An art professor at the University of Mississippi, Christine Conley is both a visual artist and a musician. She has used oil paint and graphite as her primary visual art media for most of her career, and she has always painted and drawn representational forms. In addition to her primary media, Conley has experimented with a wide range of other media and genres, creating sound and video installations, writing and performing songs, collaborating with middle school children, and using photography in her practice. Creating art for her is a means of exploring, understanding, and transforming. After a near-fatal car accident, she found her ability to create art was impaired. Since her identity had always been centered around being an artist, this was a stunning change. Christine Conley was an artist in residence at La Porte Peinte during the summer of 2014, and her aim for the residency was to explore a way to recreate authentic identity, combining drawings with music in an animated video. Her resulting work, the compelling Ruins & UFOs Bells & Bees, has been shown at La Porte Peinte as part of the quotidiæn show.

This is the first segment of The Search. I wrote a proposal for a one month residency in France, the first residency I ever applied for. Now I wonder why I waited so long. I proposed to learn Flash animation and create a one minute animation. This is it. I started with a drawing I had completed for an exhibition called Le Deluge. I scanned the drawing into Photoshop and worked with it and Flash to animate it. The sounds are from the village, Noyers sur Serein, in Burgundy. In the village, there were numerous walls with grape vines growing on them. If you walked past them at certain times of the day, the buzzing was incredibly loud. The other most memorable sound was the cathedral bell that rang all through the day. I scanned a drawing into Photoshop and then into Flash.

 Ruins & UFOs Bells & Bees

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I started this project (my first animation) in 2014, completed the third segment in July of 2015, and finally linked the three segments together as The Search, visible on my website. The original drawings were done out of a spirit of desolation, but the animation inverted that for me. I’ve wanted to do animation for a long time. After drawing and painting for decades, I was compelled to breathe new life into my work. I’ve also loved cartoons my whole life. Bugs Bunny was one of my first loves and role models. 

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