Art 1 – underwater environmental artist – due 5/12/14

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Go to the following website: JasondeCairesTaylor

Navigating through the website, look thoroughly at the home page, the gallery, film, bio, and environment.

Post a response about what you find most interesting about Taylor’s work, any thoughts or ideas it inspires, and any questions that you would ask if you met him…

Our next painting theme centers on appreciation of the ocean and sea life. For your hour sketchbook drawing (in preparation for your next painting), sketch ideas relating to Taylor’s work and/or the following:

http://seymourcenter.ucsc.edu/exhibits/aquarium/

http://www.montereybayaquarium.org

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30 responses »

  1. I think it is so cool that he puts the sculptures down and lets them be taken over by the sea. It sort of contradicts everything we do with art. We put art in glass cases and keep it locked up and away from everything. This just leaves it out in the open to be damaged but it is part of the idea of the piece. I think it is so beautiful down on the bottom of the ocean but it seems almost like a waste because no one is going to see it in person. But I guess that’s the beauty of it.

    • You’ve made an interesting observation about art found in safeguarded museum/gallery settings versus the ocean environment, which invites the metamorphosing effects of sea life.

  2. I like how he sets the basis for the sculptures, but he lets nature do the art. I like the idea of the statues underwater, and the effect it has with lighting in the photos. When the statues are underwater, it seems like they are frozen in time. I associate this underwater art with the prediction that, due to water levels rising, the world will soon have it’s first ruins of cities underwater. I imagine diving and going to see the ruins. I like the idea of letting the ocean do the art. If I ever met this artist, I would ask him how he got the inspiration to make these underwater sculptures.

    • The underwater environment does provide a unique space for the sculptures. In addition to the forms appearing magnified, the light is refracted and scattered through the water. The resulting colors change dramatically according to the weather above. Yes, many of Taylor’s sculptures appear frozen in time – he commented that his work records these moments with themes of loss and fragility.

  3. I think it is interesting how he lets nature really take over the art aspect of it. It seems as though he makes the foundation and nature does the painting or creating of the visually pleasing parts of the art. It also gets more beautiful over time as the reef grows and attracts colourful fish. I also like how he is helping build artificial coral reefs and helping the marine life by just making art. I also like the idea that he makes art and nobody ever really sees it in real life except for a few scuba divers. It goes against what most people want to get out of their art; visual enjoyment and pleasure. My favorite sculpture was the piano because it looked cool with the beams of light coming through the surface and it contrasted its environment.

    • You make a nicely stated point, that Taylor “makes the foundation and nature does the painting…” If we consider the elements of art, in this case the artist starts with sculptural form and then turns it over to the ocean to compose other major elements: space, color, and texture.

  4. I find it interesting that Taylor uses his work to help the environment in a direct way. Some artists do use their work to help the environment by selling it to raise money for a good cause, or by doing something like that. But Taylor’s work goes to immediate use by being the base for creating new reefs. I also find it interesting how the newer pieces differ from the old and being able to see the marine life take over a sculpture. One of my favorite pieces is the woman with the purple fan type coral growing off of her arms. It changes her image from being an average person to being something like a fairy.

    • In addition to creating safe new habitats for marine life, the artist carefully selects new sites in order to divert tourists from delicate reefs to less impacted areas. I agree that there is a dynamic, ephemeral quality to the sculptures as they evolve through time on the ocean’s floor.

  5. What I found most interesting about Taylor’s work was that he has pictures of when he first puts his creations into the water and then keeps track of them and shows the evolvement. Like in the holly man, he shows just a statue with hole but then through pictures later you observe the slow growing plants coming out of the statue.
    I find that the work inspires my ideas to it makes me want to go for a swim but it also makes me want to draw more sea life (like coral and fish) that you see in the background and foreground of his work pictures. And the different plants flowing in the pictures and film made me want to draw jellyfish.
    If I was to meet him in person I would ask “what inspired you to do statues underwater?” “Did something happen in your life to trigger it or did it just come as an idea?” “Also where do you get your inspiration for all your different kind of statues?”
    My favorite piece was probably the Viccisitudes. I really liked the circle of statues. I don’t know why but it gave it a kind of harmony.
    In the video I liked seeing the fish and sand flow through the statues. It created a cool image.

