Archive for November, 2009

Week 12

November 23, 2009

Greetings classmates. I am hanging in there and telling myself to remain strong as I prepare to engage in the holiday season of fall semester as a first year graduate. In an effort to test my time management skills, We agreed for my partner, Angie to take a part-time job at the mall to get some holiday income. Schedules are still being figured out as we have a two year old and normal class & studio stuff. I noticed that a lot of people are commenting on the “class” stuff. Some instructors say to bend that to your normal body of work as much as possible because the grades don’t really matter in art school at this point. It is all about our work. I am unsure if that is sound advice or not but it does give me some relief when I find myself toiling away at some project that has little to do with my work.

Tonight, we worked out our holiday plans. We are celebrating, Thanksgiving in Rantoul, IL (just north of UofI) with my partners aunt. The following weekend, my 14 year old is coming to Madison and we will have our own Thanksgiving. On December 13th, We will contrast our Pagan roots with Christianity and celebrate St. Lucia Day. Our family has done this for years. We put up our Star of light and our 2-year old will be the official Lucia this season. She is a bit young but hopefully she enjoy it. Most girls in our family have been Lucia two or three times. It usually turns into a melee of kids (boys included) making their own candle crowns and all claiming to be the goddess of light. Now that we have a plan, Angie and I have been working our schedules out to get me back into the studio for the next month.

My first project is revisiting a sinking battleship game piece that I have been working on spuradically for the last two years. It is the size of a human coffin but designed after a battleship game piece. I plan on leaving it raw and slightly rusty. My next feat for it is the “list”. When I framed it up, it was sinking in back but straight on the XY axis. I think it looks like a bicycle ramp so I am going to prop it up, mark it and start torching away a large sliver to get it to lean to the side a little bit. I don’t want a happy slow sinking, I want the viewer to look at it and contemplate how they would escape if they were on that ship. When I watched Titanic, I kept asking myself over and over how I would have escaped. This question sticks with me still today. My first thought is that I would need to prepare and not tell anyone. Everyone would be in a panic (at least on a civilian liner) and if you built a one man raft, everyone would jump on until it popped and everyone became shark food. So, I know that I would have to act early and find things that float. When you see the aftermath of a sinking and all of that junk is floating in the ocean, that is the stuff that people should have saved. Second, I know that the water was freezing and I do not like wind. It makes me miserable. I would have searched the cabin or ship for something water proof and something rigid. Maybe something flat like a table top. I would have tied a couple of small weights to the table legs or any hardware underneath to act as a keel. I would have then tied some bouyant objects close to the corners of the table. I would have used a shower curtain or two to help stay dry from the splashes. Next, I would have brought extra rope. and there is always rope on a boat, incase I needed to lash any junk together from the wreckage. As I prepared my lifeboat to set sail, I would have ran to the kitchen and grabbed bacon, any smoked meat, maybe some fruit or grains high in energy and stuffed them in my pockets. In the movie, at least, everyone ran to the stern as the bow submerged. This would be perfect. You know the ship is not going to come back up so, as soon as I gathered my supplies, I would grab my table raft and headed straight off the front of the ship. It would be easy to get away while the craft slowly sinks and everyone else would be at the other end of the ship. I know this sounds selfish, but it was just the problem that I set up for myself. I did not include family, friends or rational beings for that matter.  This, as well as art are ways for me to deal with fears. I once did a series of drawings on unfinished basements. Other fears I have are Russian Roulette, escaping fire, tornado, and other natural disasters. I am not really scared of the natural disasters, I just like to scare myself with them and decide what I would do. Raising my oldest daughter, we would do tornado drills. We had a heavy table in the basement, near plumbing and a small window. We would have the girls start on the second floor and time them running to the basement. Maybe I over think situations. ? When I was a young’un in Scouts they always told me to be prepared. At the same time, I was watching Red Dawn and talking about nuclear blasts with my classmates. One last thing. I hate the idea of being on a submarine and I hate the idea of an iron maiden so I am also working on a small piece that has a hollow submarinesque shape with large bullets piercing into it’s void.

See you next week!

Over and Out! KSshhhhhK!

