Saturday, June 18, 2011

Feather of the Dog, Hair of the Owl

Feather of the Dog, Hair of the Owl is the silly title my mother, Camille Biexei, came up with for my show that opened at Art Access yesterday. As promised to my favorite fruit fly, Gerald, I am posting pictures of all of the pieces in the show (I wanted to do this punctually, since Gerald's time with us is limited.) The media used for anything listed as "mixed media" is any or all of the following: graphite, colored pencil, art marker, watercolor, and guache. My mom helped me with the titles: I came up with some, she came up with some, and we named some together: mommy-daughty team work! Thank you to all the fine folks who showed up at the opening. Your support and kind words meant a lot!

This work stems from a small series I did in late 2010, titled Wolf Pack. It consisted of portraits of animals and humans with which I feel a kinship. I chose to further explore the symbolic significance
of three of those animals, wild dogs, owls and the California condor. I have seen all of those animals in the wild. Owls I have seen on many occasions, experiences which were intimate, mysterious and intense.

I depict animals in my artwork because they are to me an ideal faculty to convey pure emotion and thought. I view them as otherworldly, pure and wise. They possess a spiritual and physical beauty which I find captivating.

When working on my drawings I try to work in a somewhat spontaneous state, allowing myself to react to what I have previously placed on the paper. The letterpress prints are based on my drawings which I felt compelled to reproduce and explore further. I produced the prints using the letterpresses at the Book Arts Program at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, where I work as a Studio Coordinator. Thanks to my mother, Camille Biexei, who suggested the show title, to my sister, Katherine Allred, my little brother, Orson Taylor, and my friend, Jason Young.

Owl of the Sun 17" x 23" mixed media

 Becoming: Fire and Water 17" x 23" mixed media

Communication 17" x 23" mixed media

Point of Recognition 17" x 23" mixed media

Bold Intentions 17" x 23" mixed media

Pure Language 17" x 23" mixed media
Flight of the Messenger 17" x 23" mixed media

Thought and Form 17" x 23" mixed media

The Sound of the Universe 17" x 23" mixed media

True North 17" x 23" Mixed Media

Seeds of Light 17" x 23" mixed media

Seeds of Transformation 17" x 23" mixed media

Truth and Wisdom 17" x 23" mixed media

The Visit 15" x 22" linocut and photopolymer on letterpress

The Messengers 15" x 22" linocut on letterpress

Transmutation 15" x 22" linocut and photopolymer on letterpress

Soul, Self, Shadow 15" x 22" linocut and photopolymer on letterpress

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Alt Press Fest

The Alt Press Fest is coming up!! July 9th, at the City Library, it's going to be bananas. I'll be there! (Talk to Mr. Clinton Watson about it: it's going to be fearless, and poka-dotted!) Headed by our fearless leader, Ryan Perkins, the Alt Press Fest posters were made this year by my friends Laura Decker, Max Kelly, Valerie Jar, Whitney Shaw, and myself. We made them last year, and went all out in hearts and stars by screen printing and letterpressing them. However, this year, things didn't move as sweetly, so we've had them digitally printed. Which is alright by me. (You can ask Ryan how he feels about it, earnest fellow that he is.) We made the posters so that they can function as both posters and be cut down into postcards (innovation, guys!) We took a team approach and made the poster collectively. Each of us did our part of the poster based on a book or movie (presumably one that can be checked out from the City Library.) My book muse was Momo by Michael Ende. However, the City Library does not have a copy of Momo (I better write them a tear-jerker of a letter.)
In regards to the posters of yesteryear: Ryan designed the typography. He, personally, screenprinted the images for all 6 versions, with me as his chatty helper/catcher/obnoxious person standing around. My image featured My Man Friday:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lil' Update

I apologize to my two devoted readers (my mother and someone else equally kind and long suffering) for my hiatus from updating this blog of the happenings in my artistic "career" in the past couple of months. I have a few updates.

I finished this piece for the annual Kayo Gallery members show, Round 7. The title is "Transitionary Beings." It will be up for a little bit longer, should anyone be inclined to see it in person. It's the finished version of this.

The top half of my face was featured on the cover of In This Week Magazine. It was for the magazine's cover article on the fact that Salt Lake City was rated the 7th most bohemian city. Along with several other local artists they interviewed both me and my friend, Laura Decker.

