I took several painting and fine art classes in college while working towards my graphic design degree. Right after graduation I was hired into my first graphic design job but after 16 years of working in that field, I realized that working on a computer was no longer creatively fulfilling and I needed to make art with my own hands for the enjoyment of the process. I took up painting and drawing again and eventually discovered the art of pyrography which is something I’ve been experimenting with for the past 3 years.
The theme for this show was my inspiration [for the work I submitted]. I’ve been working on my pyrography shading and combining pyrography with acrylic paint accents lately and as soon as I saw the theme for this show I knew I wanted to burn a moon and challenge myself with the shading it would require.
’ve recently been experimenting painting with alcohol inks and I’m loving the lack of control you have with them because it forces you to let go of expectations of what it should look like and just get into that flow state. For my “Nebula of the Heart” painting I looked at several photos of nebulas to get the feel for the colors and patterns that naturally occur with nebulas and then let the alcohol inks take on a life of their own as they flowed on the paper. I used a straw to blow the inks into some of the shapes that I was looking for and then used a small paintbrush to “dot” on some alcohol to create a halo of light around the stars that I eventually painted on with an acrylic paint marker.
I am a “look at the moon” type of person and seek it out almost every single night because it stirs such a sense of awe and wonder as well as a connection to others, knowing that I can be far away from someone but still taking in the same sight. I hope my “La Luna” piece stirs the same sense of wonder. And I hope that people get lost in the colors, patterns and depths of “Nebula of the Heart”.
“Nebula of the Heart” is my favorite piece that I’ve entered into this show. I love that abstract art is open for interpretation and the colors and depth in this piece really give the eye a lot to get lost in.
In college, my best friend caught me red-handed when she came to my house and saw the India Ink bottles lined up on my desk. Before that, I never told people that I made art or thought I was any good. My friend lovingly, but firmly convinced me to share my work and I have been enjoying the journey so far. I am self-taught. I started very young as a way to relax by attempting to capture the beauty I saw in the everyday.
Making art is amazing. As I said before, it’s my way of bringing peace into my life. I find something in life that is beautiful, my imagination makes it something fantastical, and I try to capture it for myself and others to see.
Space has always been extremely inspirational for me. I admire the artists that work on converting black and white photos of gasses and waves of light into colors that everyone understands. I was also wanting to work more on using gouache and streamlining my painting process.
Firstly, I always look for reference photos that are close to the thought I have in mind. Then I pick details out of all of them to make it a coherent picture. Fantasy and folktales are important to me, so I usually spend time thinking of some kind of story behind the picture. I try to do a small, messy drawing before I do a completed pencil drawing. I’ll finish with the layers of gouache or ink.
As art is something I do to find peace, I hope that people have a positive experience. It’s fascinating that everyone will find different meaning in the same piece, but hopefully the process of understanding is a calming one.
I really enjoy all of them, of course. But if I had to pick a favorite it might be “Moonbound.” I really wanted to draw the trees because they were unlike any I had seen before, and the details were very fun.
My work is currently online on social media. On Facebook you can find me under the handle ‘Renee Creates’. On Instagram and TikTok my handle is ‘@thepurgatoryarts’.
Art has always been a big part of my life. Many of my close family members were artists, so I was always around creation, exploration, and art making. I studied art at UCCS and then started working at the FAC after I graduated. These days art seems like a way for me to let go or maybe distract myself from the current situations that we all face. Although my production and time spent in the studio may sometimes slow art will always be a part of my life.
Making art is a way to reflect, explore, and sometimes just have some fun.
The inspiration for the pieces in this show was a combination of being inspired by a medium as well as, inspiration from the galaxy and planet. The earth and space are overwhelmingly amazing to me. One awesome experience was the solar eclipse in 2017. I am constantly in awe of space I have taken several astronomy classes and even own a telescope. The paint that I used for these pieces was what also gave me my inspiration, it is metallic acrylic and offers some shine and iridescence to the planets and night sky shown in the paintings.
