What inspires Beacon Open Studios Director Theresa Gooby? Read this Poughkeepsie Journal column to find out!
Excess bags, books become art: Mass-produced objects reused as art media
Editor’s note: What Inspires Me is a regular feature in Enjoy! that asks visual and performing artists and writers about the passions that motivate them to create or perform. If you would like to write about your passion for this feature, email firstname.lastname@example.org. This week’s column is by Theresa Gooby, whose work is part of “Family — A Group Show,” on view at Mad Dooley Gallery in Beacon through March 24.
BeaconArts Editor note: Mad Dooley Gallery is located at 197 Main Street, Beacon.
Written by Theresa Gooby For the Poughkeepsie Journal
Of all the objects I use in my daily life, I often think about things that are mass-produced and their place in the world.
My interest in books as a medium for art-making began when I started to think about what kind of materials I have available to me in excess, manufactured things that are hard to get rid of. Things like plastic bags come to mind, but also books. With used book stores a rarity, getting rid of old books has become something of a problem. I love reading and I love books. The tangible materiality of the media gives me comfort.
I started looking at books for their physical qualities only, ignoring their content. I got boxes filled with books and brought them into my studio with no idea what I would do with them, but knowing that I could tear them apart without the guilt one might have had a decade ago. Destroying a paper book is no big deal anymore, there is always a digital book out there to back it up.
I began ripping out the pages and gluing them to boards. I ran book pages through a shredder and put those shredded pages on wooden panels. I opened books, glued every page together and spray-painted them silver. I used torn-out book pages as drawing paper. I tore off all the covers and stacked 50 or 60 books into a tower as tall as I am.
Spending time in my studio doing this labor-intensive work, I began to think about things that are extinct. I found a book of 19th-century animal illustrations and used them to create nonsensical hybrid creatures in Photoshop — a horstrich, a web-footed jackal, a rhinocamel, an armadillofish.
These fictional extinct creatures were a perfect complement to the book as a soon-to-be-extinct object. I covered the books in encaustic — a hot wax process used in art-making since A.D. 100, most notably by the Egyptians. By combining the imaginary, the ancient and the physical, I hit upon the perfect set of elements that talk about my affection for the corporealness of the written word.The process of making art is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. These are words I live by. The main thing that inspires me as an artist: hard work. I get an idea, I try it out, I make it a different way, I throw failures into the trash and I keep working until I hit on something I can look at day after day, and it still interests me. I try ideas over and over again in as many ways as possible until I hit on a method that works. Embracing failure as part of the process is key. I do not expect a masterpiece on the first try — no one should. (If I had to give one piece of advice to an aspiring artist, that would be it.)
Read the article @ www.poughkeepsiejournal.com