July 28, 2014 by Brooke
This weeks project was more of a labor of love than the others I have worked on. About 4 years ago, after a night of drinking, when I returned to the apartment I shared with my fiance at the time and our new dog, Mickey, I found that the sidewalk cement had just been freshly poured and was still (slightly) wet.
Of course, I did what any New Yorker would do, I carved our names in the wet cement. For years I have been meaning to return to that location and capture our names as I wrote them as part of my textures in NYC Project.
The technique I used for this project was slightly different than the others b/c it was very difficult to capture the names as they were not deeply carved into the cement. After several unsuccessful attempts at using the traditional grave stone rubbing technique I have used in the past, I found that the medium of oil pastels combined with the lack of deep contouring lines in the pavement were not going to result in a clear picture of the names. For this reason, instead, I used a reverse grave stone rubbing technique.
First, I loaded up the tracing paper with oil pastel concentrating mainly on the areas where the names were located. Then, I rubbed and mixed all the colors together using a blank piece of tracing paper to mix the colors. This left a grayish colored square of paper with no discerning qualities. As a I slowly rubbed the colors together more and more they started coming off the paper, leaving a very definite impression of the names, as well as, the texture of the cement. Once, I realized this technique was working to draw out the carving in the sidewalk, I continued using it, switching to using thick abrasive cardboard to remove the layers of oil pastel.
I’m not entirely thrilled with the finished product, and you might find that I go back and work on this surface again…but for now this is the finished product.