Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Modernized Providence"

Medium(s): Micron Pen, Pencil
December 11, 2008

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USD Design 1 - This is one of two compositions for my final, assignment being explore/interpret popcorn and all its aspects to create a piece. I dug around in some popcorn and found one that looked like the hand of "tree man", an Indonesian man who had a radical infection from a jungle plant to where his hands and feet turned into tree roots. His photo is linked below.

"Modernized Providence" is my interpretation of portraying this man's condition using popcorn. To a simplistic view (which I got from many), its believed I "made fun" of his disease by interpreting it that way.In actuality, the title itself means a modernized change in providence, or divine intervention into someone's life. This piece symbolizes the cultural entities of Indigenous peoples that have been lost due to globalization, colonization and assimilation. This man in real life sees his disease as just that..a hindrance that keeps him from taking care of his family and living a "normal" life like the rest of his syblings and friends (which is symbolized in his careless expression in my piece, casually smoking a cigarette). Before, his culture would have held him highly that obviously it was meant that this man have a connection with the trees that is higher beyond explanation. It would have been regarded as something spiritual, and he would have lived a very sacred life to discover why it is that he was chosen to live such a life, intervened by the higher power..something I think a lot of us ask on a smaller level on things within ourselves we can't explain.Above in the top corner (the other photo being a zoomed shot) is a combination between my creativity and the style of Navajo sand painting. He's supposed to be a cultural representation of whatever it is that he is unexplainably has been chosen to be inside by the divine. Cultures around the world have all kinds of names for these type of people, and the types of things they have that are above the normal. His details include all that is "corn"..he holds cornstalks in his very wide geometric corn hands that culturally symbolize the realistic symptom "popcorn man" has. His body alone shows the cycles of life of corn, dripping water which is can be seen as a sacred need in all living things. The fact he comes out of the cigarette smoke is to symbolize that no matter what modernization the popcorn man goes through to reject what he is, nothing on the inside and most importantly nothing what God intends can change that. Relating to Native American culture..there are many people meant to be certain things that reject it..and commonly I see how many of them live modernly to forget what they are and where they come from. Poverty drives them to want to be something better...but what is better? Is it better having a ancient culture and living poor..or living with normal American "good" standards which in itself has no culture to speak of? When this view is successfully infiltrated into Indigenous people; this is assimilation, this is modernization, and this is what has happened and is happening globally.

--Artist's Critique--

Having done already a symmetrical piece in this style (Concious Vibes), I wanted to add variety in my visual portrayal. My other composition currently in progress, "Isn't Everybody Tired of the Hatred?", experiments using the similar style with a uncentered and non-symmetric overall composition, but still achieves visual interest and balance. I enjoyed the contrast of styles between realism versus cultural in the same composition, something I hadn't really done before I believe.
The background, including individualized pieces of popcorn I assumed would be a very interesting and intricate background for this piece. I was going to continue it for the whole background, but assumed it would be better to spread and space them out as they neared the cultural figure. The idea he is in cigerette smoke came from an earlier piece I had started on but never completed seen here:
I also wanted to add to the visual interest of not completely filling the bottom left corner with popcorn texture as I had done above. I figured this would take away from the power of the smoke and visual trail and relationship between the two subjects. Also I figured it would take away from the powerful detail and value of his wrist, where his popcorn hand transitions into kernals.

Having achieved a perfect 50/out of 50 grade on this, I feel not much really needs to change. My only change I would do would be to better aligned his right cheekbone more accurately to where it should be, and more realism in his face overall. Other than that, this piece successfully portrayed what I had intended, while exploring new visual styles.


  1. I like the detail to your work...I also enjoy reading about the piece and history behind the concept. Very nice work..hope all is well...hugggs

  2. You are a very tallented artist. I found your blog via A passion n frames site, and noticed that you participate in traditional native american dances.. just curious. were you at the Pow wow in Cody Wyoming this summer? I took a bunch of photos at the powwow there this year, but I have no idea who the people are or how to contact them to give them copies.. Any info would be appreciated.. thanks

  3. I'm glad I found this blog :)

    I miss you and it's great to read about how you've been and your recent work. Hope all is going well for you in the South.