Saturday, February 7, 2015

Safe Harbor, Part 1: Gathering Story Elements

This April, Chris Ryniak and I have another two-person show at Stranger Factory. Because we both have a background in design and art direction, we tend to go a little crazy with theming, but I wouldn't have it any other way, honestly. I tend to be extremely thematically-inclined with my own bodies of work, and it's very comfortable to work with another artist who feels the same way.

The first part of the theme that we come up with is the "story" of it - what will the body of work be about? For this show, we chose the title "Safe Harbor". As you can probably guess, it is nautical in nature. Not even just the sea, but ideas, objects, and history that surrounds it. You can expect to see a lot of marine motifs in my work - shells, crab claws, coral, scales, as well as more dockside elements such as fishhooks, anchors, baitfish, and flags.  We're wanting to more or less be able to represent two worlds of the sea; the world underneath the waterline, and the world that sits right on top, relying on the bounty of the ocean for sustenance.

After we've got our story down, we immediately go into picky designer mode and come up with a color palette that will govern the entire show.  If I'm making more than 3 pieces at any given time, I pretty much always choose a palette for the work. I feel so much more comfortable working within color parameters; even if a piece does not specifically fit into the story of the rest of the work, it will visually harmonize if it fits within the color scheme. This is important when we need to fill an entire gallery.

The palette we came up with is a wash of salt-bleached neutrals bolstered with bright pops of saturated color. Sand, pebbles, driftwood, and worn canvas sails. Peeling yellow paint on a time-tested fishing boat. The brilliant aqua of equatorial seas and the faded blue of storm-greyed skies. Rusty-red coral, nacreous abalone, and patinated copper and brass.

Now that we've defined these things, it's time to get to work! There are patterns to be cut, faces to be sculpted, and mermaids to design. More sneak peeks to come, as there is so much more left to do!


  1. thank you for sharing your process. It's a pleasure to read you, as always

  2. I can't wait to see the finished product! These guys already look super cute in pieces!

    1. Thank you! I'm pretty excited to meet them when they're finished too :D

  3. I'm so god damned excited for this show! Love the theme, love the colors, love you guys :D


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