thea: found art premise

Found art is my thing. Raised in New York City, the streets offered a wealth of materials with which to work. It was one of the ways that I got to know the city so well. I was able to better understand different areas based upon what ended up on the street come trash day. With this in mind, and observing the sheer quantities of raw material (read: other people's trash) by the sides of the roads, I decided that the best way for me to understand my neighborhood in Trinidad, would be to see what the people that lived around me decided to toss over their fences and drop out their car windows.

There is little quite so rewarding as finding a promising object. Each piece I collect is one brush stroke that will later be placed in my 3-dimensional canvas, so the quality of each individual part is vital to the quality of the whole. With that in mind, this is a process that must not be rushed, it requires slow meandering of street corners and looking for stuff that we have been trained to see as waste, all of our lives, as something more. It requires a rewiring of the brain so that one does not gloss over the rubbish but instead sees it as a part of the fabric of the world. This can become problematic too however because the way the rest of the world treats trash just not change simply because you do. There are certain inherent dangers and problems associated with the art of collecting trash.

The biggest problems I have faced so far are the ditches: so much of what is disposed ends up in them that I have been forced at times to go down their with my knee high boots and elbow high gloves. Because of the distinctly soggy nature of the ditches I have been forced to embrace certain rules in my collection of things, rules that were more flexible in New York must now be followed with care and diligence. As time goes on I will continue to add rules based upon my experience and inspiration. I will also catalog the objects I find and their locations on flickr.

Rules (so far):
-Nothing porous (fabric, pillows, most furniture)
-Nothing that can't be cleaned, either because cleaning will wreck its natural form or because there are parts of it that vinegar and baking soda cannot possibly impact.
-Everything collected must be cleaned immediately to prevent infestations of bugs or mold

Those are practical rules, there are however theoretical rules that will affect the art itself:
-If I bring it back to my studio (a covered car park in the back yard that I have cleaned up and taken over) I must then use it in my final presentation.
-If I see something that I want to pick up but I am unable to because I am otherwise engaged, I must return at the first possible opportunity, no more than 1 day later, to collect the object.
-a log must be kept of each item and its origin point
-anything used to connect the pieces in their final form must be kept to an absolute minimum and if at all possible the pieces found should be attached without external support. This will not always be an option but should be the preferred result.


haben a. said...

I find that my inspiration for the project is multilayered. I stumble upon inspiration and I enjoy its manifestations; I recognize it is a part of my creative process. Ive been writing quotes to freestyled songs, poetry and quotes that I either hear or create. Some sources and influences have been a Hindu pundit, a billboard, contemporary artists for instance. Ive found inspiration for ideas in Thea’s project as well. As we discussed Walcott’s ‘broken vase’ idea I was urged to interlink our pending projects under this concept. The concept of interlinking is important to me, connecting our pieces to location.

Possibly merging some found objects(fabrics, newspapers, etc) along with paints and Romare Bearden influenced collages , all in hopes of creating a piece of social commentary. I also plan on providing a spoken word/vocal piece that further promotes the social awareness I wish to convey. As of now Im gathering some materials, reading and searching works of Romare Bearden, Zsolt Gymarmati and a list of politically/socially conscious writers and singers,a cross genres.

Combining materials from Trinidad(these will be strategically placed but will not make up the majority of the piece produced) will be a challenge. Ive never really expanded past flat canvas work but there is something engaging and powerful ablout live pieces. It provides a texture for stronger than shadowing. To combine a few pieces from Trinidad really connects my piece to the land. I understand Im an observing, tourist student and this aspect of my presence here will somehow show itself through my work but nonetheless that interlinking remains relevant to experience, it remains a part of my process, it is my learning.

During a lecture in Festival and Drama Professor Hall stated that its difficult to commercialize/manipulate mas because its played by location, its tied to land and its people, it cant be moved from its palce. That’s what I want to apply to this work or set of works. Difficulty is adjusting to a new slate. For years Ive been accustomed to having materials/tools readily available. In Trinidad the search for these will be a process in itself, something worth documenting and keeping track of. This process will be living art in itself. Ill keep you posted on changes, twists and the beautiful mishaps.

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