Heart Rock…

Queen of Hearts Project

There are many artists that I admire. One is Laolu. How he carries a story with symbolism and contrast is just epic.  Another artist I love is David H. Dale. My sister and I had the chance to ‘study’ in his studio for a short time a long time ago. He introduced us to watercolor painting and his home/studio was surrounded by flowers of all types. A mixed media artist that used beads in many of his works and they are just amazing, again full of color and the details were mesmerising. So it made my heart skip a bit when I read the Aljazeera article on Peju Alatise where she mentioned that one of his exhibitions showed her that art sells.

A few weeks ago, as part of her ‘Paradox, Paradigms and Parasites’ exhibition, there was ‘Geodes’. Based on how these wonderful crystals are made, they need a pocket buried in volcanic rocks and with time, minerals seep in, layer by layer, creating something so beautiful in which many have sought, fought and killed for. With this piece, Alatise asks us if we seek the the precious gem, the human inside this shell we wear everyday. Do we value the layers of our years and experiences that come together to make us us? Or are we just the cheapest tools used to find the next gem that would be placed on our mantles or wear as jewelry? The idea behind this piece spoke to me and I had to make a heart version of it.

Mine isn’t made from Stonecasts, metal stands and resins. No no. Just good ole paperclay and glitter. It was a quick one as I already had paperclay ready and a heart shape cut out. I made the edge first with a big enough hole in the middle. While this dried, I formed a person and quickly placed him in the hole. Then I filled out the edge into the hole until I got it shaped to what I wanted.

Once it was dried, I painted the heart Black and the person Silver. Then filled up around the person with black glitter.

Of course, it doesn’t step up to Peju’s Geodes but I can firmly say that I am inspired by her.  Her work pushes me everytime I see it because she is what I would want to be like. Not just the exhibitons, the travelling and all, no. More than that. To be able to put out work that captures you in such grace. To be able tranform an idea from thought into existence with such power. To refuse to be the norm and live by your tune, whether accepted or not and live life in it’s true form. That is what I would want to emulate from her. That is what I take from the pieces of her journey I have seen in her work and her life.

 

 

Compromise: It Comes In A Set of Three

Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

I don’t know why I am attracted to the number 3. Maybe it’s the holy trinity, the number of Matrix movies, the primary colors, the rule of thirds, I really don’t know. But I have noticed that when I work, I tend to work in threes. I think it’s because I read somewhere that it’s the number of the divine or it’s probably because my sister chose 5 and 11 just doesn’t sound like a number one falls in love with, you know and I just read that 3 is the lucky number for Sagittarius so I guess I am on the right path.

It is usually the number in a set of paintings I work on. It is probably because I am exhausted on that idea and not sure what else can be done to extend it…or I just like the fact that it is just three paintings like “Compromise”.

I actually started working on it with one in mind then added 2 more.

The first was of the masquerade forms bending over and into each other. After prepping and drawing my shapes on the canvas, I started layering the forms with my paperclay. I worked quickly over it so that it doesn’t dry out. I do spray water to keep it from drying but not too much as this tends to slow down adding details for me.

Once I was done, I go over the layers and the edges with a styrofoam ball wrapped in cling film to make it smooth and clean out curves, grooves and more. Then I add details into it, do a few more touch ups and let it dry.

After seeing what my my sketch was like on a bigger surface, I felt like one would be too lonely as it was done on a 14″ by 14″ inch canvas. it also felt incomplete. So I sketched out two more with differences in them and like what I saw. The second was for both forms to back each other and the third was for them to look like they had agreed on something or in balance with each other.

I let them dry for a few days then worked on painting them. I gave the background a wash of warm colors because the masquerades were painted black. I wanted them to stand out of the canvas and also give the details the contrast they needed to be seen once I gave them colors as well.

