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TOYS Exhibit at Gallery 924

December 8th, 2010 by Nate

This past Friday, I had the opportunity and privilege to display a new piece in the Primary Colours invitational holiday art exhibition TOYS. The exhibition of 20 artists was held at the new Gallery 924 at the Arts Council. They really have a nice space over there – nice vibe and flow throughout. We were free to interpret the theme “TOYS” however we chose, so it was really fun to have that freedom. The diversity of pieces reflected many different interpretations, some more abstract than others.

Final digital piece

Since I’ve been exploring origami lately, I wanted to do a photography piece that incorporated an origami prop of some sort. One of the reasons I like paperfolding is that you start with one square of paper and wind up with something incredibly different and more complex. You can really create anything out of nothing. Before I even knew exactly what I was going to create, I had decided to title the piece “Imagination” to reflect this quality. You can create anything in your mind using your imagination, and it really is the best “toy” a person can have.

Initially, my idea was to fold a paper boat that was floating in a puddle. I actually went through the process of hand-making the double-sided tissue folding paper (really nice to work with) and folding the model to use. I liked the model, but part of me wanted it to look more impressive, even though it had sails and everything. I started photographing it in several scenarios but wasn’t getting anything I was happy with because I wanted to control the lighting more. It also didn’t just float in the water because it was so topheavy, I had to rig up this suspension device that was pretty hack. At least it will make a nice shelf display piece…

The completed Full-Rigged ship

In the end, I decided to scrap the boat idea and go with a bird theme instead. I really wanted to try my hand at folding a complex crane based on Robert Lang’s Dancing Crane, and I had on hand a really classy-looking birdcage from a rummage sale. The plan was to stage the bird on the open birdcage, like it had just escaped and was being set free. Like freeing your mind and imagination to explore unhindered.

Rather than folding from double-tissue paper, I used tracing paper which also works really well and gave the wings a translucent quality. Tracing paper holds a crease really well, and the final model holds its shape nicely after the shaping process. The whole thing took over 6 hours to fold. It wasn’t perfect but it was the hardest model I’ve folded yet and it was great for what I needed it to be.

Crease pattern

After it was done, I staged up the birdcage and lighting, and rigged the bird to be standing on the lip of the birdcage. In retrospect, I wish I had made the bird facing the other direction to have more of an “escaping” feeling, though the way I set it up had a nice “conquering” feeling about it. I was also concerned that people wouldn’t be able to recognize it as a birdcage, but it’s all I had to work with.

My favorite photo of the shoot was taken into photoshop for photomanipulation, touching up, beautifying, adding texture, tweaking lighting, etc. When the final piece was ready, I made a fine art print on Photo Rag paper, which has really nice rich, deep tones, and treated it with UV protectant. The print was matted and framed, and the model mounted to a small handmade stand. Though having the model present at the exhibition wasn’t necessary, I felt it gave extra legitimacy to the piece. People could see it up close and touch it if they liked.

Final Piece

The photo was to be the main conceptual piece, with the model created to be a prop. I didn’t intend the focus to be on the complexity of the model itself, but rather combine two art forms into a pleasing concept. It would be interesting to expand this concept with the bird into several pieces, showing it evolving and taking shape, and breaking free from its cage.

Overall, the show went really well with over 350 people coming through. I got to meet some people I’ve been looking forward to meeting for a while and show alongside my friends Nathan Shinkle and Aaron Scamihorn. The show is still up until December 22 at Gallery 924. There are some amazing pieces displayed – stop by if you haven’t yet and you might find a piece you want to take home! To everyone that came through on opening night, thanks for supporting the art community!


5 Responses

  1. Brenda Says:

    A lovely image indeed. I like how you staged the piece and the lighting really set a nice, contemplative mood. I think the image is moving as a stand-alone piece, but the background information you included here on your post made it fun to learn how you went about it and your thoughts along the way. Thanks for sharing. Nice to see your imagination in action Nate.

  2. Aaron Says:

    Dude. Your blog is so rad. I’m jealous of how well this site has come together. Really killin’ it.

  3. Jim Says:

    Great work! Love seeing your process documented.

  4. Nathan Says:

    That show was a lot of fun. We need to make a habit of doing more group events like this. Here’s my take on the show.

  5. Marouane Says:

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