When I create my work it usually always starts with the material I am using. In this case I found some oval shaped pieces of wood in the craft section of a local thrift store. Using recycled materials is a very consistent practice in my work. I wanted to include a circle in the painting to fit in and mimic the shape of the oval wood. The first piece I made was Moon. The moon is exaggerated the night sky and the landscape is reminiscent of Earth. The next piece I made was Saturn. In Saturn I used metallic paint to emphasize the rings. The last piece, Purple Planet, is mixed media and includes the use of paper to add texture to the planet. Purple Planet is almost a fantasy or dream planet that overlooks Earth.
When people see these pieces, I want them to let their imaginations run as they notice the small details that make up each space landscape.
The best place to see my art is my Instagram page @artfrances. I have also shown work at The Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Kreuser Gallery, and the Modbo.
This is my second showing at the Commonwheel Artists Co-op and I am honored to be selected for the “Space” exhibit. My first show here was in the 2018 “Recycled Art” exhibit that had two of my very first sculptures.
My work is hard to categorize, they are 3D sculptures but after that they can be a space ship flying over a distant planet or a metallic bird gracefully taking off from a peak of marble, whatever the viewer might imagine.
My medium of choice for this show are natural rock and minerals including yule marble from Marble, Colorado along with rainbow sandstone from Nevada.
The other element of my sculptures are vintage, usually 1950s automobile hood ornaments. There are an amazing variety of intricate ornaments that take on bird, airplane, jet, flying goddess and space ship motifs. Many of these are works of art in themselves and I have tried to enhance their beauty with the appropriate settings.
Included in the show are two Packards, a De Soto, a Ford and a Pontiac. The newest one is 65 years old and the oldest is over 70! It’s hard to pick my personal favorite, but the 1950 Packard with the white yule marble from Colorado “Across the Universe”, is very expressive and fits right in to the “Space” show.
Hey everyone! My name is Amy Short. I am a Colorado transplant originally from little old Delaware. I got my first DSLR camera when I was eighteen (ten years ago) and have been in love with photography ever since. Landscape and nature photography are what I call my truest loves. I moved to Colorado two years ago to pursue my photography dreams and have been loving every second of it!
Making art means a freedom and peace unparalleled in any other aspect of my life. Especially living here in the mountains, the journey is one of the best parts. I think the mountains are liberating for anyone, but to point my camera wherever I please and to see the world in my own way, to capture the world how I see it without the influence or ideas of anyone else, that is what making art means to me.
The desire to learn new photographic techniques inspired me for this show. Space has always fascinated me but astrophotography definitely has its challenges. Almost all elements of creating a photograph with astrophotography are more difficult but I have learned a lot and will continue to learn a lot more.
Honestly, when I am creating photos of the night sky my first step is to point and shoot. There are ways to help yourself see what you are doing and how to expose your photos in the dark but I tend to take a photo first and adjust the composition from there. It takes a few shots to find the composition that I want, but hey it works for me. When processing my photos I do not “over edit” per se. I like to boost the colors and contrast and adjust the exposure if needed but I like to keep it simple! As far as the frames go, they are upcycled! I am a big fan of using “green” practices and what is more environmentally friendly than reusing and repurposing? I keep my eye out for gently used frames at thrift stores. I work at a paint store so I have easy access to all kinds of products and colors. I just love working with colors and trying out new products. I thought a black metallic paint would be well suited for this subject so that’s what I went with!
I hope my artwork can instill the same sense of wonder I have when I think about space and observe the stars. Colorado has such amazing night skies that can leave you with such a sense of awe.
This image I took at Rocky Mountain National is my favorite piece for sale. The images I entered are very similar and both were taken at RMNP but I love the colors of this one the most. I love the yellow hues of light pollution from the Front Range contrasted against the purple and blue hues of the night sky.
You can find me on Instagram: @amyshortphoto, on Facebook: Amy Short Photo, and at Colorado Creative Co-Op in Old Colorado City.
More "Recycled Art" Show Artists!
