If you had to make a surrealist sculpture only with office supplies and a finger monster, what would you make? Walking around the 14th floor of the Tribune Tower with a finger monster wedged onto my finger, I weighed my options.
Surrealism is all about irrational juxtaposition of images and words. So simply take one object and merge it with another object. Finger monster + office supply = surrealist object.
Picking the supplies
Perhaps the arms of the finger monster could be cut off and reattached to a stapler. But how to attach the arms? A cardboard box of staples could easily hold the arms. Simply cut a hole into a small cardboard box. But that didn’t have enough surrealist impact.
Using office supplies is a challenge when making artwork. No matter what office supply you use, the resulting artwork still looks like an office supply.
Rummaging around through tape dispensers, sticky notes, whiteboard markers, the one obvious office supply stood out. White-out. The finger monster would fit perfectly atop the brush/cap. Then I could paint the monster all-white. The fact that this would have PAINT on it helps to make it look more like an artwork, because artwork has paint. Paint = art. Or in this case, Finger monster + office supply + paint = surrealist object.
Painting a finger monster with white-out sounds simple, right? No. Actually it’s quite challenging.
First, you want to paint the finger monster when it’s on the white-out bottle. But if the finger monster is already on the white-out bottle’s cap and brush, how do you paint the finger monster? You can’t. UNLESS you have a second white-out bottle. Thankfully one of my co-workers had an extra white-out bottle squirreled away in his desk. (Curtis, I owe you one white-out bottle tomorrow!)
Now that you have a second bottle of white-out, let’s get to painting. This should be fast, because white-out dries fast, right? No. white-out does not dry on rubbery plastic. It doesn’t dry at all. When applied on paper, white-out absorbs into the paper. When applied on rubbery plastic, it sits on the surface, unsure what to do. Even the space heater from my work desk could do no good to make the white-out dry.
You can make a white-out monster surrealist sculpture creation just for the fun of it, but I had an extra reason. The Art Institute of Chicago that night was giving free passes to the Magritte show from 5pm-8pm if you brought a “surrealist object” to the museum. Totally awesome promotion, right? That’s right. But I couldn’t hand in a sticky, wet artwork. The Art Institute has super strict rules. In fact, I blogged about them earlier this week. They are a crazy long list of restrictions. Things like, no feathers, no sequins.
Showing up with a sticky monster would simply be unacceptable. Wet paint surely is on their list of unacceptable materials. Time was running out. The Tute’s deal was to show up between 5-8pm for free access. It was already 6:30.pm I had to get my artwork dry!
Rushing to meet the deadline brought back memories of being an art major trying to finish paintings before critique. The paint has to be dry! He professor doesn’t accept wet paintings! Get out the hair dryer and point it at the canvas while you paint!
Now 20 years later I’m doing the corporate equivalent with my desk’s space heater drying a white-out sculpture. Thankfully I just so happened to have a tube of white acrylic paint at my desk–a gift from my former manager, part of a yo-yo customization kit. PERFECT!
Of all things, I just so happened to have ACRYLIC paint at my corporate desk inside Tribune Tower. Not oil paint for that would not dry in time. Not watercolor for that wouldn’t cover the monster. Not that other crap craft paint that chalks up. But good ole reliable acrylic. On top of that it was WHITE, perfectly imitating white-out.
If you happen to be making a white-out monster at work, make sure to bring some white acrylic paint to work first. It will make your job a whole lot easier. The space heater speeds drying up too. Now the White-out Monster is ready to attack!
Stay tuned for the next blog post where the White Out Monster attacks Chicago as it gallops down Michigan Avenue towards the Art Institute. Rawr!