  6. I like that Taylor’s pieces are never finished because the ocean is still working on them. I also like that he uses his art to help the environment that makes it, he gives something to the ocean and the ocean gives us art. I wonder if different coral and algae and stuff grows on different parts of statues, for instance if some like open spaces and others like crevices. If so, I think it would be amazing to create a statue that used those aspects for color or texture and was made so after stuff started growing on it, it becomes more and more life-like and not just life-covered.

  7. I found the last supper to be his most interesting work, for it felt as if it had a strong political message engraved into it. The table is empty first off which could be a reference to the growing amount of families that don’t eat together. The food itself is mixed with grenades, which could describe the growing unhealthiness of food in the present times. The piece itself, like many of his others, seems to be neglected by people and time. It is simple in design, but strong in meaning. I would like to mirror his art, less is more. I would like to ask him what he felt the true meaning of this piece was, and how long it took to install and dismantle.

  8. I really admire how he is able to let go of his pieces and let nature and the ocean add on to and finish them. I think not only does it look amazing, it is really inspiring that he’s willing to their details be obscured by seaweed, because while it ends up looking better eventually it must be hard to have his hard work covered. It inspires me to learn to let go and just let nature takes its course. If I could ask him anything, I’d ask him what inspired him to choose underwater art, and if he has a way to get specific seaweed types on each piece.

  9. As others have said here it is very cool that he puts all his art underwater. It’s a pretty haunting way to do this kind of thing, instead of putting it into a museum or some sort of art gallery he puts them in water. Sort of like a fish gallery. I’d want to ask him why he wanted to do these things the way he did and what his favorite piece was.

  10. What I find most interesting about Taylor’s work, is that he places some of it in locations that can be very herd to get to if you don’t have resources like a boat and scuba gear. I really like the way he lets nature grow on it though, and I think that the way the sea life enhances certain features on the statues is very beautiful. If I were to ask him a question, it would probably be what made him want to sink his sculptures and are there and projects that he would like to do if he had all the necessary materials and funds.

  11. I find Taylor’s camera angles to be one of the most fascinating parts of his art. He could have just taken full-body shots of these grown-over statues, but he chooses what parts of the statue to take pictures of and what angle to shoot it from. When it’s a shot involving more than one object or statue, the statues are put in the center of the picture, showing the man-made art contrasting with the natural beauty of the ocean around it. When it’s a single object, the shots become zoomed in, showing barnacle-covered faces that you only know have a statue beneath them based on context. Looking at the statues, you start to imagine they are real people, and perhaps think of a story behind the man with his head buried in sand or the circle of people holding hands.

    If I met Taylor, I would ask how he got the statues down and in position, especially the larger ones.

  12. I especially liked his two pieces, Viccisitudes and The Last Supper. I love how he installs the sculptures and then just lets the sea take them over. The first one, Viccisitudes, was all at once creepy, heartbreaking, and beautiful. It reminded me of a ship going down or something and all members of a family or group dying together… maybe that’s just me. I would ask him what he meant by it if I met him.

    • I also wonder if people are allowed to dive down and look at the statues, or if their only presentation is in photos. For me, statues are much cooler when you can walk (or in this case swim) around them, even touch them. I wonder if that’s possible with these.

  13. I think his work says something really profound about humans in general. It shows that what we build and do will affect nature for as long as those things stand. If I met him I would love to ask him why is it he does the things he does (art wise) and how the idea of underwater humans as reefs came to him. Very interesting and haunting but beautiful works. My favorite piece is the underwater piano, “man on fire” and “process”

  14. I liked that his art is always changing and that it is largely natural. I especially liked the sculptures of the man made of a metal web and the ring of people all holding hands and looking away from each other. If I were to meet this artist I would ask him if he is worried if the coral reefs that will form around his sculptures will be harmed by the tourism they will likely attract. Would it be better than the other coral reefs being harmed. Also I was wondering how long the sculptures are expected to last before they degrade.

  15. I found the way he uses nature to augment and complete his pieces to be really cool. He uses the ocean setting to finish each piece and make it more than just a sculpture but an entire setting or area that is all encompassed in the piece. It’s really interesting to see an artist that is using more than just a canvas or block of stone, but truly integrating their art with nature and using nature in it’s unmodified form as the backdrop for the art. If i were to meet him i would ask how hard it was to set up the pieces properly and what equipment he used for the job.

  16. I think it’s interesting and really cool how the photographer is underwater, yet manages to get interesting camera angles and really capture the mystery of the reefs. I think I’d ask him what he feels when he is taking pictures because I find the photos kind of eerie and think it would be really creepy having the silence and pressure of the ocean while taking the pictures.

