Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Commission: The Tightrope Walker

At the end of 2015, I had the honor of making a typewriter-drawing for my very first collector in Portland.  In 2009, Michael bought an etching of mine from a group show at Backspace (RIP)--my first show in town--alongside Troy Briggs, Adam Stacey and Anthony Hix. That was probably one of the last prints I pulled from the MIAD print shop.  I covet and romanticize this space and can recreate the sensual-landscape of wonderfully toxic odors, each differing from the litho-, to the -intaglio to the -screen room. Let's gaze listlessly out of a window.

The Tightrope Walker, 2015
8 x 14 inches, typewritten ink on paper
The Tightrope Walker was a fun challenge--working smaller than ever before, figure-wise.  The tightrope walker herself is only 4.5 inches tall.  It was exciting and delightfully nerve-wracking to force myself to work in an impressionist way--each mark a gamble. I am grateful for having abandoned my purist tendencies with typewriter-drawing awhile back, and employed an eraser.  Everything is a drawing tool.

It was fabulous to make a piece for such an imaginative person--we had a long back-and-forth of planning for the feeling and look of the piece.  It was originally going to be a thoughtful gift for his wife, but Michael admitted when we exchanged that it became mainly for himself... Self-gifts are important.

There was another contrast between this piece and the work I make for myself.  I am a coward with words and have never considered incorporating text in my own work. I realize this may sound counterintuitive or wasteful (I'm using a typewriter all wrong!), but I really just enjoy using the typewriter as a straightforward drawing tool--using apostrophes and asterisks for fine lines and percentages and pounds for shading or to make velvet black, without incorporating subtext.  Plus, there are people like Leslie Nichols using the same tool to create incredible things utilizing text and meaning and order in such an overwhelmingly beautiful way.  Yes, a hero of mine. Michael had asked me to incorporate a quote from Ernest Becker's book The Denial Of Death, as a secret message, not necessarily detectable, "like a little hidden Easter egg for [himself]". What a lovely project. Thanks Michael!

No comments:

Post a Comment