Punkadoodle Studios

think beyond the canvas

October 15, 2012
by kybro
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Seaweed Weaving

One of the greatest things about creating is you never know what is going to happen. I came to the beach with an open, non-judgmental mind, welcoming the materials to speak to me and began collecting. It was only in the action of doing – making – that I knew how I wanted to arrange the long reeds, sticks and crunchy seaweed. The spontaneous connections, the unknown, the creating is what makes this a soulful process. Engaging mind, body, spirit to offer something to the earth. An ephemeral weaving of smelly, twisted, organic lengths of multiple shades of brown. The look of a child’s work – unstructured, spontaneous, loose, rough. An expression of place and time that will fade with the change in weather.

WebPeriSpiral7

June 2, 2012
by kybro
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Reflecting Oneself

A periwinkle, a small crustacean with a slug/snail-like living organism protected by its tough granite-like shell, clinging onto rocks and each other underwater to survive. Once the live organism has died the somewhat boring dull brown shell washes ashore cluttering the tidal line with other dead and dried out sea life.

The one beautiful aspect of the periwinkle (besides its very cute name) is the spiral. The perfect swirl forms the little pointy nose (or hat – whatever you prefer) at the pinnacle of the periwinkle. I gathered hundreds of these ‘winkles today. I sat at the tide line sifting and sorting like a gold panner foraging for his precious nugget. Although I came across some delicate, eye-pleasing honey yellow species, these were not the materials for today. The dull, overlooked, normal little winkles that camouflage with the seaweed, filled my hands, my cup, my bag. Wondering what to do with about 3 lbs of these small shells I finally dumped them in between a small crevice formed by two rocks. Measuring my treasure I wondered if the significance of 3 lbs was enough to make any sort of statement…or anything at all.

These small shells already distributed all over the beach had just been redistributed into one condensed area…so what?! They are dull, brown and too many already clutter the beach. Their mass in numbers had drawn them to me and I wanted to put them into every crevice, every hole, every negative space, but even then what? People were also starting to flood the beach ruining my concentration and provoking self-consciousness. I thought of the periwinkles striking feature… the spiral. Should I make it reflect itself? The spiral such a common element in nature’s design, artists work and among doodlers…is it too played out? I suppose, but not enough for me to care. The periwinkles marched in solid formation bouncing off the walls of the stoic rocks and into a form they can call their own. So for those posers, those with flashy colors and unique patterns watch out for these simple shells – this is their truth, their identity and it only made sense to honor it.

 

How does this speak to me- to the human race? How do we show our truths and identities, reflecting ourselves through an awkward action. How can we take the possibly single thing we may be proud of in ourselves and honor it – letting the dull, potentially mundane things fade away for a day – a tide – a cycle of the moon and give shape to our truths? Perhaps there is only one single positive truth…but it’s there and some of us wear it on our sleeves while for others the spiral lingers deep in the caves of our soul.

With the next tide the spiral will wash away reminding us of the delicate balance between honor, pride and the ego. These dull little ‘winkles have allowed me to harness their one beautiful aesthetic for a tide cycle and then disperse back to their humble selves possessing a new quality and respect for their ultimate truths.

Reflecting Oneself

N2P PEM7

May 25, 2012
by kybro
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Negative2Positive in Action!

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!

 

photo

April 22, 2012
by kybro
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Earth Day – What is the Mona Lisa smiling about now?

I thought about organizing friends, family or strangers to join me in a beach clean-up – a creative beach clean-up or other. But in the final event I went on a solo mission giving me time to reflect on human nature, to feel disgust, confusion, awe and ultimately surprise at what we humans are bringing upon our world and each other. One small beach, two pairs of hands, multiple bags and a sense of purpose.

At mid-tide I rode my bike to a nearby beach and began the slow, searching walk. I was a beach-comber looking for treasures, but not the normal shells and sea glass, the things that caught my eye were those sparkling plastic wrappers reflecting the warm sun and polluting our oceans. Methodically I stepped along the tide line, straining my eyes for goodies or seeing the large items all too clearly. Recyclables went into one bag, rubbish in another and finally novelties in the third. Yes these trashy trinkets someday may end up in a conceptual, environmentally minded art piece that speaks to my sadness, anger and desire for change. Right now however they take up precious closet & drawer space while those ideas mingle and exchange pleasantries over tea.

I kept my eye out for the most surprising finds. Of course the plethora of plastic bottles, aluminum cans, straws and cigar or candy wrappers made the grand entrance but one thing that caught me off guard was the clothes. On the surface a simple piece of fabric lay, however the sand had trapped the goods and in iceberg fashion the full particles of clothing were hidden to the naked eye. I can only imagine what a child building a sand castle would have discovered this summer as he digs in his shovel only to come up with a hole ridden butterfly t-shirt. I freed two tank tops, two sweaters, one hoodie, a pair of boxers, pajama pants and two t-shirts, not to mention the mangled fabric encrusted with dried seaweed on higher ground. I was flabbergasted. I mean I’m sure I’ve lost a couple items myself over the years, but to this extent… I wondered how many were to go skinny dipping in the ocean… in mid-winter?!

