Monday, July 11, 2011
New Orleans, LA currently; Somerville, MA after August 15, 2011.
This ongoing project began in April 2009. I “pay myself” $10/hour, and time six minutes per drawing, under the expectation that viewers could purchase a drawing for $1 and I could make up to ten drawings per hour. The project is an exercise in democratic drawing, or “the people’s drawing.” The project’s goals are widespread distribution and affordable ownership.
Each drawing is a thought, plan, observation, or note, 3″x5″ in varied media acquired prior to the project's commencement. $1 drawings have been exhibited as well as commissioned, and can be mailed. Drawings are housed in the box pictured, which is a replica of the original box used for the project which was a gift from my grandmother.
The second time I exhibited the drawings as one project, the exhibition was a "Cash and Carry" benefit show, for which I donated 50 individual drawings @ $50 to the gallery and provided purchasing instructions inside the box. Though I was donating a $50 value to the gallery (which, in this work, correlates directly to 5 hours of my labor), I felt the donation supported the vibrancy and culture of New Orleans' St. Claude arts district, anchored by the hosting gallery. In return, the gallery was to record the name of the purchaser for the artist, establishing relationships of artists and collectors for future sales.
By the end of the one night show, the entire $1 drawing box was missing but its sale was not recorded, so it is unclear whether the work was 1. purchased in excess of the work's parameters, 2. stolen, or 3. lost by the gallery. If the work was purchased, rather than a purchaser paying $50 for 50 individual drawings, per the work's instructions, there was a misunderstanding and for $50 an individual purchased the box itself and all the drawings contained therein--approximately 150 drawings, a steal, to say the least.
Frustrated with the gallery's negligence, I hoped the outcome (which I've never learned) was the one I found most fitting--that the work had been stolen. The work was born partially out of a "bankrupt on selling" mentality. I meant for it to encourage frequent output of work in my practice and undermine the need for galleries as liaisons, so I felt this outcome represented one revolution of the making/buying/selling art wheel. And I saw it as a reminder that I hadn't wanted $1 drawings in galleries in the first place.
I was on the eve of closing the project when two events occurred: 1. my mother, frustrated, found a replica box on eBay, and 2. an old friend unaware of the gallery fiasco inquired through my website about commissioning 10 new $1 drawings, for which she would mail funds.
Thus the project was reinvigorated, and it remains a portable studio practice encouraging drawing anywhere, anytime; a way of quickly delineating a plan for a larger work; and as a traveling sellable collection of artwork anyone can afford.