Monday, December 21, 2009

Space Rocks: The Thesis Paper

Below is the thesis paper for my senior project, Space Rocks: A Look at Far-Out Minerals, which counts for half of the project. I thought it might be nice to share it with anyone who is interested in my thoughts on the work.

There is nothing more complex or more beautiful than our natural world. I use the elements from this world to tell a new story. My work invents cultures that speak foreign tongues, which have sprung from stars and rocks. Each time I begin a sculpture, I am writing a new mythology for my imaginary world. Greatly influenced by the ritualistic practices of native societies, I believe humans need to create gods and legends for themselves, and making art is my way of satisfying that need.

Two years ago, I took a trip to California and had the opportunity to drive down the coast of the Golden State. I was overtaken with amazement and appreciation for the landscape around me. Immediately, personal myths began forming in my mind. The mountains and hills were living creatures, whose enormous faces would slowly emerge from the brush to watch over the world. This was the first time I was so inspired by the sculptural elements of nature, and it has deeply influenced my work ever since.

Mythology and story-telling are an important part of making art. After my visit to California, I returned to the studio to make the images of these creature mountains that had so deeply struck me. During this time, I began reading Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, in which he connects mythology to personal spirituality and to our modern world. My work entitled Watchers, four ceramic animal-mountains perched upon individual shelves, each with a shadowy root below them, was the result of diving headfirst into an imagined spirituality that only I was privy to. Watchers are the gods of heaven and Earth, connected to the sky and ground, looking over all of us, protecting us. This work was meant to be shared, but its meaning was obvious only to me. I bared my spirituality to whoever was willing to view and asked for nothing in return.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Working under a black light is really spacey. I almost never want to turn it off. The paints I ordered look awesome. They mix really well together and with other stains.

I could stare at these Videorian rocks all day. The only thing they need now is their own display case, which I'm working out the logistics of... since I have to make it myself. I'm a little worried about joining plexiglass, so I'm praying it comes out presentable. Less than two weeks until the show! (Which means excitement but mostly freaking out & panicking.)

And the video is coming along too...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

tour my studio

Studio Tour from Madeleine Bliss on Vimeo.

A quick tour through my studio with behind the scenes footage of Space Rocks.
Music: "The Real Wild Hearts" by Go Down, Matthew.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

more scientists

Filming for "Space Rocks: A Look at Far-Out Minerals" (title subject to change) wrapped in the last session with two more very talented scientists. And a much more talented director. This second time around I wrote out note cards for my actors to read from and was much more prepared in general. Later in the day we snuck in a dance sequence with my friend's 3 year daughter. It looked like Yo Gabba Gabba took over the kitchen.

Besides the task of uncountable hours of editing (HD footage is a really slow bitch to work with), there are still several elements of the video which are incomplete: narration and music. Dialogue for the narration is still being written. It's not hard making up a bunch of fake science facts, but making them believable and interconnected is challenging. For the soundtrack, I'm (going to be) working with Robot Horse Productions to score the video. I imagine cheesey, typical science video orchestration but some weird spacey songs, too.

Halfway through interviewing Dr. Shaun J. Gann, Senior Geologist of Foreign Planetary Affairs, we realized he matched perfectly with a nearby houseplant. The above picture couldn't be resisted. His chemistry with the plant actually caused me to rethink rocks... perhaps botany would be more interesting?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I decided I need to get a move on with my musical aspirations, yet another venue to add to my emotional release agenda, which currently includes a calendar full of art, acting, and internet addiction. In my mind, my band started earlier this year, however I haven't any proof besides my own blurry visions. I wrote the band manifesto over the summer, which actually included statements of which of my friends would be involved, completely without their knowledge or consent. Cult of Sluts is, as written in the manifesto, "red lipstick, bikinis."

Cult of Sluts exists. It is my band. And I will provide the world with tunes for listening and dancing pleasure.

Monday, October 5, 2009


(photo by pete toms)

I'm currently in the process of writing and filming for my Nova-esque science video about rocks from alien planets. The poor souls acting in it are all friends. I'm stealing a lot of footage from science videos on youtube and nebula pictures from the Hubble telescope, but I'll also be creating my own animations. The video will be part of my senior show in December.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

five senses series

seeing i eye

hearing ear sound

smelling knows nose

tasting tongue sponge

feeling touch skin

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

feeling optimistic, mineralistic

Starting over with a fresh[er] perspective. New things to come: sketches, ideas, research, everything.

Friday, May 22, 2009


New works in progress using rocks and gems.
Prototypes pictured above.

My artwork can be found here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


This is only a tiny, tiny fraction of my grandfather's rock collection. I am slowly looking through, cleaning, & organizing all of the minerals. I'll be using a lot of the smaller pieces in my new sculptures.

Monday, May 11, 2009

crystal clusters

images from my music video
l-r: cactus quartz, flame aura quartz, laser crystal, amethyst, topaz crystal spray, stibnite crystal cluster

Saturday, May 2, 2009



I was planning on attending one of the local shows today, but unfortunately it was canceled and I won't be able to update with all my wonderful finds.

Monday, April 27, 2009

rocks in light & motion

Music video featuring minerals from my grandfather's rock collection.

Monday, April 20, 2009

quartz crystals

colorless quartz crystals
silicon dioxide, SiO2

These crystals were collected and placed in settings by my grandfather. I like to wear all three on a chain to most powerfully summon his presence.