Coming up on July 9th is the 3rd Annual Alternative Press Festival at the City Library. Planning has begun! As we did last year, again with our devoted and ever patient ring leader, Ryan Perkins, my friends Whitney Shaw, Valerie Jar, Laura Decker, Max Kelly, and I will be making the posters again this year. We will do our best not to disappoint! Our apple beer and spiked cider fueled poster planning meeting was especially fruitful.

I've recently started participating in the Foster Art Program, organized by John Sproul. The artist talks for the spring, 2011 session were at the Salt Lake Art Center auditorium on Saturday, March 2nd. In my talk I attempted to sum up my current philosophy of my own art. I think I made a little less of a fool of myself than I did when I spoke in the fall, 2010 session. See: I'm learning. Or, at least I like to tell myself I'm learning. Should someone be so inclined to read on, I've posted my talk below. I finished writing it as the talks began, so it's not polished. However, I did not feel comfortable to just wing it, as some artists participating did. I needed the crutch of having something written down to read to feel confident to speak.

Foster Art Program talk, Spring, 2011:
My work is mainly of animals. I do sometimes depict humans, but usually in relation to animals. The world of animals has been a lifelong fascination for me. I view the animal world as somewhat separate from the human world. While there are some overlapping aspects, as, obviously, we ourselves are animals, they are different from us. They are more connected to the fundamental being of the planet. Their motives are pure. I believe animal emotion would be more trustworthy, pure, and intuitive than human intelligence and emotion. All of these aspects put animals on a different level of consciousness than our own. It makes them otherworldly and mysterious. This, to me, makes them wiser than us.
Because of my views on animals and the world they live in I believe the study of animals leads one closer to the understanding of one's own fundamental inner being. I seek to understand myself and my own emotions and motivations through studies of the natural world and the animals within it.
I often use reoccuring patterns in my work, which represent a group or inner consciousness: a connectivity to oneself and the world around you. Some of these patterns are partly inspired by a pattern I see when I experience vertigo or close my eyes and rub them: I see a pattern of swirling triangles.
This recent series of portraits was for a show of my "wolf pack." This wolf pack is not of a literal pack of wolves, but of a group of individuals who look out for each other. Who are spiritually connected. My wolf pack is comprised of both humans and animals: all significant to me. I made the portraits into a pack of cards, with the intention that you'd carry them with you.
When working I work best in an unplanned state: in that I allow myself to not plan out the piece as a whole. I react to what I have previously placed on the paper. Working in this way is freeing for me. It allows my intuition to develop the piece: for better or for worse, making it a product of my own consciousness.
All of my pieces start out as a drawing, usually in graphite, colored pencil, watercolor and guache. However, I'll often turn my drawings into prints produced with the letterpress. I work at the Book Arts Program, so I use our letterpresses to produce my prints. I utilize several different media on the letterpress: carved linoleum or cintra, photopolymer made from hand-drawn negatives or negatives made directly from my drawings on paper, and sometimes pressure print which involves a matrix made from cut paper. I like to develop a print in the same way I draw: allowing the piece to unfold as I work.
The size of my pieces is on the small side: the largest being 2' x 3' framed down to quite small: 2" x 3."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Afternoon Conversations

Right now I am really happy. This is because in the past couple weeks I made my first two sales on my etsy shop (one of which happened tonight!) So, in the name of celebration, I decided it was time to post more prints on my etsy shop, and at the same time post one of those prints on here. All the while I will be drinking a white russian in celebratory form (well, it's not really a white russian, as there is no half and half in the house right now, so I substituted almond milk in place of cream: delicious!)

Below is a letterpress print I made for a show of work by me and my talented co-workers at the Book Arts Program, which showed at Signed & Numbered in 2009. The title is "Afternoon Conversations." It is of a giraffe and crocodile conversing. Conversing about what, I can't say. They might be talking about the current state of the jungle, the weather, or how fond they are of their mutual friend, Gerald. I often like to depict two animals that wouldn't normally interact in the "real world" in order to create a sort of whimsical land in which these animals might reside and interact in a way unfamiliar to us. It's an unusual image for me, in that it's nearly completely lacking any color. The only color used (other than black and white) is a very subtle tan used in the sun and a bit in the animals. I put it in the animals to represent a common life force shared with the sun. The size of the animals, and how they are rendered was inspired by an old book cover I found at the J. Willard Marriott Library. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the book, and I'm very sorry for that, as I'd like to give it credit here. It's additionally unfortunate that I may not be able to find the book again, because I returned it, and because I check out so many weird books from the Marriott Library keeping track of them would be near impossible (or boring, requiring work-like charts and tables.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mystère et boule de gomme

