Art on the Rocks: Part 2
I noticed during my interactions with people at Art on the Rocks a few questions came up repeatedly. I thought I’d take a moment to respond. With the long answers.
Most Asked Questions
Where are you from?
My best answer is Marquette County, though Gwinn was placed on my Art on the Rocks sign. That’s not incorrect, but it is inaccurate. I live about as close to the town of Gwinn as I do the town of Palmer.
I don’t live in a town. I live in the woods. My address says one township, my physical location places me in another township. I think this is interesting, these arbitrary lines defining place and causing ambiguity.
My family is rooted in Marquette county. We’ve been here for generations. The story of my family is the story of iron mining in the Upper Peninsula. They came from Sweden, from Finland, from Cornwall and down from Canada. Some had specialized skills and others were laborers. My biological maternal grandfather died in a mine accident. My family was shaped by the mines, paternal and maternal.
Your work has a Southwest feel?
It does. I always gravitated towards warm colors instead of the cool blues and greens of Superior. I’ve split my time in recent years between here and the Southwest. The desert called and I was able to go. In these last few years I was able to create a body of work.
What is your process/tell me more about your style.
People were most intrigued by my use of fabric so I will address this first. I started experimenting with fabric as an element in my work a few years ago. I used it to re-line upcycled/refinished silverware boxes and as a background for linoleum block prints.
The next step from there was playing with some worn linen I didn’t want to “just throw away.” In my early attempts I tried using strips off of the fabric. I experimented with layering it and building a texture.
At some stage I tried covering a canvas entirely with linen. Then I walked it back to what I’m doing now, placing the fabric so there is a natural border.
I adhere the fabric to the surface with gesso. Loads of it. I want the fabric fibers saturated, but I also don’t want to lose the texture of the weave. My goal in applying and painting the fabric is to highlight the beauty of the weave. I am careful to keep the paint thin and not bury the texture. I apply the paint in a way that mimics the staining you see on antique textiles.
Some of the other textures you see in my work come from layering thread. I sometimes use different thicknesses and acrylic pastes. I also use natural ephemera. A personal favorite is the weave-like sheds off of palm trees. I also mix in everything from sea shells to found shed snakeskin.
The most obvious exploration of materials happens in my small studies on paper. With those, I fearlessly throw all sorts of materials against each other, to see what a violent mixture of ideas will create.
You should submit the Chippy Print to the Blueberry Fest Poster Contest (Marquette DDA).
Funny people pick up on that… Larry’s Chippy was created for that contest in 2018. He won! They had him up on a billboard and everything. I keep printing him, even though he doesn’t fit with my current work, because like a favorite song, the people want him.
What kind of paint are you using?
More than one person asked if I was using oils. Acrylics are incredibly versatile that way. I am also learning the nature of acrylic inks and will be adding them into the process as appropriate.
I would like to move towards paints with natural binders. Acrylics as versatile as they may be are made with a plastic binder and this weighs on my conscience. I am still in the research phase of looking into the possibilities.
Do you have a studio?
Yes. But probably not like you’d imagine. It’s an unheated building in my yard built of reclaimed materials. It is not exactly a place you can come visit at this time. That is a goal for the future.
Where else can I see your art?
I have work currently up at Presque Isle Station Studio and Gallery in Marquette, MI. They are a seasonal gallery and will not be open when the snow comes.
I often make special orders for people reaching out about a piece or photograph they saw. I will make it happen if I can.
I keep updating my website, I refresh it as I work. If you’d like to have a heads up on my activity sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page.
Do you ship?
At any time you can reach out to me to ask about a piece you’ve seen me post about. I’m able to print photographs from my hoard as well. If you see something you want, reach out to me CharleyLakesStudio@gmail.com▪️