Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Going Back a Little

Since writing the text for my Then We Came To The End sticky notes is taking longer than expected, I haven't had much to post, so lets go backwards a little.

Here are a couple of process shots and then the final product for the last painting I finished:

(I'm particularly embarrassed by the bad coloration and lighting of this last photo - I badly need to get a new camera/photos skills)

When I first conceived of this painting the idea was that when finished I would cut it up into a bunch of two or three inch by two or three inch squares that I would then send to galleries as "samples", along with my portfolio, so that they'd be able to see the rich surface of a painting that a photograph just can't convey (especially when there are stickers in the mix). Subsequently, the overall image or narrative of this painting was much less important to me than usual - the priority being instead that every square two inches had enough visual interest to stand on its own. Here's a detail shot.

As you can see, after five or six unsuccessful attempts, I used the choppy future of this painting as an excuse to give up on the nose entirely, covering the space instead with a butterfly sticker epicenter. Hopefully you can also see a little better how the strokes of the palate knife that I use to paint look, though the way that the stickers mix with the paint is still difficult to discern. Just imagine what a good idea of the final effect you'd have if part of this chunk had been exacto-ed out and mailed to you...

I've been feeling more recently that the whole slicing and sending plan may not have the most efficacy, which is a long winded way, I suppose, of saying that I've wussed out on the cutting.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


This evening's project is working on writing the story that I will soon be drawing onto post-it notes and sticking into the library copy of Joshua Ferris's Then We Came to the End. I'm a little bit stuck, as it were, on what to call the piece in general. I've been going with Post-it Books so far but don't particularly like that title. Here is what I've come up with so far, in the way of other naming options:

- Sticky Note Books - It's like Post-it Books, but without all the product-placement...

- Parasite Stories - Except that they really aren't parasitic so much as symbiotic, which brings me to:

- Lichen Books - Which the dork in me is drawn to because when said aloud it sounds like "likin' books", and implies a more organic synthesis of original book and added story, but may not make sense to those who were not raised by a lichen enthusiast?

- Story Books - Simple, but perhaps overly so.

Any suggestions? Votes?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Banana Republic Shorts

I got these shorts from Banana Republic last week. I chose them because they were a dark color (much to my dismay, see-through fabrics seem to be all the rage for spring), had pockets (always promising), and at $44 were pretty much the cheapest thing in the store aside from some tank-tops.

When I got them home I realized that the right front has a double pocket, which gave me a great little secret space to work with. Even when the shorts are turned inside out, you have to peer intently to see any indication of my handiwork.

Here are before and after shots of the shorts turned inside-out:

I used the little secret space between overlapping pockets for the first representational painting that I've ever added to clothing for this project. Here's a picture of my handiwork with the innermost pocket pinned back so that you can see the space in between:

I sewed a few beads at the center of each pair of lips to give a little more of a tactile hint of their presence, as my main concern for this iteration is that my insertion might be so well hidden that it's owner never notices it. I'll return the shorts soon. At the moment I am entirely confident that the return will go smoothly, but I'm sure I'll manage to psych myself into a lather of imagined scenarios of capture soon enough.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Links Undermining My Creativity

Recently, still unsure of what to call what I've tended to refer to as "my more performative pieces", I started looking up some of the words that were at the edges of my vocabulary - words that I had a sense might apply, but had no strict definition for - like "guerrilla art", "shopdropping", and "culture jamming" .

After doing some reading I've come to the conclusion that the most applicable word for my recent non-painting works is "shopdropping". The real discovery, though, was how little I've known about guerrilla art. I could probably have only named (0r pseudonymed) three or four guerrilla artists, and the only shopdropper I knew anything about was Banksy.

Turns out there is quite a vibrant and diverse world of transgressive art projects going on around us. Two sites I found particularly explore-worthy were and (which casts a much larger net than just guerrilla art, but has good "intro to" articles on many subsets of the genre).

While tooling around I came upon the work of Zoe Sheehan Saldana, and my stomach turned over. There are few responses when I talk about my work that I like less than "oh, that sounds like so-and-so's piece...", and Zoe Sheehan Saldana's Walmart shopdropping piece comes way closer to my Shell Game than anything I'd seen before (and predates it...doubly blasted). She bought clothing from Walmart, made exacting facsimiles with impressive sewing skills, put the tags from the legitimate items on the one's that she'd constructed, and then slipped her douplicates back into the store, for people to buy without ever being the wiser. I've since consoled myself, though, by focusing on the many ways in which her work differs from mine. Her work is more technically demanding and conceptually rigorous, but mine is more, well, fun? I'll stop being petty any moment now.

The one other artist introduced via my reading that I wanted to mention is Hang Nguyen, whose Planting Seeds made me smile, and after so much reading on anti-corporate, anti-conventional, anti-etcetera was refreshingly sweet (but you know, still in a transgressive way).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Think I've Figured It Out

A PDF of all the inserted post it notes in Alice Munro's Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage is attached to the site linked below.

I imagine (or at least hope) that my ability to both draw Times New Roman, and write stories suited to this library book piece, with improve with further iterations.

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Project: Post-it Books

I'm not sure what I'm calling this project yet. I've been provisionally going with "post-it books", the provision being that this is less a title and more the most basic unit of description I can come up with.
The project is another in the art-in-unexpected-places vein. I am taking books from the library, writing stories that are parasitic (or maybe symbiotic) to the book in question, and inserting these stories into the library book via post it notes.

The first story I've written/inserted is intertwined with Alice Munro's Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage, in that much of the "plot" of my story revolves around the circumstances surrounding two different people reading Murno's book. Munro's short stories are largely explorations of the relationships between people, so the story I wrote for the occasion is also relationship-centric .

This project, aside from the quasi-guerrilla-art appeal, has the fun bonuses of requiring that I read lots of library books, write lots of assignment-like short stories (stories that begin with a "site" rather than a plot) and practice drawing Times New Roman.  You can find a scan of my addition to Alice Munro's book here.