Saturday, December 28, 2019

Accidental Art on Masonite

Sometime in the last 10 years I purchased an 11”x14” piece of Masonite. I never used it for a painting or other piece of art.  Instead it has been the surface that I have taped 12”x9” sheets of paper to when I work on paintings on paper.  I pulled the Masonite out today and could not help but admire the patina-like caked on acrylic paint forming a picture frame.  I am starting to consider this piece of Masonite as a work of art in its own right.  It might be time to retire it from service and start with a fresh piece of Masonite for the new decade.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

First a Prototype.... test the tropical sunrise colors.  This one is 6"x6", next on to a bigger version with this palette.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Eyes in the Mail

In a bit of shared artistic vision, some of the mail art I recently received featured eyes and I just emphasized eyes in my holiday mailing.  Ans Theo Nelson is turning some of the mail art he receives into small, one-of-a-kind zines and then redistributing the work.  As I have been filling art scrapbooks  with mail art, this idea is tempting. I love maps and I love public transportation, So Karen Clowney Scott’s bear made out of New York City MTA Maps is perfect. And, it is always a treat to get an envelope of mail art from Cuan Miles.
  1. Debra Mulnick – Idaho
  2. William Mellott – Taiwan 
  3. Samantha Price – New Hampshire
  4. Lubomyr Tymkiv - Ukraine 
  5. Robin Sparrow — New Zealand 
  6. Karen Clowney Scott – New York 
  7. Theo Nelson (Republic of Whimsy) – Canada
  8. Cuan Miles – South Africa

Monday, December 16, 2019

20/20 Vision for 2020

My annual holiday card sometimes veers away from traditional Christmas imagery and typically focuses on the coming new year.  When I realized that 2020 could be perceived as a year of perfect vision, 20/20 became the theme.  Now more than ever, we need to focus and have clarity for a positive vision so we can take action and heal the planet move forward.  
150+ of these handmade postcards with custom rubber stamps are in the mail (and a special thank you to William Mellott  for his inspirational rubber stamp art). 
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Part 4: If you save it long enough you might use it in a collage

Scraps old and new have ended up in the Layout Scrapbook.  As an artist, people give me things I might use, and a collection of metro tickets from around the world finally gets used.  
If you give me a box of Niederegger Marzipan, I’ll be sure to recycle the foil wrappers.  The remains of a copy of Avant Garde, a short-lived magazine from the 1960s, are in the book after lingering in the family’s attic for decades).  

Go through boxes and find photos of young cousins eating ice cream (he now has five of his own children).  The polka twins are really one young lad who is now becoming a star down in Los Angeles and that punk with the goats is still rocking up in Portland.  You will never forget a trip to Mexico when you think about dairy products and Supradol (the best name ever for a painkiller).  

On the back cover of the book we get an illustration of Allen Hurlburt himself.  And finally, honk if you know Ken Budka.

Part 3: Scraps of 1990s Queerphemera

Club fliers, Queer Nation and other political stickers are among the things being liberated from boxes and ending up in the Layout Scrapbook.  My friend Daniel and I go back 30 years and he gets a whole page made of pieces of his past.  I remember when I first met Adrian Roberts showing pixelvision films of his naked body in grainy black and white.  Then there was his band Blue Period and now he is a famous club impresario.  Speaking of clubs, Jerry gave me an annotated map of New York City featuring venues that I imagine are long gone.


Part 2: Mail Art in the Scrapbook

My collection of mail art is growing.  The favorite pieces I receive get displayed for a while but eventually end up in archive boxes.  The Layout Scrapbook contains parts of hand-lettered envelopes, postage stamps and artist stamps.  Other artists share scraps with me, and they too might end up in the book.  Some artists get their own pages featuring their work and a few pages are expanded versions of the mail art I sent out myself.  The artists included in the book include Ed Giecek and his fantastic rubber stamps, prints from Serse Luigetti, Collages from Virgo, Jon Foster’s  stickers, prints and other work from Mindaugas Žuromskas and Ryosuke Cohen’s  Brain Cells.

Part 1: Layout – The Artist’s Scrapbook

I have been buying about-to-be-discarded books from public libraries for years.  In San Francisco we have weekly sales plus two semi-annual events that are huge.  The typical price I pay is always $1.  These are books usually a step away from the recycling bin.  Sometimes I read the books but more often they get cut up for other mixed media projects.  In the last few years I have begun converting these books into artist scrapbooks.

This entire year I have been laying out a new artist book in an old copy of Layout: The Design of the Printed Page by Allen Hurlburt.  40 years on, the book still stands up as a good design book.  One might ask why I just did not add it, intact, to my own library.   There are no shortage of used copies available online for less than $5.  The book is not rare.  And, if you wish to indulge a delusional hoarder, you can buy the same book for $965.  I see these sort of dealers at library sales all the time.


The Layout Scrapbook  is now full.  It includes pages of my own work, ephemera old and new as well as some of the mail art I receive.   It includes things picked up at this year’s inspirational Codex Art Book Fair.  The book contains pages with contributions from the artists at the San Francisco Correspondence Coop.  There are two pages full of ticket stubs. Mostly from 2019.  It is like a diary of museum shows I saw.   Another page was inspired by my visit to Then They Came for Me — an excellent show about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  My response to this who was to create a collage by adding maps of the U.S. Southern border where children are currently being forced into concentrations camps.  In the center of the collage is El Paso where a week after finishing the collage, a terrorist targeting Latinx people drove across Texas and murdered 22 people and injured 24 others.