These are photos from my newest series I am currently working on. I started them back in mid December 2014. I can’t remember when I started doing these or how or why. Usually it comes from somewhere, sometimes doing stuff in my journal/sketchbook. I think I may have been making art in a session with a patient and that was somehow when I discovered this idea of long lines. I was showing a patient how to make long pieces by taking 6 x 18 inch paper and glueing it together to create a long 6 inch by about 54 inches either horizontal or vertical. I had done a lot of pieces this way, always long horizontal ones that reminded me of Egyptian scrolls. I was inspired to do this by seeing a show at the Folk Art Museum of Martin Ramirez’ work many years ago.
Here’s part of the description of that show that was from January to May 2007:
“Martín Ramírez (1895–1963) created nearly 300 drawings of remarkable visual clarity and expressive power within the confines of DeWitt State Hospital in northern California, where he resided the last 15 years of his life. Ramírez has been codified primarily as a “schizophrenic artist”; this project goes beyond the boundaries of Ramirez’s diagnosis of mental illness and considers the artistic quality and merit of his artwork. In this way, Ramirez’s works are understood—and appreciated—for the complex, multilayered drawings that they are.”
When you look closely at his work, you can see that he used “butcher type brown paper” and “pieced” it together to create a bigger longer surface. I still remember seeing how he did this and looking at the line where you could see he had glued the two pieces of paper together. I was so excited by this that I immediately tried it next time I was in my studio.
Anyway, I’ve been using paper that way for years in different series, so in this new series I did it again on paper, but I am making long vertical pieces, which I did before in my Inner Landscape series, but not as long as I am doing now. This new series is mixed media on paper or canvas, and I am using all kinds of media, from ribbon, tape, paper and colored glue to buttons and other objects. I must have been sick of all the black and white line drawings I have been obsessively obsessed with for about a year, so I am suddenly using an explosion of color, as well as adding words to the pieces, which I was doing in my journal.
It is always fun and surprising to come up with a new “series”; the pattern for me is to find constraints and rules that I make up and then have to follow, like in this case, long pieces that are small in width and long in length, and then lines of some kind going only vertical from top to bottom, with different materials all making long lines, then interspersed with pieces of 3D small objects like buttons, coffee beans, etc. When it’s only black and white, it can be very constricting, so it’s fun to break out into the mixed media again while still exploring the concept of the line, in this case long vertical lines… As with most of my work, I don’t have any concept of it meaning anything as the impetus comes from the materials and what I am now doing I think is making the paper and the lines on the paper mirror each other by making one very long line with the paper and putting long lines on the paper. The next thing I may try is to be more calculated about color instead of using every color I can find and focusing on varying the texture… I’m assuming this could occupy me for a long time as with any of the “series” I get really deep into…