February Artist Statement

Personal Statement                                                                        Patricia Murphy, February 2016

I’ve been swimming all my life: during the summer, during school sports, during spring break, during winter break, free time, and even in my sleep. I’ve been in hundreds of competitions. For my first job, I taught swim lessons. I love art.

I am also a bit of a Brainiac: always in honor roll, part of the math league, brain brawl, Latin club, you name it. I flew through IB and AP classes, for the challenge. I love art.

I am a bookworm and a nerd. The library is my home away from home. I can quote and reference any comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, or anime. I love art.

Thinking back, I must have been annoying. In the library, I would flip through every single book until I found one with stellar illustrations. I would then return those books with flattened and dented pages, because, obviously, I had been tracing them. In my classes, I was dubbed doodle champion. I am an expert at cleaning desks, because that’s where all my extra doodles would go. One teacher gave me desk mats. True story! On the swim team, I was that kid who always held up the bus. The aisle clearly wasn’t designed for someone lugging around art supplies.

I love art. It seeps into every part of my life, to the deepest crevasses of my brain, where there’s this crazy idea… I want to be an artist. How will I support myself? How will I get people to like my work? Is my work any good? I don’t know, but I love art. So, for better or worse, I’m going to hang on to that and this crazy idea for the rest my life.

Naturally, I am studying fine arts; specifically, painting, drawing, and printmaking. I am continually impressed by what is available to students. I’m a bit scared I’m only going to use a fraction of what’s available. I could really use the wood shop to kick up my craftsmanship. The possibilities in the print lab are endless. I love figurative work, so having a model is a godsend. Access to studio space is awesome. Then there is that 3D print lab, I am going to do something insane in there. Don’t know what yet, but it’s going to happen. Also the study abroad trip to Italy is going to be incredible. I don’t think I could be happier in any other major. This is my dream.

I’m not sure what I’ll do when the rug gets ripped from under me. I’ll probably just be making several stabs, until something hits. I’m considering pursuing grants and fellowships. Then I’ll take a stab at galleries and traveling. At the same time, I’ll be testing out video production and blogging to create an audience. I have no idea what it actually takes to be a successful artist, but I’m going to do everything I possibly can. I love art.

Superhero lamp

A week late… :( Oh well, today I’m writing about my superhero lamp. This as well as another one of my other pieces was inspired by my favorite penciler and comic book artist Jim Lee. This piece was actually supposed to be in a lamp competition for interior design. However I completely missed the purpose of the competition and did my own thing. Short story shorter, I have no interest in becoming an interior designer.

Anyway for this make shift lamp I invented superheroes with a lamp theme. On the far left I made a hybrid of green lantern and super girl. The main thing is she has a lamp design instead of a lantern. In the middle left is a superhero similar to Nightwing from Batman, except he beats people up with flashlights (just like Edmond from “Prince Caspian”). In the middle right is a rouge Russian spy who shoots lights bulbs. I realize now I should have tried  to come up with something better, and not so completely ridiculous, so I apologize. It would be funny to see someone actually try to shoot light bulbs at people, even though would end terribly  Alright, last but not least is the ninja lamp dude on the far right. I put him in mostly because I love almost anything with ninjas. I can also see Jackie Chan using that kind of lamp as a stunt prop.

I put a painted stencil bit in the back showing each one of the heroes in action. The reason I did the cut outs and stencil was for the silhouettes and lighting effects, which were pretty cool. I then tried to create portions of a city scene within, but it wasn’t such a great idea, and it looked sloppy. I was excited about the slightly transparent material  that my teacher found for me near the end of my project. It was like thick parchment paper except way better. I wish I could go back and use it to its fullest capacity, because it was a very useful and clever material.

Another important aspect of the lamp was getting it to work. I dissected one of my own lamps to figure out how they work and what pieces I needed to assemble. I kind of made it out to be more complicated than it was, and got unnecessary things. I felt really stupid buying light sockets and socket holders, when I stumbled across an extra one at home that was better. Now I have everything I need to fix a light, and the basics for any lamp or light fixture. With the socket and socket holder all you really need to do is wire it to a plug, and voila you have light. I wish it was more complicated so I could say more, but that’s all there is to it. My dad helped me make the box it was in. That process actually was more difficult and took some precision. Carpentry in itself is an art with all these nifty tricks, trade secrets, and ways of putting things together that I love.

I kind of wish I did more to the box like a stencil with some sort of design on it, but I did like how most of it turned, and it was good way to explore new things.To do this all over again I’d want a welding set in order to work with metal and make something that looks more lamp like. I will definitely make another attempt when I have more resources, but for now this is what I’ve got, and I hope you enjoy it.

