Creating a work of art isn’t easy. Creating recycled art provides an even greater challenge. Here at Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity, we greatly appreciate the hard work contributed by the artists participating in our “Home is where the Art is” Recycled Art Show and Silent Auction. Each artist was given the task of creating a piece using at least one material from Habitat ReStore.
Local artist Dawn Summerall Conant was inspired by this project to create a piece outside of her comfort zone. Below she shares the creative process for her entry, entitled “Create Yourself.”
I went into the Home is where the Art is Recycled Art Show with the intention of painting a mailbox or a mirror. I saw some of the pieces from the previous year and was really excited about getting the chance to paint a table or something. But when I went down there, nothing really spoke to me. Restore happened to be out of mailboxes that day and I didn’t really see a table I just ‘had’ to paint. I saw one of the employees sorting through some plywood panels and preparing to throw some of the runty ones away. One of them was large, but light enough for me to ‘get personal’ with. I could easily carry it and work with it. I asked if I could have that panel and he said that I could. This was what I started with.
"Create Yourself" created by local artist Dawn Conant.
I also got a mirror, but as I went on with that panel, the mirror got downgraded to just a single circular mirror acting as the moon. I sanded that panel and painted it with white base coat, also from the Restore. Then I went out and bought some acrylic paint. This is not a medium I work with very often but I thought it would be fun to experiment. The theme was ‘Create Yourself’.
I had recently heard Bernard Shaw’s quote ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself. It is about creating yourself.’ It really struck a chord in me. A home is a powerful external expression of a person’s self. Creating a home and creating yourself go hand in hand. I drew an outline of the design on the painted white panel, chose a color scheme with the help of the Adobe Kuler program, and painted like mad. I started painting in the living room and then dragged it in the bedroom. I turned it every which way and painted in circles and spirals. Then I outlined the spirit, who is reaching for the moon.
Finally, I was finished painting. It was simple and bright and it looked pretty good. I thought it would be a good idea to put a clear sealer over it for protection and a little shine. I used a paint I thought was a clear sealer. It dried in white stripes on top of my painting. It turns out it was a sealer for bare materials, not for paint. Live and learn! I didn’t know what to do other than scrub the panel clean and start over. At this point, there were three days left before the deadline to turn in the piece and I had only one day off of work out of those three.
I got over the great sealer debacle of 2011 and started painting again. I painted all day. I changed some things and I rethought some things I had done the first time. I took a break and bought some Krylon to seal it with. I started and finished that painting on my day off. I learned so much from that stupid, reject panel. In the end, I’m glad to have finished the painting instead of just tossing in the towel and abandoning the endeavor. The experience I gained from this project was invaluable.
Thanks to Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity and Restore for providing me and other local artists with materials and opportunities to create ourselves and our art.
Art is available for viewing at the Spirit Room, 111 Broadway, Fargo and through the online flickr album. The February 4th event includes a silent auction, wine tasting from Bernie’s Wine and Liquors and appetizers. Tickets for the event are on sale now for $15 at fargostuff.com, the Spirit Room, and Habitat ReStore. Tickets will be available for $20 at the door on February 4th. Must be 21 or older to attend.
Join us at the 2012 “Home is where the Art is” Event:
When: Saturday, February 4th from 6:30pm – 9:30pm (Auction ends at 8:30pm)
Where: Spirit Room, 111 Broadway, Fargo