A Trade With RF Cote (Canada)

My collage is on the far right. It's hanging in Canada.

The vast majority of things that I make I end up sending off to someone, or I throw it on their front porch if they live near me. Only recently have I started to squirrel away a few things. I put most of them in this large plastic bin I have upstairs. I don’t mess with the bin all that often, just toss stuff in it every couple of months and keep it shut. Not only along I noticed that it was starting to get crowded in there and I panicked a little bit. In my head I had images of full storage units that were completely unmanageable, multiple ones strewn about the landscape slowly filling with things I’ve forgotten about. I had recently seen my future so I knew I had to asses my “collections” every once in a while.
The bin held about twenty items. I could see patterns in the things I’ve saved over the years. I had an Ice Cube thing in there, a Ray Johnson as a sexy lady, a few smaller collages, some cool abstract ones I’d done in a group of four, and then a bunch of other random things. This is not to mention the thirty or forty tape collages I’d saved over a period of a year. A few of the items I was quite happy with, things I could see someone wanting. Still it was too much.

Selling stuff was out; I knew I couldn’t figure out how to make that work. How does one sell their stuff? I’ve outright sold one thing before and that was it. Keeping all of the items to show was also out since I don’t have inroads into that world. I know that art-things happen in my town but I don’t think I have the right clothes for those people, my shoes not nearly smart enough.
Trades! (I know this does nothing to reduce the overall amount of “stuff” in my house). I took a few pictures of my items and then posted them to the various social media sites, mostly mail-art ones. I made sure to write that the things I was willing to trade were a little bigger and a bit more worked than one of my usual postcards. Here again, I often run into roadblocks. So many people that make things feel their work is far superior to everyone else’s. It’s the mindset many parents with ugly children have, the “my child is gorgeous” thing. Their one color line drawing should fetch at least three hundred dollars. I’m not saying my stuff has any value or is good at all, I’m simply saying I’m not precious about what I make. I’d much rather someone who might enjoy it, have it, than keep it around forever hoping to make money on it. That’s why 95% of everything I’ve ever made is given away.

The only person that was interested in a trade was R.F. Cote in Canada. He traded me for a sweet American flag collage that had bodies falling from the stars. They were shot. The collage is called “The United States of Gun Violence.” It’s perfect, it’s amazing! I ended up trading him one of my more abstract collages of the back of a guy’s head, some letters at the top, and a bunch of tapped bits at the bottom. To be honest, I got a much better deal out of it.
My whole purpose in writing all this is the picture that RF sent me of the collage in his home. There’s nothing that makes me happier than knowing that someone cares enough about a thing I made that they put it on their wall. It’s silly, it’s ridiculous, but it makes me intensely happy. I imagine it’s a similar feel when a shitty garage band travels to a new town after only recording a seven inch. They get to that new town to play a show and four or five kids are singing along to the songs. That’s what it’s like for me.  And it’s so far from home! This isn’t a friend that was kind of forced to take something (I know this happens a lot) that I made for them. He actually wanted it. Anyway, it’s all backdoor bragging but if I don’t do it no one is going to. Now if I could get someone in San Francisco to post a few pictures I’d be super happy.