Monday Muse: Frida Kahlo

After the exciting weekend I had at the Friducha art show at La Bodega Gallery, I wanted to share a few of my favorite pieces by Frida Kahlo.

She has been called a Surrealist and I would agree with that label. There is a dream-like quality to her work and a level of detail that creates an intense fabric of symbolism for the viewer to dissect and engage with. Although her likeness has been highly commodified, I believe we must always return to her work, especially the works that are not so easy to look at. Her life was complex as is her work. She is truly one of the most successful female artists and must be remembered first and foremost for her contribution to art.

What do you think of her work? How would you categorize it? How do you identify with the symbolism she presents? I’d love to know!

Collage-oween 2018

I finished my personal 31 day challenge of creating a soul collage card every day for the month of October. I was introduced to the concept of soul collage at a workshop hosted by Little Dame Shop way back in the summer. My instructor-turned-friend, Kara-Leigh, guided us through the process of intuitive collage with the goal of making our own tarot or oracle card deck. It might have been the best $50 I ever spent creatively! I fell in love with the process and felt like it was what I had been looking for for a while. After the class, I went and purchased my own supplies and began making a card every now and then. I knew I wanted to do “Collage-oween” again this year and felt like soul collaging my way through would be the perfect way to keep it light and easy. I really like working within the 5”x8” border, it was easy to compose and generate ideas. I ended up completing this challenge and found it to be very fun, freeing, and motivating. I liked doing something just for myself without feeling the need to post it on social media.

I’m sharing my gallery with you below. I hope you enjoy!

What projects are you working on? How do you feel about posting every day on social media? Is it motivating or demotivating for you? I would love to start a discussion surrounding the idea of social media, output, and art. Thanks for taking a look! - Sierra

Monday Muse - Cy Twombly

Another abstract artist that I love is Cy Twombly. His works have a frenetic energy about them that makes them so delightful to look at. Some of the paintings can be described as minimal. The color palette and strokes and marks are quite restrained in terms of variety. That doesn't mean to say his works are boring. Other paintings have a lot of variety and there is a strength to the painting as a whole, as well as lots of little interesting moments happening within the canvas. The canvas has so much movement and rhythm expressed on it. There is also a childlike quality to Twombly's art. It feels as though he approached the canvas and experimented with different colors and strokes and let the composition flow freely. My favorite paintings by him are ones that have a lot of little brushstrokes and colors that make your eyes dance across the canvas. I see a lot of elements that I would like to incorporate into my work in the future. 

I hope you enjoy these works by Cy Twombly!

Monday Muse - Motonaga Sadamasa

Viewing the work of Japanese artist, Motonaga Sadamasa (1922-2011), my eyes dance across the surface of the canvas. The images do not really do the pieces justice because there is so much texture on the surface, due to the artist's use of gravel, sand, resin, and oil paint. The paintings harken to Abstract Expressionism, but with an undertone of psychedelia from the Sixties. I am so inspired by Sadamasa's seemingly random use of different media, which I know was actually very controlled and applied with care. Some of the areas of the paintings remind me of internal organs or the mixing of bodily fluids. The paintings are both beautiful and grotesque at the same time. There is also something about their simplicity which reminds me of Japanese ink drawings (sumi-e), especially the splashed ink drawings of Sesshū TōyōAll of the paintings are quite fascinating in their overall impression, as well as the little moments of magic that happen countless times when one zooms in on the way that two colors are juxtaposing one another or how colors have dripped and entangled on the canvas.

I hope you enjoy these selections by Motonaga Sadamasa and that they inspire your Monday

No One Is Listening - Collage Art Series and Art Show

This February I exhibited No One Is Listening, a collage art series I created, at La Loupe Vintage in Normal Heights, San Diego. 

This series began with the materials I wanted to create with. I knew that I wanted to use thrifted album covers as the canvas for my collages. I went to a local thrift store and found some really cool records that I got for 50 cents each. The records are relatively unknown, which is why I got them for so cheap, which got me to thinking about how our culture thrives on content and how much is published to media outlets and consumed daily. It got me asking, how can anyone experience everything that's being uploaded? What is it all worth? It also got me thinking about things that happen rarely. It got me interested in juxtaposing the two phenomena. For example, the way 350,000 tweets are sent per minute against the fact that it takes the Hale-Bopp comet 2,392 years to orbit the sun. 

I started the collages by obscuring part of the records with paint, creating interesting shapes. Then, I looked through some of my old Life magazines for more imagery to add on top. I found some great images of people gathering, protesting, or yelling. It provided a great metaphor for the message of being drowned out by a crowd. Next, I added some text that I found in the magazines that I felt spoke to my theme, but almost in a broken or poetic way. Each group of words would help to lead the viewer to their own conclusions. Next I added some different paint textures to the top, to give more movement to the piece. Finally, I added some text using my label maker. I wanted to present the viewer with a few facts to contemplate while they looked at the piece. I also wanted to viewer to be reminded of their interactions with these various phenomena. It might be interesting to them that they had sent a tweet or Facebook post multiple times that day, but would probably never see a Hainan Gibbon in their lifetime. 

