Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Creature Comfort/Human Need

The purpose and outcome of this residency is a solo show at the end of the month. I decided to not think about the concept of the show until I was here. My arrival in Argentina was not challenging, as I had a friend to pick me up from the airport and tell the taxi where to go. My time in Buenos Aires with her was easy as she could explain things for me or tell me where to go for a converter, bus ticket, etc. Since my arrival in La Plata, I've really been thinking of those extra things in life that make one feel secure, comfortable, happy. As I was without a basic human need (heat) for the first few days here, I started thinking of those as well. Whenever I can't get things off my mind, I seem to need to express them artistically in order to work through them. Thus, my show concept was born.

I've been researching the basic human needs as well as noticing different creature comforts that humans (assumed) need/want. In order to illustrate these, I took a cue from the animals in the streets and at the La Plata Zoo, and will use their poses in a human form (mine for lack of model options). The following are just preliminary sketches - gouache on watercolor paper:

As meat is a huge part of the gastro culture of Argentina, there is a well known poster of the Argentine cuts of beef. The above is illustrating the psychological need for a purpose. The plan is to use an art nouveau border to mimic the poster look, and label the cow parts on a human.

This is a pose shown to me by a monkey in the zoo - sucking on a bit of rope. I'm not sure if this was out of boredom or habit, but it brought to mind the idea of a security blanket, the need for something familiar.

I saw a stray dog sleeping in a doorway, shielding itself from the cold. Another comfort, would be the ability to comfort outselves, and the need for warmth. Not sure which way I'm going to go with this one, but the fetal position is pretty symbolic for comfort.

Based on a peacock I saw at the zoo, posing proudly, this represents the need for identification and individuality.

Yeah, I know it's creepy. This is for the need for protection/safety. Dog baring it's teeth - personified by yours truly. Don't ask me to make this face for you, it's evidently terrifying.

As I said, these are just sketches to get me started. I have a lot of ideas just waiting to come out, so stay tuned and see how things progress! Working with gouache is not a new thing for me, but it is such a departure from my life with oil paints. This more fickle and delicate medium on paper that warps, will no doubt continue to be challenging, but that's just part of the fun. So here goes!

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