Somehow time has now become our friend, but motivation, an enemy. Everywhere, people’s beds and desks are becoming classrooms, and families/roommates are expected to be the inadequate replacement for an academic community of peers, friends, mentors and professors. In a time where settings and standards are rapidly shifting, it becomes extremely difficult to recalibrate our standards academically, socially, mentally and creatively. In Time Out, the students of Second Year Studio explore how to create work upstream an emotional slurry of mass death, loneliness, hopelessness, trauma, and many other obstacles harder to name contributing to less than optimal conditions. We’ve taken this time to reconstruct a compromised normalcy, in comparison to the normalcy that’s been taken away from us. This time has come with a newly realized immense gratitude for the people, resources, busy-ness, and normal we took for granted. As our spirits settle and we begin to adapt to our new environments, we have begun to discover new avenues and solutions to what first seemed like a dead end. Although it is easy to observe the negativity that this trying time presents, the work we have produced is unique to this monumental change in human life. We have found ways to keep creating without the resources we once had at our disposal, and discovered strengths we never knew we possessed.
Photo series- “Everyday is a Birthday”
Final Show Statement
Throughout this unprecedented time I have been lucky enough to escape my usual urban environment and spend time in a suburban area. I was hesitant to begin photographing as my photo practice usually involves capturing other individuals. The challenge of only using my own hands and body for photos was daunting but I wanted to find a way to create portraits from the perspective of self in solitude. I didn’t want this series to be about the challenges that this virus is having on our world, but I did want it to place emphasis on the things in our world that remain unaffected. Flowers, household items, and clothing became my models. The things that we may be noticing after slowing down and staying home. The nature around us that we do not always get to endlessly connect with. Although the time we will remain inside is undetermined I am grateful for the spring providing color, reminding me that the world will continue developing despite its hardships.
Body image is an issue that I, like many others, struggle with. I’m embarrassed to say the negative relationship I have with my body has affected more aspects of my life than I would like it to. I have found that addressing these problems in my current art work has helped me to positively rebuild the relationship I have with my body.
I experimented with how abstraction changes my perspective of the body through these lino-cut prints. Using two images of my body, (one: the side of my torso, and the other: my stomach and thigh) I created close up compositions through layers of reduction. By abstracting the images, the human form context is withdrawn from the work. It is difficult to quickly identify the topographic-like prints as parts of my body. This results in a shift in perspective. I no longer view the fat and curves of my body as negatives I want to erase. I see the shapes and lines of my form as part of an interesting composition. The valleys create a visual interest I appreciate.When you take away the traditional standards we have built into ourselves about the body, you can appreciate it in a new way. It truly is just another form of shapes and lines.
Ask about my tote
A tote I call “Ask about my tote” in hopes of starting public discourse about how most victims of domestic abuse were forced to normalize it in their childhood homes. This tote is a product my mother and I have sewn out of my fathers old work clothes. The material is directly related to the concept and the message I want to get across with this. I see a lot of people talking down on women who are trapped in abusive situations without really understanding the way domestic abuse works. Study shows that children raised in abusive households are 15x more likely to experience physical or sexual assault. A Lot of children are raised in households where they are forced to accept abuse as love at a very young age. This understanding of “love”, or what I call the evil manipulated version of it, is brought into this child’s future relationships. Perpetuating a cycle of abuse.
Final Show Statement
The past few weeks have been nothing like anyone could have predicted. I, like many others, have been left experiencing many waves of different emotions. My sophomore year was cut short, leaving me feeling sad for what could of been, nostalgic for the good that was, and anxious to get back to a place that now feels much more like home than a school. However, I know I’m one of the lucky ones. My graduation wasn’t taken from me, many of my future plans are virtually unaffected, my family’s job security, wellbeing, and health are all fine, and I haven’t gotten this disease. I understand that I do not have this pandemic as bad as other do, but I have experienced major life adjustments as well, none the less. With this final show, I’m sure this pandemic is a popular subject. Being home has made me revert back to some old ways that I don’t love, but I’ve also noticed some familiar aspects of myself I had lost touch with while away. So, I made two wolves. One is expressing my anger, anxiety, and being on edge since having everything change. The other is demonstrating my fear, darker anxiety, and quite frankly, depression. I have always connected with wolves; I’m not sure if its because of my personality or just because of their intriguing and comforting form, but I felt they were the best animal to express how I have been feeling.
