Unseen Natives: Little fish in a big space!

 This is my adventure into creating an art installation for the Art in Rural Storefronts project sponsored by The Arts Center of Corvallis. ARS serves regional audiences in Linn and Benton Counties by bringing innovative, thought- provoking art projects to rural communities that lack spaces dedicated to contemporary/non-commercial art.  Three artists  were chosen to participate.  The project is funded in part by the Oregon Arts Commission.

Friday: I was so driven to get the piece hung that no in-process shots were taken. I did think about it while up on the ladder, shoving fishing line through holes, thinking “gosh, that would make a great shot!”. Oh well! 6+ hours later, it was up.


This is the first time Fish has been complete. I had fun bending out the pectoral fins a bit.


I’m enjoying the shadow play against the backdrop but the fish is lost against the light color. Needs more contrast! Time for the backdrop to change.

My feet were sore from standing on the ladder, knees complaining about all the time spent on them. Not a comfortable process at all.

People are starting to look at the fish as they walk by the window. Some people wave, the guy in the red stocking cap and big busy beard gave me a “thumbs up” and a big smile. I caught kids doing a double take as they rode by, probably heading to Subway. One older woman started laughing as she passed. At least it’s catching people’s attention. I figure any emotion it brings up is good. It’s making people look and think and hopefully look again.

Saturday: stream lighting and clay application.

Published by paperstew

I'm an artist in Albany Oregon focusing on paper and natural objects for inspiration.

14 thoughts on “Unseen Natives: Little fish in a big space!

  1. Gale, I like the shadow as BEING the fish. I hope if you change the background it doesn’t disturb the shadow.

    1. How much the shadow affects the work was one aspect not thought through (since it’s been in my cramped studio for the past chunk of time) I’m going to audition a couple of fabrics today to see what happens. I also want to shorten the corner to change the shadow curvature. Also will play with light placement too….
      Ah, the things that come up that I don’t expect….
      Thanks so much for you comment!!!

    1. Things are still going through readjustments and finish work. Plus there are a few other windows to tackle as well….
      I’m taking Sunday off! Well, kind of…

  2. Maybe some sea-blue cloth draped over back drop.? Shoes with steel shanks will help the feet. jean


    1. Steel shanks would probably help, but probably not necessary unless I do this sort of thing on a regular basis! I love my aunt! 🙂

    1. Clay has been installed. Light holes drilled. Curtain readjusted. Long narrow windows to futz with today at home!

  3. Fab that you are getting in on some of the community reaction to having incredible artwork in their midst! Always the fun part! Congrats!

  4. I’ve been following your project the last 2 months from afar Gale. It’s a good example of the actual work one does as an art-maker; the frustration, challenges, and unexpected solutions (sometimes!).
    I’m looking forward to seeing the installation -congratulations on your progress!

    1. Elaine, thank you so much for your comment. It’s nice to know other artists go through similar things. Working in our studios, away from others, those thoughts don’t often come to the real world. For me, this crazy form of public journaling seems to help (sometimes it makes me feel too exposed). There have been many ups and downs, giant learning curves and realizations. I’m not certain I would attempt this process again (window installments) but I feel very lucky to have been given the chance by Hester, Brian and the group. It has been very draining emotionally (like I need that right now!) and I’m looking forward to taking a break to work on other ideas. Yes, this project has brought about other avenues to explore and not related to hanging little squares!
      Thank you for following and I hope to catch up with you at Carol’s or out in the art world.

    1. Thanks for following it’s process. It certainly was interesting but I’m not certain I’ll attempt another one any time soon!

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