beth bundy designs

It's time to present.

Beth BundyComment

Ever since I was a small child I have dreamed about being "an artist."  After many adult years of learning and practicing new skills and filling sketchbooks full of ideas, I feel like I have finally settled into a craft that I am enjoying and I have made a body of work that I can now take to the next level.  It's time for me to present my art to the world.  That is thrilling yet intimidating.  I've spent the past two weeks learning how to share my work digitally and on-site.  I've gained insight into the real world of an artist, which has always looked so appealing from the outside.

A functioning website is mandatory in the art world today, so I was elated to find out in December that I received a professional development grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to have my artwork photographed.  I spent 2.5 hours in a photographers studio while Aaron Johanson photographed my work.  It was humbling and enlightening to prep my work and then see the layered paper shine on the camera and then Aaron's computer screen.  He worked his magic with the lens, lighting and editing skills and made my work really look rich and interesting.  It's not an easy task to capture the details and feel of artwork, especially ones that are as small and intricate as my 4" squares.  Following my photo session with Aaron, I excitedly shared his shots with my Facebook page and on my website and Instagram.  It was fun to share my work digitally, now I needed to prep a real life display.

Every year Da Vinci Middle School hosts an art fair. It usually happens right before the winter holidays but this year they pushed it to February.  I felt honored to be chosen as one of the artists to sell my work at the fair this year and while preparing my artwork also became preoccupied with how I was going to exhibit my work.  I bought small shelves, and several frames for buyers to choose from, and even made a laser engraved sign with my logo and business name.  I was happy with what I organized and then I arrived to see vendors who are seasonal pros at booth displays and was instantly embarrassed by my novice attempt.  I was still happy with what I had but realize there is so much more work to do.

I am realizing that being an artist is not just about creating the work.  There is a lot of unpaid time and money invested to bring forth not only the craft, but also the vision.  I spoke with several artists this past weekend at the art fair that just scrape by.  I overheard one artist say that she was tired of feeling like she had to work 12-15 hour days just to be an artist.  You have to promote your work in several ways just to be able to sell a few pieces.  The presentation of your work and yourself is key in being a success and those things all take an enormous amount of energy.

I guess I am finally getting a real taste at what it feels like to be an artist and I am feeling overwhelmed.  I thought teaching was stressful and tiring.  I am starting to wonder if making a career of being an artist is just as exhausting.  

It's like Christmas.

Beth BundyComment

I picked up an order from Bart at the laser cutting service today.  I can barely stand the drive from NE Davis Street to my home with the ziploc bags of squares sitting in the passenger seat of my 1999 Toyota Tacoma.  At every red light I find myself taking a whiff of the burnt paper cuts while I dig through and  glance at the colors and designs together in my 15 second break.  This time I was testing new designs and brightly colored paper, some with holes and some without,  and even tried to cut a few more wooden samples that unfortunately caught on fire because the wood was too airy.  That's what the testing phase is all about, I guess.

Looking at what I've got!

Looking at what I've got!

After the long drive in 5 o'clock traffic, I run through the door and take my new gifts straight upstairs to my studio table.  I hear my son and husband walk through the back door and shout downstairs a "Hey!" as I spread out the 200+ 4" squares.  I layer and mix and move them around.  I punch out the small negative space shapes that are still hanging on and pile them into my scrap bowl.  I look at my new treasures and smile as I think about how I am going to connect and present them to the world.  

It reminds of creating a Christmas list and hoping that the next gift will be the one that you really wanted.   But better.   This is not only a gift that I receive but also a gift that I will give.  

Over 100 squares put together to form 47 finished layered squares.  I will choose some to make a large composition and some will be matted as singles.  Which would you like to see as a separate?

Over 100 squares put together to form 47 finished layered squares.  I will choose some to make a large composition and some will be matted as singles.  Which would you like to see as a separate?

Freedom and Individuality.

Beth BundyComment

I have an idea for an installation. My vision is a to design a variety of insect bodies, wings, legs and antennae and then have community members each create their own layered insect using the paper cuts.  I will sew them together and string them to eventually float together, filling a room, all on their own, unique and free, but together.  

Maybe it's a representation of how I feel our country is today.  We are all in our own little worlds floating along and surviving the best that we can.  Free to make our own choices.  Free to go where we please and try to stay alive.  Each of us colorful and special in our own ways.  But even though we are on our own paths, we are connected.  We live next to each other, with each other, and we affect each other.  So we must must recognize one another and honor our separateness and togetherness.  

This is just the beginning of my thought process.  I'm not sure how I'll represent the powers that be, or mother nature, or survival of the fittest.  And I'm not worried about that because I know it will change and evolve as I experiment with the insects and involve other people.  That's what I love about these kind of community projects...they change with the times and I will change with them and hope that the idea is not destroyed or lost along the way.

 

Logo and strategies.

Beth Bundy

I am struggling to create a logo for "beth bundy designs."  I want it to be just right.  There are too many choices of colors and fonts and sizes and images that come to mind.  Why does it feel so much easier to design something when there are given constraints?  The layers and squares logo was much easier.  I knew that I wanted to use layers and squares.  This logo feels so much more personal because it has my name in it.  My number one form of identification.  How do I go about painting, designing, and forming my identity in one image?

Maybe, first, I need to be okay with the fact that it is not coming to me easily.  I need to work on branding myself and figuring out what I identify with.  I know I want it to be a blend of something creative and fun alongside something that shows the technical side of my art.  Maybe it will show some traces of where I have travelled or favorite creatures.  It need to be timeless.  I don't want to hate it a year from now.  I'm stuck.

I've been searching all my life for this logo and still have not found it.  Last year when I was teaching my middle school class, one of my goals for the year was to teach students strategies for getting unstuck.  Maybe I need to start using some of those strategies for myself to see if they really work.  So, here's what I'm thinking I need to do.

1.  Go for a run.

2.  Set my own constraints.

3.  Sketch and sketch and sketch some more.  

4.  Look though old sketchbooks and see what I found in my past that I can use in my present.

5.  Play with letter and words and fonts in illustrator.

6.  Find some logos that I like for some reason.

7.  Once I have a few ideas, get some honest feedback on my ideas.

I guess I'll start there and see what happens.  I'm off to get bundled up for a chilly winter run!

(Ok, I am procrastinating from my run so I decided to look up some logos.  I'm starting to see some themes.)

Making a photo light box.

Beth Bundy
Carrot photo before.

Carrot photo before.

Getting the box made was pretty easy but then attempting to take photos where the lighting and perspective are just right is just really tricky.  Any tips are more than welcome!

Carrot photo after.

Carrot photo after.

Today I dove into the challenge of taking better quality photos of my work.  This is not an easy task!  First, simply finding a place to take the photos where I have room to put the light box and a tripod is challenging in my studio space.  

I used about 10 books to get it to just the right height for the tripod and to be situated in the window so I could use natural light.  I am grateful that it was a sunny day in Portland!  I am curious to experiment on cloudy days and with spotlights in the near future.

I used about 10 books to get it to just the right height for the tripod and to be situated in the window so I could use natural light.  I am grateful that it was a sunny day in Portland!  I am curious to experiment on cloudy days and with spotlights in the near future.