The Art of Susan Janvrin

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Chosen!

I have been chosen as the Emerging Artist for Gasparilla Festival of the Arts! I have been awarded my own space and a small stipend for supplies. This will be my first art festival. I’m very excited and grateful to be joining hundreds of accomplished artists from all over the world. Crowd is roughly 250,000.

Come see my work 3/2 and 3/3: http://gasparillaarts.com/

The Story Behind The Sound Experiments

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Featured in the Art After Dark: Turntable Remix were 4 audio/visual pieces, each based on a pair of vintage recordings carefully selected by Matt Normand and myself. After digitizing them, we cut the two records and glued one half of each together.  Then, we picked a spot on the vinyl where two familiar songs lined up. Using Ableton Live 7, Matt precisely edited together the audio to match the visual for a complete experience.

One’s brain will always try to make sense of whatever it is perceiving at the time. It was important for us to choose songs that are sort of familiar for that reason. Even though 50% of each song is missing, listening to the audio for these creates the auditory illusion of listening to the two complete songs simultaneously. If you are not very familiar with one of the songs, the other songs seems to come in a bit stronger.

Below, Matt gives titles and brief explanation of each selection.

Apology Unacceptable (NFS)
Plato Dialogues (Record1, Side 1 and Record 4, Side5)
Apology Part 1 & 5
Click to listen or download for free.
Type Plato in Google and you will get 93,100,000 results. Apology is the account of a speech in which his mentor, Socrates, is charged with not recognizing the gods of the state. This would be followed by being charged for corrupting youth. The work, Apology, is not an apology, but a defense for charges. Since Plato is one of the most quoted people in history, and a foundation of Western thought, I thought it was interesting he was essentially plagiarizing his teacher. We took his formal introduction to Apology (part 1) and his closing arguments(part 5) to create a new dialogue that is simply the rambling of an old man.

Good Vib (NFS)
Beach Boys – Smiley Smile (Side 2)
Good Vibrations
The Koto Music of Japan (Side 2)
Haruno Kyoku (music of spring)
Click to listen or download for free.
Originally we were going to put the Beach Boys record back into our listening collection. I would only cut the record if we had a strong concept. Shortly afterward, I listened to the Koto Music album that included traditional Japanese songs. One song on this record curiously included the first six notes of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, 2nd movement. This reminded me of the influence that the East had on the West and also how Brian Wilson wanted to create music that was culturally significant to the United States. Good Vibrations is easily recognizable and lined up well with another song on the Koto album, Haruno Kyoku. Both songs translated to us as songs of Spring.

We Go Together in a Time Warp (NFS)
Grease (Record 2, Side 2)
We Go Together
Rocky Horror Picture Show (Side 1)
Time Warp
Click to listen or download for free.
These two musicals’ albums are themed around the sexual confusion of identity in the 70s. Grease, with its underlining sexual innuendoes and Rocky Horror Picture Show with its very upfront sexuality. In today’s cynical culture it is difficult to take Grease as sincere or innocent and is as equally corny and over sexualized as its (at the time) sonic/interactive counter culture competition. The song, Time Warp is the most recognizable song, and while several songs on the Grease soundtrack are equally identified in short fragments, We go Together matched up with Time Warp’s location.

Sex (NFS)
Convertion
Let’s Do It
Kool & The Gang
Jungle Boogie
Click to listen or download for free.
The 1970s tapped into the 60s and brought freelove into the mainstream in the form of songs at 110-120 beats per minute. Jungle Boogie, a metaphoric song about sex from the beginning of the disco era was mixed with Let’s do it from 1980, (around the end of disco,) which discards any deciphering of codes and pretty much dives right to the point of the dance floor participants.

Tampa Museum of Art: Art After Dark, Turntable Remix

Last night, I had the pleasure of showing my latest work, along with some sound pieces that I collaborated on with my husband, Matt Normand. I will write more on those later, but for now, I’d like to share some photos that my dear friend, photographer Ellen Leedy took last night.

