Time, much time went into the Pride, Trans, and American flags. Making patterns takes time. When I first started drawing patterns the marking reminded me of quilting. But, I thought, much less time. Not so sure about that anymore. Does it really take less time to draw a mark as it does to stitch one?
The problem with the amount of time needed to finish a piece is all in my head. Not that the time is in my head, that that it is a problem is what is in my head. Watching Great Pottery Throw Down I heard one of the artists say as she made a sculpture, "It's nice to spend time with a piece." I quickly wrote that down and posted it at my desk.
Time isn't something to fly through, just like finishing art isn't to fly through. What I'm infusing in the art I create is my vision, emotions, connections, experiences, and love.
This is especially important to me while creating these pieces because they grew out of an admission to myself that I now see the American flag as a symbol of threat to me and my way of thinking, the way I choose to live, the people I love, and the things I value. I see the flag being held aloft as a dare and a threat of violence. I didn't always see that, and this I believe. If the American flag isn't redefined, re-claimed as a symbol of freedom not bullying, of inclusion not exclusion, and of idealism not indoctrination then the American flag will become what the Rebel flag is now--offensive and outdated.
I'm off my soapbox now. Here are some images of the pieces as they progress.
After making all the patterns in the flags, I cut the stylized flags into strips and wove them together. Next I created a patterned substrate to put the flags on. Some of the backgrounds I wrote on. All got dots and a dark top coat. Finally, I collaged the flags to their backgrounds. Below is a peek at the finished pieces.
Each of these is a sketch, which means to me that I've used scratch paper and made the images rather quickly to get a visual of my idea.
I started working on Pride pieces months ago. Does that happen with you, too, starting something with enough time to hit a deadline, then missing the deadline anyway? I think what took time with these pieces was me not knowing where to start. I knew I wanted to avoid showing anything traumatic; I wanted to avoid being cliche, and I wanted to be respectful.
My first sketches were of faces, which I cut portions of the paper away. The holes, in my mind, are to create layers and symbolize the complexity of an individual. I distorted the faces, which is what I do when I draw faces. I find distorted faces more interesting. But I didn't finish the pieces.
Weeks past, and this bit of Walt Whitman's Song of Myself kept coming to mind during the weeks.
"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
I'm leaving the faces aside for now. Instead, I turned to the flags-- Trans, Pride, American. I made each with water color in a simplistic design with no effort to make any of the flags realistic. The proportions aren't even correct, because I used 8.5" x 11" paper. On each flag I created a pattern, (or will create a pattern) several patterns. Patterns to me add complexity--multitudes, if you will--add movement and energy. Creating patterns also gives me an opportunity to spend more time with each piece.
The pieces are still WIP (works in progress), but I want to post this in June, and I might not finish before the end of June. Creating patterns by hand is slow work. (I'll write an entry about the slow work of creating at another time.) The next step, the part I'm not to yet, is to enmesh the flags.
But that's another post.