Punkadoodle Studios

think beyond the canvas

August 27, 2013
by kybro
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Landed : At the Edge of the Wild River

A week in the Wild River Wilderness barely gives one enough time to take in the immensity of what the setting has to offer. Within an hour of claiming my site, pinioning my tent to the dusty ground and learning what it means to be ‘bear aware’, I was on the Wild River Trail headed upstream, tools in hand – mind in motion. I didn’t stop until five days later, time flowing as fast as the rushing river around me.

During my stay in the area I became so immersed and driven in my mission to create that taking a bathroom break, let alone a lunch break seemed futile.  I barely wrote in my journal as the thought process happened while I was walking, actively observing, experimenting, creating and constructing. My campsite turned into an outdoor studio with wood shavings, twisted pine boughs and drawings in the dirt. I continued to sculpt into the night under the guidance of my head torch, the full moon and a crackling campfire that I surprised myself by attending with intuitive skill. Ultimately blessed by the weather gods, blue skies, warm temperatures and dry air persisted throughout the week. Not even a drop of dew graced the screens of my tent in the morning glow.

Each idea led to another, each movement and choice influenced in the culmination of my work – there was enough inspiration for an entire summer. In the course of my collections and understandings I meticulously sectioned birch bark from decaying logs into perfect rings- watching them dance and cast obscure, luminous shadows in the water; traced them on paper; used clothes pins to experiment with tension and balance; and strung them together with biodegradable twine in a gradient of sizes to create a kinetic mobile. I manipulated supple pine tree boughs from fallen trees into ellipses twisted upon themselves, and used the fine roots from those same trees as delicate string to lash the shapes together for extra support. Over the course of the week I produced two site-specific installations and collaborated with photographer John Anderson, the other WMNF artist-in-residence, on two time-lapse pieces (having quite the fun) highlighting my creative process.

One area of the river trail beckoned to me. A 20 min hike up river there was a massive log and brush debris pile-up, forming the shape of a horseshoe in what now is a little cove off the river flow. It overwhelmed me. The U configuration of the debris implied an audience at an outdoor theater. The actual scale of the devastation overpowered and engulfed me. I sprang from rock to rock and attempted to climb some of the larger felled trees only to be sabotaged by blockading branches or unsupported layers of brush. The sense of place had changed so much and so drastically that to process and respond to it like I wanted caused major anxiety. It deserved a performance. I single-handedly could not compete with this backdrop.

Eventually this place did become a site of one of my installations. I kept being called back there to contemplate the shifted and reshaped landscape along the ever-flowing beautiful river that actually was the culprit in all this damage. The environment became less overwhelming with time and I could process the scope of it on a much subtler level. Therefore my kinetic linear hanging, small in comparison to the scenery added a calm and organized effect among the chaos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In keeping with the past blog entries here are a few segments from the journal entries I did make reflecting the creative process:

“I have circles – birch circles using the natural form of the bark – decayed wood removed from inside… now to configure them in a way that reflects an organic form? A pattern in nature? I start to understand the need of collaboration in this work. I’m far from any ranger station, no phone service, let alone the internet. I’m going to have to trust my intuitive nature on this one”

“I still feel pressed for time  – yet staring down at the rushing river today in the full sun I once again feel so honored, lucky, in love with my life – what an opportunity this has been for me to push the boundaries of my art-making and delve into deeper consciousness – let the process take over. I am energized by it – although still very uncomfortable of the unknowing, what may happen and I think that comes from the expectation to produce something & prove to myself I can do this”

“Finally, Finally I’m going to bed feeling a little accomplished. Two birch bark mobiles (?) are on there way to completion after much sawing, cutting, washing, measuring, perfecting each ring with the tools I have”

“At the edge of it (the debris pile-up) there is a fallen birch tree hanging over the water. I was sitting, wrapping pine branches into circles, watching this tree, observing the way the light reflecting off the water created shadows on its underside, noticing the backdrop of wooded debris, the sounds of rushing water and trilling dragonflies. I think the hanging birch rings may just brush the water…I was so pleasantly surprised when after stringing them together each ring had a life of its own and spun in different directions!… the spot I hope it goes serves genuinely for contemplation – the beauty, the destruction, the constant flow of nature and this bit of whirling birch – circular passageways into the minds eye”

“I’m sitting here on the Wild River with my hanging birch bark sculptures – one is out of the water and swinging slighty back and forth – the circles turning ever so timidly, the reflections in the water are gorgeous, exactly what I hoped for…  I like how you can see through each ring, like little portals – separating ones view into circular forms – closing one eye, what does that circle capture – a little window into another existence? If I took a separate photo of each circle and the view through it would it tell the entire story? Or break it into little pieces – just big enough for our human mind to process – twirling away just as we were about to grasp it – understand the essence….Clouds are coming in and a cool breeze just picked up. Time to head back to camp”