Since social distancing and strict quarantine regulations have been implemented, I have really been struggling with being away from my friends and family. Because I especially value quality time and being physically present with the people I love, not being able to do so has been hard. This series is a manifestation of my struggle with that lack of physicality that I’ve been experiencing. Each piece in the series depicts touch in an ambiguous context, in that it’s initially unclear whether the touch is meant as more violent or tender. However, the focal point of each piece is the phantom-esc hand(s) that further push the concept of an absence of touch. Having the hands be so under rendered amongst the rest of the piece in full value and color, implies that the hand giving that touch isn’t really there. The color incorporated into the more fleshy portions of the body surrounding the hand represents a benevolence and positive result inflicted on the body from the interaction. Thus, making the initial ambiguity of the touch in the piece feel more tender than violent. Illustrating this longing for human interaction not only helped me to resolve my own struggles, but I aimed to also create a sense of relatability within this series that anyone could resonate with. Because we are all experiencing this strange time simultaneously, in order to maintain some semblance of sanity and stability it’s vital that we relate to one another. Doing so will allow us to continue to not only maintain hold of normality but continue to move forward in a positive direction culturally and socially.
Final Show Statement
While thinking back on these past few weeks, I was trying to find an answer as to why I chose to do what I did for the final show. I don’t know what I would have done if we were not in isolation, but I would not change my decision. A blanket was perfect because knitting is something that has always been in the back of my head and I had never worked on such a large scale. This blanket may have felt disconnected from my past work and myself, but looking back, it has been the most emotional piece I have done. It has been with me on sleepless nights, and also very calm points in my day. The blanket itself consists of 81 different multicolored squares all outlined by a black border. Within those 81, there is a single one that differs in the way it is made, it is different from the rest, the colors are not consistent since it contains all of them. I wanted this blanket to contradict itself, it is fully functional and it is comforting but that one square felt like a representation of myself and the state I was in. Being at home is not always the best feeling, I often feel different from everyone else and there’s always this feeling of constraint and silence. The blanket is a representation of myself and my feelings, it did serve its purpose of giving me comfort while making it and after it was completed.
Hard and Not Comfortable
For this final project, I wanted to focus on another psychological element of my life. Specifically, I focused on dissociation, which I have dealt with increasingly during this worldwide pandemic. I wanted to convey the feeling of dread, time away and nostalgia through this video projection process. I collected videos and photos from friends and family going back about four years. My mental health started on its first steady decline in 2016. I am reminded of those times feeling trapped and unhappy during an instance like this, a time unlike any other, where the world actually feels as though it could be ending. That world is ending not only in my head anymore. Dissociation for me and many others is an escape the brain makes to save itself from regurgitated trauma or anxiety. This projection includes pictures of good and bad times, people who I have had intense falling outs with, people who have fucked me over, and people I talk to every hour of everyday. It is a flash back of how my life has gone since hitting rock bottom. By putting pictures of people who trigger these anxious feelings, which cause me to dissociate, I am able to compartmentalize the feelings instead of spiraling into the darkest parts of my brain. Seeing them physically, instead of like swirling images running through my head. Though upsetting, this project ended up being the catharsis I needed.
Final Exhibition Statement
For these two pieces, I worked on exploring the visual representations of the restraint and release of emotions. Inspired by the music of Hayley Williams, I have used careful choices in color, texture, and text to visualize a sonic understanding of Williams’ music and what it means to me. Control presents a restraint in emotion; a casual portrait piece with elements like 3D veins in the arms made from clay to represent the strain put on our bodies when refusing to give in to our feelings. Give In is the opposite of this piece; using black and white in a vulnerably posed portrait to show the draining sensation of giving every piece of you away to another person through emotions. I chose to not include text in Control, while adding subtle black textured lyrics to Give In to represent a release in emotions that may normally be harbored away. Both pieces are made from colored pencil, watercolors, and gesso on 14” x 17” Bristol paper.
Playing Cards: Partial Suit of Hearts
Playing Cards: Partial Suit of Hearts is a work that mixes themes borrowed from tarot cards with aspects of playing cards in order to showcase various roles and experiences related to what is currently happening in our society during the current Covid-19 crisis. These cards are a way to relate to the viewer on multiple levels, from who in their lives they see in these cards or where they see themselves within them. Some of these cards, while negative, are to help people make light of their own situations, while others may help channel their negativity towards the people or roles depicted. The subject matter is serious and speaks to frustrations and difficulties people are experiencing during the global pandemic. This is a current work in progress that will be continued within the near future. My aim is to eventually create an entire playable deck.
