Art Making

I’ve been making more art these days. I have always enjoyed the hands on process. Finally I’m falling into my own niche with my photography. I used to think I wanted to be a commercial photographer, but in reality, that ship has sailed. Perhaps later in my career when I am a little more developed. For now, the photograph serves as a means to make art.

I decided to allow my creative process to develop on it’s own, stop forcing myself to do things I don’t really care for. Since I love to build things with my hands, I have been using mix media and collage work to share my inner workings, what I find beautiful. I feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and one thing is leading to another, no need to look up and try to figure out where I am.

In college, we called this the creative spiral. Every so often I would look into it, but never really dove in head first. Maybe dangled my legs over occasionally. Worried about landing on my feet. I have come to learn, it’s easier to just let go. After all, it is what it is. And it’s much easier this way.

Right now I’ve become enamored with this translucent pearly gold. I’ve always enjoyed gold leafing, but now I am playing with different mediums. The layering over a deep crimson red has pushed me down a different path, somewhere I’ve not been before. It’s rather intoxicating. The way the gold shimmers, the pearl plays on the refraction of light… bouncing around in the depth of the medium. It’s a beautiful thing up close.

All of these iridescent colors mixed with golds remind me of the Art Deco movement,  luxurious colors and materials, modern clean lines. I have always loved this era, the rebellion that came right before it. Pulling away from the garish, over stated highly ornamental designs of the past. Simplifying and reforming the perception of splendor and opulence.

Here’s something I’m working on, something that makes me smile and inspires me to continue my course in this sumptuous direction. It is reminiscent of religious art, the gold and as Ashley staed, the downward gaze. It really is a encouraging piece. It makes me impatient for my supplies to come in. Ahhh, but the wait is good for me. It’s a little torturing but gives me time to put my thoughts together.

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Longing to Be Me Again

Longing

Longing to be me again is something I often catch myself doing. Reminiscing the days when I was social, when I wore make up and cared about what people thought. Sometimes it’s nice to just dress up and be complimented. These days there is more quiet in my diet and less chatter. I introvert some times of the year, reflect on my growth and think about where I want to go from here.

Duality has taken me to many places in and out of my mind. I always end up back where I start. Some call it full circle, I call it refueling. Gathering my-selves and estimating our worth. I’ve learned so much and feel like I’m just beginning. Not starting over, just moving in a different direction. Changing my sway, my swagger… but still to a beat. The music never stops for me, it just changes tempo.

 

Duality: A Visual Essay

Here’s a mini essay about my Duality project. It’s been a challenge and a blessing. Through my project, I have done so much inter-personal work. It’s been an eye opener about myself and people around me. You really get to understand the human psyche and see through peoples actions and intentions. It’s left me feeling raw and humbled.

du·al·i·ty : the quality or state of having two parts

du·al·i·ty

noun \dü-ˈa-ləә-tē also dyü-\ : the quality or state of having two parts

Duality is my long term, photography project falling under the fine art genre. The intent is to create a series of self portraits, that speak to the viewer both visually and mentally. I intend the images to be reflective and reveal meaning behind the evolution of the “Self”.

     “I am conscious of myself and become myself only while revealing myself for another, through another, and with the help of another…”

~Bakhtin

In my own journey of becoming a self aware subject, I look into the works of 20th century Russian literary theorist, Mikhail Bakhtin. Bakhtin’s theory on self realization through the use of a another is key to giving meaning to ourselves and our art. As I produce my duality self identifying images, I have gotten to know myself better. Through playing multiple roles of myself, I can explore the meaning of this quote.

I hope you enjoy my images as much as I enjoyed the journey that brought them to life.

Bakhtin; Self Through Another

“I am conscious of myself and become myself only while revealing myself for another, through another, and with the help of another…”
         ~Bakhtin

1 on 1

In my own journey of becoming a self aware subject, I look into the works of 20th century Russian literary theorist, Mikhail Bakhtin. Bakhtin’s theory on self realization through the use of a another is key to giving meaning to ourselves and our art. As I produce my duality self identifying images, I have gotten to know myself better. Through playing multiple roles of myself, I can explore the meaning of this quote. I step into two pairs of shoes, one my extroverted perceived self and the other, my private centered self. I tend to let them both have time to exercise their beliefs and projections. For my perceived self, it’s my notion of how I want people to see me. It’s my style and my likes that manifest into this person. It’s my confidence and my self esteem that are allowed to act out here, in this form. I take pleasures in the everyday and relate to pop culture and the general public. I enjoy the attention I receive and it gives my ego a immediate gratification.

Then there is my centered self. My private life, my introverted side. This is the real Melody, no show, no ego. It’s who I am and whom I’ve always been. This part of me doesn’t really change so much as the perceived self, which is always in flux… reacting to the world around. This introverted self is where I come to feel a sense of center. It’s when I relax and reflect on my life. In my room, all alone in privacy. This side of me does not react to social media, does not act aggressively, but it rests. It absorbs the day’s experiences and slowly makes needed changes in thought and in mindful ways.
By allowing myself to have a dual relationship with myself, I am learning and revealing myself to myself. I am growing spiritually as well as physically. I shoot these self portraits because I feel the urge to express both sides of my personality with my tools of photography. I use these dual images to explore my insecurities and to help me better understand who I am and what direction to move in. This illustration of my innermost ideals make me vulnerable but without them I would not have the clarity that I do now.
Because of my dual nature and the ability to recognize them, I can also find myself in others. I see my past in people, my own struggles and breakthroughs. I listen to people speak of their own life adversities and I can relate because I know too well the trials of life. I can speak up or I can choose to sit quietly and learn more. I learn more about the person as well as myself as I hear their emotions in their voices. I hear passion and pain, I relate. I recall things I may have suppressed. I know it’s all coming to me in good time. I learn more about myself with each conversation. Bakhtin believed that we could not come into consciousness without the unavoidable social element of dialog. To participate with another we find meaning in our own existence.
I am learning not to judge people, but to let them reveal so that I may share in my own revelations in order for us both to grow. I am slowly becoming more conscious of myself, everyday. I have come out of this shell and off this island to allow people back into my life.
I realize that the more I communicate or listen, the more I recognize and embrace my own flaws and my progress.

