Monday, April 27, 2020

The Ugliest Art I Have Ever Made

For the last few weeks I have been using up my horde of old postage stamps to make an artist’s book.   As a rule, I have avoided using any postage stamps depicting dictators and despots.  A few obscure Warsaw Pact strongmen may have slipped in, but I have done my best.  I had a few hundred stamps featuring Francisco Franco — those were all put aside.  Most of the Spanish Franco stamps were orange.
I began by cutting and then reassembling them into a collage.  And then, something frightening happened when I looked at my work of art from across the room.
There he was emerging from the collage, the hideous, corrupt, demented orange dictator.
This is the ugliest work of art I have ever made.
The Orange Dictator, Mixed media on board, 8"x8"

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 38

After all these colorful stamps it was time to tone it down, listen to Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black and do some mostly black and white pages.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Happy Earth Day

Got a little fresh air today on a beautiful spring day and took a thirty-minute walk around the Lower Haight.  In San Francisco we are required to masks now when we are in any store, on transit, in line or anywhere maintaining social distancing is difficult.  Even just walking it seemed nearly everyone was wearing a mask.
I got to see this cool mural by Cleng Sumagaysay and Maria Carmela brightening up an otherwise boarded up storefront.  And, in honor of Earth Day, the sky was an amazing, car exhaust-free blue over Duboce Park.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 36

Even though I don’t sew, quilting is in my DNA.  I have been inspired by quilting patterns and created quilt-themed art for many years.  Today some patchwork quilt postage stamp action.  

Monday, April 20, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 35

Blame it on those leftover Easter chocolates with their purple wrappers.  All sugared up and using some of the purple postage stamps today.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 34

With all of us sheltering in place and staying home, there are many reports of wildlife reclaiming urban turf.  Coyotes live with us in San Francisco, but now packs of them have taken to howling in the middle of the night.  Apocryphal stories abound with dolphins in the canals of Venice and chupacabras rummaging in Albuquerque dumpsters.  With the that in mind, shouldn’t the birds and other critters break free of their postage stamps?

Friday, April 17, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 32

The pair of pages done today are all about postage stamp architecture including using all these Frank Lloyd Wright stamps for a little homage to Falling Water.  

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 31

I have long been fascinated by cutaway images of the earth showing different layers above and below ground.  Today’s version in postage stamps is not the first time I was artistically inspired by those layers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art, Read Art Books – Day 30

Today has been more of an art maintenance day, labelling and varnishing some finished pieces.  Time to take a break and enjoy some of the books in my vast art library (this is just a sample).

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art, Wave the Flag – Day 29

Today some pages of flag waving.  Having sorted through thousands of postage stamps, I can say the frequency of putting the flag on stamps is something uniquely American.  Sure, other countries have their flag on some stamps, but no country uses theirs so often as the United States. Personally, I’ve always been the sort of customer who asks for commemoratives and only buys flag stamps in a pinch.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 28

The piles of stamps on the table are starting to get smaller.  So far, this project has 16 completed pages.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 27

I continue to use all my old postage stamps for this new artist’s book I am working on.  The pages I did for today are some pandemic postage where everyone in every stamp is wearing a mask.  Years from now, this will be a reminder of when I did this project.  The postage stamp to really notice is the one featuring Clara Maass.  The stamp reads “She gave her life.” And she did in 1901 when she volunteered for medical experiments trying to find a cure for Yellow Fever.   

Friday, April 10, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 25

Today was all about mesmerizing green.  I also like the “accidental” patterns that are added to postage stamp collages from the postmarks.  You can see some of my earlier postage stamp colleges here.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art, Make Artists’ Books – Day 24

Today’s pages include this set of Postmark Planets with the help of a large hole punch, old envelopes and vintage space exploration postage stamps.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 23

Making progress – the beginning pages will be a gradation of colors starting and dark blue then to lighter shades blue on the first four pages.  Today pages 5 and 6 transition from blue to aqua to green.  More green coming tomorrow.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 21

Now the gluing starts.  Don’t let the buckling of the pages worry you.  I’ll use an iron and parchment paper to flatten out the dried pages.   For me, an iron is a tool for making art.  I’ve heard something about using it to remove wrinkles in one’s clothes, but I am not too sure if that is true.  

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art, and go to the park (virtually) – Day 20

It's a rainy day in San Francisco but a good day for a virtual visit to Golden Gate Park.  The park's Anniversary Website is full of great content.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art, Check the Stamp Collection – Day 19

Like many artists who send mail art, I like using old, unused, postage stamps.  As long as they have never been used, they are still valid.  With the exception of the more recent Forever Stamps, this means covering envelopes with a collage of postage to reach the 55¢ needed for domestic mail or $1.20 for international.  
I never pay more than face value for the unused stamps, and many dealers will even sell them for less.  You can find them online and at places like the Vintage Paper Fair.  For some reason, I have still held on to my unused postage stamps.  The ones I used to collect going back to the time it was 8¢ to mail a letter.  As part of my sorting and organizing for some postage stamp-based art, I have now set these aside to use for postage.   Some are more than 40 years old, they have not appreciated in value but remain suitable for sending mail art.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 18

Soaking old postage stamps in hot water to get the envelope paper to peel away easily.  I feel like a 12-year-old stamp collecting nerd again — but this time it’s for art

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 17

I’ll be sorting all these old postage stamps for a while before I can start gluing.  I am sure I will have plenty of time.   

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Stay Home, Sort, Sort, Sort and then Make Art – Day 16

I collected stamps when I was a kid and a few years back, I was using old postage stamps to make collages.  I still have thousands of them that I had no plans to ever use for collages.  Nowadays I make my own material for collage. I have decided to use the rest of my postage stamps in a stamp-themed artist scrapbook.  Before I can get gluing, I need to sort and sort (this will keep me busy for a few days). 
On another note, as we are all washing our hands, bags of old postage stamps are just filthy and if you need to be motivated to wash your hands really good, just dig in….