Art 1010: Exploring Art

Textbook- Understanding Art, 10th Edition by Lois Fichner-Rathus

Please read my essay below the pictures of my art project. For Art 1010 we were tasked with creating a 3-D assemblage artwork.

Title: Lost and found of the climbing world. Jared Watson




Jared Watson

Art 1010: Exploring Art

Final Art Project Essay

“Lost and Found” of the climbing world

Let’s set up a backstory for this piece. I am an avid climber and an all around adventurer. I spent the better part of this summer travelling and climbing all over the Western states, a few trips to the South and one short stint to the Midwest. All of these trips come with each of their own joys, hardships, lessons learned, and hilarity. I tried to capture the simple essence of a climbing trip in one bucket, literally. Every single piece minus the resin that was poured over everything was found either while climbing or on a climbing trip at some point. I will describe the individual pieces, what they represent and how I’ve chosen to put them together as a whole work of art. This free standing sculpture is a culmination of a summer of adventure and exploration through my passion, climbing.

Starting with the brown mixing bowl. With it’s pour-lip moulding  and early 70’s vintage look, this ancient basin was discovered in the middle of the night while searching for the perfect spot to set up my tent down in Indian Creek, Utah. I came across the bowl stuffed under a bush and I decided to hang on to it to use as a wash station/sink for the next 2 weeks in the desert. Needless to say it came in handy when I came back night after night covered in thick red dust in every crevice and when washing crusty dishes. Some if the uniqueness this brings to the whole piece is the previous story it holds hidden, small carvings in the side to measure water are crudely done and possibly don’t actually measure 1L, as inscribed next to one of the marks.

I covered the top of the wash basin in blue painters tape. The tape is torn and placed on the basin to look like a sky, it cuts jagged shapes out of the inside of the basin forming a mountainous backdrop to the other items inside the bowl using an sem-additive process of layering tape I was able to create shapes organically through simply ripping this paper-like tape. The tape was discovered when trekking across a very remote section of Wyoming. I stumbled up a multimillion dollar home construction taking place in the middle of the mountains. I had been walking for a few days from any civilization and there was this monolith home. I had torn my sleeping bag and run out of duct tape to repair it. I found in one area of the massive dwelling was being dry walled and painted, I repaired my sleeping bag with some blue painters tape to get me through the trip. I spent the night inside of the unfinished home and took the blue tape as in remembrance of that crazy find.

Recently on a 2 week trip many of the remaining items were discovered, found and a few even “stolen” items were added to this art piece. I travelled North a few hours over the border into Idaho. The land of good beer and the City of Rocks National Reserve! Tucked away in the this little high desert paradise is the now infamous Rock City, known for its vast cold beer selection, homemade pizza (good enough to slap your mother), strange nights poaching camping spots on Forest Service land, and of course some of the most finest most tactile granite I’ve gripped between my fingers. This place has many good memories but this summer’s trip will forever last because of the additions that came to me for this art piece. I decided to key my climbing partners into my art project.

Almost immediately a rando (slang term for a random person whom no one in the current group knows) walks into our camp; mind you we are tucked far back into the trees just setting up camp. During the pre dusk hour this an unusual occurrence, said rando walks in obviously more intoxicated than anyone else in my party at the time. He proceeds to beer fairy us, I knew the one he handed me would make an appearance in my artwork. Being a climber he proceed to hand out “protection” to promote safe climbing; in the climbing world protection refers to any piece of gear that protects the lead climber from falling and hitting the ground. I was also handed a climbing anchor with my beer. Apparently one of the Forest rangers gets drunk, wanders around campsites and hands out beers and random climbing gear to people on his day off! Imagine the safe sex speach by a drunk gym teacher who was off the clock and at the mall. This was by far turning into the craziest trip I’d been on. As he stumbled out of camp he dropped a pen, not even a working pen, this pen had been run over, drug along a rough surface and thoroughly beat up. I figured I would hold onto this as well. What a first day!

I attached the bolt hanger (google climbing bolt hanger to visualize what I’m describing here) with glue to the inside of the water basin. To simulate how it would normally be placed when drilled attached to the rock. Doing this on the brown bowl makes it seem as if I’ve placed a piece of the climbing world in my bowl. I shoved the pen into the coke bottle which will be explained next. I put the pen in inside the cloudy glass because it was a strange and cloudy trip with events that will stay with me forever.

