What An Artist Does

  • April 20, 2017


IMAGE: recombinant sculpture; resequenced paintings; palimpsest series, and brand new series

UPDATE:  I spent 70hrs/week for 6 weeks at an art residency, a CRISPR SCULPTR, this painting-as-sculpture-as-installation-as-function … artwork as endurance sport, as improvisational music, as gene-edited… here’s some images of the recombinant work:

See here for many other  Projects

Every so often someone asks me “What do you do everyday?”. I’m surprised at people’s surprise at how much there is to do as an artist — I suppose the romantic idea of just making stuff whenever ‘inspired’ is a myth that still persists.

So I decided to document my daily art tasks. Below are just a couple weeks out of the last month or so.  I’ve left out all domestic and/or ‘real life’ stuff. I was going to excise some of the more specific art ideas from the list but thought I might as well leave them in. (Also, was going to edit/proof this post more, make it bullet-point uniform, but have to add that to the list of undone To-Dos.)

floSTEPPA 48 x 36 acylic & wire on wood remix # 3 of this sculpture

For the TL;DR crowd: the pattern seems to be awakened by 6:30 by ideas that must be written down; then researching, painting, making, testing, reading, writing, till 6 pm (w/one hour break around 2); then starting again 8 pm -11 pm with making, writing or doing digital stuff (rendering, photoediting, website crap).

So more or less, 10+ hours a day, 7 days a week. (Really. See below.) Not including all those hours working in my dreams while I sleep.

[here’s a video showing the sculptural installation done at the int’l residency, 6 weeks, 70rs/week including rearranging the work multiple times:]

The Journal:

