BTC: Fulton Street Collective

This weekend I visited a community artists studio in Chicago called Fulton Street Collective. Fulton Street Collective has two sites where artists can join the community for a reasonable and affordable price. Being apart of the artist community allows them access to personal studio and storage space, connections to exhibitors and clientele, and a collaborative and open community of artists and creative ranging in a wide spectrum of fields — from photography and painting to YouTubers and DJs. Additionally, they are allowed to host one event of their choosing per year in the warehouse-size space located above the artists' studios. Getting to tour the space and see a few of the resident artists spaces who currently work there was a very informative and fruitful experience that allowed me to think about and see first hand the life of artists in their post-college careers.  

Jackie Carmody, a painter and art therapist, offered up her time to talk to me about her life as a young emerging artist trying to balance a career as an art therapist while also taking the much needed time to paint and create works of art that she is proud of and will hopefully catapult her into a successful painting career in the near future.  Since joining Fulton Street Collective a month ago Jackie says she has been able to produce almost twice the amount of work monthly than she usually is able to make and has been able to take on more clients because of this. Some of her most treasured paintings are going up for sale at an exhibit in the upcoming week for a price she says is more expensive than she usually prices her paintings but believes is the right decision to up the price since these paintings are some of her personal favorites and most exemplary of her aesthetic, style, and conceptual ideologies. Jackie's work ranges from creating impressionistic renditions of the Chicago skyline, a personal favorite she tends to make multiples of given the city of Chicago is where she has grown up and lived her entire life, to whimsical surrealist scenery dealing a lot with weather, storms, cloud formations, and the feminine figure. I am so pleased to have gotten the opportunity to talk with her and have made a connection and friendship with someone I feel as though could offer me advice and serve as a mentor if I find myself in Chicago after college trying to make art. It was fascinating hearing her talk about the progression she has made since college and how she's found a way to support herself as an artist with a day job while also not letting go of the fervent passion she has for being a painter and artist through her decision to become an art therapist. A lot what she said during our talk resonated with me: that there are many more outlets and jobs for artists than one may think and that will still be able to support our passions for making solo work. 

 Part of the warehouse space the artists may use completely free of charge once a year for an event of their choosing.  

Part of the warehouse space the artists may use completely free of charge once a year for an event of their choosing.  

 Located in a safe yet urban environment — chalk full of textured brick buildings accompanied by a nice view of the skyscraper skyline of downtown Chicago. 

Located in a safe yet urban environment — chalk full of textured brick buildings accompanied by a nice view of the skyscraper skyline of downtown Chicago. 

Birdsell: Reaction to Space

 I react to this space similarly to how I reacted to my most recent installation "inner workings" // "space". The various shelving spaces and nooks each offer an opportunity to imagine an implement a purpose that may have actually existed in this house's past. Each shelf has the potential many important, sacred, and personal items and various subjects that I have full access to re-imagine and re-implement. This is my favorite space and would provide the most clear transition from my installation space in Riley Hall. This book shelf is intricate and beautiful in itself, my ideas aim to highlight its rich history and forgotten past while trying my best to keep the shelving and wood with equally important purpose if I were to go about installing in this space.

I react to this space similarly to how I reacted to my most recent installation "inner workings" // "space". The various shelving spaces and nooks each offer an opportunity to imagine an implement a purpose that may have actually existed in this house's past. Each shelf has the potential many important, sacred, and personal items and various subjects that I have full access to re-imagine and re-implement. This is my favorite space and would provide the most clear transition from my installation space in Riley Hall. This book shelf is intricate and beautiful in itself, my ideas aim to highlight its rich history and forgotten past while trying my best to keep the shelving and wood with equally important purpose if I were to go about installing in this space.

 I was drawn to this space by both the texture and by the file drawer. First of all, file drawers offer a very sturdy tone of business and organization — installing on or within this object would aim to either juxtapose or emphasize this business-like mood and without a doubt purpose. In addition to keeping true to the file drawers original and inarguable purpose I would be intrigued with the idea of further injecting its surroundings — i.e. The moldy, peeling walls and unfinished, scraped up, old wooden floors — through projection. 

