Recent Work - Images and Words

Someone recently wrote that I was “prolific” in my mail-art making. While I kind of agree with this, I don’t completely agree. I think there’s a lot more I could be doing, more projects that I can accomplish. At work I like to nibble away at ADD AND PASS sheets, at home and upstairs I work on my collages, and in the basement I spray-paint the collaborative books. I guess it seems like a lot when I try and write it all down in one place even if I feel like I’m not able to make things all that often. Maybe I send too much shit. Anyway, the focus of this post is on the collage work, the stuff I agonize about…the stuff that really is the focus of my makings. The collages matter the most to me, they’re the raw materials that I build everything out of. I’m going to share a little bit about these, how I made them, and what separates them from other projects for no particular reason.




This year I discovered spray-paint. It seems like it took a long time for me to figure out the joys of instant color. The instant gratification is thrilling to me. Almost instantly I put some stencils in the mix to give it some drama. Shortly after I used spray bottles to shoot cheap acrylic into the drying spray-paint. When it dried it flattened out making a bubbly oil and water type of effect. The collage on top is my typical tape rip method, made from 1960’s Life Magazines.

The material underneath the collage and the spray-paint is an antique bingo card. I love using bingo cards. Unlike most paper they can take a lot of paint without buckling. When I spray-paint them I add layer after layer, the whole process takes me at least two weeks to complete. It also helps that the bingo cards are cheap and often easy to find. Most of the time I can find a bingo set at a thrift store for fifty cents or a dollar. The fact that it’s a classic children’s game that no one likes and some of the cards are obviously from the 1950’s and only moderately uniform, make them even more appealing. I have stacks and stacks of these cards.






I like words. I like art that has words in them. Most often the things I make end up having words somewhere in there no matter the context. The words are just another layer of confusion to add to the mix. Rarely do the words I put in my collages attempt to further the meaning of the overall composition. It’s rare when something I make has a clear meaning. These colleges are obviously influenced by the way the DADA folks placed words and more often letters in negative space. My letters and words are always a little claustrophobic since they tend to be smaller compositions. The one with the camera has too much colored tape in it.
 


 
These three aren’t on bingo cards. These are on a really thick board. They have animals on one side and the word for that animal on the other. I painted over the word side with multiple layers of paint. Whatever the animal on the other side is what I imagine the name of the work would be. I mailed out at least twenty of these just as “spray-paintings.” They were simple but I thought they were interesting enough to live on their own. The only one I’ve seen pop up online was turned into an add and pass even though I never mentioned that was the intended purpose. Not that it matters, if people recycle them and mail them onto someone else they’re a lot more interesting to me. Seeing a collage pop up way out of its initial context is the highest form of flattery.

On top of these “spray-paintings” I made some cheap tape transfers. I put tape to image and then pull. I take that image to soak in the sink. Slowly but surely the paper melts away leaving the basic outline of the image that you can see through. This is really great for layering image after image. It takes a little bit of time and a lot of elbow grease to get all of the glue off the tape, but it’s worth it. I was quite crude (simplicity has been my goal) with these three-spray-painting underneath and tape transfer over the top. Here we have three faces, one of them is a lady from some 1940’s magazine ad, the other is from a Life magazine, and the other is from a Joe Camel ad. These are themes I always play with. I like faces and I especially like cigarette ads representing my hometown.




The last set is made up of simple, pink, spray-painted and slightly larger (5x7) flimsy bingo cards. If you look closely you can see the numbers poking in from the back, giving another layer of visual-stuff to the card. On top of the collage I used some tape-rips, tape transfers, and found images. The skulls came from a free anatomy book I found at the local bookstore. I’ve mailed them to let them know how important they are to my creative life. No one responded.

These three cards were made to be used in another realm. They weren’t made as stand alones created just to be sent to another mail-artist. These were made to be put in monochrome and then printed on strange colored paper. In other words, these three are going to be photocopied broadsides and ADD AND PASSES. For years I made things and then mailed them. In the past year I’ve started to scan everything I make. I take those scans and then make them into other things, continuing the echoing process. I’ve done this last process so many times that I’m beginning to make collages just to be printed off as other things. Here is one of those collages in monochrome.
 
The End.

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