That’s really the theme I keep coming back to over and over til the point where it’s nearly an obsession: that everything is connected, that we are of nature, and that everything we do/think/feel affects every other living being.
I kind of mix all that up with my love/hate relationship with our humanness, our bodies, mortality, everything. It’s all just a swirl in my head that I’m trying to figure out. I sometimes feel, with all this, that I’m really lost in the woods and trying to find my way out, but maybe not too quickly… because it’s pretty nice being lost in the woods.
Good lord, did any of that make any sense??
It suddenly hit me today that I’ll be in Philadelphia next weekend and then Prague the weekend after (and on for ten days), meaning that I’m about to take a serious break from the studio. Sounds great to me, but I have all these drawings that are half- or almost-done, and I want to get them all together and finished so that I don’t lose the train of thought I have going with them. It’s going to be a long week of working a lot, I predict.
So here’s the first I finally got done. It’s separate from but related to the other piece I did that’s a long horizontal with cats in it, and while the pieces are different and stand-alone, I sort of wanted to show them to the world together. I just think they make more sense that way.
This is a detail of the piece… the full image doesn’t really fit well on this page:
So, only a few days left to let me know your address if you want some free multiples! Email me your snail mail and I will send you art. Here’s some disjointed history about the project:
In 2005, I started making these little multiples (and I mean little – most can be held in the palm of your hand) to give out for free to friends and people I would meet at art fairs. It’s been this fun little practice of mine, but I’ve always had in the back of my head that it would be cool to give the extras to a little bookshop or giftshop to sell for some small amount of money – like $3 or $5, depending on the item. I would actually like to just give them out for free, but there is something about free things that make people grabby… I like to give them away when I’m in a one on one situation, but if I just left them out for free I fear that people would take them without really knowing why they were taking them… and then they’d just end up in the garbage. Charging some minor amount would weed out people who really don’t care, leaving behind something very affordable for those who do. Or so my theory goes. Of course, charging also helps cover the cost, although most of them cost more than $3/each to make… but it’s a start.
Below is a rather incomplete archive of the multiples I’ve made during this time and the whole reason why I’m posting them is this:
Do you know of an indie bookstore/museum giftshop/etc that would be interested in taking some of these? I am editioning a whole bunch more tomorrow and will then have a whole slew of new inventory. Do you – if you’re a particularly fantastic and connected reader of this blog – know of anyone you can forward this page to, to see if they’d be interested in taking a few on consignment? (Yep, I know about Printed Matter, but I don’t know anyone there… do you?)
Anyway, I’m open to all ideas. Here are some pictures…
I did this one back in 2006 for the Armory Fair. What you get is this little folded piece with a golden string tying it shut.
When you open it…
…this is what you get – it’s a two-sided accordion-fold homemade digital print. I’m pretty sure I still have a bunch of these left.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is this:
Wow, I forgot all about this one. Jeff had this in his little personal collection and seeing it was a complete surprise. I made it in 2005 near Christmas time – I think initially I wanted to give them away as Christmas presents (ie, it’s one of the few not made in conjuction with an art fair) but then I decided it was just too damn depressing. It involves all this text from Reagan’s obituary and the final words of death row inmates. Not very Christmas-y!
I’m not really sure what happened to them, but I don’t think I have any more (I may not have editioned all that many to begin with).
This is Honey to Ashes:
This was really the first one that I made. It was also done in 2005, but this was to correspond with the Miami art fairs. I thought they were all long gone (and way too much trouble to re-edition) but when I got my work back from the gallery, they included a stash of these. So, yay. Here’s (sort of) what it looks like inside:
The magnifying glass is really just a prop – it’s from a party supply store and is the kind you give to kids.
I made this for the Miami fairs in 2006:
Ok, it takes a little explaining: The box is an Altoids box that is covered in glitter and in the center, there is a felt globe. Inside (or spread out before it in this picture) is a banner made out of felt that spells “nowhere.” You’re supposed to hang it on your window to signal that what happens outside isn’t important (ie, it’s nowhere), but what happens inside is everything.
