These are really rich and lovely and the stuff done in encaustics is hard to beat.
A small set of pieces from Katherine that were completed on December 26, 2015. She used some image transfers of her photos from Europe over an acrylic background then topped that off with some layers of beeswax.
These are really rich and lovely and the stuff done in encaustics is hard to beat.
I've been working on the One Thousand Thousand project for a long, long time. In years past a big part of the process involved working with other artists to sort of push one another to do things they'd not normally/immediately consider and having other styles and techniques kind of imposed on you definitely facilitates growth. So as much as it has been a personal project it's also been a hugely collaborative effort for sure. I've roped a lot of people in to participate in the project and if you know me then chances are I've stuck a paintbrush in your hands and said to have a go at it.
There have been plenty of instances where other artists took to the project and produced a series of pieces on their own and the cool part of it is to see how it takes on a new life with them. One recent example is when I last visited my Very Good Friend Kim in St. Louis. I'd been hounding her for years to consider doing some work for the project. She was gracious enough years ago to have worked on a piece I did for my 52 Weeks project [She did Week 36 here: ] and I hoped to have her do the same for the One Thousand Thousand project.
This was especially important as I had just reached the milestone of 333,333 pieces and was hoping for some shift in things after The First Third. As I saw/see it this next phase on the way to a million would almost require other work from other artists. I was getting burned out to a degree and was worried I'd end up making crummy work or repeating myself or whatever. So the Second Third seemed like a great time to kind of just be kind of a curator for the project and usher in a phase where I really sat back some and included more work that was done by other artists in contribution towards the edition. And when I was in St. Louis visiting friends and family I really ramped up my pitch with Kim. I left her with supplies and some additional pieces I'd not yet completed she agreed to give it a shot.
I love vintage ephemera. Like, I really, really love it. Old photographs and postcards and periodicals and publications and vintage paper of all sorts just fascinates me to no real end. And over the years I’ve collected just tons and tons of it. Very literally tons of it. At estate sales and auctions I’ll frequently just try and get the whole entire lot of paper stuff and at any given time there will be a couple of boxes full of this stuff in my house or studio or garage.
Discarded scrapbooks and photo albums and letters and postcards are particularly cool and there is this romantic and lovely and tragic vibe to this sort of thing that I appreciate more than I can say.
I collect this stuff because I love it so much that I feel compelled in a very real way to make sure it’s not forgotten or lost forever. I’ll frequently use a lot of it to make other pieces of art with and much of what I collect I’ll end up using as collage materials. And what I don’t end up using to make art out of or that I don’t keep as part of my own personal collection I’ll frequently pass along to others that will appreciate it.
About five years ago I met Angelica Paez after I scored a pretty large cache of vintage ephemera that included a lot of photographs and postcards and was trying to find a good home for it all. And you’d be seriously hard pressed to find a better home for this sort of thing than Angelica.
I’m the sort of weird person that would rather hold onto something forever before letting it go to someone that doesn’t really appreciate it in some way and I’ve sent her boxes of stuff since then.
So just recently when I went to another estate sale and ended up bringing home a car full of vintage ephemera I made sure to get some of it to her.
And when I sent her a box of the ephemera I also included a small stack of blank paper boards that we use for the pieces in the One Thousand Thousand project in hopes that, maybe, she'd consider doing a piece or two for the project.
Look, the One Thousand Thousand project is nearing the First Third and after 20 years of going at this thing I really feel like it’s reaching some point of real transition. It’s not that I’m giving up on the things but more that I am getting less excited by having it continue in the same way that it has over the years. Christopher feels the same way too and we talk about it a lot and you can only do the same thing for so long until it kind of runs its course for us in many ways.
We’ve always done a bulk of the work either on our own individually or together [either at the same time or by sending stuff back and forth to one another in the mail] and collaboration has been a main point of the whole project. At the same time we’ve also made sure to rope as many people into it as we could. We'd do this for art groups or at dinner parties or at Burning Man or wherever else we could set up shop and encourage others to just start painting. It's just plain fun. It really is.
But lately we both are pretty set on the idea of seeing the project through until the 333,333 point and then opening up the next stage a bit more widely for other artists to contribute their own work.
So reaching out to Angelica this last time was also a way for me to really take a firm step towards this goal of making this stage of the One Thousand Thousand project open to other artists.
The notion of this has always been unnerving in a lot of ways and after doing something for so long you become kind of protective of it and you want the results to be perfect. So that means it's critical to find artists you really appreciate and who you trust will make meaningful contributions to the project. Plenty of artists are willing to do the work but, yeah, their work just doesn’t do it for me and I just don’t want it included in the edition is all. And other artists do some fantastic pieces and would make a terrific addition to the project but trying to get them to commit to doing a certain number of pieces and then be accountable for whatever numbers in the series they’re signed on to do is a hassle. For everyone.
But Angelica has made this part of things just unbelievably easy for us and I'm unbelievably grateful to her for that.
So, yeah, when it comes to artists, and specifically collage artists, Angelica Paez is just as good as they get. Her work is masterful and lovely and for me personally when I think of collage artists I put her body of work up there with the best of them. It’s remarkable for sure. And she's not only good at what she does she's incredibly passionate about it too.
[And the term collage artist, by the way, can mean a lot of things and collage itself comes in a lot of different forms. What I’m talking about here are genuine ‘paper and scissors’ collage artists. There are magnifying glasses and X-acto blades involved. There will be glue. Nothing digital about any of it save for scanning it when it’s done.]
I could go on a great length about all of this [and already have to some degree anyway] but the main point I want to make is that I’m beyond excited that Angelica has agreed to contribute some work to the One Thousand Thousand project.
She sent along these first pieces just the other day:
All along this project has been one in which we'd encourage others to join in to some degree. I recently signed on to do a series of appearances for South First Fridays in San Jose. The shows are done in conjunction with the Silicon Valley Music Festival and The Sliding Door Company and I set up to show recent pieces and do new work right there on the spot while a classical music performer was playing. [I'll probably have to go into that a bit more later on.] But the first show was last month and I met some other artists that were into the idea of the project and I sent them home with a small stack of supplies. And they came back a month later for the next show with the pieces they'd created.
And they were really great.
Bre Contreras and Maya Perez totally get the whole idea. We did another small set that evening and it was about as much fun as I had making these little paintings in a long time. The pieces from March 5, 2014 were done by Maya and Bre and the March 7th set is mostly theirs. I'm seriously excited to see what they do next.
I'll post more about the whole thing later on but wanted to get these pieces posted.