Ephemera: Why it’s not a shame when I tear down an artwork

e·phem·er·al
[ih-fem-er-uhl]
adjective
1.lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory: the ephemeral joys of childhood.
2.lasting but one day: an ephemeral flower.
noun
3.anything short-lived, as certain insects.

My work exists for a time and then it is gone again – it’s ephemeral.  This is a word I have become closely acquainted with.  Rather a nice one, especially in it’s pural form, ephemera

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Painting Into Thin Air

I wonder what it would look like to paint into thin air?  Perhaps not so very much unlike this?

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls
De-installating Hallway in Peachy Dream and Grey.

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls
De-installating Hallway in Peachy Dream and Grey.

Another way of painting out of the conventional frame of a canvas dawned on me when I was de-installing my Hallway in Peachy Dream and Grey.  I was pulling up the contact from the floor, that I’d ‘sneakily’ (well I thought it was pretty sneaky) painted upon to avoid the wrath of the building overlords.  As I pulled up the contact, the paint is in three dimensional space, and ‘hello’, I thought – that’s something I can play with.

I’ve also been thinking about painting onto some balloons.  I’d love to get a really bit weather balloon-type to paint on and put inside my normal wall paintings, but I need to find a place to source them.  I love how many completely random things I need to learn about in order to make art the way I want to.  This week, it’s where to source comically oversized balloons.  Next week, the world?  Actually, this week, I think I will be content with average sized party balloons.  I just want to experiment at this stage and see what happens.

Here’s a test I’ve done already of painting into thin air.  I started with some clear contact, the type I have been sticking to the floor to paint on.  I installed it diagonally across a corner and painted from the wall, onto the contact and then onto the wall again.  Then I cut around the paint and presto.  It’s kind of alive.

It reminds me a bit of James Nares, but in space.  Space!

At this stage, it’s just a ‘disembodied’ brush stroke by way of a test.  We shall see where this method reappears in the coming weeks.  Oh the suspense.

Deinstalling: The Sad Part

Now we come to the sad part.  Saying goodbye to another artwork.  I pulled out the nails, collected all the wool, peeled off the vinyl and then I painted it (at length) back to white.

Covering red is a struggle!  It took two coats of grey and I can’t remember if it was 2 or 3 coats of white – it is a blur of sore-back and watching-paint-dry, literally.  Line Drawing Extrusion now lives on as photographs.  I actually slept badly the night before I painted over it.  I was worried about losing it forever.  That anxiety doesn’t usually go away until about halfway through the painting-out process.  But at that point, I start to get excited about the next thing I can cover a once-white wall with.  And I will be sending red to the backburner for a while, it’s pretty high maintenance.