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.

 

Top Ten Tools I Use In My Art Studio.

Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

It always starts with something small. You get a glue gun here, you buy some glitter there, an “ooh that would make a wonderful addition to my center piece” statement or a “I wonder how I can use that” question and now, you have encroached a space in your home in which no one can lay claim to. You have created a monstrousity of a haven in which you never venture out of except when finding more supplies to fill up the smallest space you find. Welcome to your studio or in this case, mine.

 

As I have taken over my dinner table, I have been able to streamline most of my activities into these main categories:

  • Jewellery
  • DIY and Craft
  • Look at me. I am an Artist.

One of my hobbies is to surf through the internet (let’s be honest here, Pinterest) looking for inspiration, which is why I am surrounded by many supplies. Because of how available paper is to me, I quickly learned how to recycle paper and use it in most of my projects, products and art. But I don’t use it alone.

So, here is my top ten list of must have tools in my work space.

1. Glue: Elmer’s glue is a constant in my studio. I do make my own papermache paste when tackling bigger works but even then, I still add some white glue into the mix to give me what I need.

 

2. Wire: This is what I use to build armatures for my figurines. There are different strengths and thickness to wires. If you would like have an armature that doesn’t bend over easily, It is best to look for the lesser gauge numbers. For example, the 16 gauge wire would have more strength than the 24 gauge wire. I once went for a sculpting class in which the artist used those wire clothing hangers and they worked perfectly as they could carry the weight of the molding clay we used. I do also wrap my armatures with masking tape to reduce their contact with my moist paperclay so that no funny business goes on while I work on a sculpture.

3. Ziplock bags: To keep my freshly made paperclay moist and moldable. This way,  I can make a good amount of clay and store for later use in the fridge without it coming in contact with food though during the winter, it tends to stay on my table as the cool air keeps it from drying.

 

4. Paint: what can you do without paint? I use different types of paint for my work and they range from acrylic paint to enamel paint. There is a variety of paint in the market like the Martha Stewart Line  and the Apple Barrel Line, but I personally, have used FolkAcrylic paint and it has been wonderful to my work especially their metallic line. Decoart is also a great alternative as they have a great variety of colors as well.

 

5. Varnish/ Sealer: to protect the end product to avoid moisture getting in as it is made from paper. The two main ones I use in my studio are  Duraclear Varnish and Varathane Water Based OutDoor Varnish. Duraclear I use mainly for jewellery projects as though worn, they are usually handled with more care and also, it is a line used by other jewellery designers. Varathane is used for my bigger projects like Nothing New Under the Sun and more as it is used to protect both indoor and outdoor surfaces. It helps to ensure the longevity of my works without them yellowing or moisture seeping in.

6. Sculpting tools: These a great addition to my work as they help in various projects like my jewellery and sculpting. I easily make things I find around me as tools like toothpicks, skewers, old credit cards, old brushes and forother artists, dollar store dentist sets, but it is great to have sculpting tools in your arsenal.

 

7. Glue gun: I believe that a glue gun was one of my first craft tool purchase ever. And after many conquests and battles, she is still waxing strong. This is an important purchase so get one that suits your needs as well as the glue sticks. Don’t forget the glue sticks.

 

8. Jewellery pliers: Also one of my first purchases and they too have kept my studio alive. As my journey into the arts started with making jewellery, jewellery pliers are always around me. I use them as well to bend and cut wires in making my armatures, fixing and making wire jewellery and more. The round nose plier, the cutter and the bent nose plier are some I would recommend to have in your stash.

 

9. Masking tape: Everytime I find that my masking tape has gone halfway, a tiny panic sets in. So I tend to get more than one on an art supply run. I use it alot in my studio for taping down paintings, making clean lines in a painting, a quick layer for my armature wires, a snatcher of glue gun webs and a protector of my pinkie when cutting through a shipping box for project parts.

 

10. Cutters: You can never go wrong having cutters. As of now, I have 2: a box cutter and a craft knife cutter. The box cutter is for the heavy duty cutting, when I cut out parts for a project from shipping boxes. The craft knife cutter is for delicate materials and more fine cutting like for leaves, patterns and more. A popular one is the X-acto knife.

There are other tools I use but these are the major big timers for me. If you are just starting your journey down the artistic path, whether crafter, fashionista, artist, have a look through and see what you can add to your studio to make the best working space for you.

Have a great one.

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.

How to Make This Easy Peasy Fabric Hair Bow

Tutorial Tuesday

The weather is so much nicer now. Even though it is my number 1 go to small talk topic, I do seem to talk about the weather alot. Coming from Nigeria, hot was the usual and there were other topics that circled around the woes of every nigerian. Actually, thinking about it now,  we don’t do so much small talk. It was always straight forward. I mean, the heat already makes you cranky so no beating around the bush.

But I digress. We have entered the season of weddings, parties and all out fun days. I can wear my hair out again, rock an afro or twists, take a shower without a shower cap and also accessorise without having to consider a winter hat. Yes, wearing a crown would be easier these days. But as I haven’t made my crown yet, I do have this fabric hair bow I made last year.

I made this fabric hair bow to go with an Ankara dress I sewed and is wearable.

And I absolutely love how it came out. It was quick, easy to make and you can practically use anything that comes your way for this. Plus, who doesn’t love a chance to dress up 😉 ?

So, this is how to make this fabric hair bow. These are the steps below. And you can easily download this tutorial to always have it with you any day, anytime.

Now that you know how to make the lovely fabric hair bow, don’t be shy and share your version of your lovely hair piece at the comments below. I would love to see it.

Have fun and God bless.

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.