Tag Archives: art making

Bags of Crap Part 3 {the Bike Chain}

You look good.

My whole practice is about responding. It’s the opposite of visualizing an image in my head. I can’t even begin until I’ve located something. Being alert and observant is the entry point. Always on a treasure hunt, I’m lucky to live in a location with such variety of trash. (Ha! Can’t believe I’m writing that).

When I come across an item never before used, the pull to work with it is overwhelming. If I don’t have time in the moment or need a better backdrop, I pick it up and carry it with me. Stuff that resembles facial features are most likely to be remembered. They get fished out of the bag to be incorporated into a face right away, but other objects require more serendipity on their way to facehood. It’s much easier to say yes, we should do something with you, but not now, and stick you in a bag then it is to stare deeply at you until you finally start to stare back. Hence, this Bags of Crap Series. The Bags are full of intriguing non facelike objects that needed a full weekend of desert induced serendipity to coax them into saying hello.

I don’t remember finding this card but I would definitely pick it up again as he’s as close as I’m ever going to get to an authentic Prada item. His poshness however, was not an asset. Not only was he was never needed to complete a face on the pavement, he wasn’t even a contender. Business cards are hard! Can you think of what to do with them? But all on his own, he’s rising to the occasion letting me know what he thinks of me and my process.

I hope I don’t get fired for being so dirty.

It’s one thing to carry a slip of paper around for several months, broken car mirrors and bicycle chains are another story. Mostly I would say, you have to make the face right away and then leave that junk where you found it. But I picked them up. And carried them around. And felt annoyed by them until the desert.

A detached and rusty bicycle chain is just a really cumbersome thing to haul around. It’s greasy and heavy. Not good for purses. But it did suggest a strong ability to make a head and shoulders outline, stronger than most items I encounter. Once you’ve committed to storing it inside a doggy poop bag and lugged it up and down the street for several weeks, you are stuck in a creative sunk cost fallacy. You can’t bear to cut it loose without getting that face in return. I got so tired of schlepping it I stopped using my bag altogether and started another one. This has not seemed like the right choice. Until now. I am happy to share that he was worth the wait/weight.

I didn’t imagine pairing him with desert dirt and dropped salt cedar leaves. I thought he’d be on pavement. Lucky me! My wonderful host and friend suggested the mustache. She’s got so much style!

Available for dates. Check me out on match.com.

Now for the final high challenge item, the difficulty of making a face on a mirror is camera reflection. I used this as an opportunity for a self portrait. I really like it!

Do you think the person whose car suffered this accident would feel even one tiny bit better if they knew this was the outcome? We don’t always see how things play out. Sometimes something wonderful is born from something sad.

Okay guys, I did it!!! It took two and half years, but I cleaned out the bags and made some faces. The vacuum cleaner now has the closet floor space to herself and I have two empty purses back in rotation for other types of adventures. I’m officially crossing this off the To Do list! Time to call Mom!

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Bags of Crap Part 2 {Worth the Weight/Wait}

It’s all in here. All 20 lbs of it.

Onerous, uncompleted tasks weigh on you, upending your peace of mind like someone you dislike at a good friend’s party. You don’t have to talk to them but knowing they’re there makes you self conscious and unable to relax. Not fair! Well, several years worth of unattended sidewalk face material crammed into three bags and a few spill over containers was frustrating my attempts to declutter the house and feel like I was on top of my game. It was making me doubt my ability to execute complex art assignments. It was messing with my domestic and creative mojo. Unh, unh unh!

I was tired of living with this problem and utterly unable to fix it.

Until. Now.

I was invited by a good friend to her desert house for a long weekend (we did Covid tests). Because I am who I am, my first stupid thought was, how can I make this relaxing weekend productive? Like, is there a way I can lay in a hammock and get some of my shit handled at the same time?

Well as a matter of fact yes! I realized I could lug these annoying overstuffed satchels to the desert and organize them there. Excitement!

It’s amazing how much more pleasant it is to sort through two thousand unclassifiable objects when sipping coffee in the desert. As I listened to the wind, not rushing, I found myself appreciating all the forgotten treasures, remembering my ideas for them, wanting to play, wanting to make faces.

The out-of-commission too-heavy bags plus a spillover container. Some people use the freebie bags they get at makeup counters for makeup. I use them for trash.
Typical bag contents

It’s a bit tricky to maintain the mental looseness of art making in tandem with the focused discipline demanded of organization. First I sorted, then created, then eliminated, then stored. Below are three objects I’ve had for ages, waiting for these exact faces to be made. That green plastic tab was shouting frog face! at me until I picked him up. I could have made him so much sooner but he got lost in the bag and I forgot about him. You can’t act on what you’ve forgotten about. Minimalism is partly about not forgetting, keeping what’s a priority always at attention.

The metal thing is nothing special but with two seeds and a stick he is pretty cute right? And what of that leathery leaf bit. It’s a miracle it didn’t grind to dust colliding with everything else. I love the texture and that oval shape keep suggesting an eye to me. So he finally got his day in the sun. I’ve released the metal and leaf to new adventures. The green tag I’m hanging onto. Maybe some day I will have a gallery show and he can be in it.

There were some onerous and exotic items I collected as well including a broken car side mirror, a full length bicycle chain and a Prada business card. I made more complex faces with those and will publish them in Part Three. The bicycle chain face has a walrus mustache. And he’s bald. What a relief it is to finally cross him off my mental to do list. I’m going to give myself a gold star!

If you missed Bags of Crap Part One you can see it here: https://eaglecrowowl.com/2020/10/13/bags-of-crap-part-1-the-dark-side-of-good-ideas/

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