Joyful Resistance: Mixed Media Self Exploration Workshop

Join me on Saturday May 21st for two mixed media workshops at the Center for Contemporary Art; 2020 Burnt Mills Rd, Bedminster, NJ 07921

Register for my class online by clicking here or call 908-234-2345.

Joyful Resistance… Create a self-portrait, an autobiographical composition unifying diverse materials to illustrate Joy. Consider what brings you joy and what may be standing in the way of you being joyful. With this as your guide, collect autobiographical images, sketches and textiles for your story that provide context and bring them to the workshop.

Overview:

The visual fusion of diverse materials describes the mixed media process. The juxtaposition of “found” things (recycled fabric and plastic waste), mixed with art materials create visual tension.

We’ll explore diverse materials, memory and the processes used to create rich juxtapositions and powerful compositions.

Mixed Media processes enlist a variety of mediums to bind different papers, fibers, textured and 3D materials & paints together.

Use a mixture of color relationships, shapes and found images to create a figure with abstract pattern and color.

Consider the contrast of complimentary colors; Red/Green, Blue, Orange, Yellow/Violet…  

And contrasting shapes: geometric against more organic shapes, rectangles, circles, squares, maps, stamps, music score…

Or the use of meaningful words laser printed in various fonts/sizes layered in the background.

Collage materials are important ingredient for your compositions- Bring a variety of images from different sources (magazines, old books, postcards, photos (laser prints work best in mixed media works).

Checklist:

Personal Objects: Please bring items that are unique to you and will help tell your story. Bring photographs, laser printed images or drawings in pen, pastel, charcoal, colored pencil to be incorporated into larger works.

Materials to Share: Please bring 10-15 scraps of paper, a magazines, fabric, plastic, or other materials to share with other members of our group. Bring things that are interesting, and things that are not so interesting for negative space. Recycle items from your everyday life.

Substrate: We will focus on 2D and 3D compositions. Layering and a denser relief will be demonstrated.

Paper: Please bring whatever paper, old books, torn maps, stamps, paper currency, tissue paper, newspaper, magazines or any other kind of paper that you might like to use. I use a lot of tissue paper to layer and obscure images.

Acrylic Paints: If you want special colors bring it with you.

Brushes: Please bring brushes. They do not need to be expensive. Two Home Depot 1”flat and 2” flat (soft, flexible brushes), and one nicer #7 or #8 round (also soft, flexible, white or gold nylon) are great tools for your mixed media kit.

Pencils: You may want to bring drawing materials, pencils, colored pencils, etc.

Pens: Bring a couple of your favorite pens. My favorites are Uni-ball Signo, Faber-Castell PITT, gel pens, acrylic markers, and Sharpies of various sizes.

Glitter & Confetti: Craft glitter, confetti or shredded paper can be interesting.

3-D Objects: Small beads, buttons, metal parts, plastic bottle caps, broken jewelry, small beads. shells, watches, found objects etc.

Glue: Regular matte medium (NOT FLUID) and YES paste.

5 Minute Epoxy: To apply heavier items, E6000 is my favorite. You can find this at Home Depot and Amazon.

Scissors & Knives: A pair of scissors and an X-Acto knife.

Rulers: Rulers, triangles and other drawing/drafting tools may also be useful.

Gloves: You may want to wear gloves. I use non-latex gloves.

Clothing: Old clothes or aprons may be in order. You know your own working style and comfort needs. Dress accordingly.

If there are specific tools or materials you do not have, do not stress. Someone will likely share what you need. I have a large tub of scrap paper, tissue paper, deli paper you can use. I will also prepare some other materials you can play with too.

Joyful Resistance

Despite a revolving door of daily microaggressions reminding me I do not belong, I imagine a life free from the constraints of implicit bias. I CHOOSE to live a life of Joyful Resistance, finding solace in cherished memories attached to materiality.

Joyful Resistance is a celebration of the alchemy that occurs when disparate materials are assembled to create something new, more beautiful, and more purposeful.

All the work in my upcoming solo show was made while the Pandemic took me on a emotional rollercoaster of a journey through self inspection, loss, isolation and racial trauma.

While in lockdown during the first month of the Pandemic, I organized my closet and storage unit. While sorting through my vintage accessories collection, childhood memories of playing dress up in my mother’s clothes flooded my brain like serotonin.

I recreated that moment with All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go dressing the steel structure with Vintage hats, shoes and bags, 3 ply cotton ropes, pearls, rhinestones, wrapped ropes, yarn, trim.

Four structure, Vintage hat, shoes and bag, 3 ply cotton rope, pears, rhinestones, wrapped rope, yarn, trim,
beading on steel structure

I custom dyed the cotton rope a bright yellow using Jacquard ink, then wrapped it with ribbon, pom pom trim, yarn and vintage fabric from a block print tapestry that hung in my college dorm room.

Yellow Gal Fringe 1

These three emotional baggage carts explore the Middle Passage and its impact upon my cultural identity as a Caribbean American woman. I still have a lot to unpack here. Both Appropriation Mud Cloth Baggage Cart, on the right and Hi Yellow Mud Cloth Baggage Cart on the left are not covered in zip ties. These carts have unresolved emotional baggage connected to them.

Middle Passage

We all carry emotional baggage. This manifests differently for each of us. Some of us carry shopping carts of pain and bitterness while some of us sport a backpack. How we choose to handle our baggage makes a difference. We have the choice, to let it define us or to let it go and move forward.

In 2020 my artist residency with NOW Friends in Nairobi Kenya was cancelled due to Covid. I had spent 6 months preparing for this residency, studying Swahili, researching local artists, looking at basketry and beading techniques.

I used the time I would have been in Kenya to clean, drill and string thousands of bottle caps into larger than life strings of pearls with the help of the Jersey City arts community during JCAST 2021.