Ethan Brewerton | Erin Cunliffe | Arnethia Douglass | Sarah Sparkowski | Emilia Stronk
West Gallery | May 28 – June 26, 2021
I’ve always been obsessed with how things work and how I can create new things. Taking them apart, putting them back together. Because of this, I’ve always struggled with the fear of doing things incorrectly. These kinds of drawings come directly from my attempts to combat that anxiety, by allowing myself to have a stream of consciousness where ideas just flow without worry about whether it looks right or not.
These drawings are an expression of my understanding of how things work, both in 3 dimensions, and two. Pulling from my knowledge of machinery, biomechanics, mythical creatures, and aesthetics, the shapes just flow out of my brain into my hand. The more I think, the harder it is to do them.
Arthur Goes to...
Arthur Goes to... is an idea that was developed over a long period of time. Arthur is a green alien, often clad in Hawaiian shirts, who I first started drawing when I was very young and I have continued to draw ever since. The idea for this series of images was something that came from a conversation with my mother. During the conversation my mother and I discussed the amount of traveling I had been doing in the last few years since it had been quite a bit, at least until Covid... She told me that it would be fun to put Arthur, who she has seen me draw from a young age, in the places that I go. After we talked, I went home and started to think of how great of an idea it was, and I started to draw. The goal for these images is to have the feeling of snapshots in time, like photos you would take on vacation. However, with the events of the past year the concept of Arthur traveling has changed and, much like the rest of us, he has been socially distancing for the good of those around him. This series of images has allowed me to explore this character that I have spent most of my life with.
While exploring my surroundings and environment over the years, my artistic view has changed considerably. The more I know, the more I grow. I am inspired by so many things; shapes and patterns, cultural norms, people, science, global warming, religion, pollution of our waterways and governmental impact on society. As artists, I believe we can be beacons, as we creatively interpret and express. “our time”, through our art to our communities. My artist journey is filled with music and dance, raffia and ink and thoughtfulness,+ with bursts of spontaneous inspiration. Welcome to the world of “Nee”!.
When creating this series, I drew upon my background in printmaking, working with physical layers in a more direct manner rather than layers of ink pressed onto paper with the help of a machine. I took images from my personal archives: a dead rabbit, gloved hands, and an excursion to Kane’s Market where I photographed the butchering process. These three elements comprise the basis of my exhibition. In addition, I enhanced the pieces with Color-Aid paper to lay in flat shapes throughout the compositions. Finally, I completed the pieces with subtle mark making in graphite.
Recurring themes in my work have been animal cruelty, the slaughterhouse, lore, and the plight of the innocent. Sometimes, I interject an element of humor into my works. I create a narrative using images as my vocabulary.
Chip on the Shoulder, deals a lot with the idea of reaching out to people, to give or receive help, and healing. These seven pages are only a snapshot of the larger body of work. I feel as though, later on, the message can also be that love and support will not always solve a problem, but it is so much better than doing it alone.
Witness our main character, Kyana, as he struggles through the end of one of the worst days in his life. He is a boy who has a hard time confiding in others and asking for help, which, in a way, is exactly how he ended up outside in a blizzard. This scene marks a change in the relationship between Kyana and the demon who is stuck to him. Often, the demon is depicted as sinister, needling, or a nuisance, but in this instance, he shows concern and encouragement. The work is being published online on Tapas.io, a free publishing site for webcomics. It is currently at 24 episodes with 66 pages and more to come!
I hope that this work will encourage people to reach out to each other.