Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Altered Barbie's Story

I wanted to tell you all a little bit more about my piece I created for my "Getting All Doll-ed Up" Art Challenge.

We had an art critque before I left for Artfest, and one of the artist had asked some questions about the piece. And that got me to realize, How differently we all see art.

When she saw the piece, she felt the boxy base was weighing her down and the oak tree transfer on the sides, she felt were like roots, grounding her.

Wow, I could totally see where she was coming from.

But for me, I see the Barbie, Springing like a Jack in the Box to freedom. Soaring above the tree tops.

I felt too much time had past to explain my piece but Then I read, Sam's comment asking if there was a story behind my creation!

Thanks, Sam I needed that kick in the butt.....

Usually when one creates, the piece does not end up as planned and the story of the way it came to be is so important!

This piece, "Take Flight" starts off like this........

I found the Barbie doll at a local thrift store. What caught my eye about this one of many naked Barbie's at the store was the wind up feature on her back!

A wind up Barbie....... (chuckle) Many things went through my mind.

I want you to realize this was back in 2005-2006. I just grabbed it knowing that some day.......

Now, fast forward a bit.... Summer 2006

I pulled this Barbie from my stash to create a "Sardine Can Nicho" with it in Michael deMeng's workshop.

Of course, my grand plans were started then put aside once the workshop ended. My half done Barbie Nicho sat for 3 years, incubating (As artist Cory Celaya would say).
When I came up with this Art Challenge, I knew my Barbie needed to be finished!

I pulled her from her slumber and looked at her and said......

"No, this is not what I remember! I cannot finish her the way I had planned!"

I knew she needed a total transformation. I ask myself, "What do I like about this piece?"

Answer: "The wind up Barbie torso, only!"

I had pulled her legs off for the Nicho project and glued the tin to her middle. I ripped off the tin and had to think, How to get her to stand up without legs? What to do?

I had bits and pieces of other projects from Stephanie Lee's workshop "Totally Plastered" on my studio work table.

That's it.......

I put her in a base and plastered the base, her body and realized the plaster bird face would be perfect!

Yeah, it is coming along.

But how will I create a feathered look on her torso, I know...... I painted her black then tried to scratch into the plaster to create feathers.

No, Go! The plaster was too hard, the black paint was too shiny......


At this point, I had to take a step back from my work to stop forcing it into what I wanted and allow it to become what it wants to be.

"What is the problem at this time", I ask

Answer: "The black paint is too shiny, it must come off"

I decided to use my small sanding attachment on my Dremel tool to take off the paint.
Meditating to the hum of my Dremel tool, I decide to gouge the plaster on her torso.....
Yeah, that looks like feathers.....
Now, it is coming together!
I knew I wanted trees on the base to have her soaring above the tree tops.

So, I did an image transfer of an old oak tree picture I took when I was in high school.

Then Layered acrylic paint and glazes over the trees.

Now, her body.... More paint and glazes, I cannot tell you how many layers of paint I put on, trying to find the right look!

Finally, it was coming together....
I used Black Alcohol Ink to dye her hair.
Added Brass metal Wings to the stubs of her wind up mechanism.
Glued her bird face on.
I like to add words or sayings to my art,
To go with what this piece evolved into and the stigma that Barbie represents in society, I typed on tea stained paper:

"Fly Away From Expectations" Front side of the base

"Soar Above Judgement" one of the sides of the base

"Glide onto A New Beginning" the other side of the base

And that is the creative journey of "Take Flight" by Christine Webb!


Sam Marshall said...

Hi Christine,
What a great reflection. I love the idea of flying upwards. Thank you for sharing your story and your creation. It is so very interesting to find out what was behind a certain idea as art pieces may be interpreted in so many different ways. A beautiful, uplifting piece.

Sherry G. said...

Love the piece Christine!

Lori Wostl said...

I may be toooooo isolated as an artist. I thought I was the only one that started, stoppped, changed, started again, stopped again, ooops and onward and then loving the end result, wonder why my husband is unimpressed...thank you for the barbie bird.