Sunday, March 25, 2007

But Isn't It Obvious?

I taught a workshop yesterday with a group called YAS (Young Artists Society-of Richmond) and it was awesome. We met at 1pm in my shop and busted out some damn good work by 5pm. It was a vernacular photo/wheat paste workshop that I turned into a site specific collaboration. Each of the 10 YRA's, Kim and Jessica (their leader-guide) brought 10 images of themselves (or a part of themselves) that they felt were important to be included in the work. We started out by looking at everyone's work and having people talk a little bit a bout why they chose the images they brought. It was great- the exact opposite of what a critique is supposed to be. Basically everyone was given the space to tell a story (or two) about their images.

After talking about the images we began editing and organizing them into semi-cohesive groupings. This led to a bit of healthy haggling about sequencing, conceptual and formal concerns. Jessica finally piped in and suggested that we move along (I was ready to do a silent group meditation but I knew we still had a lot of work ahead of us so I suppressed my inner Minor White and we got down to business).

What isn't pictured here is that after deciding which images would go where we numbered each and then made 11"x17" color copies of each one. This took an awfully long time and I'm really thankful to Kim and Jessica for taking on this dreadful task while myself and a few others went out and prepped the site.

The site is the studio of Joan Gaustad and Gerald Donato, two longstanding and well respected artists who were generous enough to allow us to use their building on the Corner of Granby and Main in Richmond. They joined us for the workshop and even gave an impromptu tour of their studio while Jonathan and I were marking the window areas (so that we'd know where to start pasting the images).

I had figured that we would winnow down the 100 (or so) images that the YRA's brought down to 72 and had a pretty good idea of what this might look like when it was done, but I am always nervous when the first few images go up. But the excitement was palpable and I knew it was going to work out alright when all the cameras started coming out of purses and pockets. I did the first few rows and showed everyone what needed to happen in order for the images to adhere well. Joe, one of the YRA's had some previous experience wheat pasting and was surprised by how careful I was with the placement of the images. I explained that when you're doing this and it's legal, you can take your time and it can look good.

After the first few rows everyone else began jumping in- there was a crew applying the wheat paste to the backs of the images while the crew hanging called out which number image they were looking for next. At this point we only had about 30 mins. left of the workshop and a number of the YRA's had to be home so I my insistence that we be fastidious about labelling the prints worked well and we became a well trained, nontoxic wheat paste organism.

To me, it's really staggering how much the images change when they're enlarged, and re-contextualized on the outside of a building on a corner usually occupied by drunk homeless people. These are pictures that normally wouldn't have been put next to someone else's pictures, let alone removed from the page of the photo album where they've resided for years. Something as private as Christmas morning, or riding a horse suddenly becomes this public experience. It is also staggering how satisfying it is to do collaborative projects. I was sad to see all of them leave yesterday. They, like most are great people- amazing really. I'm calling the project "But Isn't It Obvious" because of a bit of text that was written on one of the YRA's photos. And really, I think that's a great reply to anyone who might ask what this whole project is about.

Here's Kim posing as if she did all the work! She was, as always a huge help and I took her out for Ethiopian food after we were finished cleaning up. Thank you Kimberly!


Why I don't Watch Many Movies: Or, Things I Could Have Been Doing Instead of Watching The Departed.

Cleaned the bathroom
Read today's paper that I didn't get to
The horizontal shim-sham
Taken a walk
Made a batch of soup or some bread from scratch
Learned to knit
Practiced the accordion
Read that book beside my bed
Drank a million beers
Looked out the window
Played with Sid
Called Paul in California

I'd like to list more things but I just wasted 151 minutes of my life on that worthless shit and I'm afraid that if I write anymore I will be shot by some buffoon mumbling the words faggot or cunt in a south Boston brogue.

Tell me, did people really like this movie? Did it really win 2 academy awards?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Installation video from JMU

So... I'm not sure why this is so but I'm not able to embed the video that I made of my installing my work at JMU this past weekend. If you're interested in watching it, click here. It's a jaunty, short, sweet, and silent two minutes. I'll post more images from the show in the next couple of days.

Here are some stills to whet your appetite...

Working alongside me is Daniel, a 2nd year grad student at JMU (it's a 3 year program), and my guide to all things Harrisonburg. Thanks Daniel!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New Site, New Project (Normalizing Relations IV)

Hey hey! Thanks to the amazing Brad Walker, super designer, musician, and companero de mi corazon, I have a re-tooled site. We have been working on it since the end of December and he has been very patient in dealing with all of my idiosyncrasies.

Lots of arrows! And highlighter! And handwriting! I am stuck in the 1990's - if only I was an Indy rock band...

A few of the older projects are as they were on the old site but that will change in the future. But the newer projects are exciting! There's SAMETIME, a yearlong project that The Brad and I embarked on in mid-December, Alley-Oop which some of you may have seen but now there are installation shots on the site, and You're Invited has been completely re-worked and now includes everyone whose mom sent me a picture. The text isn't included- yet- I'm still trying to figure out the best way to integrate it with the images.

SAMETIME is the reason we worked on the site. Like I mentioned above, Brad and I began a little before the new year. The project involves both of us taking a picture at 7:15pm every day, regardless of where we are or what we're doing. Before posting the pictures on the site we write captions- new pictures are generally posted every 3-5 days. The images download pretty quickly so don't be afraid to check out the three months of pictures we have taken so far. The project has been great- not at all a burden, and it's been interesting to see how we respond to how the other writes and photographs. I won't get all gushy on how the project makes me feel about the confluence of art making, collaboration, and friendship.

And finally, the show that opens next Monday at JMU- I'm really excited about it. I'll be showing Posthumous, and Alyssa will be showing vernacular pictures that she's collected over the years, and that she uses as source material in her work. I head there this weekend to install both of our work and then I meet w/ grads on Monday b/f the opening. I need to do an Alyssa post.

I keep thinking that I've had the most productive February in my history. Watch out when May rolls around!

Sunday, March 04, 2007