Transformation

Angie Brown The first project for my Eccentric Illustration class at AAU: depict “transformation” using a style you’ve never done before. So linocut seemed like a good medium for exploring the transformation of the American landscape and the decimation of our indigenous tribal culture… y‘know, because Columbus Day is right around the corner and it seemed like a good time to bring that up.

I got a little reckless with my cutting, and what has been cut can never be uncut… so I had to do some problem solving with my trusty collage techniques. I’m rather pleased with the outcome, and I learned a great deal about my process.

For me, art is about transforming a breakdown into a breakthrough. Every piece I make goes through an “ugly phase” when I want to either start over, abandon it, or even destroy it. But if I watch that struggle and even embrace it without being attached to the outcome, and just keep pushing– I’ll come out the other side with something true and beautiful. Life is like that too.

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urban: right up my alley

Angie Brown | urban: Illustration Friday
Angie Brown | urban: Illustration Friday

This week, the Illustration Friday topic is urban. I combined a few snapshots taken from a moving car in a seedy part of LA with shots taken at the Neon Boneyard  in Las Vegas. Major Liquor and Marlene’s Muffler Shop are actual Real Life Places. I like to imagine what Marlene looks like… Most of the collage elements are from the Spanish section of a certain cable company’s disclaimer booklet, and I used acrylic paint, watercolor, color pencils, pen and ink, and coffee.

During the brainstorming session for this challenge, I was tempted to pull another one from the archives. Most everything I did last year included some element of urbanity– Like this one, in particular:

Angie Brown | Our Lady of Relentless Urban Development
Angie Brown | Our Lady of Relentless Urban Development
click the pic for more like this

I mean, it’s even got ‘urban’ in the title, right? But since three of my last four IF submissions were pulled from the archives, I started feeling like I was defeating my own purpose, which is to experiment, have fun, and make new stuff.  And since I’ve really had a hankerin’ for hand-lettering lately, I decided to return to my drawing table this week, and I’m glad I did. I  like the little sketchy-sketch that came out of it, and I think it could be developed into something rather interesting, if one had, say, a larger sheet of paper and a three day weekend… Le sigh…

illofri: myth

angie brown | babel

This week for Illustration Friday, I decided to tackle the Tower of Babel with a typographical solution. The topic is  “myth.” I’ve always found the Tower of Babel story fascinating. I’ve painted it a few times in the past (see below), but this is my first digital rendering. I used Illustrator, and the text is pulled from the biblical passage as quoted by Wikipedia:

“They are one people and have one language, and nothing will be withheld from them which they purpose to do. Come, let us go down and confound their speech.” And so God scattered them upon the face of the Earth, and confused their languages, so that they would not be able to return to each other, and they left off building the city, which was called Babel “because God there confounded the language of all the Earth”. Genesis 11:1-9

angie brown | babel evolves
Angie Brown | circa 1995

As a child, I thought that was a little mean-spirited of God to stomp on peoples’ dreams and ambitions like that. But then I see what we’ve done since the Industrial Revolution and I think that maybe he had a good point after all. What a mess we’ve made… but then some pretty wonderful things have come out of it too. Which is why the title of this painting is Babel Evolves: Entropy and Evolution Occur Simultaneously.

If you’d like to see more of my work, I have a blog about a book about a dog and a portfolio website. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or would like to leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by!

what i did with my staycation

Hello, 4-day weekend. So nice to have you here. So sorry to see you go… It’s been a lot of fun, having four consecutive days off and no homework to slog over. I painted. I meant to do a lot of other stuff, but I got into painty-land and just kind of stayed there. The large canvas is almost finished and I’m really in love with it. It’s my most ambitious painting to date. Here’s a li’l preview:
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That’s only about one square foot of the 3′ x 3′ canvas. More about it when it’s done.

I went for a walk Sunday, in the industrial wasteland of North Charleston’s old navy yard. That place is a veritable goldmine of visual riches. See here:

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an inexplicably festive balloon

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the new sculptures are up at Riverside Park. this year’s show is better than last year’s.

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this one makes noise. the wind hits the vertical steel poles & makes a bongy bell-type song.