I was drawn to this space by both the texture and by the file drawer. First of all, file drawers offer a very sturdy tone of business and organization — installing on or within this object would aim to either juxtapose or emphasize this business-like mood and without a doubt purpose. In addition to keeping true to the file drawers original and inarguable purpose I would be intrigued with the idea of further injecting its surroundings — i.e. The moldy, peeling walls and unfinished, scraped up, old wooden floors — through projection. 

 This fireplace is the most attractive space in the entire mansion, in my opinion. The color and texture of the marble, the rich deep reds and carving detail in the wood, and perfect aesthetic addition of the old books are so deliciously pleasing to the eye. I would love to claim this space and make viewers and audience members who come for the end of the year exhibition to be drawn to this fireplace as much as or even more so than I was when I first came across it. One concern I would have with figuring out projection work and installing on this space is how I could do so without muddling or taking away from the raw beauty that already is undoubtedly present. 

This fireplace is the most attractive space in the entire mansion, in my opinion. The color and texture of the marble, the rich deep reds and carving detail in the wood, and perfect aesthetic addition of the old books are so deliciously pleasing to the eye. I would love to claim this space and make viewers and audience members who come for the end of the year exhibition to be drawn to this fireplace as much as or even more so than I was when I first came across it. One concern I would have with figuring out projection work and installing on this space is how I could do so without muddling or taking away from the raw beauty that already is undoubtedly present. 

Blog Post 3/27

For the brick archway I have been focusing on its presence as being this nice facet in the wall that has been completely overlooked and shows remnants of once serving a purpose. This purpose, I assume, was acting as a portal to somewhere. My ideas for this space is to transform it back into a portal. A lot of my influences stem from nature and the outdoors. One Idea I have is to create an "outdoor haven" within the confines of the archway. Since I will be back in California this weekend I am going to take the opportunity to visit areas most sentimental and soothing to me and create a compilation of moving images from each place. I want the portal to feel meditative and relaxing– something you could gaze at for hours mindlessly and feel content. 

 Another idea I have is creating a "day dreamers" paradise. By videoing shorts of activities one might rather be doing instead of sitting in class, such as surfing, skiing, hiking, biking, etc. Shot via go pro by myself and by talented/sporty friends I would like to make videos that would stream on a loop, displaying these outdoor activities in the most unsuspecting of places (in an academic building in South Bend, Indiana). 

My last idea stems from James Turrell and our readings about the importance of light. What I would like to do is to create a door within the archway that would open up to a dark space, but if the viewers sticks around for long enough they will see the dark space illuminate with various light sources that would dance around, creating a performance. The lights and their movement would serve as an abstracted view of the wondering mind... which ranges in motions of curiosity to excitement.

 

2. For the mezzanine at the front entrance of riley I want to project a large scale image on the massively blank wall just to the left of the doors to the lobby and right above the stairs leading to the lower floor. My aim is to force the audience (aka unsuspecting passing students) to stop in the mezzanine and observe the wall they would never think to look at in any other circumstance. My first approach would be to create an illusion of an outdoor bench with a subject taking the time to sit and go about life's more simpler tasks, such as reading. Often, especially "millennial" college students, we forget to take the time to feed our soul with much needed down time. And by down time I don't mean sitting on the phone or on the computer or on a couch watching television. By displaying people doing activities that are good for the soul, such as reading on a park bench, picnicking, doing yoga, etc. it will hopefully trigger the audience into reconsidering how they use their spare time. 

Another idea i have is to have some sort of liquid or substance be spilling down the wall (but not in a creepy bloody sort of way) that makes those who are walking down the stairs underneath it feel as though they might have something spill or drop onto their heads. The tension and potential energy that I would try and emulate in the piece would interact and cause a disturbance in the passerby's daily travels. 

