words on paper The advent of paper and words in the paintings began during a few separate border incidents. The border in question was at the edge of regular vanilla paint-on-canvas. I found myself frustrated with the background of the painting which I was working on: Despairing Figure #2, I took scissors to the canvas - except in this case it was still a huge roll of paper. What I really wanted was newspaper. So I went out & fished some Asian language newspapers from a recycling bin. It was St. Valentine's Day, and the paper included lots of tiny black hearts. And this was used as a backdrop for the part which I had drawn on paper.
At some point in 1993 I was present when Seattle band Mudhoney played the Rckndy club for Ed Fotheringham's birthday. Ed was encouraged to sing, but to not fall off the stage, and he was handed the mic. I painted Stage over Seatte posters off the telegraph poles on Capitol Hill where my studio was.
Some short time later Curt Cobain killed himself and I painted Sellout. I added foamcore, strips of fraying canvas. And again I used newspapers, this time because of the news on them. It was 1994.
Jonathan, Francis & I lived in a house with our English friend Matthew Hamilton. Matt went through a time fascinated with garage sales, and the treasures that were to be had. He claimed that any F1 team only needed to zip around to garage sales to pick up everything they needed. They evidently had already cleaned out al the good stuff by the time he popped by - but he did find an old rubber stamp letter set which he gave to me. This turned out to be important. I started to add words to paintings, starting with Lets Move Em Out, one of three paintings I was working on in 1995.
Another of the three was Drop Cloth, (see below right) was actually the drop cloth under another painting that I was working with a lot of water washes. I have no recollection what the subject matter was. The brown butcher paper on the floor got very wet and dried up and then got wet all over again. This went on for some time, and as I struggled with the image I kept admiring the drop cloth that I was standing on. The more ferocious the battle became, the cooler the drop cloth was. So I decided that IT was the art here. I picked it up and painted it into the work. It was finished in 1998.
The paper element went on from there, in Plywood and Proof, using smaller pieces of paper, words, shapes. Interference Fit used the old tickets for the University bookstore parking lot. I gathered these up and the attendant watched me as though I were a mental patient.
1993 - just outside Area 51 - me and Jonathan on the road to Rachel, Nevada
Road Trip During the ninties we were compelled to do long road trips on motorcycles. What matttered, was that once again I was in the picture - again the speed, the image uncurling towards me from the middle.
Predictably these began with trips to Laguna Seca to see the United States Motorcycle Gran Prix. At first we drove down crammed into two Toyotas. But in 1991 we rode down, avoiding the Interstate, which was much more satisfying. In 1993 Jonathan said we ought to hit Yosemite and Zion and go see the Ahrma race at Steamboat Springs which is the next weekend. The photograph above is from that trip.
It was a long trip with everything from rainstorms on the Pacific Coast to thick crowds at Laguna Seca to lonesome stretches like the one seen above. We rescued an abandoned puppy outside Page Arizona, went swimming in the muddy river, and stood above Mokee Dugway, the edge of the earth's crust.
But late in that day on the way into Colorado the drive shaft on Jonathan's Moto Guzzi failed. I pushed his bike with my left foot for about 3 miles to get both our bikes into Grand Junction. We got up to about 60 mph. In the pool of light outside the motel door he determined that the part could be put in backwards and the tiny splines might work. This fix got us another 150 mles or so before it gave up altogether. We left the bike in a Conoco Station and rode two up the rest of the way.
I left him in the motel and came home while he waited fior the package from the San Francisco Moto Guzzi dealer. "It's ok' he said "it'll be like a solo" essentially a walkabout in the Australian desert. He was home three days later.
paper & text influence during the 1990s
Drop Cloth 1995-1998
© 2011 SIEGE