A few days later and part way up one of the classic routes in the City called “Fred Rasmussen” (name based on the very old “Fred Rasmussen” scrawled with axle grease on the rock at the base of the climb) I discovered an unopened “mexican Coke” glass bottle wedged into the crack I was climbing. I was in a good stance to free my hands reach into the crack and pry the bottle out. I shoved the drink, which was surprisingly cold, into my pants and sent the rest of the route. I celebrated at the top of the route and drank my bottle of Coca-Cola while be lowered from the top.

While heading back to the car to drive to camp somewhere between the base of the last climb and the trail head I kicked a pair of keys on the ground. Immediately thinking that I had dropped my keys I picked them up and put them in my pocket but I realized that my keys were still in my pocket. I took a pause, examined the keys in my hand and saw how decrepit they were, rental keys for Toyota Rav4, no one’s vehicle that I knew. I hung on to them intending on putting them on the message board the next morning when we made our ritualistic trip to fill water and use the toilets.

Making it back to camp after stopping for supplies, ie beer and mixers for cocktails at the campsite, we eventually settled in and I opened up a delightful can of lemonade. I’m a sucker for marketing and stand out products. I just have to try things. Well needless to say I found one of my favorite beverages in the form “Dust Cutter – Huckleberry Lemonade” I couldn’t get enough sadly it was over just as quickly as it began. I toyed with the idea of walking to the store to get another one, but that was a mile and a half away over some rough terrain. I decide it best to ride the dirt bike. On the way there a bottle cap got stuck in the tire’s aggressive tread. I pulled it out fairly unscathed and shoved it in my pocket. I purchased the rest of the stock of Dust Cutter and was on my way only to realize that offroading while holding a grocery sack full of liquid was not the brightest idea I’ve ever had. I made it back to camp and threw all of the drinks in the open cooler.

The next morning I woke to frantic yelling, or better yet, unsure screaming. Co-Pilot, so named for her natural ability to dj and keep the driver alert on long road trips, was yelling at a passing car “ARE THOSE YOURS??” I stumble out of my tent foggy still from a late night. I see her dog Trapper, running around enjoying himself to the fullest with a mouth full of marshmallows! Other climbing partners were trying to wrangle him unsuccessfully. I called for him and he gladly brought me the bag unopened and without bite marks surprisingly. He was so excited that he’d stolen the goods! I was impressed and decided to reward him with one. I threw the bag in my tent  and decided to save the rest for later. The day couldn’t possibly get anymore interesting, could it?

It was the last day before we left, feeling accomplished and worn from 2 weeks of high desert climbing my partner and I decided that we would relax and climb some long moderate routes. I grabbed my favorite shemagh as we headed off to climb. Idaho in early summer isn’t normally too hot, however Idaho in the middle of summer is extremely hot! So this was necessary desert wear in my mind. After a few warm up routes I was getting pumped and decide that I would belay for a bit. J my partner climbed up a few bolts fell and began climbing again. Towards the top of the climb he fell this time past the roof section and was unable to grab the wall and continue. At this time I had been baking in the sun for a few hours and it was definitely somewhere around high noon, the heat was on. I had my shirt off and only my shemagh covered my face and part of my neck and chest. I began to lower J to the ground and as he got close I was instantly jerked down and my neck was cracked! Dumbfounded I tried to get back to my feet however my shemagh had been caught in my belay device! This must be how some women feel with long hair. I never let go of my break hand and all of my other climbing friends in the area were haggling me. I was thoroughly shocked. I wrestled and tore the piece of fabric out and continued lowering J to the ground. We had a good laugh and decided to call it a day.

Over beers and dinner we decided that an alpine start (meaning before the butt crack of dawn) would be best for the next days drive and chores at home. This was not the case, completely exhausted and weary from the trip I shoved gear into my pack haphazardly and collected all of my found objects in the wash basin that still had a little water in it. The marshmallows fell out of the open bag and the bottles clanked a bit, but I knew I had the form of my sculpture from that moment. the water glistened as the resin does now. the marshmallows looked like little ice cubes in beer bucket. The empty bottles no longer looked like trash but took the form of some of the monolith towers I had been climbing in the past weeks. Everything simply fell into place as I hurriedly packed the truck.

This assemblage is nothing fancy but it expresses many fragments of my summer spent climbing. the ready-made esque properties are what make it unique. For the most part you could go and buy or find each of the objects on their own, they are not special or hold any sort of particular importance or value to art in general. However the chance that they would explain the misadventures and shenanigans is what makes this piece so special.

One of my favorite works of art, I’ve seen this in person as well. Graffiti stencil in Park City, Utah. Artist Banksy
Banksy Art in Utah!


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