We asked the artists selected for our “Recycled Art” Show the following questions:
1)In a short paragraph, tell us about yourself
2)With your recycled materials, tell us about your process. Walk us through the steps to achieve one of your works from sourcing the materials to completing the work for display or use.
3)What is your favorite piece for sale at this event? And why?
4)What has inspired you to apply for this show?
5)Where can we find your work: website, social media, local stores.
What follows are responses we received and images of some of the work you’ll see in this show.
m. jo hart
Originally from St. Louis, I moved to Colorado in 2015 after receiving my MFA in Ceramics from Illinois State University. I have a B.A. in Visual Communications and have worked as an Art Director/Graphic Designer in the corporate sector, non-profit, and public/private design industries with over 38+ years’ experience. I consider myself both an artist and maker. I create highly decorative functional pottery along with sculptural work that primarily focuses on female issues.
During my time as a designer I sought out ways to create for myself and was reacquainted with clay, remembering the fun I had in the clay studio as an undergrad. For years I attended classes at a local pottery studio and began selling my work. Later in my life an opportunity to apply to graduate school presented itself and I fully immersed myself in a 3-year program where I discovered a passion for working with the figure in clay, primarily on female issues. Attending graduate school as an older student, I was confronted with many hurdles and I was presented with countless opportunity for evolving as an artist.
Today, I work as an artist/maker, leaving the corporate world in the dust and no longer having to be contained in a cubicle. Recently I began collaborating with my partner, combining his woodworking craft and my porcelain art. I teach workshops and private lessons in clay and other mediums and find the creative process at times more satisfying than the outcome. As a self-supporting artist my piggy bank is often not as full as it was, but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
I am a collector of things I find on the ground (ie. rusty metal, things I find in garbage bins, other people’s trash. I may not have a specific use in mind when I retrieve something, but I always think I’ll use it later for an art piece. I like to make different kinds of art other than clay and the Recycle Show was an opportunity to do just that.
I don’t have a specific process when working with the recycled pieces. I look at what I have and put together what feels right.
My ceramic work can be found at Commonwheel Artist Co-Op and I can be reached at my email address; firstname.lastname@example.org
All my life I have had a connection to art. My grandparents and parents are artists. I studied at UCCS where I really started to develop my own style and content. A few big themes in my work are domesticity, femininity, and the temporality of life. Using recycled materials really interests me because they show time and age. Recycled materials also have a past life. They are fragments of the past. For me, using recycled pieces of fabric or lace acknowledges and celebrates the past. That also includes celebrating and acknowledging the past ideas about what domesticity means. Re-purposing materials gives them a new life and represents a new era of domesticity.
For my piece Hometown Glass I had a unique process which started with searching for glass in my hometown, Salida, Co, with mom. My mom has always been a resourceful, creative type, so naturally she knows where all of the good scavenging locations are. There is a location tucked in the mountains by Salida, Co that used to be an old dump. There is glass scattered all over the ground ranging from deep blue, to purple, to opaque milky glass. So wandering around and finding little treasures was where Hometown Glass first started. Another component for this piece is the lace. I am always hunting through thrift stores and estate sales looking for interesting lace patterns and fabric. Even the wood for this piece is recycled and found in one of my outings. When I put all of the components together I focused on composition. With the green piece of glass especially, I loved the way it curved over the edge of the wood. I used epoxy resin to combine all of the components together. There were preexisting holes in the top of the wood, so I used those to thread a string through for hanging. Overall, I felt I created a piece that talks about domesticity, the past, and the passage of time.
My favorite piece for sale in this show is Impermanent Fabric. I think it has a vibrancy from the colors that is fun as well as nostalgic. My favorite part is how the print of the lace underneath the flower repeats the texture that is within the flower on top. Overall, I think it reflects what I enjoy doing which is printmaking as well as using recycled materials to create interesting pieces of art.
I decided to apply for this show because I thought that my work fit the theme very well. I embrace using recycled materials in all of my work. It is not only an economical decision it is also an aesthetic decision. I am excited to have more opportunities to show and share my work.
The best place to see my work is on Instagram. My Instagram name is artfrances.