What a Smart Ass

Ok, it seems to have become a cycle of me being late so I will be making two blogs this week and two pieces, hopefully all done by Friday. Alright today’s blog is about my desk piece. The  idea started because of my uncanny habit of doodling on my desk and all my notes at school. One of my teachers ended up giving me desk mats so he wouldn’t have to clean the desks and I could actually keep my doodles. He gave a certificate at the end of the year for being the best desk doodler ever, I’m very proud of it.

I’ve wanted my own school desk for a while. My mentor in a graphic design program got himself a school desk, because he had gotten so used to falling a sleep at school that it became the optimal sleeping position for him. I thought it was brilliant so I set out to find my own desk that I could doodle all over and sleep in whenever I wanted. I ended up asking several people if they happened to have school desk lying around that they didn’t want. I’m sure this normally wouldn’t work, but I struck gold when one of my friends’ mom, who was a care care giver for young kids, had an extra desk that she wanted to get rid of. It was the perfect old school desk of my dreams. I decided it would be a wasted it all I did was doodle on it, so I decided to make an art project out of it.

The project was actually more difficult than I had anticipate, there was so much space to fill up and I felt like I had to come up with something clever for every bit of it. And just so you know, I did :D. For the seat of course I made a literal smart ass, however I was a little hesitant, because it was for school, but my art teacher gave me the nod of approval so I went ahead with it. I then proceeded to do the side with the opening that you put all your books in. I have terrible habit of loosing things, but I usually blame the universe or leprechauns. Around that time I had just lost my all important art journal that had half a years work in it, I never found it. Anyway I’m sure I lost it at school so I invented this desk monster that gobbled up books and school supplies. I made this monster a reality on my desk, partially in the hopes that it might throw something back up. Nothing has come back yet.

Moving on the other sides of my desk have a scholastic theme. The back side has portrait of Julian Smith, a YouTube comedian, from his song “Don’t You Ever Interrupt Me When I’m Reading a Book”, which I love. Then on the side opposite the monster I painted Scott Pilgrim from “Scott Pilgrim Verses the World” holding a book and challenging the world. On the front I painted a scene from ASDF Movie 3 on YouTube. The only thing is that the scene is actually opposite from the video, because I wanted a scholastic theme. ( You should actually check out the video, because it is hilarious and very clever)

On the bottom of the desk a made nerdy reference to Star Wars and the dark side of the force. That actually turned out way better than I could have hoped. The bottom of the seat has a tombstone for art journal, because I figured it was appropriate with monster. My least favorite part of this piece the top. I had envisioned a lot more for it and it was not as successful as I had hoped. I was happy with my Mr. Fancy Pants painting on a paper airplane, (he’s from a game called Mr. Fancy Pants) because it fit in with smart ass seat. I wasn’t happy with the lay out plans for the schoolinator, which was based off of  one Doofensmirtz’s machines (from Phineas and Ferb). The lines are thin and hard to see and it looks very last minute, which it was. Also the pencil sharpener and pencil are incomplete and I failed to add in The Office reference that I wanted, as well as the annoying paperclip from Word.

However as a whole I really love this piece and enjoyed making it. I’d almost say this piece is a self portrait, because it is composed of a lot of things I love and shows my comedic leanings. Anyway that is all for now and hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me this week. ;D

What the …?

Alright, today’s blog is about is about my toilet piece. Its official name is “Duchamp’s Version of the Thinker”. It is in tribute to and inspired by Marcel Duchamp. He was a leading figure in Dada art which was basically controversial art or anti-art around the 1920s. I actually learned the most about him in my theory of knowledge class in our discussion of “what is art”. His most well known piece is “The Fountain”, which is basically just a urinal that he signed, and that is about all there is to it. At first I thought it was just bunch of baloney (I still sort of do), but it was a huge shock to the art world and really begged the question of what can be considered art. We never really reached a definite answer in my class, but I can say due to what Duchamp and other artists did, the possibilities in art have been exponentially expanded.

In response to Duchamp’s contribution I wanted to do a piece on an odd medium like he did. I did a desk piece to kind of explore new canvases. The desk piece had a school theme, but I wanted my Duchamp piece to have more of an intellectual focus tying back to my theory of knowledge class. The best way to create an intellectual theme I figured was to incorporate “The Thinker”. I always thought “The Thinker” was a funny piece, because there are a ton jokes about how the guy looks like he’s on the stool. It was also the cover for a ToK book, so it fit in perfectly.
I had the concept of this piece for a while, but I had no toilet or urinal to execute this brilliant piece. By chance one of my neighbors got a new toilet and I leaped on the chance to inherit her old toilet. I don’t think she had seen some one so excited about a toilet, because she gave that sideways look. I didn’t really care, because I had my toilet. I then proceeded to drown it bleach, just to make extra sure it was spotless and ready for paint.

