It started with a bust: Working with more than 1’s and 0’s and following the rules

The Bust. Good ol' Number 9.It started with a bust. Bust A Move, sponsored by the Fort Wayne Derby Girls and Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, is an auction that partners Indiana artists with breast cancer patients to create unique pieces. The artist never meets the patient. Instead, the artist is given a plaster cast of the patient’s torso. The casts are all different shapes size, partials, double masectomies, single masectomies, and so on. The artist then needs to create a piece around that artifact. Mine was number 9. A woman who likes horses, animals, and clocks (Writer’s Note: I would say more, but I want to let this woman have her privacy. I feel both honored and humbled by her willingness to participate with me, and I hope I have the chance to meet her).

Believe me, it was hard to be delicate when I constantly got asked “why are you painting boobs?” A part of me wanted to reach into that grade school part of my brain and make the crass joke (I admit it, I can be a wee bit juvenile… okay, I can be really juvenile), but there is something important going on here. A woman trusted me with a piece of herself. I could not go against that.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was when I was accepted to be one of the artists. This is a big deal for me in many respects. First, it means that I am making greater strides to being an artist. This is after all, my first art showing. Second, I am doing something that is having positive change. Number 9 has inspired me to break out of my comfort zone and try new things. As a web designer, I stick to digital work. Even my own art, I veer towards the digital because it is ‘The Known’. This time, I had to cast away my laptop for good ol’ fashioned pain an brushes.

Going ‘old school’ meant that I was breaking my comfort zone, and it also meant that I couldn’t just wing it. I had to have a plan. I needed to have rules in place. So I came up with some rules.

1) Everything in the piece must be made from something I have or found. No spending money. (of course, I realized I had no paints after I made this rule, so I had to make an immediate exception).

2) I had to have a clear defined color palette. This was really hard to accomplish since the number of colors can expand as you go. That said, I tried to maintain a very rigid balance of color even using online tools to help create a color palette.

3) I couldn’t use any digital tools other than web browsers for research. Since it’s hard to transfer something digital to a piece like this at this scale while trying to fit within an allotted budget (by the way, my total budget was $50), I had to go real old school and make everything by hand. It was all me. Pencil, paint, brush, wood, screws, and thatching.

These rules helped me to be more creative. By limiting my resources, I forced myself to expand my possibilities by getting me to break outside of my bubble. It was a good feeling. Everything that went into the piece, I already had available. The backing is luan from a bar project I just finished, the thatching on the back was from my own tiki bar, the frame and the majority of the screws came out of an old coffee table. It was a project that I could say had one of the lowest carbon footprints that I have ever left. And it felt great!!!

I highly suggest putting rules on  your own work, and seeing what you can come up with. You will be surprised what you will accomplish, and who you will be helping in the process.

Next stop: Fort Wayne or Bust!!!

I would like to thank Amber Recker (@AmRecker) for letting me participate in this awesome event, and “The Other Guy” and The Big Kahuna (@CS_Indy and @BgKahuna) for telling me about it. Mahalo Nui Loa to all of you.

And THANK YOU to Number 9 for being brave enough to trust a piece of herself with me. I am truly grateful for this experience.

For more information Bust-A-Move:

Visit Bust-A-Move on Facebook
Also, attend the event. There will be many wonderful pieces up for auction:

Here are a few photos I took of the project.


This could get interesting, or could go frightfully wrong.


Nothing to do but watch the paint dry. Wait! Orange is the New Black is on.


Okay. Something is coming together.


Almost there. Slowly taking shape. The paint is drying, but still needs a frame.


Hrmmm…. these’ll do.


The sign of a good day of painting? A messy palette.


Voila! She is done!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.