Mar 28 Tues
  • 3am emails self ideas: Looty Christ text work (“ludicrous”), to be done on stacked slices paper (chops of bible, vatican bank news wealth churches US, ?) interleaved. ludicrous.
  • 630 am email self exhibition/art ideas: extension of distributed & stacked painting sculpture ideas. (see Ideas page) and text painting idea (Looty)
  • 8 am write down more detail on Art Ideas to do page above ideas. Plan to dos for today (for the record: get spacers to remix Acceleration Still sculpture; get another 2 panels for stack paintings. paint laser cut section, interleave block into work. affix the stack onto painted substrate first painting. take scan for print out to see if can do large scale for distributed painting. start rendering mockup for  gallery/museum pitch. and writing.
  • social media article reading, linked, FB, etc.
  • 945 -11 get materials art store.
  • 11-1 paint. (spray complex paper cuts  on mylar & paper. yields me 1/4 inch of stacking material.
  • 1-4 paint, go get paper pad chopped, come home then arrange new chop and laser cut painting. break 415-445.
  • social media 15 min. add link to my work re: ancient tablet w/writing
  • 5-6 paint graft line on new white stacked to resequence.
  • 6 pm collector comes for visit.
  • 7-730 splice in graffiti line into slice collage painting try to keep minimalist.
  • 830 post image of painting recently sold now in collector’s home.
  • 845-930 compose / arrange / resequenced painting till 930. considering either turning into 1 big painting, and/or to do final graff lines when all done. need to chop more white. break 1 hr.
  • 1030 11 pm look at painting, think of arrangement. consider using photoshop to color test final cohesive spray blast. think about how to pitch all as show.
Mar 27 Monday
  • 745 -9 jot down costs of new stacked painting 24 x 18, to monitor. have extended it to two paintings because needs more white spaces. may even try for 3, one mostly white very minmalistic. roughly hours. looking at $600 materials for one (maybe 2, maybe 3) paintings which will take 40 hours to do
  • add idea to idea page: scale up the doily/linear works to massive (30’) by 1) doing large stencils using large sprayers. 2) do in oil paint?
  • buy two more 16 x 20s shallow to contain chops
  • paint 9- 1030 (mylar cuts; remix stack & paint; construct stack holding box
  • 1045-read art article
  • 11-130 arrange  stacks to figure out how many paintings do 130 lunch 140 back to composing till 5pm.
  • write comment online re: fashion and art and how bagel purses are about shopping not semiotics
  • 530 630 slicing up laser cuts for test section new series. tired. chat with friend 630-7. dinner.
  • 730 – 8pm photoshop image of painting at collectors to post instagram tonight.
Mar 26 Sun
  • 8 am jot down painting ideas: add more white slices to linear color; do one minimal linear drift w/rectilinear cutout on a big stack, purple / red, add those mostly white to linear sections to open up visually. also, do mostly white stack but add some linear parts to it in minimalistic way (central block, then a couple super thins). next step is larger work. Keep the faith.
  • think plan galleries to approach w/mockups re: stacked sculpture to roof, full size paintings, array of paintings, sculpture
  • jot idea to balance stacked complex saws (buy 100s logger ones, complex shape) and stack so is curvilinear beautiful, but also dangerous. (mirror polish?). pair with doily: buy or cut paper ones, or metal, slice & stack & paint. yin / yang. part of dangerous paintings/sculptures/installation ideas i’ve had going back years and years. research saw prices. pine for deep pocket patron.
  • 830 sketchup mockup cardboard stacked with gaps
  • 9am research winter station ephemeral sculptures . see proposals, diagrams.
  • 10301230 work on stack painting; new white spray rect section
  • 1230 go see winter stations at beaches & document how made & installed
  • 400 home from documenting studying winter stations in -5 huge cold wind
  • 5-7 work on stack painting. increase whites.
Mar 25 Sat
  • 630 up and write down dream ideas. A weathering sculpture, composed of stacks/bricks of metal. left outside to erode. either the pieces are rotated through, removed and replaced, or encased at a certain time. Writing this leads to thought of creating eroding sculpture, a complex steel infrastructure that is coated in layers of colored gypsum, left out in weather to change form, and reveal color, over years.
  • 7-830 research gypsum erosion, acidification, sculptures. note technique of cutting into walls to create islamic patterns in mosque: do sculptures of my shift/drift/doily/plant cut outs in column and spray paint.
  • 830 1000 more research into sculptures, plywood as stacking device; flat planes or shaped, spacers, spinning the wood etc.
  • notes on patron wooing, to back projects.
  • research cardboard version (youtube videos assembly, slots, glueing etc.) till noon30. break. work on linear slice painting
  • 1-530 then break. 7pm go to collectors house to sign painting he bought. home 1030. social media re: art (linked in invites to ontario curators at museums) 1130 bed.
Mar 24 Fri.
  • 630 email self dream ideas: pallet stack goes from inside building to on top. stack painting content: print mayan palenque etc imagery re: Mayan code, idea of remixing/embedding works. Also multiple perspectives: chop imagery from books/film/stories of multiplicity of views, like Rashomon, or transmigration books i.e. Cloud Atlas, or opposing texts of JFK, etc. Also, text works to remix; idea of different words i.e. battle ballet printed sheets chopped and then on edge
  • 8-12 write send emails re: music licensing to compilations, past career doing music
    emails to ago art rental works, biz guy for strategy meetings
  • track down names of people who owed me $ long time ago to raise money for new projects
  • 1230-430 sketchup cinderblock painting sculpture at library
  • 430-5 chop paper to extend painting
  • 5-6 social media & sketchup/photoshop. stop. go see friend. 10:30 work on stack painting 30 minutes.
Mar 23
