Welcome back to the monthly post on what I experienced as a visual artist over the last 31 days.
Sitting down and reviewing all that went on, shows me why I feel frazzled. Being involved and around so much art is excited, but also tiring. August was so productive, that it feels like it was months long, which reminds me that I prefer to be involved in fewer activities. We’ll see how I pace myself for September.
It is also apparent in reviewing August’s accomplishments, that it wouldn’t of been possible without asking for help. My life is so blessed with wonderful friends. I love my community of friends and look forward to meeting more creative, health centered, kind hearted folks.
Visited The Oakland Museum of California
Even though I’ve visited most of the San Francisco museums multiple times, just this month I went to my first East Bay museum. At the Oakland Museum of California I was welcomed by the above art installation of chaos and order of hanging chairs on the blackboard wall. I even ran into one of my fencing teammates from college and thoroughly enjoyed the museum. It is such a treasure! Keep in mind the first Sundays are free!!!
Just a Matter of Time
Paul Kos, 1990
Of the history, art and John Muir exhibits, this mixed media installation kept me still the longest. I heard the cuckoo clocks before seeing the installation. It reminded me of my childhood in bringing back a cuckoo clock from Germany. After reading the label I learned that it is about the inevitable fall of communist Russia, hence the sickles hanging from the chains.
Constructed and Painted a Pyramid Burning Man
The theme for Burning Man this year is “Rites of Passage,” which is why my friend Paul wanted his tent to be a pyramid. When I was little I’d write in hieroglyphics, so when I heard Paul was making a 20 foot tall pyramid I volunteered!
Several of us distressed the tarp using white and silver paint, cut it to size, then painted hieroglyphics using glow-in-the-dark paint.
We painted one entire side with glow-in-the-dark paint, then painted the above design of Anubis using white paint. That way the design would be black at night, with a glowing background, making it a reverse hieroglyphic.
I had an absolute blast working on this project. I look forward to seeing photos of the tent set up at Burning Man.
Watched a movie at a 70 year old Theater
Two Sacramento friends drove out here to see Dr. Strangelove with me at the art deco style Paramount Theater. Before the movie there was live organ music, a news clip from the time the movie came out, a cartoon and a raffle involved a giant spinning wheel. The theater was stunning, the company as always was great and the movie wasn’t disturbing like the other Kubrick film that I’d seen - A Clockwork Orange.
Checked out an Open Studio
I went to an art opening at a warehouse in Emeryville that showcased lots of artist, including makers of bamboo bicycles (they are so pretty!!). I was there to check out a group show that Erin Johnson put together. She had a hotel room that she wasn’t using, so she invited local artists to each make something in the room over a period of 24 hours. Check out the Unimpressionable Project to see the videos, dances, photos…that were created in the plain Jane hotel room.
As of last month I’ve taken over filling the orders for the earth art stickers and tshirts for the artist/creator Philip Krohn. I keep seeing more and more of the sticker, which is so cool. A recent customer told us that this commonality in the sticker brought together a couple who were e-dating.
Going on four years I am blessed to be Philip’s key studio assistant. If you look at the tent image that is above the yellow bike, in the background you’ll see the Oracle, which I helped construct out of 500+ oil jugs.
Plan of Attack for Restringing the Bouncy Ball Curtain
Over the last year the 7’ x 5’ bouncy ball curtain has been walked through numerous times, making it sag. It needs a face lift! The curtain is made up of 900 bouncy balls and crazy straws that are strung onto fishing line. The original design had the fishing line double back at the end of the string. What happened after several months, was that the line started coming undone. I thought that was because of the weight that was resting on the bottom bouncy ball.
So I added a jewelry crimp to hold the line in place and strung on a washer to prevent the bouncy ball from splitting from the tension caused by the fishing line. What ended up happening is that the washer didn’t stay in place, some of the crimps came undone and space was magically appearing between the straws like before. It was then that I accepted that even though I used 50 pound fishing line, the space between the straws was not caused by the line becoming undone at the bottom, but from the fishing line stretching.
The latest plan of attack, thanks to two engineering friends, is to use a nonstretching 50 pound fishing line, and to use grommets to prevent the ball from splitting from the line. And since how everything needs to be restrung, I can then run extra line through the ball so it goes through it twice, holding the grommet in place.
Another problem with the curtain was that the regular straws were splitting from the fishing line. I’m going to fix this by using the stems of the crazy straws, since how they are a rigid plastic. I have the grommets, the fishing line and about 200 more crazy straws. I am hunting down about 400 more straws, then it will be time to have a restringing party! I also learned about alibaba, which is a direct connection to manufactures worldwide, making it easier to buy materials in bulk.
Making interactive art that involved different materials takes lots of tests. I am confident that this latest design will solve the challenges that the curtain has been experiencing. I’m excited to have this figured out, so I can confidently make and sell more of them.
My Portfolio Website is Finally Editable Again
Thanks to a super smart and generous friend, Jon, I can upload images to my portfolio website, ElizabethSymington.com. It’s been almost two years since being able to add new photos to my online portfolio. Jon fixed the captions so that they would always be on, and he redirected the common misspelt version of name ElizabethSimington.com to my site. And, he forwarded my business email address, so I can now check my personal and work accounts in the same place.
I feel very spoiled and lucky to have such a beautiful site and for friends like Jon to help me when I get stuck with the technology. Since how I now have access to my site, I also updated my resume and recut my demo reel. It is such a relief having a complete online portfolio of my art installations, ceramics and hanging lights.
As you can see I still have more to share, but for the sake of everyone’s time, here’s the synopsis of the other exciting art adventures:
- Local artist, Ricardo Pelaez, contacted me and asked if I’d be interested assisting with future projects or even possibly collaborating together. Ricardo combines his background in architecture and etching to create beautiful site-specific art installations. His art is very well made and thoughtful. I’m grateful that I got to meet him and to see his art in person.
- For the sake of learning more and for networking purposes I’m taking a class on nutrition and one on the history of environmental art and what it means to be an eco artist. I am so incredibly impressed with these classes and instructors, that there will be future posts about what I’m learning and applying to my life.
- I had a ladies night where Jen and I sewed two throw pillows. Together we figured out how to put in a zipper! I hadn’t done that since both of my Great Grandmothers showed me how to sew on a machine when I was about 9 years old.
- Because of this art blog, the director of the Eco Arts Award found me and invited me to apply. I passed the competition information onto my eco arts class and marked the upcoming deadline on my calendar.
- Between textbooks, recommendations from friends and my own nerdiness, I have added many more books to the 2011 booklist.
- Progress on the Cactus Light commission is coming along. I’ve learned my lesson from the bouncy ball curtain by asking professions how they’d proceed, before wasting time and money hunting for the solution on my own. I’ve networked with many glass artists and electricians, learning how to more efficiently make these 7’ tall hanging lights. In the efforts of working smart and not hard, I bought a hand crank circular knitting machine and diamond drill bits for making holes into glass.
Photos taken while biking…they made me smile!
Thank you for persevering and making it to the end. I try to keep my stories short, but this month there were lots of little things going on.
Have a wonderful month! See you October 1st, 2011 for the next Happenings In The Studio!