Sunday, September 11, 2011

Because of my schedule, i switched out of sculpture I for the semester & am now in a Lithography class, my only class on Fridays. I figured that with the sculpture class ending at 10:50 & being expected to be at work at 11, it wouldn't work, especially if getting even remotely messy (ie sawdust) was involved-- i would probably have to clean up a bit earlier, i would have to constantly keep track of time & i couldn't lose that track at all, & i just didn't see it as working out. So i met with Trace, because i couldn't just drop the class; if i did, i'd no longer be full time, & i need to stay full time. After a while, we found some options, & i chose the litho class.

Only now, holy shit, am i realizing that it may kill me. By this Friday i need to be ready to print. I'm seriously considering just starting with one of my aluminum plates, as opposed to the stone, because the plates are easier to prepare; all i still need to do to them is cut the corners so that they're rounded, not pointy.

With the stone, you're reusing someone's stone from the past semester, so you have to grind it down to get rid of the etching. You have to take this heavy stone & essentially sand it down with varying degrees of grit. Since i wasn't in the first class (oh, that sole Friday off), i ended up having to find out how to do this from the two people who were doing it this past class. And only two people at a time can do it; the area's not big enough for more. You have to wet things down, sprinkle some of whatever grit you're on onto the stone, & then use this huge thing to grind it, moving it in circles. Apparently it makes you really sore. The ultimate goal is to get your stone smooth with absolutely no remnants of the previous person's drawing on it, & it has to be level. You check that with a metal bar & a piece of newspaper; if the newspaper at any point fits between the bar & the stone, it's not level & you have to keep grinding. If the stone's not level, it can crack & break when you run it through the press. And, if you end up scratching the stone while you're grinding it, you have to grind that scratch away.

Guess what i'm doing Monday morning before work! I don't think i'll get it done. AUGH.

And then, since we're expected to print Friday, i have to do the drawing on the stone (or plate) & then do the etchings. That's where i'm running into an even bigger problem than just grinding the stone down, if you can believe it: i don't know what to do. Like, apparently we need to have an overarching theme for the semester, & all of our prints will be based off of that theme. My first problem is that i really can't work in series. There have been assignments in other classes where we need to work in a series, & i get sick of whatever it is i'm doing pretty quickly. Even if at first it captured my attention, i very quickly feel tired of it & want to do something else.

But the primary problem is that i just really don't know what to do. I don't know what theme to hit upon; further, i don't know how to go about translating that theme. Even though this is a new process, it's not as new & different as stained glass was, for example. I've taken a printmaking class before, & in order to do anything to make a print, you have to draw onto the stone or plate. With stained glass, it was new & different enough that i took a different kind of approach; my three windows, you could say, aren't really in dialogue with the stuff i was doing in my painting class. For stained glass, it was more like a design approach (which is funny, because overall, i'm pretty freaking bad at design) & an aesthetic approach-- the latter being something that once used to preoccupy me a lot when i was younger, but as i've gotten older & found out certain things, has kind of been pushed to the side. When i was younger, i wanted that element of beauty; now i feel conflicted about it, based off of my own feelings & because of the "what would others think" kind of thing. Not beauty in the hackneyed, boring, but apparently "fashionable" way of taking photos of skinny white girls whose faces you usually can't see & variations on that theme. Like, if you know Charmaine Olivia: i used to like her work, but now i feel like it's a major rut, it's very hackneyed; it's not really saying anything. I'm worried about running the risk of making something where it come off as empty-headed & just "pretty"-- maybe that's why i hate it when people look at something & say, "Oh, so prettyyyy!" especially if it's art. Especially with the language being used. But it worked well with the stained glass, & it didn't feel frivolous or ridiculous to me at all. Part of our grade was based on aesthetics, & i have to say that when it comes to something like stained glass, that's really one of the first things that hits you about it, is the beauty of it all.

So after that whole little sidetrack, my point is that i'm just stuck on what i should do. I'm trying to think of things, because i need to be able to start thinking it out in my sketchbook & apparently the professor (who is apparently a recent graduate) wants us to have references. (Apparently.)

I've been thinking of certain things, but the problem is that they sound more like theses for essays. Like, i was thinking, especially in ancient religions, the relationship between the religion & law, justice. The only example i can point to off the top of my head, not being learned in ancient religions, is the weighing of the heart(/soul?) from the Book of the Dead. Where the deceased's heart was placed on a scale opposite the feather of Ma'at, & if their side was weighed down, their heart was eaten by the demon Ammit-- &, according to Wikipedia, at least, "the person undergoing judgement was not allowed to continue their voyage towards Osiris and immortality. Once Ammut swallowed the heart, the soul was believed to become restless forever; this was called 'to die a second time'." And, knowing nothing about ancient Egyptian culture & law, ultimately, it makes me wonder what this says about their society & concept of justice overall. Of course, then it makes me think that there must have been variations (like how there's different sects of Christianity, Judaism, &c), but for simplicity's sake, i'm sticking to what has been put down & preserved & is now seen as "this is what people back then believed."

So while that's all well & good, like i said, it sounds more like something i'd look up if i was writing a paper for a class. I don't have any idea as to how i would go about interpreting or using this as a base to then go on to make something out of it. I can't just copy scenes from the tombs of pharaohs; it's rightfully expected for me to take the theme & make things that are my own, with my own style & points to be made. Not a mindless reproduction. But that's just the problem: even if i did choose to do this, where would i find my way in? How? How could i take this kind of basic interest & say, "Okay, this is what i'm going to do with this"?

So i can't think of a theme i might do (except maybe what i mentioned, which would require research & i just don't know about that this semester), & even then, i can't think of a good execution that would make sense. Help.

....this semester is going to kill me. I'm already feeling crazily tired & i don't understand why.

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