The heart is the what, but the head is the why.
As my sophomore year at Maggie Walker comes to a stressful yet relieving end, so does my time as an Art III student. As a final way to reflect on my growth as an artist and the process I have undergone to develop my own style, Mrs. Mosley has given us a final at - home project: The Fantastic Four. The focus of these pieces are not necessarily on quality and finish, but on the first two steps in the Artistic Process: Inspiration and Design. I have reflected on my Play pages from this whole past year, as well as Curiosity pages and Two - Page spreads. My Head + Heart Planning page consists of a list of common themes in my independent works, which included textural elements, "hand - made artwork - all raw materials that the artist has to piece together," minimalism (specifically, continuous line drawings), glitter, and flowers. I also documented my fascination by the techniques of scratch art and zen calligraphy. A goal which seems to be omnipresent at this point in my life - irrelevant of Art or just everyday activities - is the desire to find a "purpose without obsession." Okay... but what does that even mean? I don't know. That's the billion - dollar question I've been trying to answer with the works I have created in response to the prompts Mrs. Mosley gave us. And, upon completing the assignment, I don't think I got much closer to determining how I can make purposeful artwork without obsessing over every frivolous detail. Where is the balance? I spent many hours bending wire and mixing paints and tracing drawings for my pieces, but I think that I spent just as long simply staring off into space, trying to conceptualize exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. In my mind, I reworked com-positional layouts, scale, and presentation. I wanted to make sure that my content matched the materials I chose to use. I think that, in a lot of ways, I was successful in creating meaningful and well - designed artworks. However, I also made some pretty bad decisions and executed my ideas poorly. You win some and you lose some, I guess. In general, though, I am grateful for the experience of working on the Head + Head series. It was extremely valuable to spend time devoted solely to contemplating what kind of art makes me feel something when I make it, and what is the best way for me to make those types of pieces. I have learned that I have a hard time with motivating myself to actually begin a project, but once I do, I find it hard to know when to quit. I like engaging the viewer in my pieces through a) their actual participation in the process of creating and b) encouraging them to reflect on the principles and morals that they allow to govern their actions. For me, art is a way to express my own emotions by extending visual representations of personal experiences to the viewer so that they may understand that they are not alone in their confusion, loneliness, or suffering. It can be a dark and cruel world out there, but we as individuals collectively are the world. Therefore, the world is only as dark and cruel as we each permit ourselves to be. So, I want people to know that I empathize with the universal struggle for compassion, inner peace, balance, and what it means to possess a meaningful existence. These are the things which occupy my thoughts in the lulls of my hectic schedule; these are things which I contemplate before I go to bed, while I am staring out the window of the bus, while I am listening to music, while I am petting my dog, while I am staring off into space. These are things which give my art a purpose.
H E A R T
H E A D
Relates to: subject / medium / form / process
- abstract paint pour
- the process of using an online application to digitally enhance photographs
- continuous line drawings
Relates to: content / idea / theme
- love and empowerment
--> what does it mean to be alive and fulfilled? What truly matters?
- purpose in life
- control / when to let go (= balance)
- mental health: coping, processing, healing
- relationships with friends, family, society, and yourself (gender, sexuality, physique, aptitude)
"Dream Rainbow." I made this piece from glitter, old mat boards, acrylic paint, and a gesso medium. It is one of my “head” pieces, as I intentionally wanted to focus more on the process of mixing the paints and interacting with the mediums than the precision of the outcome. That isn’t to say that I don’t like how it looks; I actually really, really like it. It just means that the value of the piece does not really extend past its tangibility; what you see is what you get. I thoroughly enjoyed the “fluid art” technique. It is something which has interested me since we first did an in - class activity at the beginning of our AbEx unit of study. The product is just so beautifully intricate and chaotic, yet somehow a coherent mass of nebulous colors. I find it mesmerizing. Not to mention, the glitter!!
“El Guapa.” This is my second “heart” piece. I wanted to experiment with a three - dimensional art form that I enjoy but do not often consider real “art”: makeup. I figured that putting eye shadow, mascara, highlighter, and lip gloss on my very masculine, very muscular brother would add a deeper meaning to the overall piece. This did not feel like enough to actually be considered a finish work, though, and I also knew that I wanted to present the photograph of my work only after I had edited it. I really enjoy this process, so I decided to make the actually process of enhancing the photograph part of the artwork itself. I screenshotted the progression of my edits throughout the process, then compiled these into a video. It is a way of presenting the process of creating a work (well, a photograph, but a work for me because this is an art project) that is deemed acceptable by society based on standards of smooth skin, full and saturated lips, highlighted cheeks and noses, prominent jawlines, and symmetrical features. But, as our society evolves and - in some ways - becomes more accepting, what does it mean to apply these expectations to all humans, not just females?
”How do you heal a hurt you were born with?” This is one of my “head” pieces, as the content is very personal and significant. I actually was inspired to design the mother and daughter figures after stumbling upon the quote I used for the title in one of my journals. I have fallen out of the habit of writing, but I used to do so on a regular basis, jotting down notes about my day or scribbling a poem as a way to release tension and / or cope with internal turmoil. For me, writing is a cathartic process. I wanted to show this, to some degree, in the presentation of this work. The mother and daughter symbolize the complications of this type of relationship, which is taken a step further once the viewer considers the birth certificate onto which the figures are mounted. I like the mirror as the background because the physical reflection of the viewer prompts an internal reflection, simply due to the nature of the artwork. By creating a piece which bears such heavy personal significance, I am able to establish a better connection between the piece and the viewer by making my own self vulnerable.
”You are not indebted to the source of your existence.” The significance of this “head” is especially personal for me. I feel awkward discussing it because my relationship with my own father is one of the messiest, more unpredictable areas of my life - two characteristics I am not particularly fond of. I want for people to know that I understand these feelings of helplessness, childish ineptitude, and never daring to challenge the immovable, all - powerful dictator of your happiness and livelihood. But, we do not owe our parents anything simply because they brought us into the world. They chose to make our abstract existence a reality. So, we are not obligated to let ourselves be consumed and poisoned by the toxicity of one of these people simply because they are the reason we are alive. I am not exactly sure what the point of living is, but I am sure of what it is not (that). I wish that I had been able to better execute the creation of this piece because the blobs of hot glue and kind of weird way the silouette isn’t completely on the mat board annoys me, but I love my initial thematic content. The quote is another one from my journal. The combination of the wire, spray paint, black acrylic - painted outline, and words is powerfully raw. I would to explore the incorporation of text into visual displays, as I find this combination exceptionally poignant and expressive.