Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ouroboros Basket

Ouroborous Basket

This is a Mandala I recently made to promote my upcoming class "The Art of Mandala" going on this summer of 2011 at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. It depicts the Ouroboros serpent, a cross-cultural symbol that has always fascinated me, and currently plays a synchronous role in certain aspects of my work. Mandalas are an amazing thing, always unpredictable and profound, simple and complex! If you are interested in the subject, I highly recommend Carl Jung's "Mandala Symbolism", and of course, taking the class! Thanks for stopping by! AA11

Humazuma Island

Humazuma Island AA11

This is a T-shirt design I created for Sam McDonough's "Art Out of the Box" project, involving 5 different artists in 5 different neighborhoods creating art on site while engaging people in conversation. It's a sweet project happening this summer of 2011. For more info visit the official website.

The drawing is called "Humazuma Island" and it was "distiled" from this set of drawings from my sketchbook:

Humazuma Islands AA11

Humazuma is a Deity created by my 6YO son, and it is the primary God of these particular realms. I showed these drawings to my 6th grade students, and they spent a while navigating this world with their fingertips, talking about it in detail. I was fascinated. If a child can truly enjoy something I have made (other than dessert), then I am happy. There is simply no better art critic than the honest-minded and temporarily-pure children!



Face Coins!

This is an exciting and informal work I've done a couple of years now, during New Year's eve at my good friend's cabin in the woods; and I plan to continue doing this for as long as possible. It is a ritual of sorts, yielding these interesting objects we call Face Coins. Face Coins AA11 On the first day at The Cabone, outside of Everett, PA, we find the suited clay from the surrounding forest grounds. It is key that the clay is found there, and not bought at a store or brought from somewhere else. This is what gives the Face Coins a proper body. Then, for a couple of hours, the clay is tediously processed and prepared to ensure it has a basic minimum plasticity and is able to withstand the rest of the process, including an intense firing. Once the clay is prepared, we have one hand-sized ball of workable clay to play with. Each person takes a pinch or two and begins to make their own Face Coins. This is what gives the Face Coins a soul. This part of the process is open ended, allthough most of the coins (not all) have a general "faceness" to them. Then, the coins are immediately but slowly dried in the fire and thrown in to cook (a process which many potters would argue against, but I've had no problems with it). Intense fire The fire is taken to an extreme temperature and allowed to die over night. The next day, a fun ceremonial "unearthing" of the coins from the ashes is performed, and everybody contemplates the results. Ian Unearthing Face Coins Face Coins Unearthed And that is when the funnest part begins: Each person takes a coin or two of their selection, and proceeds to hide it in the surrounding premises! Star Face Coin Already after two sessions, the site is rich in these mysterious archaeological artifacts and everybody just LOVES to find an occasional Face Coin here and there. They give good luck! Special Face Coin Every coin is different and special. Some coins have firing imperfections, or natural growth or erosion; or a particular feature that makes them "collectors items", such as the one depicted above, which was affected by ceremonial Copal that was tossed into the fire. Other collectibles include (but are not limited to) "Joel's bearded Face Coin", "the first coin" "the half-face"(which was accidentally stepped on and was the first to enter the 2011 fire), and "the penis". But everybody knows what to do if you find a Face Coin (unless you really really like it), which is to hide it right back in the very land that saw its birth. art in a tree They end up under rocks, in tree holes and crevices, and who knows where else?! I found a face coin!! "I found one!!" AA11

Visionary Chamber 14: "Rose"

In light of the fact that I haven't blogposted in so long, I decided to catch up by posting a number of latest artworks/projects I've created, all at once.


So first, I'd like to share a piece called "Rose", the fourteenth in a series of miniature assemblages I call: "Visionary Chambers" (footnote: the goal with this name was not to sound pretentious, but rather to make a distiction to the original name "Vision Chambers", as "visionary" should invoke something more than just an optical effect, perhaps implying a certain archetypical or liminal nature.)

The box is about the size of a rubics cube, with a magnifying glass attached to the front to enable the viewing of the particularly tiny assemblage that lives within. For a sense of scale, it should be noted that the fairy depicted is shorter in height than my pinky fingernail.


The piece was created as a present to a 12 YO family friend who, during a white elephant celebration, won my "gift certificate for a personalized commisioned artwork". She is a very exceptional little lady, very mature and witty, and I was very exited to work with her on deciding what artwork I'd make for her. She now happens to be one of my students!

So we started talking, and as she was already familiar with the work that I do, she didn't hesitate to ask for a chamber (I couldn't credit many of my other clients to such smart descicion, as the chambers are among my most praised -and pricy- pieces!). She also told me about things she was interested in, themes, colors, etc.

The piece is called "Rose" after her, and she was very happy to receive the final commisioned artwork... a year after!

But the wait, it seems, was sure worth it.