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Archive for November, 2008

SHELFLIFE #18A: CHOIR PRACTICE PAINTING EDITION

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

So, someone wants to have a naked-lady-t-shirt-wearing-night out at a bar. Great idea. I don’t go to bars. I hate ’em. They’re depressing shitholes–but nonetheless–great idea. Someone else jokes about naked guy shirts. Equally great idea. I mention that I have drawings I’ve made of plenty of both and offer up stencils so that anyone with a wardrobe lacking in smut may rectify the situation and participate. Someone volunteers to come grab the stencils so I can avoid both setting foot in Williamsburg Brooklyn and a bar. I stencilify three of the drawings that I don’t already have drawn up as stencils and think–“Fuck. These would look good bigger–bigger and in an orgy.”

So, a small laser cut batch for the pervs at the bar and a larger knife-cut batch for me. Then I realize how sick I am of spraying stencils, but how I could use some unwinding. A friend asks if I’ll be working on Sunday or at “choir practice.” I start obsessing about choirs and realize how well orgies and choirs compliment one another. Instead of working on finishing the drawings for Volume 3 of But They Don’t Blink, I take a detour, whip out the watercolor and decide to do an edition of 50 hand brush-painted, 3-color, 18″x24″ paintings on 140LB cold-press watercolor paper. I finish the first and decide, “Choir Practice.”

It includes a mobius of gay guys fisting themselves and one-another, a woman shoving her fist down the throat of another–much heftier–woman and a guy penetrating a contortionist in utter enuii.

I’m only gonna make them available via this post, cos they take too long to paint. $80. Signed and numbered. Edition of 50. Email me if you want one.

choir practice painting edition

SHELFLIFE #17A: ECHOSCAM

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

When the Sonic Youth studio still sat hovering in the chasm of Echo Canyon and the band collectively exploited it as a well-worn sonic workshop, I was there at least a couple of times a week filming.

A lot of that material is now in the Sensational Fix exhibition as it tours museums peppered about the globe. I actually still need to edit a couple of new films for that. Apparently, aspects of the show will evolve and change in each museum anyway, so I’m excited to contribute to its dynamic nature thru my tardiness.

One of my favorite pieces in the show–an utterly failed exercise in improvisation and cogent filmmaking…and stupid as sin–is ECHOSCAM. We used to have this 24/7 webcam installed at the studio. It was accessible from the homepage of sonicyouth.com and people watched it compulsively. It was this creepy stalker destination that was A-OK to frequent–so frequented, it was.

One afternoon in 2002, Thurston was working on some overdubs with Jim and Aaron. While I was documenting that, I got to thinking about stalking, obsession and the stereotypical Sonic Youth fan. Somehow that train of thought detoured and I began pondering petty theft and wondering how frequently criminals used the internet for research. Would engaging in online communities to research a heist leave the well-read criminal touched by any sort of fandom or tainted by residual trivia–to be mnemonically unleashed when presented with the appropriate stimulation?

I asked Thurston to bring a ski mask to the studio the following day. I’d bring two flashlights. “What’s my motivation?” Thurston asked, curiously. “You saw the place on the EchoCam. You’re a criminal, but you also kind of get the fan thing. We break in thru the fire escape and case the place. We’re pretty clueless. We comment on shit that we see, but the comments are absurd. Before we get to steal anything, Jim chases us out.” As evidenced by the video, neither staying in character nor any sort of planning were part of either of our motivation. Also…I can’t act–let alone act and film simultaneously.

I’m warning you–this is ridiculous. Your 12 minutes will not be refunded. No re-entry. No returns.


SHELFLIFE #16A: MY FIRST ANALOG

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

I’ve done a bunch of work for Analog over the years. Most of my favorite projects for them are those they’ve rejected. They first asked me for submissions for either the first or second season they released. The jpeg below’s a bit of that.

Whenever possible, I tend toward physical illustration–screen-printing, painting, stamping, 2-D sculpture…anything anti-computer-centric. These five assemblages were entirely physical and intended to be all-over sublimated–though I’m not sure Analog was doing that at the time–or that I even conveyed that intent to them. Mostly, I think I just had so much fun burning screens, cutting stencils, having lucite laser-cut (this was before I bought a laser) and stealing/sewing construction barricades that I didn’t much care whether they’d buy the work or not. For that line, they picked up a couple of pieces–but not these. Too bad, so sad.

analog first line rejects

SHELFLIFE #16B: AWESOME ELLIS

Friday, November 21st, 2008

I love Ed. It’s been a lot of fun watching the subtle twists and shifts his work has taken over the years as it’s matured. I think he has a show up now on the west coast. I got an email with a picture of a striking sculpture of the profile of a man’s face–cut to contour–out of wood, I think. He has a bent metal rod implanted in his skull that acts as the support for a stream of serpentine text spewing from his mouth. I’m not sure I ever saw that coming–that hyper-designed, sculptural evolution of the paintings, drawings and photographs. But, it makes sense.

A lot of Ed’s work is influenced by his access to and his ability connect with just about anyone he stumbles across while skating. Awesome Ellis is one of those trip-hazards turned epic pratfall. It’s just a 7-page xeroxed bunch of text with a couple of polaroids thrown in–a conversation with this guy–Mark Ellis. Mark–a then 48-year old neighborhood guy who worked at the 7-11, did some substitute teaching, picked up a security guard gig, was a Christian and adored skateboarding and skaters–discussed all sorts of shit with Ed. Never shy about dipping into the waters of the chickenhawk, the interview–of course–goes there. Ed questions Mark on his virginity and relationship with women. He asks him about his relationship with children and to specific pro skaters.

“We were completely unsure what the whole situation was. We were young kids, and this grown man was offering us rides places. In general you would say that seems pretty scary, you know? There’s a lot of crazy dudes out there who want to abduct young kids and so… But we just…I think we felt that you were real nice and wouldn’t do anything to us. And we just took the rides. I remember one time we spent the night at your house…”

But, Ellis responds to that naturally and explains that he really just loved good street skating and knew the kids’ parents…that there wasn’t anything else to it. Appropriately enough, by the time you finish reading the whole thing–you realize that’s probably true. For the dozens of reasons the interview seems to present the possibility of a sketchy guy–Ellis just doesn’t come across as creepy–and Ed knows this all along. He doesn’t just know it. He’s pointing and laughing–not at Ellis, but at all of those kids who grew up in bubbles–sheltered from the weird neighbor who hung out with kids, by parents who were afraid of everything–pointing, laughing and telling them, “you assholes could have met some cool people if only you weren’t so fucking lame.” I agree and applaud both Ed’s mockery of his collectors and peers as well as his deification of Mark Ellis.

awesome ellis