My last idea stems directly from inspiration from Pipilotti Rist. I would want to do a studio set up with a white background so when it project it makes little difference to the integrity of the wall and have objects being smushed and crushed (like oranges, eggs, tomatoes etc) onto a clear glass placed in front of the camera.

These are my current approaches however I continue to tweak and refine my direction to ensure I am respecting my space and its identity. I have begun to gather video sequences to work with: two of which are very warm videos by the ocean, one with hair blowing in the wind and one on a sunset boat ride looking out on the jetty.  The other direction I am beginning to work with is filming myself being covered by a project (so Meta) and seeing how I can put myself in the confines of the brick archway, confronting those unsuspecting passerby's.

Blog 3/20

This is a slightly more difficult blog post because of my attendance to only one class this week. Having not attended class on Thursday, my only true absence of the semester, I realized how important it is to stay up to date and that each class is crucial to our growth and understanding within the realm of installation art.  

Nevertheless, I am excited for this new chapter of our assignments. Working with projections is of particular interest to me as I am heavily invested in photographic work and am excited to see how I can transform my photography through moving images and projection mapping. Some ideas I have for this 1.0 include working with "portals," either creating them from spaces often forgotten and in areas students typically use as "interstates", with no reason for stopping or taking a second look at their surroundings, or through portal-like areas, meaning elevators, closed windows, or general nooks and archways that may not serve much purpose but are shaped in a way where they look as though they could've once held some sort of passage way. Through these portals I want to consider architecture and the idea of bringing the outside inside. 

Though somewhat unrelated to my ideas for 1.0, two contemporary video artists we looked up, Pipilotto Rist and Bill Viola, are given me many ideas for how to utilize videography without necessarily having an obvious narrative. Along with that they show how physical elements, from water and winds to sheets and glass, can be crucial in conveying a moment of movement that can't otherwise be captured, or if only photographed would be missing many important layers of meaning. 

Since I was not in class to go over examples of projection mapping I must learn on my own, which has presented its own set of challenges. It has been a struggle to remain on top of my work and has put me somewhat at a disadvantage. But I am doing my best to work through the kinks of these programs and trouble shoot my own lack of skills for projection mapping and am hopeful I will avail and be just as prepared for Tuesday!

BTC Societal Event – 1916: The Irish Rebellion

On Thursday March 3 I attended the premier of 1916: The Irish Rebellion, a documentary shaped to redefine and celebrate the centenary of the Republic of Ireland's independence from Great Britain. Hugely funded by Notre Dame's Keough-Naughton Institute, this documentary is a pivotal account of Irish history and a major step towards introducing a global interest in Irish studies and the culture in general. Taken direction from the Irish Studies page, here is a description of what the film entails:

"On Easter Monday 1916, a small group of Irish rebels—including poets, teachers, actors and workers—took on the might of the British Empire.  Although defeated militarily, the men and women of the Easter Rising would soon win a moral victory—with their actions leading to the creation of an independent Irish state and contributing to the eventual disintegration of the British empire. They have inspired countless freedom struggles throughout the world—from Ireland to India."
 

This documentary was specifically significant as a societal event important to contemporary society because this year marks the 100 year anniversary of Ireland's independence. This documentary was very interesting and I found it both informative and transformative of the perception of the Irish Rebellion on the global standpoint. In addition to the screening, there was a dinner, in which I had the great privilege to meet important figures in Irish culture and politics and was able to discuss and learn more about the political and economic environment in current times, which I gathered is quite turbulent and fluctuating. 

Having the opportunity to attend this premier was tremendously helpful in my understanding of Irish History and it's connection with American History. I am largely inspired by my heritage, which happens to be Irish-Catholic, so this event along with my visit to Ireland over Spring Break gave me a plethora of ideas in how to incorporate it within my art and installations.

 

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Blog Post 2/28

Stacey Holloway's presence in Thursday's class was refreshing. Her critiques on our projects and suggestions for further development left a lot for all of us to consider and contemplate in depth. For example, both her and Leticia's suggestions in emphasizing the conceptual background to my installation while also making the piece more dynamic by removing its stationary placement on the wall left me with some breakthrough ideas, particularly about moving towards a more deliberately ritualistic and performative installation. By removing the tuLips from the wall and placing them either on the ground or on a table I think I will be able to better accentuate their lips' flower-like appearance and coax more interaction out of the view/audience. 

