July 24, 2015 by smithartonline
Whale Talisman continues my exploration of the raw muslin surface as an art support. For many years I have had the opportunity to view various Tibetan thangka paintings at the USC Pacific Asia Museum and at the Norton Simon Museum. An additional impetus to work on this surface came by way of various Papergirl projects around the world. One common Papergirl requirement is that the work submitted be flexible enough to be rolled up and presented to the public at the conclusion of the exhibition. More information on the attraction of muslin supports may be viewed at an earlier posting, Encounter.
This piece has been airbrushed, hand painted and sewn presenting various symbols I associate with whales. The more free-form coloring at the top and bottom are related to more traditional graffiti: it is a nice touch to break out of the more rigidly defined area at the center of the work, though there are bordered references using the stenciled forms within the organic color applications.
I have started to add sewn elements to these works. Years ago I experimented with this but then abandoned it when I focused on wooden surfaces. With the push from Papergirl, I have returned to this addition. I have been doing similar additions to some of my paper-supported pieces as well. Two sources sent me back to this application of sewn buttons to the surface. The major influence came by way of the Autry Center where First Nation design is readily available to view: it was common for these artists to work beads and buttons into their work…I think the artists added these elements in because they thought they were pretty…little treasures they found along their journey. The second influence, a fellow member of the Pasadena Society of Artists, also incorporates sewn elements into her works and reminded me of my earlier foray into sewn additions; Chuka Susan Chesney’s work is well worth a visit.
Soon I will post this piece and Encounter to Papergirl Vancouver for their upcoming exhibition.