art of life of art

While I was out of town to celebrate New Years with friends, the pipes burst in my house. I had some BIG FEELINGS to deal with.

Exhibit A:

burstPipes

If you must know, Nosey, the gauge on my propane tank was faulty and it read as full when it was actually empty, so the gas company didn’t fill my tanks. I found out when I checked my Nest cams and saw that it was raining, INSIDE.

So I JetBlued back home, shut off the water and assessed the situation. It was overwhelming, but as I tried to take photos for the insurance claim, I kept getting distracted by the beauty of the ice.

Exhibits B-Z:

And finally, after a few days spent running my kids’ stuffed animals through the dryer and dumping carpet tiles into trash bags, I escaped to the studio and made what I just had no choice but to make. It was completely involuntary.

I call it “Embezzlement + Reconstruction”, with a nod to the insurance claims process. “Pipe Burst” would have been too obvious, duh!

JessiePolk_Embezzlement&Reconstruction.jpg

ArtHop 2018

As I always suspected, I really can talk about art all day. Never quite tested the theory before though! It was a beautiful thing, just sitting in my studio this weekend, as a bajillion people came in to visit. Thanks to the people of Burlington for hopping by my studio during ArtHop 2018. And extra thanks to those that supported me with a purchase of a print or painting. I was especially proud of my art hanging at S.P.A.C.E. Gallery, shown here, which will remain up for most of the month, if you missed it.

SPACEgalleryhanging - 1.jpg

The sunken compulsion

I feel a compulsion to produce art.
I feel driven to attempt portraiture.
And I feel a need to put a hole in all my pieces. 
I find myself wondering, what if every famous piece in the museum had a hole in it? 
A Mary Cassatt mother and child, with a neon magenta hole sounds nice. 
Jackson Pollock should have cut a hole in his canvas and poured the swirling paint right in.
I don't know what else to say – it's a compulsion, a necessity, and for me, the obvious thing.
What to make next?

Seriously awesome using power tools. I feel the power.

Seriously awesome using power tools. I feel the power.

It's finally sinking in

The first inklings of my That Sinking Feeling series popped into my head in June of 2015 - it was a daydream vision of a tabletop painting with a sinking crater in the middle, and I've never forgotten it. I kept it in my head, but I wasn't able to envision how I could actually physically create such a thing. I lacked the sculpture skills to make it a reality. But I never forgot the idea. Meanwhile, I began to work with the image of a hole in the stomachs of my figural drawings and prints, and the depression or crater concept came alongside, parallel in my thoughts.

Over the course of this last year I happened to become aware of and curious about the medium of encaustic, which is a form of painting with wax. It was through this slightly more sculptural medium that I got the idea of how to construct a true depression painting. I bought wire mesh, and plaster fabric strips, and I dug out my rechargeable jigsaw tool, and I got to work. The resulting encaustic crater series has been fascinating and artistically satisfying. I am enjoying this very abstract work immensely - it's something I've felt unable to really delve into after a decade of graphic design work that kept me planted firmly in the representational zone. It's been freeing. 

As much as I enjoy the fully abstract crater pieces, I'm even more excited about the possibility of juxtaposing the abstract with the more realistic figural work I've done in the past year. My newest piece depicts my 6 year old daughter on her purple Pudd'n bike with a big crater in her stomach. There is something disturbing about a hole in a child's stomach, but I feel that it says something about the human condition, from which children are not exempt. We are all subject to struggle. 

Here is an image of the purple Pudd'n piece, in progress. The crater's not in yet, but the hole is there.

Here is an image of the purple Pudd'n piece, in progress. The crater's not in yet, but the hole is there.

Here is an image of the purple Pudd'n piece, in progress. The crater's not in yet, but the hole is there.

Halos and guts

My two recent areas of inquiry were "Glorious Ordinary" (seeking the glory in everyday life) and "That Sinking Feeling" (the stomach turning feeling when you realize something has gone wrong). In the course of my work on Glorious Ordinary, I began using a lot of halos, turning my self, my friends, and even a dog, into saints. My That Sinking Feeling work has focused on empty spaces in the gut area. But it dawned on me, for some reason as I spaced out on a flight at thousands of feet up in the air, that I could blend the two subjects. I could have both an empty stomach and a halo in the same work. I wasn't sure immediately what I was trying to say, but I liked the way the circular shapes echoed one another. Over time it became clear that the empty, black hole stomach I was drawing was a clear counterpoint to the floating glowing halos overhead, and the two had a lot to say to each other. This combined line of work is only beginning, and I haven't seen it to its fullest fruition yet, I'm sure, but I am liking where it is are going so far. Here are a few sketchy images I have been playing with:

Monotypes on paper

Lips a-flyin'

Work in Progress: Lips In Space

Work in Progress: Lips In Space

Lips in Space are coming along. I enjoy when my work has a clear message or purpose (at least in my own mind), but there is something so liberating about just letting your mind wander into the land of dreams and oddities. As an added layer of complexity, I used Bernie Sanders (above) and Hillary Clinton (below) as lip models. I plan to add some Trumplips and Cruzlips and maybe Obamalips just for fun. It says something about politicians and about politics, but you should definitely decide for yourself what that is.

The origin of ideas

Lips In Space

Lips In Space

Sometimes my art ideas come from an issue that I'm struggling with personally. Usually I am just going through life as usual, listening to my normal inner dialogue and I drift into a daydream and that's when the idea for a piece of art comes to me. Lately all my art ideas have been falling into two categories: Glorious Ordinary, dealing with the interplay between the mundane and the magical, and That Sinking Feeling, with the sinking feeling one gets in their gut when something terrible happens (see my About page). But there is a third category, the Wacky Dreamstuff. Occasionally as I daydream, I will go deeper into the dream part of my brain, where nothing makes sense and weird inexplicable things get mixed up together as they often do in sleeping dreams. This is where the sketch pictured above comes from. I call it Lips in Space, and I'm imagining a backdrop of outer space behind those lips. For some reason, though I made this sketch months ago, the idea is still popping into my head from time to time. I figure it's resonating with my for a reason, and it's just intriguing me, so I'm just going to go ahead and make a more developed work from it. Stay tuned for Lips in Space.