The recommendation to research and look into the work of Jenine Antoni was also super helpful. Jenine's use of malleable material that she makes take on a different shape, such as soap or chocolate made into a bust of herself, is a great reference in the various ways a can shape and work with candle wax while also maintaining at least some of its original identity, meaning viewers will still be able to recognize the fact that these tuLips are made specifically out of candle wax. 

 

 

 

I am beginning to research and implement processes of creating a ritualistic format for my installation: My instalation ritual – a way of meditative healing. Symbolically picking a tuLip from a mandala shaped flower patch (signifying "letting go"), writing either an affirmation or certain energy needing to be expelled on a note, then taking the tuLip and lighting it to melt on top of the note so that the note is unreadable and then added to the candle lit pile of prayer notes. The candle of prayer signifies the expulsion and letting go of these words and thoughts, leaving it to a higher power. 

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Blog Post 2/14

For Installation 2.0, with the intent on making a work that forces the viewer/audience to engage with the piece by walking around and encouraging multi-angular viewing, I have focused on making my object more 3 dimensional. Several of my ideas involve casting a mold of my mouth and pouring various substances (wax, candy, chocolate, clay) and using those molded substances to create a three dimensional installation that interacts with more than just wall space. Currently, I am interested in the idea of creating "tuLips" that suspend in space in an invisible planter. These tuLips will be a commentary on both the physicality and markers of lips and kisses as well as their implications. The petals of tulips are smooth and similar to the texture of healthy lips. The flower patch as a whole will serve a reminder that in order to produce something that is healthy and flourishing it takes times and patience and work to make things beautiful. TuLips in particular are a great representation of that because they blossom at one specific time a year and last for a very short time. Once they wilt it takes another year before they blossom again. This idea I am hoping to convey in my hovering tuLip garden that moments are fleeting and to appreciate them when they come and cherish them and be patient when the time passes.

 

I really enjoyed the podcast I listened to about Nina Katchadourian. Her concepts that she creates for herself, whether it’s for long term projects or quick practice challenges, show the necessity for boundaries and limits. If thought through and treated correctly, limits force the mind to explore and allow for more creative and fruitful products. It also forces one to be a problem-solver… If one does not have a box to begin with then there is no way to think outside of it. 

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Brainstorming Installation 2.0

•Butterfly kisses- kisses folded and hung to look like flying butterflies

•  pieces of paper (napkin, newspaper, note paper, plain paper, tissue) kissed and hung

•kissed objects: motion tangible as physical presence — plastic cups, cigarette butts, envelopes, coffee toppers, cheeks (butt or face)

•kisses with a story on note paper: sharing aspect, performance aspect 

•  surveymonkey/Facebook call for stories and or names of last and/or first hookup/kiss then posted written or typed on post it note / journal paper

•  clay molds of lips 

- wax or molten candy, varied colors, candy lips w sprinkles? different connotations (going out, staying in, specialized, neutral) 

•  mold of lips then made into tuLips: 100 tulips growing from the ground or coming out of wall

•faces slightly coming out of walk- just mold of tip of nose and kissing lips at eye level:ambiguous gender but clearly "making the move"

•lips physically kissed in gradation on wall in shape and location that creates an ambiguous person in the negative space

•calla lily life size (size of person) made out of kisses

•calla lily made from lip molds installed on a podium

•body modification: 100 syringes hanging from the ceiling underneath it are giant lips coming out from the ground 

•  Lips taking on the shape of a life size syringe hung horizontal pointing at viewer

• geodesic dome filled with triangular transparencies of either scanned lips or photographed faces from nose to chin that is lit on the inside  

•individual triangular pieces with individual kisses or photos of lips creating a giant kissing lip (or calla lilly) lit from the inside

