The journey to creating my final piece for DAAPworks 2014 was certainly not an easy one; I can honestly say that I have never worked so hard on anything in my life. So, to have one final piece reflect my four years at DAAP, I am beyond satisfied with the result:
My previous blog posts explain the process of designing my piece in Photoshop and creating the images to be used as lenticulars. Below is the culmination of process photos from that point onwards, including creating the lenses and attaching them to the panel:
Annnnnnd after three months, it was finally finished!
This wonderful circular panel was left behind by a graduating friend from last year who didn’t have room to store it.
After starting a painting on it at the beginning of the year, I decided to stop; I had a feeling that I should wait. So, I took it off the wall and began to work on smaller paintings. Then, after a few months of consideration, I realized what the panel would become.
Because I am doing my thesis on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honeybees, I have decided to use this panel as a basis for my final piece:
This piece will function as a lenticular image (like the piece I used for the Dry Run show) where one side of the image will be a mandala of all of the fruits and vegetables we will lose without honeybees, and the other side of the image will be a farmer in a monoculture field with white cutouts of honeybees. The photo above illustrates what the transition will look like, although both images will look equally as faint/visible in the physical product.
Below was my first idea for one of the images. I decided against it because I didn’t want to be too obvious at first of what it is about. The image of the farmer in the monoculture field (monoculture = one crop in a large area) also works better conceptually, as monocultures have a huge effect on how honeybees forage, not to mention the widespread use of pesticides sprayed onto monocultures.
In order to bring out the honeycomb effect, I am cutting each lenticular into a hexagon shape. While some lenticulars will be transitioning from left to right, others will be transitioning from up to down. This, I hope will be a subtle yet effective way to get across the idea of the honeycomb.
I finalized the image ideas last night, and saved them all as individual files this morning (each hexagon shape became its own file > 6.7″ X 8″ for both the mandala image and the farmer in the field image).
My next step is to merge the images together using SuperFlip! which is a software program by VueThru. Once my lenticular lenses/photo paper arrive in the mail, I will print all 160 hexagons and mount them to the lenses. Finally, I will mount the lenticulars onto the circular panel.
I’ve got a lot of work to do, but am SO excited to see this all come together in the end.
So I’m starting to get back into abstraction as a break from my thesis work. For this series of landscapes, I am combining elements of doodles I’ve drawn with the imagery from used-up receipt rolls (the flamboyant colored ink that is left behind). For some reason, I am drawn to using these elements in landscape form. In the past, these paintings have been very flat. Now, I am try to push back my forms to give a sense of space.
The one above is certainly not done. The one below is close.
I don’t really know what I feel from these yet. But it’s something along the lines of this song, if that makes any sense at all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpVfF4U75B8
I have decided to focus my senior thesis on the disappearance of honey bees.
My current plans for DAAP Works include mounting a series of hexagon-shaped lenticular prints onto an 84″ X 84″ circle panel in the shape of a honeycomb.The lenticulars will work as a flip image, with one image being a mandala of all the fruits/vegetables we will lose without bees, and the other image being a collage of bees (When you look at the panel from the left side, you will see the mandala, when you look at it from the right, you will see a collage of bees).
I have started to design the mandala using Photoshop. I am using the internet to find images of fruits and vegetables, using this site as a reference to which fruits and vegetables we will lose without honeybees to pollinate them.
This is somewhat of a continuation of my piece, “E. coli Runoff” that I displayed in the Dry Run show, which utilized both the circle and the lenticular. This time, however, I am focusing on a different aspect of mega farming.
On Sunday, October 13th, I ventured out to Johnstown’s Ohio Fresh Eggs, one of the largest egg factory farms in the country. (PETA did an undercover investigation here last year and discovered some pretty gruesome stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADOupA6uRvE). My initial goal in visiting Ohio Fresh Eggs was to collect water samples from the runoff streams and test its pH (which I did). I would then use the different colored pH strips to collage with meat receipts to make more factory farm paintings. However, after taking my samples home and doing more research on pH, my priorities changed.
I planned out my trip before I went using Google Maps. I tried to find streams that were as close to the factory farms as possible (example: Site A, B, and C above). I also decided to sample from a source that was a little further away (Site D) in order to explore the changes in water depending on distance.
With my boyfriend by my side for emotional support and an obnoxious “I love Farm Sanctuary” bumper sticker stamped to the back of my car, we drove out to the boonies to see what was up.
Site A (below) was the first set of buildings we arrived at.
For each site, I collected two samples: one that strictly had water and another that included water and soil from the bottom of the stream.
The second set of buildings we went to (Site B) were actually not in use. Regardless, I still wanted to collect samples just to see different results. From this location, I collected samples from a puddle that was connected to a drain and a running stream about ten feet away. I ended up labeling the jars “Site B” and “Site B2.”
Because this site was not in use, I decided to take advantage of the amount of exploring I could do. The first thing I did was walk through a corn field that was right next to the stream I sampled from.
I also drove behind the farm to get closer to the “manure lagoon,” which holds manure (in this case, chicken manure) until it is spread onto surrounding fields as fertilizer.
Site C (below) was the largest set of factory farm buildings we went to.
I didn’t get any photos from Site D, but we did go through the gates of Site E to get some photos.
Once I had my samples at home, I made my own pH paper strips using red cabbage juice and coffee filters. All tests turned blue (pH of 7.0-8.0), meaning that the water did NOT fall within the Tri-State’s pH standard (6.0). After researching more on pH, however, I realized that testing the water just once doesn’t really provide enough information to prove anything. In order to truly understand the pH of this area, I would have to take samples every month or so for a year and get an average pH. Rather than focusing on this aspect of the chain, I decided to look into other problems of water runoff from factory farms, specifically one of the worst problems, E. coli.
E. coli is a species of bacteria that lives in the intestines of people and other vertebrates (animals with spines). Although the bacteria that naturally exist in your intestines are harmless and helpful in digestion, eating or drinking E. coli that comes from outside, such as in polluted water or meat that has not been processed safely, can cause severe food poisoning or even death.
In factory farming, manure and waste is untreated. It is stored in manure pits or lagoons and then ultimately applied to surrounding farm fields as fertilizer. Because factory farms produce so much waste in one place, it is applied to the land in quantities that exceed the soil’s ability to incorporate it. As a result, the manure seeps into local streams and groundwater and can end up contaminating drinking water.
On a whim, I decided to order an E. coli testing kit.
After starting my tests, I had to wait 48 hours. The results, I must say, are terrifying:
What these tests say is that there IS a presence of E. coli in the majority of these runoff streams, especially in Site C. It is also evident that the E. coli contamination has spread to a location far away from the actual factory farm buildings (Site D). The samples that contain soil are harder to distinguish but still read as dark blue (presence of E. coli).
At this point, I am taking these results in and figuring out exactly what they mean for local neighborhoods and distant consumers.
Another interesting aspect of my rotten food paintings is the effect on the other side of the surface in which the food is rotting on. Although much more disgusting than the front side, there is something to be said about the mold that grows through the back:
After the one-month rotting period came to an end, I peeled off my store-bought non-organic tomatoes to find a rather interesting print. During the first few minutes of peeling off the tomatoes, the remaining print was yellow. When I came back about 2 hours later, the yellow had turned to blue. A few hours later, the print started to turn transparent. From what I can remember, this transition did not happen to the organic tomatoes, although I would have to re-test the experiment to be sure. I am wondering what caused such a significant color change in the non-organic tomatoes, whether it be the chemicals used or something else in its DNA. Regardless, the print is gorgeous.