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.

 

 

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

 

Nothing New Under The Sun.

Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

In August 2017, I got an email that opened something for me. I got accepted to be part of Culture Days in London, Ontario, where I could display an art piece of mine. This email came at a time I was struggling. Looking to find my purpose in life and just what path I should follow that would let me live my life to its fullest potenial. A friend once said that I was a push over a few years back and it hit me to think that I always gave the reigns of my life to someone else to control. But this email felt like I was finally taking it back.

So I wanted to show how much I deserved this chance given and come up with a concept that spoke to me about London. Having lived here for about 5 years, considering that I moved home then finally relocated here again, I was out to show off how london had influenced me and started with furor.

There was no method to the madness I fell into and this led to sleepness nights, no appetite and an anxiety that never slowed down. I kept changing the ideas and oh, it was a train wreck…then I stopped. It hit me that I couldn’t do by trying to show off that I deserved this path. It was never about deserving, it was just about accepting. I wouldn’t be the first person to have go through anything in life. What issues, problems, joy, happiness I have ever had, someone else has done it already. My mix is unique to me but definitely not the experience. There is absolutely nothing new under the sun and that was it. My concept was here.

So, with better confidence and peace in myself, I set about creating my vision. I made about 17 figures from paper and wire using the papermache technique for all of them. As they would all share the same form, each would capture a different movement. This is to represent humanty basically.  While they dried, I worked on making swirls that represent the sun using newspaper for them. I wanted to get something close to the swirls you see in Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ as he is an inspiration to me.

I wanted this piece to be big as I always seem use smaller sizes to convey my ideas. So I used 2 16″ by 20″ and 4 8″by 10″ canvases for this. The plan was to arrange the pieces in such a way that you can switch them up when you hang them so that you get different scenes from this whole piece.

After painting all the canvases, the figures and the swirls, I finally arranged them. To add to their differences, I painted them in similar colors but each in a different way and arranged them in different hieghts across the 4 8″ by 10″ canvases. Then the swirls were placed on the bigger 16″by 20″ canvases as well. And finally, like a puzzle, they came together as my art piece.

This piece got good reviews from all that saw it. The colors stood out, it calls out for your attention and that was what I wanted. I wanted it to remind everyone that there is nothing new under the sun, hence the title. We may all have different stories, different experiences, both good and bad. But if the Sun could compare our stories to the ones he has seen as we travel round him, there wouldn’t be anything new. We all journey the same, we all want the same things. A home to call our own, another to love without restraints and walk our lives with a legacy to leave behind.

So…knowing that someone else had or has a journey similar to mine make me feel like I am in good company. I shall, one day, reach my destination. It may be a road less followed but the path has been beaten for me to follow. Ask the sun. He knows.

Busy Busy Easter.

Queen of Hearts Project, Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

Happy New Month, everyone. I hope you had a wonderful Easter.

Mine was busy as I was making some postables from some of the hearts I made for my Queen of Hearts Project like the one featured in this postable. I also just signed up for a pop-up event and realised that I don’t have as much as I should for that day. So, I got the engines revving and now working away at my small studio. Here are some things I have been working on:

I really love these balls. Made from styrofoam and paperclay, I want to make them as sets of 3 or 4, depending on how much time I have. But so far, the different colors really give a nice variety. I also gave them hooks so that they can be hung as well either from a tree or off the ceiling.

These guys are as cool as funk. They look like they should be an album cover. Also made from Styrofoam and paperclay. These would be great as mantle pieces.

Still working on this set of recycled bottle art. When I doubt what I want to do, flowers are always my saving grace. These are going to be poppies and I would like to give them a soft pastel color background…that’s the plan.

So, these are the projects keeping me busy right now. I still have alot to do like making their carry-on bags and more. This will be my first event of the year so I really want to start it off right.

Have a wonderful new month. I hope you get to achieve alot in this new month. We have officially entered the second quarter of the year. 2018 is whizzing past quickly. Well, here is to a productive April.

