Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Don't take the free ride in your own life."

I don't know why, exactly, but the Nickelback song written by Chad Kroeger, "If Today Was Your Last Day," really resonates for me. I don't live my life that way, but I wish I could. One line in particular, Don't take the free ride in your own life, is one of the most eloquent in the whole song. I wanted to make an art piece, something I could hang near my desk to remind me of that, to urge me to do more, to be more.

Originally, I thought I'd just do something on the computer, typographic sort of art. I had some canvas boards in the basement, and an old pill bottle full of fortunes from cookies I'd been saving for years. I wanted to use them together, since that phrase sort of sounds like something you'd get in a fortune cookie. I decided to make a smeary, abstract background with blues and greens on the canvas, glue the fortunes in an offset grid, and then use the typographic art I had already done and somehow marry the two. The problem was, one of the fonts I used (Zapfino) has really delicate trailing ascenders and descenders. How could I cut those out and raise them off the canvas without it looking stupid or tearing?

After sitting on my finished background for ages (I've been working on this since August 2012), I finally figured out how to make it all work: painted Plexiglass. I needed two layers, because I wanted the two different typefaces (Zapfino and Rockwell Extra Bold) to float away from the background and each other, and I wanted to use two different colors for them; black for Rockwell, and red for Zapfino. I had to use Plexi, because two sheets of glass, 14x18", would have been insanely heavy. Talking to a woman at Michael's in the framing department they could do it for me, but all they have is the conservation stuff that comes with UV coating. Each piece would have been well over $20. (Yikes.) I found Mat Board & More and they set me up. The pieces are thinner than I would have liked, but the finished piece will be even lighter for it, and maybe it will be easier to find a frame to accommodate it all.

This morning, with all the pieces in place, the kid back in school after a spring break that lasted approximately seven years, I got the painting done. I didn't aim for perfection, didn't make sure that the corners were perfect, or that brushstrokes were invisible. I just let it happen. (And I'm kinda proud of myself for that.)

Background layer
Closeup of background
My painting guide - checking to make sure I can see it well enough
Layer one, done!
Layer 2 needs a second coat
Stacked layers

I'm really pleased with how well it turned out, and so glad this work in progress is now a work completed.

By the way, if you're here to tell me "Nickelback sucks!" first of all, grow up. Secondly, this isn't about Nickelback, it's about music inspiring other media, and finding personal meaning in it. Any negative comments about the band will be deleted. Really; grow up. Not everyone likes the same things. Vive la différence!