Sara Battista Advanced Drawing Project

Inspiration

Andy Goldsworthy
Bryan Nash Gill

Project Proposal

For this project I want to make a series of drawings that depict my personal experiences - places, emotions, activities, etc. - over the course of the semester. I plan to use a variety of different media - for example: charcoal, pen, marker, etc. - as well as different paper choices. Think unity in disunity. Order in chaos. That's how my brain works, so I thought it would be appropriate to use that mindset for this project. As Mama Indigo said: "The best thing you can do is master the chaos in you. You are not thrown into the fire, you are the fire."

I put Andy Goldsworthy and Bryan Nash Gill as some of my inspiration for this project, not because of aesthetics necessarily (although I love their work for that reason) but because they both use whats around them to make their work. I feel they both work very well with this documentation of the here and now that I am going for. The people, places, and times in our lives will not always be there. They are constantly changing, and I'm very interested in making art that documents these "snapshots" of my life. Sort of this Ephemera of Me. I would like to also like to try using atypical sources as some of my mediums if possible that would be directly related to some of the drawing subjects such as snow, mud, or dirt.

Shots of my sketchbook. My thought process is usually pretty wordy so I like to include that in my sketchbook. Similar to how people talk to themselves while they're thinking, I will write to myself while I'm writing.
This is the start of my first drawing, which is of a black hole. When my work was accepted in to the student show at the beginning of the semester, it got me thinking about how I never dreamed I'd take this path in life of art school and all that it entails. I tried to do other things that I felt were more practical, but that made me unhappy. This journey for me has started lately to feel like a black hole. Not in the negative sense though, actually quite the opposite. I have no idea what will be on the other side, it is completely unknown, but I've given over control to the gravity and I'm going in head first.

One of the most prevalent experiences for me this semester was not having adequate winter shoes for the first month or more of the semester. Coming into class day after day with soaking wet shoes, and leaving them to dry all day in front of a heater while I went to class in socks. I love to be barefoot (which will come up again in this project), so I didn't mind it. I collected mud and slush from on campus and then I dipped my shoes in it and walked across my paper. It didn't take long for the water to soak through my shoes, so when that happened I took them off, and walked across the paper in my bare feet.

I had the most amazing opportunity this semester to go to Yosemite National Park. There is a waterfall there called Horsetail falls that for two weeks in February has the potential to be lit up by the sunset and look like it's on fire. We flew into Fresno, and drove straight to the park, having to take the longest way to the park because of mud slides, a few of the roads were out. We made it just in time to park on the main loop and run to the nearest clearing with about 10 minutes to spare until the anticipated light show. It was freezing, packed, and a total bust. While standing in a crowd of other photographers my Mom and I met this guy who told us all about how the night before was just absolutely amazing. One of the best in the last few years. And of course ... I missed it. But I was determined. After breakfast the next morning we went out into the park to stake out some better real estate. We sat in the same picnic area for over 6 hours. Again, it was freezing, and it got more and more crowded with every hour that passed, but every second of that stake out was worth it when I saw the waterfall begin to turn orange. It lasted maybe 8 minutes total. It was just ... over. All of a sudden people from other areas of the park you could hear faint clapping. Then cheering, and it grew until everyone in my picnic area had joined in. Without even realizing it, I was crying. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. And it won't be the last time I try to witness it.

This was my first semester officially in the BFA program. I hadn't ever planned on applying for it originally. When I first went to college I was going to study piano. I changed my mind - which is a story for another time - but once I got to Weber I thought about minoring in it. Eventually I decided to audition for the piano program. I didn't get in. Not because I wasn't good enough, or I wasn't technically advanced in some aspect but because, as I was told, the director of that program didn't like my audition song. If I had gotten into the program I would never had applied for the BFA. It's like that saying, "when one door closes another one opens." I have a tendency to think the worst in situations. Not getting into the piano program was exactly what I needed. That song I played was a light pointing be towards the BFA. I knew it needed to be apart of this project, since it has so much to do with where I am this semester. I ground up sticks of charcoal, cut a roll of paper to be as long as the 88 keys, marked middle C, and played the song on paper. I practiced that song for months. I don't think I'll ever forget it. And I could hear every note as each finger hit the paper.

One of the biggest things for me this semester my Seminar project. It raised so many doubts and questions about myself and my ability, and at times the reasons for even being accepted into the BFA. The struggle of that project affected so many other areas of my life. This piece perfectly matched that struggle for me. It was chaotic, it scared the hell out of me, and somehow was exactly what I needed it to be. Like I said, It was the perfect reflection of that project.

I have this weird love of being barefoot. Nature is such a huge part of who I am, and there is something for me about the feeling of the ground beneath my bare feet. I like to go walking without my shoes on, sometimes close to 10 miles at a time. Maybe it keeps me grounded (is that totally cliche ? ... maybe). But there's just something about it for me. With all the overwhelming things about the semester I did a lot of walking and a lot of ignoring my shoes.

A big part of my sketchbook practice, even more then drawing it actually, is writing. I find the practice of writing to be so much more helpful for my creativity than sketching. I knew that words had to be incorporated into this project. I thought a lot about how I write in my sketchbook and the different practices of just writing that I do, and I decided that cleaner would be better than chaotic. When I was trying to determine WHAT I would write, I debated about that for a long time. In my sketchbook I write a mixture of quotes, song lyrics, things that are said during classes, my thoughts as if I were writing them in a journal. Anything and everything. I finally settled on a poem. It's one that relates my feelings and connection to nature so perfectly.

I had a lot of different emotions over the semester. I wanted a way to show them, and it took me a little bit to decide how I wanted to do that. I thought about how what we feel helps make up who we are in the same way that the different rooms make up a house. The floor plan that I used isn't one of a house that I've lived in, but one of a house I would like to build one day. I chose to use that floorpan because all of these feelings are going to push me forward and help shape who I am in the future. I replaced all the names of the rooms with what I felt were the most predominant emotions of mine over the course of the semester. I thought about which emotion fit which room. Considering things such as the purpose, the windows, the location in the house, ultimately making up my own little house of emotions.

Choosing to end my series with a nod to the future, this semester I was preparing for my first study abroad trip as well as my first time going to Europe. I used a map to mark all the points of my upcoming trip, from start to finish. Then I projected them on to a piece of paper and used gold leaf to map it on the sheet. Gold has always been considered precious and valuable. I felt it was appropriate to used gold since the experiences of that trip are going to be invaluable to me.

The hardest part of this project for me was continually telling myself things didn't need to be shown in a perfect or direct representation. That it was okay for things to be lose or undefined. I have all these ideas, and I think I just need to trust myself more with the ways I chose to show them. It was crazy to finally see everything on the wall all together. Each piece in this series came sporadically and without an official plan, so I really wasn't sure what it would look like, wether or not they would even fit. I knew from the beginning I wanted the concept of unity in disunity, but it's one thing to hope the idea would work and to see it be successful. It may not be perfect, but it's better than I could've imagined.

Credits:

Created with images by Pexels - "backpack bag beautiful" • Akos Kokai - "Tree Fall by Andy Goldsworthy" • eryn.rickard - "One Year Later" • Gov.im - "22.5 Screen 1998, Andy Goldsworthy" • moorina - "British Museum: Preliminary designs by Andy Goldsworthy" • moonlightbulb - "Crack" • Wicker Paradise - "Hemlock 82 Relief Print by Bryan Nash Gill - Ashes & Milk outdoor wicker is a favorite of ours! So is this find by zach."

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