Art lottery

April 18th, 2007 | No Comments

A quick note: This post may take a little while to resolve itself, as far as blog posts go, so if you’re feeling impatient, please immediately scroll to the fourth paragraph. Thank you.

It may sound strange to you, but sometimes I invent games to infuse a degree of difficulty and spirit of challenge to my artmaking process. For example, last October I invited the public to participate in The SuperChallenge, a project in which I produced 10 paintings over six weeks (two paintings a week, with a week off in there somewhere) and asked the public to vote on their favorite. The SuperChallenge was pretty cool in that it resembled having an online gallery exhibition with focus-group dynamics bolted on.

Art Lottery

Anyway, last week, I got embroiled in a project I call Art Lottery. This is something I dreamed up about three years ago. I aimed to produce a series of 10 paintings, guided by 10 variables each: vertical and horizontal length, logo, pattern, typeface, “magic number,” mascot, etc. Art Lottery version 1 was basically a formula for a neo pop art painting run amok. Even the brothers Oliver and Spencer Hibert graciously lent their MCing talent to read a welcome script and preside over the spinning of the bingo-lottery barrel.

Unfortunately, however, all of the variables and parameters of the Art Lottery proved unwieldy. I got midway into the first painting and started questioning its existence. It was a promising composition, but there was something about it that proved a bit too cartoony. So I shelved the Art Lottery not long after I started it, in the summer of 2004. At the same time, I was seriously rethinking my acid pop art style, in general. Minimalism and simplicity were taking over, and the fate of 100 variables decided by a $20 bingo barrel were no match.

But now is now and the Art Lottery has been reincarnated in much simpler terms. Last week, I built a set of five shapes inspired by corporate logos, five sets of stripes, and five patterns. The goal was to produce a series of five paintings using these elements, which would be selected by chance. While all of the material was original, there was plenty of room for “graphical quotation,” as my friend Shawn Wolfe terms it, in the development process. The kicker was that I afforded myself only 30 minutes to develop each painting’s design, so that I had to rely on spontaneity, yet again, to guide the outcome of my work.

Therefore, last Friday evening, I staged the drawing for the first of five paintings in the series. On Saturday morning, from 11:30 to noon, I produced the first design, which you’ll find at left. I have since named it Corporate Wellness Program. (I think corporate wellness programs are kind of a ridiculous idea, because they translate to more time on the corporate treadmill and less time at home with your family, where you belong. But who in the hell am I to say so? I’m an artist!)

My keyboard is starting to complain from overuse right now, so I’m going to cut this short and say “Ciao, ciao” and “more soon” and so on.


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