Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wing & a Prayer(praying that winging it will work)

You're looking at the glint of artificial sunlight on the surface of a puddle of epoxy, a petroleum based adhesive, at my studio in Brooklyn. Encased within, tiny scraps of cut coins pay the ultimate price, suffocating forever within the hazardous fluid.
Fortunately, when I spilled epoxy onto the surface of these coin crumbs, I was able to correctly anticipate the size of the puddle in advance, and I protected the surfaces that were most at risk with a petroleum resistant fabric, scotch tape. The spill remained relatively minor, and was successfully contained.
My oil leak was a tale of miraculous triumph, as life itself emerged from the primordial ooze in the form of an insect wing. Suddenly, with the help of oft hated petroleum, I had managed to convert a bunch of useless tiny metal shapes into an undeniably better thing.
Using money in my art is a habit I first formed many years ago, however, the current phase of creating objects from money and epoxy started at this time last year.
During a visit to my hometown in May of 2009, I was inspired by an old friend who was making giant jewelry and putting it on buildings in Milwaukee. He was telling me I should make jewelry from coins, and I began to visualize a method by which I could create beads.
When I returned to NYC, I made a few prototypes. By this point in time, the idea had evolved beyond simple jewelry into something far more divine: I would make a Rosary from money! What a metaphor!
Having been raised Catholic, I am still capable, with the permission of a priest, of rattling off the necessary prayers to turn this Holy Trinket into a full-fledged forgiveness granting amulet. Like the Blues Brothers, I was on a Mission from God.
I had such a splendid success when creating these beads that I was able to envision making all sorts of other objects using the same method. My head was swimming with ideas, and what ensued has been a long year of riding this momentum during which I have produced dozens of cool things.
Now, in addition to the creation of new art, I am trying to finish off many projects that were started and never completed. With oil spewing stronger than ever off the coast of Louisiana with no guaranteed end in sight, I find myself realizing that the time to finish this uniquely Religious project has never been more urgent.
Unfortunately, forgiveness is not what will help us right now, no matter how penitent we behave. So let's pray instead to plug the damn leak!

Monday, June 21, 2010

dusk of an empire: Molotov Shrimp Cocktail

Ah, America, land of the Free Enterprise, Capitalism's Crown Jewel.
Recently, while obsessing over online news sites, I came across an article about an enterprising group of people affected by the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico who were trying to entice people to donate relief money by offering actual vials of oil from the coast of Alabama for donations of $25 dollars or more. I was compelled to complete the donation process immediately. You can visit the same website.
Only a few days later, a bubblewrapped package arrived in the mail. Inside, like a medical specimen or an illicit substance, was a tiny gob of crude oil, putting me face to face with something I think we all wish had remained inside the Earth. Absolutely disgusting, yet mysterious and powerful.
When the financial system collapsed in 2008, I reacted through my art by beginning to use chopped money exclusively. Now, almost 2 years later, I have a lot of tiny coin scraps that I've been planning to eventually transform into biological representations. The underwater explosion on April 2oth was the spark that has finally breathed life into this pending project.
As the gushing petroleum continues to prove poisonous, I will begin to focus my artwork on memorializing some of the creatures whose numbers will be falling in the months ahead.
Using money to capture these creatures is fitting, given that they've been destroyed by a profit-driven enterprise.
Without money as our mode of accomplishing things, these little crustaceans could have kept doing their thing for another billion years, but now they're forced to drastically reconsider their behaviors if they'd like to survive.
On a Capitalist Planet, the odds are stacked against the animal world, because it has no taxable income. These creatures are too poor to contribute to the GDP, so who needs 'em? Outta the way, animals, we've got CEO's to pay!
According to Capitalism, wildlife is counterproductive. Filtering out gunk from the bottom of the ocean should be left to Giant Corporations, who have the technology and the investor base to accomplish what lowly shrimp could never profitably provide. In the world of Big Business, free labor is only cost-effective if it comes from slaves, and Nature is not really easy to own.
Eventually, I assume, plantlife will be phased out as newer, more sophisticated machinery becomes capable of converting CarbonDioxide from the atmosphere into Oxygen which we can then purchase to release into an area of the environment of our choosing. Think of the jobs that defoliating the entire planet could provide!
These days, the stocks of shareholders are spiraling in every which direction, but when archaeologists dig us up, they'll never find the Dow Jones Industrial average.
On the plus side, maybe the life we are losing now will decompose under pressure providing cheap energy for a civilization millions of years into the future of the planet, assuming they're advanced enough to invent the wheel.
Maybe we need oil, maybe we don't. But I bet shrimp really wouldn't have cared had we not undergone an industrial revolution.
Now they probably wish we had stuck to farming.
Let's hope at least some survive... the world needs scampi!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

True Value Vs. BP's Best Estimate

I'm participating in the Crest Hardware Artshow in Williamsburg this Month. If you're in Brooklyn, come on down to see some cool art.
I'll be showing a couple of tools I made recently from chopped coins and epoxy.
Crest has been doing this for many years, and the publicity promises to be substantial. It's a setting that is a great alternative to a gallery, with the artwork being displayed amongst actual merchandise on pegboard.
The parameters of the open call asked for artwork to be "hardware themed" or made from materials found at a hardware store. I hit it perfect on both counts.
While I was working on this wrench, our current crisis was at a pivotal point a mile beneath the sea. BP was gearing up to use a tool of their own to try and gain control over their undersea blunder.
Their newest big idea? Cut the damn thing with a giant claw! Nothing about this seemed smart to me. They were planning to take a crimped hose and unscrew it from the spigot. Yikes!

So much for the East Coast....