Back in the city now, just worked a full day – re-acclimating has been a little hard although I know the experience lives in me and is not over yet. I will be northerly bound for my third week this coming weekend! It cannot come soon enough…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 18, 2013
by kybro
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Exploring the Forest : Reinventing my artistic process

I can’t believe I’ve been here officially an entire week – it has gone by so fast, yet held so much within it. Some may think I’m taking this as a vacation, a reprieve from the challenges of everyday existence, a time to relax and paint pretty pictures. HELL’s NO! The mind-twisting, thought-provoking, frustrating, exhilarating world of being an artist is exhausting…yet I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My sentiments from close to midnight on Day 5, as my arm was cramping and my fingers tingling from drawing so hard, “1. I love the White Mountain Nat’l Forest 2. My inner artist is awakening and taking full flight… how can I make this a reality ALL the time … (any suggestions? please avoid marry rich & be reincarnated as a trust fund baby). no really, going back to work is going to be real hard – this is my calling and always has been…”

This will be my last post for a while as I head out north again tomorrow with my (new!) tent & camping supplies. I’m giving it a go to live off the land for the better part of the week and be completely immersed in the raw environment at Wild River. My hope is that it will invigorate the creative process to be free from distraction and within walking from the areas I want to create in and with. I’m ready to land.

A creative recap from the past few days – highlights from my journal entries:

Day 4: Hard Hats & Safety Vests

I look hot in neon orange

 

“We trudged over fresh dumped sand, skirted some heavy machinery and stood at the edge of a gorgeous vista overlooking the large smooth cream-colored rocks that make up most of the Forests fresh water rivers. The vista we were standing over was cordoned off with a bright orange plastic fence to keep people from slipping over the eroded edge to a 40ft plunge below.

Hurricane Irene. Remember her? 2+ years ago? The river waters rose at least 30ft causing immense damage and flash flooding. They are in the process of rerouting this trail about 15 feet to the left so it will possibly last for another 40yrs until the next big storm or gravity takes its course. Piles upon piles of dried, brush, logs and debris covers the shorelines. I will quote Tom (the district manager) on this, ‘Nature always wins.’ My sentiments exactly.”

Day 5: Reconnaissance – Wild River & 19-Mile

“As soon as I pulled down the 5.5 mile dirt road and heard the rushing river next to me, I knew it. Upon observing from my car I felt it. I was like a bee to pollen. Downed trees, brush, flowing water, those creamy stones. All the elements – here.

My heart is beating faster, I’m a bit frantic – so much to take in. It’s absolutely the PERFECT day, light puffy clouds, blue sky, slow breeze, dozens of dragonflies soaring to and fro overhead. Once again super intrigued by the fallen trees, uprooted, still thriving in the fresh water….green leaves, boulders stuck among the roots. Ideas that pop into my head are about turning the roots upside down, adding more egg-like rocks to the nest, creating a habitat.

A dragonfly is perching on my hat as I am writing! I see the shadow on my page (and traced it)… I’ll take that as a good omen.” My artistic wings have begun opening.

Day 6: Giving it my all at 19-Mile

Finally a full day of creating outside – between programs, getting acquainted and discovering the forest I’ve just begun feeling liberated to begin making art. Purchasing more tools in the morning I was fully equipped with clippers, fold-able saw, bucket, gloves and trowel.

“Ok I just spend over an hour bending branches and balancing limbs on a fallen tree with no great outcome – a little frustrating. However it did make me really contemplate balance, push and pull and how the tension of the branches is all you need to keep them together but an any moment they could SNAP! And that delicate balance is gone… reminds me of the quote about balance and imbalance by Peter London, ‘Loving one without embracing the other [balance & imbalance] defeats the creative and even the artistic potentialities that each possesses; separately and, even more so in conjunction we flee from the confusions of imbalance, strive after perfect and permanent balance. Either one sought after or held on to too hard and long compromises the creative process as it would compromise if not destroy any process, especially one that evolves – that is goes from simple to complex, fixed to spontaneous, reflexive to self-reflective behaviors.’ (Drawing Closer to Nature, p. 220)

Later

“Frustration again – loss of inspiration – bored with my idea. My initial thought goes to my lack of skill in handling material or knowing what to do with material – I come back to the same ideas such as stacking, balancing, creating representational lines and shapes. I’m bored with that, I’m here to push myself farther not just do what I’m comfortable with. I almost walked away – gave up – but I laid back on the trunk for a few letting my thoughts flow away with the river. I kept going, adding, removing – taking away is what made me realize that perhaps the aesthetic I am going for is simplicity. Not trying to cram all these rocks together to make something but find the perfect 3 rocks and align them in such away that it is beautiful. One angle of my sculpture all you can see is a simple line of rocks following the womanly curve of the tree and disappearing. It’s my favorite vantage point – I scoff at myself- oh anyone can do that, yet the choices I make, the rocks I choose and the way I capture the image is mine only to share with the world in the way that my eye and heart decide.