Final Show Statement
For this final project I wanted to continue my theme of addressing topics related to domestic abuse. But I wanted to create artwork that could function as something more than something that hangs on a wall. I decided to paint and embroider onto a denim vest that I wanted to transform; keeping with the usage of domestic materials and domestic mediums like thread, sewing, and recycling fashion pieces. I embroidered line contour faces of women on the back of the jacket to symbolize my own pain and the pain of the women of my family that I carry on my back in an effort to break the generational curses of abuse within my family. I also embroided the word survivor on the bottom of the jacket to shed light on the mentality that we should not refer to those who suffer at the hands of domestic abuse as victims but rather as survivors. On the front of the vest I painted a portrait of the character Lisa from The Simpsons Show, showcasing Lisa signing the letter L with her hand on her forehead. When a person is in an abusive relationship they honestly lose a lot. They lose the trust and respect of their close friends and family at the expense of keeping their abusive partner content. But the worst loss is the loss of respect and love for oneself. Since I left that abusive relationship, life has really forced me to take all my losses and turn them into lessons. Lessons to never allow any of those losses to happen again. Now learning how to advocate for myself because of my love for myself. However, for me to get to the point where I could turn my losses into lessons I had to do a lot of research for myself and on the topics that I would need to discuss within myself and with others. A lot of that research comes from articles and instagram posts of other artists and people who have conducted their own research. With this project I made it a focus of mine to have conversations centered around processing trauma related to domestic abuse, while working on the jacket. Over the course of this semester I began realizing that while posting the research I gathered on my instagram page I attracted and began connecting with artists that make similar work to me, were inspiring to me, and vice versa. I feel as though the gathered research was a work of art within itself. Up until this point, the research highlight on my instagram page, has been found to be the most effective manner to document the communication had throughout the evolution of the project. The communication with the research is shown to be at times between myself and/or with others around me or with those who could encounter me in the future. Who I’m communicating to with my research is not a goal of mine to put importance on. The research and my words will really only speak to those who can relate.
In trying times such as these, it seems that the creative block is ever-present, insurmountable, something that so many of us have such a hard time overcoming. We have been forced to adapt to our makeshift studios, our limited community at home, and an environment that many of us yearn to break away from. During the past seven weeks, I started to explore and experiment with media and ideas that I had never pursued before. It helped me to find the motivation to create and I enjoyed these new experiences a great deal. The themes that emerged throughout my new processes included familial relationships, body image, and isolation. I have found a new way of communicating these past weeks, something I never would have expected to discover during this crisis. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the only thing we should focus on; rather, the specks of light glistening throughout.
Mars Maxwell Davis
I keep imagining an art world once we can be in gallery spaces again. Maybe later this year, maybe sometime next year, maybe even five years from now still; I think we are going to have an enormous amount of “work produced from quarantine” and it will be the most universal experience we will have in this lifetime. No one I know is doing what they really want to be doing artistically right now, myself included, and this work is definitely a part of that body. Though, there is something ironic about being barred from our “regular” practices yet being able to produce something that is probably more universal than something that may have taken more time or resources to create. My life happens almost solely through screens now, and I can’t help but keep thinking about how we are all watching and reading the same things right now and having (probably) very similar experiences that can be boiled down into something really simple and sometimes even funny? I mean, if you can’t laugh about it, you’ll just cry about it. This work is about all of that.
The work I submitted for the final show is about Quarantine and how it has been making me feel. “noise in my mind” is about the stress and anxiety I have been feeling in quarantine. With so much time to myself it is easy to overthink, overanalyze things, and worry. I find myself focusing too much on things that I shouldn’t. “melting away” is my way of illustrating the world and life right now. It’s supposed to show that it’s hard to not get caught up in everything going on and be dragged down. In “trapped”, the blue side of the face is supposed to show sadness from lack of human contact and the other side shows all the different thoughts clogging up my head.
Final Show Statement:
Quarantine has brought on a variety of emotions for me. Anger, isolation, sadness, and gratitude are among some of the feelings that I, and so many others, have been juggling with during this time. I am so fortunate to have a house to stay in during this pandemic, but I am having to relearn how to live in my childhood home with my parents again. This is a space I feel I have outgrown yet have to stay in now, hence all of the protruding limbs seen in my collages. For this series, the use of contrasting images of houses with outdoor scenery are used to portray some of the feelings that come with being “cut off” from the external world.
End of Year Statement:
Over this semester I have tried various mediums and methods for creating. Some of what I tried worked out well, while others were unsuccessful. I have become more accepting of mistakes and embraced the learning process. Learning how to be vulnerable in front of my peers is another important takeaway from this semester for me. I made work that was personal to me which in turn made that work that much more powerful. I am glad I ended the semester with a collage project because that is the medium I feel the most confident in and I am excited to see what I can do with it in the future.
I have been part of the Catholic Church all of my life but I don’t believe I ever thought God was a true entity or being. I don’t want to say I’m not religious because I do believe there are higher powers in the universe because there are things that happen that just can’t be a coincidence. Considering this, I don’t believe there to be only one God or one religion to follow.
