Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Seed.Art.Lab Internships (i)

On Wednesday I welcomed Jane Jaffe to the Studio for a holiday work experience stint... but as we discussed  what we would endeavour to achieve through this the concept of the intern struck us both as a more fitting description for the involvement she would have in my work space.

It was a very organic process arranging this ... and it really emerged out of  having a new space to work with that's flexible, people-friendly and naturally leads me to thinking about the various ways it might be possible to operate my project whilst managing both admin and painting practice demands at the same time.

WEDNESDAY 11TH DECEMBER : Welcome to Jane 


Homage to the Seed" and researched her before emailing her in March for my Senior Art Assignment on ART VS SCIENCE.

I asked Sophie a couple of questions expecting to be met with a few sentences in response. The journal images below show the results of the exchange! 

To my amazement and pleasure she sent me back paragraphs, pictures, book recommendations and video links to help me out. 

Her passion and knowledge of seed biodiversity is contagious. In particular her story about how back in 1983 when she learnt of Corporations like McDonalds bulldozing the Rainforests of Brazil to access land to grow cattle for their "low-grade food product" it had seemed clearly wrong and unforgivable to her. At that time a young school teacher, it upset her so much that she began to ask questions regarding the degradation of the planet and likely future scenarios.

After communicating with Sophie I signed up to receive her newsletters and received one in my last week of school about the new studio opening. I was so excited to meet Sophie and see her artwork in person and I was not disappointed. I ended up leaving with a copy of her book, a hand-painted plate and 'Archaic yet reverberating still II' which hangs proudly in my bedroom.

The general vibe here is what you expect - a cool breeze blowing through the widow, Sophie's work native birds chirping in background all add to the wholesome, peaceful and relaxing ambiance the studio oozes. Inspiration is spread across the table from foreign high end decorating magazines to exotic looking seedpods all have its place in the relaxed (yet immaculate) studio. For morning tea we had a healthy and sustainable snack of fresh blueberries, bananas, mangos, dried pawpaw, cranberries, pecans  and peanuts (very delicious!). Somehow Sophie also managed to make this platter look like a work of art with careful placement, colour and a beneficial message."

It is enviable that I would end up finding myself in Art related places. My father collects antiques, my uncle was the curator for the British Art Gallery and one of my cousins is a full-time bird sculpture artist and another cousin is studying Arts at Goldsmiths. From an early age I was exposed to Galleries, a house filled with paintings and for christmas I was never short of paint sets, sketch books and anything creative that came in a box set from relatives. I still have my one and only set of Darwent pencils (although some are just a stub) which I took to school everyday. Along with the compulsory lessons of Junior School Art I signed up for art club, which was a few afternoons a week after school for 2 hours, so I could spend more time in my favourite subject. 

In grade 8 when art became optional it was a no brainer that I would continue. Although "Art Club" was no longer offered we moved into more digital and modern forms of art and exploring other artists and the flesh behind their work. Mrs Brown taught us lino printing, palmpsesting, photoshopping, photographing, de/re construction and symbolism. I love every technique and appreciate artists in all fields. Even as a teenager my friends and I would seek out GOMA to see what interactive exhibition was on, for me art had become a way of life, not merely a reflection of it. 

Eager to do my best yet questioning weather I could handle the 3000+ word assignments of Senior Visual Art I was blessed with the topic "ART VS SCIENCE" and the first essay was from the perspective of a scientist write about what you find in your chosen Artists Studio. With a particular interest in natural medicine and the environment Sophie's name popped up on my laptop screen in your standard google search. I dot pointed research on her in my art journal and loaned her book from the Library the next day. I found a link on her website to her e-mail and the rest is as they say history. 

Inspired by Sophie's motif (symbol) of the seed, I decided to create my own motif, the snow pea. I started off germinating snow pea seeds in syringes to show the dichotomy of modern medicine and natural healing.

To symbolise the loss of natural remedies being passed down to the next generation due to the complete veneration of modern western medicine and also to show how our environment is being impacted by the decisions we make today I created an ice sculpture with snow-pea sprouts which I filmed melting. 

Also inspired by Sophie and Salli Sixpence I made this work from photographs I have taken of paint and ink, then fragmenting through white paint and reconnecting with the snow pea sprouts I drew using carbon paper. 

