Things He Taught Me

I have started yet another little group of drawings. I have pushed my self a bit more out of my comfort zone and I am trying to use color (watercolor pastels), because I think its necessary to the work. I am not very familiar with this media, so a lot of these are still just me testing out the material.

Anyway! This little group of drawings is about things that my father has taught me. My dad is a bit of a bird enthusiast and I spent a lot of time handling, caring for, looking at, and just generally being around them. My father also enjoys moths and butterflies, so most summers were spent finding caterpillars and raising them into butterflies in our homemade habitat. I combined the creatures I learned about and the things I learned to make these drawings. This is just the very beginning of this project and I hope to improve my abilities with the color media as well as expand the series as much as possible!

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Killdeer, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018

 

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Monarch Butterfly, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018
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Guinea Fowl, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018
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American Robin, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018
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Pekin Duck, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018
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Luna Moth, Pen and Watercolor Pastels, 2018

Mental Illness

I have been really embracing my drawings lately, as you can probably tell, and this is a new series I started on accident. I was talking to my best friend and she was telling me about how she had to explain her mental illness (anxiety and depression) to a neuro-typical person. I was so inspired by the way she described it, I needed to pair it with a drawing of her. I began to do this with other people in my life with mental illness, talking to them about it, drawing them and captioning it with what stood out most about what they said. This series is definitely in process, but I am so excited to see where it takes me and who it takes me to.

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Only Constantly, Pen Drawing, 2018
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It’s Hard to Think of Anything Else, Pen Drawing, 2018
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I Don’t Know It’s Even There, Pen Drawing, 2018
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You Think About It Constantly, Pen Drawing, 2018
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Everyone Just Assumed, Pen Drawing, 2018

Secrets

Secrets is another project I have been working on. Each square is a secret that has been knitted in binary code, the secrets are either mine or ones that have been told to me. This project has been extremely cathartic, its been a way to release all this information that has been piling up, but in a way that is almost impossible to decipher. This project is currently in process, but I am really excited about it and I hope to share more as it progresses!

In Process!

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“What I miss most” Pen, 2018
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“Being alone” Pen, 2018
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“We talked too long” Pen, 2018
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“I hadn’t had someone” Pen, 2018
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“I just wanted to talk” Pen, 2018
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“You don’t remember” Pen, 2018
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“It wasn’t home” Pen, 2018
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“They told us” Pen, 2018
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“I never thought” Pen, 2018
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“He was never peaceful” Pen, 2018

This is a little drawing series that I have been working on. Currently still making, editing, etc., but I have been totally in love with them. I haven’t even begun to think about an artist statement to go with them yet, but basically they are gestural glimpses into moments in my life as I remember those places and those feelings. I am hoping to make so many more of these, they are extremely therapeutic and I am so happy with the results I have been getting.

Sketchbook Practices

Sketchbooks are an amazing tool to use however it best works for you. I use mine for everything including lists, ideas, drawings, writing, anything I really like I will put in my sketchbook. Though I try to use my sketchbook once a day, honestly that’s not always doable, so I just carry mine with me wherever I go and use it as much as I can.

 

I think it is sometimes misunderstood that a sketchbook has to be used for drawings or has to be done a specific way, but I think that is a real cock block for your creativity and you should just ignore people who think that. I believe that it is really important to figure out how to make your sketchbook work best for you, so I highly recommend experimentation because you don’t know if it helps unless you try it. I’m going to talk about how I use my sketchbook and what works best for me, hopefully it can inspire or help people who want to get more out of their sketchbooks!

 

Ideas: I write down every single idea for making work, concepts, etc. in my sketchbook. Terrible or genius, this is the best way I’ve found to work it out. Sometimes this involves small drawings or just writing individual words, but any way that feels best for me to get down what I’m thinking. A lot of the time they don’t turn into something that I make, but it’s a great starting point for working out the flaws of the ideas and brainstorming execution and concepts to go with it. Another thing I do is go back through my old sketchbooks and revisit some of my past ideas. This can be both humorous and helpful. Ideas that may not have had anything to them a year ago, could be usable now that you’ve had time to think about and mentally develop them or they could just be more relevant to your current work.

Lists: I love making lists, to-do lists, grocery lists, to-make lists, list of places I want to go, pretty much anything. This is one of the easiest ways to organize my thoughts and ideas, it helps me get focused when I’m starting something and it helps me feel more accomplished as I check things off. I like to spend a lot of time and effort on these lists to make them aesthetically pleasing, especially ones that I won’t necessarily be checking off. This is also a great way to organize your goals, either for the year or for some undetermined amount of time and if it looks nice I feel more compelled to look back at it or place it somewhere where I will see it often as a reminder.

