Do Do Do

Do Do Do
Do Do Do, 2005. Mixed media (colored paper, oil marker), size variable.

I wish I could tell you that the production of this work was not the result of obsessive rumination, but… The “tasks” I captured on these hand-crafted “Post-its” were internal imperatives, bottled up as I prepared for a one-person show in 2005. I had also just completed a mixed media workshop, allowing myself to stretch beyond representative painting and drawing into works that could more directly and quickly communicate my feelings. As I prepared my exhaustive “to do” list for the show, I started to question my motivations for creating art and my need to express myself, and these notes to myself took on a life of their own.

Do Do DoI chose paper and colors carefully to provide a degree of separation from literal sticky notes. I also wanted the work to read on a couple of levels, as an abstract work from across the distance but revealing an entirely different layer of meaning when viewed close up, with word play and inversion of clichés to disrupt the viewer’s expectations.

I showed this work for one week, then took it down and stuck in a Ziplock bag for 10 years. Last year, I decided it was time to recreate it and was surprised that I still find it both amusing and compelling. Many of the sentiments I captured were genuine and still resonate with me, representing my hopes, insecurities and under-realizable dreams as an artist and as person trying to create meaningful life while conforming to societal expectations of acceptable and admirable behavior.

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Cartography series

In 2007, I was visiting South Africa and participated in an art program that began with three weeks in cultural immersion in and around Cape Town, including hiking to see rock painting of the San people, touring the townships and Robbin Island and the visiting with contemporary local artists, followed by a week of studio time. Except for a small kit of supplies the participating artists brought from home, we were instructed to use materials at hand and work on themes that had emerged from our experiences.

While South Africa’s history has many parallels to the United States, the differences, including the legacy of apartheid, are astounding and sometimes difficult to process. But from a place where there has been so much recent violence and pain, there is inspiration in the natural beauty of the land and resilience of the people. In addition to the important cultural institutions we visited, the markets of Cape Town are filled with the art of many African peoples and I was struck how they embrace the use of recycled modern materials, transforming them by exploiting their aesthetic and constructive qualities.

When I decided to begin some drawings, cardboard seemed like a natural choice because of it’s abundance and practical beauty. I was also attracted to the idea of constructing a large work out of many small pieces and that I could then pack up and bring home. The series, which began with an image of an African wrestler in an abstracted map-based landscape, continues to evolve as I slowly refine the conceptual use of the cardboard. Each drawing visually links with the next, creating a progression of interconnected of images that has the potential to become a mural of enormous size that may never actually be presented in it’s entirety.