The Short Story:
The goal of this project is to aid myself (artist, Tully Satre) in the purchase of an oversized ex-Navy stitched cotton Union Jack flag being sold by an England-based independent retailer on e-Bay for a flat rate of £800.00 (a price way outside of my materials budget). Money raised will be used exclusively for the purchase of this flag to be used as artistic materials so that I may create a new work of art with it in my London studio for my show at the Royal Academy of Arts concluding my residency—but time is limited.
The Long Story:
The Flag and My Work—from the US to the UK.
Following my acceptance to the postgraduate program at the Royal Academy of Arts, I began to think a lot about being an American abroad. Within my system of making painting objects—where textile and painting meet—I introduced American flags into my work. Days before I was prepared to move to London (and having already left Chicago to stay at my parent's house), I found myself caught in between political crossfire. New government in the UK sought to restrict the number of students entering the country, inadvertently affecting me and thousands of others prepared to study abroad. I wouldn't be able to get a student visa, at least not anytime soon. The stakes were raised.
I lived like a gypsy, traveling from city to city, from Washington, D.C. to Anchorage, Alaska—eventually landing in New York City. After a brief meeting with officials from the Royal Academy in New York, I left for Venice, where I met my classmates for the first time, knowing full well I would not be able to return with them to London.
I went back to Chicago straight from Venice—homeless, but not without friends. Between sleeping on couches, random day jobs, and jet setting, I continued to produce new work with the American flag.
My work continued to expand as I continued to work. (Work comes out of work.) I was still hinged on artist and color theorist Josef Albers and his "Homage to the Square" paintings. I soaked in everything I could find about him, spending several afternoons in Chicago's overbearing Harold Washington Library in the downtown Loop. It was during one of these visits that I found a bin for recycling flags.
Having been working with flags in my studio, I was intrigued. As I peered in, I saw a star the size of my face. I knew it was a big one. I reached into the bin and fished out the flag; it was like a Mary Poppins carpetbag feeding an endless stream of stars and stripes. I reached the bunting when I heard a security guard yell from behind me to stop what I was doing. But instead of dropping the flag, I made a run for it—thirty foot flag in tow.
I was not quite sure what I would do with the flag right away, but my ideas continued to evolve. Reconstructing the flag over a large frame seemed too obvious, too redundant.
After receiving the Starr Fellowship Residency, I was granted access to the UK as an artist-in-residence at the Royal Academy. Shortly before I left the States, I went to Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. The desert was the perfect place to put a capstone on my year in limbo and, it seemed, all too appropriate a setting to see off my supersized American flag.
I constructed a five-foot square cube over which I stripped and wove the thirty-foot long American flag. At night, the desert cube was illuminated from within with solar-powered LED lights, piercing through the red, white and blue stripes and stars.
Post-Cube—back in London.
"American Cube" was collapsed and stored in a container in Nevada with a still dusty future. When I arrived in London and began to settle into my studio, I realized I could not detach my thoughts from the desert with the cube. I knew I wanted to get back to this abstract idea of "the flag."
The Union Jack holds a lot of weight in the UK with its citizens, and I've only just begun to brush the surface of this flag. Living in England, I've realized that the Union Jack is pop culture like the Campbell's Soup can. And I can't help but wonder, brainstorm and dream...
What could I do with a supersized Union Jack?
Money raised will be used exclusively for the purchase of this flag to be used as artistic materials so that I may create a new work of art with it in my London studio for my show at the Royal Academy of Arts concluding my residency—but time is limited.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risks and challenges this project faces are time, funding and the production of a new and developed work.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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