Drawings: As someone whose medium isn’t primarily drawing, this is really where all my drawings live. Because I usually feel intimidated by good quality paper, my sketchbooks give me a place to draw freely without worry that it is going to be worth the cost of the paper. Connected with ideas, I will usually do small sketches to accompany them to attempt to get what is in my brain compositionally onto the paper. I find this very helpful then when I am out in the field, I have to think less about placement and composition because I already thought it out and anything extra is exactly that.

Writing: My sketchbook is also where I work out the beginning stages of artist statements as well as take notes about readings or even reactions about work that I can really only get down in the form of words. Of course a majority of them look like the ramblings of someone who has never heard of punctuation, but it’s a great starting point for something like artist statements which can sometimes be difficult to get started. I am someone who constantly checks out library books, and because you obviously don’t get to keep those books forever, taking notes on what I read can be extremely helpful later. Taking sections that I find important and then adding in my own ideas or reactions is something I have found to work for me. As much as I want to pretend that I remember everything I read, I don’t. So, being able to go back to the things that stood out and seeing my personal reaction or take on that information can really inspire new ideas and concepts.

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Additions: Adding images of reference (if you have cheap access to printing or magazines) is something I absolutely love to do. When working on an idea I add lots of reference material so I can have lots of visuals when I am out in the field. Finding things with similar aesthetic helps me figure out the qualities and the compositions to get what I want, I can see what they all have in common that gives them that aesthetic so I don’t have to go through so much trial and error.

I hope this is a helpful guide to different ways you can use your sketchbook!

The Best Art Advice I’ve Ever Gotten

“Work through the shit.”

There have been many times where I just can’t seem to make anything good, or sometimes even decent. Which is more than discouraging – critique after critique without anything worthwhile. But usually at my most frustrated my professor was there telling me I gotta work through the shit to get to the good stuff. Not everything can be the best idea you’ve ever had or the best piece you’ve ever made. So, make the bad stuff, keep the bits and pieces that work and throw out the rest. Repeat.

 

“It’s good to experiment and try new things, but it’s also okay to do what you’re best at.”

When I was trying to come up with something amazing for my undergraduate senior exhibition, I continuously tried to do things I had never done, stuff completely different than any of my previous work. Of course, this was unsuccessful and frustrating. The photography artist in residence at the time finally took me aside after a rather frustrating critique, and told me that it was great that I was trying new things, but it was also okay to just stick to what I was really good at: portraits. There is no shame in doing what you’re good at – you can always experiment, but in preparation for an upcoming show is not necessarily that time.

 

“Read about art. Look at art. Make art.”

As an artist I feel like I have to be constantly making artwork. But I never seemed to have time to recharge, find new ideas, and push my work further. I was struggling to make anything new even just once per week and I was feeling completely artistically exhausted, I asked the photography artist in residence how he did it. His response has been something that I have stuck too and has helped me immensely. Read about art, look at art, make art. You don’t have to do all three at the same time, but you should always be doing at least one of those things. You need new ideas, new material, new inspiration. You have to be watching and reading about what other artists are doing. Take time to recharge yourself. Work in your sketchbook and save ideas for when you have the time and energy to execute them.

Senior Exhibition 2016

Inner Hauntings

“We’re all of us haunted and haunting.” – Chuck Palahniuk , Lullaby

Real hauntings have nothing to do with ghosts, but have everything to do with memory and my fascination with people’s backgrounds and what makes them who they are is really what inspired this series titled Inner Hauntings. I have never had the desire to have more friends, but I constantly have the desire to get to know people, what happened in their lives, what are their anxieties and why. These five images include people I know; my mother, father, boyfriend, sister and myself and as I was photographing them I asked them what they regret, what their worst memory was, and to think about the ways those things affect them today. Inner Hauntings captures these silent obsessions of the past that intrude into the present.

Inspired by Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s use of such pure emotion and the mystification of banality, Inner Hauntings focuses on the universality of these personal disturbances of everyday life looking at average people in normal places who are experiencing a lapse between moments. With references to human feeling and mood of Romanticism as well as the monumentality and drama of the Baroque, these portraits immortalize our escape from linear time through remembrance and imagination. Every person in these portraits is somewhere else; they have left this moment behind them and are remembering some other time and some other place. You can see it in their eyes and how they hold themselves that they are numb to their surroundings, be it a dirty kitchen or a child’s room, time is nothing.

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Inner Haunting #1
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Inner Haunting #2
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Inner Haunting #3
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Inner Haunting #4
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Inner Haunting #5