Diandy Warbus

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Diandy Warbus

by Lauren Tam and Patrick Nagle

Diandy Warbus is a multifaceted project centered on encouraging people to create and share art by engaging with high art subjects and techniques using DIY methods and popular artistic forms.

I. Appropriation

The first step of the project was to appropriate 3 Diane Arbus photos and edit them in photoshop to create a high contrast version of the image. We then borrowed Andy Warhol's silkscreening method to make prints and screen coloring books, which contain a transparency of each of the photos along with 3 colored sheets of paper.

Our aim in appropriating Arbus' images and Warhol's technique was to create a sort of high art mash-up that would lend itself to reproduction (whether mechanical or not).
We also found the juxtaposition of these artists' subject matter appealing: Arbus' photographic gaze fell on freaks and outcasts, while Warhol employed mainstream, commercial methods (silkscreening) in his well-known depictions of mass-produced goods and celebrities. Both Arbus and Warhol's works are reproducible (and, hence, appropriable) by virtue of their media, a quality that our project capitalizes on.

Preprepared Surface

II. Collaboration

Diandy Warbus is a collaboration between two artists in a double sense: Tam/Nagle and Arbus/Warhol. While our contribution as artists is perhaps evident, Diandy Warhol also functions as a kind of posthumous collaboration between two of the most well-known and highly regarded 20th century artists.

Furthermore, in the process of making silkscreens and printing images, we collaborated with others who taught us new methods (for instance, using corn syrup and screen filler in lieu of photoemulsion) and provided valuable insight.

But the collaboration only begins with Tam & Nagle, Warhol & Arbus.

III. Sharing

We decided to employ various methods of sharing our work, each of which interacts with different modes of distribution and imparts its own understanding of "sharing." A series of prints coated in chalkboard paint placed in strategic locations with chalk and erasers allows for a broader public to participate collaboratively in the constant transformation of the image. The flexibility of the chalkboard surface makes space for anyone to interact directly with the work, while the ephemerality of chalk allows the work to remain open to multiple responses. Moreover, drawing with chalk evokes children's sidewalk drawings and classroom doodles, practices that merge accessibility and creativity, which we hope will encourage broader participation.

Triptych (Chalkboard Paint)

Another sharing tactic we employed was to participate in an established tradition of art sharing in the city of Providence, thereby making our work freely available to other artists who produce free art.

The third form of sharing we devised was to provide, at no cost, a "coloring book" that provides multiple ways to produce art. The transparencies included in the book can be laid over prepared drawings (à la Warhol), traced onto blank paper, or photocopied for a more traditional coloring book experience, while others may choose to make a silkscreen or employ an overhead projector to make light murals. Furthermore, the book's instructions include an email address to which contributors can send their work to be published on Flickr, making the project available to a much broader public.

inside contents of coloring books

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