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Millis High Student

acrylic paint on gessoed ceiling tile
24″ x 24″


Annie Irwin, Painter, Weaver, Textiles Artist

Annie Irwin
Weaver, Painter, Textile Artist

Artist Statement
“For this project, I got my inspiration from the “bubble” concentration I was doing all year for my AP art portfolio.  I wanted to create something fun and cheerful to be on our classroom ceiling.  It was a beneficial challenge for me to paint something as delicate and fragile as bubbles on such a rough surface, but I am really happy with the way it came out.  This piece was something new and different and I really enjoyed working on it.”

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Video Transcript

“The bubbles are wonderful. They’re very fun and they set this nice tone with that beautiful teal ground that you’re using as a color.

I’d be curious to see how you approach painting a bubble next time. Thinking about what a bubble looks like in real life, and if that’s translucency is important to you. You know, on the surface of the bubble, you get that beautiful oily colors, but you still see through the form. So I think that would be a really good challenge for practicing.

I love this piece as a ceiling tile as well because it makes me think of patterning in general. Like you have the unit of the bubble in your piece repeating, which makes it a pattern. And then you have the unit of the ceiling tile, which when repeated will be an additional pattern. And I think thinking about those repetitions could be a really great way for you to continue moving this piece in new directions.”

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5 responses on "Millis High Student"

  1. I’m really impressed by how you’ve captured the unique way in which bubbles refract light, with those rainbow colors around the edges of your shapes… A lot of people would settle for a simpler approach, and just add the classic white highlight we’re used to seeing in cartoons, which really isn’t accurate at all! That level of realism applied to a pattern like this could be really interesting visually, and I would love to see you push that further to see what the right balance is. It’s funny – you would think that bubbles would be such a simple subject matter, but they are clearly rich with complexities to explore; from the way they move to the way they interact with objects and each other. Try and capture even more of those very specific qualities, and see what works the best in this kind of installation context, and that cheerful tone you want to convey!

  2. Sweet! This is a really creative way to make something as commonplace as a ceiling tile become really enticing and captivating. There are a lot of different directions you could take this further, but the biggest one I think of is scale of the design (perhaps even printing out a few patterns of this design to make it easier…) It would be really immersive to see this cover the whole ceiling!
    I really enjoy this piece because it calls to mind so many different directions you can go with your craft: patterns, textiles, installation, interior design….many options for where you can push work like this! I’m excited to see where you go!

  3. I think the installation context of this piece is very important. As an image by itself, I’m not very interested in the pattern, but as a ceiling tile installed so cleanly among so many other blank white ceiling tiles, I get the sense that a door has been opened to another world. Both the color and patterning contribute to that effect. The turquoise is an atmospheric color, and I get a sense of weightlessness seeing the bubbles on the ceiling, as if they’ve risen there on their own. I would love to see you do more site specific work, it seems like you have a great sense of turning the mundane into the magical!

  4. I agree that the ceiling is such a great location for this piece. Looking at things exist high above me always evokes such wonder and curiosity, like looking at stars or clouds! Bubbles have a similar curiosity-evoking characteristic to them, a lot of which comes from their unique physical qualities! I would love to see more of the strange shapes, sizes, and translucent qualities bubbles have in this piece, as many of them in this piece are very uniform and similar! Professor Lieu provides a great option of playing with bubbles and interacting with them yourselves to help inform how you depict them. Perhaps some should even be mid-pop! Plus, playing with bubbles is just plain fun!

  5. I think it’s absolutely wonderful that this is installed as a ceiling tile, the location of the piece completely changes the viewer’s interaction with it! Really innovative idea to create a piece using these supplies. I would think about doing more visual research for your image. If you know you want to work with images of bubbles, go to the store and buy one of those bubble wands, and just spend an afternoon blowing bubbles and shooting photos of them. Bubbles can be so dynamic, especially when they are connected and interact with each other, and it would be great to capture that. Right now in your painting the bubbles look almost opaque and solid, and I think really seeing and observing bubbles in real life for the sake of your painting would help a lot.

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