Sketchbook Saturdays: Magazine Practice

I don’t know if anyone in the world really cares to see my process as an artist. Well to bad world I’m posting it anyway. 1. in case someone out there finds my various sketches and doodles inspiring or helpful and 2. because I would like to have my skethbooks preserved for posterity in case something terrible happens to them. Some have already fallen prey to spilled cups of tea, water, and sun damage so I’m getting things together quick.

Today I’m sharing some of my practice sketches. ^_^

One of my favorite ways to improve my drawing skills that I haven’t practiced in a long┬átime is to take images from magazines and try to draw them. Doesn’t always turn out great, but it is a quick and easy to take what you see and recreate it. As far as I know still lifes are still the number one way to improve art skills and gain a deeper understanding of how scale and size and shadow work. However we can’t always have a convenient pile of random things to draw in front of us, so hence I turn to magazines. Plus its already 2D, which I realize is cheating but it makes me feel better.

Inspiration Thursday: Zhang Huan

Zhang Huan is a contemporary artist, primarily involved in performance art. Over the past couple years he has flitted in and out of my perceptions, but this last semester I learned about him in much more detail.

The work that brought Huan into the spotlight for the contemporary art world was 12 square meters (1994). While living in a rundown house in a small provencial town outside Beijing, Huan decided to create a performance commenting on the conditions of where he was living. The rental only cost him .75 cents a month and contained a shared bathroom with no door or running water.

He sat naked for 2 hours covered in honey (or sugar water depending on the source you read), and fish sauce while flies slowly became stuck to him in the public bathroom. He did not move for the entire time, except to blink the flies away. After the 2 hours he walked to the nearby pond, which was also highly polluted, and walked until he was completely submerged. In photographs documenting the performance you can see the swarm of dead flies floating around his head, which had previously been attached to him.

All of Huan’s works comment on the world around him through taking his body and consciousness to the extremes. His body of work reminds me of other performance artists such as Marina Abromovic, and artists from the Gutai movement in Japan.

The information for this post was abbreviated from my Art in China lecture at University of Colorado with professor Park.