Lecture Part 2
‘The Shed Project’ by Lee John Philips
This years long project started as an everyday drawing project/ challenge. Lee’s grandfather died in 1994 when Lee was only 14. They were really close; they would see each other every day for many hours at a time working in the shed together, repairing and salvaging everything they could.
After his passing Lee’s grandmother became very protective over the shed, turning it into a ’makeshift mausoleum’. He says, “To say that she is protective of the shed is putting it lightly! She doesn’t like anyone going in there, not even family members.”
This connection to Handel’s memory through the shed is one that Lee understands as he feels it too. Each item contained within the shed’s walls is equally important to Lee and he is giving them equal attention in his drawing: every nut, every bolt, every screw, every rivet.
At the outset of the project, he devised four rules for himself:
1. IF THE ITEM CAN BE PICKED UP AND DOESN’T CRUMBLE IF RUBBED – DRAW IT.
2. IF THE PACKET/CONTAINER IS/HAS BEEN OPENED, EMPTY IT, DRAW ITEMS, REPLACE THEM, DRAW CONTAINER FULL.
3. IF THE PACKET/CONTAINER HAS NOT BEEN OPENED, IT WILL NOT BE, AND DRAWN AS FOUND.
4. IF THERE ARE MULTIPLES OF THE SAME ITEMS – DRAW THEM ALL.
He estimates that there are probably 100 000+ individual items. The latest update on the number of items already drawn was 8 500 and by this point the work has taken a toll on him physically- “The strain on my hands causes intense pain when I try and sleep, I wake up looking like I’ve been fighting the pillows. I’ve had to start physiotherapy to solve the problem.”
Wayne Thiebaud Cakes
Wayne Thiebaud (born 1920) grew up during the Great Depression and has spent most of his life living and working in California. He tried cartooning and commer- cial art, but eventually his passion for painting and art history led him back to school to study art education and studio art. In 1951 Thiebaud began a dual career as an art teacher and an artist in Sacramento, California. Over the next ten years he experimented with compositions based on familiar subjects and his childhood memories, such as pinball machines and ice cream cones. By the 1960s Thiebaud’s “delicious” still-life paintings of round cakes, slices of pie, colorful lollipops, hot dogs, cherries, cheese, chocolate truffles, and candy apples had made him a truly original American artist.
Thiebaud’s paintings bring up memories of birthday par- ties, family picnics, and holidays at home. Perhaps they serve as a reminder of a favorite bakery or a special out- ing. Many of Thiebaud’s works provide a glimpse of his own childhood memories, such as eating his mother’s baked goods or selling hot dogs and ice cream cones on the boardwalk of Long Beach when he was a teenager. At their root, his paintings reflect his deep affection and nostalgia for the rituals and traditions of American life.
Cakes, a large canvas with thirteen colorfully frosted confections, is one of the most delectable examples of Thiebaud’s work. These treats in a window display are instantly recognizable: Boston cream pie, chocolate layer cake, angel food cake, and strawberry birthday cake.
Thiebaud’s subjects might be light and fun, but his approach to painting is serious. He uses still-life sub- subjects to explore formal qualities of painting: color, line, shape, light, composition, and texture. Like the cakes, his paintings are deliciously layered.