The World as a Stage

Of Bodies of Elements: Dancing Earth

All the world’s a stage and all men and women merely players.

Shakespeare philosophically summed up the purpose of life in humankind way back. This quote describes how many of us look upon life in the 21st century. The world is our stage, life is a play and we are the actors filling roles that either we consciously choose to, or by default, end up being a part of.  Not being satisfied with default settings, I definitely yearn for and choose to make my role as fulfilling and rewarding as possible, thats for sure! The current project ‘The World as a Stage’ prompts me to do just that. The teachings and discussions had over the last two months have sparked thoughts about how I desire to play out my future literally and figuratively as a player in work, life, family and within the wider community. Specifically, how I see myself as an artist in the remaining years of my Art Degree, and the years to follow.

The following posts will begin to give a picture of where I see a possible direction for myself as a mixed media artist and healing arts practitioner. They will suggest to you my reflections on my work and influences thus far, to express the clarity of my vision and my intentions before the school year comes to an end.

References:

Image retrieved on 15th November 2103, from http://www.greendiary.com/of-bodies-of-elements-dancing-earth-to-stage-eco-bonanza-at-edison-theater.html

William Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man, Van Voorst, 1848

Stitch ‘n’ Verse series

My foremothers would stitch, crochet, embroider, knit and spin yarn.  It was my intention in this project to acknowledge and honour the threads of their work and hearts as they run through my veins as naturally as the blood that binds us. From the beginning the process of transforming cloth into form has struck me as magical. And, over the years, that magical process has had its way with me, leading me from hobby to art. Fiber Art fills me with a sense of pride and sincerity, and has proven a most responsive media for translating my creative visions into form.

I sew from the inside out. Though I work quite deliberately, consciously employing both traditional and innovative techniques, my unconscious is the irrefutable project manager.  The organic nature of this work frees my imagination and provides many opportunities for serendipity and materiality to influence the finished product.

‘Stitch ’n’ Verse is a document of the poems and fibers created and collected by my favourite forbearer Joan Russell (1923-2006).

ways of seeing: through the lens again

Hope

After a month of purely focussing on paint as media for creating, I couldn’t wait to start shooting again. It’s spring time in the Southern Hemisphere and the sun shower on the weekend proved to be the best time to get out and snap some blossom and rain drop action. This image pleases my soul. There is nothing more comforting than the return of fresh growth and hope that comes with it.

Visionary Structures

For this month’s module titled ‘Visionary Structures’; I have been set the task of developing sculptural and 3D design techniques and methods whilst relating my developments and outcomes to historical, contemporary and futuristic special structures.

In this module, more than any so far I have been challenged with the technical terminology of design, new medias that I have not worked with previously and the language of form and space.

Using the medias of metal, wood and plaster I am learning how to create a series of 2D drawings that successfully convey my vision of the 3D design that I have in mind. Being an amateur drawer to begin with I particularly struggled with representing my ideas with a 3D perspective, so I started with the basics and did my best creating works with my limited skill set and knowledge.

For inspiration and motivation to embrace this topic that is quite foreign to me, I started researching artists and designers in the field. Above are some unique structures that I have discovered that in my opinion are quite visionary.

Celebrating love: a glimpse of my vocation as Marriage Celebrant

With much gratitude and appreciation to Victoria & Alain for kindly sharing their special day with us, and Elysium Productions for the marvelous video.

An Artful Life – Oleg Dou

In my attempts to become familiar with the basics in Adobe Photoshop Elements within the online tutorials, I stumbled upon the acclaimed Russian Photographer Oleg Dou – the artist whose work in 2012 graced the cover version of Photoshop CS6.  My attention was captured during the entire you tube clip where he described his journey to becoming the international artist that he is now, only seven years since his photographic work was first discovered.  It was only a year before that when he purchased his first professional camera.CS6 Version Cover

Born in 1983, as the son of a painter and dress designer, he was always surrounded by the artist culture, but never particularly enjoyed being immersed in it at the time.  He remembers unhappy childhood memories where he was made to wear costumes against his wishes, which ended up being a primary motivating focus for his works as his own creative cravings began later in his life.