You can read my full artist's statement here:

“No One is Listening” is a collage-based commentary on the digital age and how the overabundance of information is precipitating a breakdown in meaningful communication. By juxtaposing electronic phenomena and the exponential expansion of the internet with slow moving and rare natural phenomena the series underscores how the daily and interminable avalanche of digital content falls onto deaf ears – after all no human can experience the 60 million images uploaded to Instagram every day. “No One is Listening” is not meant to cast a judgment over this electronic way of sharing information, but rather to bring a facet of modern communication to light and to beg the question “If a status is posted to Facebook, and no one gives it a like, did it really exist at all?”
By using a static-nearly-obsolete canvas to ironically preserve the digital impermanence of the Internet “No One is Listening” speaks to the ephemeral nature of the information age. Each collage is made using images culled from vintage magazines on top of vinyl record covers, both of which are dying forms of communication and expression. Both are far too “slow” for our fast digital world and require space or clunky equipment to use.  The records themselves were chosen for their humble place in musical history. Most of the records failed to chart on any Billboard hot list outside of their respective musical genres.
 
Stardust Coyote is a collage and mixed media artist based in San Diego, CA. Using primarily found materials as the bases of her collages, she works with themes of identity, self expression, and what it means to be an individual in modern culture.
 

La Loupe Vintage was the perfect venue for No One Is Listening. Vintage shops are full of goods that harken back to a slower time of life, pre-Internet. They are little niches of artifacts from a bygone era. Also, La Loupe Vintage supports many local artists and artisans by exhibiting and selling their work in the shop. The owner, Brandi, is super passionate about cultivating community with her business and making a positive impact in the neighborhood. If you ever stop in San Diego or find yourself in Normal Heights, La Loupe Vintage is a great shop to visit for some one-of-a-kind vintage or goods made by local artists. 

In addition to having a great venue for my art show, my friend, Sean Burdeaux played an awesome set of live music with his band, Paper Forest. Sean is one of the most talented and creative people I know and is always working on a new project. Everyone enjoyed the show and the music blended perfectly with the art and space for a magical night! Please check out Paper Forest, as well as Sean's many other projects, on Bandcamp. 

Although it was raining cats and dogs that evening, so many friends, family, and new faces came to enjoy a night of art, vintage, and music. I was so happy with the turnout and the way that Brandi and Sean helped me to put on an awesome show. 

If you are interested in purchasing one of the No One Is Listening pieces, No. 2-8 are still available. Fill out the form below for pricing and shipping details.

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The Sketchbook Project - April 2017

Over the last several months, I have been filling up a blank sketchbook to be included in The Sketchbook Project. The Sketchbook Project is a sketchbook library housed in the Brooklyn Art Library based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York that houses sketchbooks from thousands of artists and amateurs alike. You can search different topics that pique your interest and find artists who have tagged their book with that subject. Artists from all around the world submit their sketchbooks to the library. The Sketchbook Project also digitizes their sketchbooks, for a fee of $35, so that people can experience the sketchbook library on the web. 

My sketchbook, Indigo Visions, was submitted to the Sketchbook Project in April of 2017. I have digitized it here for you to see and experience. 

Color and Design Portfolio

This is my Color and Design Portfolio from the Academy of Art University, Spring 2016. All the work was completed by me over the course of February 2016 - May 2016.

Art History - The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch

I want to start a new series incorporating some art education on my blog. I am studying to receive my BFA in Art Education, and I am making this space into a place for art history, art experience, and learning about art theory and art making. I want my curriculum to be heavily based in art history and observation. Each week, I will talk about a piece of art from prehistory to the modern era and talk about some elements that can influence your art process.

The Garden of Earthly Delights, painted by Hieronymus Bosch between 1503 and 1515. This painting can teach many things about the elements and principles of art as well as encouraging the focus on narrative. Here are my three takeaways from The Garden of Earthly Delights:

  1. Use of color - Bosch uses a complimentary analogous color scheme effectively in this piece which creates a sense of balance throughout. The background of the piece is predominantly blues and greens which contrast beautifully with the muted, warm tints of the human figures as well as the pops of red that give the piece of sense of rhythm, which helps to lead the viewers eye around the piece.
  2. Repetition and rhythm - The repetitive forms of the bodies gives the piece a rhythm that the eye can follow around the work. The use of implied line and perspective also helps guide the eye through the work. There is a lot to take in in this painting, but the use of repetition to create movement as well as resting places for the eye, helps the viewer to "read" the visual story.
  3. Narrative - Many art historians believe that the triptych of The Garden of Earthly Delights is meant to be read from left to right, telling the story of the creation of Eve, humanities' fall from grace, and their eventual punishment. Art historians have conflicting interpretations of the center panel, some feel it depicts a sinful explosion while others feel it is the representation of the innocence of humanity before the Fall. Either way, Bosch is giving his viewer a message and something to contemplate. The visual language is rich with storytelling vignettes that portray a message to the viewer. Each part of the triptych can be seen as its' own story, broken down into many smaller stories, or viewed as a whole.

What other elements do you see at work here? I would love to know what artistic takeaways or inspiration you glean from Bosch's Garden. I am excited to kick off this series with my favorite artist and painting and am looking forward to bringing you more.