So many of our blog posts here at Hand Eye revolve around visiting artists and big events, but it’s important to remember that this is a college blog, run out of a college classroom by college students, so I’m using this week’s post to showcase a very cool classroom assignment. After all, that’s what we do here at Guilford: get assignments and make crazy amazing art that deserves recognition.
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Mark Dixon’s Sculpture I class, which deals with the fundamentals of fabrication in steel and wood, was recently given an assignment called “17 Letters”. The project is a little self-explanatory: weld a textual art piece consisting of 17 letters. Mark also instructed the class to adhere to a specific font, saying, “font is a way to negotiate pattern and variation and to be accountable to an ideal form.”
I got in contact with a few of the students and asked them to explain the meaning behind their text. By reading their statements, I saw how the sculptures all expressed a personal experience, an opinion, or an identity. Each one embodied a piece of the artist.
“It reads ‘Don’t Leave Life’s 2 Short’, minus the t. The clock in the middle put an emphasis on time. I made this in honor of my cousin, Frederick Seymour, who passed away on August 26. He was 13 and had his life ahead of him. I wanted other people to realize how short life is and I was asking him not to leave.”
“This art represents bad weather. In Nicaragua, where I am originally from, when the wind starts blowing from the east it means a huracán is approaching and a period of bad weather is imminent. That is what the expression of the sun and the sunrays bended towards west are meant to represent.”
-Nicolas Narvaez Soza
“My project is the one that says ‘money is oppression’ with the Illuminati eye. I wanted to explore whether a political message could be communicated effectively with such minimal language. I thought about propaganda, which are usually short, easily digestible messages meant to be understood by the largest audience possible. I decided to do an anti-capitalist propaganda piece, using the imagery of the Illuminati eye from the dollar bill to symbolize the oppression referred to in the message.”
“I did ‘R_volutionary Chile’. (Revolutionary children/child) is what I would have put, but since it had to be 17 letters I made it ‘R_volutionary Chile.’ I added that underscore, and put the ‘e’ at the end to give it a sense of culture. I chose those words because we are in a time where we think differently and do different things from the norm or what our parents think is right. It’s a new generation of children. We are the Revolutionary Children.”
“I had originally wanted to do something along the lines of ‘arm the fags’, and settled on this (Fight Like a Queermo). It’s off of this common phrase ‘fight like a man’ but like queer as fuck and breaking this idea of masculinity as hard and femininity as soft.”
Looking at all these pieces really makes me fascinated with the art of welding. It’s such a substantial medium, and you can pretty much make anything through welding. I asked the students if they had ever welded before and they all said no and something along the lines of loving it. Colin mixed it up with, “I really freaking like it.”
It’s awesome that Guilford offers us a chance to try new art forms that might be unavailable to us outside of campus. Brianna said, “I’m excited that metal is now a resource I can utilize in my art because it is such a versatile material.” Trying new things by taking advantage of classes like Sculpture I can lead to breakthroughs in our artistic growth.
Come check out these sculptures (plus others that I didn’t post pics of) in the first floor hallway of Hege Cox.
I really enjoyed taking a look into a class I’m not involved with. It’s easy to get caught up with my own schedule and forget that cool things are happening every day in the art building. If there’s ever a project going on in your class that you think Hand Eye should know about, please contact me!!!