Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wall Art

I had a large, bare wall in my studio. I had originally intended to hang a large Amelie poster on this wall, but what that wall is made out of proved too hard to drill a hole into.
So the wall sat bare for almost two years, until a recent purchase at Ikea gave me an idea. The small drawer unit I got came packed with several bricks of Styrofoam. Looking at the bricks, I thought that they would be the perfect thing to stick on the wall, since they were lightweight enough that I'd be able to use sticky tack instead of nails or screws and I could have some fun dressing them up.

My original idea was to cover the Styrofoam with fabric. I have some Marimekko Kioto fabric stretched over two small frames hanging over my bed, so I considered wrapping the bricks with that pattern.

I played around with it and fabric-wrapped Styrofoam looks really really crappy. I mean, ick. It was going to look like I wrapped the Styrofoam up like a birthday present.

I changed gears a bit and decided to paint the bricks. As much as I love stitching and sewing, sometimes I love painting more. It's more visceral and quicker, a bit more satisfying creatively, even if you are only painting solid colors on Styrofoam. I did a test brick, to make sure that nothing crazy would happen when I put acrylic paint on Styrofoam.

It turned out all right. I put a second coat on and started with the other bricks. I laid the bricks out in a pattern that I thought would look nice on the wall. However, once I picked the bricks up to paint them, I promptly forgot what the design was. I applied the paint lazily. I just squirted it out of the tube directly onto the Styrofoam and spread it on. There was no mixing of colors, no concern about brush strokes showing.

The project took longer than I anticipated, but was finished within a few days. The end result is a bit De Stijl ish, I suppose, though I was originally going for some sort of mid century look.

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