Spray-Paintings Destroy Tables

When I moved into the new house I brought over a lot of stuff that ended up in the trash. There’s nothing like moving garbage and then moving it again. Some of that garbage was a couple of cans of spray-paint I had bought years before. I bought them so long ago that I didn’t remember what I initially used them for. It was a can of red and a can of green. A Christmas project perchance.

Lots of elevated surfaces full of things in progress.

In the new house my makings were confined to the upstairs attic for the first year. Slowly but surely things started to end up downstairs in the little garage under the spare bedroom. At first I stored a lot of frames in there and then I added some items that were taking up space upstairs. I added a table.  Then the table started to fill up with books and unpainted postcard backings. When those two cans of spray-paint ended up on the table so did a lot of other cheap bottles of acrylic. Pretty soon I took one of our spare folding tables outside and began to play around.

My pattern for working new methods seems to happen this way. I start messing with one thing and pretty soon that turns into something a lot more elaborate. I started gluing paper to one another and was quickly consumed with tape once I stumbled into that whole thing. On a whim I took those two old cans of spray-paint to some bingo cards and I ended up months later filling large children’s books with paint.

At first I only painted a solid color on bingo cards until I added the acrylic. At first I smeared some in but I graduated to putting it in a spray bottle with water. Spray-paint and acrylic sprayed at the same time made a glorious mix. It never really dried right. Bubbles would pop up all over it, especially if I mixed in some sealer or another round of spray-paint over the top once it started to dry. The process was fun and often yielded pretty good results. It was also a fast process; I could lay down a couple of layers and then let it dry on the table. A week later I’d rip it off the table and see how things came out. After things sat downstairs for a week, I took the painted bingo cards upstairs and then put collages over the top. The lighter colors worked better since the darker colors tended to compete with the ripped images from magazines.
This is my favorite example of too much spray-paint mixed with too much acrylic.
I added more and more layers of paint to the cards and then started throwing down stencils or anything that would create a shape over the top. It was at this point the ideas started to go in a lot of different directions. I went from bingo cards to pamphlets I found at work. I’d tape the pamphlets down and then spray-paint over the top, using the tape once I finished adding more layers of color. For a few months I made the pamphlets into smelly add and pass books full of spray-paint, acrylic, and rubber stamps I mailed out in the dozens. To go through a ten or twelve page book it would take about two months. I had to let the paint dry. It also needed to be somewhat warm outside or the paint wouldn’t solidify. If it dropped under 50 degrees I had to skip that week.  Since I could only work on them about once a week the process is a pain. To make matters worse, sometimes I sprayed too much on the table that the paint would pool making for wonderful effects whenever the whole pamphlet wasn’t ruined. I ruined a lot of pamphlets. To fix the problem I moved to children’s board books. They’re a lot thicker and could handle a lot more moisture on them. I added a second table so I could do more things at once.
A spray-painted bingo card with collage stuff on top. Ripped images from magazines and colored tape.
The whole process is always the same. I’d take the tables of dried material out into the yard, put clips on the edges to keep them from folding over on themselves, put down a solid round of spray-paint, spray or drip a couple rounds of acrylic, let it sit for an hour, add stencils, add another round of stencils with mixed spray-paint and acrylic, and then repeat the process until it got dark. I’d let it all dry in the garage and then go at it again the next weekend.
One of the add and pass books I added a lot of paint to. You can see the original words underneath. I made dozens of these.
And then I stumbled into another wonderful discovery. I noticed that one of the folding tables had a layer of padding underneath the thin layer of plastic. When you pressed down on the top you could feel the table give a little. It was spongy. When the table was completely cleaned off I sprayed down a random canvas I had in the garage and pressed the canvas to the table.  It stuck. I left it for a week and when I pulled it up, I had a mix of colors that had been left on the table mixed with the ones onto the canvas. In a lot of ways the process was exactly like the tape rip process except I used a table to generate the images.
A spray-painting that I've monochromed.
What I most liked about what pulled up was that it resembled billboards on the side of barely used highways. I’ve loved those billboards for years, left unique because of disuse. Right when all of the old advertisements start to peak through in unusual ways is when they’re seasoned enough. Weather and time had done the heavy lifting. The process resembled that effect, an effect I was never sure how to achieve. Unfortunately I killed the table when I tried to put some boards down after the initial run of canvasses. Large sections of the plastic that separates the padding form the metal frame ripped up. By the time I find another one of those tables at a thrift store and put it through rounds and rounds of spay-paint, I’ll have more parts to add to the process. I’m thinking about laying down wet newspaper to dry.
The first round of spray-paintings that I stuck to the table and then pulled up. I gave away all of these.


Unknown said…
thanks for sharing
zzzzzzzz said…
Thanks for reading.