  17. I liked how much the environment adds to the impact of his art. It almost doesn’t seem man-made but a sort of collaboration between an artist and the ocean- which is what I think he was going for. I really liked his ‘man on fire’ sculpture because of the sea growths and barnacles on it. It almost looked like a cool piece of coral or a reef at first. Unlike other forms of nature such as forests or mountains, the ocean is largely uninhabited by humans. This makes his sculptures of people particularly haunting.

  18. Putting his sculptures in such an extreme environment, it’s amazing to see how quickly the ocean takes over. Usually we try so hard to keep artwork pristine, and we’re not even allowed to take photos. But the artwork doesn’t seem to just be in the sculptures alone, but in how the environment changes the artwork over time. He conveniently chose crystal clears waters, which not only allows photographers a more transparent view but means that most of the alterations to his sculptures come from bottom dwelling organisms– which, with less salt content, are numerous, as seen with the multitude of colors growing on each sculpture until you can’t see the original medium.

  19. I think it’s really interesting that his pieces will never be the same–he places them down at the bottom of the ocean and then nature takes it’s course (as some other people pointed out). What really interests me, however, is not the journey from the original piece to what we see in the photograph but rather the changes that have occurred since the photograph was taken. My favorite photo on the site (a photo that is of art but is also a piece of art itself) is the close-up of the face with pink coral and green algae grown mostly over its eyes and the top of its nose. What has happened to that face in the last year, month, day? Has the coral descended completely over the nose, has algae crawled along its curved lips and gripped its chin? The beauty of his art, for me, lies in the knowledge that no one will ever see it exactly the same way because it is always changing. If I met him I would like to ask him what inspired him to choose the ocean as a part of his art.

  20. I love the ephemerality of his work. The idea that he just gives these sculptures to the ocean to and lest them have at it. It also interesting to see the dichotomy of the man made concrete with the living ocean. in a literal sense, he doesn’t put life in his art, the ocean does. I also love the idea that his art is both aesthetic and functional. it is pretty but it also functions as an artificial reef. This is another dichotomy as art isnt usually functional. I would ask him what kind of scenes he tries to create to put under water.

  21. I love how the colors of the water change how his work is viewed and how the water distorts the images of the sculptures. They combine manmade structures with nature. It’s lovely how the fish surround the statues so naturally. I’ve scuba dived with statues underwater and they’re really cool to see. Some of them remind me of the terra cotta soldiers a little bit. The statues seem so silent; it seems like remnants of a civilization that died when the water level rose or something like that. It is eerie, but the surroundings look so natural.

  22. The most interesting thing about Taylor’s work is how drastically it changes from staying in the sea. The sculptures are mostly normal going in, but after a while they look like they’ve been there for thousands of years. It’s kind of creepy, but still very interesting at the same time. It kind of reminds me of the thousands of statues found in that one Chinese tomb that were all unique, and had been there for thousands of years.
    If I met him, I’d ask him how he works around the environment of the ocean, and preserves the delicate areas he puts his stuff in. It seems like there would be a lot of regulations against littering in the sea, so he has to have been very crafty to circumvent that. Also, I’d ask him how he considers the ecological impacts of what he does, and if there have been any issues in the past with this

  23. I find a lot of things interesting about Taylor’s work, specifically because it is a something I have never seen before however it shows her skill and creativity. With a lot of art some of the skill and creativity is some what lost on me half the time but when I observe her work it has this hauntingly beautiful aura that is incredible to notice. The stark contrast between the mostly unknown of the ocean and the sometimes struggles of the sculpted figures is an intriguing relationship. I think another cool thing about his work is how the water after a period of time interacts and adds to the sculpture making it a part of the ecosystem and ocean in itself. The works also has this feeling that there was once populations there but then water flooded and now is this sunken memorial almost forgotten. If I could ask one question to Taylor it would probably about his inspiration and method.

  24. I thought it was really interesting that the sea life that grew on the sculptures were meant to enhance the effect in a natural, organic way. I wonder how he got them down to the ocean floor… were they dropped in or lowered with a crane? I also wonder how long it takes for the sea life to grow on the sculptures in such an intricate way.
    If there was no trace of human life on the continents and aliens came and saw these sculptures, I wonder what they would think about humans.
    Overall I love the idea of letting nature continue his work for him, creating an entirely different effect.

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