This past weekend I began on a new mixed media project that is much larger than what I’m used to working on (I haven’t measured it out yet, but the biggest I’ve ever worked on previously was about 16×20, so this is lot bigger). I had claimed some scrap wood from the backyard of my house when my dad was replacing the plywood of the patio roof earlier this year and it became my ambition to notch it up and work big, though still not as big as Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. I have not really set a deadline for this new project, but again, I never have the need to set deadlines.
I have envisioned this new venture an extension of my previous drawing series BABEL which of course is based on the Bible story of the titular tower, with a bit more 3D feel. Basically it would be like a bas relief-like sculptural assemblage of all sorts of scraps and junk that comes my way. There will be total of five panels, and they would symbolize the inner Tower of Babel we humans build for ourselves for our own glory and self-worth. Each panel will be made up of different materials that represent the things we use to build our towers. I just spent this past several days laying down the base for each of the five panels, and I’m still trying to figure out what next steps to take. I might have to hunt for some more scraps, the one I’ve managed to amass won’t be enough, or it won’t really fit the big picture. This is the first time I’ve ever bought a bucket (yes, a bucket) of gesso and some gel medium.
The first panel here as you can see has been layered with gesso, gel medium and scrap paper of all kinds. This one is called “Knowledge” meaning how man tries to build himself up with all sorts of learning. I initially thought of getting some old books and paste them up on the panel, but decided against it as 1) it would probably make it really heavy, and 2) I don’t know to where to begin looking for the books that best suit the project. It’s not like I can steal from the library or an antique shop, much less buy a spankin’ new copy from Barnes & Noble. I’ll just opt for crumples of newspaper and/or magazine pages, anything with text on it (I’m sure no one out there will be stupid enough to try and read them, right?)
Panel two below will be titled “Vanity Fair” as in man’s incessant nature to dress up with all kinds of pretty clothes and accessories to appear better looking than anybody else. First layers are using old cloth and fabrics I dug up from around the house, and I’m looking for some more pieces to add on:
This next one will probably give you nightmares. I had bought some blank masks and prop skeleton parts from (well, you can tell from the box in the pic 😉 and pasted them down with gel to represent how man will endeavor for power and prestige, but at a terrible cost with lots of blood. I feel like I’ve seen something similar in a horror movie long time ago, I don’t know what and I don’t care, cause I don’t like horror movies:
Panel four uses lots of scrap metal, representing the structures of many buildings and skyscrapers that populate our earth. It appears like man are constantly trying to outdo one another on who can build the tallest and/or the prettiest (take Dubai for example. There are some ridiculous architecture in that small city). My dad works as contractor building and installing air conditioners and ducts so there was no shortages of scrap metal and parts at his shop. I then tried spraying some muriatic acid to rust up some of the metal pieces (word of advice, don’t ever spray the stuff indoors, I almost died from its toxic fumes):
I just realized I don’t have shot of the final panel, which is to represent man’s callousness toward the environment by ripping it apart for the natural resources such as coal and lumber. I’ve become quite of an environmentalist as of late, how I came to that I’ll talk about it later. So this is where I’ve come so far, I’ll be keeping post of the progress in days (or weeks, or months) to come