Showing posts with label upcycle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label upcycle. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"LUNA" a Pareidolic Portrait [what's Pareidolia?]

This is "Luna," a new mixed media portrait.

 Materials are: Junk Mail, Acrylic Paint, Glitter, Textured Glazes.

Pareidolia is the experience of “seeing” something in a stimulus or an object that’s simply vague and random. An example is the Shroud of Turin. Remember when you were a child lying on your back in the grass, watching the clouds go by and you saw a bunny or a castle in the sky, or the man [or woman] in the moon? Or the Madonna on a piece of toast, or a cluster of cactus? Maybe you've even heard messages when records are played in reverse [number nine? number nine?].

Carl Sagan believed that the ability to recognize faces from a distance or in poor visibility was an important survival technique. While this instinct enables humans to instantly judge whether an oncoming person is a friend or foe, Sagan noted that it could result in some misinterpretation of random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces.
Leonardo da Vinci wrote about pareidolia as an artistic device. "If you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills."

So often, people compare my work to those photo mosaics they've seen at Disneyland or in magazines... an image made up of thousands of photographs created in a computer.
Photo Mosaic at Disney

In fact, many people believe I use some sort of computer program to create my work. I'd like to say that no... I actually DRAW...PAINT...CUT...GLUE... using nothing more hi-tech than pencil, brush, scissors and sometimes and exacto knife.

So, I decided to tackle one of the most common Pareidolic images, the man in the moon... but I love women's faces better...
It's only a Paper Moon
I began by creating a monochromatic background and crescent moon in large squares - if you look closely, you'll see movie tickets [Knight & Day how apropo], greeting cards, advertisements, invitations, fly cards, postcards and photographs. Yes, I have a room full of paper. I save everything. I recycle everything. It took HOURS to cut and sort by tone all of those pieces! I reversed the progression on the moon.  It's only a Paper Moon!

Then the painting of Luna took shape... I kept to a somewhat monochromatic color scheme, only adding a bit of pink paper to the lips and greige shades for the hair.
Luna before the asteroids...

A Crater!

I was pretty happy when I got there, but never leaving well enough alone, I grabbed palette knives, brushes, glitter, gravel, textured gels and my own fingers to create peaks, valleys, craters and rocky textures.
This changed the perfectly flat "collage" into a textured moonscape. Now my woman in the moon looked like she was ON the moon!

This portrait, one of many in my collection of paper mosaic portraits is 30x40" on 1" museum wrapped canvas. Edges are painted black. Wired, ready to hang!

See more here: Schimmel Art Web Site

Monday, June 3, 2013

Aurelia - Golden Girl

My Golden Girl... Aurelia

Despite the similar features to a somewhat familiar portrait of Aurelia is NOT an actress. The inspiration was drawn from a photo of a captivating brunette in a crisp white blouse.

I'm first to admit I appropriate images seen in advertisement... images of beauty as defined by society. I take those images and re-make them - re-invent - re-interpret the shapes, planes and curves of a face... and make something completely new.

Although it is difficult to tell, the entire piece is gold. Hundreds of pieces of hand cut and hand affixed "mosaic" pieces - of paper. White and cream pieces of junk mail, greeting cards, holiday cards accented with foil embellishments... golden pieces, bronze, and deep browns with accents of gold. The background is painted in gold and bronze.

16x20" on canvas.  Aurelia \a(u)-re-lia\ as a girl's name is pronounced aw-REEL-yah. It is of Latin origin, and the meaning of Aurelia is "golden".

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"Peor es Nada"

So - who are you - the product of your DNA or who society labels you as?

This is a new, original mosaic portrait I created in my "True, the Looking Glass" series.

In 1835, a schooner named “Peor es Nada” left one of the Channel Islands after gathering the the last of the surviving natives, the Nicoleño people. One woman was left behind. The accounts of the reason vary - perhaps her baby was not on board, or she went back to the village for a prized possession. Did she jump ship or just not make it in time? A storm arose, she had not returned and the ship sailed back to the coast of California.

Over the next 20 years, this Nicoleño woman lived alone on the island. She learned to make baskets from wild grasses, to fish, to hunt seal and otter and built a dwelling from old whale bones. She sewed herself a garment from cormorant feathers and seal sinew. She survived inclement weather, fought off wild dogs and alluded hunters and hostile visitors to the island.

Meanwhile, her people were sent the San Gabriel Mission in California, and she was all but forgotten.  Her people were absorbed into California and all aspects of their culture and language disappeared.

