Everything Old is New Again

The above image is the only remaining Mandala from 2003 that I recently painted over, literally an old piece in process of being made new.

This is what the piece looked like before I changed it, in an online gallery aptly called Something Old Something New:

Old Mandala

Here we go again. That’s a constant in my art making, at least the past ten years or so. In the past ten years, I have circled back to old work numerous times. The one theme I continually return to is the “cityscapes”. I used to call them “Inner Landscapes”. I really started them when I started a different series, “The Moveable Studio” a reaction to the events of 9/11, using oil pastel and black ink. I ended up making a bunch of tiny images of heads and buildings and eventually connected it to 9/11 and the loss of the twin towers and the people in them.

When I started my Inner Landscapes around 2006, I didn’t make a connection to the city or 9/11 and called them “Inner Landscapes” because the concept was about making a picture of a landscape of my mind and they felt internal. However, people’s reactions to them tended towards seeing them as “real” cityscapes and would ask if it was NYC or if it was supposed to be a city.

Anyway, those pieces went through several successful versions, starting with just using caran cache crayons and pencil on paper, then moving to inks and mixed media, paint, and collage and even a few oil painting/collages.

The above one is a favorite from November 2008.

At some point in 2009-2012, I started adding a lot of collage to them, making them on canvas and wood boards. At that point I feel like I lost something from using too many materials. Then I moved on to other things. When I came back to them I was making drawings with bright colored pen, mostly Sharpie, and I made a lot of those, which are not my favorite.

I made a ton of ones like this above drawing which I don’t like compared to other moments in the series…

From there I wandered off into other work and came back to the Inner Landscapes in late 2016 through 2017, when I started using tape and pens to make new ones and made a whole Sketchbook Project featuring them. Here is the link to that Sketchbook:

Inner Landscapes Sketchbook Project

At that point I was feeling excited to re approach the whole concept, and then I lost the thread again. It wasn’t until last year, May 2018, when I started doing daily 15 minute drawings that I returned to the cityscapes and started writing little stories about the drawings on the backs of them.

This is my favorite one from last year that will be in the Wall Online Gallery…

Then I sort of dropped that after destroying a bunch of the drawings. I managed to ender a few of them into the Organization of Independent Artistst last online show, with the writings. Here is the link to that online gallery:

OIA Salon Online Gallery

Then I got disctracted into repeating another project or thread of old work involving faces, drawing them, and that went into mushrooms and adding beards to the faces and turned into my “Cabinet of Unnatural Curiosities” Series that I’ve put aside for now.

I recently became frustrated with the drawings, probably because I submitted 3 of them to the 440 Gallery for a show with the theme of “Light” and got rejected. The positive thing of the rejection was that I destroyed some more work and then wrote about destroying my hugest creation, a big mandala, which resulted in my revisiting the Mandala project from around 2003 and starting new ones. At the same time, I started in my 15 minute drawings after feeling lost and all over the place, again resuming sort of where I left off last year with drawing the buildings, partly due to the 2019 OIA online show theme of the “Wall”, a better theme to work with than “Light”. Light is involved in all art and is too broad a theme.

The idea of walls on the other hand is broad enough to allow for interpretation, but will yield something more focused and specific for a group show, online in this case. Another wall taken down is the whole concept of the Online Gallery, which has grown out of the usual mainstream art problem that breeds new formats – money and exclusion. Gallery space is too expensive in NYC in any borough for OIA to use, so the online gallery allows for a show that can be unlimited in many other ways.

The big goal is to make bigger pieces in general. I’ll end with a small drawing from last week made during 15 minute sessions that I like:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m in the OIA, Organization if Indepwndent Artists. I must have joined before 9/11 happened. We used to have a gallery in Tribeca. We moved to another one near Duane and West Broadway. I remember being in a group show of Refrigerator Magnets in the space. I had art in their group shows for years.

Eventually OIA moved out of Tribeca to – nowhere. We lost our space but not the website. Then there were shows in temporary spaces, a cafe in Brooklyn. An animals show at a college lobby and a few others.

After that there have been online group shows where we submit images of our art to be displayed on an internet gallery. There will be one soon on the theme of walls. I think it’s a great theme.

Anyway one time the call for work was to pick an old piece and a new piece to display side by side.

That’s partly what I’m doing in this post. I made huge circle collages I called Mandalas in around 2003 I think. It could have been 2005. Two of the main ones were the huge ones I destroyed a few years ago. I guess writing about old work stirred something up in me. I got the idea to do this series again in terms of form and materials- to collage together mostly pieces of watercolor paper in the shape of a circle.

In the past week or so I started 3 of them. Then I made

I’m circling back to last post about destroying my art work, the huge mandala. After writing that post, I got inspired to start making another big mandala in a similar manner, using a similar process to build the circle. I started a big one but then stopped and started a different one. The first one I only used piece of white watercolor/thick paper. With the next one, I took old drawings I had ripped up and glued pieces of them together. Eventually I had three starts, so I took two of them and connected them to start a big circle. Then I figured out the diameter of the circle, 36 inches.

Once I know the diameter I can map out the circle on the floor. My floor is not real wood and is a studio floor, meaning a mess, so I’m lucky in that I can draw a circle on it with a sharpie and it doesn’t matter. So I took out the ruler and mapped out a basic circle, not perfect, as the edges of the piece are never perfect so the circle isn’t an exact circle. Then I had my supervision group and started a small circle in there. I actually did the small circle first and the day after, last Wednesday, I did the bigger one.

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