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  • sharmondavidson

Transformation 48 and 51: Artistic Recycling

monotype collage of plant forms in turquoise, purple, and copper

Transformation 48

ingredients: monotype/monoprint sections, metallic ink, watercolor pencils, Caran d'Ache crayons

7 x 7 inches, on 100% cotton Rives BFK heavyweight printmaking paper

FEBRUARY 10, 2018

The Story of the 'Transformations' Series

Transformation 48 is a new monotype in my long-ongoing Transformations series. These 7 x 7 -inch pieces are made by combining discarded sections of monotypes along with other media to form new compositions. Each one is a window into my personal view of the changing cycles of nature. I was going to link to the post on my old blog that explains how this series accidentally began, but I think instead I'll just summarize it below; skip it if you want.

photo of cut-up monotype pieces for collage

Cut-up monotype scraps for collage

When I was in the Master's degree program at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, we were given a horrifying assignment. At the end of the week, we were told we had to make 50 pieces by Monday. FIFTY!! This was inconceivable to me. Me, the super-perfectionist, think-about-it-for-a-million-years-before-starting, self-questioning, mind-changing, oh-my-god-i-can't-do-it! - ME? I was freaking out. Obviously, the instructors weren't serious, right? But they were. I had no idea where to start, but I thought, there has to be a way to cheat...or something. After all, necessity- and 430 dollars a credit hour- are the mothers of invention. I looked at a discarded pile of montypes in the corner - the ones that didn't quite work out, and thought... Why not? I started cutting them into pieces and gluing them together into 7 x 7 inch compositions. It seemed a lot more possible than starting from scratch. I worked all weekend, every minute, without stopping. I got my children to help me. Whatever, just so they were done. Finally, I had 50 pieces. Granted, some of them looked like pieces of dog poo, but there were a few that were actually not too bad. Oddly enough, my instructors didn't hate them. I kept some of them. Then, I began to make more. Eventually, they became a series; now people even buy them! Who'd o' thunk?

monotype painting of figure standing at abstract gateway

Above, an example of an old monotype that was cut up for "parts",

... and below, a piece that was made from some of those parts:

monotype collage of plant and space imagery in gold and blue

Transformation 51,  monotype collage, 7 x 7 inches

Artistic Recycling

I don't think of it as being lazy (well, maybe a little), or as "cheating", because I'm making something new out of discarded things that would have been thrown away. So really, I'm just doing a bit of artistic recycling.  The term "transformations" takes on another meaning, totally separate from its reference to nature. I like that. And here's something else to think about, with regards to recycling and transformation: “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to." <moviemaker magazine #53 - winter, january 22, 2004 > ― Jim Jarmusch

Transformations Slide Show

Please let me know what you think!  Do you recycle old artwork to make new ones?  Or do you need that nice, clean white canvas or sheet of paper to start?


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