605

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I started using turmeric as pigment.  It’s really the only color I’ve introduced so far to my pieces that I aim to show.  I may grind up some wheat or cinnamon, but turmeric has a special meaning for me.  I drink it in milk or eat it in paste form to bring down inflammation on my foot when it flares up.  I do notice a difference, and try to eat it as often as I can for health reasons.  Because of that, I wanted to introduce it into my work.  It gives an amazing golden color and a hint of scent if you get close.  _DSC0609 _DSC0614 _DSC0615

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All of these little baby cutouts were used too.  It’s a lot of detail, but they make everything come together.  _DSC0619 _DSC0621 _DSC0622 _DSC0612

Today I experienced what some people call the Bone Yard.  If you know me or my work, you know that I’m obsessed with bones and all sorts of dark things.  My goal while in Wyoming was to find some more bones for sculptures.  Needless to say, I found bones.  This place was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  It’s a dumping ground for taxidermists and hunters, so there was a whole lot to choose from.  A lot of pieces weren’t too clean, but I tried to grab some skeletons that were cleaner.  I wasn’t even mentally prepared for what followed.  First of all, I’m used to cleaning off bones in smaller quantities.  These were from cattle, and were as big as me.  They weren’t the cleanest, but I thought I could take the bones apart with a saw and then rebuild later.  WRONG.  The cartilage was so tough that I had to kick, stand on, and pull apart some of the bones.  I even ran into a few in tact spinal cords which was far too much for me to handle in one day.  I’m never grossed out by these types of things, but the spinal cord gave me an icky feeling.  So I kept cleaning what I could, and ended up getting a whole lot of material out of these guys.  Unfortunately, I had to throw out a lot of them, too.  There was one spine I couldn’t bring myself to throw out, and so to save it from the ranch dogs and other critters, I hung it from a tree.  Doesn’t it look like some sort of offering?  Things got weird today, as you can see.

How I cleaned my bones:  Try to get the cleanest bones possible.  No blood, no flesh on it.  And as little cartilage as possible.  I made a hydrogen peroxide and water mix.  Soak for 24 hours (I’m a clean freak) and then a second soak after that in a new mix.  No bleach, that messes everything up.  No boiling either!  _DSC0560 _DSC0562 _DSC0564 _DSC0565 _DSC0568 _DSC0571

I want to make a note here:  I don’t hunt animals.  I’m not killing anything to make my sculptures.  The bones I use are all FOUND in the environment.  I don’t spend money on buying the bones.  This is solely a found object deal.

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As if I didn’t already express my love for her enough, here’s a post for my ultimate source of inspiration right now:  Carmen Miranda.  Lately I’ve been wanting to get a lot more into screenprinting and making patterned prints.  The goal is to make a few more ladies with headdresses.  Of course, I’ve already gone through my orange phase.  Next fruit on the list is bananas.  Oh, it’s begun.  Here are some photos of the progress:

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