isAfterlife of a T-Shirt
My primary thoughts around this podcast while and directly after listening was not related to my personal work, but around the idea of excess and responsibility. Why do we feel the need to create such an excess of items that just a fraction of the leftovers of that industry can fuel an entire other business? While I'm glad that the "leftovers" mostly get put to use, I also wonder about economies and countries that rely on the used and rejected objects from other cultures. I don't feel educated enough to form an opinion, good or bad, either way, but it does seem like first-world countries create more than we actually want and then it becomes someone else's problem.
After that, and in the class discussion, I started to think about this in my work, and I can make connections in two ways.
The first is simply the use of scrap and leftovers. I almost never through paper away. Even when I cut out detailed textures, I keep all the tiny little slivers I cut out and keep them stored by color. I will find a use for them one day. Larger pieces of scrap get organized by size. These scraps either get used when I do color tests or when I create smaller pieces. To the viewer, these probably don't look like I'm using "leftovers," but I find that when I'm going through scraps and assembling a piece from scrap, it always adds a tiny layer of meaning to the piece for me.
This habit of keeping all my paper (and to be honest, lots of other forms of "trash" that I'm sure my husband would prefer I stop collecting) has started to become the concept for a someday-series I'd like to do (or not, as perhaps the time has passed for it). After the 2016 election, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote an open letter to the world called "I will not throw you away," which basically called for forgiveness, compassion, and a respect for the sacred human spark inside all humans. This letter and my compulsive belief in the usefulness of a million pieces of garbage I keep in my studio has been fermenting a long time into thoughts about who decide is "garbage" and why. However, this is not directly impacting my work right now, and it perhaps will not, as I'm not sure I'm quite as good as Elizabeth Gilbert.
Fascinating. I have to say, most of this episode made me pretty angry, for reasons I feel are obvious. The only thing that made me upset that I don't think probably upset most people was Dapper's Dan getting the job offer at the end. I think most individuals saw that as a victory, and perhaps that would be the correct way to view it. I can't help but see it as the overpowering forces in industries consuming the smaller. While I'm happy Dan doesn't have to sell clothes out of his car anymore, I would prefer a world where it's viably possible for him to have started his own brand that countered the existing powerhouses.
That being said, I struggled to connect this listening to my work as much as I could connect Afterlife. If I were to make a stretch (and it's a big heckin' stretch), it might make me think of the way that I translate photos into blocked 2-dimensional images. I don't think this is particularly relevant right now because I take all my own photos, but when I started papercutting, I used stock images as reference much of the time, and I always worried I was not doing it in the "correct" way. Even though I was using images I knew I was allowed to use, i still felt like I was stealing. The closest I come to that now is when I find a photograph with a pose or color scheme I want to use. This is particularly stressful if I like the colors used with the pose and want to use both. I never do, although honestly, when I'm taking photos, the pose almost always changes dramatically on account of how my body rarely can achieve the pose in most photos. Even poses that are easy look drastically different on long-necked, long-limited models, so I usually end up re-inventing and altering the pose over and over again until it's so different that any concern I might have had is eliminated.
Progress is minimal. I have done a dozen little sketches of a movement I want to create that I am beginning to believe is technically impossible, or at least not within the scope of my skills/time. I am still waiting on a mechanics book to come in.
In the mean time, I need to learn to use the laser cutter (le gasp) so that I can make gears... but also so that maybe I can try making figures in another way. ;) Shocker. I'm working on a design that I can put into a vector file. So far it's very rough and not vectorized yet. I haven't decided if I want it to be kind of angular and indistinct or detailed and refined. I also am not sure how complex I want to make it (1 layer for the figure? 2? 3? I am leaning towards 3, but this may be too ambitious.)
Below, please note that these colors are not indicative of my goal for the piece, it is only to help me keep track of layers and shapes as I design.