The Underground Planetarium


A few months back, a good friend Leigh Medeiros asked me if there were no limits at all, what my creative fantasy would be.  I took some time to think, and then began to imagine a multimedia art installation with sound and imagery that merges scenes from outer space with sacred geometry symbols and visual interpretations of sound waves. At the time it all seems so elaborate and fanciful. It seemed like a wild playful fantasy.

But then I thought…. hmmmm.  What’s stopping me from trying?

I am so privileged to be part of the Hotpoint Emporium artist co-op in Bristol RI, which allowed me to allocate a very unique space in their Underground Gallery to build this creative experiment of mine. I’ve spent months developing my Planetary Hybrid series of metal prints, and for the Planetarium project I went BIG. Shimmering metallic artworks span three walls of a dark cave-like environment, illuminated almost as if by the light of the stars themselves. There is a soundscape of outer space recordings from NASA and even a stool for sitting in contemplation. And visitors to what I like to call the Underground Planetarium can even take piece of it home with them! Artworks are available as small as 4×6″ and as large as 16×24″.  Prices starting at $25.

Is it out of this world?  You’ll have to come see for yourself, but for me it is beyond my wildest dreams!

Hotpoint EmporiumPlanetarium located in the Underground Gallery
39 State Street • Bristol RI
open 7 days

  

Day 47: JenCharleson.com

JenCharleson.com
fully functional website!

No small undertaking, this website. And while there is no such thing as “finished,” I finally feel ready enough to call it a website and go public!

Day 46: somersaults

Somersaults
Digital imaging

I’ve been in kind of a weird space the last few weeks, sort of incubating I suppose. Sometimes it’s like making bread, need to give things time to rest or rise before putting more work in. So I’ve decided to make a list of things I can use my daily practice for when perhaps “creativity” isn’t as accessible. One of the things I find beneficial is to push the edges and cross boundaries into territories I might normally find unpalatable. Take bigger risks, be sloppier, experiment, experiment, experiment. Today’s experiment is the artistic version of mixing metaphors to the point of incomprehensibility. It’s a ‘hybrid’ that features both a planetary surface and a galaxy cluster; and it blends in three different artworks, each offering another layer of abstraction.

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it a finished work and send it to print, but I do love what I’m seeing here.

Learn more about: 48 Days of Creative Devotion

Day 45: Vocalise

Vocalise
5×7” mixed media with pen and ink

Was craving a little more control over fine lines and details (and I don’t mean age related, lol) so I decided to put the brush away and see what my quill pen might accomplish. I really like it, and look forward to much dexterity practice to see what other expressions I might come up with. There are more than a couple of happy accidents here; my favorite being the accidental “reflection” caused by attempting to set it up for pressing before the gold dot was dry.

The title is a musical reference. This started as an abbreviated visual representation of the ratio of wave frequencies in a major triad.

Learn more about: 48 Days of Creative Devotion

Day 39: DIY preliminary prototyping

DIY preliminary prototyping

The Planetary Hybrid series I’ve got in development is meant to be printed on metal. But printing on aluminum is absolutely nothing like paper, so I’ve been learning a lot and testing different methods as I go. Of the many printing techniques I’ve tested, sheer printing directly on the metal with a high gloss coating presents the most challenges, but for the right artwork, it also means the biggest payoff.

Instead of this entire series being printed the same way, a combination of print methods will be fine tuned for each piece based on what the artwork needs. It better suits my “mixed media” sensibilities to have many options to distinguish the works from each other.

For the sheer gloss piece I’ve been working on, I’ve been playing around with incorporating lighting into the finished work. I spent my day attempting to devise a few clean and simple ideas that will look seamless and professional even if the buyer assembles it at home.

Those are all still tightly under wraps, so today I don’t have picture for you.

Learn more about: 48 Days of Creative Devotion

Day 38: Mars Musings (WIP)

Mars Musings (WIP)
Digital concept artSome recent test prints I got exploring a few pending Planetary Hybrid ideas on aluminum exploded my brain. I didn’t show them to you because they put me in a weird but awesome place with that series.

I hope it makes sense when I say I feel humbled by the whole thing and maybe a little unsteady. It’s kind of like I need to grow into my own vision. I don’t want to rush into any new releases right now because I’m starting to feel it deserves a bigness I am not exactly able to accommodate… yet.

So pardon me while I duck into a bit of an intuitive cave, feeling my way toward allowing my inner space to become an ambassador for outer space. Or the other way around. I’m starting not to remember the difference.

In the meantime, feel free to eavesdrop on the whispering currently going on between Mars & Me.

Learn more about: 48 Days of Creative Devotion

 

Day 34: Inner Compass

Inner Compass
6×6” mixed media

First attempt at a compass rose and a new technique I’d like to develop where the final effect looks like liquid metal poured into burnt/carved wood covered with varnish.

Of course some day I’d also love to do one of my symbols as a burnt wood carving filled with metal and covered with varnish. But for now, I’ll settle for the challenge of making paper look like that.

Today I nearly mastered the technique of “trying too hard.”

Learn more about: 48 Days of Creative Devotion

Day 33: Liquid Light

Liquid Light
8×10” mixed media with metallics

This is a revamp of a piece from last year that I felt came out too dark. It probably won’t surprise anyone to hear this is not an unusual “problem” for me. 😉 I liked this one too much to give up though, so I decided to let it sit in the cooker until a new idea came to mind. Today it occurred to me… metallics!

This particular silver ink responded differently to my line technique than I expected, and at first I was annoyed. But then I noticed it looks a little like ripples or waves which reminded me that I very recently told someone that one ingredient I wish I could use in my work was liquid light. So there ya go, Manifest Destiny!

Learn more about: 48 Days of Creative Devotion