Eventually, Captain George Nidever landed on San Nicolas Island in 1853 and found the lost woman. She boarded his ship with her bone needles and a basket, wearing the feather garment [and not much else!]. She was taken to the mission in Santa Barbara.

Now, she was a ward of the Nidever family and the Mission. No one could understand her language, including Chumash Indians from other Channel Islands.

The lost woman was given a new identity - new clothes, a new name, a new religion - she was baptized Juana Maria [even though she did not understand what that meant] and something else - foods she was unfamiliar with. This new diet quickly made her ill and she died within seven weeks of her “rescue.” She was buried in an unmarked grave, used for "Indians."

The phrase “Peor es Nada” can be translated as “Better than Nothing” or “Worse than Nothing” - This portrait is my loose interpretation of this story of lost identity - the two faces of the woman - the ward of the glittering church with a fresh new identity - and the brave, wild native woman adorned in cormorant feathers. I’ll let you decide which interpretation of the phrase works best.

The medium used - recycled paper, paint, feathers, jewels and yarn. On canvas: 24x36” Due to the delicate nature of the medium, it must be framed behind glass. Please contact me for pricing.

If this story sounds familiar, a fictionalized version was captured in the book Island of the Blue Dolphins  and later into a film of the same name. If you have children, it is a wonderful, well-written story, albeit frightening for little ones.

The “truer” story of the woman can be found here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Dinner with a Super Model!

How does an unknown Virginia-based artist end up having dinner with a super model 
and her boyfriend at Cipriani in New York City?
Faire* question.

Answer: Kismet
and to modernize this charming word in familiar terms - FATE.
But, let's also recognize the significance of the internet in this story.

Some time in 2010, yours truly perused the Neiman Marcus fall catalog. Came across a photo of a beautiful young lady and ripped it out. 
Put it in a drawer full of inspiration - magazine pages, photographs, and many other images. Popular culture, fashion, beauty - yes, these are my references. It might not be an accepted or respected resource material, but it's my artistic vision to recreate one image of beauty from another:

"My work reflects our society's obsession with beauty through advertising - and the endless images that bombard us daily. It is a purposeful intermix of images derived from advertising and thousands of incongruent pieces - images and text - from advertising that arrives through my mailbox. Assembled like a mosaic; the junk mail paper tiles create an entirely new image - an eclectic and tactile portrait reworked in my imagination, utilizing materials that would otherwise go to waste."

At the right moment, I pulled out that photo and created a painting on canvas. The image is a jumping-off point. It is only a sketch, and then I make up a story as I go along. I often don't know who the model is, unless it is a celebrity... As I created this piece, I realized this beautiful young woman reminded me the serene beauty, sexiness and confidence of a young Catherine Deneuve in the film Belle de Jour. The colors I chose became a 60's pop scheme reminiscent of the time of the film...and the title "Faire" is one word from the some phrase I translated from French - "Do I remind you of someone else?"
The composition is mixed media - a paper mosaic. All of the pieces of paper were hand-cut pieces of junk mail, or paper that would go to waste. The background includes scraps of scrapbook paper that a friend was going to throw away! I don't color the paper - that is the color of the material - it might be a magazine fly card, a postcard, advertising, catalog cover, menu...anything. I save everything paper to upcycle/recycle/repurpose into my art.

The piece was shown in NYC at Art Expo, and afterwards was sent to Translations Gallery in Denver - one of the galleries that represents my work.

If you know me, you know I post images on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, I blog, I send out emails. I can't help it, my background is in marketing, and I don't just make art, I do whatever I can to get it into the hands of the collector who I made the art for...
finding that person is the challenge for the artist, the gallerist, the collector!

Екатеринбу́рг is somewhere in the Ural mountains in Russia. An artist there saw a blog which featured my work. She followed the link to my site and realized the subject of one of my pieces, "Faire" looked a lot her friend, Masha. She sent Masha a link to the blog - who followed it to my web site. She and her boyfriend, Adis were certain "Faire" was indeed Masha Philippova!

That night, they called the phone number on my web site. Adis told me he thought I created a piece of art of his girlfriend. I felt a bit awkward, I didn't know where the conversation was going. We talked for a bit, in the meantime I was scouring the internet for photos to confirm Masha was Faire. Adis wanted us to meet, but of course, we're in Virginia, he and Masha are in NYC. He would have loved to have a reproduction of the piece - BIG.
However, my husband Norm and I were headed to NY in just a couple of weeks. I thought I would see if I could get the original piece from the gallery to take to NY. 

