Naomi T-T Levine

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contact Naomi via naomit.tlevine@gmail.com

Artwork by Naomi

I am a self-taught mixed media artist. I commonly work with recycled and repurposed materials as a means to improve my impact on the environment, save money, and transform materials that are commonly overlooked. I most commonly work with watercolor, gouache, acrylic paints, and acrylic inks. Some of my favorite art tools are fixed and modified vintage toys like the Twirl-o-Paint and The Big Press. In addition to different techniques for painting and the use of vintage art toys, I also like to create film projects professionally and personally.

I hosted Paint Nights for the Purdue Graduate Student Government from February 2019 through November 2021. This event was routinely fully booked with a long waitlist as it had been incredibly popular. During COVID-19 we switched to an online format for a few of our events with positive feedback from participants.

Taking Off My Eyeballs

glasses

This multimedia art piece was created using acrylic paint on a pair of glasses that had an out of date presecription using a reverse painting technique.

This work was an opportunity for me to transform a pair of glasses that I had lingering around with me which did not have a use to me as the prescription was out-of-date. I took up learning reverse painting to practice thinking of my paintings in terms of layering like one might do in digital art. I had been dabbling a bit in digital art around the time I made these and thought to use the digital platform as a way to plan out each of the painted layers. It was fun to see how this painting influenced my practicing with digital art and how the digital tools served as assistive technology for me in this project. As a child I was always fascinated with tiny objects and beads were no exception to this so I made the glasses chain out of my collection of acquired and found beads that I’ve carried around with me for years. The final presentation of this project was a return to the digital art that I was practicing and using to assist me in creating these glasses. I was pleased that I was able to use technology to both recreate and remove eyes from this work.

Twirl-o-Painting 45s

45s

This was my set up at Art in the Park, hosted by the Lafayette Parks Department, in the summer of 2020.

This is an example of my use of a piece of retro children’s art equipment for creating my own work. After 3D printing a custom attachment, the Twirl-o-Paint is able to hold 45rpm records and I’m able to cover the labels on the records during the painting process to preserve them. Sometimes I will draw color inspiration from the label itself or from the title of the song. All 45s used for this work were purchased in a large lot of damaged and no longer functional 45s from eBay at about $0.10 per 45, this is an inexpensive surface to work with and gives me flexibility to work with a variety of medium to high flow acrylic paints. For me, this is like the fun of tie-dye, but faster. One of my favorite parts about my time as a vendor for Art in the Park was all the young kids dragging older relatives over to my table to show them the cool colors and the Twirl-o-Paint which was then followed by the older relatives trying to explain to the children what a 45 record was.

Zoom wedding

zoom wedding art work

This multimedia art work was created over the course of several years. The final product was realized during the COVID-19 spring of 2021.

This work demonstrates a core concept that I taught as a Recreational Art Instructor; no canvas is truly wasted on “bad” art because we can simply paint over it until we like what we see. I began working with this specific canvas in 2019 and it has featured numerous art pieces that I have displayed in my own home, but those pieces never stayed for very long because they just did not feel quite right to me. It was in the fall of 2020 that I felt compelled to make my most drastic revision to this canvas yet by cutting slits onto it and embroidering new elements upon its surface. Over the months that I continued to build on this latest version the additions to the piece became more complicated and I was uncertain that, like the COVID-19 pandemic, this project would ever come to an end. Fortunately, and unlike the pandemic (as of December 2022), this project came to a place where it felt comfortably completed in the spring of 2021.

Spirit Houses in Eklutna, AK

spirit houses

This watercolor sketch was created in the summer of 2021 on a trip I took to Alaska with my husband.

This work was created as a means to recapture a memory of a moment that I had photographed while visiting some of the Spirit Houses in Eklutna, Alaska. The colonialist and proselytizing push on the local peoples that forced a blending different burial traditions together fascinated me. As an outsider to both communities I felt odd taking in this site and humbled by the resilient-stubbornness of both communities to continue both of their practices rather than having one completely eclipse the other. I like to recapture small moments of my travel that I capture in photographs as it allows me to spend more time with that moment than I might have initially.

Videos

Technofeminism is a video essay that I created for an independent study course I did in the summer of 2020. This was my first attempt at a video essay and I am most proud of the short sci-fi sketch my husband performed in to highlight what Technofeminism is not. This project is one of my earliest documentations of my intellectualizing of and musing about bathrooms which has come to playfully exasperate my friends and family over the years.

Even the Toothbrush Was Digital is the second video essay that I created and was for a course I took in the fall of 2020. The goal of this project was to explore my relationship to technology during my time working-from-home because of COVID-19 and reflecting on the intersectionality of technological and work experiences. The expereince of capturing and discussing the immense privilege and responsibility of being able to work-from-home during a pandemic has lingered for me in the time since. This continues to inform my work and organizing today.

Rotary Number Pad Infomercial is a fake advertisement I created for Alden Bradford’s electronics project where he transformed a rotary phone into a number pad for computers. Is it a practical item? Will this be the next technological sensation? Does this feel a little adjacent to steampunk technologies? I’ll let you decide.

Remote Access and Accessibility: An Accessible Video is a short pre-recorded presentation I was a co-producer on with Emily Krebs and Kristen Tollan for the 2022 National Communication Association (NCA) conference. This presentation highlights the utility of video presentations at NCA. In this video we demonstrate: 1) who benefits from this format, 2) what infrastructure is needed to support video engagement, and 3) what can be done to make video content accessible.