Monday, April 28, 2008

Sources of Inspiration 2/5: Childhood Memories

This is part of a series on my sources of inspirations. There is an index here. These posts are greatly expanded from my 8 minute talk for the Conceptually Bound show.

zero to twelve, ©2007 4 x 2.5 x 3.5 inches (closed).
There are so many things I remember fondly from my childhood. Many of them seem to have informed my art-making urges. I have always treasured things I find, on the street or in creek beds. The penny and old bottle cap above have such nice patinas. You can see a cicada through the window above. There were cicada in Ohio, where I was born, and where my grandparents lived. I remember hearing their buzzing sound, and seeing their exoskeletons attached to trees. They seemed very mysterious to me. At times these early memories rise up in my mind with a force that surprises me. The numbers on the plastic protractor and the dial (below) refer to charts, maps, time and distance.

zero to twelve
Of course I was fascinated by dinosaurs. And we frequently played pretend games like cowboys and Indians, or Daniel Boone, depending on what movie we had seen on t.v. To start a project like this, I get out all the things that seem related and spread them out. They can dictate the size of the book, and whether the general tone is funky or jewelry-neat. I usually start with one or two interior pages and work out from there. I like to react to things as I go along when I'm making a book with lots of found objects. This makes a nice change from the meticulous metalwork, which is mostly planned out in advance. It's also a chance to indulge in some nostalgia. I still miss the landscape of the midwest, the rolling hills, deciduous forests and the fireflies and crickets.

Myself as my grandfather, made of crickets, grass and rain about 5 inches high, ©1987
Although we moved a lot, I have always felt Ohio was home. We visited my grandparents there as often as possible. I often think about the line of people who precede me. Not only as genetic ancestors, but as people who have contributed to my view of life, even if it's just to react against them.

Myself as my grandfather, made of crickets, grass and rain
I am fascinated by the old layered medical diagrams. The second layer here is a large gear, which I used to represent the spirit. I'm thinking of myself as a cog in a much greater mechanism. I am connected to my ancestors by gears and we are also connected to many other people. The whole world is a large mechanism that has many interrelating parts.

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