Thursday, June 23, 2011

THE ABC's OF PROGRESS

Playing Ketchup:

Even though I'm trying to catch up on a year's worth of posts, I wanted to interject with a little blurb about what I am currently working on. Last year... (or was it two years now?) I created some digital collages for my nieces and nephew. I have to admit, these digital pieces of art were not true to my nature. I would say that I'm a bit of a traditionalist in many forms. For example, when I paint, I feel that it is of utmost importance to stretch my own canvas. To me, it is the complete process, from start to finish, that makes my piece of artwork... mine. (Plus, being that control freak that I can be, it allows me to control the quality of the ground, which is the very foundation that that paint settles into.) Last fall, as I began teaching photography at the high school level, I found that I was very blessed to be working in a traditional darkroom setup. In these digital times, it is rare to find a full darkroom and developing lab in the classroom, not to mention that we also teach color processing (minus the film)! Most colleges do not offer this! So, it was not too surprising that on "Meet the Teacher Night" at school, I was baraged with questions like, "Where do you see photography going?" "Isn't it getting hard to find 35mm cameras?" "Aren't supplies and materials becoming very expensive?" "Why not teach digital?"


My answer is always the same:

I'm a traditionalist. Photography is a very young medium, and digital comes directly from everything that we have learned from traditional lab work. I believe it is incredibly important for students to learn traditional darkroom techniques. They truly get a hands-on approach to manipulating and discovering the true process of photography. In our digital era- one of instant results, it is imperative that we give students the opportunity to slow down and truly learn about this artform. Learning is more about the process than it is about the results. (Besides... we still draw and paint, don't we?)




This is how I feel about my own artwork. Right?

So here I am... a hypocrite! Ok, so I'm not solely a traditionalist. I do believe in advancing and growing with technology. I just believe there is a place for both- and an even more exciting harmony that can come from merging the two artforms together.



Back to that digital collage. I really enjoyed searching for materials and creating those digital collages as holiday gifts that year. It took a LOT of time, just as any piece of artwork does for me (did I mention that control freak part of me?), but the really easy part was that I could just print it out, frame it, and give them as a gift.



So what am I working on now? When I started those digital collages way back when, what truly interested me was the use of various materials- fabrics, papers, translucence and opacity, three dimensional and two dimensional, etc. I just simply did not have the time to find exactly what I wanted. What really excites me, now, is the prospect of incorporating all of these aspects. I am currently working on children collages by first digitally manipulating and planning (Thank you Photoshop and Illustrator!), and then printing the correct sizes of those images I'm including, using various papers and vellums. My "grand idea" is to then use found/purchased objects and various other materials to create that traditional aspect of collage that I love so much- texture!! (Who doesn't like to touch artwork and feel the textures? I have a really hard time viewing that luscious texture of Van Gogh's artwork that taunts me on the museum wall with the guard peering at me... just waiting for me to reach out and... )




Well, I must leave it at that for now and will post when complete (as not to ruin any surprises- though I may have already.)





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