Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Journey of Art and Life

My art has always had an element of self-discovery.  If it weren't for my art, I don't think I would have gotten to know myself so well.  I believe in order to have any sort of healthy grasp on life, you first have to know yourself.  Very well.  My subconscious has forced itself into my art, not always with my direct permission.  At times when my thoughts and emotions were clouded, my art would always tell me what was going on.  Freshman year of college was the one year of my life I would say I was depressed.  (In spite of my reservations of showing you such amateur, emo art) here are a few examples of the art that came out of that:

Yikes, my art has come a long way since then.  But the point is, I would not even know what a piece of art was about until AFTER I made it.  

The top image was literally my first assignment of art school.  I seriously thought I chose these poses at random.  It wasn't until the critique that I realized what I had done when people said, "Wow, all of these figures are closed off and lonely."  Imagine my surprise at how everyone knew exactly what I was feeling before I did!  

The last one, called "Divided" was about how I felt separated from myself.  I was torn between a boyfriend in Virginia, and art school in Baltimore, in which I made no friends the first year.  I was depressed and I didn't feel like myself anymore.

Fast forward to after graduating from Maryland Institute College of Art.

Many of you may remember when I owned the Gallery Above.  It was an amazing experience and it completely consumed me.  All of the art that I made in that time period, was about me and the gallery.  You remember it as the octopus series.  Here are a few examples:

I absolutely loved the Gallery Above, but it was so challenging.  These pieces of art were heavily influenced by my daily struggles.

Throughout college and after, my art was always about me.  I needed to figure myself out.  I had wanted to create art about larger, more global issues, but my art wasn't ready for it yet.  

Now, I think I know myself pretty darn well.  I'm extremely happy, and have created a life for myself that is just awesome.  Once all that happened, I was finally able to make art about something besides myself!  Now I can make art that is a contribution to the positive change in the world.  

This was the evolution of my art until this point.  I don't think everyone needs to make a bunch of art about themselves before they can make art about anything else.  That is just what worked for me.

In recent years I have been doing a lot of critical thinking and research about how we live.  All of it has influenced my life and therefore my art.  Last night I watched a documentary that had many of the elements I have been discovering.  It was informative and inspiring.   It is Inspiration Source # 5: "I Am".  "I am" is a documentary which finds director Tom Shadyac conversing with prominent philosophers, scientists, and spiritual leaders about what ails our world and how we can improve it.  Traveling the globe to conduct his in-depth interviews, Shadyac finds insights and inspiration from Archbiship Desmond Tutu, historian Howard Zinn, philosopher Noam Chomsky and other luminaries.  It is available on Netflix.  Watch it.

Let me say it again, watch it.

This blog allows me to let you into my world as an artist.  Thank you so much for reading.


Friday, July 20, 2012

New Studio Floors! and "Clothing Optional" Exhibit

Let me tell you a little story.  It all began in May 2011 when we bought a house that had an outdoor shed that was to become my studio.  At the time I was thrilled.  I still am thrilled, but with how far my studio has come, I look back at this first photo of this place (a shed then, a studio now) and I hear a hitchcockian woman screaming.



It had no ceiling, no interior walls, no insulation, a crappy beat-up deformed floor, and rats (or mice, I never saw one, only their droppings.)  Now, thanks to my art business doing well enough to pay for it all, and of course, Mat and Xelle for SO much help, it looks like this:

The most recent addition was the flooring, which I put in myself this week.  It was the second attempt at flooring, the first attempt being cheap laminate that wasn't square, therefore would not lock together and stay down.  After a lot of effort, raw knees and hands, money, and trips to Lowe's and Home Depot later, I am quite happy with my new floors.

Charlie and Frankie are cautious of this new floor:

But not for long.

Why should I blab so much about the finishing of this space?  Because it's the DREAM STUDIO, duh!  It's actually better than any studio I have ever dreamt of.  It is my space to soak in inspiration, and create.  I really do think the studio environment feeds one's creativity, because I have made more quality art here than in any other location.  And to think just a year and a half ago I was attempting to make art in the corner of our bedroom.  That's definitely do-able, but when making art is your full-time job, there comes a time to treat it like one.

All that being said, the studio isn't quite finished yet.  We still need to build a shelf over the flat file for large vertical storage of canvases, paintings, frames, etc, and a table/counter for more surface area to work on, and a bit more storage as well.  But it's so close to being finished I can taste it!  And it tastes like art!

Alright, enough of my love affair with an art studio, here is another of my nude figure paper cuts:

I have now made 19 of these.  NINETEEN!  I had not anticipated that I would make so many, but I have been so inspired by the figure, due to the upcoming "Clothing Optional" exhibit at CityArts Cooperative.  My trip to Europe also strengthened my love of the human figure, after seeing so many beautiful sculptures by Bernini, Michelangelo, and so many others.  The figures are taken from sketches I have done during Figure Drawing Classes at Studio b., and CityArts.  (I still teach Figure Drawing every Thursday at CityArts, 6:30-8:30pm!)  

Here is the poster with info for "Clothing Optional."

I hope to see many of you at the reception!

While I have gotten positive responses to the new green tips and inspiration sources, I decided from now on to just do one or the other for each post.  It will make each post shorter, and allow will myself and the reader (you!) to focus more on each tip.

