Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Mural at 20th and Main St

The following is from a student. She didn't put her name on the paper, so I don't remember who she was. Students, put your name on your work! Jeez!

The piece of artwork that I have chosen to critique is the Joplin mural painted on the side of a fairly large building at 20th and Main. There are many artists that participated in this mural, which is what makes it so great. Obviously, this spray painted mural was done because of the May 22nd 2011 tornado. This kind of art can be called street art, or graffiti, but in this case it is done legally and is publicized for a purpose. Because there were so many artists involved in this mural, every part of it is very different and unique. The mural displays many very colorful, large pictures and words that are positive and uplifting. The size of the mural plays a large role because it is made for everyone that drives by to see right away and hopefully make a statement. The mural uses many bright colors such as, red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple and even neutral colors like brown, black and white that all together keep the mural “lite” up. Some of the words like “restore,” “dream,” and “love,” are made to look 3-dimensional, as if they are popping out at you. The outlining and lines of the shapes and words are purposely not done to look perfect or straight and this is what makes the mural so interesting to look at. The texture does not play as big of a role, because it is made to be seen from far away at a larger scale. The drawings of figures, animals and plants are randomly placed throughout the mural and do not take any definite shape. There are no defined lines or form to it and that is what makes it such a fun piece of art. It looks as if there are unlimited boundaries and as if one could keep adding and adding to it.

Most of the shapes and words are separately done, but are related in a sense of what they represent which is how all of the
parts work and form together. The colors are all similar in brightness and in depth, but because so many different ones are used on top of each other it creates a contrast that is very appealing and eye-catching. For example, the word “DREAM” is yellow with black outline that make it really stand out. The colors are also all very positive and happy colors; which pulls the art together and sends the uplifting message that it is made to do. As a whole, the mural is kind of off-balanced; everything is very randomly placed, but it all goes together because each word or symbol is representing the same concept. The importance of this street art is for it to be seen; so size, color, space and location are all very important in making it so grand.

I absolutely love this mural. It is hard not to love when it sends such a great message to the people of Joplin, Missouri. The message is so powerful because of the creativeness and especially the size and location. I love that it is randomly placed on the side of a building next to a gas station. The words are so positive and the pictures are so well done and fun to look at. Not to mention, everything is symbolic; the eagle represents our Joplin High School that was devastated in the tornado. The cross represents—hope, love and faith and the tree with the tire swing represents that we will rebuild and recover together. What our community needs right now is a sense of hope and strength and little reminders like this, do just that. The message is beautiful, along with the art itself. I find graffiti very interesting to look at and when done at such a large scale it makes a big impression. Joplin is and will continue to rebuild with the strength and hope from our community and we can see that in this beautiful mural.

This is a picture I took of the mural on 20th and Main. I thought it was cute and ironic because a worker that has been helping clean up Joplin asked if I wanted to be in the picture and he could take it for me; I told him he could get in if he’d like and he was so excited! Just thought it represented Joplin well!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Local Artist: Justin Kidston

I had the privilege of meeting Justin a couple of weeks ago at the Boys and Girls Club, and discovered he is an artist. He recently showed at Columbia Traders in downtown Joplin during the Third Thursday Artwalk. Here is his story:

My name is Justin and I am currently working at the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Missouri.

My art is about trying to set my own trail through my art, veering away from traditional styles and making things people don't see in everyday life. I'm tired of seeing your typical art pieces. I'm taking those and putting my own creative spin on them. The events of May 22 completely changed my life. The tornado destroyed my apartment and it changed alot of things for me, but if I could go back I still wouldn't change anything about that day. It humbled me; it made me realize that all my possesions are just things and I'm glad to have my life. It gave me the ability to start fresh with my life and it also helped me overcome my creative block and made it possible for me to create more artwork.

I want my artwork to make people ask questions. If they ask questions, then they are interacting with it which means it's affecting them in some way. I don't want people to just walk by my artwork, look at it, then go on the the next. I will have put something strange enough in it for them to look twice.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rebekah's Art Writing

(photo by Nellie Mitchell)

The following was written by MSSU summer art appreciation student Rebekah Wilkins:

Art Criticism Paper No. 1

Today I experienced something that I have never experienced before. I finally walked the two and a half blocks up to the high school and was flabbergasted by the wooden carved eagles that sit on the property of the Joplin High School. I had a hard time with this task but I knew it would not only help me with my homework but it would also help me with the healing that my family has tried to endure these past couple of months. I do not know the name of the artist who created these eagles, just as I was about to read the yellow plaque posted on the wood, a police officer lead me off the property and left me with a warning. But before he arrived, I was walking up to the carvings and I was able to appreciate the carefully crafted art work. I was able to see the imperfections of the wood, the holes that animals had dug out when it was only a tree and the bugs making it a home again. Though some of the eagles were smoothed out still in many places you could see where shards were sticking out and had a rough surface. The artist hit many details of the eagle, from its beak to its talons, even the carefully shaped feathers. In this peace, the viewer didn’t have to have an imagination. And knowing that the eagle represents America, the artist sent the message that we are strong and we will recover. They sent the message that we have hope; that we have a community that will rise above and in time will recover. It didn’t appear that the artist used anything extra special to create these beautiful, bold eagles but kept it simple, using only the raw materials of the wood and the carving utensils. Though I am not much of an art appreciator, in different circumstances I don’t know if I would feel the same but I really like these pieces. I like the message it sent. It’s just as clear as a cross representing Christ, these eagles represent hope. A symbol that is almost breath-taking as it is simple.

