Wednesday, January 25, 2012

House Project part 2

Still working my way through the first week of the spring semester, but all the classes are locked in and all my copies are made, so I could afford to devote some time to art today. It's been almost two weeks since I surfaced my house shaped block, and though I hadn't touched it since, I've given a lot of thought to the project.

Other than the general theme of "house", artists are allowed to do anything they want with these blocks. The promotional material did mention the current housing crisis as an optional topic, but the possibility of a lot of people doing that is a good reason to do something else. So I decided to go with an idea that hits closer to home, literally.

Over the past year, every member of my immediate family has been involved in moving, one way or another. My brother got married and moved in with his new wife. I moved into a new apartment, and my parents are moving down into the area as part of their retirement. One thing we've all had in common is finding that we have way too much stuff to fit into our respective new homes. Downsizing has been the buzzword in the family. Through a combination of garage sales, charity donations, recycling, curbside abandonments (intact furniture or significant metal objects left out overnight will usually be snatched up by somebody), and garbage pick-up, we are all making progress. Based on numerous cable tv shows about hoarders, pickers, pawnshops, and storage unit speculators, having too much stuff is an American epidemic.

So my piece is going to be an interior view of a house with too much stuff, along with efforts to empty it. The stuff will be the kinds of things I've spent the past 6 months moving from one place to another. Lots of boxes, furniture, clothes, books, papers, etc. I expect to have a few figures in there as well, generic humans hauling items around.

My first concept was to divide the block into 3 layers, a cross section of a house with two floors and an attic level, connected by stairs. The photo above shows an early state, the paper strips representing possible locations for stairways. However, I decided that it wouldn't work at this scale- each floor would give me 4 inches or less of vertical space, and the accumulated stuff would have to be too small to recognizable. Plus the simple box like structure was kind of dull.

I still liked the idea of multiple levels, and a connecting stairway, so I took a walk upstairs to the second floor of the Studio building. The late 19th century school building has some pretty cool architecture, including this stairway that connects the first and second floor. The view above is looking down over the 2nd floor railing. I brought my block up there and did some very rough sketching. Back downstairs in the Studio I cleaned it up and did the detailed sketch seen below.

The orignal staircase has a wide central stairway, and at a landing near the top splits into steps to the right and left continuing to the second floor. I changed the stairs to the right to a large landing, and indicated some possible first floor architecture. The perspective needs a lot of adjusting- I don't mind if it's a bit skewed, but I'd like it be more consistent. Logically I should put in the various railings and banisters, though it would obscure some of the spaces where I plan to show stacked up stuff. But I think the general composition is good, so my plan right now is to fix the perspective and then go from there.


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