Izzy posing with The Swarm about half way installed.
Once the anchors are in place it was easy to create the movement and flow of The Swarm.
I started out by placing some of the larger pieces to create some gravity. These would act to anchor the Swarm.
This is the wall that I saw that gave me the idea for the first Swarm.
The Swarm grew from an idea I had while teaching at Pratt Institute about tiny pieces of art. I have always been fascinated with 2-dimensional work that pushed past it self to become 3-D. Although this is really more relief than 3-dimensional it has the ability to move through corners and manipulate the negative space so as to command large spaces with very small objects.
The work currently on display at Edie’s in West Seattle happened rather suddenly. I was walking past the store and noticed the large wall empty with a Second Thursday Art Walk coming up. I jumped on the chance to get some work up. With most of my finished work still in storage I turned to a couple small portfolios filled with old and damaged prints. It seemed like the perfect time to test my idea of creating a huge work with many very small pieces. I proceeded to tear up the old prints and draw the Sporozoan Icon on them. My intention was to make one thousand tiny drawings in two days. I was successful in finishing the work. Unfortunately the wall wasn’t large enough and I was forced to end hanging with only about half my pieces on the wall.
The Swarm is growing and evolving even as I write. I intend to push the size of The Swarm to 10,000 by the end of April and from there I will decide on its next step.
I can’t ever truly know the answer to that question. I have been making art for so long now it seems to be the only thing that makes me feel as though I am giving something back to the world. I want it to be seen and want a sense of daring to be conveyed. I want my viewers to find the courage they need to make their worlds what they want. Life is too short to just get by. Even if you are in the worst kind of situation art can save you from the doll drums, raise you up and make you want to be more. If ever there was a time, in our lives, to make a change in ourselves it is now. Make it happen.
Use your art and change the world.
Trophies are a strange piece of our culture to me. They hold many different kinds of meaning. They can be earned through triumph in sports or the arts, through longevity in a position, or by killing something and, typically, all of them are proudly displayed to show ones pride in their accomplishments. Trophies can be something else though. Trophies can showoff nothing more than someones wealth and power: a trophy car, house, wife, husband, art object, etc.. This is the mentality that I was thinking about when I started making my art trophies. They are mangled and twisted versions of prints and drawings that I have mounted on plaques. I have, in essence, killed a drawing or print and preformed taxidermy on it. I twist them in on themselves, puncture them and then hang them on hooks. I believe it gives them a life that they didn’t have when they were simply two dimensional pieces. I have always believed that many people buy art as a trophy to begin with. I love the idea of making an art trophy and selling it to someone who truly loves it and could care less about any stature that might come with it.
Art is not something that should be sequestered away from the public it also should not compromise its message to address everyone looking at it. If we continually dumb down our ideas so as not to offend people then we will end up with art work that is so simple it becomes a one liner. This type of art will not hold peoples attention beyond first viewing. I made traveling sporozoan to be an object not to be shown simply in galleries but to be shown in unspecified places at unspecified times: I believe in sharing the art I make. This doesn’t mean I give it all away. I am all for the free market and people making money from what they make I just don’t have a problem with giving it away either. I think the only way to change the world is to leave the selfishness and intolerance of the current world behind and show the next generation that sharing and working together are not bad things. Sharing my vision without compensation is not a problem for me. Just like sharing electricity that my house will produce when I have adorned it with solar panels will not be a problem.
I believe we can change this world, we can make it a better place for everyone if we just learn to move past our selfishness and intolerance.
I do not make any thing that is “slick”. The work I make is not buried in a tomb of art rhetoric. I hate slick overworked art. I like to make art that is continually evolving. That requires its maker and its viewer to always be asking it why are you here, what are you doing, and when will you change. Traveling sporozoan is never the same and always asking me to make it anew. Because I never really know where I will perform it next it truly has the ability to test me every time. Some times it is about narration, sometimes about time passage, sometimes about serendipity, sometimes about manipulating its environment but always about its place in the world. I truly believe art can change us but art has to change and become the thing that it is not in order to always make its self push the places it has already been.
Change the world. Make some art.