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Once Upon a Time, Melancholy Waters Lie

Gina M and Kristine Augustyn

108 x 96 x 24 in

Assemblage, found objects


"Melancholy Waters Lie" illustrates the wistful, nostalgic relationship with our past, highlighting what we remember, or what we choose to remember, and charts a course to new, yet unknown shores.

Gina and Kristine transformed found objects into a whimsical oversized toy boat with sails unfurled. A crescent moon wrapped in tissue, a rusty wagon, found nautical objects, and acrylic paint on paper morph, the way a child's pillow fort morphs, into a dreamboat of possibilities. The bright blue abstract sail creates a playful backdrop for the two artists childhood photographs that float among quotes from “The City in the Sea,” by Edgar Allan Poe.


From scratch… A Collaborative journey

We started by getting to know each other and find common ground. Kristine wanted to try assemblage so we walked around the property and poked through rusty bits in the studio before we settled on a large curved wooden furniture frame tucked into a back corner of the yard.

She said, “boat” – I said, “adult size pull toy” and that did it. We were off and running with ideas, sketching on napkins, collaborating, adding onto and pulling back.

The materials often dictated the outcome.

The color of the boat is what’s left of the original paint, bits showing through the tissue paper planking stripes.

The project progressed.

Between stripping the paint off the frame and designing the mast, we talked about our families and our childhood. Soon our photos emerged adding to the narrative. We would somehow attach them to the mast with clips, or grommets and string, making a sail out of our past. And as we searched for a title we realized we had a shared interest in Poe.

Halfway through, something didn't feel right to me. The toy imagery was only from my body of work and I felt the piece needed more of Kristine’s creative signature. I went to her website again and that’s when I knew her textured painting style is what the sail needed. I had a free roll of heavy-duty watercolor paper. She went to work. The wet deep blues and greens made a beautiful backdrop for the pictures edited and colored in Photoshop. The printed quotes and photos were attached to fabric, then to the sail and sealed with clear acrylic. We only added a few nautical accessories to help

tell the story.

Since our inspiration started with our shared childhood memories we wanted the piece to finish out like a child’s hand built pillow fort, saturated with imagination and innocence.

After all the pieces were assembled, and the paint dried, and the sails were unfurled, it was time to photograph "Melancholy Waters Lie." The piece is almost 9 feet tall, and then we put a flag on top!

So finding a location to shoot was a challenge. My neighbor’s hedge fit the bill. For a maiden voyage, we rolled the boat and hoisted the sail down the street like children and set up our art.

Two little boys and their mother came over to see the boat. They wanted to pull the rope and take her away. With our cameras we captured a moment of their imaginative play and the digitally painted triptych, “Once Upon A Time” was born.

Mounting the printed canvas to the bamboo and using grommets and rope echoes the larger boat piece.

All in all I love our couch boat. I think we did an awesome job playing together and I would love to have another play date with Kristine anytime.


VS installation 2017 Gallery 825 - 825 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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