I'll be the first to admit that fashion is NOT my thing--though I find myself continually inspired by the people I see confidently walking around wearing color and pattern combinations I never would have imagined worked together (like black & white stripes with floral patterns?! Love it.)
Last week I stumbled upon a documentary about photographer Bill Cunningham (free to watch with Amazon Prime). Cunningham, despite claiming not to be a 'real' photographer, spent his days photographing the fashion trends he came across on the streets of New York. There were so many great takeaways from the film, but the biggest for me were stay true to your art and there is inspiration and beauty in simplicity. Cunningham kept things simple (biked everywhere, ate as cheaply as he could--even refused to accept payments so that he wouldn't feel like he owed anyone anything). He knew what he liked and was driven by those interests (without any desire for recognition). In fact, in the documentary he was shown receiving an award, and during the reception he could be seen telling other guests that they were more deserving of the award than he. Rather than spending his time photographing models on the runway, he much preferred capturing every day people, wearing their own unique ensembles.
Like Cunningham, I have found that inspiration abounds beyond the walls of my metaphorical (and physical) office. Despite my general disinterest in the world of fashion, this documentary was a great reminder of the value of stepping outside of your comfort zone every once in awhile to take a deep breath and open yourself to the possibilities around you.
The beautiful MESS that IS Spring!
Happy SECOND day of Spring! :)
Spring is such a beautifully messy season! Some of you may have already witnessed the new plant life emerging--bright green, hopeful sprouts, emerging through the soil, stretching towards the sunshine....only to be stopped in their tracks by a freak freeze/snowstorm/hailstorm/etc. Like I said, Spring can be messy. But, despite the set-backs/hurdles, new life emerges...and it's beautiful.
The more I think about it, the more Spring seems to mirror the creative process! Think about it. For those of you who follow me or other artists on social media, you probably don't get to see the freezes, hail and snow storms. Social media allows you to skip the rough drafts and erase marks of "Spring", and move right into the perfectly drawn/painted/sculpted finished works of "Summer."
So, in honor of Spring, I thought I'd take a moment to talk about my messy creative process! As many of you know, my paintings typically begin with a foundation of book pages, collaged over the surface. But even before that, there has to be an idea, or a series of ideas. Ideas always begin in an artist's head, which then have to be translated from dream to reality (sketch/rough draft). Once it exists, the idea then has to be translated to whatever medium the artist wants to use in order to transform their rough sketch into a finished work. If you've ever attempted to transfer an idea from your head to your hands, you know that this process can be incredibly messy (and, frustrating!)--and more often than not, the concept you had in your head is NOT what ends up in your finished product.
Since my work adds the extra dimension of words, a portion of my messy, rough draft stage also involves selecting text to go with my image. Once I have my idea translated into a rough draft "sketch" (usually a thumbnail sketch), I then go through a second round of transformation--transferring my tiny sketch onto the actual panel, covered with book pages. This process almost always results in even MORE changes to the original plan in my head (i.e. My thumbnail sketch wasn't the same proportions as my canvas, the position I planned to have my characters in doesn't look quite right, etc.).
Next comes the inking! Once I've decided that my composition is ready to go, I then begin inking over my sketch. This, again, usually results in a few changes as I look over the lines in detail. Once inked, I then begin painting all of the big shapes in my painting. Again, this process usually results in changes to my original idea (i.e. I decide certain colors look better together--or perhaps I'd rather fill certain areas with magazine textures as opposed to paint.). Once finished painting/collaging my colors, I add my last layer of ink and paint details (fur textures, smaller line work, stars in the sky, etc.), paint the colorful border around the side edges of my painting, and sign the bottom right corner. Pfew! Done.
So, next time you come across a finished, polished work of art, take a moment to appreciate the behind-the-scenes mess that likely went into this creation. Spring is messy. But the beauty that emerges is well worth the wait.
Welcome to the whimsical world of Tara Pappas' mixed media art! Thank you for stopping by to view samples of my work and read a little about my adventures as an artist. I am always looking for new ways to connect and grow as an artist, so would love to hear from you if you have any questions or interests in a particular piece. I hope that my work brings you inspiration and joy!
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