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1st experience of Art beyond the literal

My first experience of art beyond the literal was during my sophomore year in high school when my brain started seeing objects in formal ways and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I was obsessing with the rectangular shapes of the lockers and the circular shapes of the clocks in the hallways. It just came out of nowhere. There was no point of reference or inspiration for this activity. It was almost like a light switch turning on.

During my junior year I found a book in the school library about 20th century art. That’s where I first discovered Jackson Pollock and I first began to understand the formal qualities of Art. And of course that knowledge took giant leaps as an art student at Illinois Wesleyan University thanks to the tutoring of Miles Bair, Ann Taulbee, Kevin Strandberg, and Dr. Timothy Garvey.

based on IM with my brother, Matt, on his first experience of art beyond the literal:
matt (1:15:08 PM): it’s kinda funny how both he and mary medemma liked to use the xerox machine
erik (1:15:38 PM): medema liked the xerox machine? i don’t remember that. i remember john totally being in the photocopier
matt (1:15:51 PM): well she wasn’t into it that much
matt (1:15:56 PM): but she had me play around with it
matt (1:16:02 PM): that’s when i really discovered what art was
matt (1:16:15 PM): that’s when i stopped being very literal with doing portraits and stuff and started experimenting
matt (1:16:42 PM): was on the xerox machine. I painted a portrait of eyes and crumbled them up and xeroxed them
matt (1:16:57 PM): and it ended up looking really cool
erik (1:17:06 PM): really? i didn’t know that.
matt (1:17:10 PM): oh yeah
matt (1:17:13 PM): i bet i still have them

This post was written a few years ago and was never published until now.

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Matt Maldre
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I made a painting of my girlfriend (at the time)’s eyes and then crumbled them up and xeroxed them, and the eyes turned evil. It was pretty cool.

I also appreciate Mrs. Medemma having me choose one subject and then doing many many versions and sketches of that one subject. I should scan all that stuff in some day.