Though out the month of April, FHSU Drawing students collaborated on an art project with the students of Roosevelt Grade School. During this project students wove fabric on the back fence of the school in the patterns of flowers and wildlife. These patterns were inspired by the K-3 graders artwork under the directions of Mrs. Rita Legleiter. All who participated learned about collaboration, creativity and gave them the opportunity to be apart of something bigger, a large scale public installation.
The installation class finished last semester outside of the classroom and brought their installations into the community. It turned from installation to public art. The semester started with students getting out of their comfort zones and it ended the same way. It was a challenge as students were assigned to find a space in the community to install their last piece. The biggest question was: do you find the space and make the installation fit the space or do you make an installation and find a space to fit the installation first? Which comes first? The space or the artwork? Each student approached it differently.
Staysa Berber, a grad student who is greatly interested in nature, chose Frontier Park. She made a sort of scavenger hunt / nature walk complete with a map. She placed little ceramic animals all over the park, and the places to find them were marked on the map. To her surprise, some of her pieces were missing by the time the class got there. But that’s the beauty of it — people interacted. It was fun to look around and find each piece. Most students made the comment that they were expecting big pieces and were surprised to find tiny animals.
Deidra Fix created an extension from her previous time installation where she collected the bottles from everything she drank in 48 hours. For this installation, she collected the bottles and cans from everything she drank in a month. She had a lot. From her cans and bottles, she created some flower-like shapes by gluing the bottles together. As a sort of statement on recycling and littering, she placed her “flowers” in Big Creek, which is quite a trashy and dirty creek. When the students came upon her installation scene, someone had also messed with it. They had torn apart some of her flowers and placed some of them in the creek. It turned out to be okay though because the way the flowers floated down the creek and glistened in the sunlight was beautiful. And that was her objective — to make something beautiful out of trash. She practiced what she preached and got the students involved by collecting all the bottles.
Sam Schmidt works at Casual Graphics, so for her installation, she used some coworker participation. She left a piece of board in her shop and told everyone to put their scraps from making vinyl signs on the board. So it was basically a trash mural that she hung on the side of her work building. It was interesting to touch and feel her piece. There was a lot to look at it. Sam said she had a lot of fun contributing to the piece and coming in to work everyday to see it change. She also said it was great to do something different. She likes control, so for this piece she just let go and let it be what it was. Some students made the comment that it would have been funny to set it up like a really important gallery piece like the Mona Lisa — make it look really important.
Mark Roundtree had a sort of performance-like piece. He took the class to the back of an apartment complex that had “hate black people” written on the wall in spray paint. He started by telling the class a story about how he was walking home one day and saw the graffiti. He said he felt like it was talking to him. If a white person were to walk by that, they wouldn’t think twice. Which most of the class agreed as they had never noticed it. But it stood out to him. He said he felt like that person was talking straight to him, like whoever it was hated him. He also explained how shocking it was that something like that was up there. Who knows how long it had been there? After his told he story, he taped up some drawings that changed the graffiti to say, “love all people”. While the class was there, two men walked up and asked what we were doing. Of course, the class thought we were going to get in trouble, but after we explained, the men said thought it was awesome. They told us that they had offered to cover up the graffiti before but the owners never took action and told them to go for it. It was a pleasant shock. Mark’s drawings stayed up for awhile, but with weather and what not, they fell down eventually. The graffiti has since been covered up though. So now there are just two black boxes on the back of that building instead of words of hate. What an awesome change Mark started.
Justin Longbine set up his installation on the FHSU campus. He drew some larger than life portraits on wood of people that were great friends of his and had a huge part in his life. And each portrait was connected together with a series of strings. They were all intertwined. If you tried to follow one, you’d get lost as they went up, under, around, through, circled a tree, then who knows where. The portraits were great because they captured the likeness of his friends so well — he even drew one of himself. He said he enjoyed drawing on the wood and would like to do it more. His installation was really interactive because students had to walk all the way around it to get every aspect of it. Justin said he’d like to do something similar again for his BFA show.
Amy Warfield created a reading oasis in an unknown place by her apartment complex. It was a little hike to get down there. She said a lot of people came to this area to smoke, so why not create something there for people to do while they smoke or just something to stumble upon. She hung books from a tree and placed a blanket under the tree to sit and read. It was interesting to watch the books sway in the wind. It was so peaceful. It was fun to pick a book out of the tree and flip through the pages too.
Molly Walter has been making statements about abandoned buildings. She’s trying to make them noticed, and by making them noticed, she wants to fill them. She wants to bring attention to America’s building hoarding problem. So for this installation, she also did somewhat of an extension of her last installation where she drew a building and wove over a portion of it. This time, she actually put a weaving on that same building. While she wanted to actually cover the whole building, that was too big of a project, so she stuck to one window. She arranged her weavings in a way to catch people’s eye. She said the project was great and had a lot of potential, but she had a lot of ideas to make it better, and so did the class. It was interesting to hash out ideas that she can possibly use in the future for more of her fiber works.
Time to move out of the gallery. Have to paint the walls, mop the floor, etc. Has to look as good as it was when we started class in January. We’re sad to be moving out of the space, but excited for the opportunities it opens! Look for installations to be appearing all around Hays over the next few weeks because we’re takin’ it to the streets.
Students documented a consecutive 48 hours to create an installation.
Deidra Fix made a statement on consumerism and saved the containers of everything she drank in 48 hours. While it wasn’t as much as she was expecting, it was still a lot of drinks. While Deidra didn’t save as many beverage containers as she thought she would, this project has become a segway into her next installation.
Justin Longbine set up somewhat of a science experiment. He soaked drawings in water and presented the soaked drawings as his installation. He expected them to deteriorate more, but the drawings all stayed together.
For Josh Novak’s 48 hours, he filmed the process of creating a ceramics piece. He filmed somewhere around 30 hours total for an hour of video. The action of him throwing paired with his music choice was almost mesmerizing. It was interesting to see the process.
Molly Walter took a screen shot of her phone every time she picked it up to check it whether it was to check the time, an email, or a message. She took 208 screen shots total. She printed them off and taped them to the wall. It was fun to read what different texts said and try to speculate what the conversation was like.
Mark Roundtree drew during different periods of time during his 48 hours. On each drawing, he marked when he started and when he stopped.
Amber Smith illustrated cartoons of different events that happened in her 48 hours.
Staysa Berber wrote in script each text message she received. She loved the irony of handwriting something digital. She wrote the texts on lined paper like what grade schoolers use.
Jessica Seifers created a clock using broken glass over her 48 hour period and documented the process. The clock was a beautiful glass, mosaic sculpture.
While this was a short project, each installation was still interesting. It was a fun transitional piece to move into the next set of installations which will be out in the community!
The installation class had their first gallery opening Friday night. There was a small turnout of people to the show, but it was a great way for students to get their work out into the community. The class worked hard on all of their projects, so it was great that they had to opportunity to show them in a professional manner.
See the installation class’s work this Friday at the Hays Arts Center Annex, 1010 Main St, Hays, KS. The gallery will be open from 7 – 9 p.m. The FHSU Annual Student Honors Exhibition is also Friday from 7 – 9 at Moss Thorns Gallery in Rarick Hall. Several drawing students will also be exhibiting work there.