My SEA project: a summary

A Flower for Your Thoughts is a socially engaged art project that centers around informing people about the environment and exchanging prints for for their thoughts on what they appreciate about the earth.  Each person received a print of a blooming tree, poetry, and a quote.  In return, they wrote what they loved or appreciated about the earth on a flower cut out and took a picture with their flower.  I handed out the prints on evening at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.  I gave my prints to whoever was willing to talk for a few moments and pose for the photograph.

When performing this project the best part was watching people stop what they wee doing and look around at the world they lived on.  We often get caught up in the hustle of getting things done and don’t stop to appreciate the things around us.  Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience. 

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My SEA project: a summary

“Wild Things”: Artist Statement

photo (1)I am fascinated with the way in which people assign human behaviors and characteristics to animals like wolves, rabbits, and other animals. We often associate ourselves with attributes like cleverness and laziness, and sometimes we apply animalistic characteristics to ourselves or our daily habits. For instance, some days I consider myself a “lone wolf.” Animals have their own set of behavioral patterns that are needed for survival.  It is comical that we anthropomorphize animal behavior in this way.

The colors are meant to be bright, making the pictures more cartoonish.  Each printed image is detailed and stylistically in the same genre.  They are also humorous,exaggerated and comical connecting with the ridiculous associations we apply to animals.  The blue paper used connects depth and stability in mind and body and how these prints indicate a lack of stability.  Our insecurities as people are imposed on animals that have natural behavioral pattern and norms.  Each print is cut into organic oval-like shapes that are reminiscent of medallions.  The view wears these characteristics around their necks as a badge showing that we, as people, are not stable.

I created color schemes that relate to the themes of each anthropomorphic animal.  The firstPrimpin' Like a Peacock print, Party Animal, pokes fun at the concept of wildness and how we associate it with the wolf although he is organized and intelligent. The print also juxtaposes the themes of innocence and wickedness,  which is why pink, blue, white, and black were used.  The pink, white, and blue are babyish colors associated with infancy, while the black covers it and adds detail that is aggressive. 

The second print, Primping like a Peacock, is connected to gendered norms and the juxtaposition of femininity and masculinity.   Although peacocks are male they are often associated with women, beauty, and high maintenance.  The peacock’s most significant colors are blue, green, and gold. The colors point to the bright vibrant color of the bird and its association with female beauty but the subject itself assumes a masculine persona.   

FullSizeRenderThe Last Print, Hoarding Nuts, addresses neurosis and how a behavior that is crazy for a human, hoarding tons of belongings, is a survival tactic for the squirrel and a positive trait.  For humans, hoarding is a psychological imbalance cause by trauma but for a squirrel it is the difference between life and death. The squirrel’s promenade colors are orange and brown. The orange is bright and unstable while the brown is solid and heavy. The squirrel connects to brown, it is consistent and earthy, while the orange connects to man.  The need for things makes us frantic and panicked.  The orange connects with personal instability. 

“Wild Things”: Artist Statement

A Flower For Your Thoughts

A Flower For Your ThoughtsIMG_0932

My SEA project ended up being a real learning experience for me. At first I was really nervous about talking to a bunch of strangers about Future Bear and the environment but I actually really enjoyed myself. I ended up making adjustments to my project before I performed it.  Originally, I had planned to fold my screen printing cars into notes to hand out but I decided instead to leave them unfolded because the paper was pretty thick.  I also decided that instead of having them write a note that I would give back to someone else I would give them my note and them have them write theirs on a flower cutout which is were the title of my project some from.

Future Bear help me launch my conversations and gave me a frame on which to based the discussions that I had with my participants.  During my project I gave out two double sided screen printed images to each person. One print had a blooming tree and the other had a poem/quote and a fact about how we are hurting our environment.  There were 6 different poem, quote, and fact combinations that I handed out.  In addition, while the people were writing the notes I would talk to them about Future Bear and the environment.  After the conversation they gave me back a flower-shaped note saying what they loved, appreciated, or wished was different about the environment.

IMG_0937This project made me realize that I don’t just have to make art to please myself, but to also do something for the world I live on; without it I would not have resources to make any of these things.  One thing that I realized during my project is that people are always rushing around and it was initially difficult to get people to stop for a moment.  The interesting thing was that when they stopped to participate they would also look around at all of the beautiful nature at Lake Eola and really think about what they liked about it.  It was very satisfying to see and it made me feel like my art and what I was doing mattered.  As a result, i feel like it is something that I definitely would like to do again and the people I talk to were asking me if I did this all the time of if I had a Facebook page they could join, so I felt like it was well receive.

I feel like the strongest elements of my project were conversation and collaboration.  A lot of the performance was just talking to people and informing them while giving them something in exchange for listening and responding.  The collaboration potion of my project was the flowers.  By contributing their ideas to the project they became a part of the artwork.

If I did my project again there are three things I would do,  I would hand out different images so that everyone does not get the same one and print more.  I would also perform the project for more days.  It was fine this time because I handed out all of my prints, but next time I would like to visit other parks and outdoor areas to reach more people.

Out of all of the different things in the mission statement, I felt like my project help me embody social responsibility and environmental stewardship.  My project allowed me to acknowledge my responsibility as a citizen of the world, and it also gave me more awareness in regards to my own carbon footprint and how I effect the environment.

A Flower For Your Thoughts