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: