B.F.A Thesis Show

January 18, 2012

“The work I have produced over the course of this year has been based on the social make up of the rural communities I call home, and my own drive to collect. My current body of work begins here, toying with both my desire to document and present my own community and my impulse to hoard and accumulate objects that I identify with. I have chosen four specific professions, to make four very precise and individual portraits, including, a hairdresser, a garbage man, a floor sander, and a secretary. Focusing in on manual labor and the trades, I have utilized materials specific to each subject, to create a particular environment directly concerning the line of work of each individual. Each of the subjects that I have chosen is crafted exclusively from the material associated with his or her trade. The monotony of the ‘daily grind’ is captured by the large accretion of the material defining each figure.  In incorporating sonic elements, I have condensed and concentrated audio for each figures own voice and the tools they use, I strategically place the viewer directly in the atmosphere and perspective of the subjects. Deliberately, I selected four individuals, who not only live in my community, but are people who I associate with weekly, if not daily. This familiarity translates into an intimacy and complexity with each of the occupations. ”

Ever since high school, It was instilled in me by my teacher to keep a good sketchbook. Since I was around the age of 9 I’ve been keeping one , I’ve accumulated close to 30 now, some more full than others. I enjoy leafing through them…especially some of the earlier ones. I kept three sketchbooks last year and filled them up ( for the most part), and I thinks it really when I started to understand what to put in it and how to organize it. I no longer have that new sketchbook anxiety (fear of starting a sketchbook because you didn’t want the first page to look like feces and if you mess up your too afraid of ripping it out for fear of wasting paper and money.)

I digress

I enjoy blogging, but I feel like some artists may use it as a way to get out of keeping a sketchbook. I say why not integrate the two.

so here ladies and gents is pieces of my beloved sketchbook, and my thought process behind my ‘staged photo’ project.

Untitled-1Untitled-3Untitled-5

Lastly I feel the need to give props to Keri Smith and her book Wreck this Journal. I call it ‘Freshman Foundations ” in a book. But basically it gives you prompts to destroy the book. Some of my favorite pages included “cover this page in fruit stickers” and “take this book in the shower with you” .The back even has a mailing label and it tells you to tape the book shut and mail it to yourself. It really changed the way I kept a sketchbook….I encourage you all to splurge on the 10-15 bucks for the book. You wont be sorry.

Tracey Baran

September 30, 2009

Before I explain my thought process behind my next project, I feel the need to introduce an artist that got me to my idea.

 Plus, I think she was an extraordinary photographer, and I find it timely to talk about her and her work as there is a exhibition in her honor through October.

Tracey Baran was born and raised, in my neck of the woods: Bath New York, A small town that highlights include a large Salvation Army, and home of the oldest County Fair in the country : The Steuben County fair ( which really brings people out of the woodwork.) She attended School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC. Many of her photos revolve around small town life mixed with big ideas. A lot of the photos are actually taken in Bath, and of either of her or her family. Sadly Tracey passed way last November at the very young age of 33.

I did not know about Tracey until after her unfortunate and surprising passing. But once I found out that there was actually a well establish artist from Bath, I did my research, and needless to say, I fell In love with all of Tracey’s pieces. Leslie Tonkonow Artworks+Projects in NYC is arranging an auction to help benefit  a scholarship in her name. If I could fork over a 2500 dollar price tag I would buy one of her prints in a HEARTBEAT. But I live on a college art students budget, so that is highly unrealistic.

Someday when I am ridiculously wealthy and famous I’ll buy one, which will happen right after the second week in never .

But that’s why the internet is a beautiful and glorious thing, I can look at Tracey’s images for hours for free! Because due to my work load this semester , 2 jobs, and my observing in classrooms for my teacher certification, I doubt I will get to NYC before the exhibition closes October 17th or even be able to afford a trip down there.

Here are some of my favorites of hers

Tracey Baran. 'See Through Me' 2005 ©

Tracey Baran. 'See Through Me' 2005 ©

 

Tracey Baran. 'I miss you already' 2004 ©

Tracey Baran. 'I miss you already' 2004 ©

Tracey Baran . 'Oasis' 2004 ©

Tracey Baran . 'Oasis' 2004 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Son and Father'. 2005 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Son and Father'. 2005 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Wishing, Hoping'. 2007 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Wishing, Hoping'. 2007 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Untitled. Cherry in Hand'. 1998 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Untitled. Cherry in Hand'. 1998 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Club Valentine' 2003 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Club Valentine' 2003 ©

 

And here is an image I took that was inspired by her 2003 print “Club Valentine”

Courtney Wilcox. 'Club Valentine' 2009

Courtney Wilcox. 'Club Valentine' 2009

 

After I found out about Tracey’s passing, I took my camera out for a spin with some expired slide film (that I eventually had the incompetent workers at Walgreens cross processes because I didn’t have the means to do it myself). Club Valentine is no more than 5 miles from my house, so that was my first stop of the day. When I got there the paint was peeling and the exposed areas of steel were rusted and severely weathered. I found it fitting and significant that the sign was falling apart and somewhat decaying.  Now that I remember it had to be in the middle of winter, but I remember it being an abnornmally warm day ( looking back, I recall being quite peeved that there was going to be a hint of snow in shot, which now I don’t mind so much ).The owners have since re-painted the sign, and when they saw my reductive woodcut of it ( I used my original photograph for reference ) at a local art show , I think they were somewhat taken aback by it, and they made sure I knew that the sign was repainted. They also didn’t seem to understand the reference of the photograph or how I was inspired by Baran’s work.

What are you going to do? You cant please everybody, certainly not in a small town. I need to get out of here.

So now you all know about Tracey Baran, because undoubtedly she will come up in my conversations quite frequently.