Brave Artist's Honors Art III Portfolio - Emily Allen

Hello, my name is Emily Allen and I am a senior artist at Northwood High School. I am hopeful that I will be animator in the future. This is my final portfolio for my first semester of Honors Art III with my instructor Mrs. Burwell. During my time in Honors Art III I was able to complete two independent projects, one of which was a submission for Scholastics Art, another submission for Art Showcase, and I was given the opportunity to be a part of a community funded puppet show for the awareness of LIV. Below is my work listed by completion with week by week details of my process, along with my connections to current artists and artists from history.

First Independent Project

Week 1 - For my first project I decided to do a character study and mixed media drawing of a YouTube celebrity by the name of Markiplier. The central ideas for my project were identity and memory. Mark is a hero of mine. Him and his videos have been a part of my life for a long time, and has taught me things about myself that I never realized before. I dedicated my project to him because of what he means to me. To begin my project I am doing a few weeks of skill building before I start the actual piece. My first week of skill building I practiced drawing portraits with my best friends as models, then I began a study on Mark's face.

Initial pen studies

Week 2 - As I continued working through week two of my independent project I am continuing my character study of Mark's face. When I first started it was frustrating not being able to get the proportions correct, but as I continued it became easier, and I began to learn the shape of his face and its features. After drawing his face multiple times I learned the wide shape of his jaw and the short bridge and wide end of his nose.

Progress of facial study

Week 3 - I finished sketching my figure and have also been able to ink it. All that is left in my project is to add water color to the hair and add a few touches. At this point my theme of identity is coming through, the longer I have worked with this project the more of myself I have put into it. My goal was to take this person, a known internet identity and change his character, making him almost godlike. I planned on studying the use of watercolors in the next week.

Progress of project from pencil to ink

Week 4 - This week lead to some conflicts in my work. I was able to accomplish my goal to practice in watercolors, but then come complications arose. My original copy of my work was done on what I presumed to be watercolor paper, but turned out to pen and ink paper, which would not accept my watercolor design. Because of this I needed to make a new copy of my work on watercolor paper by making a carbon etching with transfer paper, and used it to transfer the image. After etching the image I inked it just like the original copy.

Tracing paper transfer to watercolor paper, watercolor studies, 2nd inking

Week 5 - For my print I decided to continue with my galaxy design, but added a bit more than originally planned. Instead of only adding watercolor to the hair, I decided to add a watercolor galaxy background as well. I then painted small stars and constellations in white acrylic paint. To keep watercolor off of his figure, I created a stencil to keep over his body, and keep the paint from seeping through.

Process of adding watercolor and salt

Week 6 - In the last week of work on my project I made some last minute decisions, suggested by my instructor, to add pen and ink to my piece to tie it all together. I added planets, stars, and meteors to my piece with india ink to give the piece depth and to complete my galaxy theme. I also decided to add his natural eye color in watercolor to give him life.

Final Image "Above All Else" Watercolor techniques, and pen and ink

This piece titled, Above All Else was an inspiration by many artists and the ideas of my own creation to take a seemingly normal human being, and transform them into something that in reality they are not, but what my mind can imagine them as. The purpose of this piece is to reflect on what people whom you've never met, or any person you know of can mean to you, and how they affect your life.

Art21 Artist Connection

David Altmejd

David Altmejd, born in Montreal, Canada, is a sculptor working out of New York City who is obsessed with the joy of creating and contrasting the blur of realism and abstract with natural and man made materials such as taxidermied wildlife and plexiglass. As he claims, the meaning in his work is not preliminary, but comes during the journey of creation. His work displays the balance of conformity and taboo, making both strangely beautiful. David's work has been displayed in many venues such as the Brant Foundation Art Study Center; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; New Museum; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Liverpool Biennial; Fundació La Caixa Museum, Barcelona; Venice Biennale; and the Whitney Biennial, among others.

Left: Cave (Blue), 2013 foam, epoxy clay, wood, steel, wire Right: The New North 2007 Wood, foam, expandable foam, resin, paint, magic-sculpt, magic-smooth, epoxy, glue, mirror, horse hair, quartz crystals and wire 368.3 x 134.6 x 106.7 cm Fundament Foundation, Tilburg, The Netherlands

I take inspiration from David's work in his love for the creating process. More often than not when I am creating a piece, I have no clear or concise meaning behind the piece, it is simply what I feel. Yet when I step back from my finished work I can see some piece of me has been projected onto my work, and that is the meaning of my work.