Today’s experiences in the field have awakened and brought awareness to my new sense of aesthetic. I’m going to heed that and respect that more complex and/or bigger is not better. What is environmental art anyway but our interpretations, respect and homage to the world around us?”

Day 7: Crawford Notch

Crawford Notch

“Pretty heavenly sitting out on the lawn in front of the bunkhouse in the bright 5 o’clock sun, feeling the weariness of the day sink in my body – looking around at the softly rolling mountains, lush with coniferous trees and a few bright yellow/green deciduous peering through. The weariness of the day began with early a.m. hikers packing their gear under the guidance of head torches… I rolled out of bed at 6:30am and was the lone snoozer in the bunkhouse. These people are serious! In any case it inspired me to catch the morning shadows for some time-lapse drawings as the sun gingerly rose over the mountains to the East.

I spent the entire morning moving asphalt from a caved in portion of an abandoned road, so have new-found respect for masons and stone-layers. Nature had taken its course by overruling human confines of pavement and I decided it was the perfect place to continue that shift with my own two hands. I threw the thick, crumbling gray chunks aside to clear out the sink hole – I reflected on the history of the Forest and the crews and loggers who constructed railway lines, cleared trails and built settlements by hand and simple machinery. Time and dedication.

The destruction of one environment (forest) leading the eventual cyclic destruction of another (infrastructure). My choice was to re-lay pieces of the asphalt in a way that encourages a different use that in itself will be temporary…by paying homage to ‘what is’ – the collaboration of built and natural, perhaps it will shift the perspective of an unsuspecting viewer or bridge an interdependence of the two worlds so the ‘ugly’ pavement morphs into something visually pleasing or at least compelling for a moment in time.”

Day 8: A Morning of Creating

“Re-visiting my unfinished site-specific work from yesterday I wasn’t impressed, yet I wasn’t completely discouraged. I held strong and dug in…with my trusty trowel. The quiet of the morning lent itself to a calm, steadiness in my mind and creating. I held little judgement of myself and let the unwieldy shapes of the asphalt chunks, sand and stones guide my hands. I let go of wanting and moved tenderly in the rocky pit, pausing to help a sentient frog get to his destination.

The finishing touch of adding the small bright yellow leaves that had been falling on me all morning to the shards of asphalt was my favorite. The element of color and the reference to the familiar yellow lines on pavement sealed the sculpture. It was also the essence of ephemeral as I could barely take a photo before a strong breeze arose blowing half of my carefully placed leaves on their merry way.

As I walked away I turned and saw to my surprise a big white truck making its way down the road. I didn’t know whether to run (it wasn’t me!) or stay and watch the complete destruction… or shift… of my days work. With a smile I stayed – curious how this would pan out. The trucked never descended fully but backed out and my sculpture still lives as is, for another hour, day or week to remind those that witness it of the magical things that take place when you’re not looking.”

model for birch weaving

Beginnings of a time-lapse drawing

 

dead moths are great subjects

August 13, 2013
by kybro
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A Virgin to the Forest: Residency Beginnings

Meade Base

Sunset on the way to base

I’m predicting I may be able to update this blog about every 3-4 days while I’m ‘in residence’. At Meade Base, where I am staying, there is no phone service beyond text messaging, no internet, but two very friendly men to show me the in’s and out’s of the Base… such as where to put compost and find the wine key. What else do I really need?!

My room consists of an air mattress, side table, desk and sheet upon the floor to put my clothes. I’ve clamped utility lights to the ceiling, unrolled my paper and stacked my books. I’m ready to create, or so I think I am, I want to be – is this where the fear starts to creep in and question the worthiness of such a creative endeavor…can I really live up to the expectations of this artist residency?!

I’ve been keeping a daily journal of ideas, feelings and observations. I won’t share the entire manifesto with you but will try to pick a few choice paragraphs that highlight some of the inquisitive or creative processes of the day.

