a fine day of work

Every time I ask Carolyn about her process she goes through the various steps, from my point of view, rather fast. I can never put it all together. Recently she asked if I could help her transfer an image to an archival sheet of foam board.  The image above is called Preservation Woods. It’s what she is transferring.

Carolyn completes a composition in Photoshop. She does the math and grids the work to enlarge it. In this case, the finished work is quite large – 13.3′ x 6.6′.  Her left brain processes as well as her right brain.

She photo copies the parts – 16 – 10 x 8″ sheets per panel, and creates a template, the template is traced on the panels.There are 10 – 32 x 40″ panels. Each one is prepped with 5 layers of matte medium on either side.  Once tracing the composition is complete,  painting begins. The mediums she plans to use include gouache, graphite and ink.

I arrive to her studio, thinking I can shoot footage and pull together a video for our blog. Everything you see in the video is shot within the first 20 minutes of our morning. We continue for another 7 plus hours to complete a panel. She maps out the copies while I trace them on to panels.

The title of the work is Preservation Woods.  It will be 80 x 160″ – which is 13.3′ x 6.6′ – when completed. There are 10 – 32 x 40″ panels and it takes 16 – 10 x 8″ sheets per panel.

I don’t know if you can see the outline transfer of the animal above, it’s light, silvery, and delicate. The dark edges might be the result of my lack of experience with graphite powder. The ram you see is the upper left quadrant is only 16 x 20″, a very small part of the overall composition.

Just watch the video, it goes quick (about 4 minutes) and is enjoyable.
The day passes quickly and several things get completed.

1000 holes today!

I am having fun making the art for Creature, Man, Nature. It is moving along quickly – I must have drilled 1000 holes today! – Mary Shindell

I caught up with both Mary and Carolyn.  Everyone is right in the flow of things. Carolyn is prepping panels to complete her drawing, Mary is drilling parts for her sculpture, and because I have drawings that need frames and canvas that needs stretching, I’m heading to the framers.

The variety in our working habits – is as interesting to me as the variety of our work. Here are some of my favorite photos I shot for Mary’s video. She’s not kidding when she says she drilled holes all day.

making a prototype and a video

Mary Shindell with her prototype in hand.

 prototype  n.1.
An original type, form, or instance serving as a basis or standard for later stages.

Mary’s stuff – on top of work table.

Today the plan is to  build a prototype and figure out how to stabilize the form. There’s a lot of technical stuff to yet work out, Mary says after introducing me to her assistant – Pere.  It’s the start of building Mary’s 3D forms.

Mary uses words like LED and high-lumen count. She talks about optical fiber being soft and flexible, and emitting light from the side, see the line, she says, as she cups the fiber in her hand. The other fiber she notes is stiffer and emits light off the ends. She talks about wattage and voltage. At one point she explains to Pere how she got a measurement by  multiplying pi by 2.5.

What do you call yourself Mary? I ask – Are you still a drawer?
Yes! Always.
A printmaker?
Yes, a computer generated print – maker.

She pauses and states – I’m a multi-media artist, and right now I feel the momentum in my work is in the installation. 

I take photos and at one point it feels right to shoot film footage. There’s lots of activity. Because filming was not in the plan, I don’t have a microphone with me. Better quality sound is not an option.  I think to dub other sound into this, but in the end, I don’t.

Truth is, while I’m asking lots of questions, I am in fact removed from activity between Mary and her assistant. So keep in mind while you watch the video – observation, in silence – feels right. When I really want to listen and hear what they are saying, I mostly notice the many sounds inside the studio.  Note how noisy the video gets at certain points.

The studio belongs to artist Mitch Fry. Mitch and Ray (his assistant) are talking, cutting and drilling, a short distance away.  Maybe I hear a compressor and now and again, the traffic. So while you look at the video and you can’t hear Mary talking and you’re only getting bits of what they say, know that is also true for me. It’s real.

Mary will return to her drawing and in time a colorful, desert/olive-green print will go inside what is now only the white, paper-lined tube seen here.

Enjoy the process.  I did.

mary’s model of the north gallery

I connect with Carolyn and Mary to see how things are coming along. I ask about artwork and video.  I wonder out loud if we’ll be making the light boxes. I don’t feel the latter will pull together. Should it go?

Mary’s responds …
I will have the one wall piece which will be the mountain and then 3 suspended sculptures 2′ x 6″ d, 3 suspended sculpture 4′ x 6″d and  3 (maybe) freestanding existing pieces, these may be superfluous.

I made a model of the space and I have adjusted my installation somewhat. If you want to send me your images so far I can scale them to go in the model or I can use placeholders of your existing work. I am using .5″ = 1′ scale.

I’m thinking you are right about the x-ray boxes – maybe too late to add that in – maybe too different? Maybe next time?

Mary’s Model of North Gallery at MCA

About her work :
The mountain will be like a large sticker or wallpaper type object so it will be very flat to the wall. She notes … This is just the gradient layer so it is much softer in reality – the top of the mountain  has a cut out edge that follows the form. The stick on surface is like linen – not shiny or weird.

Her work is flat? I think this will work with my largest drawings, they too will be up against the wall hanging like maps. I know Carolyn has a similar set up with her one drawing, no framing.

About her video:
On the video I was thinking of just somehow making a short one that would show the layers of the digital drawing as it opens – so the viewer could see the various parts of it build. And maybe we put the videos in the large nook?

Three short videos is probably best. They’re educational elements. Right now mine is running about 2 1/2 minutes of layering and process. The nook? In the hallway, at the entrance?  I wonder if that will create congestion. It’s a walkway.  We can leave that to Tiffany.

Carolyn’s response is short and … mysterious :
I am here, trying to be as highly functioning as possible.  I will e-mail tomorrow with more info.

As of this writing I’ve not sent Mary my images, but I will soon.  My brain doesn’t work with 3D space in the way that hers does.

…  this is how we roll.