Week eleven

November 16, 2009

Week 11

Be forwarned! Parts of my blog may seem a bit “snarky” this week. I assure you that all is meant in a productive manner- please bare with me. Well, there should not be a problem to find something to write about this week. First, I would like to thank all of the participants in the 4D art show. I won’t list names but people did a lot of work to make the show come out so well. On a less than positive note, I have to comment on the conduct of some of our peers during the opening. The original parameters kept changing and it became a “slippery slope” thing. It was at first agreed to be the thirteen members of the exhibition. That later changed to eleven, allowing two visitors during the piece. That transformed in to allowing more than thirteen if they were inside the piece. That morphed in to people partaking on the outside of the piece occasionally touching a couch. That was the first problem that we should have dealt with early to quell the party tendencies. The piece was created to discuss art over a beverage. What happened was people took an advantage of those who created a piece that could be seen as controversial. If there were to be reprocussions, it would be on the originating artists, not the random student who decided to slide in to the piece and just party. The other slipperish area was the duration,. It originated with a one hour time limit, which was adjusted to finish the beverages that were on hand. I agreed with that, as it was not a big deal if the closed refridgerator door contained unopened bottles. This was subverted as soon as someone brought in more “props” that were not in the piece. For one, this only promoted the idea that it was a bash and not an art piece. One reason, if we care about art, is the fact that the brand was not what we selected as a well thought selection for the piece. The original performance by Marioni had local beverages. That is why we chose Leini Red. The last issue that I would like to go into is the behaviour. The original concept allowed for three to four discussions to go on at once. The idea was to discuss art and theory. We began with that until it turned into lets see who will smash a bottle in an art gallery. By deduction, I assume that a precedent was set that it is ok to “deface or destroy” another persons art as long as you are having fun. This is a selfish action and I will get into that later. We had thirteen people work countless hours researching, shopping, assembling and installing the piece. Is that fair that people can fuck it up because of a portion of its content? I think that it would be hard to justify someone defiling any traditional art piece in a gallery. What seemed to be getting great public response in the beginning began drawing scrutiny toward the end of the piece. There may have been other issues as well but I have beat this enough. Currently, we are discussing possible cleanup of the piece as it is a huge mess. Much more than we would have had by its original plan. On cleanup: I am not one to touch performance art. I was pissed when George Lucas went back and digitally included the Alien Jabba the Hutt in Episode IV. Once art is finished you have to choose carefully on how to “adjust” it. Our piece was about performance and the remnants left behind from conversations that went on during the performance. Now, we have to decide as a group what to remove and what to leave while still maintaining the original message. Since is about trace, we will lose that (good or bad) since our intervention will take away parts of the piece that really happened. I don’t think that is honest, but we may have to bastardize the remnants to make it safe and keep it from smelling like a frat house by next week. I am on the fence on this whole subject. My reaction is to retain historical accuracy but I do understand others concerns as well. I am usually more opinionated but We all need to search for the best answer and my opinion, sorry to say, is not ALWAYS the answer, though I wish is was.

Which leads me to my next small rant: I believe that I have solved one of the most pressing issues of humanity. I have solved peace, war, economy, religion and a myriad of other issues with one broad sword. I believe that many of the difficulties endured by humans are a result of each individual’s selfishness and lack of humility. Chapter 6 of Practices of Looking delves into media, the mass audience and philosophy. These have always been highly interesting subjects to me. I am not a philosopher nor an expert with the Scientific Method, but I will put forth this theory about selfishness and let my peers try to dispel it. Being around war, I often study people to try to understand how they develop their ideologies. I worked with a group of Iraqis at one time (who had been eyed as possible insurgents) and asked them, what they wanted most in life. The general answer was to feed and clothe their children. This caused me to question Americans and ask their reason to fight. Surprise! Many of our troops overseas did not come from upper class families and a huge portion of them joined the military as an option to earn good money to support their families! From this, I decided to ask why each group of people in America wanted to support war (those that did) and I found out that my landlord’s entire family worked for Boeing. My State Senator (who was feeding his family as well as his ego) had constituents that wanted new jobs (be it defense contracts) in his district. They wanted money for their families as well. After studying the military, I looked into various other industries. I talked to old classmates that work for one of the agricultural industrial giants that I grew up around.. They could care less that the entire nation getting fat on high-fructose corn syrup and MSGs as long as they received their weekly paycheck. Not just picking on the right, I had been scrutinizing unions for a long time and learned that many of the industrial workers were not in unions to protect all workers rights but to maintain a monetary separation in the middle class and be able to afford niceties in life. Growing up in an Agri/Industrial area, I heard many heated conversations between union and non-union workers. A farmer and factory worker got in to an argument at my job and the union laborer called the farmer a “scab” for taking money away from families by contracting during a strike. The farmer told him that he was a “scab” for working under the table and stealing contractors jobs while the union was on strike. It boils down to each was trying to earn money and support their families. I will end here as I have ranted way to long. My next area of concern is how many people (at least in western countries) are trying to feed their families and how many of them are being greedy so they can shop for luxury. Before you slap me here, define a family’s actual needs and luxury. Sorry that I did not include any art pictures this weekend. I have been wound pretty tight. To make my blog a little easier to take, I will include a picture of a unicorn.  And if you are reading my blog because you have to, I assure you that they are not all this cynical. Check back next week for happy stuff!

unicorn

 

Week 10

November 9, 2009

Week 10

 

Greetings Earthlings!

