Aug. 22nd and 23rd: I decided to take a two day workshop at the Valley Farm Art Studio in Montfort, WI. (http://www.valleyridgeartstudio.com/index.asp)

The class is called Tunnel Vision and it was taught by Michael de Meng, author of SECRETS OF RUSTY THINGS. Michael is an assembly artist and his work is fantastic. Check him out at www.michaeldemeng.com. Below is what Michael came to teach us how to make.

Here is the course description: In this class, play a bit with forced perspective in a bookish format. Using layers of imagery, pages and found objects, you will create strange tunnels of imagery that seem to go back further and further. The deeper the viewer looks, the more mysterious the journey. In a way it's like reading an artbook without every having to turn the pages. Explore various assemblage, collage, and painting techiques. Get ready for visual spelunking.

So I went out to Southwestern Wisconsin on Tuesday night. We have had rain for 40 days and this part of the state is being flooded. There was water everywhere. I drove around and took pictures of various farms, natural things and living creatures. My motel was in Mineral Point, and hotbed of artist activity in Wisconsin.

Michael does not teach in the traditional way. I think it would be safe to say he shows a path and suggests you go down it for awhile, then take your own branch. Most of the students in the class were experienced artists where I had never picked up a brush in my life.

Wednesday and Thursday we were in class from 9:30 to 4:30. On Wednesday I stayed until 7:30 pm. Here is the piece I created that day.

This is the first object I created. It uses the words “Free Enlargement” and “Cost Less” combined with some old stereo speakers and shredded money to try to be a protest against loud advertising.

That night I could not sleep because I was so worked up after class. At 3:30 a.m., I wrote a short play about Abraham Lincoln and his cell phone called Character Assassination.

On Thursday I got to the farm early to try hike to the river but turned back when I realized why it is called “Valley” Farm.

This is the second piece I created. It uses parts of an old telephone set and imagery to tell the story of a man who is lying over the phone.

What I discovered is that no matter what I try to create, there was always a story behind the work. I kind of liked that.

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Comment by Gary Warren Niebuhr on August 29, 2007 at 2:25pm
Actually, I had not considered sound. But next year Michael is coming back to make light boxes so I will have that to look forward to if I take the class. Thanks for checking in on my stuff.
Comment by Naomi Hirahara on August 26, 2007 at 4:10am
Awesome, Gary. I've taken a book making class that integrated some of the techniques you've mentioned, but we didn't use found objects or consciously tried to tell a story. I find it interesting that both your pieces involves the concept of audio to some degree. Will you be using sound next in your media pieces?

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