“I felt an urge for arts and creation some time ago, when I was working as a web designer, which pushed me to study seriously the design. Thats how I “bumped into” photography, and I had an idea to combine it with design.”

When you pay a visit to Oleg Dou online you will see that he has produced a series of self-portraits (like this one) of him as a child in the 80’s with his face digitally manipulated to suggest the enforced costume era that he remembers so vividly.

His work is unique to anything I have ever seen before, and the disturbing but also beautiful personas he has created intrigue me. I am particularly fond of the ‘Cub’ and ‘Toy Story’ series as above, as they feature children in animal and ‘dress up’ objects, reminding me of my own childhood dress up sessions of which I enjoyed immensely.  Many of his works have been inspired by an interest in medieval portraits of women with pale skin and no emotion displayed on their faces.  Other works are inspired by a curious tradition practiced in XIX century where dead children were painted and immortalized in a picture for the family. Using Adobe Photoshop Elements Oleg creates a representational twist of this tradition in a contemporary context.

“I use artificial nature of a digital photography as a tool to reach the point between opposites such as alive and dead, attractive and disturbing, beautiful and ugly.”

When viewing the Adobe Photoshop spotlight feature of Oleg, I was mesmerized at the painstakingly long and precise lengths he goes to, in order to create his vision in mind; a vision that initially struck him by a purely fortunate accident.

‘According to legend, one day when he began to retouch a photo of one of his girlfriend, the much overdone. However, this whitewashed, and Peeled portrait as a result of Oleg so impressed that he decided to continue to create something similar.’

Now much of Oleg’s art takes place hours before the photograph is even taken to produce the smooth and semi-fantastic end result. Using costume and other media to create the foundations of the image, before even seeing the digital form of it, to then go on to manipulate and continue the piece is this way. I appreciate and admire his meticulous nature that drives him to bring such work into manifestation.

Like the work of a sculptor he first manually imposes on the facial textures, sometimes as if like Paper-Mache and creates the desired costume. Then utilising digital tools to fine-tune his images to flawless perfection, the results become striking a bit eerie fraught with deep and disturbing emotion. His models become a mirror for his own reflecting emotions, so to some extent one could say that his works are a form of self-portrait. From children with bloodshot eyes from tears, ascetic monks, cub’s beasts with human faces and storybook characters, every set of eyes seemingly pierces right through the viewer. Alluring don’t you think?

See for yourself here in the clip that inspired me.

Information on Oleg Dou is extremely scarce, however any of these links I have referenced will give you more insight into one of the most prominent artists of his generation.

Art Investment RU. (2012). Artist of the Week: Oleg Dou. Retrieved from

http://artinvestment.ru/en/invest/ideas/20120810_oleg_duryagin_dou.html

Duncan Miller Gallery. (n.d). Artists: Oleg Dou. Retrieved on April 10, 2013 from http://www.duncanmillergallery.com/artists/Oleg%20Dou.html

Explorations Project. (2011). Who is Oleg Dou? Retrieved from http://explorationsproject.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/who-is-oleg-dou/

The Ground. (2012). Oleg Dou – Beautiful and Repulsive Portraits. Retrieved from http://www.thegroundmag.com/oleg-dou-beautiful-and-repulsive-portraits/

Robert Fontaine Gallery. (2013). Artists: Oleg Dou. Retrieved from http://www.robertfontainegallery.com/artists/Oleg_Dou/bio.html

Russian Tea Room Gallery. (n.d). Artists: Oleg Dou. Retrieved on April 10, 2013 from http://www.rtrgallery.com/html.php?lang=en&id=21

Oleg Dou. (2013). Oleg Dou. Retrieved from http://olegdou.com

You Tube. (2013). Adobe & Oleg Dou. Retrieved on April 10, 2013 from

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ooPrqJ5in4