One Million Hand-Made, Original Mixed-Media Works on Paper
One Thousand Thousand is an ongoing and frequently collaborative effort to produce an edition of one million hand-made, original works on paper. After making new pieces of art just about every day for the last 20 years the project is just past the 330,000 mark.
The idea behind One Thousand Thousand is to produce one million, uniformly-sized, original mixed-media works on paper. A million separate mixed-media works of art that are each done by hand and each entirely unique. More often than not about 250 or so new pieces are created, on generous and fluctuating average, every week and we've been going like that for about 20 years. [Some weeks are way better than others.]
A Creative Exercise Gone Awry
The origin of this project began in about 1988 or so as a simple creative exercise in visual art and was inspired in significant part by the Fluxus artists. The idea was to make a lot of art and to make it every single day if you could. Blank paper boards were laid out and a few artists/friends would hang out and talk and add to the pieces until they looked finished.
[The process that was developed for this is detailed HERE and you are encouraged to give it a try for yourself.]
This series of little paintings and drawings and collage pieces (approximately 5.5” x 7”) done often and in large numbers in order to experiment with various techniques and mediums and styles. Just about any and every medium and style and technique for producing visual art has been used over the years. But the primary point is that they are all done entirely by hand and they are each entirely unique.
These early pieces were frequently used as bartering currency to trade for work from other artists. In very many ways these early effort were a real precursor to the Artist Trading Card phenomenon that would eventually develop over a decade or so later.
The Resulting Work
Eventually, after amassing a few hundred of these pieces the idea of making a much larger series of work came to mind and over the next few years the project would evolve into its current form.
In early 2010, artists Jason A. McHenry and Christopher Dyer, renewed their commitment to this ongoing project and began their push towards the proverbial finish line. At their peak they have produced hundreds and hundreds of pieces in a week and have been continuing, at varying rates, ever since. They have also enlisted assistance from additional artists who have joined in to collaborate on pieces for the project.
Should their current rate of production be maintained and supported the goal of one million pieces of art might be reached in their lifetime.
When doing the math it becomes immediately clear that such a task is absurdly difficult. But still possible.
Each and every piece is produced by hand and is entirely original. These are not prints and they are not mechanically produced. The pieces are about as mixed-media as they come and a tremendously wide range of techniques are used including acrylics, watercolor, oilsticks, pencil, pen and ink, collage and on and on. The sole standard for the finished pieces is that they must each be solid and singular works.
The finished pieces are all unique and, again, are not prints of any type. Individual entries are sequentially numbered and stamped with the date of completion. As further documentation, each new piece is scanned and/or photographed and/or recorded on video. From there they are slid into these crystal clear protective sleeves or nice little frames to keep them safe and pretty looking and they’re boxed up and sent out in the mail to cool people that buy art or they are shown in stacks or on walls at art shows and in galleries and festivals and shops and places like that
The First Third
The project has recently reached the neighborhood of about 334,000 pieces and this is due in no small part to the great encouragement and assistance from a fantastic number of people who have done their bit to continually show their support.
It sometimes feels possible that the project might actually be completed one day. Realistically speaking everyone involved was made happy enough to just reaching The First Third and we've since moved past the 333,333 number and are already into The Second Third.
If you are interested in participating in this project in some way please do let us know.
Call to Artists
In the hindsight that is afforded to us after 20 years of going at this project we have come to realize that it would be a whole lot easier for us to reach our goal of a million paintings in some timely fashion should we get a little help.
If you are interested in participating in this project in some way you are seriously encouraged to Contact Us and let us know.