I made maybe ten of these and they are long gone. I’d really like to do something with Altoids boxes again, if I can ever score a slew.
I posted about this one before, so just really quick:
This is from this last round of Miami fairs. It’s a mini-homemade catalog of my postcard series and it also comes with a magnifying glass (I designed it this way thinking that Honey to Ashes was long gone, so there didn’t seem any harm in repeating myself… now I just seem like a girl who’s a little too into magnifying glasses).
Lastly, here’s another homemade catalog from this year:
Well, partially homemade, anyway. The catalog itself is from Lulu.com, but the covers are “digital prints with handcoloring and collage” (which is to say that I printed them from my computer, glued them together, and watercolored on top).
This is the only one I have to sell for considerably more than the others, just because the printing through Lulu, while cheap for what it is, is still much more expensive than the rest.
There’s more, but that’s a start.
I don’t usually read The Brooklyn Rail (mostly because it’s a rare day indeed when I go to Brooklyn, so I admit I sort of dismissed it just because of the name… which was maybe a mistake on my part), but Jeff has had it around and has been talking about its really good art-writing, so I gave it a try tonight. I was reading Graham T. Beck’s excellent article on artist’s assistants when I noticed that across the spread from that article was one by Sharon Butler. My thought process went:
It was a cool thing to come across randomly and, since she mentions the multiples I was giving out in Miami, that reminds me: If you’re one of the people who is hankering (hankering?) for a free multiple as described in the post somewhat below, you have to email me your address so I can send it to you! If you’re an SVAer, I can just hand it to you, but otherwise let me know a physical address to mail it off to.
Thank you for the mention, Sharon! Congrats on your article.
I really enjoyed The Simpsons this Sunday (for the first time in a while), featuring Nelson and Lisa as Sid and Nancy. I kept waiting for the Malcolm McLaren guest spot that never came, but they made up for it by having the kids freebase chocolate which was pretty cool too. But what it left me thinking about is a variation on the very simple pop culture question that haunts me when there’s a pop culture figure I haven’t thought of in a while: So… Malcolm McLaren, alive or dead?
Ok: he’s alive.
But then I started thinking about how an artist’s death really affects the interpretation of their work, the way that I sort of liked Dan Flavin‘s work a lot more once he died, as terrible as I feel saying that. Maybe it’s the age I was when he passed, but it seemed to me that his work became less like this pre-fab thing just stuck in the corner and more a glowing presence, like an eternal flame.
All of which then lead me to think a bit about this question:
Which artists’ work will substantially change (in their interpretation, to me at least) once they’re dead?
I imagined that I would arrive home with a list of artists I could post up here and it would just be totally fascinating (again, to me, at the very least). But after a day of ruminating on it as I went around to galleries, I could only come up with two.
Ok, this one is huge. The presence of his work is going to totally feel different once you know there aren’t any more coming down the pike ever. They’ll seem like weird little whispers from beyond the grave or something… very creepy, but in a good way.
(Please note that this is probably the first blog post ever to mention On Kawara and The Diabolical One in the same breath.)
Ok, in my book, The Biz is truly an unrecognized master of… music? performance? performance art? I don’t really even know. The guy is just brilliant and hasn’t ever really gotten his due. Not that he hasn’t been given a chance at least here and there, but I think that Biz is just a little too weird for the mainstream, a little too mainstream for the avant-garde, and just generally gets left out in the cold as a result. But man, is the guy amazing. I have to start working Biz Markie into all of my lesson plans.
But I always watch his performances (yes, the ones on Yo, Gabba Gabba too) with total awe… but will that all change when he’s dead? He brings this amazing mix of pathos and humor to his performances, but will the pathos eventually overtake the humor?
For the record, as far as I know the Biz is very much alive and healthy (um, as is Kawara). I just happened to think of him because I was reminded of how much the lyrics, “Ronald Reagan may be pres but I voted for Shirley Chisholm” changed for me when she died; the way it made the song seem something like a relic of a distant past.
