Imagine your everyday household objects: an abandoned crusty tube sock, a single earring, the bread clip that holds a bag together. For Oakland and San Diego-based visual artist Ari Bird, these banal items are the inspiration for the creation of large gradient paintings, sculptures and installations.
Throughout her life, Bird has accumulated, made and organized objects as an evolution of self-expression. “I started drawing, learned printmaking/bookbinding/zine making, shifted to painting, which led to sculptures,” says the artist, “which eventually caused me to want to create ‘environments’ of all my objects.”
She’s inspired by objects that are oddly satisfying, like the wonky graphics on a fruit-packing box, the texture of the perfectly packaged dollar-store toy, or notes and doodles scrawled on a piece of paper by a kid and then abandoned. “My expression is tactile and somatic,” says the artist. “I tend to process my surroundings, emotions and behaviors in my body first. Before intellectualizing or visualizing things, I have the impulse to act or do.”
Bird also works as restoration painter at Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland, and she’s started fabricating props for music videos, fashion shoots and drag shows.
As for her artistic worldview? Bird channels Lebanese-Canadian designer, writer and activist Céline Vernon who says, “Everything you make returns to the earth as food or poison.”