• kaleidoscopic lamp that projects disjointed images of lips on the wall  

• 100 lip molds ranging from small to big with syringes attached and accumulating fluid coming from injection site

• cylindrical lamp that is covered in lips and placed on podium

• tissue paper of varying strength contructed into lips and hung at eye level with the prompt "how long can I last? Touch me"

BTC - Art Event

I went to the Birdsell Project: A Student Art Reception on January 22 at the Commerce Center in downtown South Bend. This event was a unique and progressive way of combining the local and student communities in South Bend while making use of abandoned spaces and repurposing environments. As stated on their event invitation this particular collaboration between the Birdsell Project and the University of Notre Dame brought “four Notre Dame art classes [who] worked alongside their professors to create a series of work responding to site, history, and material.” The basement of the commerce center was once a power plant and a health club… and definitely has the strangeness that comes with that combination. The overall event had a very good turnout and offered the kind of energy that was needed to properly take in all the various installations that have transformed this basement.

The art itself ranged from bizarre and uncomfortable to interactive and fun. While some of the art juxtaposed its location and environment others responded to it in very deep and reflexive manners. I generally really loved weaving my way through the crowds of people and finding the nooks and crannies of this run-down basement that had been given a new life through installation. Some of it, however, was a bit disturbing and had a lot of shock value. The array of installations and personalities displayed within this event sometimes overloaded my sensory capacity and left me feeling somewhat overwhelmed. There were light installations, drawing installation, mixed media installations, music installations and many more, which was surprising given the amount of space the basement actually took up.

This event was very relevant to our installation class because it demonstrated the wide variety of ways you can install and respond to a given space as well as the variety of materials (and relatively cheap materials at that) you can you to successfully convey a message and repurpose a space for the sake of artistic creation.

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Introduction

Mary McGraw | Dana Point, California | University of Notre Dame Class of 2017 | BFA Studio Art–Concentration: Photography

Experience:

2D & 3D Foundations

Visual Communication Design Introduction & Typography Courses

Photography Introduction Course

Drawing Introduction Course

Relief Printmaking 

Photo Printmaking

Portrait Photography

CBS Network Photo Intern: 2015 | Web Design Intern for Independent: 2014 | RSM Design Environmental Design Intern: 2013

Tools:

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, LightRoom

 Printing Press, Charcoal and Graphite Pencils, Wire, Wood, Paper

Canon DSLRs, Pentax K1000 Film, Polaroid

Blog post #3

I think the idea that resonated most this week was the idea of humility from the talk we watched by The Jealous Curator. It's easy to be intimidated by materials and mediums that aren't familiar and even more intimidating when I begin researching ideas and see very talented people working with the mediums and materials I'm just beginning to work with. It's hard not to feel a sense of inferiority especially when comparing oneself to established artists that have mastered the craft. With that being said, her talk was inspirational because it provided her #realtalk on how to get out of these bogged down mindsets and to remember you're not alone in sometimes feeling insecure about art.

 

Right now I am struggling with my idea for my first installation project. 100 kisses is an idea I felt very strongly about in cncept but when going to execute it I've hit many road blocks. Firstly, I have come to realize how few 100 kisses actually look when applied to a massive wall space. Secondly, it has been difficult to visualize a good aesthetic that pairs with my concept and what I want to say about the objects themselves. What I initially wanted to express through installation was an intimate look at "the kiss" repeated 100 times over, giving the viewer a chance to really see details of the pouting picket up close and personal. Another concept I wanted to work with was the idea of "lip envy," the wretched sin of being utterly jealous of other people's lips. I wanted to somehow imitate the perfect kiss 100 times as to allude to the obsession some people have with lips that aren't theirs. What I came to realize when going about practicing installing these ideas is that they looked way better on paper then they did in real life. I was never able to marry either concept with a successful aesthetic and that was very discouraging. 

I have now switched gears and begun working with kisses but focusing on what makes the kind of kiss every person visualizes — lipstick & lipgloss. I want to explore in a controlled manner how long lipsticks and lipglosses last... In hopes to give a nod to the feminine aesthetic while also creating a gradient that can be understood in a variety of ways. 