When I first started working on Compromise, I was targeting a colorful set of forms that seem to just be dancing. But once I was done, it felt more like one was suppressing the other, bending the other’s will to take more space because it feels like it can. They seem to think they don’t have much in common with each other but how can they when they can’t see what makes both of them unique. And I felt like that made the story incomplete. As much I hate to admit it, I always prefer a happy ending or at least, everyone getting what they deserve, justice for all, karma coming full circle. which was why I made the other two.

The second one depicts both of them, now on the same level. No one is occupying or suppressing the other. However, with their backs touching, it shows that both are not ready to listen and they have come to a stalemate. But better that than suppression and the occupation of another’s space.

And the third, I guess the third speaks for itself. Compromise. Their heads face each other, tilted the way you do when you don’t want to miss what the other is saying. They see each other, they notice that they have the same colors, same forms, just different in order. The differences make them more intertesting as one does not overshadow the other. There is respect of space, acknowledgement of form and acceptance of differences.

Maybe that is why I feel the connection with the number 3. There is always the beginning , the middle and the end. And Compromise does that for me.

 

Strong Shoulders, Heavy Heads, Soft Hearts: How I made my Contemporary Wall Art.

Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

Women. I paint them, sculpt them, still trying to understand them. Which is funny as I am one myself. But I think that is the beauty of us, the ladies. As we are all different, there is always another way, another view, another perspective on how the world works or feels. But one thing that has always been clear is the strength of a woman. Whether used as a chain of guilt or as the wind to soar, that is a tagline that has followed womanhood.

So, an idea came to me after feeding off social media about this year’s women’s day and how women helping women kept coming up and the process to move beyond breaking the glass ceiling. it was my version of women working together to make the world a better place. Yes, it may seem a bit sappy, but I do believe that we would get there, hopefully in my time. And luckily for me, I got a 20″ by 20″ canvas during one of my earlier art supplies runs to Michael’s so I started working immediately.

After making a quick sketch and some extra touch ups on how to make my piece, I got to work. I drew out the shape of canvas first on a cardboard then drew out the designs I wanted and cut them out differently. I wanted to have 6 forms, all different shapes but still similar in form. These forms are the bases of my armatures which I added jewelry wire to give them necks. Then I covered my armatures with paperclay I made using Jonni Good’s recipe, also giving each of them different designs all over before they dried.

I was really happy with how they all turned out. Though similar in form, I wanted each of them to still have a uniqueness to them. I wanted to show women that dance to their own beat or flow according to their course.

Also had a little photoshoot with them as well.

And while the women dried, I worked on the centre of my piece, the earth.

One feature I wanted to add was how Waja women from Gombe state carry their wares. They carry it on their shoulders, not on their heads as other ethnic groups do. Truthfully, I thought it was just the Gbagyi women of Abuja that carried their wares that way. So it was a pleasant surprise hearing that Waja women did this too. From what I heard, it is because the head carried the weight of wisdom so the shoulder helps in carrying the weight of materialistic things. And in a way, it seems like that is how women seem to be. They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Paperclay Earth

Mini Photoshoot of Paperclay Woman Form

I wanted this to be a piece that reflects the innate power of women. There is a reason why if new ideas are going to be implemented in a society, women are targeted. Women are usually the carriers and enforcers of societal rules and values because they are seen as the caregivers of the next generation. It is probably one of the reasons why women that are different are often feared, ostracized and in some cases, killed because of the control they wield over change.

Once all the pieces were dried and painted, I arranged and glued them on the already painted canvas and allowed them to dry as well.

Strong Shoulders, Heavy Heads, Soft Hearts

I am happy with this piece. I can see it gracing the walls of an influencer of the world Like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or the cozy santuary of a home maker. To me, it showed how different every woman is but at the same, how each woman wants to play her part in the world she is in. But not just for herself, but for her fellow sister as well. It is also the reason why I gave them necks that allow their heads to almost lean on each other. A shoulder to carry the world and a chest to rest their heads.

It is an ode to my mothers, my sisters, my cousins and my friends. The women who have always been there in my life. Those whose stories laid the foundation of strength and those whose lives were painted with vibrant colors.

 

Strong Shoulders, Heavey Heads, Soft Hearts Wall Art