This week I began integrating imagery from my day job into my artwork. I have had a tendency to keep my job very separate from my studio work, but the spirit of this whole project leans on the idea that embracing all of who you are is a good thing. I work for a great company that sells specialty food, olive oils being one of my favorite categories. It is no accident that I wound up working in the food business. I have always loved to cook and have a long history of endeavors in the food biz, from freelance catering while working on my MFA, to making cheese on a sheep farm, to a stint at Whole Foods, then finally moving up into distribution. Artists need to make a living, and this career has been good to me. It is part of who I am. I work from home now three days a week and have time for my family and my art. There are times when the job seems to take over… like last weekend when I spent 4 days working a trade show instead of making a collage… but I am learning to recognize that my job gives me much more than it takes.
I began with a sketchbook page of olive oil bottles and olive groves. The bottles were drawn mostly from life, while the landscape elements were invented or pulled from memories of my trip to Spain a few years ago. The drawings were scanned, repeated and re-sized in Illustrator, then printed out on collage papers. Next I prepared a panel with earthy landscape colors, going for a Mediterranean atmosphere. Red clay, olive greens, and silvery blue grays.
The collage is a montage of both the olive oils and the landscapes from which they came. I was interested in the various unique shapes of the bottles and tins, as well as the textures and patterns in the landscape elements. I am thinking about using the drawings in a surface design collection for kitchen towels, aprons, napkins, tableware, etc. Here is the final piece followed by details.