Around 2008, I moved from Seattle, Washington back to my home state of Oklahoma and joined Americorps. I was even broker than I used to be, but I had tons of ideas to paint. So I went to Hobby Lobby (the only place to buy art supplies in town) and bought colored pencils and that super brightly colored scrapbooking paper. I drew with these tools every day. It’s a really fun way to get vivid colors.
Six years later, for the Woodland Art Fair this August, I worked like the dickens during the month of May drawing everything that was in my head that I hadn’t had time to paint. These are the 2014 Summer Drawings.
What do these drawings have in common? Birds. Light. Landscape. But not necessarily landscapes that we immediately think of as beautiful. These birds are trickster animals witnessing environmental change. Pigeons gather on gas station signs, ducks raise families in apartment building water features, sparrows hop on used car hoods.
The images without animals have a similar flavor to them. Bricks by a barbed wire fence – are they a pile for new construction, or the crumbled heap of what was knocked down? Clouds make giant shadows as a sunny day passes to stormy. The colors are bright and intense, the shapes are sharp and diamond-y, and change is constantly afoot.
These summer drawings are influenced by what my partner has termed “Rustic Glam.” She first came up with this phrase while researching the iconoclastic Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff, to describe how his designs were futuristic, but also created from and made for non-metropolitan environments. Funny how when a person says “futuristic,” we tend to think “city.” But what about the futuristic not-city? Goff’s architecture was organic, based in the natural world, but often looked other worldly. He used elements of the residents’ life or of the region- like turkey inseminators decorating a roofline- in ways that came off as modern, avant-garde, glamorous.
This “rustic glam” idea has been guiding my work a lot lately. Barbed wire fences, Love’s truck stops, ditches with cans of Dr. Pepper, this is the contemporary world of wildlife. Not what everyone would call glamorous, not what everyone would call rustic, either. But there’s definitely some room for discussing this environment through applying that aesthetic.