Thursday, July 07, 2011

Russian Dolls Inspired by the Pixies

I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in an art show inspired by the work of the Pixies, opening at the C.A.V.E gallery in September. You can check out the details on the facebook page here:

I am painting a set of 5 physical Russian Nesting dolls for the show. Rather than focus on a specific song or lyric for inspiration, my process has been to endlessly listen to all of their albums while I sketch. As I’m drawing, I pick up on particular words, patterns, or riffs that inspire that shape the design. Here’s an example of what some of these sketches look like: 

I also wanted to try something a little different with the dolls themselves; I wanted them to look different than conventional nesting dolls, both in terms of form and content. Rather than cover them in paint and apply a nice shiny varnish, I wanted to have some of the art process show through. This is probably a reaction to having worked on Stacking, where all of the art was created digitally -- with none of the physicality of the medium coming into play.

So I bought a wood burning kit and burnt in the lines of the design directly into the wood. This creates little valleys and cuts in the wood surface itself and creates an interesting “broken” line style. Having never used a wood burner before, it’s kind of slow-going and I also burnt one of my fingers. After the wood burning was done, I applied a few coats of transparent acrylic medium to seal everything and to also make sure that the paint would sit on the surface. Because I wanted some of the wood to show through and not cover up the wood burner “lines” entirely, I applied the paint pretty thinly, and having the surface sealed helped with that. Here’s a front and back view of the first doll. It’s still a work in progress, and I’ll undoubtedly tweak it as I develop the other dolls so that they all harmonize together.