     “I cannot manage without another, I cannot become myself without another; I must find myself in another by finding another in myself (in mutual reflection and mutual acceptance)…”
                                          ~Bakhtin

I comprehend the notion of not being able to live without another, even if that other is my other. Without another, I have no one to reflect upon. I would always be self absorbed not looking out. In the beginning of my duality self portraits, I was always looking in for answers. As the project developed I steadily started to look outward. First at artists I would read about, Frida Kahlo was a major influence in understanding the relativity between me and the people out there in the world. I started to see myself in her.

     “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
                                           ~Frida Kahlo

I chose to shoot self portraits because I also knew no one better. I had been alone for so many years in a deep depression. I felt that if I didn’t find a way to express my duality, I may go mad. I use photography as a tool to illustrate what I cannot say and to identify myself … my inner thoughts and self expression. In my art I convey this notion of simultaneously existing with my alter ego or other. It is this mirror that I look into my own eyes as if I am looking into another’s.

I became aware of many things with my duality but not really until I began to see the people around me as teachers of life. Once I moved out of my tiny studio and into a house with a close friend, I felt I came full circle. We have a syntax and a language that not only comforts me with familiarity, it stimulates my intellectual and my memories. As I came out of my depression,  I threw away all ideals of myself and people during this time. I have resurfaced as a new person, an coexisting as the same person I was before. I have been getting to know myself again these past few months through the help of friends and reconnecting with people. I feel like I have grown immensely since this Summer, since I immersed myself back into society. I am allowing myself to see life through others eyes. Without all of these people, I would not have a sense of who I am. Without them, I would still be a scared girl, vulnerable and afraid to come out of the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited:
Task of the Teaching Life: Self Through Bakhtin Dialog and Ideological Engagement, Douglas McKnight http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02698878
Bodies of Meaning: Studies on Language, Labor and Liberation. David McNally pp 123- 129

She’s Like Day & Night

Day & Night

 

This is my second image from the newest Duality series. There’s a lot more going on in this scene, I’ve illustrated my own day and night habits.

I try to think logically in the mornings, it’s hard to wake up but I know I need to get my work done early before my distractions start chiming in. This side of my brain has loads of common sense and tends to be straight forward, well organized and rational. I tend to be a little more OCD in this mindset. It’s how things get done around my house. This is the stress inducing Melody, she speaks her mind and isn’t afraid of offending anyone.

While the night time is for my right brained activities. I stay up very late and work creating until I’m exhausted and pass out. I research projects endlessly, brainstorming my ideas for the week. I work without concern for organization or logical thinking. It’s all imagination and vision when I am in this mode. I tend to be more emotional when I am creative. I reminisce and use my past experiences to drive my work. This Melody is more prone to stay inside for a week while she creates her newest masterpiece. She doesn’t care for the general public and finds the inside of her home and her garden a bubble from the rest of the world.

For this image I was inspired by Dave Hill. His composites have been pushing me to try harder. Occasionally I look back on the photographers that have influenced me over the years, and I find something new. Some new technique I never noticed before… it was confidence this time. The confidence to create an image that I am not experienced at. This was my first transitional composite. Going from day to night in one frame is exciting for me. It shows me how far I’ve come in the last year. My concept is evolving and all I have to do is work hard and maintain this balance.

Thank you for checking out my progress. It’s going to be a fantastic fall, stay tuned for another installment of Duality by Melody.

For Sale; Los Angeles, City of Gold

I have  made a set of 5 black and white images of Los Angeles and printed them using an archival method on 23 karat gold. The gold sheen is beautiful when the sun hits. Each image captures a part of Los Angeles that is lost in the mayhem of street signs and clusters of buildings. It’s all a part of my lost cities I’ve been working on. I am debuting it with Los Angeles.

There is a limited run of 5 each. It takes about 3-4 weeks to make each image. They are all hand crafted and unique. These 5×7 images are all mounted, matted and framed before shipping. Each image is 150.00 plus 25.00 shipping (within the USA). If you are interested in the entire set, $700.00 shipped, in the U.S.A.

Please let me know if you have any questions before purchase.   info@melodyhallphotography.com

They can be purchased here.

http://www.melodyhall.bigcartel.com

 

 

 

Actual Image

A Little Death & Duality @ Fame Chicago

seven n seven  Please Stand By

la sucia

seulement vous

This past weekend a new restaurant, Fame, opened in the Chicago neighborhood Wicker Park. I was asked to submit some work for the opening. These are the 4 that grace some of those walls. These are an extension of the Duality series I’ve been working on for the past few years. I always imagine killing off one of my egos. This set has been a lot of fun, super creative and dark. I’ll be posting the rest as they come to life. Here are some links to the restaurant, if you are in Chicago…. stop by!

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