Friday, January 12, 2007

Illustration Friday - 80's

Here is my submission for Illustration Friday topic "80's". This is a piece I did in high school (circa 1986). And like most old things, this painting has a story attached to it.

I forget what I entitled this painting. Unfortunately, all I have left is this slide, which isn't great. It was an acrylic painting with a chunk cut out of the canvas. Behind the canvas there was a portion of a face sculpted out of clay with a tear running down the cheek. The sculpture was painted a chalky white except for the eye which was painted in realistic colors (The dark spot is a dark shadow in the photo)

The rigid, folkart-ish painting of the girl represented her stiff, proper exterior. The selves that we try to project to others. While the sculpted face underneath represented the emotions and feelings that we keep to ourselves. Even though we may be smiling on the outside that's not necessarily what lays just beneath the skin. This was my statement, my art. I was quite proud of it.

It was displayed at an art show at my high school that coincided with the spring band concert. All my friends parents and grandparents walked by and said, "oh... um... that's nice dear. Did you add that extra clay bit because the canvas got ripped?" Okay, I thought, these are parents and grandparents. I didn't expect these people to really understand the depths of my artistic soul.

Soon after that show, I took this piece and several others to a portfolio review for the Pennsylvania Goverenor's School. The Goverenor's School is a program where they choose one student from each county in the state to attend an intensive summer art workshop in Harrisburg. Needless to say, I really wanted to go. And surely the Goverenor's School judges would understand real art.

I brought my artwork to Smethport along with lots of other kids and we all spread our work out on long tables. We stood next to our art as the judges walked through the room reviewing everyone's work. When the judge came to my table I was ready. Finaly a kindred spirit. Someone who would recognize my art for the great masterpiece it was. The judge carefully looked at my work. He lingered over this particular piece. Then he asked me, "Did you add that extra clay bit because the canvas got ripped?"

"No," I sighed, "it's suppose to be like that."

Incidently, I wasn't chosen for the Goverenor's School. (I was the alternate for my county.)


Nancy said...

Okay. That was a depressing story....I'm so glad it didn't quash your creative spirit. I get it. I just helped with a the Scholastic National Art Competition for my county. I am so glad I wasn't a judge.

Anonymous said...

Jenn! That is sooo cool! I was also in PA at the time, and graduated in 1986. You so should have gotten in. Ahhh nepotism. Which school district? I was at Hempfield(Greensburg)

Jillian S said...

Sigggh... that sucks. I think, as long as it means something to you, it shouldn't matter anyway. I like the meaning of this and how you pulled it off! When I saw the picture by itself, I thought the sculptured eye belonged to a white tiger.

Jillian s.

Anonymous said...

Oh... I love that a few IF contributors are posting their old creations... it's really nice!

I love urs, it reminds me one of my favorite artists, Hector Poleo.

Anonymous said...

Everyone's a critic. I like it even though nobody "got it" back then!

Anonymous said...

Aw man, ain't that just typical?
I got your piece and I think it's brilliant. So there.

Michelle Lana said...

wow, cool work.

Anonymous said...

Very cool, and you must not let others opinions get to you. :-)

paula said...

Hee! Love the walk down memory lane (I can tell you did, too)! It's cool how you had such faith in the piece you created despite the comments from those who "didn't get it". Now, If they all thought the canvas had been damaged and you'd 'repaired' it, I guess they wondering why it still looked damaged. They were being honest with their own art experience, eh? Thanks for sharing this, Jenn!

Anonymous said...

Bionic woman! Awesome!

Anonymous said...

You were so far ahead of your time, Jenn. This is a wonderful piece for someone so young. I wish I had been your teacher..... But look at you now... with your own book and so much more and more to come.

Knitting Painter Woman said...

What a sad story. Many of us have come a long ways in recognizing and doing self-expression.