Pawn in Their Game


Pawn in their game

Blaine Bacchiocchi

“I think that I was adding something where it didn’t exist.”

Interview by L. Valena

What did you respond to?

The image I received was a digital rendering of what appeared to be a bathroom, with what appeared to be a chess piece in front of it. There was a teapot on the toilet, and all of these cast shadows from the handle of the teapot, on the toilet and on the wall behind it. And I think it was really those cast shadows that are what I initially responded to. I tend to gravitate towards what I call ‘complicated images’- they’re very layered, there’s lots of texture to them, those are the images I like making. This image was kind of the exact opposite of that. It’s very- I don’t want to say flat, but in my brain, it is very flat, very opaque, very digital! Kind of the exact opposite of what I tend to gravitate towards.

Is it the lack of texture that was giving you that reaction?

The lack of texture, the lack of what I consider to be complex layers of image that create texture. What I initially tried to do was to see if there was some sort of narrative that this image was telling me, and I racked my brain trying to put some kind of narrative towards it, and I realized that I was trying to find something where it probably didn’t exist. So I went further into the pieces of the image, and that is where I found these cast shadows, and I said “oh great, there is some texture to this that I had missed before”.

Once you found those shadows, where did you go from there?

From there I went to the floor, it was like a chessboard floor, with a repeating pattern. I kind of took that, and in ink (one of my favorite mediums), I did an organic version of that- created a grid. And on top of the grid I added the shape of the chess piece, because I thought the shape was a nice contrast to the very geometric grid. And then I just kept adding texture and layers. I picked up on the curving of the cast shadows from the original image, and used flicks of paint and ink to pick up on the movements that I saw in the cast shadows. So, I feel like I was kind of playing with the visual elements that I was responding to in the image, to play with composition.

So you were kind of recreating some parts of it, but also kind of responding to motion, or some perception of motion.

I think that I was adding something where it didn’t exist. Because I don’t gravitate towards representing the world in that way- I’m not saying it’s a bad way, it’s just not something that I do naturally, so I was kind of creating my own version of it, in ways that felt more natural to me.

How does this respond to the rest of your work?

Right now I’m working on my graduate thesis, for visual art education, and on top of a paper I am creating a visual body of work. Part of the reason I joined this project is to see where this could connect, if at all, or if I could use it to play around with some ideas that I was working on for my thesis project. Especially playing with materials to construct the image, because I actually did sew a piece of board onto another board, so there was a construction element to this as well. So it was partly to see if it would trigger something, or if I could play with process. This was a form of play, or like a homework assignment for myself.

Yeah, I think that’s kind of the beauty of a prompt- it’s like a little homework assignment.

And I dig it- it’s so open ended! It’s just like, respond to this, and that’s what initially attracted me to the project.

Any other thoughts?

Part of one of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is using materials that I already have. Not trying to gather new things, just using things from my hoard- only getting new things when I absolutely need them. And, if I do need to get new things, getting things from more readily available industrial means- not from the art store, but from where the general public might find things.

The laypeople?

Ha! Yeah, the laypeople. I feel like in general I’m really wrestling right now with what 20th century art history has told to us, and how we’ve responded to it. Not just using mass-produced products just because Warhol did it, or not to use 17 thousand pencils to make a sculpture because it looks cool, but because there’s a conceptual reason within the overall narrative of the project. So, just to touch briefly on my thesis project- my thesis is responding directly to my experiences as a k-12 art teacher at an alternative school for kids with social and emotional issues- I did four years at that school. And part of it was this constraint on supplies, making sure that I was using things in a creative way, things that can be recycled or reused. Not just for financial reasons, but to make art feel more accessible for my students. You don’t have to paint realistically in art class, and you can use stuff from the corner store!

Call Number: M3VA | M5VA.baPa

Blaine headshot


Blaine Bacchiocchi is a Fine Artist and Art Educator. She is currently finishing her Masters Degree in Visual Art Education in the Boston Area and resides in Buzzard’s Bay Massachusetts. Blaine has a life-long love of creative endeavors and enjoys working in a range of media. Her current project is a mixed media installation dealing with the role of Visual Art education as part of a holistic education practice, and in particular when it comes to the needs of social emotional students, with a little bit of psychological theory thrown in the mix for good measure. She enjoys finding layers of connections between issues and concepts that may otherwise seam disparate and exploring those connections through the use of 2D and 3D materials.