Artist From History Connection

Francis Picabia

Francis Picabia (1879-1953) is a French artist known for being as a leader of the Dada art movement, which began in the early 20th century and worked in not necessarily being concerned with being visually pleasing, but rather focussing on mocking society and posing questions towards the bourgeois lifestyle. Francis is known for working in many mediums including, painting, poetry, performance, publishing, and film, yet his most popular work was his paintings done in watercolor and oil based paints. His work ranged very inconsistently in style and focus and changed several times over the creation of his over 200 works. MoMA's Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction exhibit, where most of his work is currently being shown, hopes to bring a greater understanding of Picabia's works never ending transformation and it's persistent questioning of the purpose of art, and will be his first exhibit in America.

Left: Edtaonisl (Ecclesiastic), 1913 Oil on canvas9 ft. 10 3/4 in. x 9 ft. 10 1/4 in. (300.4 x 300.7 cm) The Art Institute of Chicago Right: Star Dancer on a Transatlantic (1913) Watercolor on canvas 6in x15in (15.24cm x 38.1cm) MoMA

Francis Picabia Inspires me to challenge what art can really mean, and what it's purpose is. After viewing the constant and erratic change of his style and approach to his work, I am excited to try many new mediums and styles as well.

One Home Benefit Puppet Show for LIV

Class progression of puppets, Process of creating Mantis, Musical lecture with Teli Shabu, Show rehearsals, and final call of cast before opening night.

During the actual performance of the Northwood Art's Department's One Home I was responsible for the Trickster God Mantis pageantry puppet. I was present and aided in the construction of Mantis. I also created a few minor props such as the Zulu tribe VS. the Dutch, as well as the Zulu cave painting. During the performance I was a puppeteer for all three of the God puppets at different times on different nights, but was on Ibis for every performance night.

Working over this seemingly long period of time with such willing group of people that I am proud to be in a community with has taught me the value and real meaning of what a community can do when they come together for a common good. Working in the Chatham country community to raise awareness of the plight of children in Africa whose parent's are no longer alive or able to take care of them, I have seen myself and my community grow as a person.

Second Independent Project

While planning for my second project in Honors Art I decided early on to do a study of the different parts of the human body. In this project I have done studies on human hands and eyes.

Week 1 - Beginning with the eyes I worked on rough sketches of different eye colors in colored pencil. This project was my first attempt at a colored pencil piece, inspired by the iris colors of my two closest friends and mine. I continued to work on this piece periodically at school and during my studio hours at home while working on my Printmaking piece.

Study sketches of irises and eyes, 3 days into project, 2 weeks into project

Week 1 - While continuing the process of my colored pencil eye, I also began planning for my second try at linoleum printmaking, again taking inspiration and examples from my two closest friends and mine's bodies, specifically our hands.

Week 2 - Using my imagination and reference photos I was able to create an original composition for my linoleum print, and was ready to begin carving the first half of my reduction print. For my reduction I planned on carving my linoleum block two different times, printing the second image on top of the first in different colors of ink.

Initial sketches, linoleum print (1st carving), test prints (1,2,and 3)

Week 3 - After carving the first half of my reduction, which took me 4 days at school and during my studio hours at home and doing test prints, I made twelve prints on 6 sheets of white paper and six sheets of gray paper in golden ink. Making all of the prints took four days during and after school.

Week 4 - It took me nearly four more days inside and outside of school to carve out the second half of my print, as well as the test prints made to view my progress. Once I was sure that my block was ready for the reduction I began the process of making my final prints.

2nd carving print (test), 1st carving print (final), original print (final)

Week 5 - Part of the way into creating my final prints I decided that I wanted to make creative prints along with my regular reductions. For my creative print I was stuck with the gold ink from my first set of prints, but decided to use multiple colors on different sections of the block, specifically three. For each hand I chose different colors, red, blue, and green.

Creative print (final), Creative print (test), linoleum block after printing
Final Print (non-creative) Linoleum block reduction print

This piece is a visual representation of unity between close souls with a desire and need to be a part of each others lives. With each hand representing either of my two closest friends and my own hand, we appear to be reaching out for each other for eternity yet never reaching completely. This is a reflection of how the three of us are connected and alike in many ways, yet we are still unique to ourselves, never crossing and taking the meaning or space of the other.

