A bunch of classes heading to all y'all down south. Here's your chance, I've got something for everyone. As far as ART IS YOU goes it is the bee's knees (if they have knees) of art venues. Looking forward to spending some time visiting old friends and making new ones.
ART ABANDONMENT AND ART IS YOU TEAM UP. During the Art Is You Retreat, my wife Andrea and I will be doing some fun Art Abandonment activities to promote the project as well as our new book: the Art Abandonment Project.
Hope to see you in Mississippi. Check it out here:
HERE'S WHAT I'LL BE TEACHING:
One of the earliest known scrolls is an Egyptian wedding contract...not very interesting in the content...in which the groom agrees to pay “x” amount if he grows weary of his wife and finds another gal. What is truly fascinating about this is not the topic (albeit culturally telling), but rather the ancient device used long before the inventions of books. Like a book a scroll can be used to isolate certain bits of information, but unlike a book the entire story can be visible in one very long viewing. For visual artists, scrolls are nifty creations because they can display a very specific isolated scene or the entirety of the composition. So let’s get scrolling.
In this class Andrea Matus deMeng and Michael deMeng are teaming up to explore this device. In the first portion of the class, Andrea will guide students in making the rolled canvas creations. This will be done using a combination of painting, collage and drawing. Michael’s portion of the class will focus on the device used to hold/display these illustrious manuscripts. The base will be made from an everyday toilet paper holder, then, using the process of assemblage, students will modify this structure with various found objects into something rich and strange.
I collect masks. I’m not sure what it is but ever since I was a kid I have always been intrigued by the idea of transforming ones identity. That is why I love masks. Perhaps it’s a superhero thing, but mask making is one of the oldest cultural traditions in the world, in fact the earliest example being from the Stone Age. The hunter would were animal masks to disguise themselves and stalk prey. They transformed themselves into the animals they were hunting. In essence this is what a mask does, it changes the wearer into something else. Have you ever noticed when you wear a mask you act a little differently, that you temporarily lose yourself and become whatever the mask represents?
In this class we are going to play with this concept, and using various found objects or existing masks, we are going to transform them into strange and unusual facial disguises. Making masks is different than merely wearing them; it can be a process for artists to reveal what is veiled inside one’s soul. It is a strange art form that keeps secrets but also simultaneously unearths hidden worlds. Oh, the irony
Of all the things in this wide wild world what I have found to be the most inspirational source material are myths and legends. My first introduction came in movies like Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts, stop animations films filled with wondrously strange worlds abounding with odd entities such as multi-armed deities, cyclopean beasts, and snake headed gorgons. After that I was hooked. I read everything I could on the topic…no matter the culture.
Many years later, as an adult, I am still drawn to these concepts. Artistically I have found these tales wonderful springboards for creativity. After all, artistic expression like many heroic tales is a journey into the unknown; the artist’s job is to go to secret worlds land and retrieve something magical to share with the world.
So your task for this class is to pick a myth or legend…any myth from any culture (preferable one that inspires or fascinates you). Next, using found objects and discarded toys you will create a piece of art that embodies the tale of your choosing. You could focus on a character (like Zeus or Shiva) or tell a story (like Pandora’s box). As for presentation I will leave it up to you…could be a free standing sculpture or could be something that hangs on the wall. You definitely want to come to this class…otherwise you’ll be myth-ing out.
Every year I visit Mexico during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Not only is this a marvelous event where relatives celebrate the memories of the deceased, but it is also a chance for the living to mock the reaper. It’s a way for the living to say: “Neener, neener you haven’t got me yet”. One of the ways that Mexicans do this is with little skeletal toys known as “calacas”. Usually they are playful scenes where the skeletons are in the engaged in everyday activities, riding bicycles, walking dogs, dancing with devils (okay, so this one is perhaps not an everyday activity). The idea is to have a little fun with ones morality.
Well, that is what we’ll be doing in class. Using doll parts, action figures, and other found objects student will create little skeletons that will tickle your funny bone.