For my final project, I began by thinking about space itself and the vastness of unknown that exists within our own space we call home, Earth. Our Earth is but a pale blue dot orbiting in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy inside the space of the two trillion galaxies observable in the Universe. I created my mood board in Photoshop to help me narrow down what I wanted to create and focus on in my project. My mood board includes quotes from Carl Sagan’s speech on the Pale Blue Dot, which is based on a picture of Earth taken on February 14, 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe from about 3.7 billion miles away. I also included images of our galaxy from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as space-y art I found a liking to, such as the Andy Warhol’s stars drawing and Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden installation in Central Park from several years ago.
After buying several fashion magazines a few weeks ago, including Love, Porter, and AnOther, I developed this idea to paint over the female form using this glitter Pebeo paint I knew about. The paint is perfect for adding gloss and luster to the already satiny magazine images, plus it has a transparent effect that still allows glimpses into the original images underneath the glitter. I began experimenting with several images I carefully tore out of my magazines by painting over pieces of the images such as one model’s bikini, another’s hair, and another’s dress. I let my ideas marinate for a few days, then I went back to my magazines to find more images to paint over. After I had a good chunk of images, I scanned them all because I was thinking of printing all the images into a book. However, I was not happy with the way the scans came out. I feel like in a digital scan, the images lose their specialness. Someone experiencing my art would not longer be able to interact with the texture of the paper and glitter in the same way, and I felt like that was super important to maintain in my final presentation of my project. There is something intimate in being able to touch and feel a book and make it one’s own, and I wanted to run with that feeling of possession in my final project.
So I decided to make a book with the images just the way they are. I love the raw edges where the magazines have been torn out of their spot and feel of the glitter sprawled upon the page. I luckily found Bristol paper in the perfect size for the magazines, so I glued each page onto Bristol with rubber cement. I created the hardcovers of my book by measuring out book board, cutting them out with my Olfa knife, and binding them with this star-patterned fine Indian paper I found at Paper Source I measured out to cover each board. I used a stamping and embossing process with a heat tool to create the title of the book, which I borrowed from the Met Gala this year because it was just so fitting, so that the title has a touchable texture that carries throughout my book. I wanted to create my book in the form of an accordion book so that the book can not only be looked at page by page, but as a whole pulled out as one long page. I spent some time looking at the images next to one another, moving them around many times to figure out how I should lay out the book. Then, I began constructing the accordion by taping the pages together on the backside with this iridescent tape I found at Paper Source that I thought would be perfect for the theme of my book. Making an accordion book with special tape also creates a neat “spine” for the book. After assembling the book pages, I glued down the front and back pages to my book board covers and let her dry under the weight of my books.
As a whole, I am quite proud of what I created and happy with how it turned out. I remember starting this project thinking so broadly of space and finding oneself in the universe somehow. I kept narrowing down my ideas, and I think the way this final project spanned over the course of several weeks really helped me curate my project. I kept thinking of collage in terms of cutting out magazines, so my idea naturally grew from the beauty I find within fashion magazines. Since I love glitter and I think my art has a natural dream-like, yet curious consciousness quality to it, I think the way I incorporated the glitter paint into the images was fitting for me as an artist and really shows how I think and look at things. I want the images in my book to evoke a sense of divine beauty and angelic quality. I see the images as a way of juxtaposing the rigid beauty standards that exist in our society today by placing them out of context with the glitter. The glitter adds this collage layer to the images that throws off its context, but still maintains the loveliness of the overall image and the delicateness of the female figure. Altogether, I think I surprised myself with what I could create for my final project, and am so content with my end result. There is beauty in the process of making something so personal, which makes the process cathartic, and I think that’s just one reason why art is so essential in my life because of the loveliness that lives in the creating process.