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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428

MEGAN OLSEN

COMMON ORIGINS

Senior Project APRIL 2016

Our ancestors created a belief in spirits. They believed that all things had a spirit or a will and this is what created religion and worship. As our nomadic ancestors roamed the earth their views began to spread through story telling. The polytheists, or pagans, were open to mixing and matching other cultures’ gods or goddesses.  Over time the stories of the gods began to become distorted, with some creationism stories explaining that humans came to be because the gods sculpted them from the earth, or they were whittled into existence from the bark of a tree. No matter what the story is, our ancestors all agreed on one factor, that we are earth’s children and this is what should be our connection to each other.


As an artist I feel responsible to make my art tell stories that have a purpose. My artwork represents stories of creationism that stem from my desire to see how things are connected. I have always had an interest in mythological stories and what they might tell us about our world today. With these five stories (Greek, Norse, Chinese, Yoruban, and Egyptian) I wish to bring attention to religious views that are similar, showing the parallels of these ancient religions and what they may have in common with modern day monotheism. The beautiful thing about Pagan religions is the value of religious tolerance. I wish for people to learn from this as well as feel united by finding common ground in understanding the importance of the earth and our existence.


In a five by twelve foot bull denim tapestry I have created one version of creationism where each of the five stories can coexist. My process first started by painting the denim with watered down acrylics to get a watercolor look for my background. Then I created collagraph plates using paper, Masonite board, and gesso. My cloud collagraphs were used directly on the denim where I used oil pastel to rub and create sketch like copies.  The rest of the plates were printed onto white chiffon material and unbleached muslin. These prints were then cut up and arranged to look like characteristic land mass. Finally, the pieces were hand quilted onto the denim. The idea of the sheer material for my giants is so that these figures could blend together and be part of one picture. I printed the creator gods and story details in muslin so they could stand out as focal points for the eye to follow.