Wow! What a beautiful weekend. But, let us rewind. Last week changed everyone’s schedule up. The studio days were fun. It was nice to have random people visit my studio and ask questions. The challenge of speaking under pressure is always fun. When I was 16, I applied and won a grant from my Mom’s employer to participate in a week long leadership conference at William Jewel College in Kansas City, Kansas. It was a memorable week of meeting new friends and learning interpersonal skills while doing projects. We had to create a cooperative, raise funds, then market and sell our items through our cooperative. I had a blast then when I returned, I had to speak to the Cooperative Board that sent me to tell of my adventures. My Mom failed to mention that there were nearly four-hundred people on the board! I stood at the lecturne and gathered all of my 16 years experience in public speaking [none] and quickly panicked. I knew that panic was not a solution and decided to just imagine them naked and convinced myself that they thought I was the President or something. It seemed to work. From time to time, I still get nervous speaking but I generally ask a question to put others on the spot while I focus my thoughts. At times, the studio visit seemed like a lot of elevator speeches. I became tired saying the same things over and over and changed my speech as the evening went on. Hopefully, I said the right things to the right people. A few times I became bored and had to change it up and ask them questions, or experimented with having them respond to the work and tell me what they thought it was about. Marina told me that she would ask people to participate in games and such to keep it fun and combat awkwardness.

First Year Show (in Roman numerals)

Again I was totally impressed by the work of my peers. I am lucky to be able to work with such talented people! This was backed up by the studio visits. It was great to see people in their environment. Beside their work, you can see their tools and inspirations as well as glimpses into their processes. The next thought is a little rough, but hang with me: In undergraduate study, you can only take so many foundations courses and no one learns everything. In Graduate school, we have a more common art knowledge and ability to speak. When visiting other students, we can enjoy as they quickly (relative to taking a full course) talk through a process that they use in their work. Another advantage is others having skills to share amongst disciplines. If you are not exactly getting what you want, there is always someone there to assist you with a skill that they have learned along their journey; be it welding, acid etching, plastics, casting sugar, posing road-kill carcasses etc.

 

CAT 1

CAV (Children's Assault Vehicle)

The show was great. Two days prior, I admit, I was worried. People were still finishing pieces, work was being dropped off, laid in corners and such. I was guilty as well. While paint was drying on one of my pieces, I submitted a note card with the size of my piece on it to hold a place in the show. I apologize to the crew that put this show together. You all did an amazing job! Especially dealing with 32 procrastinating artists. I helped to move artwork Friday morning and it decided to rain. People’s work got wet and we drug water into the gallery with every load. By Sunday night, the crew pulled it all together and it looked magnificent. Hearing the install crew talk made me more conscious of the curatorial aspect as they dealt with so many various types of art that had to live with each other for a week. It took a deal of consideration to arrange both aesthetically and logistically.

 

I am looking forward to Cynthia Pachakara’s visit to Colloquium this coming week. Hopefully, I will be able to get a critique with her. I have yet to crit with any of the visiting artists. The ones that I was most interested in filled up quick. I hope that it is a good experience. Everyone seems to write about their critiques as great experiences. I have a cynical theory on this:

A.) They are guest artists and are being too complimentary to the students.

B.) The students are focusing the critique on work that is already successful.

C.) Students choose artists that have similar interests.

I could be wrong, but I don’t want to short myself of possible growth as an artist. I hope that my crit goes honest so that I can get the most use out of it. Three years ago, I critiqued with John Henry.Desert Flower by John Henry He is an Old (Chicago) School international style artist. Art for arts sake. Make it big and paint it red. Each student was allowed fifteen minutes to crit a slide show. He went through my slides and kicked out comments like: “yes, hmm, no, no, umm, no hmm,yes, no, no, maybe.” After two minutes, he told me to go back to an image that had an exposed door revealing electronic type stuff. Mr. Henry looked at it for about twenty seconds and said: “Yeah, keep doing this, the outside is smooth, inside is small and fussy and I like the idea of a door because in my minds eye, I can just close it and not have to look at all that shit on the inside.” Then it was time for lunch. If memory serves me, one student cried after their critique. Everyone believed it was one of their harshest crits ever. But we gained honest feedback on our work and most people focused and improved.

 

16

Effin Magic

 

 

I was thinking that writing a thousand words per week pretty much turns into a small novel by the end of the semester!

Later,

Sandy

 

November 4, 2009

This is a test post for some links. It has nothing to do with Art 908 but you are more than welcome to read this small paragraph. I am testing links with my new (migrated) website: http://www.sandbergcreative.com/ and trying to link it to wisculpture and UW-Madison. Next, I will test UW-Madison Art and SIUE Art & Design. Now I will test the cross link titled: sandbergcreative. I will also use the terms j.e.sandberg, jason sandberg, sandy sandberg, art 908, and jasonsandberg’s blog. Now, I will close all browsers and access this from google and see what crosslinks come up. P.S. If you are still reading this, I am doing this to multiply the times that “web-crawlers” and search engines find my web-site. People said that this may work. Ask me in a month. Later,

-Sandy

 

Week 9

November 2, 2009

01 Nov 2009

Good morning, Mad Mafia!

