Mixed Media Process

Somewhere along the way I stumbled into this very specific and time-consuming process that eventually results in my mixed media pieces combining textiles with traditional drawing/painting techniques on paper. Unfortunately it's so labor-intensive that it takes far longer for me to complete pieces (compared to my old mediums of watercolor and graphite or oil), so while I have a million ideas a minute for new work, I have to train myself to slow down and enjoy the process of the current piece while I'm still in it. In an attempt of doing just that, I decided to start documenting my process a bit along the way.

First I come up with a composition. I'm very figure-focused so I typically decide on what type of figure/pose I'd like to feature, and then from there, I form the background landscape to fit her.  (Note: I almost always use myself or nude figure drawing models—combined with bits and pieces from fashion magazines—as the basis for my figures, but this model in particular was photographed by the talented Ekaterina Ignatova.) I then finish drawing my figure almost to completion before even touching the textiles, as it's pretty difficult to switch from one medium to the other just like that. My method of drawing and painting requires great focus and therefore ends up being almost an act of meditation. The cutting and sewing of textiles to form abstract landscapes, on the other hand, is more physically laborious than it is mental, and it's steeped in a general mood of playful experimentation.

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Once the textiles are finished being stitched together (first by hand and then gone over a second time with my sewing machine), I rough up the fabric a bit using various (careless) techniques with an x-acto knife, which inevitably results in some accidental bloodshed. After stretching the final piece around archival foam core, I cut another piece in the shape of the figure and adhere it to the board using a gigantic needle and thread. Not only is this the only way I've found to adhere paper to fabric, but it also creates added dimension by lifting the drawing up off of the background by a quarter inch. 

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Below is the final piece prior to getting it framed. The frame itself always ends up adding a sense of plenitude by hiding the edges and enclosing the two different mediums together neatly. 

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I titled this piece Millimeters (experiencing tiny things), after a section in The Book of Disquiet, one of my favorite books ever written. This "factless autobiography" was Fernando Pessoa's lifetime project that was left entirely unedited and published posthumously. A bit of irony from this section:

"I’m convinced that in a perfect, civilized world there would be no other art but prose. We would let sunsets be sunsets, using art merely to understand them verbally, by conveying them in an intelligible music of colour. We wouldn’t sculpt bodies but let them keep for themselves their supple contours and soft warmth that we see and touch."