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the cattlegate. employees only, single-file, no pushing.

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So that is my latest photo essay about the post-industrial world of North Charleston. I’m working on a new photo book through blurb.com. That’s on my list of Things I Should’ve Done, But I Just Painted Instead.

roadtrip, part deux!

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now really. Does it get more charming? The cherry/apple/pear trees a-blooming, the mornin’ sun a-shining, the whole place smelling like old mashed grapes… ’twas a fine Saturday to be at Westbend Vineyards in Lewisville, NC, just 20 minutes from Winston-Salem. We arrived just 5 minutes after they opened the doors, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready for our first real wine-tasting.

The wine-making process is fascinating, and all the tubes and barrels and tanks were cool.

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Westbend is a small operation, a true mom&pop place, started back in 1972, as the first vineyard to plant French varietals in North Carolina. (Everyone else was doing the sweet muscadine wine at the time.)

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The wine was good- we especially liked the cab and bought the magnum bottle. It was a bit smoky, oaky, robust, but well-balanced.

After Westbend, we drove north-ish for about 45 minutes to Shelton Vineyards for a drastically different experience. Shelton is large and corporate, inhuman and insincere. We didn’t care much for the wines either, but maybe the flavor of the atmosphere tainted the flavor of the wines. The grounds were expansive, heavily landscaped toward the picturesque, and touristy all around. Half the interior was taken up by gift shop merchandise sprawl.

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and the scenery was really nice…

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I got pretty close to that bird, before he freaked out and flew to the other side of the pond…

And then we drove back to ol’ Winston-Salem to wander the streets a bit before nightfall. We found the old cigarette factory, now closed and hulking against the sky, still steel and cold. An entire city block, we circled it and then found our way to the top of an adjacent parking garage for eye-level views.

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Our second date–nearly six months ago– was an afternoon photo safari in the industrial wasteland of North Charleston’s Navy Yard. I must admit, I do love to photograph the wasted and decadent beauty of industry gone cold… There’s a sad irony to the twisted pipes of progress that ruined everything… and then left town.

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I’ve noticed a trend in my photography of abandoned gloves. I have at least half a dozen by now. Perhaps I’ll do a series…

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That’s a car on the sidewalk. Is that art?

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And my favoritest photo of the 298 we took… Eery, ain’t it?

and that’s all I’ve got for this week… up next… well, it’s a mystery… Tune in to find out.

roadtrip, part #1

I used to be the queen of road trips- I’d jaunt out at a moment’s notice, grabbing my tent, sleeping bag and my trusty road atlas, boldly charging into parts unknown. It’s been a while since I did that, having discovered air travel & therefore Europe sometime around 2005, and satiating my wanderlust in great big expensive leaps instead of little economical hops.

But now, with Europe impossibly far away for my bank account, I find myself wishing I still had my tent and sleeping bag. Especially after our experience with the hotel in Winston-Salem, NC…

For my latest birthday, I went to the nearest wine country to tour a couple of vineyards and check out other points of interest in and around Winston-Salem, NC. Our first stop was SECCA, the SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art, featuring an exhibit by Oscar Munoz, a highly conceptual artist who deals with the transience of life and the imminence of death, and how identity is impermanent. His work was thoughtful and thought-provoking, and engendered a quiet sense of carpe diem tempered with futility.

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Creepy leaf people, aaaaugh! The window shopping continued into Winston-Salem proper, where we wandered around until nightfall, trying to figure out why it’s called “the City of the Arts”.

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she didn’t know either.

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What we found instead was an industrial wasteland left ravaged by JR Reynolds Co., the tobacco magnate, and a lot of closed mills.

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But even industrial wastelands have their charms and unique flavor of beauty… we discovered more of that the following day. Our biggest find of Friday was on the “Avenue of the Arts”, the 4 block strip of cutesy shops, galleries, bars and restaurants that serves as the cultural center of W-S.

We had dinner at a little place called 6th and Vine where the food was beautiful and delicious. I drank a cab called “Irony” in honor of my entire experience that day.

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Coming up next: roadtrip, part duex! wherein I tour 2 wineries vastly different in nature & explore the ruins of the tobacco empire…