Aylin Green is a multi-media artist who lives and works in New Jersey. I first met Aylin through my position at Grounds For Sculpture, where she served as a teaching artist. She is currently the Development Associate at Grounds For Sculpture having served in different capacities within the organization over the last decade. Aylin also shares her talents at various organizations in central New Jersey teaching multi-media art and sculpture related classes.
Christina: Aylin, please describe the evolution of your work. You have worked in many media, but it seems there is some recent evolution that has taken your multi-media art in a slightly different direction.
Aylin: For the last 10 years, I have been using sewing patterns as a basis for creating an environment in my paintings. Early on I would collage onto them and pin them, free floating, directly to the wall. This was just too fragile, so I very quickly began pasting them to canvases and boards to create a graphical ground on which to paint. I used a lot of color and pattern and also used the figures from the sewing pattern covers in addition to other vintage imagery from old science books. I would meticulously cut out each image using an x-acto knife and they would populate the paintings. Sometimes it would be the silhouettes that would capture my attention. However, this was limiting in scale, and I had an interest in doing some experimentation with India inks and Chinese brushes.
So I began to do my own drawings based on the illustrations from the sewing pattern covers. I then decided to strip away all color and let these figures interact directly with their environment; painting their flesh similar colors to the pattern paper to push and pull them from their surroundings. From there, increased skill with the brushes and inks had me falling in love with their unique properties and flow, so I have stopped painting the flesh. Another change has been the source imagery moved to vintage photography. An artist friend smartly lent me some magazines from the 1950s where I found a treasure trove of real, challenging, sexy women and couples on which to base my work.
Christina: You have shared some of your new works on your website. Tell us a little more about how the sewing patterns have bearing on the final piece.
Aylin: I’m drawn to the quality of the paper; the transparent color, the dashes, dots, and directives. I have an attachment to them as a material that my mother and grandmothers used as they perfected their domestic craft skills, but for me they are a framework or a stage that the people of my paintings must navigate. Sewing patterns are a set of directions, which I like to disobey. They are a relic of a time when the handmade was the norm. Now to make something by hand is special.
Christina: Your work includes vintage fashions, styles, and other accoutrements you find out and about. How did your interest in using these vintage objects start?
Aylin: I have always had an attraction to things that signify another time period. I am intrigued by the way design can pinpoint a moment in time, and I appreciate the quality of design from other time periods, but I like to mix that up and find ways to bring in elements of the contemporary. I was that girl in college with vintage clothes, chunky shoes, and a French bob haircut with a blond streak. My friends and I enjoyed scouring rummage sales and flea markets, and it was at a large one in Fairless Hills, NJ that I acquired my first collection of vintage sewing patterns. It was bag day where you could fill a bag for a dollar, and when I came upon them in the sewing tent, I excitedly filled two or three of them with the patterns. I knew that I was incredibly drawn to them, but I didn’t know how I would end up using them, or that they would preoccupy me for the next 15 plus years.
Christina: Philosophically and ideologically, how do the vintage objects you use help interpret or carry your message to the viewer?
Aylin: They are markers of time. A preoccupation of my work is to play with our notions of time, and the timelessness of the human condition. Narratives are embedded in the objects of other times. You can look at old photos of people and immediately know that was the 40s, 50s, or 60s, but who people are and how they interact – the stories of their lives – doesn’t change that much. My figures posture and float and work to define themselves in a mysterious environment where directions are broken and layers are deep.