  • 7 am jot down dream ideas: stack sculptures on cardboard edge, stacked on pole, as tester for eventual aluminums, but also: can make do anywhere, can ship, etc. Maquette small. pitch nuit blanc / luminato?
  • 745- 230 reply email public art consultant who wants to see 3D work. Email 2nd public art consultant showing new developments. research fabricators on net. read some art critiques. clean up studio.
  • despair.
  • comment social media re: art critic & others pages. sun break 230-315. online research re: patrons 415, go to library, study sketchup 2 hours. home 9, eat, write ideas for art; start sketchup at home 930-1130
Mar 22
  • 6:30 wake up w/dream sculpture/installation/proposal solutions: ephemeral stack: cinder blocks, painted, interleaved (mockup/test: LEGO). public sculpture: volumetric metal grid on tall thin legs, soft cloud painted bright colors different angles (i.e. magenta from corner, yellow from side) so diff angles but soft. instructions for repainting.
  • sketchup mockup till 10 then sucked into FB debate on white woman painting of black tragedy should not be allowed at Whitney
  • 1130 back to sketchup130. break till 230
  • 230 remix stack painting till 5:00. go out do biz banking.
  • 730 home, write emails to art people. Read art articles.
  • mockup cloud cube soft spray tis 1030. quit.
Mar 21
  • 8 emails, social media. reply to Power Plant curator about alum. sculpture/installations.
  • 9 get supplies art store, mylar & paper. store out of supplies, go to other one across town.
  • 130 pm get laser cut paper.
  • frame paintings w/archival tape.till 3. break till 5 in sun.
  • install paintings on wall till 545..
  • clean up papers, materials, studio
  • social media 630.
  • work on  pallet photoshop mockup till 745. Break, the from 915 to 10. read Whitney critical reviews1030 stop
Mar 20 Monday
– 730 check social media (instagram FB for art news, click likes, comment
  • check emails re: business (digital music news)
  • open daily notes task list, get organized.
  • start writing ephemeral outdoors proposal: ash/snow or sand, skatabale painting, conduit waterfall, distributed sculpture
  • mockup pallet stack painting in photoshop from Sketchup 3D model. 10-1. update site w/new photos.
  • finish proposal letter w/website updates by 2pm . eat lunch, 2:30 revise and send. send other email to PowerPlant curator to see if received etc.
  • get frames ready to frame new paintings on paper made on vacation. need to buy matteboard
  • UV spray  6 new paintings. finish 6
  • answer emails, social media art stuff. try to start again at 930 (new stacked painting but don’t.
  • sleep, dream of paintngs, sculptures, installations, solutions, variations of stacks etc.
Mar 19 . 630 up.
– on computer jot down dream thoughts (i.e. : using sheet metal bending software, what is most complex/longest single sheet biggest sculpture could do in one continuous bend. also, idea of contacting wealthy patrons for monthly patronage: i.e. show them labor involved (including this task list.)
-jot down notes from yesterday art talk ex. use of design engineer to go from sketchup idea to fabrication; do small but real maquettes to get to public sculpture point, etc.
– open sketchup. prepare new file for use of spider clamp as possible support for multi planar / stacked paintings. download some models to start idea.
– youtube watch many vids at 2X speed videos about sheet metal bending programs but also tube bending and cutting factory vids, which would be for my waterfall and or infrastructure works
– write in calendar tasks for week (cut paper and paint for cd stack; do sketchup and photoshop mockups, write up pitch for 811 stacked idea.
– read articles on Whitney Biennale. comment online at linkedin to author. scan facebook. find out about art talk re: public sculpture. comment on art critic wall about art  w / link to my site. rewrite portions of that site page so that looks better; have insight to linear approach: line means from end to end; re: song, you can only experience it from one end to the other (you cant hear it all at once) so maybe that linear slice collage is another music compositional approach)
– write this task list
  • do sketch mockup of pallets (i.e. spray paint)
  • edit website (blur out text re: sculpture part; add blog link from projects)
  • now redo stacked sculpture as vertical slats much bigger in sketchup then photoshop mock AGO then add to website
  • update website portfolio page new links
  • unpack art, start to organize works. look at framing new works.
  • break 130-330
  • work on pallets stack mockup 530 break till 830
  • 830-1130 do pallets test stack sculpture rendering.
Mar 18 2017 630 up.
– jot down dream thoughts re art ideas and task to do. go through emails sent during week and add to Ideas pages
– now home. take out table. get art done on vacation
  • go to art symposia talk by 2 artists re: public sculpture. 12-3. note what equipment used to project; how they present (loudness, energy, clarity, words, etc. notice some notetakers/writes, introduce myself to other people sitting there; meet codirector. chat w/arists after and codirector. ask if they take proposals.
  • take photos of locations for later mockups.
  • 4:30 home and jot down notes/ideas. transfer and photoshop photos, removing bench, prepping to do mockup of stacked pallets. 730 watch movie zan. 9 pm do some art reading on computer, check social media.
Mar 17 Fri. up 7. realize in dream that need to do more work immediately
  • 730- 100: last day of ‘vacation’. like previous 4 days, again set up and paint in garage . tape up sheets of watercolor paper. lay down patterrns, paint, retape etc. lace doily works well. second set of 3 try doing central white space. steel wool, boa, fancy rope. doesnt’ work too well. initial intent was to do 2 face pieces for cd stack but back off that idea, decide that from floor up face up from above eye level image face down.
  • break for sun champagne & basketball w/girls 1 hr
  • clean up break down pack up all art stuff to leave including stacking loose cuts  (2 hours.)
  • leave fro home 4



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