Day 1: Beede Falls

“Came upon two fallen birch trees, the bark is starting to peel off of them in rings forming an unstructured pattern. One of the birch trees has a dirt ‘path’ underneath it, I’m wondering if it was caused by the force of the tree when it fell or by the little bits continually falling off as its been laying there… I could continue the process of ‘shedding’ of rings, enabling a more structured pattern, then use the bark left over to weave or link the two trees together… Just pulled off a little piece and a spider jumped out. By forcing the bark off earlier than nature intended will I interrupt the natural process – destroy a habitat for insects and other creatures – or can I create weavings and intricate folds from the bark that I then somehow ‘re-wrap’ around this fallen birch tree?”

Day 2: Meeting and Presentation at Headquarters

I awoke this day feeling very overwhelmed, my heart pounding and tense, my thoughts falling into self-doubt. So much to do & discover in such little time! The Forest is huge, how can I focus in and actually be successful?

“Am I worthy of this roll – have I been all talk up until now and then to act upon creation is terrifying? Yet I will ask who are the critical eyes? The sky and trees that watch me create? The ants and spiders maneuvering over my pulsing body on a mission towards food and safety themselves. What eyes other than my own do I have to ‘prove’ myself too? Trust….The shifting of the clouds is so beautiful. Morphing into organic tufting shapes beyond the realm of human imagination…trust myself”

I met with Forest staff to go over maps and slowly absorb the immensity of the landscape I have been given to work with. Locations a two hour drive away are calling to me – trails and campgrounds with the names Wild River, 19-mile and Tunnelbrook. Some of these places were drastically affected and destroyed by Hurricane Irene and now I’m taking on the challenge of observing the change and responding to it with my work. A lot of questions about what destruction is and who defines that are arising. The unknown, the intuitive – I won’t know until I get there what will talk to me, what I might even fathom creating; which is why it is so scary… and so invigorating.

Day 3: Rainy Day – Mt. Israel

The last traces of my slight head cold gone in my sleep, I awoke to the feeling of fresh possibility. I had created a series of accordion books the night before to solve the problem of crushing or creasing my nice paper on extended hikes. The sound of wind rushing through trees was a wonderful melody even if it was accompanied by overcast skies.

Rainy day photos

“As I was finishing breakfast I saw the first steady shower pour down….no matter…gathering my rain gear. However it became clearly obvious that the rain was not going to let up. Too excited to get out in the woods than admit my defeat, I stepped my hiking boots and popped my head through my newly purchased raingear…Walmart sizes, so I resembled a saggy sumo wrestler… and joyfully was on my way to forage.

Heading up the Mt. Israel trail, directly behind Meade Base, the first thing that continues to strike me is the fallen birch trees – white gems littering the forest floor, bark delicately peeling off like tattered old book pages curling with age. The slow performance of shedding its skin, each subtle movement invisible to the human eye. Untouched it is quite beautiful.

Dramatically fallen trees lure me off the trail. I free a teenage sapling from the binds of a downed tree with a feeling of heroic grace, but who am I to interfere with this process and what does it matter?

A humans response to a fallen tree is usually to find a chainsaw and make the tree into something ‘useful’ such as firewood or building materials. Are those harsh cuts and straight lines what we like to see, are conditioned to see? We continue the change of the fallen tree by wielding destructive mechanical power in our hands. If I go in and continue the change by working with the land around the tree, using the materials I find in the woods, how is this different than the woodsman with the chainsaw? Yes I’m more delicate, less permanent, contemplative. So is it the intention that makes our approaches so different? As an artist must my work always be aesthetically pleasing? We are all part of the natural cycle and a dead tree providing warmth for a family seems just as honorable as it decaying into the earth to make soil rich for other plants to grow.”

Is it possible that one fallen tree somewhere affects even in the smallest way our planet as a whole and the interdependence of all things?

“Sitting with my eyes closed in the middle of a fast running stream I try to be overwhelmed by my auditory sense. Let the running water fill my ears and chase the never-ending thoughts from my monkey mind… (eventually) the stream surrounds me, my thoughts rush down the mountain in the current, on my out breath. Big droplets of rain bounce off my head and pool in the crevices of my over-sized jacket”

Foraging from Mt. Israel

Peek into Day 4!

Tomorrow I’m going out into Lincolnville woods, an area that is getting rebuilt from the ‘destruction’ of Hurricane Irene. I’ve been told that I must stop by headquarters to get a hard hat and safety vest… this sounds fun!!

August 6, 2013
by kybro
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White Mountain National Forest Artist Residency!

