Lost and Found

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, being an art major and lover of the outdoors, I’ve always been trying to connect the two. Wherever I went in the woods, I was always internally recording inspiration and externally collecting treasures. During my second year, I took 2D design class and was assigned a project titled “Selfless Portrait” where we were expected to create a self portrait, but it didn’t have to be accurate to what we looked like. Instead, we had to incorporate who we were and things important to ourselves. I immediately thought of the woods and began collecting. Everything that wasn’t tied down was susceptible to becoming my artwork such as leaves, bones, shells, rocks, flowers, moss, and even a dead Virginian Tiger Moth (pictured below).

Virginian Tiger Moth or Yellow Bear Moth that hitched a ride on my friends backpack throughout the woods. We could tell something was wrong with it and brought it back to the apartment. We already had a caterpillar home built, so we placed it inside. By morning, she was dead, but had given birth to hundreds of little eggs that we protected, watched hatch, and released back into the woods when they were big enough. Out of honor of this lovely mother, I included her wings into my “Selfless Portrait”. Photographed by me.

Once a plethora of items (all from the woods and my bedroom) was acquired, it was time to construct. After hours or rearranging and detailing, I was beyond proud of my creation. Since it was made, I’ve allowed changes to take place (let flowers wilt) and added bits here and there, but the overall form has remained the same. After putting in so many hours, forming attachments to items, leading to stories and memories, I truly put everything I believed to represent myself into this piece. I don’t think I’ll ever stop adding to it because I will never really see it as complete, but it doesn’t have to be finished to bring meĀ  pride and joy whenever I see it.

An early photo taken by me of my “Selfless Portrait”. Essentially a piece of cardboard layered with magazine clippings (collage), paint, glitter, shells, stones, plants/flowers, and anything else collected from the woods. Right under the large red flower at the top, you can barely make out the Virginian Tiger Moth’s white wings.

Just recently, I’ve included a cricket leg, a cicada wing, and a peculiar little flower I found on my last woods adventure. In general, I like creating pieces that require a large amount of time to fully view and understand. The more complex and intricate, the better. Not to sound arrogant, but it’s one of my only works that I can stare at for hours on end because of its meaning and detail. Each little item, attached to the item before it, holds a personal memory of when, how, and where it was acquired, telling mini stories that only I (and a couple others) know. Like the woods and forests overall, paintings and artwork retain the energy put into them and can reflect them back onto the viewer. That’s why I can only smile when I look back at this image.

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