Hello luvs!Â Life has been crazy wonderful, and I have SO many cool things to share.Â I am madly in love with a new series that I’m working on (isn’t that always the way with artists?Â If we didn’t fall in love with our work we’d never have the stamina to finish it, and if we didn’t eventually fall back out we’d never move on to the next thing).Â The new work is a completely different direction for me, which began with this piece:
Lunar Trajectory, 18×18″
It was the first time I’d experimented with a puzzle-cut technique, where the layered look was created using various grays rather than physically attaching pieces on top of each other.Â The difficulty is that the cuts have to be precise, because everything has to notch back together.Â I use a scroll saw for thicker metal, and it’s a bit like taping a pencil to the end of a ruler and trying to sign your name — it’s not about tight control as much as being fluid in just the right way.
Well I loved the challenge of the technique, and subject even more.Â So I decided to create a series based on the science, history, and mythology surrounding the moon.Â I’ve always been intrigued by the relationship between religion and science, and how at times they have been closely intertwined, and at others polar opposites.Â Even now there is a certain mythological quality to our study of space — consider the Golden Record, a disk sent into space filled with pictures & sounds of humanity meant to be discovered by another life form.Â How different is this from when the ancient Greeks tried to communicate with the gods of the heavens?
So about a week ago I challenged myself to create 15 new pieces by… today.Â Partly because it’s the deadline for the Creative Workforce Fellowship, an artist’s award to the tune of $20,000 which coincidentally needed 15 images.Â (Okay, mostly because of the deadline thingy.)Â Now 15 is not that much, if they’re already designed.Â But 15 from conception to completion was a bit of a stretch.Â Add in commission work plus a recent surprise feature on http://www.thrillist.com/chicago and yeah, I got a little less sleep than I would care to admit.Â But I’m quite pleased with the results :)
“Gravity” is one of the new designs — I wanted it to feel gutsy and powerful, both in terms of scale, and the tension created by the darkening of color around the edges of the silver bodies:
“Phases of the moon” is a piece that integrated Greek letters “Selene” into a layered design, and it was a tricky one.Â It took a lot of cropping and overlap to get it to look complex enough to be interesting, then layers upon layers of lacquer to get that complexity to push into the background and not feel jumbled.Â I wanted the silver crescent moons to echo across the surface, and had to make everything else pretty dark to get that to happen.Â I do love the transparency of the piece:
Selene: Phases of the Moon, 10×30″
“Luna” started as this little sketch based on a Greek statue:
It was cut from a single plate of 12×24″ metal, and part of the challenge, aside from the obvious “don’t screw up her face”, was that the width of the plate was deeper than the throat of my saw.Â So not only did it have to be cut precisely, but the cuts had to be done in a certain order to be possible.Â And the whole “pencil taped to the end of a ruler” thing became “pencil taped to the end of a yardstick”, and now try to draw a perfect 10″ circle, willya?Â It didn’t occur to me when I designed it that I might not be able to actually reach the saw while making the first few cuts.Â But hindsight 20/20 and all that, you know.
“Eclipse” was my exercise in subtlety.Â Hidden in the background are the writings of Hipparcus, the astronomer who first truly understood the nature of eclipses.Â I wanted the writing to be a textural element, overshadowed by the black against the silver.Â I can say that piece definitely looks much cooler in person, and came out exactly as I had imagined.
So where to go from here?Â Fellowship aside, I would love have an exhibit in a science-related space.Â “Lunar Trajectory” will be on display at the Lake Erie Nature Science Center on Sept. 11th, but I would also like to secure a venue for the entire body of work.Â If you have any suggestions, in state or out, please let me know!Â And as always, I love to hear your thoughts and comments.