Born and raised in Colorado with no official art training. Focused on Piano and Cello performance throughout school. I was a Music performance major in college at CSU-Pueblo, but I always loved going to look at the current displays in art gallery next door. Later in life, I was giving an acrylic paint set as a gift and I decided the next year to make custom gifts, for all of my family and friends. I found that I really enjoy working with different mediums and playing with recycled wire in my work. As an outdoors enthusiast, I love our beautiful state as well as our planet, and reduce reuse and recycle are core values for me. I am dedicated to always finding the beauty in the scrap, and to creating something new from something considered to be "trash". Inspiration can come from anywhere, and I always try to keep my eyes open.
With your recycled materials, tell us about your process. Walk us through the steps achieve one of your works from sourcing the materials to completing the work for display or use.
It all started with some old wood scrap from inside an old couch, that became my first Colorado flag. Then I started working with wood pallets. In my old '91 Jeep i would go around town and collect "trash" pallets or free ones from Craigslist. Moving maybe 6 at a time, I built up a stock at my home that I then began to disassemble (which is harder than it sounds). With the free lumber assorted by wood type and sizes, I then create unique sized and shaped back boards that I then will paint (see photo). After a thorough sanding and cleaning, I began to add color to base background.
My husband is an electrician and brings home "scrap" wire. We normally recycle this, one day I decided to use some wire to outline an eagle I had painted. I liked it so much that I then created a copper tree growing from my painting. I continued this theme and painted a aspen scene with the leaves free hanging, made of brass wire. I started to then experiment with colored beads on the wire in the paintings. It is at this point that I painted Metal Monarch. I primarily use copper wire in my work, but I also use aluminum and occasionally brass. I even use insulated scrap copper to hang all of my pieces.
I absolutely love Tentacle Tangle! I love painting ships on pallet wood because it adds so much character to the piece. You can carve in the detail and layer with paint. I have always loved reading and have been fascinated with the oceans since I read “2000 Leagues Under the Sea” as a child. I tried to weave the aluminum wire so carefully into the outline of this monster. It is a special beast and fragile as it is strong. Even the pirates though, are not safe from what waits below!
Last Year, I was fortunate to be a featured Artist of the Month for 2 separate months at 2 different PPLD locations. Until this time, I had only worked primarily with family and friends. I gained confidence based on the positive feedback and emotional connections that were created by my work and I became more and more ambitious in my creations. Although I sometimes only paint, I most enjoy working with multiple mediums combining both texturing the wood and adding different types of scrap wires into my art. Every piece I've created from the beginning, has always been from recycled materials. When I saw the open call for this show on Facebook, I knew I had to try.
I have done a few small craft fares around town in past but mostly I work custom commissioned gifts or animal memorials. To reach LMK Up-Cycled Creations email FromScraptoArt4Life@gmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/NewLife4Art/
Let's get creative! The possibilities are endless . . .
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been making stuff out of most anything I could find, and with no concern about whether or not it was art. I simply enjoyed it. Back in the 1960’s, while a graduate student in Painting at the University of California in Berkeley, just for fun I began making metal sculptures out of “junk” I found behind my dad’s machine shop. For me it was an escape from the complicated “rules” of Abstract Expressionist Painting. No worries about “equivocal space” or “violating the integrity of the picture plane”. I was free to make anything I wanted, and art was fun again! My wire sculptures in this Commonwheel show bring back fond memories of those “good old days” in Berkeley, of “free speech”, “flower power” and the “Grateful Dead”!
Usually I’ll begin a wire sculpture by referring to one of my continuous-line contour drawings left over from life drawing classes. The wire sculpture thus becomes a 3-D contour drawing.
For my sculptures I’ve used mostly coat hanger wire, but sometimes baling wire if more length is needed. It can be worked with pliers, wire cutters and metal files. A bench vise and hammer are also useful. For attachments I use binding wire and solder. Sometimes I’ll cut up a tin can with metal shears to add bulk to the piece. Coating everything with black spray paint unifies it.
