ink paintings on compact discs

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So I’ve been making ink paintings on old compact discs.

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I put on the primer very wet, trying to leave some of the original printing so you know who the artist is (with some minimal-aesthetic bands like Radiohead, this is not so easy).

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I like the centre hole being in the way. I like the weird smoothness of plastic, the way ink just sits on it.

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I do a quick varnish spray over the artwork but at the end of the day these are still less durable than most of my art; you can handle them, but with care.

envelopes

Each one is mounted on white presentation board (with a drop of rubber cement – the same stuff that holds your new credit card to the letter from the bank – so easily removed) cut to fit inside a matching envelope, so the artwork as a whole is packaged for gift giving (or sending).

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I’ll have fourteen of these at the Fat Goose show this Sunday (along with a ton of other work). They’re $30 each. I would have made more but I ran out of time!

as all the heavens were a bell / and Being but an ear / and i and silence some strange race / wrecked, solitary, here

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The front/first page of my Flickr. I enjoy seeing the work at this size, like postage stamps.


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Some recent art on book board. As much as I dig repurposing old and/or discarded items, and celebrating the ruin in that, I need to move on to some cleaner, sparer work. People are intimidated by the busy, I find; it’s as if they look but don’t see.


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A sample of the latest library card art. I paint them over lunch these days (a cheap way to salvage any morning).


So here’s to November … the month that heralds the death knell of Fall, the forgettable opening act of Winter, and the uncomfortable waiting room for the long night of the soul that is Christmas.

p.s. The title is from Emily Dickenson.

#inktober

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… and just today I heard about this #inktober phenomenon, which is a thing made for me if ever there was one. I mean, I don’t even like making prepatory lines with pencil, because of the (a) delay and (b) nerve curdling scratching noise (in fact, I dislike all kinds of dry drawing). My instinct is always to be putting wet brush to surface.

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And now that I’m drawing over my lunch hour again … well, let’s just say I may be rampant with the ‘inktober’ hashtag.

and i look in the mirror like i did something wrong (make collage not war)

Is the dignity of the thing in the effort behind it? This is certainly the message we tell ourselves, or at least the lesson we want our children to know. Because it’s a nice idea, an elevating ambition for what it means to be human. But I have my doubts.

I spend a lot of time making failures. They are everywhere, all around me, all the time (and this is only speaking to my personal art, or the art I make by hand, leaving aside entirely the issue of graphic design, which is a wholly different kind of poisonous cognitive dissonance). In my studio, I can step in any direction and pick up a failure and hold it in my hands. I can close my eyes and feel the failure in it, these tiny vibrations of best-before-ness, either idea or execution gone sour.

There is nothing ennobling about this feeling.

Art, like Nature, does not care about effort, about how hard you tried, about how much you believed. Whole artistic movements have been resigned to footnotes in the annals of po-faced, fart-sniffing fuckery (although, historically, this kind of purposeful rankness has always increased your chances of getting an arts grant). And when it comes down to individual works, there is no gold star for just using lots and lots of paint.

The only rational response to this is collage.

Collage lets you off the hook. It lets you have fun again. It is mad-scientist time. Collage is pure experimentation under (some) formal restrictions, like calling a meeting with a six year-old enforcing Robert’s Rules of Order. Every idea is entertained with the tacit understanding that it is probably shit. But the things that click will do so most obviously, in that quick way that makes you snort and smile.

Anyway: I’ve been doing a lot of collage lately. Here are three.

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don’t neglect winter chills / mixed media on masonite / 9 x 12 inches

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an escapist picture of the universe / mixed media on book board / 7 x 9.5 inches

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speaking in poems / mixed media on book board / 7 x 9 inches

yesterday is a fortune teller

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yesterday is a fortune teller with blood on her hands / ink painting on found paper / 6 x 9 inches / the blank inside title page from an old book


Lately, I’ve been thinking about time, about how to make it, or gain on it, when it constantly conspires against you. We all dream of getting up earlier or staying up later, of going to the gym and getting fit or writing some novel over lunch. But there’s a reason the marine ranks are made of children.


The Four of Cups features prominently in a scene from Blood Meridian; it is the card chosen by the Kid, reflecting his divided nature.

the handsome devil

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the handsome devil; an original ink drawing with crayon and coffee touches; 8 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches.


an old drawing, used ages ago as a barely noticeable screen on a back cover, which I pulled from a drawer and resurrected with coffee, colour and handwriting. i like his rugged anti-ness, his charm that would be nothing but trouble.


sent a new tinyletter out into the world yesterday; this one’s about the advantages of being malleable (or at least not standing up too straight).


making many drawings and little collages on rust paper lately, as well as much tinting in coffee and food dye. the next fat goose is in november, and I’d like to have some new and interesting things for people. will show some here soon.

Lemmy Caution

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it’s my only weapon against fatality / an original ink and wash drawing on book paper / 8 3/8 x 11 inches


Lemmy Caution is the hard-boiled detective from a range of European film noirs, although his most known (and strangest) role is the 1965 Jean-Luc Godard film Alphaville, which placed Caution in a dystopian science fiction setting where he matches wits with a HAL-type of supercomputer. It’s a trip.