Here are some images of the July exhibit at 4Culture. We had a great turnout for the exhibit and people appeared to be having a good time looking at all the moving images. Many thanks to Lance Sinnema for his help with the Installation…
I spend most of my time in the visiting artist studio at the Doel Reed Center, but every once in a while I wander over into Doel’s studio (preserved as a museum for research and visitors). Doel had a custom built press and it has been sitting in his studio mostly unused since he passed away in the early 80′s.
One of my tasks over the last two weeks has been setting up the new half of the studio for printmaking and this required reconditioning the press. I’m happy to report that I pulled my first etchings on it recently. I am working on some new plates and printing a few old ones as well. Everything has to be small to fit into the makeshift acid bath and my checked baggage, but so far things are looking good.
We finish up the residency on Tuesday, with a large collaborative drawing with the OSU students yet to come. I will post some photos and videos of our final project next week.
I have had a great first week at my residency in New Mexico. I’ve been exploring the area and working with students from the Oklahoma State university Art Department. This residency allows me to use a part of the studio built by legendary printmaker Doel Reed. One half of the studio is set up as as a museum dedicated to Doel and his legacy. His workshop is left exactly as it was when he passed away, with his press and aquatint equipment on display so visitors can see his working processes. The other half of the studio is there for use by visiting artists, and since it was essentially an empty white box when I got here my first few days were spent helping the director set up equipment and collecting materials so the space can be used by artists going forward. When we started the space looked like this:
I also tagged along with the instructor of the OSU course (and my excellent friend) Liz Roth to visit some of the sites in the region. We hit the Echo Amphitheater, Ghost Ranch, and Georgia O’keeffe’s house.
I’m also finally getting some of my own stuff done. I’m hoping to finish the last few “Alley Kids” pieces while I’m here — so I have been working on three videos that involve adding layers of frosted mylar over the monitor surface – allowing me to mix digital/video elements with hand drawn marks. They will go on display in July 2014 at the 4Culture Gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square area. I still have a week to go and I will be working with OSU students to create a large collaborative video + drawing, and I’m hoping to get some new prints started before I run out of time. It will be interesting to see what kind of influence the southwestern landscape might have on my work.
I am currently hiding away in Taos New Mexico, at an artists residency graciously provided by the Doel Reed Center for the Arts. it is an amazing opportunity and I will be posting a ton of information about it in the next few weeks, but a tragic event at my University has made this a bittersweet beginning to the summer. On Thursday June 5th, a lone deranged gunman wandered into a public building and opened fire on a group of innocent Seattle Pacific University students who were studying for finals. One young man was killed, and several others were injured. One of victims who was seriously hurt was enrolled in my beginning drawing class, so the tragedy hit especially close to home. Thankfully heroic actions by students in the building saved many lives – pepper staying and tackling the shooter as he went to reload his weapon. Information about donations for the victims can be found here. This event has weighed heavily on all of us at SPU, and has transformed what should have been a great end of the year celebration into a somber moment of reflection about the broken state of our world and how self sacrificing individuals can make a huge difference. It was remarkable to see how the community rallied around SPU, and while this was an exceptionally evil event, it also brought out the best in people.
As an artist it’s always hard to know how to respond to terrible things like this. The SPU Art Department was deluged with terrified and grief stricken students who wanted to find someway to use art to process their emotions. Student led projects included art therapy stations, T-shirt printing, and the creation of books filled with messages of hope and comfort for the victims – even for the family of the shooter. As all of this was happening back home, I was traveling to a cushy artist residency and sitting in an incredible studio, feeling pretty guilty for doing so little to help. I have faced a few moments in my life where I wasn’t sure how my vocation as an artist could be useful – a lot of big problematic issues I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do about. Problems of entrenched poverty and crime in my old neighborhood. The injustice of war. The neglect of kids. Random acts of violence. All overwhelming problems that appear to be impossible to change. I think we often want art to have answers all figured out for us - preferably answers that reinforce what we already believe and don’t expose our own complicity in the messed up state of the world.
I am pretty terrible at making that kind of art – and to be honest most of that type of art is pretty terrible. I have to make art about the struggle of dealing with ambiguity and mystery. So when I’m confronted by some terrible event like the one we just lived through, I try dig in and explore what I don’t understand (a sort of wallowing in issues I don’t know what to do about) by making art about it. When I lived in a poverty stricken neighborhood filled with social problems that I didn’t see any solutions for… I worked on pieces that forced me look carefully at the neighborhood. For a number of years every image I used in my work was found within a short walk from my house. I learned so much through this process, and while I don’t have any big answers for the overwhelming problems I was meditating on, I did develop a deeper sense of empathy for the other humans I live in community with and that might be the best thing art can do for our world. So as I sit in the amazing studio I have been given for the next few weeks and think about the state of the world around me, I will trust that using art to explore the mysterious, frustrating, and troubling stuff we don’t know what to do about is good enough. I will be posting images of the studio and other activities on this blog and my Facebook site, feel free to check in and see what I am up to.
I had a great time working with participant of the 2014 Yuma Symposium. I asked volunteers to melodramatically act out scenarios where they were attacked by swarms of birds, then we projected the edited video footage over the top of a piece of paper mounted to the wall. Participants jumped right in and spent an hour or so drawing on the paper to see what would happen when we combined hand made marks with the moving video footage. As you can see in the link below we got off to a good start in a short amount of time – who knows what they might have accomplished with a full day of drawing.
I had a great time at the 35th Yuma Symposium. I gave a lecture and demonstration of my video/drawing process and wanted to post some links to “how-to” tutorials I have created. If you are a Symposium attendee who was brave enough to come to my talk – here are some links you can use to learn how I do stuff:
How to make a looping bird animation in Photoshop. http://scottkolbonewmediatutorials.blogspot.com/p/bird-animation-workshop.html
How to make a looping bird animation move along a path. http://scottkolbonewmediatutorials.blogspot.com/p/flapping-bird-flying-on-path-workshop.html
Hope it helps!
I have been invited to the 2014 Yuma Symposium to provide a presentation and workshop later this week (Feb 20-22). I am excited to meet new people, see some amazing art, and experiment with a large scale collaborative projection/drawing. As part of my presentation I will be leading a workshop where participants help create a short vignette involving attacking birds and looping animation. Here is a link to the symposium website:
Should be a great time – thanks to everyone who has worked so hard at the symposium to make it possible.