Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Still working on the Railroad...

The new sculpture-- top left-- with blue gazing ball. Johnny playing guitar. Extension cord and part of a very pink wall. That's all I got right now. So much to do! October is waning. Work-work-work!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Garden-bed sculpures coming!

This was an eighties-style straw covered etagere (World Bazaar kind of thing). Was trash, and thrown in a bonfire while we were cleaning up yard debris so the old funky grasswork could burn off--- and it did indeed--- worked a treat, and the process revealed this cool archy frame thing(left)--- like a wedding photo-op trellis you could rent somewhere, only not all sooty of course--- White.

It has been waiting quite some time for the purpose I knew it had. I stuck it in the flower bed here at Railroad a couple of weeks ago and weighted it down with rocks so it wouldn't fall over. Just it, naked.                              
Then, when I was beginning to assemble the big sculptural thing I am currently making for the bed behind this one ( fuzzy river cane is leaning out of it, in the background) I had an extra barrel band and saw it would hang nicely inside the arch. Then I had to get "fish spinners"-- one of my favorite things!  They are called barrel swivels really- but I love 'em. available at WalMart and such-- pretty cheap, a couple of bucks a pack. Lots of sizes, brass or gun-metal usually. they can be tied between any two objects and then the items can freely spin.
Annyhoo-- I used some spinners between old barrel rim and etagere frame, and also between the elements of bright color I hung inside of it with clear stretchy bead (1mm & 1.5mm) string so all can turn with breeze. The colored things I found are from  the new crop of Christmas ornaments at Michael's craft store. (NO- it's not even Halloween yet- but,  I have found the really cool stuff goes fast. I look forward to the Christmas shopping season b/c you can find crazy wacky stuff everywhere! Can use for art! Somehow people become really whimsical and over-the-top colorful at Christmastime and I am ready to pounce. Need any purple velvet thingy-ma-whozits? Better get 'em now, before the penitent season rolls around.)
The dangly things are anodized aluminium molded like starbursts of incredibly saturated lime, turquoise, fuchsia, and orange. I  tied a crystal ball on the bottom of each one too-- the stars conveniently had a top and bottom hole and Michael's had these wonderful faceted beads the size of filberts.
Photo does not quite capture the zesty understated presence. It's not a real flashy sculptural thing but it has a not-too-invasive presence as it stands in its little nature zone bordered by the brick edge. I like it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Flowers among weeds

These photos are two weeks old-- if my blog was a gerbil it would be dead with its feet in рдеे air because I have not gotten back to it in all this 
time. Writing about creating is very different from the actual doing of it. For one thing it is hot as balls this week,  damp and muggy and its really hard to maintain squirrel-like energy. So I push it and don't care that I am sweaty and have paint all over me. Rather than sitting in a nice cool cafe blithely blogging on I have been in the actual space making room for art.  What I have been doing is painting, and cleaning as I go to manage chaos--- just grabbing on to the next chunk of the whole as I finish each  little piece.
      The gallery space has progressed since these photos were taken. Tom has covered the wall of the loft with some maple paneling saved from another project, adding polish and crisp clean to an area that was raw sheetrock and studs. I am attacking every nook and cranny with the paintbrush and every wide space with a roller. My goal is to cover it all--- somehow. Each time I open a can I consider for a minute  what the previous color  wants. What do colors want? Like in W.J.T. Mitchell's book What Do Pictures Want?  I am trying to get loose from expectaions and see fresh.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The creative process

What is your creative process?
For me it is an inspiration, a chewing over how, and a search for what to shape to make it happen. I sort of don't know--- never know--- exactly what will evolve, but the decisions are engrossing, and sorting through trajectories is part of it. If I find just the right thing to satisfy some part of the concept then touching that thing calls for something else. I like designing spaces and this activity easily lures my mind away from frustrating situations. When I start to follow a mental picture I get in a flow and time bends and I just make something. Each project has a life of its own. It starts with a germ of an idea and becomes very practical, and constantly challenging as I search for the next step...

Sculpture shopping

I have an idea for a sculpture for one of the the front garden beds. These are two brick semi-circles about 18" deep, filled with  rich soil and a tangle of herbs and wild plants. Barry built them years ago, so they have had a long time to get shaggy. I am inspired by some feather-topped canes growing  in the one closest to the porch. What I imagine is a wire folly,  pergola, obelisk-- a tall pointy thing-- in scale with the height of the grasses that reach  about ten feet. I check out a mini version of my concept at Home Depot's garden center. 60 bucks, too neat, manufactured and regular-looking and it's only four feet tall. Tallahassee Nurseries probably has a larger version, of mock-Victorian iron (love it) and it's undoubtedly several hundred dollars. Art to me is about re-purposing so I hunt for materials. My idea is more of a twist at first, and I can vividly picture it but can't imagine what to use to make it or where to get the ingredients. I wish I was a welder with an old iron works to rummage. I see a giant warped upside-down tomato cage, rising to a point with a garden gazing ball on top. This unit will nestle right into the existing foliage, but still be arresting. I want to enhance and highlight, to play up what is already established plant-wise, not scrape away everything to start over with bare dirt like a roadway construction project.
This pile in above photo is at Ron Macon's perpetual yard sale extravaganza in Greensboro, two I-10 exits west of Tally. What I discovered there changed my concept somewhat. Three perfect 12-foot pieces of thin rusted re-bar, not so heavy as to be impossibly unwieldy and also flexible (important). I spotted some equally weathered metal bands off an old barrel lying nearby. These will be graduated circles to lash the three poles to, forming a tripod. Not twisty like I first thought, but not totally stiff either. I am flexible too, I realize and I can adapt my design to the materials at hand. It is more important to make something than just dream and wait. I also found a bundle of flexible wires I can use to weave with. Oh, and an old gas-cooker base that I could paint a bright color. This might fit near the top of the sculpture, with three bold  metal squiggles like  hooks that I could attach some curly wires to, threaded with big glass beads to catch the light.

More recent photos

Work in progress...

Welcome to our chaos!

       I, Becca Skinner,  am inviting you to join a conversation  about the shared spaces in various stages of  development, transition and construction in this community  known as Railroad Square, Tallahassee's Art Park.
     Head south between the edge of FSU campus (on your right) and  the Tallahassee Civic Center (on the left), to Gaines Street. You are on Railroad Avenue. This street runs up the hill that is home to  FAMU. Railroad Square is the first right from Gaines, just past All Saints (24hour) coffee house and over the railroad tracks.1027 Commercial Drive, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310, is our own studio/gallery's  address. That designates one door in series  which share a common roof. Our building is on the last row, furthest back from the park's entrance. We are situated directly across the street from Pelican Woodworks.
       The park buildings are mostly sheet metal structures that have been divided into sections. Florida Sate University's BFA Warehouse is our backdoor neighbor.
       This studio/gallery is not  by any means just my project. This particular spot (as yet unamed) is a collaboration between me and Tom Skinner and Barry Sager, mainly-- with input of course from many  friends --- and it will take shape, developing its own persona, which still remains to be seen. The first photos I am posting are some views of it now(ish), but almost daily changes happen as various ones of us stop by to add a swipe of paint, tack up a trim board, or plant a chrysanthemum in the brick planter out front.