The next day, I called the gallery in Denver. "Sandhi, great news - I just sold one of your pieces!' Judy told me. "Which one," I asked. "Faire." Uh-oh. Yes, that is great...and the timing couldn't be stranger!

I created a reproduction on canvas - as large as possible. We took our trip to New York [we were going on a pilgrimage to see Ronnie Earl play at BB King's in Times Square anyway]. Adis invited us to Cipriani [you know, like Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy...where W Somerset Maugham [my favorite author] and Hemingway used to drink!].

We had a lovely dinner, the four of us talking, eating and laughing - thinking of how impossible the circumstances were to bring us together. Adis is charming and dynamic. I spent a lot of time looking at Masha's incredibly beautiful face, and there was much mutual admiration around the table. I am hoping we can meet again and work together showing and sharing my work with the world!

In the meantime, I signed the reproduction of "Faire" on the bar, and we went our separate ways...for now. 
And that's how this [temporarily] [hopefully] unknown artist had dinner with a super model!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rollercoaster Redux

I create art from all sorts of twisted inspiration. I see an image, it starts going where it's going and I follow it.  The impulse is the action.

I have an affinity for music, and sometimes a simple song inspires me, but then the materials at hand take me somewhere else, and then...I take off in another direction. 

Sweet Honey Rox...before
A few years ago, I created an image of a fabulous diva inspired by an Ohio Players album cover. Boy, am I giving away my age. Anyway, I remember this gorgeous black woman pouring honey all over herself - and so gave my subject golden skin and 
Sweet Honey Rox for a title...
{there she is on the right with her arm up in the air}

The Ohio Players were famous for the FUNK and a song called Love Rollercoaster. Click on it to hear it on UTube.
And, for racy album covers...nudity...bondage...honey.

I was in Pittsburgh in January. I visited the Warhol museum. I was really moved by Andy's early work - illustrations, cards, advertisements, shoes, fairies, etc. 

There was one piece I loved - darn, all I wrote down was this note - "GOLD DOILIES." 
And, I wrote Sweet Honey Rox on it too. 

Well, I can't share the Warhol with you...but I came home and got me some GOLD DOILIES...and my scissors...and glue... and whaddya know. Sweet Honey Redux.

Now that I looked them up,I realize the image I was thinking was my inspiration was actually a series of Ohio Players album covers... Ecstasy, Pleasure, Pain and Honey [featuring Sweet Sticky Thing].

So, here is my funky and fly Sweet Honey Rox Redux

...with thanks to the Ohio Players and Andy Warhol. 

Somewhere in the 70's, they both got under my skin and in my grey cells. Let me know what you think. And check out the DOILY details!
doily detail!

Inspiration...the memory of an album cover, coupled with a visit to a museum, a beautiful woman, an emotion and a couple of hands holding scissors and glue.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Buy Local, Bid on my work!

I'm an advocate of the "buy local" movement.
Way back when I worked at St. Mary's Food Bank, I made sure the organization joined Local First, Arizona and when I started my own business, I joined, too.

The Fall Festival is coming up in two weeks, and to lend my support I have donated
an original piece of art for the silent auction. 
"Thinly Veiled Attempt" is 16x20"
It is a junk mail mosaic, embellished with gold netting and jewels. 
It's not a good photo of the piece, but here it is:
If you're in Metro Phoenix on November 13th, I hope you'll attend the Fall Festival and bid on my work - it goes to a good cause.
Shift your spending!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ever Fallen in Love with Someone...

With someone you shouldn't've?

There are two songs that inspired this new piece, "Ever" - 
one is Queen Bitch by David Bowie, the other is  Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) by the Buzzcocks...I like this version by Billy Talent.

You know the feeling - you're pissed - you're heart's in the basement your weekend's at an all time low... you're up on the 11th floor...gazing at your hotel walls...and you're phoning a cab, and you're stomach feels small...
You've fallen in love with someone you shouldn't have fallen in love with.

Love doesn't always end well. Sometimes it just STINKS. If you haven't been there yet, you will be someday. It's good to have a great song to blast and sing along with during those moments of fury. These two worked for me [oh, a long time ago, kiddies... I'm happily married].
So, here's a hot red-head. Naming her "Ever" just 'cause it's pretty. What YOU need to figure out is whether she's the mean one, or if she's the angry one because her lover is fooling around somewhere else [perhaps with someone in a bippity-boppity hat?]. 

"Ever" is a lovely mosaic created entirely from junk mail - 24x36" on all my other art.

Have you seen my slideshow on Planet Green? 
Did you know I am teaching art classes in Phoenix?

Hope to hear from you - let me know what you think!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Urban Geo-Scape

What's an Urban Geo-Scape?