 

A Gathering of Hearts

Queen of Hearts Project

Happy new month. March came in quickly and didn’t come alone. Snow and chilly winds got me all snuggly in bed as I watched the Ten Commandments and Prince of Egypt for like the 100th time for each. It was the type of day to just relax, have a cup of hot chocolate and catch up with your body. So while I daydream a bit, let me show off some progress I have made with my hearts.

There are some hearts that aren’t really based on my emotions or feelings of that given day. These are generally from ideas that came up and I thought to see how they would turn out.

My King Amsa was triggered by the song, King Of My Castle, by Cris Brann. It kept playing my head even though I can swear that  haven’t heard it in years. So, I am the Queen of my own castle…and hearts.

A gold filled heart that was triggered by a sad story I read online. I don’t remember all the details but it was about a girl who was jilted by her lover and it was such a deep hurt, I felt it. So in hopes that I could send a message out to hurting hearts, I made this one. Sometimes, a heart may need to be wounded to show it’s capacity and potential.

This one is about self care. Basically, see your heart as a garden, water it, tend it, feed it with the good stuff and let it flourish, bathed by your passions and self love.

I use a makeshift palette by using cling film wrapped around cardboard when I paint. It has worked so well for me and the paint leaves behind a story of my color choices in my paintings and sculptures.

The tired Traveller is a reminder of my bus rides during the christmas holiday that I mentioned in an earlier post. I knew I would look back to those days and laugh so I gave her a nice bus, painted yellow as a shout out to Lagos Public Transportation, the all enduring Danfo bus.

Ok, I guess they do have some emotions attached to them. In some ways, my heart had to find a way to get into all of them.

So, have a wonderful March ahead.

 

Black Heart Woman

Queen of Hearts Project

Black Heart Man‘ by Bunny Wailer was a song that played quite alot when I lived with my mom. I never really listened to the words but hummed along as it filled the living room and she danced away to it. It seems quite ironic to dance to it now that I am older and have seen the lyrics of the song. It’s quite dark, warning children to be wary of ‘Stranger Danger’ but also saying that anyone can become ‘Stranger Danger’, given the right environment. Stranger Danger in the sense that there is a villian in each and every one of us.

Too dark? Sorry, not trying to pull you there. But see how easy it was to fall into that black hole as memories of nasty experiences spring up in your head. A neighbour was mean to you as a kid, a cousin accused you of something you didn’t do and all those horror stories that you keep locked away at the deepest part of your soul because if you don’t, you mirror your demons.

But…

You don’t become them. You turn that blackness into soil, ready to take in every seed and make them bloom into creatures of beauty. I know. I have lived it because I knew that my life could have been better. However, the past is the past and if I wallow in the mud instead of turning it into my garden bed, they win, right?

So my heart is a garden. Lilies and roses blossom side by side, sunflowers follow the light of my soul, daisies and violets dance along with the wind of hope.

Yours can bloom too.

Sand in the Cracks of My Heart

Queen of Hearts Project

The weather has been dreadful. The sun has been shy lately, hiding like a child, eagerly waiting to be found but still wants to win their game of hide and seek. And while listening to Ruby Gyang’d new song, Oya Dance, I must say that I miss warmth.

Growing up in a tropical country, Nigeria, Canada makes me miss extremely hot days and warm swimming pools. I remember days as kids when extended family members all gathered in Lagos and we go to the beach. My dad would always caution us to stay to away from the waves but my uncle, my dad’s younger brother, was more of the risky one. He would splash and carry us in while keeping an eye out for my dad. Those are fun memories.

But my most recent memory of the beach are of the summers I got to spend in Italy. I fell in love with the clear blue water, the hot sand and the whiffs of baberqued meat as we travelled along the coast of  the Ionian sea. I amsure you now understand why my heart yearns for summer heat.

Well, as I cannot be there physically, I made a version of a happier me by the sea.

This was made from tissue paper, a cereal box cut out of a heart. After giving the cut out 2 layers of paper, I glued up tissue paper to make the waves. I painted really tiny versions of myself and my husband, basking under the sun like lazy lizards. I finally painted my beach, added some glitter to make it shine under a light and also painted up my sea with foamy waves.

This is a cute heart and right now, I envy tiny me as she is captured in that tranquil moment forever.