Accidental Collaborator

Some of my favorite pieces were created by accident.  And I don’t mean I accidentally just whip out art, but instead I mean that I leave certain elements up to chance, and I love the results I get!  I’ll talk aobut a really blatant example here, one that I can’t even take the credit for, other than I chose to work with it.

I was doing a final project for one of my last classes at DePaul.  My idea was to create a really clean cut book depicting some of the children I came across during my time in Honduras, specifically working from the photographs I took by their school.  During my time in Zurzular, a mountain village I worked in for two weeks on two separate occasions, I got to learn a little about their situation and found the sign they had in front of their schoolhouse especially inspiring: “Study today as if it were your last day of your life”.  Throughout the time I spent in Honduras, I realized that education is really the key to empowering those in need of help.  I came to look at donations much differently, realizing that they made the people there dependent on others, instead of inspiring them to take matters into their own hands.

The challenge for this project was to keep it clean and simple, the opposite of what I usually do, but retain my style.  I wanted the piece to function as a book, but also wanted to experiment by taking the pages out of the cover and having it function as one long and continuous piece that could be displayed on a wall.  Taking advantage of the class supplies, I ripped an approximately 5″ x 63″ sheet of paper, the only one I would get for this project, rolled and wrapped it up and took it home. Now to understand how this happened, you have to understand that a) I usually work on the floor because that’s usually the easiest and most convenient, that b) I don’t have the natural inclination to put things away once I am done with them and that c) I have a sweet dog that loves to be on stuff (any stuff really, if there is a laptop on the floor, he’ll be on it, if there is one paper on the floor in the whole house, he will find it and lay on it).  Look at those sweet eyes (as he’s laying on my project…)!

It’s probably really clear where this is going, but here’s a visual of what I came home to later that day:

My emotions went from confusion to anger to panic to in 5 seconds.  And then to “that was completely my fault” and “hey, this is good” in the following five.  And so, seeing as it was close to deadline and I couldn’t do anything about it anyway, I replicated his process the best I could, from placing the paint on top of the paper and shoving it to stepping on it to flipping it in the best imitation of dog movements I knew.  I felt ridiculous while doing it, but I suppose if we’re collaborating, we have to understand each other.  I came to the conclusion that creating clean and crisp artwork just wasn’t meant for me.  Even when I resolve to do it, it does not happen.

My first and only collaborator, Misiu.

You can view images of the final piece here:

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