SEA Project Summary

The socially engaged artwork Trade Trash for Art was created with two goals in mind: One, for participants to become cognizant of their current effects on the environment and two, to encourage participants to create positive effects on the environment. To achieve these goals, all recycled materials were used to create a wooden sign holding screen prints that asked participants to recycle or throw away trash, whether their own or cleaning up others’, in exchange for a unique sea life themed piece of art. On the back of each artwork laid personal messaging and the address to the project’s Facebook page with even more educational resources. Such educational messages included how picking up beach litter can save a sea creature’s life, simple actionable steps to reduce one’s carbon footprint, and resources to get involved in coastal clean ups. The project’s Facebook page created a platform for participants to interact with one another and share thoughts and ideas related to the project. Additionally, this page allowed for a greater outreach of the educational messages than just those who were on location interacting with the sign and screen prints. The project was set up at various beach locations in Ft. Myers, Florida as well as on the Rollins College campus.

Seeing participants throw away trash in exchange for the screen prints and using the project’s Facebook page was extremely rewarding. Even if one person changed their habitats for the better I’ll know that my project had an impact on someone and was successful.

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2nd CFAM Lecture: Women and Abstraction

April 24,2015

Curator Amy Galpin, Ph.D. Presents Evolving Paint: Abstract Women Painters

This lecture brought up topics I never really had considered before like the inequality between male and female abstract painters. Abstract expressionism was a major movement in the development of modern and contemporary art and too often the women of this movement have been overlooked as part of the “second generation”. “First generation” abstract artists included men such as Jackson Pollock, yet female artists such as Mary Abbott and Joan Mitchell painted in the same time frame, yet were considered almost of a second class. Such female artists faced art critiques often unfairly criticizing a domestic quality in their work that may or may not have even been there. Additionally, the pricing of women’s work at audition was substantially less than their male counterparts.

However, instead of focusing on the unfairness of such inequality, the lecture and the Women and Abstraction exhibition sheds light on the contribution these women made on the form of abstraction and minimalism. In particular, Galpin discussed works of Georgia O’Keefe whose abstract work in 1916 was inspired by the canyon filled landscape of west Texas. Keefe had drawn 22 sketches of the scene before finally painting her abstract images. I didn’t realize Keefe had such a process behind her work. I also really enjoyed Joan Mitchell’s ionic sunflower paintings. I loved the layering in her work and use of thick paint and brush strokes. Additionally, Carmen Herrera’s work also stuck out to me. She uses a lot of geometric forms using mainly 2 colors yet had what seemed to be a maximum of 4 colors. Her work is very mathematical and precise which I found interesting. Her style work seemed perfect to transfer to the medium of screen printing. Another one of my favorite artists was Alma Thomas who uses a technique creating dabs of paint which creates a separation between the colors and suggests a mosaic like quality. I really enjoyed the presentation and learning about these artists.

Reading 7 Response

As a screen printer, you can work as an artist for a large print shop, take on freelance jobs out of your own studio, or just using screen printing as a medium for your personal artwork. Andy Warhol is an example of an artist who used primary screen printing in his work and was widely successful. He used the commercial process associated with the world of advertising to his advantage, emphasizing the product like appearance in his work.

To become a successful screen printer, in terms of making a living off your work, there a few key things to remember. Network and don’t burn bridges. You’ll never know who will need screen printing, it is such a versatile form that almost any company would have use for it. Also, create an identity and brand your work. Create a logo and put it on everything including business cards. Make sure these business cards get into the hands of the right people. Word of mouth can be a major source of advertising. Also make sure you print to the best of your ability, your prints represent your business now so sloppy prints are not acceptable. Also, accept jobs that you can handle. Start out with small jobs and ask for half the money upfront so you can purchase the materials needed for the job. Make sure to purchase extra materials because mistakes are just part of the process. Make sure these jobs are something you will be proud of and are excited to work on. Yet, also don’t be too picky.

