Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crude


Nodding Donkey oil pump

-Eureka! This piece is really about my oil well! It's about my
complicity in the world's self-destructive dependence on fossil
fuels.
This spring I decided to submit a piece in support of the Landfillart
Project. Ken Marquis, organizer and curator of the project, hopes
to have a book and traveling exhibit by 2012 that "portrays the arts
communities efforts to positively impact the environment through
re purposing previous metal waste.."
All artists receive a reclaimed hubcap to use as their canvas. I got
mine back in late March. My original proposal had the intention of
exploring my automotive roots that consisted of helping in my
fathers auto body shop as I was growing up. Perhaps some kind of
transformation of the hubcap into an artist book? Much to the
dismay of my salt of the earth father and two uncles I spent an in-
ordinate amount of time welding 'assemblages' from the ever grow-
ing junk pile behind the shop. "You could make something of your-
self if only you stopped wasting your time."
Now it's late June and I've been back and forth: somewhere between
progress and procrastination. I had worked up a series of custom
decals based on vintage photos of the shop and wrecked cars that
went through it. They didn't click here. Somehow that story seemed
a bit intimate for the hubcanvas. There seems to be another narrative
here.



Soldering mesh hands for hubcanvas mixed media piece

Instead I think the piece is about oil; we're hooked on it and our
landfills are filling up with the discarded products that had their
origin in the oil patch and our throwaway culture.
And, Yes I own a piece of this mess.
My grandmother, Maud, proud Nebraska frontier woman had
oil discovered on her ranch and I (along with a gazillion assorted
grand and great grand kids) all got a piece of this aging and nearly
pumped dry well. I still get an occasional royalty check from some
subsidiary of a subsidiary. Usually enough to buy a few art supplies.
So what the hell, lets make a piece that looks gift horses in the
mouth. No offense grandma, but we've got to make some tough
oil decisions.
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