Monday, October 3, 2011

Creating Historical Accuracy: Momentum Artist Krystal Harper

Krystal Harper, Stillwater
Krystal Harper, Fragment 12: Journal Entry,
Ink, colored pencil, and watercolor, 12"x8" 
OVAC: Tell us about the concept for these pieces
Krystal Harper: Both of my pieces, Fragment 12 and Fragment 23, deal with the concept of presenting false information as historical fact. We, in our modern society, hardly consider the past to be only a vague shadow of people and events far removed. Most people appear to see history as a plodding storyline, meticulously recorded for us to look back upon at any moment and know to be “true.” I believe that history is an ever changing stream of events, which can never be fully understood by people in the present.

My artistic goal is to critique our society’s need to grasp history and make it a force of unalterable truth. To achieve this end, I create the illusion of a “historically viable” document to engage the audience and inquire, “What if this is true instead of what you believe?” I weave meticulous renditions of fantastic creatures in a style that references early fauna studies. By presenting these false creatures in a way that makes them seem historically accurate, I am attempting to create doubt and inspire curiosity in the viewer. I want the viewer to be intrigued, to ask questions, and critique my work in a way that would be very similar to how ancient people reacted to new discoveries in their time. I feel that the need for discovery and curiosity is necessary to expanding our culture, and since so much of the world is so accessible to us, I want to create a barrier of the unknown for my viewer to interact with.
Krystal Harper, Fragment 23: Hoof Study,
Ink, colored pencil, and watercolor, 12"x8"

OVAC: What is the technical process?
For these art-pieces, I used three different media; ink, colored pencil, and watercolor. I begin with a watercolor wash to develop some of the base textures of the paper illusion. I then build the illustration into the piece. Lastly, I use the colored pencil to form the details of the paper edges. It’s a simple process, but requires extreme attention to detail.

OVAC: Where else might audiences see your artwork?
My current body of work, as well as many of my undergraduate studies, is located on my website, My work will also be displayed at my Senior Capstone Exhibition at the Gardiner Art Gallery in Stillwater, OK, November 30th through December 12th, 2011.

Momentum Tulsa opens October 8 with live music, performance and visual art by 57 young Oklahomans. The exhibition remains on display until October 27 at Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E Brady. Learn more or buy tickets here.

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