Additionally, when your work is ready, approach galleries to display your prints. Remember to maintain trust in the relationship with your gallery; you now must sell all your work through them. Or sell work on your own, but make sure to create a website. Documentation of your work and how you present it on your page, including the page’s organization is very important.

SEA Project Update

This weekend I was able to print 160 screen prints that I’ll be giving out in exchange for recycling/trash. I still need to add text to the back of the prints, but the front images are done. I also painted the background of my sign for the art easel and now just need to design and screen print on the text. Additionally, I worked a little more on the projects facebook page and posted images about half of the screen prints. Below are some images of the process and screen prints.

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Although still under construction, look at for more screen prints.

SEA Project Update

I’ve finally finished my designs for the beach art. Each animal print will be 2 layers, the bottom is a gestural loose painting to show movement and the top is a more detailed controlled image. See below:

finished designs

Additionally, I have already coated with emulsion the screens I will be using, so this weekend I plan on making the prints I want to hand out.

Additionally, I cut the piece of wood to size for the sign and sanded it so it’s ready for the background layer of paint and eventually the screen print design.

SEA Project Update

I now know how I want to create my designs for the screen prints that will be up for grabs. I’m planning using black ink to paint a tarpon, dolphin, sea turtle, and possibly sea gull with quick gestural brush marks. I will overlay multiple images of each animal on top of one another for the piece to have movement. With this idea, I can use many different ink colors and thus recycle old mixed inks currently in the shop. Below are some of the paintings I’ve done already. I’m not in love with any one design per animal yet, but I am going to keep painting until I create the designs right for this piece.

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Using this same technique I was able to create the design of the happy planet thanking participants in the project. This image will be a screen print to give out, as well as the major image on my sign.


I also found the easel and piece of wood I will be using for my sign. I think I will cut the wood into a smaller piece though.


SEA Project Update

My SEA Project:

I want to create the wooden sign encouraging the public to throw away trash from the beach, or better yet recycle, in exchange for a piece of art. I will create various beach and recycle themed screen prints that the participants can take with them. On the back of the screen print there will be a link the project’s website, a Facebook page, along with a list of a few actionable steps they can take to reduce their carbon footprint (e.g., taking the stairs instead of an elevator, equalizing the pressure in their car tires, ect…). The project’s website will have a longer list of easy steps people can take to decrease their carbon footprint and other environmentally friendly resources (e.g., how to get involved with organizations like coastal cleanup, a link to the Future Bear website). Additionally the website will ask participants to take a photo with their art and post it on the page. The site will be a forum in which people can post their reactions to the project and discuss environmental issues and propose solutions.
The easel and sign are movable so I will set up the project in multiple beach locations to get the most participation. Currently, I am thinking of setting up the project at Lover’s Key State Park, Ft. Myers beach, and possibly New Smyrna Beach and even on the Rollins College campus. While the sign is set up next to a trash can and recycle bin, I will discretely watch nearby and start a conversation with people who took a piece of art.

Current update:

So far I am still working on the details of my project’s design. I am thinking about color choice as well as what font styles I want to use for the wooden sign. I’m also still working on the sketches for the screen prints I want to create and will post those images once I decide on what ones to pursue.

Additionally, I’ve started research on what simple steps people can take to reduce their carbon footprint in an effort to the reduce the effects of climate change/global warming. I also have started laying down the foundation for the project’s corresponding Facebook page.

Final Print of The Series: Subway


Artist Statement

This print series explores the dichotomy of man and nature, specifically, the effects of human development on surrounding wildlife and vice versa. It seems as humans become more successful, in terms of mastering their environments, they encroach on the habitats of wild animals. Tame civilizations are merging in areas with untamed animals like in the developing city of Nairobi, Keyna. The juxtaposition between organic wildlife and manmade marvels creates a divide between these two worlds and emphasizes the tension between them. In the first print, Nairobi, wild animals solemnly stare at the city skyline encroaching on their habitat. In the second print, Take Off, an airplane and wild lilac-breasted roller parallel one another in departure, allowing the viewer to compare and contrast these two ‘birds’ and the effects of their coexistence. The final print, Subway, satirically depicts the extreme in which wildlife reclaims the city in the form of a zebra herd riding the subway system just as normal city-dwellers.