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The lobby of the museum

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DJ Brian Oblivion with experimental sound artist, Christian Marclay who is visiting from London while working at Graphic Studio

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Power ofThree

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The Burning Embers

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Lava

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Upstairs, the John Cage installation, “33 1/3 played by audience” sets the theme for the event

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Sound pieces by Matt Normand and myself

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And here I am!

All photos by Ellen Leedy

A Short History

I have always been interested in repeating patterns. Over the years as a stained glass artist, my designs were usually pattern oriented. Over time, all that lead handling became a health concern. I took what I learned with leaded glass, and switched to glass mosaics. For a young artist with no money, glass was sometimes out of the budget so projects got put on hold or never happened. Being determined and resourceful, I eventually began experimenting with incorporating various non-glass flat materials as well, including 45’s from the thrift store and those free AOL CD’s. I already loved everything about 45’s; the size, the label designs, the colors, the song titles, the sound. Love turned into obsession when the geometric and mathematical design possibilities of this new resource were discovered. From then on, glass was forever out of the picture.

The earliest pieces were drafted with pencil and paper, then built on 48 x 48″ plywood and framed in zinc. The very first piece had an “X” pattern and a haphazard label arrangement, showcasing the pure wonderfulness of as many labels as possible for the viewer to enjoy, as the eye’s focus drifts from label to label.

King; 48 x 48″; 45’s and CD’s on plywood

I personally found a deep meditative quality in both making the piece and looking at it, and wanted to enhance that. 45’s were organized in groups of label color so that they could become the palette for a soothing monochromatic visual arrangement. Label color was carefully considered in all subsequent pieces.

Red; 48 x 48"; 45's and CD's on plywood

After seeing my work at the first exhibition, a friend handed me a box of black and white marbled 12″ vinyl that some local band abandoned in his storage room. It took quite some time to decide how to use them in a piece. I abandoned hand drawings and started to use Photoshop. This made it easy to duplicate shapes and play with color.

Check; 48 x 48"; LP's, 45's, and CD's on plywood

From this point, the patterns became more complex as more components were added. Designs using the larger LP’s created a lot of negative space which I felt overly compelled to fill in with 45’s, CD’s, and convex mirrors. The convex mirrors accented the overall reflective quality and brought the viewer’s line of vision deeper into the piece. They also served the practical purpose of covering an unsightly joint created by mixing the two vinyl sizes.

Detail view

Blue Overload, Photoshop Sketch
Max Red, Photoshop Sketch

In the next series, I found refinement by letting go of the compulsion to put everything in a square and cover every inch. The pieces began to take their own shape, which resulted in more of a sculptural piece. A painted background was added for exposure between the records.

Superhero; 36″ x 72″; LPs, screenprint, acrylic on hardboard
(Preliminary Sketch) Finished piece 36 x 36″

Reconsidering the negative space, the painted background was cut out and eliminated. I also switched to 3/4″ plywood for self-supporting construction so that no braces interfered with the new lacy shapes. The edges of the plywood are painted black.

Kaleidoscope Sky; 48″; LP’s, acrylic, convex mirrors, on plywood

The textbook, Decoding Design, uncovers the secrets of how the numbers 1-10 are symbols that speak to our subconscious mind and the ways in which this is exploited in commercial art. It is really fascinating how this subconscious language speaks to us visually no matter the language or cultural background. Drawing inspiration from this book, the next series is inspired by simple single digit numbers.

Three to the Power of Three; 48 x 42″; LP’s on plywood
Side View
Six Degrees of Separation; 42″; LP’s, acrylic, convex mirrors on plywood

We picked up a free architectural plotter on Craigslist. This new tool afforded me extreme accuracy in pattern-making. I switched from Photoshop to Illustrator. Previously, the final design was duplicated by hand onto the plywood, but in Illustrator, it was now possible to print a large CAD of the scaled line drawing on the plotter. This, combined with increased jigsaw skills acquired from practice, resulted in a final piece that was polished and precise. To celebrate this newfound precision, the black edge was eliminated and the beauty of the layered ply was exposed.

A Bee’s Lament; 24 x 72″; LP’s, acrylic, convex mirror on plywood
Lava; 24 x 72″; LP’s, acrylic, convex mirror on plywood
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