Fast forward to last winter in Berlin. I had just learned that I would receive funding from Burning Man to build With Open Arms and although the first check was still weeks away, I needed to get a head start on understanding how I would build it. I decided to try out a much-loved 3D drafting program called Fusion 360. If I could learn the program in those intervening weeks I would be able to produce a slick virtual 3D model which would help very much in presenting my idea (in a modern and up-to-date way), as well as streamline the actual fabrication process. Well after about a week of trying to model, and then unwrap (or flatten) a single cone - a week in which I sought help from several online Fusion 360 experts - I abandoned that route. What it took me a week to not successfully accomplish, I could do in a few hours with my trusty old 2D drafting program and some cardboard. Time was of the essence. I didn't have all the damn time in the world, you know?
So last week I started my painting career. We shall see if I ever come close to earning that word... "career." For reasons which will soon become clear, I think it's actually better to steer clear of the word "painting," too. "Image making career," or "image making experiment" is probably better. Anyway, enough with the semantics. As I've mentioned, I have this idea for an image I would like to produce. It has now mushroomed into a series of 3 images. Naturally I envision them as paintings, because... well because paintings are "serious" and because when paintings are good, they are so good.
So, I bought some brushes and some paint. I bought oil paint and also acrylic. I tried painting. I imagined that because I could see the paintings in my head, that I could paint them well. I imagined I would be a prodigy.
Well, I'm not.
Admittedly I didn't try that hard, and apparently painting well is not that easy (or so they say). But I've got these images in my head and I don't want to practice for a month or a year before I'm good enough to paint them. For christ's sake I've got a kid and I'm lucky if I get 20 or 25 hours to myself per week (during which I must also do all that boring shit that grownups have to do). In the month or year it takes me to get good at painting, the ideas might leave me or suddenly seem stupid, or I might get hit by a meteor. No, I can't wait that long.
My very first effort at painting, two weeks ago, was my knockoff of the life-sized nude that I mentioned. I may as well post some detail pictures here...
My copy (looking at it now, I can see some improvements that should be made..)
...to illustrate the fact that my technique of watercolor followed by colored pencil, all on 1/4" plywood, was not half-bad. (As you can see I started with a cartoon-like outline in Sharpie, which I'm not entirely sure was the right idea.) So, fuck it- I'm going to try that technique. I think I can expand on it and get something good. I bought three sheets of plywood today, and I've already got my watercolors and pencils. We will see. I don't have all the time in the world, you know.
I will post pix as these images take shape. They will feature confident women.
I hope the through-line... the theme... that unites these stories is obvious enough. Do shit. Get it done. Life is short. Sure, I know the value of learning new skills and putting in the hours, but it's also important to be productive and make shit happen. That thing you want to do... do it. You don't have forever.
I continue to be fascinated with images of strong and confident women. Within this adjective "confident" exists a fairly broad range, from "doesn't give a fuck" through "suspicious" and "annoyed" all the way to "angry," and they are all equally compelling to me. I believe that this has got to be one of the reasons that Alexander McQueen continues to hold my attention; he too was fascinated with this particular range of emotions in women (and the zone where these emotions overlap with sexy) and actively tried to manifest all of that through his clothing.
Doesn't give a fuck
Jassans (that guy was such a master!!)
Alexander McQueen *
Sculpture I did in Berlin
From a book in Spain
A sculpture I did in Barcelona
This fascination is operating on something of a subconscious level, which is to say that I don't really have a handle on why it's so compelling to me. My wonderful friend Richard took the liberty of psychoanalyzing me (based on my blog) at a recent birthday dinner, and his theory is that the "confident female" is the part of me that I'm trying to manifest, to bring to the fore. I love the theory.. or at least I love the fact that he bothered to think of a theory.. (my major was architecture but my minor was psychology), but I'm not sure yet if I agree. The fact that, just as Jassans did, I prefer confident women to be nude might undermine his theory... or it might just make for an interesting twist. People are complicated... so who knows. In any case, thanks for the great conversation Richard; clearly I'm still pondering it.
In more mundane news, I've been moving shipping containers around in the snow for the last 2 days. This involves a lot of jumping in and out of the forklift, and even a fair bit of getting up and down from the tops of the containers, and it's exhausting.
But I do love my forklift.
And it seems to be "car fixing season."
Wandering, imprecise steering was the single worst thing about the Scout... until I fixed it the other day. (That's the steering gearbox in the vise, at lower right.) I feel like this gave the old car a bit of a new lease on life... suddenly I want to fix all the small problems and make the thing fun to drive again... or at least less of a pain-in-the-ass to drive again. The Honda got new rear brakes.
I forced myself to do a day of digital detox last weekend, which was unexpectedly hard. I instinctively reached for the phone or the computer several times during the day... in those little "in-between" moments... but I stopped myself and it did force me to do other things, like look at books. I have so many great books that I so rarely look at. I re-discovered Hans Bellmer while looking through an art book about the surrealists. That guy was a freak.
* Have you ever noticed that photographs of men typically only show their head, while photos of women often also show their breasts? There is a totally different image-cropping protocol for the two genders. I tried to find some scholarly article on the topic to which I could hyperlink, but came up empty... which surprised me. I wasn't quite sure how to frame some of these images... give in to the unwritten protocol? or go with head only? I decided to just mix it up a little...