Here is a step-by-step process of how this piece came to fruition (at least as much as we can reduce the whole fine art endeavor to linear steps):
1. Make a Drawing
2. Create the Form
First, I'll make a drawing. Which unfortunately does involve math. I plotted out how I wanted the forms to look, and then used a scale to attach numbers to the forms. I like to make the shapes first so I have an idea of how I want things to look proportionally before I dive into numbers land. For this piece, I initially thought I would make three blocks, or "steps," though I later later this approach didn't look visually enough like a staircase. The evolution of this decision making can be seen in the sketch on the right.
This is what the form looked like when it was actually made. Constructed out of plywood, I was able to arrange the stacked rectangles to give each "step" the appearance of twisting, like a winding staircase. The texture on the surface consists of repurposed studio materials, or what I like to call "artistic waste." This material in particular falls under the category of palette scrapings, which is what I call recycled paint that has been scraped from a painter's palette and reattached to another surface. In the studio, I save used paint and categorize them by color and texture. Similar hues of blue are grouped together on each step to create a gradient. Finally, I like to concentrate the majority of the texture on the side that appears to be rotating, drawing the viewer's attention to this edge. When the form is painted later, I will further emphasize this area.
5. Finalizing & Display
- I finished painting the form. The ochre (orange-looking) color alongside the artistic waste was chosen to emphasize that edge, as orange is blue's complementary color.
- I had a pedestal custom made to suit the piece. I wanted it to not only be the right height (so the object would be eye-level with most viewers), but also the right width as to appear to be the next "step" should the staircase continue downward.
- Continue the artistic waste onto the pedestal: the main reason I wanted to have my own pedestal (as opposed to borrowing one from UNC Asheville's art department) was so I could have the artistic waste/ palette scraping texture drip down from the piece. I wanted this to be part of the sculpture's display, and galleries don't tend to like it if you mess with their pedestals. I think the idea stemmed from critique, and I loved the prospect of drawing more attention to the artistic waste element. To match the color perfectly, I ended up "manufacturing" artistic waste; in other words, I mixed up the exact color in oil paint, let it dry (this takes a few days), then scraped it up and reapplied it to the pedestal. Ultimately, I think this visual decision really adds to the piece.