For our piece called “No Such As What I Want,” we created two distinct spaces – one above ground and one below. Our concept was to have a forlorn woman in a metaphoric shack. The ground beneath her would be entangled roots intertwining objects of her past. This piece was for the “Troublesome Houses” group show honoring musical legend Will Oldham, curated by fellow artist, Kevin Titzer and exhibited at Louisville Visual Art Association (LVAA), Kentucky’s oldest arts organization.
The creation of the roots and the underground set was detailed in the post, “Digging in the Dirt.”
For the above ground portion of the image, we created a simple shack that used a variety of textural elements to provide a rich environment despite it’s sparse furnishing. One grimy wall was half covered with authentic aged barn wood and the rest of the room was distressed to match. The picture below shows me aging the other two walls so everything would fit together.
One technique I LOVE is to covered walls and objects with a thin layers of tissue paper. I find it is a masterful and easy way to replicate pealing wallpaper, old leaves and aged skin. Its like glazing. It knocks down contrast & adds crinkly “dead” texture. The steps are simple – Apply colored tissue on ANY surface with watery Elmer’s glue. I used tan tissue glued over torn book pages on raw wood. You can smooth pleasing wrinkles into the surface by brushing on additional glue. The soft patina is gorgeous.
The grimy back wall was half covered in authentic barn wood and the exposed window surround was aged with dripping colors of umber, bronze and black. I created realistic grime drips by wetting the wall with a h2o spray bottle. I sloppily applied watered down acrylic paint at the top of the area and let it run, spraying as often as needed to encourage pleasing drips to occur. More water = more drips.
The other detail we added to the scene were a variety of personal photos. We used actual photos from both of our pasts and obliterated the faces so they would become more universal to the viewer and create a sense of ghostliness. I used a spray tint called ‘Movie Paint’ to age the pristine photo xeroxes. The wedding dress in the center is still paper white to give perspective. I used “beige” to yellow & “fullers beige” to mute & fade. This spray also comes in nicotine, rust, dirt & a myriad of other colors to ruin everything. It washes off plastic & metal or can be set with varnish. You can mail order it from the company or Film Tools.
Below are photos of the dressed set.
On set view of the gorgeous dress created by Kaytee Papusza for the shoot. It incorporated hand writing of Will’s poems.
The final image created called “No Such as What I Want,” shows how this top portion of the scene was added with the bottom underground set.