This entire post, by the way, is evidence that Tom is right and I think too much.
So the next installment from the series that is eating my life…
I’m seriously getting into it now. I have to clean my apartment or bad things will happen (like what, I don’t know – but I’m sure it’s not healthy to have last week’s garbage still around) but then I’m getting back to work on it.
The Smithsonian has an awesome picture library online with illustrations of things like antique furniture in it, which is where I got the references for this drawing. I’ll post that link when I track it down again…
So the project is coming along, but man is it ever taking the scenic route. I’m at about the half-way mark and getting a little frustrated at it. I might take the rest of the afternoon off from this project and work on something else just to keep my sanity (although this is always a tricky prospect, as it contains the possibility that I might go running off in some other totally different direction. But I think I’m sufficiently invested and also interested in this series to go ahead and cut myself some slack).
Last night, I had a slew of weird dreams. In particular, the themes of zero population growth and housing for the middle class kept re-emerging over and over, which make for some pretty nerdy dreams if you ask me.
Anyway, in one in particular, I was working on this huge drawing in my studio. Part of it came out on a table and part of it hung on the wall… don’t remember the part on the wall but the part on the table was a map of the world. It was really intricately drawn and was some sort of illustration about population density or something along those lines.
My dad (in the dream) came into my studio and looked at the work. He said, “You drew the map wrong.”
This was true – my map was cartoony and distorted; still it was perfectly readable as a map. I pointed this out to him.
“Look, you put Savannah in the wrong place. You should fix it,” he said.
“Dad, it doesn’t matter. It’s art, it’s not geography.”
“Tell that to the people of Savannah!”
And so on, until I got really upset and woke up.
Anyway… if you made it this far in the post, you get a reward (!). One of the things I got back from the gallery yesterday was a slew of my homemade Honey to Ashes books – by far the most requested book project I’ve ever done, and I thought the edition was totally gone. I also plan on working today on assembling the remaining books I gave out at the Miami fairs this year, and also to begin working on an edition to give out when I’m in Prague in a couple of weeks.
So if you feel like outing yourself as a reader of this blog, do so within the next week or so and I will reward your awkwardness by giving you one of the multiples. C’mon – this blog gets like 80 hits a day, who the hell is reading it?!?
Today, Jeff and I (with help from our pal Brian and his folks) moved my inventory of works from my old gallery into storage. It was unsettling (to say the least) to see all this work together in one place, left over from many years of being an artist. Given how long I worked with that space, there wasn’t all that much left (I opted for the smallest storage option they had and easily could have gotten by with less than that), but still – it’s more work than I’ve had on hand at one time in my life.
Eventually, some of it will be moved off to my new gallery. But some of it, also, will go into my personal collection – which is weird and emotional for me, as I’ve never had a personal collection of my own artwork. I’ve been working so hard for so many years just to keep up with everything I had to do – working, teaching, drawing, etc – that I never really had time to just make a piece for myself, get it framed, and put it aside in a nice place in my apartment and have it unfold itself to me over months and years. I’m seeing this opportunity as my big chance. I’m really interested to see what having my own work around for me to look at and think about will do to my process.
I feel like today was one of those weird life moments – not quite up there with graduating or getting married, but close. As dorky as it sounds, I really think it represents a new beginning for me.
Ok, so I felt the need to reeeealllly push along the story today. Partially that’s so I finish it before I die (I think it’s going to be a really long series) and partially I’m worried I’m digging a hole for myself story-wise that I need to start fleshing out really soon. I think it’s going somewhere interesting, but the trick will be getting there. Also, while standing in front of the drawings and looking at them may make the story take a reasonable amount of time, I kinda wonder if posting them one at a time on the blog was really the best strategy… just wondering if the whole thing winds up being totally unreadable in this format.
Eh, whatever. They’re coming together as a nice series and that’s what’s really important…