Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Inspiration: Tie Dye and Michael Phelan

It's nearing the end of summer and for some reason that always makes me think of tie dye .... probably because right before school started, my nieces often wanted to work up some new shirts!  

We think of tie dye as something from the 60's and 70's counter culture or a nice summer camp project, but it actually has a long history in many cultures around the world.  Shibori in Japan and West African's indigo dying are just two examples.  

Not many artists use the method (other than clothing artists) in their work - it would be hard to pull off anything other than kitchy!  However,  conceptual artist Michael Phelan does it well, working with tie dye as well as several other media.

The Best Way Out Is Through (No. 11)

First of all, his work is huge ... we're talking wall sized sheets of linen that remind one of the giant canvases of Jackson Pollock!  His tie dye work is in concentric circles of various color schemes - one of the recurring themes is red, white, and blue.

The Best Way Out Is Through (No. 1)

The way he combines certain colors reminds me of studying Josef Albers back in art school ... how colors work differently together.

The Best Way Out Is Through (No. 2)

Phelan writes that his work looks at consumer culture, especially "how folk art traditions have been appropriated and recycled for a popular American sensibility."  You can read more about him and his work at his website here and in an interview with The New York Sun here.

And if all this has given you the itch to try some tie dye, see this past post here!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

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