The “Chance” Project

For my first art project in my Conceptual Strategies class, it involves working with the concept of “chance”. The instructor asked for 3 ideas for what we could do for this project.

Doing an abstract painting involving creating a simple pendulum that can create some amazing Spirograph images was one thought I considered. All I need is two chairs, some string, paint, a cup, and some sort of canvas. I’d have no control on the outcome of the design as the kinetic energy would be controlling how the paint moved about the canvas. But I wasn’t sure if this was enough.

A second idea was to fill up some water balloons with paint, pinning them to a canvas, and popping them to create a Jackson Pollock like image. In regards to choosing colors to use, I’d assign a number to six different colors on a throwing die, roll three times, and whichever three numbers comes up is the color I will use. The chance would be found in the color options and the way the paint lands on the canvas when the balloon is popped. Again, this sounded like fun, but it wasn’t quite outside of my artistic box.

For my third option, and being that I’m a lover of the Dada movement, I was leaning more towards doing a collage piece similar to artists such as Hannah Hoch, one of the most prominent female artists in the movement (though her male counterparts, ironically, maintained the misogyny of the time towards her). Regarded as one of the first artists to work with photomontage, many of her works involving political themes in which she critiques the Weir German government. Her works would inspire Picasso and fellow Dada artist Kurt Schwitters, who’s own work with collage would be part of what inspired me for this project as well. I figured since I’ve always wanted to play with doing some Dada inspired collages that this could be a good way to give it a try.

Its very simple in how it works: simply grab a bunch of magazines, images, pieces of paper, etc., cut out images, texts, sentences, body parts, objects, etc., and put it all in a box or a paper bag. Dump the contents onto the canvas and glue each piece wherever it lies creating a unique composition. Another option is to instead of dumping the contents, pull out random pieces and, like a jigsaw puzzle, put them together to form some sort of image. This should create some incredibly twisted and odd shaped compositions depending upon the images. Any text that was pulled can be arranged together or at random throughout the collage.  Essentially, the image can end up much like Hoch’s The Beautiful Girl (1920) image seen here:
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To create one of these collages, I begin with getting the materials to work with. I tend to lean towards magazines and images from the 1950’s to the 1970’s as the imagery tends to be outlandish and comical in their appearance, and the advertisements would feature more poignant language. Also, I searched around for just random kinds of paper materials, including coloring books, photographs, or books of paper dolls. I found much of what I needed at the Alameda Flea market, as well as some current women’s magazines and a National Geographic. I’ll go over them, cut out a bunch of different things, throw the images into a box or bag and the text in another. I’ll roll a twenty sided die to determine the amount of images to pull out and arrange them on a canvas. For the text, I’ll roll the die one more time for how many pieces I’ll pull and arrange them on the canvas as a poem, which is something that Dada artists did.

Hopefully this should be fun!

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