Not a very good photo, but you get the idea.
Stylized City Scape
Geometric Shapes
Urban color scheme...

Urban Geo-Scape

This one is 24x36" junk mail - on masonite
White, Black, Shades of Grey
Acid Green, Orange and Red.


Not just another pretty face...

Not just another pretty face?

I realize a lot of people really appreciate my work, but they just aren't into faces. I get it.
So, in a flash of inspiration, I took to my library of books - tile, art nouveau decor, elements of design, stained glass, architectural elements, turn-of-the-century architecture... to find a couple of images that would spark my imagination.

Results? Three new pieces.
Each 24x24" on canvas - Floral [Art Nouveau], Fleur de Lis [Tile] and Stained Glass.

Still made entirely of junk mail.

I thought these would be easier to make than a portrait...and I WAS WRONG. Just as hard.

I hope these new images will appeal to a broader base than just faces... but they're still pretty!

See more at Schimmel Art

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mother Nature - Inspiration

This is my newest piece [until later today, anway]... Mother Nature is 24x48" on canvas.
While working on my Angels & Icons series, my friend Julie suggested Mother Nature... and that I would figure out a way to incorporate branches...perhaps coming out of her head!

When I drew this face on the canvas, I was thinking of a more traditional tree...but came across an invitation to a grand opening event in San Diego put on by Ran Roy Printing - that featured my art. Lisa Sinclair from Ran Roy called to say they had left over invites, did I want them? Sure! So, the invite featured a bird in a flowering tree. The branches were swirly... and you know, I love swirls.

So the branches became swirls - sort of like ferns - billowing out of Mother Nature's head... thanks, Julie!

I decided to use the colors of earth, sand, dirt as the tones in the face. I sorted the pieces by shade and after creating all the darker shadows, started with the darker shades and moved toward the light - using lighter shades as I went... All of the colors in Mother Nature are pretty natural. Look closely, you'll see some pieces of the invitation in her hair.

The photo doesn't do her gaze justice... she looks pensive, maybe a little suggestive [slightly open mouth].

The colors are browns, greens and a little red & black.

By the way, Ran Roy printed my greeting cards and prints - 8 different images as cards, 12 images as prints. Check them out here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Re-Used Treasures

Did you know...
Emperor Justinian used relics and ornament he "stole" from Greek and Egyptian temples... including pillars from the Temple of the Goddess in Ephesus to create the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul?
Constantine imported the obelisk in the Hippodrome from Egypt - the only column left in what is now a park.
Did you know...
The Crusaders stole relics, pillars and treasures - and brought them back to Europe - the horses adorning St. Mark's in Venice - and the
Columns of San Marco and San Todaro were from Istanbul.

Ephesus, Istanbul and Venice are a few of the most spectacular places I've visited.
They are places that inspire me -

My mosaics - talk about upcycle - I take something of little or no value and create something of greater value... my artworks are made of tiny treasures pillaged from drawers of junk mail, calendars, old greeting cards and photographs.

Inspiration comes in many forms - and materials are transmuted into treasures [at least I like to think so...].

Check it out:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What's Happening Now... S A Schimmel Gold

At the moment...

The last few years have been a whirlwind of activities, many taking me away from and out of the studio. I've been distracted at times, and have participated in too many activities. I will spend the next 6 months hunkering down, concentrating on my new direction; re-shaping my work, paring down the messaging and preparing 10-12 large pieces for a serious showing.

I am not participating in a lot of events – you may notice my calendar is short of openings, shows & festivals. I am also not cranking out new pieces as much as I had for shows, etc. This was planned.

  • For one thing, I had major surgery last week and am recuperating. It will be several weeks before I can return to my normal work schedule. The surgery date kept getting moved, so it was difficult to plan ahead or make a lot of commitments.

  • Second, going to art festivals in this economic climate can be depressing – yes, I still get incredible reactions to my work, but I know a lot of people are hurting and just can't make purchases of luxury items... let's face it, art is a luxury!

  • And third, after the Access Hollywood gift lounge, I am committed to completing several custom portraits for celebrities, so these custom pieces have been and will continue to tie up my time for a while longer.

  • I have been asked to create a book, and also to teach workshops. I will be taking some time to explore this direction; investigate if, how and when I would move forward with these projects.

  • But, most importantly, I have a series in mind that I believe will take me as an artist to a new level. My intention is to create a modern collection of Icons – using the traditional Russian Icon as an inspirational “jumping off” point – using my pop-art style & unusual color palettes to create something completely unique. And creating my own resource images.

