Filed under: Art | Tags: acrylic, Art, feathers, found objects, garment district, manhattan, multi-media, paper mache, paper pulp, process, scrap metal, sculpture
Nothing feels much better than reviving something you put on the back burner of eternity.
I had stopped working on a piece after running into a dead-end back in February. I just couldn’t see where it was destined to go and every change I made to it was half-hearted as I had no faith in my own aesthetic sensibilities. I go through phases of that pretty frequently and it just knocks the floor right out from under whatever I am working on. There is no path through the woods, just beastly thorns. My sense of myself is gone.
I took some photos (see earlier blog entry from February 9 and the one from January 12) and put it up on a shelf in my room and in my mind so it would stop laughing at me and I went on to open a glass flame-working studio in Park Slope. I got distracted with other things and the painting was forgotten temporarily.
A few days ago I had the vision that the piece needed wings. Wings made of feathers were the answer. I am not sure where the idea came from though I trust it was jump-started by my 6-week vacation from the city. Whenever I leave for a while I tend to come back refreshed and revived, with my cynicism and depression washed away. Everything feels new and possible again. Including my artwork, which is typically a thermometer for my own mental health.
After researching where I might find the perfect feathers for my project I found myself in the Garment District in a little crowded shop reeking of moth balls called Dersh Feather & Trading Corporation. When I walked in the two cranky old men sitting behind separate desks among towers of boxes glared at me. Guessing by their sour looks I supposed that they weren’t interested in selling a couple feathers to some young art student from the Fashion Institute of Technology or whatever they thought I was.
“Do you do retail?” I asked since they obviously wanted me gone ASAP.
“Sure,” the white haired one said begrudgingly. “What to you want?”
This is where I knew I was fucked and then they’d really kick me out. I knew they had every feather under the sun- I could tell by all the boxes stacked to the ceiling with every variety of feather poking out the top in between the packing tape. But what did I want?
“I don’t know what kind,” I said. I didn’t know types or names of feathers and I was feeling him growing more impatient.
He surprised me with his flexibility when he said “Well, what do they look like?”
I showed him the length with my hands and told him, “white and not fluffy- something that holds its shape.”
He quickly vanished around the corner and I followed, too curious to let him disappear. He started prying open an un-marked gigantic box, among many un-marked gigantic boxes, and pulled out a large bunch of feathers tied together roughly with a piece of jute.
They were the exact feathers I had in mind. Goose wing feathers. I was astounded. The man knew his feathers, that’s for sure.
I bought two bunches and left.
I researched dying feathers, bought some Jacquard Acid Dye, and dyed a bunch of feathers this nice dusty rose color like I had seen in my vision for the wings. I got stumped trying to come up with something for the feathers to fasten to to create the wings.
Later in the week I noticed this rad piece of found scrap metal that I had rescued off of a very busy Tillary St. in Brooklyn last year that I had been using as a decoration on my mirror. It had the perfect wing shape… and then I got to work.
Now the trick is keeping the momentum going and figuring out what happens next on the left side. I’m calling this piece “The City.”