Fox TV has asked me to write something for their social media about the source of materials used for the Last Man on Earth portrait. I found it a very interesting exercise to analyse the components of the work – something I’d not done before. So I thought I’d share the result here…
- For this project, I created a double portrait of Phil and Carol and a separate square of yellow materials to be cloned for extending the background. I estimate that there are 7550 items in the portrait and a further 3600 items in the yellow square
- I usually use a variety of found materials in my work, including plastic toys and small household items. For this work, the brief was to use only ‘bling’ and decorative items such as the character Carol would use for her bedazzling. This was quite a hard remit for me and made finding materials more difficult.
- I try to use mostly recycled materials, usually from car boot sales or from donations from friends and neighbours
- Charity shops have become quite expensive in the UK but with a tight deadline and a shortage of yellow materials, I searched many previously un-visited charity shops – with Coldplay’s song “Yellow” going around and around in my head!! Of course, now I no longer need it, I am seeing yellow things everywhere!
- While in discussion about the project, I spent a long weekend with my sister-in-law Cornelia, in Germany. She is a mosaic artist and the cream coloured ceramic triangles in the yellow background came from her studio – tiles originally from Turkey
- Also while in Germany, Cornelia and I visited a flea-market for materials for her work and mine. I found a bunch of 6 small wooden tulips – the green leaves are on Carol’s dress and 5 of the flower heads are in the portrait – yellow, blue, green, white and red. The only colour I couldn’t use was orange.
- In the same flea-market I found some flat wooden blue and white fish, shells and starfish – these make up the blue flower petals on Carol’s dress, edged with vintage diamante. The paler blue flowers are individual petals from a bunch of silk hydrangeas from a charity shop.
- Carol’s hair is made from leather suede thonging, jewellery chains, plastic and wooden beads. There are some dark brown glitter ‘criss-cross’ decorations there too, sent to me amongst antique buttons by a lady in USA who had seen my work on the internet!
- Carol and Phil’s teeth are cut from plant pot markers – they are recycled so I had to wash them thoroughly first
- There are many shells used throughout the work – very useful for flesh tones
Jane, I truly enjoy looking at you beautiful art pieces. Also appreciate the found and up -cycled objects, especially with respect to the painful reality that with the explosion of modern ideas and industry, and increasing creature comforts, many “advanced” people on our planet never think twice about throwing things away. You and the art you produce are an inspiration!!
Thanks so much Tracey N for your kind words – we are drowning under ‘tat’!