It's that time of year again: the 12th annual Miniprint sale! Prints made by students, faculty and alumni (that's me!) from the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Utah. All sales go to assisting printmaking students attend the Southern Graphics Council National Printmaking Conference in St. Louis, MO. The prints will be on sale at the Gittins Gallery from Dec. 7 through Dec. 9th, from 10 am to 6 pm. This was my contribution to the cause. The blue I used for the words is quite subtle, but it's even more subtle photographed. So, I guess you gotta see it in person for reals.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Card Pack

As I said in my previous post I made a small letterpress version of my wolf pack drawings. I printed them in florescent yellow ink! Bam! Bright! And then cut them all down and rounded the corners. Each card is rather small, 2.5" x 3.5," that way you can carry them around in your shirt pocket and always have a wolf pack with you. Should you be interested in carrying them around in your shirt pocket, I've got them for sale on my etsy shop.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wolf Pack

On October gallery stroll I had a show at Copper Palate Press. I depicted my wolf pack of seven. I, surprisingly, titled the show, "Wolf Pack." It consisted of the below pieces (media: graphite, colored pencil, watercolor) and also smaller simplified letterpress versions of these, made into a card pack.


My boyfriend, Alexander, wonderfully helped me put up the show (the arrow was his idea.) Here are some shots of the set-up. One picture with lights on showing token empty PBR cans (and snack bag,) one with me looking goofy holding semi-full PBR can, and one with lights off with glowing PBR cans in foreground. I apologize for the terrible quality of these photos (I should buy a better camera.) I'll post pictures of the card pack in a later post.

Artist's Statement:

The meaning behind the show title, Wolf Pack, is not of a literal pack of wolves, but of a pack of individuals who look out for each other just as wolves do within a wolf pack. My wolf pack is seven strong, comprised of individuals all significant to me. Most of those within the pack relate to events that have happened in my life over this past summer, making them significant to who I am right now.

Claire Elizabeth: is myself, Claire Taylor.

Alexandre: is my old friend and boyfriend of 6 years, Alexander Pratt. Alexandre is the French spelling of Alexander, paying homage to his heritage. Alexandre is depicted naked so as to show his kinship with animals and the wild.

Cindy Night: is the endangered and mysterious California Condor. While on a camping trip in Zion National Park, I was near the top of Angels Landing where I saw a California Condor cleaning itself. I watched her for a long time. Once I turned my back to the bird, to complete the hike, she took flight and flew in the direction I had turned to face. She had an enormous wingspan; it was a great and powerful sight. Her name is partly inspired by my mother's name, Camille. Though, Camille did not seem to be the right name for this bird, I instead chose her a name starting with the letter “C.”

Johnny Quick Shoes: is the wise and clever fox. Though this depicts a red fox, it was inspired by a grey fox I saw in Zion on this same camping trip. I saw him at night in our campground walking ahead of me on the path from the bathroom. Once I got to the edge of my campsite he turned to sit and looked at me for awhile, until I left him.

Wolfe: is the fierce cat. This cat is inspired by the many cats I see within the city. Many of these cats I interact with, petting them. Often, they will run up to me and my boyfriend, Alexander, meowing to be pet. They always leave an impression on us.

William: is a fictionalized version of the actor, Bill Murray. I have always loved Bill Murray, often depicting him in my art. I've come to realize that the Bill Murray that I depict is not the real Bill Murray, but something he simbolizes to me.

Katherine Wise: is inspired by the many small owls I have seen over this past summer. These owls have flown near me and landed close and stared and chirped at me. Katherine Wise is also named after my sister, Katherine who also saw many owls this past summer.

Thanks to members of my real life wolf pack. Thanks to Camille Biexei, Katherine Allred, and Alexander Pratt all of whom had many good thoughts and ideas. Thanks to Laura Decker and Max Kelly who helped me come up with the name, Wolf Pack.