The Artist Chain Reaction competition was an event where two artists who never worked together before were paired up to create an installation over the course of 5 days. It took place at the lovely Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Councorse in the Bronx during Armory Week.
I initially saw the open call for this competition about a few weeks beforehand and thought to myself that I would be in over my head if I participated in it. At the time I was working in small scale roughly under 18 inches, so I couldn’t even begin to imagine how my work would translate into anything larger. After reading the open call, I immediately closed the web page and looked for another call that I would be better suited for. A few days later a funny thing happened, I received the open call in my inbox from Jeanine Alferi. At this point I figured this was a sign that I should at least submit my work, so I grabbed the biggest piece that I had at the time, took some great shots of it and wished for the best. About a few days later I received an email from Jeanine notifying me that I was chosen to participate. I thought “Wow, how awesome is this, I’m so excited. … wait how the hell am I going to pull this off?”
I panicked but quickly began to strategize and it immediately came to me that I needed to use chicken wire and paper mache. I worked with chicken wire for a whole semester in college building project after project with it because of its strength and flexibility. The idea of using paper mache to bulk up the frame was great because it cuts down on the amount of clay that I’d have to use, making it a quicker drying, lightweight and cost efficient sculpture.
After I figured out how to handle creating the body I had to tackle the one thing that I have been avoiding all my life, the sewing machine. Anyone that knows me is well aware of my on going battle that I’ve had with using a sewing machine. I can’t thread them for my life, I usually get my mom to do it for me but she was in the far away land called Brooklyn. I’ve had a few lucky tries in the past where I’d get a few pieces done only to see it snag the material of another piece. This time I was determined and I knew that I didn’t have time to play around, I had to get this done. After taking a good look at the machine to figure out my plan of attack it began to dawn on me. I needed to run the thread through the tension discs in order for the stitch to be tight. This was something I knew but never seemed to master. I went on to YouTube to see exactly how the thread should be ran through it and vuala, that solved everything. I called my mom to tell her I did it all by myself this time :).
After getting the outfit sewn, everything else began to fall into place. I put the hair on which was a wig that I had laying around and I was able to make her stand by manipulating the chicken wire underneath her dress. I made her into a half tree half person. The story behind it came from a recent experience that my partner in the competition had went through. She was recently evicted from her home in the Bronx and she had to move to Brooklyn with her family. She said that every thing that she ever knew and was familiar to her was in the Bronx. So I decided to represent her by making a tree with the roots exposed to show how she was uprooted from her home and surroundings.
Overall it was a wonderful experience and it challenged me to take my work to another level. I just wish that I had more space at home to continue working in this size:)