The hope is to somehow acquire (via donation and purchases) 100 lipglosses/lipsticks to make a bigger visial impact than 100 kisses. 

 Gradients

Gradients

 Process

Process

 Lip Envy

Lip Envy

Blog Post #2

100 Things:

100 aglets

100 shoe laces

100 pieces of cut fruit

100 leaves

100 coffee beans

100 pamphlets

100 bandaids

 100 corks

100 hair ties

100 nails

100 Q tips

100 hershie kisses

100 real kisses (on paper)

100 hugs (photographed)

100 k cups

100 sugar packets

100 strips of tin foil

100 broken pieces of pottery

100 photographed snow flakes

100 banana peels

100 peanut shells

100 packing peanuts

100 magazine clippings of people

100 discarded water bottles

100 tea bags

100 red solo cups

100 used disinfecting wipes

100 coins

100 pieces of popcorn

100 popcorn kernels

100 used batteries

100 bitten cookies

100 bitten apples

100 thumbprints

100 handprints

100 socks (unpaired)

100 clips of noises (outside sounds)

100 stems from fruit

100 coffee filters

100 misinformed headlines

100 fake news stories

100 ziplock bags

100 pieces of link

100 used dryer sheets

100 different flyers around campus

100 notre dame related items

100 people writing their favorite word

100 chunks of sea salt

100 strands of your own hair

100 strands of other people's hair

100 cigarette butts

100 pieces of cardboard

100 misplaced/lost&found items

100 burst pens

100 globs of ink

100 broken pencils

100 instruction manuals

100 black and white sprinkles

100 donated items from 100 students

100 empty toilet paper rolls

100 iPhone apps

100 dating apps

100 gaming sites

100 pieces of tape

100 pieces of floss

100 tacs

100 tic tacs

100 ketchup packets

100 mustard packets

100 condiment packets

100 napkins

100 lucky charms

100 bobby pins

100 children hair clips

100 used makeup wipes

100 used beer cans

100 yellow/orange skittles

100 red/purple skittles

100 playing cards

100 erasers

100 pieces of lined paper

100 pieces of grid paper

100 pieces of recycled printed on paper

100 shopping tags

100 bras

100 undies (male and female)

100 receipts

100 pieces of bark

100 gum wrappers

100 mints

100 toothpicks

100 nutrition fact labels

100 of the same food label

The week of the preliminary installation ideas for project one would fruitful in some regards and challenging in others. Explaining our ideas to the 5 other students in the class as well as to the professor was a great way to get the ball rolling and to get good feedback on our ideas we have just begun to further develop. After I presented my idea to the class about potentially making my object out to be 100 kisses, we, as a collective, immediately began brainstorming the various options that could represent 100 kisses. Since the act itself is not necessarily an object it was time to get creative on the different kinds of elusions kisses could take on and what I wanted my overall message to be. The message is going to be a crucial part of the development of this idea because of it is going to help determine the physical presence of this object, since there is many ways to go about represent the physicality of a kiss.

 A few questions come to mind when working out these ideas:

Is it about lip envy?

Is it about sexuality and ambiguity?

Will it require a statistical analysis that provides information on the act of kissing (i.e.

Will it be more representative of lip variety rather than affection/what kissing alludes to?

The materials I have begun working with range from photographs and/or scans of lips/kisses to both transparent and opaque papers with physical imprints of lips. One idea that I plan to begin working with is spelling out words like “envy” “kiss” “sexy” “hello” “Mmm…” with the collection of kisses, provoking the mind to associate the word with the action in either a complementary or juxtaposing fashion. Transparency and working with light will also be crucial components to my installation as that will be the aspects that incorporate space and environment to the piece. I am interested in the detail of the lips and experimenting with light, reflection, and show to exaggerate and focus on the details that the kiss mark leaves.

Some pieces that I have researched and that have provided inspiration for this idea are lit up pink neon sign installations with words that provide a direct context to the type style and color choice.