The “Rock Star” piece is embellished with bottle caps for eyes and guitar tuning pegs for earrings. The eyeballs inside the bottle caps are made of polymer clay.
While coat hanger wire, tin cans and bottle caps are common household items, the need for a pair of guitar tuning pegs sent me out on a treasure hunt into the fascinating world of music stores. Rummaging through the stores’ spare parts boxes revealed a wealth of really cool stuff just waiting to be repurposed. It was a pack rat’s paradise! Something to keep in mind for future projects.
Though I like the slender grace and swiftness of the “Gazelle” piece, my favorite is “Rock Star”. It’s a retro piece from the 1960’s that I’ve restored and modernized this year. “Rock Star” is a bobble-head that used to come to life while riding on the inside rear deck of my Ford Falcon. I made it just for myself, so I felt free to break all the rules of “Abstract Expressionism” at UC Berkeley’s prestigious Department of Fine Art. Yay! Just touch it gently on the top of its head, and “Rock Star” will bobble for you.
2016’s Recycled Art show at Commonwheel impressed me very much. The inventive use of materials in the work was fascinating. That’s what inspired me to re-work a couple of my old wire sculptures and enter them in this year’s show.
My ceramic work can be seen by appointment at my home studio in Colorado Springs. I can be contacted by phone at (719) 592-0984 or online at email@example.com. Also I have a few pieces in the online store at www.commonwheel.com.
I am a licensed architect in my country of origin, Brazil. I have worked in the field of architecture here in Colorado since emigrating from Brazil in 1997.
In Brazil, crime makes jewelry of precious metals and gems dangerous to own and wear. This has led me to appreciate things that were not meant to be jewels but possess a particular beauty in and of themselves.
My husband, a native of Colorado Springs, is a lover of the wild, an avid hiker, and my best supplier of metal, scraps, broken glass and aged objects. He finds new possibilities everywhere he goes and brings home pockets full of things.
My designs combine a variety of media, depending on the inspiration I find in the objects with which I start. I add glass beads, wire wrapping, other metal findings. The results are interesting and unique, and no two pieces are exactly the same.
I have 2 favorite pieces – a note holder and a pair of earrings.
The note holder is the light metal with blue aqua glass beads and copper wire wrapping. I love it because have no clue what the metal piece is, and I was able to use as the base for the note holder. I also like the combination copper wire and blue beads very much—it seems to come to me at all times.
The earrings are also a blue tone with copper wire. The nails were found by my husband and I when we were hiking, and they were both crooked the same way. The beads were bought in Brazil in one of my last trips in a second-hand store that sells a lot of jewelry.
The show theme is what I do – I create jewelry and décor objects that connect function and form, utilizing the antique beauty of objects found while hiking in Colorado.
Website – www.jewelrybymana.com
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/jewelrybymana
Etsy store - https://www.etsy.com/shop/JewelrybyMana
Kuttlefish store - https://kuttlefish.com/shops/jewelrybymana
I have always loved art and painting, and my grandfather drew and painted watercolors. More recently I have begun to create pieces using found objects and things that might normally be discarded. I have also taken up pottery and acrylic painting.
I enjoy neighborhood walks and keep an eye out for items that are being thrown away. I have also remodeled several homes and think about reusing items where possible rather than sending them to the landfill. The banjo neck from 'Banjo Clock' was a found item a couple of years ago. The body is a ceiling fan housing from my former house in Texas, and the clock face is from a light fixture from my new home here in Colorado Springs. There are also parts from an old phone, watch strap, TV and vintage labeling machine. It can take months or years to source components and then decide the best way to use them. Once I came up with the concept of a clock, the assembly took only a few days.
'Banjo Clock' is a play on words. A banjo clock is a type of traditional clock in the shape of a banjo. My piece goes a step further as it is actually a clock made from (parts of) a banjo. Literally everything on it is reused/recycled.
I had already created several recycled art pieces when I saw the call for entries. Commonwheel has some incredible artists and pieces, so it is an honor to be included in the show.
Watch for the 3rd installment of this blog post!