I started with inside doing green and blue swirls and then topping it with splatter paint. It was incredibly simple and gave it a great look. Also it’s a quick laugh for anyone just glancing at it. I love pieces that are controversial and funny, so I’m excited whenever I can do that to my own pieces. I’m good with painting faces so I did a thoughtful/funny face on the toilet seat to tie into “The Thinker” theme. I did a surreal bit at the front of the toilet box thing to symbolize the mechanics of the brain.

On the back is “The Thinker” on the toilet in all his glory. Just so you know I did eyeball from someone else’s work for that, so that idea and drawing is not quite my own. I did not get a whole lot of information on the piece, it was a spray painted stencil and I’ll try get more information on it if anyone is interested. Moving on, my final touch was the signature Duchamp put on “The Fountain”. The signature is pretty sloppy and I’d definitely redo that, if I were to sell this piece.

Just as side note, for a possible addition, I thought it would be hilarious if I turned the toilet tank into a fish tank. I saw it as I was looking through some artistic things people had done with toilets and it made me stop and laugh. At the time it wasn’t such a great idea, because I had to move my piece around. However, now if I get a goldfish any time soon I will name him Fin Junior and test it out. One more random side note, because it won’t be relevant in any other blog of mine, there is this huge fountain in China that is basically a pile of old toilets, and it looks awesome. It is own of my life goals to see it in real life.

Ok, I had to get that out of my system. One of the most significant things about this piece was actually bringing it to school and seeing everyone’s reaction. As I was wheeling it around I got a lot of raised eyebrows and “what the …”s, but my favorites were the laughs and “I can’t believe you actually did that”. Having that kind of reaction was exhilarating and I loved it. I can definitely see how people can addicted to getting that kind of reaction and just strive to push the limits to the extremes. That’s not exactly what I want to strive  for but it definitely was a great experience and I will definitely keep trying to push myself and learn new things. That’s all folks! Until next time ;D

“The Thinker”


Apple of Discord

Ok, I lied it has been more than a week so my blog is late, but I will make up for it with a new post in a day or two. Today’s blog is about my piece called “The Apple of Discord”. It’s based on the Greek mythology story that is the set up for the Trojan war.

The story starts with Eris, the goddess of discord, when she arrives uninvited to the wedding of Thetis and Peleus. The gods neglected to invite Eris because of her nature to create chaos. As an act of vengeance Eris creates discord between the three goddesses Aphrodite, Hera , and Athena, by throwing a golden apple addressed to the fairest in the midst of them. They fall under the spell and become consumed into a conflict over who is the fairest. It is petty, but it causes such a great rift between them that they manage to drag Zeus in to force a decision. He differs the decision to Paris who had been recognized as an impartial judge. Each goddess offers a reward in return for the apple, and use several methods to make themselves more appealing. Paris settles on Aphrodite due to her clever and seductive charms and the promise of receiving Helen the most beautiful woman in the world. This was major blunder on his part enacting the wrath of two goddesses as well as the wrath of king of Sparta who was Helen’s husband.

Several artists have depicted this in pieces called the “Judgement of Paris”. I attempted a similar piece the year before called the “Decision of Paris”. I was really frustrated because I wanted to illustrate the conflict the apple aroused in the three goddesses but I ultimately failed to portray any emotions. Looking back there were several technical errors in proportion, placement, and color showing how much of an amateur I really am. Fortunately I am still a student so my inexperience gives me a little leeway.

Any how the following year I wanted to improve on the concept of the piece. I decided to focus the apple of discord itself. My main inspiration from the piece is the work of M.C. Escher in “Reflections”. I love his work so I was quick to apply one of his concepts to my own work. I do really respected his work so I wanted to make sure I paid homage to a concept that was his. I will be doing this a lot because as an art student I am looking around at other artist past and present to get inspiration for technique and concept. The reflections piece it is basically a self portrait of M.C. Escher but through his reflection off an orb that he is holding. I applied this to the apple of discord having the victor, Aphrodite, holding the golden apple that shows the reflection of her along with the enraged goddesses. I do believe I can still improve on the execution of the piece, but I am satisfied with concept and that I succeeded in portraying exactly what I wanted in this piece. Just as side note, my inspiration driving me to focus solely on the golden apple was “The Lord of the Rings”, because it is always intriguing that something so small can cause so much trouble.