Altered Attic: Recycling passions can be too much fun!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Recycling passions can be too much fun!

Back in the old days, BC as I call them (before children), I spent hundreds of hours with a medium format camera, black and white film and abundant curiosity. Along with, of course, a fearless approach to people, property and situations with which I had no familiarity. An avid darkroom junkie, those sessions were a lot like the ones I now spend in the studio - great music at the right (loud) volume and totally in the zone - sans the chemicals that are fairly toxic when pregnant or mothering small kids. In the early-90s Photoshop was around but the world wasn't totally digital. I preferred the pursuit, capture and printing of images - test-strip prints, dodging and burning often ten or more prints before achieving the results I'd envisioned.



A month or so ago, I began thinking about incorporating my black & white prints and art. The first photo I chose was of an old truck (loved the rust, even then!) with the word "farm" scrawled on the door. It sat on the back table for a few weeks until I realized that, although not always 'typical' photos they were still focal points and as such, I could paint and collage and glue just like always. And that the finished piece would be even more original. I'm also quite sure that many mixed-media artists use their own photography, not quite sure why it seemed revolutionary at the time, just sayin.'

I started with an 11x14 canvas, cropped out almost the entire photo and used nearly everything I could get my hands on. The frame around the word farm is a painted, stained, chipboard version of the wholey paper I use in all my projects thanks to Jane at Random Arts. Then I rummaged through old book covers, wood, rusty metal junk - including the huge nail across the bottom, my fave!! - mica, fabric and used a strip of green stamps along the right edge on one of the layers. Once I got started I had a blast.
I'm now combing through prints with lots of ideas for recycling an old passion into a new(er) one!  

5 comments:

Seth said...

I love this Patti. I think you have achieved a very cohesive look despite stacking so many different backgrounds. They all read as texture and really blend rather than compete. Love the addition of the stitching and the sinmay threads hanging out. And I am totally down with using one's own photos in artwork like this. I think your choice to use a section of the photo, rather than a focal image, makes for the perfect finishing touch.

Lynn Cohen said...

So funny that SETH is your first commenter. When I first saw your work pop up on my blog list I thought of Seth. But I'd just been to his site and that wasn't there. Then I saw your name! Oh someone who does work like Seth. Or perhaps Seth does work like your! LOL Anyway, there certainly is a resemblance! Love the FARM story and part of the photo; the rusted nail and bottle caps, things you'd find on the ground around the farm house. The green stamps remind me of a time when farmers might have needed them to get by, so this says volumes; and the lace torn from a farmer's wife's dress perhaps. I bet there is a whole story in there or many stories. Thanks for sharing!

jane said...

This is a very interesting piece esp. all the layers & texture that play well with the others. It looks like you put a lot of thought into it being sure that it all worked together as one. I will send you some wholey cards today.

Caterina Giglio said...

I agree with everything Seth had to say, I use my own photos it just adds legitimacy to our work... love the layers and the word versus the image, well done!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Like you, I used to spend a great deal of time in a dark room, and like you, it often took 10 or more tries to get the perfect print. Now it can all be done using a mouse and PhotoShop. How the world has changed.

But you have really brought back the intimacy of the old, with your many layers that all work so well together. I'm super impressed with this piece. I love anything old, and this screams vintage to me, especially with the rusty nail and green stamps. Awesome job.

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