Throughout my everyday life I find myself using a lot of clichés when describing the world around me. Clichés like “as good as gold”, “cry me a river”, and “as delicate as a flower” all come to mind and create a picture much different than that of what would have appeared even four short years ago. l feel as I have matured and changed so has the meaning of these clichés. I drew inspiration for my art based on the ever changing world around me for the content that is painted. A lot of what has happened in the past year has truly changed me for good. As I have been taught to analyze artwork and find a deeper meaning that the artist wants me to know, I hope to have shed more light on the deeper meanings I now have of these clichés through my Senior Inquiry collection of artwork.
Painting like an artist in the surrealism movement is relatively new to me, but something I found great joy in doing during my time in quarantine. The aim of the surrealist movement was to unleash creativity in your most inner unconscious thoughts and feelings and translate it to the physical world. I felt an incredible freedom in painting in this manner as I could be as creative as I wanted portraying real life in an unrealistic way. Focusing on surrealism as my art style, I brought these clichés into view more critically than with just their surface meaning, in hopes of engaging the viewer and making them think about the piece.
Combining both my appreciation for surrealist art and clichés was no easy task, and challenged my skills as an artist. Not only did this project challenge my technical skills but also my imagination as I translated ideas from my mind to canvas. Clichés have lost their meaning to many people, often glazing over its true meaning in their everyday life as if it is not significant to their communication with the rest of the world. Without the use of written language I tried to portray clichés so that they can be understood visually. I brought back their initial meaning and twisted it into something new and exciting that somewhat questions its original meaning. Doing this in a surrealist style opens up an endless world of possibilities for me as I can combine many aspects of real world things together that you would not normally see in the natural world. In doing this I painted elaborate dreamscapes that portray everyday clichés.
My chosen medium for this project is oil paint and canvas. Oil painting is something I have learned to love during my time spent in Augustana’s Abbey Art Studios. I have spent countless hours both in and out of class working on my painting techniques, and I have found that hard work very enjoyable. The painting classes at Augustana have truly taught me more in depth about painting techniques, color theory, and a greater appreciation for artists and their movements around the world all while also fine tuning my own skill set. I used what I have learned from my teachers and the criticism from my peers to continue to explore this medium in an independent manner. I frequently asked questions (from both peers and teachers) on how I can improve my skill set while working on this collection to continue to grow and learn, even though I was not in a traditional classroom setting.
My year has been full of struggles, most of which has left me bedridden and in extreme pain. Though it was difficult to manage doing, creating artwork during this period of time has brought me great joy. Clichés may lose their meaning as time goes on, but they show a type of resiliency as they withstand the test of time and continue to be frequently used in the general public. I’ve learned to admire this resilience and try to manipulate it to fit today’s narrative in my collection of artwork.