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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Home Is Where The Heart Is…

Queen of Hearts Project

After alot of travelling for the holidays, from London, Ontario to Boston, Massachusetts then Minneapolis, Minnesota and back to Canada, I can definitely say that I was physically exhausted. But my heart was full. This was the first time I got to have a lot of family members around me and I cherished every moment of it.

However, every story has an end and my very own Hallmark version of a great holiday shuttled back to reality as I found myself in many greyhound buses in the cold winter.

Even though I miss those moments, they definitely made my heart bigger. The winter didn’t seem as harsh and I felt like home wasn’t as far anymore. I have people at this part of the world that have known me for forever. And that is what this heart is.

I enjoyed making this because it has a mix of different elements. I used party tissue paper and made 2 layers by gluing two sheets together. I wanted it to have a see through feel that would seem delicate but strong enough to not bend over under the weight of the added elements.  After the sheets dried, I cut out 2 hearts and also cut out a tiny window almost at the middle of each of  them. I made two tiny paintings (I think I should consider making tiny paintings. So Kawaii.) and placed them at the windows, located where the heart would be on a person’s body.

   

One painting represents the people that are dear to me tug my heart strings. The other is a depiction of the location I call home with a little touch of politcal humor in it.

The last touch is the fringe I made with white yarn. After I glued down the miniature paintings to one layer, I added strings of yarn all round the edge then placed the second layer of tissue on top then left it under a heavy book to make sure it dries well.

I used watercolor to give it a splash of color andthen combed out the strings to make it fluffy. I had to give a layer of white acrylic paint on it to cover my mistakes with the watercolor so the see through was over shadowed. But it stll looks good. Just what I wanted it to look like.

A nice represantation of my loved ones.

‘The Heart of Man Is Very Much Like The Sea…’

Queen of Hearts Project

When I started making hearts for 2018, my aim was to make it like a journal. Everyday, I draw out what the day felt like to me and if I can, create it. And it was a grand plan and I started off strong, drawing out my feelings, feeling like the most accomplished artist that has ever lived as I imagined what shall become of my hearts at the end of the year. And yes, it didn’t take long before it hit me that I counted and groomed all my eggs before they hatched. But let’s not focus on that right now. Instead, allow me to take you through some of the hearts I already have.

Van Gogh once said

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too.’

These words rang true as I designed this specific heart.

Something dissapointing happened. I cried my eyes out but at the same time, the urge to throw so much emotion at the situation came rushing in as well. There I was, anger, pain and love clashing and storming in me and yet, I had to take control over them as I acknowledged my life experiences. How different choices could have led my life down a different path. This heart’ represents that moment for me. The grey is for the storm, with red rhinestones that remind me of precious moments and the chains of beads are my tears (This was a really literal piece).

I love this piece alot as it remnds me that life is a mix of such days and even those are precious too.

 

 

Happy Valentine

Queen of Hearts Project

It feels like kismet, you know. The very first post about my year long project is on Valentine’s day.

For a long time, it seemed like I had a love hate relationship with val’s day. I only really started enjoying val’s day when I stopped hoping and wishing for this fairytale love story to happen to me. It was the year I accepted that I may never have that experience and that that is actually ok that val’s day became a fun day(I was part of the organising team for a val’s party and we painted the school red…literally).

Since then, it has become a day that I mark with friends, loved ones and now, in my studio, making hearts. In my bid to challenge myself in 2018, I decided to make a heart every day. Yes. 365 hearts should be my end result by december 31st, 2018.

I won’t lie. It has been hard keeping up with it as I have other projects I am working on, building both my portfolio and my business as an artist. But this is mine, you know. The more I work on it, the more ideas come and there are 365 ways to make a heart. This is just one of them.

There are more hearts to show you, I promise to do that in the coming days. I am still not sure what to call my project though. I am kinda between ‘Queen of Hearts’ or ‘My Heart Project’. Hmmm, maybe something else. What do you think?