I’ve always had such an off putting feeling from Christianity because of the multitude of umbrella belief systems. How can there be so many different versions? Ironically though, I am very interested in religious icons. I think the works of art created for them are striking and it’s nice to see all the different versions of them.
I decided to recreate my own through what I believe in. This made me question how rational my own beliefs are compared to what devout religious people believe. I think death is inevitable but I feel that reincarnation is a true thing. I’m also a firm believer in karma. So, if I believe people are granted multiple lives but think it’s silly for someone to believe a man can rise on the third day of death, how can either of us prove that either belief is the more reasonable one or the truthful one? There is no way to prove this until we reach our death. Though I’ve never had a genuine connection to Catholicism, I am still inspired by the genuine followers.
Creating my piece, I made myself Mary to make it more personal. I took two pieces that I love and put my own twist on them while still trying to have at least a small connection between recreate and originals. I used brighter colors for modernity and rather direct symbols because I fail to create complex symbolism in my works. I also wanted to add a bit of humor to my work because I never like to take myself seriously and considering my reluctance to be a part of my religion, I think it projects my skepticism of the story it follows.
The main obstacle for me duirng this quarantine was my lack of privacy. Doing work in my two bedroom apartment in a five person household created inevitable overlap and conflict between space and time. Through that, I’ve found it to be beneficial and ultimately resulting in less conflicts to make my desktop my studio. Working on my computer has allowed me to write and make digital artwork privately. I’ve decided to make a website to incorporate my digital sketches with my writing in a more cohesive manner, and also include the writing as digital designs. The page starts with the three images of ceramics I am currently itching to make, but will patiently wait until I have access to studio entry. As a ceramic artist, I really didn’t want to lose any creative momentum, so I’ve found that making sketches digitally has been super helpful for me to keep thinking about what forms and colors I can create. The quarantine writings are reflections written in different voices, one in a distant objective critic’s voice (Kids as Art), and another in a pondering, brutally honest teenager’s mind (We’ll talk when we get home). Being home has been the ultimate blast from the past for me as I’m forced to revert back to old patterns with my family and have continued to feel less than, smaller, and helpless. However, through these writings, I’ve been able to unpack more of why my family is the way that they are and expose explanations and origins of why they behave this way. The last part of the website includes a funny lighter voice of a list of things you can do during quarantine. I think this voice is maybe the most annoying in a way? Maybe because this writing is formatted in an annoyingly positive design or is seemingly optimistic, but I felt the need to include this to show the balance in my head right now. On one hand I am devastated to be home and feel like it has been so counterproductive to my growth as an individual; my adulthood has been stunted and autonomy completely paused. But on the other, I feel like there has to be things to remember about this situation-how to make it more bearable. And so that’s the note I want to leave this piece on.
Uma Van Schijndel
For my final show, I want my work to make the viewer uncomfortable and insecure. I want to make the viewer feel like the eyes in my work are looking and following their every move. The main idea behind my work is that we as society willingly put ourselves up for constant criticism when we document our lives on social media. I made the eyes, fruit, and flowers look unrealistic to parallel the unrealistic ways people portray themselves on their Instagrams. When I scroll through my Instagram feed, it’s flooded with people with unattainable bodies and showing off all their designer goods. The work in this show came to fruition when I put my anxiety about posting on Instagram onto paper. Whenever I post anything on Instagram, I am overcome with anxiety about how I look to my followers. I get this anxiety because I have conditioned to want and need a perfect Instagram feed to satisfy my own insecurities. This show is a visual interpretation of society’s need for people to look perfect at all times.
Final show statement
I actually had a lot of thoughts about the last work of this semester.
Because of the epidemic and various factors, I would like to shoot and make some works related to human nature. Most of the information we have recently received is related to the outbreak. As I’ve commented on Connie’s previous essays, there may be a rise in visual works such as media, film and television when artists focused on sculpture, pottery and some crafts face shortages of existing materials around them. So During this time, I searched for a lot of related works and wanted to find inspiration from them. But it is disappointing that I feel tired after seeing most of the despair and absurdity caused by the new coronavirus. I like works that are symbolic and storytelling, as in my previous Phoenix series and the last one related to the outbreak. In The former I would be committed to making a story around the rebirth, while in the latter I would like to use animation to create a hero image. So I finally decided to stick to my original goal to continue to draw an exaggeratively and abstractively imaginary world. Ah Leung, an artist from Hong Kong, inspired me a lot, and i admired his love of animated characters and his grasp of details.
I hope my work will surprise the audience, as if they can learn about a new world or the possess their own imaginary space. For me, the creation work is not simply a picture by the painter, but a dialogue between the painter and their own, the meeting of the painter and painting, even the dialogue between the painter and the viewer. I hope my work can open this dialog box and let the audience get involved and understand it.