Over the summer, I was able to experiment on journal making while I was on the trail. I wanted to explore translating the experience of the landscape into my small daily book. I have often found it hard to commit in the endeavor of Journaling for more than a couple of weeks, I would loose interest and begin working only on larger piece, or sculptures. My Trekking trips afforded me the focus to work small and intimate. Keeping focused on 1 day at a time, I got to play with different forms of seeing and translating the environment on to the pages. Now that the summer has passed, I’m excited to take elements from those journals and assemble them into new pieces. One in particular that I’m working on is a series of cut out’s. The shapes are of the snowfields that I encountered from the trail along the JMT. Specifically the snowfields in the Black and White Divide area of the Sierra Nevada Crest. The snowfields here feed a series of lakes, which are the photos that I use as the ground from which I cut out the snowfield shapes. Below these, are the insects that I collected from the journeys around the vicinity of this landscape. The collected insects are sealed and preserved in small vials of alcohol. In addition to these Snowfield cut outs, I began working on a landscape book that somewhat chronicles another section of my trek. First, I came up with a visual narrative and then cut out segments in some of the panels to represent elements in the landscape. Eight panels are to be hinged together and accordion or fold together. I think that some of its panels will be writing from the journal entries and others will be photographs laminated to the surface, maybe dirt from the trail also.
A book in my pocket to capture my thoughts. Sometimes an idea. Sometimes I just free flow daydream in my journal. Over coffee at my office in the afternoon. Using different colored pens. When I hike or I’m backpacking in the wilderness. I like to cut out pages. I like to paste in images. I take pictures of my day. They help illustrate what I find curious. I cut shapes out that represent things in the landscape. The horizon-line. Shapes of snowfields or glaciers. Things that might disappear in the future. A favorite lake along the trail. Sometimes I’m aggravated when a friend asks me a dumb obvious question. Sometimes my dumb question makes the obvious more so. This leads to more pages of writing. More trips to the office. More cups of coffee. Sometimes I just try to forget its name. See it for the first time again. Use a different pen today. Draw a new fly I tied today before I go fishing. Just in case I loose it. Or it works. Cut out more pages to make the pictures fit. Paste and tape. Getting lost in the craft. Use the topographic map. I like lakes but rather fish streams. The shapes of lakes are beautiful to draw. And great to swim in. Streams never rest, they always are on the move. Even when were not there to witness it. Oops, back to work.
Recently I have been drawing many of my flies for fishing lately. I like how they transform from a tiny little “lure” to a large object in a still life. Most I draw are ones I’ve made and some I buy because of their sculptural value. My friend Kevin tied some pretty cool nymph flies made of the fibers of pheasant tail with a large bead made of magnesium on the hook suspended where the bugs thorax would be. Using the scraps of euro plywood, I then sand the drawing surface and cut them to size the wood is like drawing paper but really thick and adds its own natural ground to the drawn image. I need to make about ten more of the drawing to get enough ready for the annual Post-Post card show at the gallery space in san Francisco called The Lab. I really enjoy getting lost in the structure of the Flies, there like tiny sculptures to begin with. The process of drawing them reminds me of Robert Irwin’s book title “Seeing Is Forgetting The Name Of The Thing One Sees’.”
Mary has been working quite hard recently to be ready for this years Parking Day event in San Francisco. The event is this Friday from 9am until the street becomes a commute lane at 4pm. Artist gather strategically around the city be like pirates and take over street parking spaces at usually high profile art venues like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art located on Third Street between Mission and Howard streets. Mary will be at one of these spots in front of SFMOMA Friday with her earth flags on display as well as her art pal Leah Korican. Mary’s earth Flags are a hybrid of the traditional Tibetan prayer flag, but still has the same message of earth prayer and symbiosis for humans and the planet. These flags are fabricated from recycled clothing and home fabric and then have messages of peace and anti consumer politics in the form of recycle messages and imagery. She prints these images and messages from linoleum block print methods in her studio by hand and then sews each flag to a cord using an all-natural thread. Recycle and reuse are familiar themes as well as living in harmony with the planet. Leah’s work is another fringe upon the surreal and eco smart. She has combined her desire to integrate a renewable energy content into sculptures that are animated by sun energy. These surrealistic botanical inventions often resemble flowers that would fit into a sci-fi film or Alice in Wonderland. Hope you get a chance to see them there. Mary and Leah @ Parking Day 2007
Soon it’s going to be the annual SF Open Studio tour this coming October 25th and 26th . I have been drawing recently, aside from the engine parts and fly fishing lures, some new Tonka truck toys I purchased on eBay. They’re quite fun to draw and challenging to get their form, perspective and shading convincing enough that the trucks transcend being just toys to maybe the real thing. I guess that is why I am attracted to them as a subject. I remember having many of these very trucks when I was a child and would play with them constantly. I would project my self as a worker or a driver into the inside of the trucks cab and drive them around a dirt pile in the backyard. I would build buildings and pits to a fantasy excavation for a city complex. At the time, it was a way to escape and become someone and do something with out the true responsibility of being it for real. I think that is why I am interested in drawing these toys now, they allow an escape to that place I once could go to all the time and can forget other things around me.