Freewrite about my art work

Today's mission is to take 5 minutes (timed) to free write, with no deleting, or editing, about each project I have going on. These projects include my masks, my portrait illustrations, the reclaimed stretched canvases, the aids, archives, and art assemblies in belgium project, eventually my desire to make more murals. This is strictly talking about projects from my artistic process, not for Extra Medium.

5 mins. on  masks:

The masks for me are a project I would like to continue to develop. This includes making more of the same kind of mask, multiple typologies repeated. eventually creating a language or code I can repeatredly use in my sculptural work. Whether it means taking an element and making a simplified version of a mask with only that one element, or making other face accessories that take the shape of some of these codes. For example the flower crown on one of my masks can become a simple flower crown I repeat with different colors or materials, the hair in the big eyed monster red mask is a technique of recycling old socks, so that can easily be repeated many times. 

I'd like to focus more of my energy in making truly monochromatic pieces.

The concepts behind the masks were also very personal, tied to my experiences as a mexican amerian immigrant gay boy growing  up in a mexican household in Chicago. That's a mouthful. My HIV+ status, sexuality, gender expression, socialisation etc. all play a role in the masks and i'd like to be able to focus on one or the other in detail, or not. but continuing to use these as cues for making my work and eventually creating a story, be it a tragedy, a romance, a (one of the 7 basic plots) to really dig deep and >>> time's up

5 mins. on portrait illustrations

The portrait illustrations are in compliment to the masks, however they show more details that are a bit more difficult to execute in sculpture. somehow they are also simple in that they sit in a white void, which I don't know that i necessarily like. The mural I made for circle park allowed me to think about the background in a more structured way, so the drawings and illustrations I want to do in the future will have some more elements similar to that of the mural at circle park. (link here) 

Like the masks, these are a series of self portraits that are very personal to me. depicting my essence rather than my physical features. They are more of what a portrait ... they are more used or viewed like a portrait rather than being a portrait themselves, or at least not a self portrait. To me, a portrait is not only the image of a face and shoulders, it is also what is in the backgroundm in the surrounding image that composes a larger picture, a larger story than what a simple face can tell you, a *simple depiction of a face (cus let's face it -pun intended- faces are awefantabulasticsome) ... Time's up

5 mins. on the reclaimed stretched canvases

These area a bit tricky for many reasons. These have not yet seen the lgiht of day, except to a few lucky friends. I have posted a pic or two on social media regarding the process of these, but they are difficult to photograph (plus I am no photographer). I use calico fabric to make clothes, test garments, and to help me sketch out a garment.

These calico pieces then go unused, and usually discarded because calico is cheap both in price and meterial. Howerrrver, waste not want not. So i resea these oddly cut pieces back together into flat compositions. This lends itself to having weird curves and angled joints that you can only really see up close, or with a light behind it. The result is a patchwork with clean seams in the front, showing all the tailoring markings on some of the pieces. Slight color differences from the spots that were burned while ironing, or from pencil marks erased, or from whatever usage happened during the garment making process... which I love that it shows. 

The idea is to make simple stretched canvasses with these to then show the subtle yet chaotic composition. Chaos is my middle name. I am having trouble connecting these to my portraits or masks. there is a link to my sewing tailoring work, there are maps in these lines and markings, there are hidden >>> time's up

5 mins. on the aids, archives, and art assemblies in belgium project

This project seems to have been the culmination of my masks and illustration portrait series, masked appropriation. Because it deals with one subject that i slightly touch on and have slowly been more vocal about, my hiv status. This has been a liberating experience, and in this project I explored my history with the virus, while joining others and learning and hearing their story as well. This was a project like none I had done in the past and the process itself was the artwork. 

For years i have been talking baout how the process is more important than the ifnal piece, and I have finally been part of a project where this is extra evident. We focuse dour time and energy on programming, planning, hosting, and participating in an assembly and this became the center of the project. Anythingt that came out of this was, has been extra. two physcial pieces ahev been made for the project and fo rthe public to experience, but in reality the activities around these pieces are the artwork, not the pieces.

this is something i'd like to eventually think about when making new work, whether it is illustartive, sculptural or mural work. Making the focus of the art be the process, and the activites around the work. It's like when people say make the money make more money for you... or whatever, i'd like to make the art make more art for me...and thime's up

5 mins. on my desire to make more murals

So as a Mexican child, i learned about the great mural history that I came after. Since I can remember I have always admired murals, been wanting to paiont them as part of taking back my heritage. the heritage i learned about from afar, living in the united states. Taking back, re appropriating, essentialising, you name it, I want to make fucking murals damnit. I think part of the process of making art make more art for me is eventually making my drawings and illustrations into murals, this seems obvious now that I write it down, but this process of art making can involve, and it has already, involved other people, either making mural alongside with me and learning about a specific subject (circle park murals) or as a collaboration, and drawing exercises to come up with a design (collab for an open call with my friend Sterre L.) 

I think i just need to continue making work, and interlace the different processes to create a story that makes sense to me, or a series of small anecdotes that together make up thia lrger story, and from these anecdotres create activities fo others to tell their stories and create more art through those activities, and more collaborations and omg i think the coffee is kicking in.

So, heritage, activities, story telling, what else do we make art for?  >>> time's up 

 For now, I want to thank my bff Katreena Dyrek, for giving me the idea to do this activity after we talked about how we both have so many projects we start and want to do. We talked about ways of making sense of the clutter in my head, as an artist, a maximalist, a self diagnosed ADHDer ...  one of the most basic things, we as artists sometimes forget ... i know i have, and dreaded for some reason... is writing baout our work, reflecting on why we do it. It is very clear for us in our head, but it rarely, at least for me, comes out as words describing the what? where? why? how? and who? This is usually done for me if I have a show, or forced out of me when I need to send in an artist statement or bio.

This exercise will simmer here in the blog post. I will come back to it and ellaborate more on the things I saw come forward, the parallels between my projects, the oppositions and differences and how those can be come complimentary as a whole. VERY EXCITING WORK, she said "think of it as a medium, write a poem" and that is exactly what I will do about my canvases, because she was very eager to read that poem. 

Anyway, that's it for now.

Emmanuel Cortes January 17, 2024
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