I've been working on some ideas for public art projects lately. Public art is always sort of a big deal, because it is expensive, and the people commissioning it are opening themselves up to lots of criticism & controversy. It is a rather bold move. When done poorly I feel it reflects poorly on my entire profession, so it's very important to *get it right*.
So this charming little lakeside town in western MN, Battle Lake, has a little alleyway connecting a parking lot to their Main Street, and they want to make it attractive and interesting and *arty*. Their call for art was for an archway to go here.
I looked into the town and surrounding area (Thank you google image search, google, you tube, street view, satellites, etc) and this town really is exactly what you think of when you picture "MN lakes country". After going through a number of ideas, fish were what I kept coming back to.
But the more I thought about fish, the farther I moved from the idea of an arch. I thought first of a swirling school forming the columns, which would look cool, but you wouldn't really see the coolness of it until you were close up. I began to picture a giant singular fish. Leaping up, arching, if you will. Like this:
But I didn't want a realistic fish like some sporting goods ad. I was picturing something way more whimsical. I began looking at pictures of old articulated fish pendants like this:
But in gorgeous colors like this:The best way I could think of to show how this would look the way I would make it-- covered with a gorgeous mosaic of colored steel and colored glass globs and little pieces of copper here and there-- was to make a collage piece for them, out of tons of itsy bitsy pieces of colored paper and copper foil, placed with a tweezers and glued in place by hand, one by one.
Even though i was really happy with how it came out, it still pales in comparison to the fish in my head made of steel.
I made a mock-up for them, to show how it would look in place. It still has the feeling of an arch to me, but is cooler because it is a giant sculpture. It's lips are 10' in the air! That little man is 6' tall!
Another idea that just won't leave my head is this one of a forest *setting*, that people would walk into and be immersed in an "art environment."
People love to walk into and through things, over things. It's irresistible to most, when presented the opportunity. I think it reminds us of being a kid and playgrounds, forts etc. Maybe even of caves. It gives people that little tingle of adventure. I'd love to make some really huge scale art that invites people in, and once inside, there is a little oasis; a clearing with a small sitting area.
The longer they sit there and take a moment, the more details they'd notice; a small bird on a branch, a little fox peeking from behind a tree, an intricate leaf. If there was artful landscaping to go with, maybe even a water feature?-- Magical!
This is an idea i feel will happen; it is just a matter of when and where. Obviously it would be a very big scale project, so would require a large budget, and a huge block of my time. But how cool?!? I can totally see it as a wonderful photography venue too-- imaging the amazing wedding, graduation, anniversary etc pictures that could be staged in a place like this!
So anyway- that was my last couple of weeks. I presented both of these projects to different entities. That last forest one was more just to put it on the radar. It is an idea for the future that was very well-received. They (my first potential client) aren't ready yet, but neither is the idea. It wasn't a "no", it was a "I love this idea and would love to see us plan for something like this in the future."
It will grow cooler as it incubates in my brain. I also have other ideas for clients for it. It is scalable.
I'm brewing other ideas too. I'm not sure how many of you are winter outdoorsy types, but I realized some years ago I am a happier camper if I gear up and get outside no matter the weather, and winter is actually very beautiful. Biking in winter allows me to go farther, and see more than i can just walking, although i do enjoy both.
Winter offers a more stark kind of beauty,
It's more about form, and either very subtle ghostly shifts of color or bold contrasts.I'm learning about manipulating these images I'm collecting; ways to be more creative with them.
This, of course, relates to my screen printing, and I'm getting all kinds of creative ideas there. Lucky for me, because suddenly I have 2 shows booked this spring! The first, April 11th, will feature a lot of my screen printing work-- tees, but also other cool items.
Starting the first Friday in June I'll be doing another solo show at Seasons On St. Croix Gallery in Hudson. I'm thinking I'll be presenting a lot of outdoor art for that-- gardeny/woodsy things. Enchanted forest?? We'll see...
My dance card is once again full, so I better keep my arty pants on and make make make! Stay tuned!