Wednesday, January 13, 2010
and then there were the little pieces i did in select locations all over, on the edges of buildings in corners and along the fringes of buildings, kind of like the marginals of my favorite MAD magazine artist i used to love as a kid, sergio aragones. He drew the little line drawings reproduced in the margins( line drawings- really tiny) which became the reason to buy the mag.
I used a prepared polyethylene cloth and worked on ink drawings, usually in the studio or at a scenic park maybe beside a canal where i could gather a little bit of that famous inspiration that makes artists do their thing...
Once i had something nice I'd look around, sometimes going to different cities with a few in my bag and a bucket of glue,in search of an appropriate place to plaster my picture
this one i did in a park next to the grand palais in paris then put up near the pompidou that same night in august... i think by now it no longer exists but it became the birth of another group of images i created for the streets.
The next one i did in Delft on a little side street where the wall was a mess and i thought my lines might bring a little liteness to that spot. Ironically~ in my photo there's a mother and child in the background that mirror the figures on the big blue sign that hovers over my street piece like a big round head
then came rotterdam and my favorite by the sound garden in amsterdam before i went off to copenhagen to put several up in christiania
the summer took me to many and various places from ghetto to glorious, in the chunk of land called Europe... I was brought over there by the US embassy in Paris, as a "cultural envoy"... more about that later, last things first so i can keep things in order. So I made some arrangements to stay longer so I could make the most of my time out of town. I found on the web a group of people in the city of Delft, who were giving artists spaces to make their work, housed in a giant complex of high rises. the spaces were set in buildings that were being prepared to be demolished, and upon my arrival there from Paris I found i had a nice flat on the top floor which i was to fill with drawings for a month...
after a week of floundering i found a can of blue paint in the closet, chunky but useable and decided it would become a blue drawing, in both theme and color, with a black and white mirror: a wall flower drawing, in the next room. I also decided that the image in the far room would contain giant sprawling figures, a form i usually don't work with, but somehow i found that it made sense in the context of flatland.
caught up in a dream world
lying on top of each other
draped in blue-
silver drawings of fragments of faces
formed lines on the fingers of the
one giant colossus
with big toes
sleeping in silence
maybe never waking
until the wrecking ball pulls the house down.
so while i was in Holland over the summer I get a call from my old friend Martha Keller who is organizing a Climate Bottom Meeting in Christiania with the founders of the community there, and she asks me to do a mural on this public building, so i pop up there via train before i return to the states, make a few pieces on some walls there and start thinking what I will do for this, Christiania's unique response ( complete with teepees, yurts, a Finnish Sauna)to the COP15 climate Summit happening in Copenhagen in December... so imake my plans, gather a crew and start on drawings to cover one of the public performance spaces there in "freetown".... i come up with a CO2 dragon, a dragon shaped like the letters CO2, he's a tyrant blasting his foul flame breath on the city- actually a jumbled piled up mess representing civilization at present...there are signs of trouble within the city, a cacophony of color, piled tires, buildings, oil rigs, wires, factories, remnants of a post industrial world ,huge stumps left from the depleted forests, etc, and to the right of the city a giant wave or tsunami about to swallow the city in the belly of its blue.
for help i enlisted the services of my friend and trusty helper Le Josh who came with me from Philadelphia, and then i got a call from a good friend in Prague, Tomas Toulec who also wanted to come up and work with us... In 6 days we completed the painting, that was our limitation, our window of time before the village opened its seasonal Christmas market. so then we went about the village and added little personal touches for beautification purposes.
that seemed to work, so let's try another.. the next photo is one of the panels from the tile mural i made there, using molds and the slip cast that came pouring out of a tube in my studio, the tiles are 25" square and after the firing they shrunk to 23", this one based on the wall drawing I did in a gallery at Fiskars in Finland where i spent 3 months as artist in residence. the next photo shows the tiles as i was laying them out bringing them together,
After focusing on the tiles I decided to go upstairs and get one of the casters to make a fresh toilet ( greenware)for me that I could carve and add my carvings to, to create a fountain of sorts,
which I then glazed in the beautiful kohler cobalt blue. this piece I want to use as part of my next installation somewhere. I ended up with three carved toilets, one is now part of Kohler's permanent collection at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center there, a truly amazing museum, of which I am proud to be part in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in the great midwestern USA.
I then did a series of sink drawings, where I gathered a few fresh and beautiful sinks to make my drawings upon, these also will be part of the toilet fountain installation (coming soon). one of these is pictured... also you can see little swimmer man-(who came to me from the good graces of kinder-eggs- the lovely chocolate eggs from europe with toys inside -i usually buy too many of these whenever i'm in that continent...-) he's swimming around the confines of the piece called Atlantis- a carved toilet that I left with Ruth Kohler for the Kohler Art collection... context is everything. Sometimes.
Life at Kohler much reflected that which happened all around me, i worked endlessly, our little residence house was situated in the center of a vast soybean field that changed colors as the winter settled in all around; I mostly rode my bike from home to factory it was close by and because there was really nothing else to do but work, so i often spent 12-14 hours there drawing tiles, carving toilets making my stumps and cities...
ok sitting here dealing with a new form, i'm gonna put out some pics here see where they land. this oughtta be interesting. I just returned from a couple of months at the Kohler Factory, where I made a ton(literally) of work that now is the primary inhabitant of my basement- with the hairy silverfish... these are some of my stumps, sitting on a shelf in my factory studio there, they are part of a small forest i created out there, i call them my grafitti stumps, drawnings done with the lovely black and blue- and glowy white glazes- all proprietary in Kohlerland.