However the biggest and best find to this day yet was the Mona Lisa. As I emptied out my second bag of rubbish I noticed something square and white laying near the still beached docks. As I picked it up I realized it was a stretched canvas and on the front none other than an amateur representation of the Mona Lisa. Her yellow face was crackled and the background unfinished but her smug smile still clung to the surface like a limpet to a rock. How and why this had arrived at such a venue baffled yet intrigued me. What would Mona Lisa say of her situation? Her new identification as marine debris? I felt like it could be the beginning to a Tom Robbins novel, an opening to a saga of mystery and fantasy. I would not pass this up – although thinking my other half may rationally think I’ve stepped over the line – so prepared to file it away among other stacks of paper and boards when I returned home.

My back began to ache at the rate in which my disgust grew every time I bent down to pick up another plastic fork, half-buried juice box or piece of styrofoam. I was only one trying to help this situation and their were so many forces against me. Multiple times I saw wind blow a container out of a trash bin or someones unconcerned hands. I observed a seagull drop a McDonald’s bag full of condiments from 25ft in the air into the unsuspecting harbor waves. But was I to give up? No, because even this small act of consciousness and awareness for the world is better than none at all.

Disposing of my goods, stuffing the recyclables in my backpack and haphazardly stuffing the Mona Lisa into a bag I swerved on home with sandy toes, a little less happy, but more determined to raise awareness about this issue. When I arrived to show off my finds ready for the normal rolling of the eyes and ‘where are you putting all that trash’? I found the Mona Lisa eagerly being swept from my hands promptly replacing a painting of greater value on our wall. Surprised yet delighted I laughed at this unexpected turn of events, letting her eyes follow me down the hall. The day’s effort and desperation seemed small to the reward we had just gained. How does this reflect on the world of marine debris – I say one for nature and one for women! Maybe Mona Lisa does have something to smile about after all….

To see more facts about marine debris and ideas of what you can do to help go to: marinedebris.noaa.gov/outreach/pdfs/mdfacts.pdf

April 18, 2012
by kybro
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California Calling

The west was calling my name recently as I sketched the cypress trees of Big Sur and the inland gold studded rivers of the NorCal Redwood region. The drawback, I was sketching from photographs – collaging the images together to form the perfect scene. If only I had been there to sit under the cypress tree emboldened on the edge of a cliff with the salty wind whipping at my blank pages. If only I had been there rocks embedding under my thighs, toes dipped in the cold river water as my pencil captured the vibrancy of the natural surroundings. Would my drawings have been more convincing? The attitude and feelings emerging through the shades of graphite? Possibly. But alas here I sit far away re-visiting places I’ve been and grateful that I can see them detailed in all their glory in my mind’s eye. The cyclical nature of time determines the when, where and how – and like the un-drawn images in my sketchbook there are pages to fill in this life yet.

The sketches were drawn for a friend’s first album, California Windfall, An Unexpected Stroke of Luck – I felt pretty lucky myself they asked me to be a part of this special collaboration with the beautiful Avery Rose, her rockin’ band and the other designers…

 

February 20, 2012
by kybro
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Ice… winter’s art material

Last weekend there was a small flurry of excitement about winter as the ice sculptures arrived despite the warmish temperatures. Local shops sponsored an ice sculpture to promote business, local culture and to celebrate the season! There were frogs with candy hearts, toy trains, musical instruments, pin-up models and two headed mice to represent the diversity of downtown. I was surprised by the detail and color inlay that most had. It seemed a somewhat extravagant expense considering the only real fate of an ice sculpture, to melt. However the immortality attached to ice is what draws you in, freezes your attention, if you will. How can this shiny, translucent material that you usually find clinking around in your water glass be transformed into the fierce cold-blooded dragon in front of you? It’s fascinating, but needless to say slowly but surely it will melt with all the hard work and craftsmanship that goes into it.

It is not only an amateur carnival trick either. Professional artists have adopted ice as a dramatic material and natural resource to work with, scoffing at the predictable outcome. Our environmental art superstar Andy Goldsworthy probably takes the cake with his seemingly unnatural spiraling ice sculptures attached together with his own saliva. What can he be learning about the earths wintry forces through these early morning explorations with this frozen substance? Jim Denevan, another artist uses the solid landmass ice forms as his canvas to draw large-scale perfect circular patterns through the snow. These ‘drawings’, I don’t doubt, may be interpreted by aliens as our attempt to communicate with them.

Science makes an appearance here as well. There have been science expeditions to Antarctica that invite artists who will use their art to make a statement about climate change and/or other interpretations of what they observe. In Copenhagen one artist sculpted a polar bear skeleton out of bronze and then used ice to form the outer layer of the body. As the temperatures warm the ice melts revealing what will eventually happen to the bears at the Poles if somehow climate change is not halted.

So from one town’s hallmark of a winter celebration, to an artist’s introspective lair and to highlight some of our worlds environmental issues I say ‘Here’s to Ice!’… now if it will only get cold enough for me to try my hand at it…

January 25, 2012
by kybro
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The City of Artists Who Never Sleep

There’s nothing more exciting in the art world for me than heading to NYC for the weekend to visit my creative friends and see in person big name and emerging artists.