Ami's Art Writing

The following was written on July 14th, 2011 by Ami Richardson, a summer art appreciation student at MSSU:

The work of art pictured above, has caught the attention of many people. It portrays unity among a town that has suffered loss and tragedy. Although the artist is unknown to me, it doesn’t take away the meaningful message it portrays. As we talk about the piece of art, one can see it was painted on the side of a building, centered in the middle. The jagged lines of the letters give the piece a unique three-dimensional affect, and the dark red heart accents the cool pastel colors of the letters perfectly. Look at the brick wall behind the painting, the brick gives the painting just enough texture to avoid it having a flat matte appearance. And look at the heart in the center of the painting, shading in light contrast is be seen, it gives the piece visual depth. Furthermore, the line curvature of the flag gives it the appearance as if it is waving. The artist also personalized the piece by leaving an inspirational message, wrote to the bottom left of the painting. It tells the significance of the painting. All the pieces accent the painting and make it extraordinary.

I like the painting immensely. Is it because it is sentimental? Probably so, but that’s not the only reason. It is an inspirational selfless gift. Furthermore, the designs complement each other and send meaningful messages. Joplin went through an F-5 tornado, many lives, homes, and businesses were lost. The painting above sends a message, even though hearts are broken, they will mend. The flag is significant to Joplin because the people stand united and strong, not only just in Joplin, people all over the US came together to help one small city most of them have not ever heard of till it was almost wiped of the map. Again, the flag portrays unity among all of us. The compassion of others has been shown, not only through the love of one another, through art as well.

Nellie's Lomography Show

(photos by Nellie Mitchell)

According to Lomography is defined as "a type of art photography in which color is emphasized. Traditionally, cameras such as the Holga, Lomo, Colorsplash, and Supersampler are used to create strange and unusual photographs. Lomographic photos are primarily characterized by vignettes (blurry and faded edges), random subjects, and nonadherance to traditional photography rules. Lomography is a pleasant break from most photojournalism."

My good friend, fellow artist and teacher Nellie Mitchell, just had an opening last Third Thursday at the Joplin Artwalk. She showed several groupings of fun and stunning photos at Tyrannosaurus Press. Nellie always draws a crowd, and this was no exception despite the 100 degree temps. Pictured here at the show is me with her, her husband Jeremy, and Karalee and Lacey, two new art teachers in the area who had the exquisite opportunity to student-teach with Nellie in her classroom. I am so proud of Nellie and her consistent, creative, and inspiring artist's life!

Bountiful Harvest

Wish I could claim these as my own, but thanks to the Webb City Farmers Market, I cooked up a storm this past weekend. Food just tastes so much better and my body feels so much better because of it! I made salsa, tomato sauce, roasted potatoes, bean concoction for burritos, cucumbers for hummus dipping and noodle toppings. Garlic, onion, and peppers in everything. YUM. And bonus that I got to buy fresh flowers from Sylvia, a way cool 6th grader that is part of a community garden. Thanks, Sylvia!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Check Out the Hair

This is Nicky Quinn, age 7. His Dad, local art supporter Mark Quinn, took him to see Tony at T's One Stop Barbershop on 8th and Main in Joplin. Nicky knew what he wanted, Mark let him do it, and rumor has it that Grandma wasn't thrilled. Way to support your city, Nicky!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Spiva 3rd Grade Dog

Each February 1000 third grade students from Joplin area schools visit Spiva Center for the Arts. It is often a student's first time to an art gallery of any kind. They are welcomed by staff and area art teachers, introduced to the show in the Main Gallery, work on a Gallery Activity that encourages them to interact with the art through math, writing, and vocabulary, and last but not least head upstairs to make art based on the show. One is a take-home project, and one is a large-scale collaborative project assembled in the "Secret Room". This year, I worked with Joplin-based artist Jorge Leyva to construct three large animals based on the art of Linda Mitchell. Jorge welded a dog, a rhino, and an elephant. I recruited some volunteers to help wrap the armatures in chicken wire. Many more volunteers cut clothes and blankets into strips that nine-year old hands could then weave into the animal. Today, the dog is on display outside the Joplin Public Library (pictured), the rhino is in the lobby at Spiva, and the elephant is in city hall. It was a fabulous community art experience for all.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Wonder by Gwen

I've already posted some of her art created at MFAA, but here is a video she just posted reflecting on her/our life as an artist. It is absolutely brilliant. Enjoy Here's what she posted:

"I made this piece in honor of the AMAZING students and staff I met while attending the Missouri Fine Arts Academy in the summer of 2011. I left with a love for question and the simplicity of just not knowing where something may lead to. Thank you all sooo much for giving me the experience of a life time! I will never forget you.

"Melissa Harper" & "Socks and Chimes"! Their songs "Lovin You" & "New Mexico" were used in the making of this video. Not only is Melissa an awesome RA and Ian an awesome teacher but they are both awesome musicians as well (;"

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gretchen's Juxtaposition

Gretchen self-curated only two pieces. The one on the right a Matisse Study in oil pastel. She did this first. The one on the left, a project I introduced where she drew her symbol system down the left-hand side, a classmate's symbol system down the right-hand side, and then original text down the center somehow linking the two. She hung them side by side on the wall, I photoshopped them like this. There is something about this juxtaposition that makes me extremely fulfilled, balanced, and happy. It includes a serious looking at a master artist, with new eyes and materials. It includes an original set of meaningful and personal symbols at a tender moment in a young artist's emergence. It includes careful observation and the rendering of a contemporary's work, and then the text...the beautiful writing in Gretchen's own hand, not a font. Like Chinese calligraphy. Linked by blues, greens, burnt siena, and graphic blacks. Together, old and new, ancient and contemporary, personal and communal.

More MFAA Visual Art

Self-Curations by Whitney, Gwen, and Elisa