Drop Shadow - In The Making

I met Michael Shandrick at a design thinking event back in 2011. This whole series of documentation was inspired by a conversation I've had with him a short while ago. We were discussing processes. In response to his description of a script he was engaged in writing, I've asked him about the possibility of him posting the story. He seemed pretty intrigued by the idea. As we were exchanging more thoughts I've realized the same idea could apply to me. This is the fourth post following First StagesResurrection and Statement.
Just a minute or two before our walking tour of Vancouver in the Design Thinking unConference

As soon as I embark on the act of executing my thoughts, the process itself is a form of result. However, it is also an exploration. You could even see it as an adventure, where not all the answers are known. The creative process can be planned in detail yet reality imposes hurdles in many forms. Time and money are the most basic of them. Proper planning helps in balancing the many components that the process entails as it unfolds. However, people get sick, accidents happen, new ideas come up. You can't anticipate everything.
The beauty of a process exists in any of its stages.

'Drop Shadow' as a work of art is an analogy to this process. When I had started working on it, the plywood squares I was painting on, represented pixels of the digital world. Technically, I've placed them together as one surface and occasionally shuffled them to add a new layer of paint. That has generated a degree of arbitrariness to the composition. A pixel is like that. It is a sort of canvas that accommodates whatever info is directed in its way. When all the pixels together form an image that makes sense to us, communication exists.
Scale is a fascinating feature of space.

As my world expanded into the urban realm, my interest in reflecting that in my art inspired me to look at "my pixels" with a new sense of purpose. For me, a city is the most complex product of human society. Its most challenging complexity is the fact that we are one of its components - its most important one. Without the city our lives would be something else. Without us, it won't exist, or at least slowly degrade into oblivion (have a look at this).
Reflections happen with smooth surfaces, within computer programs and in your head.

In this process my camera and computer were used as painting accessories. Taking photos of the acrylic squares had allowed me to manipulate the image before continuing to add paint. The desktop monitor enabled an enhanced flexibility in viewing the work and experimenting. Planning and execution progressed very quickly following decisions made over a compelling variety of options. Plywood, as a building material, allowed me to cut existing pieces and further play with their layout.
The side of a building in construction where the concrete pouring "imperfections" are still evident. 

This layering of processes is what I find compelling in everything I do. Whether it is an idea or an object, a present reality or a vision for the future; when I look at them as raw material, my options of action are wide open. The story is the action that connects everything together. Each story sheds a light of its own on our existence.  Light and shadow play equal roles in our sense of space. If for no other reason, naming my project 'Drop Shadow' sounds almost inevitable.
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This post was actually posted on August 28 2014. I had meant to publish it on the date that appears here but simply lost  track of my list of drafted files. Interestingly, in Blogger you can control the publishing date to reflect your interests.


The making of Drop Shadow - Artist Staement

Among the layers of creation, a statement is the artist's way of articulating the outcome for the viewer. Whether this explains the work or adds mystery, is a matter of choice. I find it intriguing to provide a statement that is both. The previous two posts (First StagesResurrection) mainly dealt with the timeline of working on 'Drop Shadow'. Apart from beauty, I want my work to provoke thought and nurture discussion. Open minded communication with my audience can generate new ideas and insights. The following is my statement for the show in July.
Our built environment is a result of generations of growth and interaction. In this body of work I'm reflecting on components of life and setting them in a pattern that supports new directions. We all come together on an individual journey and find the commons we need. The city is a body with endless faces. The way from which you look at it can change how you feel about and in it.
'Drop Shadow' is a process in which I contemplate the move between stages, the changes in time and scale, the balance between resource and allocation. From a young age I've been intrigued by the constant development of tools available to us. When I started using Photoshop I very quickly developed a variety of processes that allowed me to generate the features we needed for my team's projects. Then a tool called drop-shadow was introduced that in a single click created most of what my process had involved.
The city is our most complex tool and changing it seems to be on a larger scale than we can imagine. Within the arbitrary motions of fitting components together, a sense of order evolves. This sense of order is a source of both strength and weakness in all of us, individuals and societies. The need for change repeatedly shows itself. The effort to change is many times bigger than what we've thought or even hoped it would be.
'Drop Shadow' is merely a work of art. My work on creating it involves traditional arts materials such as acrylics and pencils. However, computer and various hand tools were a significant contribution to the results at hand. In 2003 its various components were constructed in a certain way. Revisiting them more than a decade later has allowed me to relate the small scale of revitalizing their existence to my current state of engagement with urban design. The effort of tweaking an established body of work involves finding the right balance between existing conditions and the boundaries of my imagination; between past, present and future.
My search is in how to turn this effort into play.