So, another busy week. I am rested and back to work in the studio. Had a few critiques last week. Before I go into the actual crits, I would recommend the Critique Handbook by Buster & Crawford for some winter reading material. It is valuable as a way to help think out how to get the most out of a critique.

Buster sketch Often times, students waste a lot of time in a critique rambling on about nonsense and personal experiences. Tuesday, Sam and I crit’ed with Gayle, Aris and the sculpture grads. It seemed like an odd critique. I have not fully pinpointed it but will try as we move through this. Sam’s crit was, in my opinion, a bit rough. People were picking apart his work which is generally expected. Most people were concerned with the symmetrical divisions of his work in the space. It was arranged like a giant face. A tower built from air-conditioners and old tires dominated in height. It was located in between two reconstructed trees mirroring each other. Opposite this minimal composition was a train of individual sculptures leaning against the wall from one end of the gallery to the other. Everyone had their opinion that went something like: “Did you consider separating the items into groups?” or “It is too much for the space.” Or “It is not enough in the space.” I guess to some degree, these considerations can be helpful. Luckily, everyone limited their personal comments. I don’t believe that five minute speeches on how someone else would do your work is helpful. We have all heard that in crits before. As in the Critique Handbook, many opinions are productive when posed as an abstract question. i.e.: “How did you arrive at the decision to arrange the gallery symmetrically?” The oddest part was that Sam made no alterations. I applaud him for defending his work. I have watched people want to change everything that someone tells them from time to time. Sometimes, critiques move better when the artist does take a strong stance defending their work. If not, students tend to pile on like a pack of wild dogs.african_wild_dog_pack

After Sam, the class critiqued my Battlesapien piece. I have talked with enough people that I knew what to expect concerning technical difficulties in front of a live audience. If you were not there that night, we had some grid layout problems. So, that is technical, I am glad that we did not spend too long on that part. I knew that once it began, I would not have much chance to make any changes. I did learn two positive things about the performance. First, was the idea of not using professional actors. We are in school and we are each others most affordable performers. I am fortunate that everyone helped me see it through. The crit said that the generals were not serious enough. They were also a bit nervous and none of us knew what to expect. The crit panel also noted that it was difficult to read the crowds laughter. People I have spoken with all have their opinion on the laughter. I still am unsure of the amusement level but it did spur great questions on colors of blood, cinematography, and related ideas of perceptions of violence. I am going to research it more. Tarrantino came up and a few artists that used blood and how the color and texture of blood affects people emotionally.tarantino_blood The most exciting thing was when Gayle asked me “what’s next?”. I am not totally sure but I decided to tackle that question backword. I will start with the result that I wish and try to build a piece or performance to guide people to the answer similar to a movie as opposed to creating the piece then altering it forward. My crit provided some good ideas on my art as a whole, instead of just a piece of it.

One of my favorite critiques is the mini-crit. I called together some of my cohorts Thursday as I was working on the Children’s Tactical Vehicle for the Seminar show. I asked them for a quick mini-crit before I started. It was just like a regular crit except I showed them the item that I planned to modify and asked them ahead of time questions like such: “how much should I paint to modify the vehicle?” “Should the piece be more practical or more artistic?” Everyone was very helpful as I could think about things ahead of time as opposed to spending ten hours working on something that I did not really have to do. So, by Friday, I got the jeep all stripped out and repainted. I also painted and modified the gun. When I first saw the Nerf Vulcan gun (which was named after a real high-rate-of-fire gun) I was taken that they make bigger badder nerf guns each year. They are testosterone laden toys that are advertised as fun to allow children to practice their killer instincts. I got online and looked for information on this gun which shoots three rounds per second through its belt fed clip. I quickly found kids of all ages modifying this gun already. One kid had a you tube video on splicing ammunition belts together. Others, made realistic sounds, some had rounds counters and a lot of people re-wired the gun to increase its rate of fire. That is the mod that I chose. They were simple instructions and hopefully, with fresh batteries, I will shoot it during the reception at a rate of 500 rounds per minute or 8.3 rounds each second. I may use this piece for some video next spring. I am not sure yet. Everyone keeps asking if the gun is real and I don’t immediately answer. I have to think for a minute while letting them contemplate its physicality. And to redeem children at an early age, I also built my Children’s Ejection Seat. That way by two years old, toddlers will be able to eject themselves from a violent society before they start taking in the violence in our culture.

I have had some studio visits with fellow students last week. I am looking forward to this Wednesday as I have a visit with Jack Damer. I will leave for now.Rocket Glide Plane by Jack Damer

Peace!

Sandy