After photographing this work and photoshopping it I created a book, a kind of 3D symbol of natural medicine like the snake on the staff for western medicine.

Inspired by colour blindness tests I spelt out the message of my body of work "THE CURE AND THE CAUSE" within the piece. This is to highlight that modern medicine is seen as the cure it may present unforeseen problems for a different reason. Some things have been proven to be fixed such as type II diabetes, vitamin C for colds and vitamin B for energy and mental wellbeing. I am not saying there is not a place for Western Medicine I am just saying we can prevent and handle some illnesses through natural means in the way our ancestors have for centuries. This is summed up by the quote "Farmacy as apposed to Pharmacy"

I have skipped through a few works but this was my final piece. My Grandfather is the man in the photograph and he is making Silver water. A drink he would bring in glass bottles as soon as he heard we had a cold or we complained about feeling under the wether. 

Now that I am in a different phase of my life and not completing art in an academic setting, I don't start university until March 2014, It is nice to be an intern to reflect, create and envision the future. After chatting to Sophie in her studio she has inspired me to start an archive of my work in a tumblr site and I am going to start a visual journal to jot down my ideas and scraps of inspiration. In the mean time I am happy to be relaxing and learning from Sophie.



ronnie said...

what a fabbo report from jane --- good luck with all your arty (or otherwise) endeavours!

Stephanie said...

The snow pea sprouting is fascinating! Love those ice sculptures too. Keep it up Jane :-D

Sophie Munns said...

Thanks for you great comment Ronnie... i will be sure to pass this on to Jane. Exciting to see your news last week too!

The ice sculptures are great aren't they Stephanie. I love the range of jane's work and how motivated she was with her explorations and the realising of the ideas.

Thanks for popping by...
Shall let Jane know there are comments for her to read!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Arriving here this week and last has been all things intriguing. I can't think of a better connection and rich involvement! I'm always fascinated by the way our lives move forward and the people we meet and inspire. Carry on!

Debbie said...

I have just read all of the previous post and this one, what young and enthusiastic talent there is out there, I found Jane's work very interesting, love the book and the tablets.
I like what you have written at the end of the previous post as well, I must think on that and where I am going, I love reading your posts it helps me sort out my headspace, and I just love your work.
Is your book still available?

Anonymous said...

Happy Holidays Sophie and all the best for you in 2014 !!! xo

Sophie Munns said...

Hello MaryAnne,

I'm with you on the way that particular meetings with people can really enrich and inspire.

It seems the most natural thing in the world to share this studio space with young ones coming through. It's an incredibly important time in a persons life and although obviously we can choose to recreate our lives in any way at any time as we see fit, or dare or can manage... its in these teen years that influences are important to help us imagine how we might move forward.

Both Jane and Sam value seeing how I have pursued things in a certain way that has grown out of a single starting point and kept adding layers as I have gone along. That interests them greatly... not the fact of seeds being my inspiration... but the way something emerged as a central motif and then became more... and more!

Its another manner of dispersing seeds really. Always great to hear from you!

Sophie Munns said...

Hello Debbie,
glad that you found some things that resonate. I've written about the book to you.
Jan was interested to hear your thoughts. The tablets are incredible. Actually she and her mother said she was very lucky to have a brilliant Art teacher who kept getting her to dig down more deeply into the work she was researching and find other ways to respond. She said she would have left off long before if it were simply up to her... but her teacher was persistent in getting her thinking. Sounds great to me.

I'm realising from the process of getting the girls posting an also doing the survey that apart from family intergenerational connections it is more rare to see engaged conversation going on between our age group and the girls. I'm remembering being their age and how it felt to be inspired and wondering about the future and all that. I'm loving the conversations and feel they bring much to the studio.
I'm glad to say the opportunity is hugely valued and relished by both and any "work" they do for me is seen as utterly valuable to themselves.

Both are coming back and both have further plans for what we can do along with any ideas I have.

What not to like in this dynamic exchange?
Best to you!

Sophie Munns said...

Hello Robyn,
So delighted to see what you've been up to again. Apologies for such a long absence!
Enjoy the festive season and a wonderful 2014 to you!
S xo

Velma Bolyard said...

this exchange between eager and deep thinking young women and you, sophie, is so very exciting. thank you for sharing it. it could be a real inspiration for others of us. in fact, it's a fine model for teaching, real and deep connection.