On Taxidermy and Gift Shops.

Angie Brown | American Museum of Natural History

I have a rather visceral reaction to taxidermy, always have. Nevertheless, I went to the American Museum of Natural History in New York a couple of months ago. The museum itself is a walk through time, as much a museum of museums as of natural history. One can see the evolution of exhibit design while moving through the halls in endless ancient didactic displays and forays into educational design, and always, always—taxidermy.

The place is immense; we all but ran through as much as we could in 5-6 hours and only saw about 40% of AMNH’s offerings. The gift shops are very high quality—some of the best I’ve found in NYC. I have a rather visceral reaction to museum gift shops too, but on the opposite end of the Spectrum of Feels from taxidermy.

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New York: a triptych

Angie Brown | triptych

I created this aptly titled Triptych (pun intended) using bits of ephemera and memorabilia collected during my trip to New York in April. As seen on They Draw and Travel.

Angie Brown | Triptych NYC 1:3
[clockwise from top left] Downtown Manhattan: Statue of Liberty, Staten Island ferry (tiny origami boat!); Brooklyn Bridge; Very Large SUV rental & a couple of cabs; Red Hook, Brooklyn: Van Brunt Street, “WHATEVERRRR” crochet-bombed in a chain link fence near the ferry, the big R, Ikea (map/brochure)
Angie Brown | Triptych NYC 2:3
Manhattan: Mood Designer Fabrics, as featured on Project Runway (business card); Gaia Italia cafe, panini to die for (business card); Hell’s Kitchen flea Market (paper bag from purchase); Empire State Building (photo claim ticket); Metrocard; Manhattan Bridge; Brooklyn Bridge Park, blue umbrellas at picnic tables lining the East River; weekly food festival called Smorgasburg; Brooklyn Bridge; Adam Yauch Memorial Park, “No Sleep Til*” (ransom letter cutouts)

*The Beastie Boys’ No Sleep Til Brooklyn was our theme song for this trip, as we drove all night—12 hours— to NYC from Charleston, SC, made a stop in Midtown before we checked in at our rental in Brooklyn, where we promptly napped. So, like, it kind of literally HAD TO BE our song, right?!

Angie Brown | Triptych NYC 3:3
(wheatpasted poster flaking) Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (business card); Central Park; Manhattan Bridge; “Yes” and owl drawn from photos of murals in Dumbo; (backside of wheatpasted poster with rust spots); and me & my friends sitting on the rocks by the Manhattan Bridge.

Other materials used include photocopies of antique city maps, oil paint, ink, vellum, and various papers. And now I have to figure out where to hang it…

Proceed to the Route.

Angie Brown The past month has been a whirlwind. I finished the last piece of the collection commissioned by a New York law office, grabbed my BFF  (he’s an excellent driver), rented the biggest SUV ever, programmed the GPS (which said incredibly helpful things like “proceed to the route”) and headed off into the night to deliver the paintings to their final destination in midtown Manhattan.

The paintings look rather comfy in their new homes, and a big shout-out to interior designers Brooke and Yiannos of Input Creative Studio.

Angie Brown: art | Input Creative: design

Angie Brown: art | Input Creative: design

After the bizness was concluded, BFF and I roamed about the city, having various adventures and seeing many things. Turns out New York is, indeed, just as awesome as everyone says. Since I got back (and recovered from the bronchitis I picked up in the City), I’ve been working on a 3-panel collage incorporating ticket stubs, business cards and my Metrocard. I can’t wait to show it to you and the folks at They Draw and Travel.

New York, New Yoooooork

nyc-0final

Angie Brown | WIP: NYCHave I ever mentioned my day job? I ‘m a graphic designer in the marketing and communications department of a large law firm. I’m bringing this up now because one of the attorneys I work with recently commissioned three paintings for the office in Manhattan. This one, bearing the working title Le Big One–NYC, measures 42″ x 42″. It’ll be the focal point opposite the reception desk in the lobby. I took progress shots along the way, because, hey– that’s fun, right? I like to look back at earlier stages and layers to see how it developed and evolved– it’s a bit like archaeology, in a way…

So as you can see, I started out layering in various papers–including maps–and blocked off areas with a little oil paint. I then worked in a few gel transfers and more paint (rinse & repeat) until I was satisfied with the result.

But the real take away here is that I’m going to have paintings on display in New York City. (pause to let that sink in.) Also, the beloved attorney that commissioned the works sent this to me via email: “To have personal, original, meaningful work from within the family in our space is priceless.” That brings a l’il tear to my eye, it does.

The Even Better News is that my BFF coincidentally just moved to the Lower East Side, and I’m going up to visit her this spring. We’ll take a jaunty little hike up to Midtown East and pop in to see my work in its shiny new home.

Cheers to that!

And hey,  –thanks for stopping by. Got any questions about my methods and techniques? Ask away!

Want to see more of my mixed media gel transfer art-making shenanigans? Yeah, ya do– click it.