Advent Day 4: Time

Totally cheating for today’s entry: I had an art piece a few months ago on that very subject, so here it is again.  The title of the piece is actually “Time Saved.”

Edit: The watched that stopped at Hiroshima is from  TIME Magazine, 1945. Since this was made for a class and we were required to add an “artist’s statement,” I’ve just added mine at the bottom of this post.

Art piece (collage): "Time Saved"

This collage is made of images cut or torn from magazines dating from 1945 to 2013 plus a map of a fictitious post-apocalypse version of my city of origin (helpfully torn to shreds by my cat). The images are glued onto butcher paper in ragged layers allowed to interweave in order to provide a three-dimensional effect.

I arranged the images into interlocking triangle patterns suggesting either time flowing or time standing still, trying to evoke moments frozen by memory or history against the passage of years and the need to save some of these moments of stillness. The clocks, watches and rooster suggested the marking of time, while the orchids, Egyptian sarcophagus and the woman’s watch shattered at Hiroshima evoked for me our brief, fragile lives.

In preparation for this assignment, I cleared my minds of designs and intentions and allowed my feelings to dictate image choices for their emotional appeal. I then considered the clippings and let a theme emerge; I then realized that I was stressed by my own choice to work on this assignment rather than attend to pressing but less interesting commitments. I turned 48 this week, and it seems there are always more chores than time left, yet I feel a desperate need to preserve some time for things I love, like art.

Image by Sophie Lagacé 2013, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.

Mail Art

780x587xpisarro1904.jpg.pagespeed.ic.CJNj_4-R2sThe topic for Week 3 of my online class “Introduction to Art: Concepts & Techniques” is “Correspondence With Memory” and focuses on mail art.  We covered three key artists who do mail art: Ray Johnson and his moticos, Ryosuke Cohen and his Braincell series (neither of which did much for me), and Eleanor Antin and her 100 Boots series (which I really liked.)

Some classmates have posted links to good resources on mail art, including:

I have limited experience with mail art.  My two inspirations are J.R.R. Tolkien’s Father Christmas Letters and Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine correspondence.

tolkien-address1For years, Tolkien entertained his children around the holidays with letters from Father Christmas (known as Santa Claus in North America) filled with tales and sketches of the year’s events at the North Pole.  This book inspired me as a kid and teen to illustrate my own letters.  I don’t ever remember believing in Père Noël/Santa Claus/Father Christmas, but I remember figuring on early that the adults around me liked it when kids sent letters to the North Pole, not only for the cuteness factor but to have a useful list in hand.  So I illustrated mine with water colour images in Tolkien’s style, often writing on behalf of my younger siblings as well (at their request.)

To me, this was a piece of art for my parents and a joke between us.  Little did I know that they were actually sending copies through the post office, since Canada handles the mail for the North Pole!  The year my letter ended up published in a local newspaper, I was in high school and rather mortified that everyone seemed to think I actually believed in Santa!

Mai-Art-MA03Two decades ago, I stumbled on Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence and absolutely loved it.  Bantock’s lush images and collages, which continued to appear in subsequent books, were a delight to discover.  I had to examine each in minute detail to discover little connections and motifs shedding light on the story and the entire image.

Art Assignment: “Time Saved”

Last week’s assignment in my online class “Introduction to Art: Concepts & Techniques”, taught by Professor Anna Divinsky of Penn State College of Arts & Architecture via Coursera, was “The Fantastic and You”.  We talked about dadaist, surrealist, and independent fantastic artists of the first half of the 20th century like Henri Rousseau, Salvador Dali, Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Marc Chagall, etc.  We were asked to produce an art piece in this spirit and to include an artist statement on the how, what, and why of our piece.

Art piece (collage): "Time Saved"

This collage is made of images cut or torn from magazines dating from 1945 to 2013 plus a map of a fictitious post-apocalypse version of my city of origin (helpfully torn to shreds by my cat). The images are glued onto butcher paper in ragged layers allowed to interweave in order to provide a three-dimensional effect.

I arranged the images into interlocking triangle patterns suggesting either time flowing or time standing still, trying to evoke moments frozen by memory or history against the passage of years and the need to save some of these moments of stillness. The clocks, watches and rooster suggested the marking of time, while the orchids, Egyptian sarcophagus and the woman’s watch shattered at Hiroshima evoked for me our brief, fragile lives.

In preparation for this assignment, I cleared my minds of designs and intentions and allowed my feelings to dictate image choices for their emotional appeal. I then considered the clippings and let a theme emerge; I then realized that I was stressed by my own choice to work on this assignment rather than attend to pressing but less interesting commitments. I turned 48 this week, and it seems there are always more chores than time left, yet I feel a desperate need to preserve some time for things I love, like art.


Edit: I received a peer score of 21 out of a possible 25, which I honestly think is too generous for the piece; I would have given it a lower score.

I received the following comments:

  • peer 1 → It’s great. Very visually appealing and your message gets across well.
  • peer 2 → Not bad
  • peer 3 → Nothing to criticise. Got very much pleasure of viewing your art-work. I liked especially your 3 dimensions effect, it makes the entire work alive.