The making of Drop Shadow - Resurrection

My previous post (Drop Shadow - First Stages) ended with me leaving my art stored since 2005 for a few years.
Then, in 2010 came my parents' 70th birthdays. It seemed like a great opportunity to take a look at what I've had and make something new out of it. This time, a square plywood board was selected to be the background and support for the whole composition. To make the small squares truly interactive, simple elements of hardware were employed. Making sure to work with an accurate template, I've installed screws at the back of each square so that one can insert each piece in any of the nine spots on the background board. I'm not sure my parents play with combinations of the various possibilities but they sure can, and that was my intention.
A little later I tried a down scaled version for a friend's wedding. Instead of a stained background I took a bunch of color pencils and worked on visually relating the pieces. Instead of nine squares floating above the surface I've selected three from the existing acrylics on plywood pieces.
Pressing the pencils on the background boards, there is a physical connection that forms between me and the surface. I enjoy the transparency of pencils where you can gradually add strokes and the color becomes more pronounced and still the color beneath shows itself. By contrast, acrylics tend to just cover the layer beneath. The difference between media supports my narrative of urban change: the effort of tweaking an established infrastructure involves finding the right balance between existing conditions and the boundaries of our imagination; between past, present and future.
My current state of the process is nearly ready with six pieces. They all use plywood boards as backgrounds and pencils in various degrees of application. There is a wide range of styles between them and still they seem to form a coherent family of objects. I am intrigued by how they will look when I'm done. Notice in the small works the similar pieces in blue. As my use of tools allows me to plan and anticipate the process, what I'm showing here is an approximately what they will be. On this, I will expand a bit later.


The making of Drop Shadow - First Stages

In July of 2014, my acrylics will be displayed in Bean Around The World coffee shop on Main street in Vancouver. Following a process of restructuring and re-purposing a set of pieces that were stored in my basement, the show I call Drop Shadow will go through what might be considered a resurrection.
After moving from Israel to Canada in 2002 I decided to explore in more detail the process of painting and dealing with artistic expression. My first encounter with canvas and acrylics had happened just a year or so before. That explosion of color and emotions had stayed with my friends Yoav and Michal. In Canada, instead of canvas, plywood, which was readily available to me, was selected as my surface of choice. Another item from the past has been, in general terms, the three dimensional nature of the result. I am used to looking for the relationships between elements in space. Some of my previous dealings with acrylics involved found objects that I had attached to the surface as part of the composition.
Metal and wooden frames; wire and mesh hanging systems
My process has yielded two types of framing: metal and wood. The frames, being part of the composition, were used as the structure that holds the plywood pieces suspended in the air. Here too, I came up with two versions:  wires intersecting each other to form a 3 x 3 grid and a mesh stretched between the members of the frame.
Conceptually I considered the plywood pieces to be placed in any of the locations available within the composition and any orientation. Eventually they were attached rigidly to the mesh or grid from behind. I didn't worry with this too much but knew I would come back to that issue sometime later.
Ground floor in Cuppa Joe coffee shop (2003)
Eight items hung on the walls of Cuppa Joe on 4th Avenue West for the month of April 2003. A gallery in Gastown was next to host my art. Unfortunately it shut down just before my turn came up for display. In August of the same year one of my pieces was juried into a group show on Granville Island. After that I was already busy developing my ceramic designs so the art stayed mostly in storage until September 2004.
Wave participated in the juried show Painting On The Edge
When my ceramic pieces were displayed for sale in a gallery in Steveston, Tamaka, the owner invited me to have my acrylics there as well. She had called me to pick up my paintings after about a year of moving around the walls of the gallery without a buyer. A day after that call, a woman from Germany came by and paid Tamaka for one item to be shipped abroad. Suddenly I could use the term "sold internationally". However, I was focused more on my design interests and kept my art stored for another few years.
Daubs was the first to be sold.
In the next post I will go through the process of reviving Drop Shadow: Resurrection.