Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Assignment 3

For my third assignment, I tried to keep the woodblock print aesthetic, but changed the technique to pure photo collage.  The background textures were made by layering and scanning a variety of different mulberry papers.  The rest of the images were digitally assembled from various other photos that I have taken, some recently and some over a year ago.  The subject matter and composition are still meant to resemble Japanese woodblock prints, but in a more subtle way.  They are aesthetically pleasing, but upon close examination contain some disconcerting details, such as the rusty nails jutting out of the pile of wood scraps.  This is meant to reflect the way garbage interrupts the natural scenery, while at the same time becoming just another part of it.  When one sees these kinds of things on a daily basis, it can cause mixed feelings; one one hand, the litter starts to feel commonplace and normal, and even attains a sort of beauty at times.  On the other hand, it serves as a constant and unpleasant reminder that our modern lifestyle has consequences for the planet, because all these things we casually throw away and forget about do not simply disappear.        

Assignment 2

 For my second assignment, I continued with the same theme and basic technique from Assignment 1, but changed the style to make the images resemble Japanese woodblock prints rather than illustrations from a children's book.  Most of the image is filled in with flat colors, and the use of scanned textures is limited to the paper background (in order to make the images look more like prints) and the garbage (in order to make it stand out from the rest of the composition).  

The backgrounds of both images feature the hills of a nearby landfill, based on the one that I can see from my house.  The recurring landfill in the background is a reference to the series "Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji" by Katsushika Hokusai, with the landfills looming over the landscape like artificial mountains.  This is meant to emphasize both their scale and the fact that they are always there, in the figurative background of civilization, even though people generally don't pay much attention to them. 
These images, among others, were used for reference (images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art). 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Assignment 1: The Expanded Image

For this assignment, I based my images off of the above photo; they are all based on scenes that I have seen near my house on the outskirts of the city of Milwaukee.  In this series I focused on showing the contrast between nature and manmade pollution and the way these two things coexist along the boundary between city and country.  In addition, there is also a fairly stark contrast between the style of the art and the subject matter; this is meant to give the pieces a slight sense of irony, and also to reflect the juxtaposition of opposing elements that the images represent.    

These are the original sketches, including one that was not made into a finished piece: