Friday, February 26, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Neighborhood Portraits

My goal for this triptych was to illustrate the casual and eclectic nature of my urban neighborhood: describe the colors of the houses on my street, the textures in my building, the signage on the sides of restaurants, the graffiti scrawled on the dumpsters.

I like to think of each collage as a little visual poem about my surroundings.

It was important to me that each collage be able to stand alone and still work as a cohesive group when viewed together. (Thus, the repeating elements of target shapes, birds, central composition and color scheme.) I began this project by paying special attention on my walks home from work, making lists and snapping photographs. Each composition is a combination of my own photographs and found images:

[Watertower Collage]

The Watertower collage includes a beautiful piece of East Side architecture, the North Point Watertower. I remember viewing it as a child, squinting at it past the sun and and being told that Rapunzel lived there. Other East Side images include a dirty mattress I photographed last spring, the window well view of a packed basement, and prayer flags fluttering from a neighbor's porch. The pallets for all three collages are drawn from the shutters, signage, mailboxes and siding seen on my street.

[Pabst Blue Ribbon Collage]

Though it hardly constitutes as beer, PBR has become a cult classic. You can see the red and blue can painted on the facades of buildings or crumpled up and covered with frost on your front lawn. I decided to pay homage and poke fun at the hometown favorite while including images of my 100-year-old apartment building's cream city brick exterior and a favorite fading wheat-paste sticker I pass daily.

[Door Bell Collage]

My building is terrible--falling apart at the seams, water stuck under the tub and rotting windowsills--but we're in love. This particular collage is an ode to my apartment, starring my cracked and peeling door bell. The surrounding images are textures either drawn directly from or inspired by my six unit apartment complex.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


[Jenny Dunn] Why I Love It: The work utilizes bright fresh pallets and often includes hand drawn elements to create charming playful collages with lose open compositions. What You'll See: Bunnies, ice cream cones, ephemera and cotton candy colors.

[Julien Pacaud] Why I Love It: These digital collages are built around limited sophisticated pallets and often star cheese-cakey retro images of pancake made-up housewives and saturated vintage furnishings. What You'll See: Teal, harvest gold, lipstick, bold shapes and 60's Chic.

[Christian Northeast] Why I Love It: Peculiar situations and off-putting proportions, just macabre enough to tickle your morbid curiosity but strays far from beating you over the head with the mall goth galleria of blood and guts. What You'll See: Turn of the century imagery, circus poster pallets, dead sailors, bird women and antiquated diving gear.

[Lori Feild] Why I Love It: Ephemeral stage-like narratives swimming in a psychedelic wonderlandia of pastels and patterns. Her works incorporate rich surfaces, collage and hand-drawn elements to create cohesive waking-dream-like environments that juxtapose the oddly uncomfortable and inviting. What You'll See: Girls in chiffon, intricate tattoos, white hares, tiger stripes, and supple sfumato surfaces.

[Ian Miller] Why I Love It: Dark, disturbing, gritty apocalyptic images composed of architectural and figural elements. The texture and motion in these mixed media pieces gives me the heebie jeebies. While some of the drawing and painting work is a little hokey science fiction horror for my taste, the collage based work is disjointed and jarring in the best way possible. What You'll See: Gas masks, decay and the occasional lamb fetus.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gathering and Planning

[click for a larger image]
In my wanderings this week, I've been trying to pay close attention. I'm finding an old creative writing prompt strategy to be helpful, constantly thinking to myself: I see, I hear, I feel, I smell...and filling in the blanks. What I've gathered here are loose beginning compilations of images and textures--some directly from the neighborhood and some from outside sources--that act as a sort of stream-of-consciousness impression of my street, building and immediate neighborhood.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Neighborhood Gathering

I live on the Eastside of Milwaukee--I love it here and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. (Aside from being a better apartment that is...) My grandparents lived here, my dad grew up here and now I wander around and make art here. I've been to lots of beautiful cities and given them my Goldilocks Report: too big, too small, too expensive, too hot, too cold. But my neighborhood next to Lake Michigan in all its trashy-grimy-telephone-pole-staple-studded- glory is home. I like to say that Milwaukee is Chicago's sluttier younger sister: cute, approachable and doable for under $50.