    • I often use images provided by the advertising machine – whether for beauty or fashion or even celebrity.

      • For this series, I will style and photograph my own images.

      • Instead of using models or actors as subjects – I will use ordinary women and through my art – transform each of them into an Icon. A new mythology of women will go along with the series. Curious, yes?

    • I will continue to use advertising ephemera, junk mail and other “potential” debris to create my work, including found objects beyond the 2-dimensional.

      • In addition, all materials used to create the image will be non-toxic, acid-free and water-based. I will continue to upcycle, reuse, repurpose and recycle whenever possible.

    • I will be posting progress and photos on my blog, so keep posted.

Am I still selling art? You bet.

I do have a one-woman show at Translations Gallery in Denver – opening May 1, 2009.

I still have work at the American Gallery in Carmel and Raw Style in Santa Monica – both in California. And, I have several pieces here at my home studio – private appointments are available. You can always check my site to see what is available... and send me an email for pricing.

One last thing - the name game: S A Schimmel Gold... Sandhi, Sandy, Sandra...etc. What's the deal?

S. A. - I like using my initials. They're not gender nor age specific.

I started using Sandhi about a year ago as a new way to spell Sandy. It's a sanskrit word - the meaning works. I like it.

Schimmel Gold. Okay, I was Schimmel for SO long, "Schimmel Art" [the business name] started when I was still single.

When I married Mr. Gold 4 1/2 years ago, I added Gold to the end of my name. No hyphen.

I'm not a jeweler.

A lot of people still call me "Schimmel" - some use both. I don't really mind, but Mr. Gold does. And I am proud to be his wife, so I like having Gold at the end of my name.

I look forward to talking more!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Yes, I am the smart-ass artist

I make art for YOU. I am in love with each piece as I create it, but then I am happy to let it go.
Here are some of the questions I get asked every time I show my work. Yes, I am a smart-ass.


1. "Are YOU the artist?" - When people meet me in person, they seemed to be surprised at my appearance - were you expecting someone taller? younger? male? thinner? African-American...blonde?

2. "How long have you been an artist?" - I've never not been an artist.

3. "How long have you been doing this kind of work?" - I've done mosaic work forever. Check out photos of my bathroom on my web site. I created mosaic portraits in many versions using several techniques - years ago. I created a mosaic landscape in high school. I've always painted in this it's a natural progression. The first portrait in this style probably happened in 2004.

4. "How did you come up with this idea?" - I'm brilliant! Sounds like a smart-ass answer, but what else would it be? I'm clever, I'm talented, I'm an artist, I'm creative...!

5. "Why is it so expensive?" - Compared to what? How do you put a price on my talent... or the time it takes to create a fabulous piece of art from nothing? A canvas is blank - and after a while it is filled with color & texture - my vision transformed to a sustainable image you can own forever. A "Kelly" bag from Hermes can cost $30,000.00! A pair of Manolo Blahnik designer shoes can be over $1000.00 [and you won't wear them next season!],

6. "Where do find your materials?" - the mailbox. And, stuff that might have been heading into the recycle bin. Yes, it's all mine. I save everything.

7. "Oh, so it's JUST paper?" - JUST paper? Yeah, and Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" - it's just are the masterpieces created by Picasso, Klimt, Jackson Pollock - Michaelangelo's "David" - it's just a piece of rock... Rodin's "Thinker" is just metal, Warhol's soup can... just ink...the famous windows at Notre Dame Catherdral or Chagall's masterpieces at the U.N. ... are just glass [which is just sand]...the army of terracotta soldiers in China...just dirt. Does it really matter what the masterpiece is constructed of? Some of the world's most amazing places were created by just water [the Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls] or wind.

8. "What kind of glue do you use?" - this is probably the most common question. My question is - why do you need to know? I created the concept, the technique, the style... what difference does it make? All you need to know is my adhesives work and are acid-free... the pieces stay on and the color doesn't fade.

9. "Do you hold workshops?" - I've gone around and around on this. I'm not a patient teacher. What is most important is knowing how to create a composition, have an eye for color, be willing to spend hundreds of hours sorting and cutting pieces... I can't teach you how to paint or how to see an image in tiny bits. So, at the moment, I'm not having any workshops.

10. "Do you have any other talents?" - I've been playing piano since I was 4. I am a good painter [acrylic, watercolor], I can draw, I can design needlepoint, handbags, shoes & clothes, I can throw pottery, fuse glass, make paper, set tile, I can cook, I can ride a bike. I focus on my artwork so I continue to create every day in a style and technique I love.