Up in Smoke: Volcano Series

The volcano series was about 2 years in the making. I had been playing with the idea of volcanos in other works, and it eventually evolved into this collection. It is also my first more developed project in airbrush.

I was drawn to the concept of volcanos in this series because they are a vehicle of change, turmoil, and renewal. An erupting volcano has the potential to change a landscape in a matter of hours. They can delay air travel for months (bummer if you had a trip planned to Europe, 2010)! The now Mt Vesuvius in Italy is literally over the Mt Vesuvius of old. People there are living over a graveyard of their deceased ancestors. So crazy… especially since the volcano is still active. Damn. Ok so volcanos are bad ass. Over an eonic timeline, they also eventually become forces of good creating fertile ground and clearing areas for new life.

What really got me visually about volcanos is that release of bales upon bales of smoke. Compressed black clouds that expand ferociously into the air. That became my main focus in this collection.

We see what we are primed to see. Think Jesus toast. Think big foot and the Loch ness monster. Our brains are working to make connections all the time. When picnicking on the hillside and  calling out the cat-clouds, boat-clouds, and having sword fights, your perceptions are created  through the context of your cumulative life experience.


that looks like a kitten to me or a fetus… I wish I could turn it into one and take it home!


En Garde!

SO without further ado let me give you the intro to my Volcanos! They feature diptics, the first volcano being more accurately representational of a volcano, and the second rendering bodies and images that my mind sees in the smoky abyss of my mind. They are airbrush on paper, with graphite detail. I list them here chronologically.

print mt st helens

Mt St Helens, 1980 eruption. My boyfriend was the lucky recipient of this one. But i’m thinking of making giclees of these.

print st helen 2

This is Mt St Helens dressed up as tropical floral explosion

Up next is Vesuvius twins

print my vesuvius

A recent eruption. This is one of my fav in the series.

print vesvius 2

Burlesque happenings

Print Lantern

I used gold spray paint on the lantern tails. It pops off the page

print sinabung

Mt Sinabung, North Sumatra

print underwater volcano

Underwater volcano, Tonga Coast

This reminds my mom of the statue of liberty. I see a billowy seafoam gown

This reminds my mom of the statue of liberty. I see a billowy seafoam gown

The last two volcanos I worked on were larger projects and are interrelated. The first deals with the smoke embellished with an abstraction of spray painted triangles. I was pleased with the effect of gritty spray paint contrasted against the soft nuances of airbrush work. All of the volcanos use a graphite rendered grid in representing the smoke to juxtapose the hardness of a felt reality against the true flexibility of an experience. In the geometric volcano shown below, the grid is mathematical and structured, while the triangles are expressive but still linked to a mathematical background.

print geometric

The media is a ‘reality manufacturing machine’. It is influential in shaping our culture and provides a lense with which we interpret events, and develop our attitudes and mores. It was a fitting subject, under the thematic umbrella of ‘reality’  for the last of the volcanos in this series. The spray painted child blows bubbles referencing a reversed image of the geometric volcano in red, yellow and blue (the basic colors in television). They float towards a woman in the smoke, who indicates towards a color blocked cloud featuring the colors in the geometric volcano. print media volcano

The woman is seated as if in a bubble bath, echoing the bubble blown by the child

The woman is seated as if in a bubble bath, echoing the bubble blown by the child

print media volcano_2



2 Comments on “Up in Smoke: Volcano Series

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