  I’m excited to announce my acceptance to do an artist residency in the White Mountain National Forest in partnership with the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire and I leave this coming weekend to embark on my artistic adventure! Not having spent more than a full day focused on my artwork for at least 1-2 years I’m starting to think this may be a dream come true. Not only do I get to spend 3 weeks roaming, exploring and interpreting a nationally recognized area of natural beauty and diversity – I will be able to imagine, contemplate, create and just be an artist. OOOhhhh! I’m getting all tingly!

Here is an excerpt from my proposal that was the catalyst to me receiving this amazing opportunity:

“Each individual is given a limited time on this earth. Interactions with people, animals, objects, and the environment are all ways that show this passage of time, this journey, this shall I say, performance. This temporary existence or performance is an opportunity to grow, share, connect and discover. Richard Long walked across diverse landscapes to engage in a ritual long done by men who walk to their holy lands, yet he honored the earth by creating with her natural materials.  To much discrepancy, Christo & Jean-Claude wrapped islands, trees and coastlines like presents waiting to be opened, a gift to the human race. Currently, Andy Goldsworthy entrances us with his ephemeral environmental sculptures respecting the unspoiled settings that are becoming a rarity in our modern society.  Each of these artists are actively participating in a dialogue with the natural world, experiencing and engaging in it from their own unique perspective. I propose to do the same during my residency at the WMNF.  During the discourse I will observe, document and try to tame the ephemeral. Nature is never still, even on the quietest, windless nights. Questions I strive to unveil are: What does this ever-changing natural world teach us about ourselves, our deepest desires and instincts; what does she have to say; and how can her voice be heard amongst the chatter of our over-stimulated planet?”

I will be sculpting with natural materials to create site-specific ephemeral work that responds to the environment; drawing with graphite on paper to capture the shift of movement in time in the forest; and writing intuitive reflections and responses to my work.

Follow me here through the progress of my residency, I will be posting writings and works in progress – or come to any of the public programs I am facilitating:

Programs with Environmental Artist Kyle Browne

Come & Meet Kyle
Monday August 12, 6 to 7 p.m.
WMNF Headquarters, Campton

Kyle will offer an overview of the history and practice of environmental art and some of the artists who have inspired her. She’ll talk about her own art and the work she is planning to do during her residency.

 

Collaborative Family Art-Making
Saturday, August 17, 1 to 4 p.m.
AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch

Join artist Kyle Browne to create a collaborative natural assemblage using materials from the forest. The group will build a large mandala inspired by the patterns of nature and natural objects found on the forest floor. This piece will honor the idea of the constantly changing forest environment.

 

A Walk in Nature
Tuesday, September 3, 9:30 a.m. to noon
Greeley Ponds Trail, Kancamagus Highway

Inspired by environmental artist Richard Long who considered walking through natural spaces to be art, the group will contemplatively walk through the forest to observe and experience its magic. Participants are encouraged to bring a sketchbook to take short drawing breaks to capture what they notice. At the end of the walk, a place will be found to create an ephemeral piece of art with natural materials inspired by the walking exploration. Wear comfortable hiking/walking shoes, and bring water and snacks. Preregistration is requested.

 

Culminating Event for Both Artists:

Informal exhibit & talk
Saturday, September 7
Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery
69 Maple St., Center Sandwich

March 20, 2013
by kybro
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Running = Outdoor Adventure even on 1st day of Spring in New England

Feeling restless like everyone else who has spent enough time indoors watching the skies gloom over, puddles freeze and whipping white streaks fly by all winter, I saw a glimmer of sun and decided a run through the park was a great idea to honor this first day of Spring. Not fooled when I saw the temperatures were still at 30 degrees I bundled up and made my exit.

Without delay the wind stung my cheeks and my inhales were razors to my lungs. I barely had made it 100 feet when black ice caused my runners pace to stop, make baby steps to avoid a sore bottom and continue. Snow drifts of at least 6 inches proved unavoidable obstacles that soaked over my ankle high sneakers – not to mention the blasts of side-swiping winds that blew the fine snow, sand and grit into other barely visible crevices and my tearing eyes. I was cursing it all, the snow, the wind, the winter, my Vitamin D deficiency and living in New England. “For ?#$%@!!* sake – it’s the first day of Spring!”

Then my ever-optimistic self chimed in quite annoyingly, “Now come on, think of this as an adventure, you know how much you love adventures! And you are getting a good work-out.” Quite amazing what a shift in perspective can do. Slowly I pushed my body forward (even though the wind had other ideas), avoided sloshing pools of wet mud and embraced the force of nature as well as the Canadian geese I had to maneuver around. The highlight? A 15 second relief from the wind, a tease of warmth as the clouds opened and realizing I was all alone to breath in this pure white winter (even if it is spring) wonderland.

Nothing like a good adventure to start the season – Happy Spring!

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