Ai WeiWei Sunflower Seeds

 

Chelsea always makes it on my annual list of ‘must see’ places with blocks of art galleries showing the latest and greatest.  This year we walked there via the High Line, an elevated pedestrian walk and recent addition to Manhattan’s glamour and sightseeing. Walking literally through buildings and along billboards I admired the landscape design and the built-in contemporary wooden lounge chairs – making a mental note that this is one reason to come to the city in the nicer months.

Galleries in Chelsea are either hit or miss. They host names that are making a debut or controversial and questionable artists that haven’t quite broke into the museum world…yet. A few exhibits that sent the cognitive gears whirring started with the Mike Weiss Gallery showing the work of Will Kurtz, titled nothing but the respectable Extra Fucking Ordinary. At first glance my friends shied away from the peculiar sculptures seen through the display windows – but that is exactly why I wanted to go in. I don’t go to these galleries to see tame, pleasing work – I want my right & left brains to be stimulated, repulsed, interrogated and energized.  And yes this show was quite repulsive. Consider the first two life-size sculptures of dogs in their worst states, taking a shit and discreetly becoming erect. The natural habits of animals that we in all instances try to avoid this artist has immortalized. Yet somehow we see this as art because he is capturing the essence of a moment – of the ordinary. Through torn newspaper collage, wood, wire, screw and tape Kurtz captures disturbing poses and scenes from everyday life that we try to avoid or go unnoticed; a crude half-naked woman pulling on her nylons with a cigarette dangling from her mouth while a dog sniffs her ass; a sad sleeping ragged old man; unruly, overweight friends posing together as if at a tourist attraction.  Upon closer observation you notice the colorful newspaper images that have been randomly slapped together – may not be random at all. Pop-culture references, political images, and text placed just so remind us that even in those ordinary, unglamorous moments the media and our society impress us with these unattainable notions of beauty, sex, money and intellect.  Maybe Kurtz is asking ‘what’s so bad with being extra fucking ordinary anyway?’

Trapped in Hirst’s Spots!

Slushing through the snow to our next visual experience we had to check in at the Gagosian Gallery for big name artist Damien Hirst’s, The Complete Spot Paintings 1986 – 2011. Imagine being in a room as large or even BIGGER than a two-story house surrounded by spots. Perfectly round spots two times the size of you in vibrant hues and subtle tones, lurching off the stretched white canvas onto the wall. How does he find brushes so big and so precise to create the perfect circle? I felt like I was back in art school learning the meaning of the color wheel for the first time. Primary, secondary – wait what’s in between that…tertiary?! Where does Hirst mean to take us with these colors? Is there a formula, a mathematical equation? Leaving the large-scale paintings before I became trapped in the solution, led me to another room filled with a maze of smaller spots. The illusions tripled with hundreds of round circles in varying degrees of colors illuminating from a central point. Taking a step to close to observe the technique I thought I saw pencil lines… but the guard made me move back before I could be sure. I thought of a baker’s frosting tool for cakes, squirting out perfect dollops of color to be sweetly savored on a special occasion. My friends implored ‘can we get out of here?!’ before the spots swallowed us in a mixture of hues, tones and delusion.

Hidden behind frosted doors at the Mary Boone gallery the next exhibit of artist and political activist Ai Weiwei was subtle yet powerful. Millions

Close up of Sunflower Seeds

of ceramic hand painted sunflower seeds formed a large rectangle encompassing the gallery. Aesthetically I was only impressed upon close looking, admiring the realistic quality of the seeds and the delicately balanced layering to create the unified shape. Conceptually Weiwei takes us deeper into the political past of China, putting his own freedom at risk. Taken from the press release, “The sunflower, with its destiny to follow the sun, became a common metaphor for The People during China’s Cultural Revolution. At the same time, the seeds of the flower provided sustenance at all levels of society, and the ubiquitous discarded husks provided evidence of an individual’s existence. Ai Weiwei demonstrates that a staggering quantity of individual seeds may produce a deceptively unified field.”  See a video of the artist and project at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PueYywpkJW8#!

The final performance, It’s a Draw by modern dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown left us appreciative of the intersection of the visual and kinesthetic. At first glance you wonder if these large-scale charcoal drawings can even be called drawings. They look like rudimentary marks in varying intensities with the occasional diffused footprint among the lines and smears. Could it be that the human figure was being denoted within the lines – or the mark making was a pure playful and heartfelt expression of the artist?  We discovered it was both. Brown and her colleagues transformed their physical, kinetic movements into drawings by holding charcoal in their toes and hands while dancing. The pieces came together in a new light – the intensely dark, short marks turned into a staccato tempo, the circular smudges a foot twirling en pointe, and the soft lines a delicate dancers toes. The intersection of tangible and intangible was observed on these walls and provided me with a satisfaction of the interdisciplinary language of the arts.

Till next time NYC! Artists please continue to inspire, provoke and provide something worth coming back for (I’m sure you will).