Human development and success (building skyscrapers, increasing air traffic, increasing city population, ect…) should be encouraged as it can greatly benefit a nation’s society and increase its standard of living. Yet, we must be aware of the negative consequences on nearby wildlife and habitats. Instead of oversimplifying the matter and believing such human progress is solely negative because it encroaches on the habitats of wild animals, we need to be aware of the matter, understand its complexities, and search to find a balance of coexistence before we destroy all wildlife or before the wildlife finally fights back.

SEA Artist Research: Laurie Jo Reynold

Artist Laurie Jo Reynold, originally from Atlanta, Georgia, creates socially engaged work that focuses on participating and intervening in government systems. One such issue she has been passionate about is addressing the negative representations and treatment of people in prison. In 2007 she collaborated with former and current inmates at Tamms Supermax prison in Illinois, their families, and other artists to create Tamms Year Ten. This grassroots campaign aimed to educate the public about the prison’s inhumane treatment and reform or close the prison entirely.

Tamms Supermax prison opened in 1998 without a yard, cafeteria, classrooms or chapel. It was designed for one purpose, sensory deprivation. Inmates were not allowed to make or receive phone calls, have communal activities or visits. They could only leave their cells to shower or exercise alone in a concrete pen. Even their food was pushed through a slot in the door without any personal contact. The effects of such isolation resulted in inmates having severe depression, experiencing hallucinations, compulsively cutting their bodies or attempting suicide.

Reynold’s campaign included projects such as Photo Requests from Solitary, where inmates in isolation were invited to request a photograph of anything so to have some sort of sensory experience in a world where all senses are deprived. Additionally, her project ASK ME! was an installation that placed inmates’ family members and others affected by the prison system behind wooden booths to facilitate conversations with gallery visitors. Another project included Honey Bun Comedy Hour, a performance and video that showed the tremendous boredom, horror, and small mercies of life in prison. Eventually her and others efforts were enough to have the prison closed in 2013.

Socially engaged art can be very powerful and really make an impact in the lives of others.

SEA Artist Research: Steven Powers

Steven Powers is a former break dancer, once created graffiti under the name ESPO, and now creates socially engaged public art. This Brooklyn based artist stopped writing graffiti in 1999 and began focusing on public art and sign painting. He enjoys graffiti and sign painting because they are mediums that strive for clarity. Powers uses this to communicate more complex ideas and messages. In 2007 he was a Fulbright Scholar and used the grant to paint the streets of Dublin and Belfast inspired by the area’s political murals. Powers believes that such work is a powerful visual communication to the community. Someone on the peripheral of the community can make a piece in a public space that translates as communication to the center of the community, legitimate people, those walking by it every day on their way to work, home ect…

One project Powers worked on in Brooklyn was painting a parking garage and unused skyway. He talks to the community and gets a sense of the people and their surroundings and then creates the design for the piece; he takes visual cues from the city itself. The font he used actually came straight from inside the building, (with slight modification). He collaborated with the Brooklyn community to complete the enormous project.

Powers also worked on a project in Coney Island where many of the original signs had inspired him and his work. He saw that they were old and deteriorating, being replaced with vinyl. For him, the vinyl signs were almost an insult, losing all the creativity and artistic quality of the hand painted signs. He decided to end the vinyl replacements by painting signs for the community himself. More artists joined and it revitalized the entire community. Sign painting as a craft seemed to be on the verge of death, but thanks to these types of projects there has been a resurgent where the craft is seen as a trade, as history, as a legacy. He and his team, “Icy” still paint signs for local businesses to this day.

His work has given me a new perspective on graffiti and sign painting.