un controlled

Un Controlled is a series of artworks done with my non-dominant hand that formed a solo show at O Art in the fall of 2018.

In addition to creating all of the artworks (paintings, drawings, cyanotypes, and time lapse video), I designed a brand for the exhibit.

branding

The look of the exhibition was simple and included typography and lines drawn with my non-dominant hand, then digitally manipulated.

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selected artworks

I made all of these artworks with my non-dominant hand.

These artworks are the product of both conscious, focused processes, and random, uncontrollable ones. More than that, they tell a story. 

In early 2018, my left arm started shaking. It had no apparent cause, and I couldn’t control it. Some treatments and practices helped, but “those jerks” became my constant companion. In exhaustion and weakness, I found two ways to get relief: sleeping, or doing something conscious with my left arm. This was a challenge, since I’m right-handed.

I started drawing careful, controlled patterns with my left hand, which helped my physically and gave me a creative outlet. Then a colleague mentioned that action painters such as Jackson Pollock made the body itself the means of making art. It hit me: my left arm was making motions without my brain’s consent. What would happen if I recorded those movements through marks on paper, canvas, or my iPad?

I started drawing careful, controlled patterns with my left hand, which helped my physically and gave me a creative outlet. Then a colleague mentioned that action painters such as Jackson Pollock made the body itself the means of making art. It hit me: my left arm was making motions without my brain’s consent. What would happen if I recorded those movements through marks on paper, canvas, or my iPad?

From these two practices, controlled lines and “automatic” lines,  Un Controlled  was born. These artworks visually represent control and losing control, and they give voice to my experience of both of these realities: controlling the shaking as much as I could in public, and yet not having control over my left arm.

From these two practices, controlled lines and “automatic” lines, Un Controlled was born. These artworks visually represent control and losing control, and they give voice to my experience of both of these realities: controlling the shaking as much as I could in public, and yet not having control over my left arm.

Through this project, I created art I never would have thought about without the unwanted companion I had in the jerks. After 4.5 months, the shaking got better when I was diagnosed with a tic disorder. However, it’s not completely gone, and the experience shaped me profoundly. I still create artwork with my non-dominant hand.

My hope is that if you look at my art, you’ll see the complexity of life and all its mysteries, and you’ll see that there is hope in the midst of darkness and hurt. Sometimes the most meaningful work comes from a place of need.

My hope is that if you look at my art, you’ll see the complexity of life and all its mysteries, and you’ll see that there is hope in the midst of darkness and hurt. Sometimes the most meaningful work comes from a place of need.

digital work

As part of Un Controlled, I also created a time lapse digital video using the Procreate app on iPad pro, as well as still digital drawings from that project. The final video records each stroke made with my Apple Pencil (taped to my hand as my arm shook). The clip below shows a piece of the final artwork.