Negative2Positive is a project that I’ve been working on for a couple of years where I collect debris that has washed up on beaches and identify ones that have interesting negative spaces to use in creating images. I use these negative spaces to create positive patterns & designs – taking the negative of this plastic pollution and transforming it into a positive. This past weekend I was able to share this with willing participants at the Peabody Essex Museum, pem.org. I was impressed with the range of work from adults to children and most student artists were impressed with the concept and thought it was an innovative idea to tuck away in the ‘that was interesting’ part of their brains.
How you can do your own negative2positive drawings:
1. Discover an everyday object/package/container with interesting negative shapes that has been discarded in your trash, your neighbors recycling bin, or sadly along the beach, street or park. To clarify, negative shapes are cutouts, the spaces in between and/or the empty areas in an item. For example: the hole in the middle of the cd
2. Use this object (hopefully something more exciting than a cd) with a pencil to trace the negative space. Think about a way that it can be an interesting pattern. Using the pencil fill in the outlines so they are a solid form
3. Then use the same pattern with a different value or color of pencil and trace it again in a way that it relates to the first. This could be through overlapping, touching, repeated alignment
4. Repeat this 3-4 times and see what unique pattern or design you can come up with. Play around with value, color and even multiple negative space objects. Have fun and be creative! Remember there are no mistakes in art.
5. When you feel confident about this take it to a more conceptual level and think about how you can find something you find negative and make it positive!
Below are some photos of the students work at PEM – get inspired!