On Oct 1st I gave a short talk during my fine art opening at the Daily In The Pearl arranged by Caplan Art Designs. Since I’d recently written a blog post titled “on writing and giving speeches” I thought it only fair to share with you the text of my speech along with photos. This is a rough approximation of what I said as I can’t re-create the ad-libs and audience participation – it was a fun lively evening! Anyway here goes:
Speech given Oct 1st 2016 by Sue Clancy
Thank you for coming!
I create mixed media handmade paper collage. I start off with white handmade paper and I give that paper color and pattern using a variety of art techniques; I dye the paper, I stencil it, I print on it, I marble it and use a variety of other methods. This is the “mixed media” aspect of my work.
Here are a few scraps of papers I’ve done so you can handle them, along with a postcard containing photos of me in action.
Once the papers are dry I take an X-acto knife and cut shapes out of them. Then I take the cut-paper-shapes and glue them together to make my art images. There are layers of paper glued on top of other papers. Yes, tweezers are involved.
In “The Read Hat” I cut the chihuahua’s head, 4 paws and tail out of a medium brown paper – then other smaller shapes of darker/lighter brown papers were cut to make his face. The clothes the dog wears was cut out of a green dotted paper, the books out of yellow papers – and so forth – until the image was finished.
That’s my construction method.
My ideas and the pattern designs within them come from my life. Take “The Read Hat” as an example again; 5 different life experiences went into this concept.
- I saw some wet, weathered flyers stapled on some telephone poles during a walk on Hawthorne Street in Portland Or. the pattern of letters overlaying each other transparently made me think about the clarity and legibility of information. (This inspired the background of this artwork.)
- I met a Chihuahua who has the habit of collecting most things found at floor level onto his dog bed. Yet he still showed a preference for some things over others. So I began thinking about how I have to select which information in the world to spend time trying to understand since it is impossible to “collect all” the available information.(This inspired my choice of a Chihuahua character)
- On a trip to the Oregon Coast I drove through Oregon wine country. The hills rise and fall so in several places I had an almost aerial view of the Oregon vineyards. (That inspired the green dotted pattern the Chihuahua is wearing.)
- The “aerial view” of an Oregon vineyard reminded me of my favorite self-indulgence; I like to put on my pj’s early of an evening, have a glass of wine and read a book for an hour or so before bed. (This is why the character is wearing pj’s and not some other sort of outfit)
- When I indulge myself this way I often take off my hearing-aids so as to completely relax and focus on what I’m reading. My deafness made me think of how important language is as a framework for understanding the world. Language is a container, a hat, that holds knowledge.
This is generally how I work: pattern designs become symbols in a visual story. When I do special commissions I use this visual story method too – only instead of my life experiences inspiring the pattern designs and story symbols it’s your life experiences that do that.
The titles I give my artworks, the “blurbs” and statements I write about them – or about my exhibits – are clues to my personal thoughts. But my use of pattern design symbolically and my use of the Animals in Art genre (it’s a classic genre of fine art like ‘still life’ or ‘landscape painting’) takes my work beyond the personal and into the mythological story or fable.
So this summer when a San Francisco company contacted me about licensing my designs for use as scarves, bags and other apparel I saw a chance to extend my ‘pattern designs as symbols’ concept into the real world. You can see my full apparel collection here: http://www.shopvida.com/collections/sue-clancy
Using the same pattern design in multiple symbolic ways – in different fine artworks, in art apparel and in artist books – is my way of thinking about aspects of nature, culture and other things in contemporary life. Thank you!
Here’s a photo of me giving the above speech.