Green Tip #5: Composting.  Great for the environment, less waste, great for the soil.  Some people have the impression that this is a gross thing to have to do in your home.  On the contrary, now that I compost, I find throwing all your food in with everything else in the trash is gross.  Just get a bucket with a lid that seals well, and throw your food waste in there.  Then, dig a small hole somewhere in your backyard, and dump the food in there, cover with a layer of dirt, and you're done.  Repeat at same spot.  There are fancier ways of doing it, but this way has worked perfectly for us.  After it's in the ground, it doesn't stink.  At all.  Really.  Then you can use the compost in your garden if you so choose.  I don't know about composting meat though, since we don't have meat at our house.  But here are a couple websites with some more in-depth information on the subject:

Thanks for visiting!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Commission for a Newborn and Nude Cuts

Recently I got a very meaningful commission from an old friend.  Allie and I were best friends as kids and we were stuck together like glue.  We had a lot in common; we were both petite, could burp like lumberjacks, and mostly we both loved art.  We drew, painted, braided, beaded, and sculpted.  All the time.

So when recently she became pregnant and asked if I would do a paper cut for her baby's bedroom, I was pleased and honored.  Her baby will be named Winter Rose so she asked for either a snow flake or a rose.  I said, "How about both?" and she trusted me to make the whole piece without even seeing a sketch first.  So here is the art named "Winter Rose" for Allie and Ryan's future daughter.

"Winter Rose" hand-cut paper, 10"x10" by Heather Clements

"Winter Rose" (detail) hand-cut paper, 10"x10" by Heather Clements

"Winter Rose" progress shot, by Heather Clements

So congratulations, Allie and Ryan!

In other news, I have been making some nude figure paper cuts for an upcoming exhibit at CityArts Cooperative.  I will  share just a couple with you today.  Both of these are just 4"x6" and will be very affordable at just $30 each!

" 'Tude" hand-cut paper, 4"x6", by Heather Clements

"Mother and Child" hand-cut paper, 4"x6", by Heather Clements *SOLD*

While these are reserved to hang in the exhibit until the end of September, you can contact me to purchase one and it will be marked as SOLD in the exhibit.  After the exhibit, the piece is all yours.

Green Tip #4:  Basic H Cleaner.  Soap is so bad for our health and our environment.  The chemicals seep into our skin, our soil, and create grey water, which requires a lot of energy to clean.  Basic H can be used for just about ANYTHING you need to clean.  That means it simplifies everything.  Instead of dozens of cleaners for different tasks, all you need is Basic H.  Just google it and you'll find many sites you can buy it from.

Used to clean:
  • body
  • hair
  • dishes
  • counters
  • clothes
  • floors
  • windows
  • pretty much everything

Clean credentials:
  • nontoxic
  • natural
  • doubly concentrated
  • biodegradable
  • no phosphates

Inspiration Source #4:  Beatrice Coron.  Beatrice is a fellow paper cut artist.  Her inventive narrative paper cuts are all told with beautifully executed silhouettes.  Her website is here.

Thank you for visiting!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Woman of the Earth - Paper Cut: Klimt and Schiele Influenced.

New paper cut!

"Woman of the Earth" hand-cut paper, 12"x18".  By Heather Clements, 2012.

In my last post I mentioned how the inspiration of Italy and Austria would influence my upcoming art.  While I can't put my finger on all the little things within me that have been affected by the trip, I can tell you my main inspiration for my new paper cut: Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.  If you don't already know these artists, please click on the links and check them out!  They were both Austrian artists, and Schiele was a protégé of Klimt's.  Vienna has a few museums that house many works by these artists, but I only had time to visit one: The Leopold Museum.  There was an entire floor of Klimt and an entire floor of Schiele.  These guys are two of my favorite artists so I was in heaven.  I was enthralled and moved.  Reproductions never do a work of art justice, so to finally see some of these works in person was a whole new experience.  

There was no photography allowed in the Klimt section, but here are a few from the Schiele exhibit:

Can you sense my insane level of dorky excitement?  That's because I have done a study of this very piece years ago in 2005:

I've done many studies of Schiele's sketches.  Here's another from 2005:

And another (2005):

Left: Egon Schiele's sketch with woman and self in mirror. Right: My sketch with my reflection instead of Schiele's.

Enough of the old art, onto the new.  For this piece in particular, I was inspired by their powerful, sensual women, with striking contours.  And of course, pattern.  This piece is called "Woman of the Earth."

"Woman of the Earth" hand-cut paper, 12"x18".  By Heather Clements, 2012. *SOLD

"Woman of the Earth" (detail) hand-cut paper, 12"x18".  By Heather Clements, 2012.

"Woman of the Earth" (detail) hand-cut paper, 12"x18".  By Heather Clements, 2012.

And yes, it is for sale!  It is $350.  Please contact me if you are interested.

I did not post a green tip or inspiration source last week.  I guess my head was still spinning from the trip to Europe.  But I have some this post!

Green tip #3: Shop locally, especially for food.  Imagine the amount of gas used to make food travel from across the country or from across the world.  Buying local produce makes a huge positive impact on the environment for many reasons.  Shopping at locally owned business has many other benefits as well.  Your money helps your local economy and so much more.

Here are a few links about the benefits of shopping locally:

10 Reasons to Shop Locally
Eat Local
Buying Local Matters

Inspiration Source #3:  Caine's Arcade.  This little boy's creativity and positivity are so admirable and of course, inspiring.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

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