My last class assignment for Design 1 was all about intuition and looseness and enigma. The first step was to get a map or maps and do something to deliberately negate its function: cut it up, switch the pieces around, glue it back together, combine it with drawings, photos, charts, diagrams, symbols, pieces of paper from the street. Cut holes in it. Shoot holes in it. Tape it, mask it, tear it, shred it, fold it, crumple it, leave it out in the rain. Confuse it. Run over it, Xerox it, fragment it, sleep with it, obscure it, cloud it, camouflage it. Write on it. Draw and paint on it, make a ritual with it, etc.
The word ritual was very appealing to me and since I’ve always been a believer of energies, souls, spirits, mythology and all that stuff so I decided I was going to use the four elements of nature and the fifth one which is the soul/spirit. I wasn’t completely sure of what I wanted to do but I knew whatever it was had to be summarized with something representing me, since I am the soul of the project. I first cut my map into four pieces and decided to burn one, soak another piece in water, cover the other with soil and dirt and finally do a origami crown to the last piece to represent air. I thought of a thousand ways to put them together in relationship with me and came with the idea of free spirits and life meaning. The map I had in my hand was from a skiing trail but I needed something related with me. I faced a lot of challenges to come here to SCAD and a map of Savannah was the best way to express that connection. I went to the visitors center and checked all of the maps since I wanted to have color relationships between the maps and the elements. I finally got a map which was printed in green (EARTH) and blue (WATER) and as a plus, had a red (FIRE) trail. For my good luck I found another one which had gray (AIR) and purple (SPIRIT) which is also my favorite color. I now had to find a way to put them together and even when I was very convinced I would use origami for representing “air”, a crown was not really my style.
I decided to do my favorite animal, butterfly, which symbolizes transformation for its impressive process of metamorphosis. In many cultures the butterfly is associated with the soul, in the Roman and Mexican Aztec mythology it was thought that we were all on a long journey of the soul. On this journey we would encounter endless turns, shifts, and conditions that would cause us to morph into ever-finer beings. The grace and eloquence of the butterfly shows us how to take responsibility to make our way in faith, accept the change that comes, and emerge from our transitions as brilliantly as her.
I covered my hand with plaster to make a mold and then made a few more layers with glue water and toilet paper before leaving it out to to dry (air). Then I cut my maps in pieces and tried burning (fire) them, but the air was horrible so I couldn’t do it outside. I kept trying to burn them for the next two days but the weather was not helping, and since the maps were like plastified I had to be extremely careful not to destroy the whole thing. I got in trouble for trying to do it at the dorms’ stairs so I just kept on with the project and decided I was going to burn it at the end. I covered my dried plaster hand with the map pieces and glued them. That took me forever since I first had to get the map wet and be super careful of not washing or mushing away the color and letters printed. I left the Savannah River text on what I wanted to have as the front side of the sculpture and then I placed a compass on the middle of the hand pointing towards the index finger. I tried burning the hand and apparently the final glue coat I put on was super strong because the thing never burned. I used hairspray and a lighter to create a huge fire flame and still it wouldn’t burn. *DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME* I gave up and decided I at least had the red trails on the hand to represent fire so I move to the next step which was the butterfly. It took me two days to learn how to do the origami butterfly (spirit/soul) until I finally got it perfectly done and I glued it on the index finger as if it where about to start her journey.
This whole assignment was very metaphoric and connected to me. I did put a lot of thinking in this to make connections and thought everything around me was helping me achieve the final result. The balance between energies, I believe. This really help me realize of how many times I look at other people’s art and never realize how much connections they can have with the artist. I feel sometimes people just paint for painting, or sculpt because they are good at it, but I never think about how much meaning, feelings, and energies those pieces of art have. This was probably my favorite assignment of Design 1 class and I am very satisfied with my result. I added the quote and placed the hand on the black board to make it look more presentable and give people a little clue of what I was trying to say.
I got really good critiques on this work and people did mention how they liked all the thinking I had put on it. One of my classmates mentioned how he loved the color contrast how he liked the tones. My professor mentioned it was beautiful, but she would have liked it better with out the board and the quote to leave the meaning vague and letting people curious. The hand could have been more dynamic and people would have been able to touch it and see all the sides of it, not only literally.
Thank you for reading!