thea: my context

Broke my own rule for this one, it cannot be soaked in baking soda and vinegar because it is paper, but using common sense I figured that it had been dropped recently, there was no obvious infestation of bugs nor any mold growth.
Johnnie Walker is relevant to me because it's my Father's drink and one I have adopted myself. I have memories from my childhood of Dad ordering "Johnnie Walker black on the rocks" in restaurants, long before the taste of it appealed to me. As I grew up, the small sips I would take from his glass slowly grew on me until it became my drink as well and to this day I am inclined to order that if I want a little taste of home.
Because of the Observer Effect, my actions as observer/artist inherently changes the environment that my art participates in. So, I am not only collecting things in an objective manner but subjectively imposing my own perspective, life, and attitudes upon it.
This box bridges that gap, an object like any other but one that is significant to me as a person, not just an artist.

Haben's Photo Example


The Vaca Sagrada written by Diamela Eltit(1991). This photo captures the depth and shadowing Id like to achieve for a specific section of the piece. Utilizing movement and position of the body. If you click on the image above, you will be connected to my flickr site as well as Haben's Flickr linka t the top right. Click there in order to view other photos I have posted. All are inspirational to my project. They reflect the tones, textures and sensations I am hoping to achieve.

Haben: Lecture and Ideas

Friday February 13th I attended a lecture by a current UWI student who presented her thesis proposal titled "Cultural Action as Social Intervention; an investigation of the practice and impact of youth focused interventions using the applied creative arts in Trinidad and Jamaica". I was able to gather some more material and information to further expand my project/options. The creative arts are explained as vehicles for resistance and social commentary, and eventhough the thesis dealt specifically with creative intervention and youth, it was still relevant to the broad scope of my project.

I want to create pieces that reflect what is here, what I feel, what I learn about Trinidad. The more I learn about history, slavery, servitude and action I find more and more material to pull from. As a start Ive put together some photos, some with graphic design and still. I chose these specific photos to be examples of the coloring and texture I want to use for the final piece. Also I have started sketching out a four part piece, incorporating images that come to mind when I think of Trinidad and what Ive learned about its people and issues and beauty. Thus far Ive added a dancer, a joined mapping of Africa and India, barracks, a cityspace(these images will fit together in time) I will also begin reading James Scott's "Domination and the Arts of Resistance" in hopes of sharpening direction and pulling more ideas from reading about resistance, subordination and folk culture thus relating this to Trinidad, its organizations and communities.

thea: stuff finds me

Pizza Hut Flyers Found art isn't just about what I find, its about what finds me. These flyers were handed to me as I exited the gate of my studio. On their own they are throw away flyers but together with each other and other things they could be repeating wallpaper, origami paper, a fan, etc. Maybe that's part of what this is all about: taking objects with no inherent value and turning them into a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Haben: The Broken Vase

I find that my inspiration for the project is multi-layered. I stumble upon inspiration and I enjoy its manifestations; I recognize it is a part of my creative process. Ive been writing quotes to freestyle 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 I am gathering some materials, reading and searching works of Romare Bearden, Zsolt Gyarmati and a list of politically/socially conscious writers and singers, across transnational lines, genres and historical moments.

Combining materials from Trinidad (these will be strategically placed but will not make up the majority of the piece produced) will be a challenge. I have never really expanded past flat canvas work but there is something engaging and powerful about live pieces. It provides a texture far stronger than shadowing. To combine a few materials from Trinidad really connects my piece to the land. I understand I am 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 it is difficult to commercialize/manipulate mas because its played by location, its tied to land and its people, it cannot be moved from its place. That is what I want to apply to this work or set of works. Difficulty is adjusting to a new slate. For years I have 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. I will keep you posted on changes, twists and the beautiful mishaps.

Below are some links to show the works of Bearden and Gyarmati that I am influenced by:

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden 1

Romare Bearden
Mecklenburg Autumn
collage & mixed media on masonite
18 x 14 inches

Romare Bearden 2

Zsolt Gyarmati
Our Saviour
Oil Painting on canvas

Zsolt Gyarmati

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.