Its been a while since I created and played with paper, glue, collected ephemera and my journal. Today I lost several hours of a wet Monday afternoon engrossed in mixed-media creations, my toddler companion happy also in the piles of collected images, papers, glue and stamping inks scattered all over the table…
Monthly Archives: August 2012
Toi Toi, the tall vertical flags of nature. White feather markers on tall stems, waving high into the sky. A signpost against the green Taranaki landscape, telling us we are home.
Is the broken, boarded up building a metaphor for the state of my heart? Well, no, not exactly. But the issue I was referring to was about the choices we make when our town/building/home/heart is in a sad state of affairs…do we try to salvage the things worth saving and rebuild better and stronger – keeping the good and making something new with it, or do nothing but board up and close down until there is nothing left of what was once but a memory marker?
Are the birds that frequently appear in my blog as images and as text, loose references to finding strength, believing you can fly, fragility, vulnerability, freedom, and belonging.
Is it really what I believe, that you must reach the final end point before you can truly begin again?
My recent posts seemed to be at first glance, a random assortment of posts. They seemed to be so different in subject, content and media. It seemed there was no obvious connections linking them. But this week, I finally understood. I realised that the buildings, the birds, the text…each one, and all the ones before then, all work together to tell a story. A heart story. Each one is a tiny thread to the next chapter in the story, leading to something that, for now, I have to just trust in.
When a rural or small town has its school boarded up and closed down, its shops, town hall and heritage buildings sitting empty and in a dire state of disrepair, when it gets to absolute rock bottom, maybe then, and only then, can it start to reinvent itself? Its residents must finally choose to collectively play on its unique strengths to ensure the town remains relevant. To not do so is to slide into oblivion…a heritage sign and a scenic lookout point becoming the final indignant reminders of what came before.
Birds have been a recurring theme in my art, especially in my mixed media art pieces. There is something about groups of birds…their freedom of graceful flight, their strength and contrasting vulnerability, their stunning and distinctive songs in the mornings, the communities they keep as they chatter in the trees and seemingly keep watch out for each other. But I never knew there were so many graceful, unusual and whimsical names for groups of birds…I especially like a “troubling of goldfinches” and “a wing of plovers” for the inherent beauty of the names…who named them, I wonder?
I could have just walked past the old nuts and bolts spread all over the dining room table, a scattered pile of a man on a mission to find the perfect sized nut to fix a tiny broken ukelele for a distraught two year old. But I didn’t. There was something intriguing about the well worn shapes, the antiqued and faded patinas, the odd and random sizes of collected “just in case” precious metal bits and pieces. They drew me in, I found myself wanting to touch them, wonder about them, (where did they all come from, over the years?) and finally to photograph them.
I seem to find symbols in all sorts of places. Symbols such as crosses, heart shapes, and circles, all appear in my art in various forms…I love to seek them out in nature especially, such as rocks, sea glass and other found objects.
I love the strong heart shape of this leaf and its gorgeous vibrant colour. It’s about noticing things around us. Finding beauty in the everyday, something special in the ordinary.
I found this quote in a random magazine…it was to do with something completely different to what I felt about it – it was a quote about custom cars, I think. It works perfectly for me, with my abstract letters, which are almost turned into unrecognisable symbols. I think they compliment each other and make an interesting statement about the evolution of language, text and symbols in our society, now, in the past and into the future…
There is a lot to be said for a common language, such as ease of communication, less confusion, a shared understanding, economies of efficiency… but I can’t help but think my own feelings lie in sympathy with this quote…when we lose individual, quirky, kooky and unique and replace it with generic, mass produced, and common, we lose something really special in the process, in language, art, creativity and in all human endeavours.
I don’t usually paint objects, in fact this is probally the only time I ever have deliberately painted actual objects that exist. There are a lot of things wrong with this painting from a technical perspective. Yet, I like its quirky charm and adore its imperfections. I like its vibrant background, full of texture and colour. I like the way the black naked bust seems to portray the intent of what I had in mind. The strange shaped gold/green jug is a loose portrayal of a faded green jug I own and love. There may be nothing perfect about it, yet it is one of my favourite paintings and the only one of mine that hangs in my room. I smile as even the shape of the canvas has warped slightly in the sunlight, making it no longer a perfect rectangle, as a final nod to the beauty of imperfection.
In the era we live in, with the seemingly relentless pursuit of perfection, never ceasing improvements and upgrades and mass produced sameness, I think that originality, uniqueness and even imperfect but kind of quirky counts for a lot.