Artist From History Connection

Gerhard Altenburg

Gerhard Altenbourg (1926-1989), born as Gerhard Ströch in Thuringia, Germany was a versatile artist. Over his career he worked in painting, making prints, sculpting, and poetry. At the end of WWII he began working as a journalist in Altenburg, his hometown. In the 1940's he created his first oil paintings and colored pencil drawings. From 1948 to 1950 he studied at The College of Architecture and Fine Arts in Weimar, Germany. His first exhibit was at the Springer gallery in Berlin in 1952. Near the end of the 1950's he began working in sculpture and produced his first works in marble, gipsum, wood, and metal. He had many other exhibitions and received many awards for his works. Gerhard died in a car crash in 1989. Gerhard's work can be found in many well known national and international collections such as MoMA, New York.

Left: Auch ein Mikrophon, 1973. Watercolor, tempera, Chinese ink, pencil, litho chalk, red chalk. 77 x 51 cm (30,3 x 20 in) Right: Rödichen/Thüringen 1926 - 1989 Meissen VORORTHALTESTELLE (SUBURBAN BUS STOP) 1955

Like Francis Picabia, Gerhard Altenburg inspires me to not be afraid to step out of my boundaries and to try new mediums. Gerhard's success as a versatile artist of many mediums tells me that I do not have to be known for only one form of my art, but as many as I am willing to improve on.

Art21 Artist Connection

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei (born 1957) is a Chinese social activist and contemporary artist. Weiwei has been a long time challenger of the Chinese government's stance on democracy and human rights. Ai has many works including doccumentaries, sculptures, music, and architecture. Weiwei was commissioned for the honor to compose the architectural design of the 2008 Beijing Olympics arena. He is also very famous for his Zodiac Head sculptures in the historic Pulitzer Fountain at Grand Army Plaza in New York. In 2011 he was arrested on false charges of economic crimes by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ad was released after 81 days. Today Ai Weiwei still explores the boundaries of human rights.

Left: The Wave 浪, 2005 Glazed ceramic 6 1/8 × 16 7/8 × 14 3/4 in 15.6 × 42.9 × 37.5 cm Right: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 100 million hand-crafted porcelain sunflower seeds displayed 4 inches deep in The Turbine Hall, London

Ai Weiwei is in my opinion, one of the most truly artistic artists I have seen. Ai Weiwei can make work in the most traditional way and at the same time make art that is equally as beautiful in the most untraditional way possible. Weiwei makes art with no clear meaning, made simply to exist, yet it still takes up a space in our minds when we view it, it still poses a question to what art really is, and what it can influence. Ai Weiwei inspires me to bend the conformity of what societies rules of art are, and to find and make art in any space and form I can see.

Art Showcase Piece

"It's a Beautiful Day" Digital Media 720 x 1200 pixels

Done in two weeks, this was my presumed submission for Art Showcase. This piece was done at home on my own time in my preferred digital media application with a drawing tablet. The assigned prompt for this piece was inspired by U2's song "It's A Beautiful Day" (hence the title of the piece). The meaning of this piece is display of a very admirable human attribute that many hope to posses, called optimism. In a broken down, deserted city, a lone woman sits alone, tired, and secluded from all she has known, yet she finds beauty, happiness, and contentment in a single flower. My intent in this piece was to give hope to those who struggle with ongoing or recent troubles, that they can observe the emotions this woman is feeling, and find beauty in what many see to be a crumbling society, beauty and peace in what might not have originally been noticed.

Semester Growth Reflection

Over these past few months I have accomplished more than I thought was capable of doing in such a short time, and not until now when the semester is winding down have I been able to step back and admire what I have become as an artist. I have learned valuable techniques in colored pencil and watercolor, as wells learning how to expand my creativity is linoleum block print using a reduction prin. I have also learned that failing something isn't really what happens when you are unhappy with a piece of work, it only means that there are many different ways to improve on or learn different skills to get the product that you are looking to achieve. During my time in honors art I have learned to trust myself in my artistic decisions and take the leap into learning new mediums and improving techniques in mediums that I have learned in previous art classes; essentially becoming a brave artist.

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Emily Allen

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