Saturday, October 30, 2010

show down, book up

The show is now down and all the work is safe and snug.  Still, sad. 
But to commemorate all the victories and show how grateful I am to everyone involved here's a free little downloadable DIY book I drew based on work in the show. Go get it here.

Last day is today

Sad but true. The show ends at the end of the day today so go see it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lemos Show - "Bayonets Replacing Toothpicks" in Porto, Portugal

André has a solo show opening this Saturday Oct. 30 at Dama Aflita in Porto, Portugal.  BAYONETS REPLACING TOOTHPICKS!  This show opens the night LaS goes down and I wish I could go see it.  The victories continue!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review of "Leaf and Signal" in C-Ville

I met with Andrew Cedermark last week and had a great conversation with him about the show. This week he wrote a bit about it in his Feedback column in C-ville, another local weekly magazine:


Across town this month at The Bridge/PAI, “Leaf and Signal” is a different kind of sea of images. Unlike “Half Life” there is no riptide waiting to pull you under. It is yours to swim in, this placid bay of gorgeous of little mysteries.
Local artist Warren Craghead curated this show, which draws from the (apparently robust) world of D.I.Y. publishing, many of whose denizens are in Europe. “The work is close to their life, but not autobiographical in a dramatic way,” says Craghead, who himself contributes to these handmade, mostly Internet-distributed pamphlets.

One highlight: Oliver East, a Manchester-based artist who makes beautiful booklets about his travels along train tracks. His and many other tiny surprises are wheatpasted to the walls of The Bridge/PAI through the end of the month.
The main bit in his column is about Will May's great show up at PVCC here in Charlottesville - the same Will May who helped with hanging LaS. Victories!

Hang hanged hung pt 3

Friday Oct. 1 - the day of the opening. After a bit of dayjob work, I headed to Lowe's to get shelves, then to the gallery. For the rest of the morning I hung more Franklin work, finished some Opuntia wheatpasting and just ran around like a crazy person. Greg was calm, that was good.

I decided to make the gallery map, pricelist and didactic all hand-drawn, so I drew them.

It was fun drawing the letters of the words for the work and making a little map of where everything was. It also showed me how much stuff we had crammed into the space - there are a lot of names on the list.

After some cleaning (and heaving heavy bags of wet clay into a trailer) I headed home where I started putting books together. After about 50 I saw Franklin pull up outside, fresh from a plane/car ride from Boston. Franklin and I had only communicated online until then, but we fell in right away and became comrades in this adventure. An hour or so before the opening we headed over.

Some last minute book shuffling and some fun extra wheatpasting (thats Franklin pasting up some Oliver East with Franklin's own work in the background) and then we were ready. The opening started as we were still talking and pasting which was a great thing to start out with - working artists making things and talking big.

The opening itself was great - many many people, too many to list.

My wife and kids came over (two-year-old Ginger took her shoes off and ran in circles and five-year-old Violet helped us wheatpaste) along with many pals and friends. Franklin waded in to the crowd, meeting with a talking to everyone. Thanks to the scholar there who declared one of Franklin's pieces, "The best poem I've ever read," and thanks to the many folks who bought things big and small. People seemed to really enjoy the walls all covered with drawing and all the books to look through.

My favorite part was when I got to talk (the image above is my attempt to take a picture of Franklin while he was talking). I didn't like the spotlight and all the nervousness but I did like doing my bit to evangelize about bookmaking and DIY art publishing. Several people, some really good artists, came up to me with plans forming for books. That was the best. I want to drown in books of good images and words.

After the place finally cleared out Franklin, Greg and I went to Mas for some tapas and beer (and some strange conversation with a man named Darryl). We talked, gave food to nearby people and basked in glory.

Thanks to all the artists, Greg, Zach and all the The Bridge, all who came to the opening, to the volunteers who worked so hard during the opening, to my wife for her help and to Franklin for coming all the way down here. I've got more to write about the whole show, but when I think about the opening I think about how grateful I am for all the people involved, directly and indirectly. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hang hanged hung pt 2

I went over to the gallery Wednesday the 29th and finished a lot of the hanging of the original work. I also did a lot of finishing on the book and got that to the printer, though the covers were still being done. Things were moving but still scary...

When I went in Thursday to hang stuff I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I had gotten the covers printed earlier that day so I knew that was going well (more on the book later) but I was getting a little scared about all the wheatpasting I had to do. I had never done it on this scale and I didn't have time to mess up. Luckily the rain was all gone...

And luckily I had a helper. The great photographer and artist Will May showed up, unasked, to help for a few hours. He and I figured out the glue-to-water ratio and started glueing, first with Geof Huth's work.

I quickly learned a few things:
1.The glue shouldn't be too runny.
2.You can just coat the back of the paper and then slap it on a cover the top and it will hold without too many wrinkles.
3. Planning composition too much doesn't work well.

So I started using a more thick glue mix and a more freestyle composing technique. Once Will had to leave we were through Huth and on to Café Royal. I'll pause here to, once again, thank Will for his great help both swinging a glue-brush and talking to me about everything. He has a really great show up here in Cville right now - I'll post images soon.

After Will left I kept glueing through Café Royal and then Craig Atkinson. It was a little crazy - I had pages spread out all over and I just grabbed ones I liked and slapped them up. I started with a grid of sorts but that broke down and there were overlaps and weird joints. I deliberately put images near the ground that I thought my kids would like!

Somewhere in the middle of the melee I walked over to Belmont BBQ and got some food. Great BBQ and fries, comfort food. Greasy victory.

Soon I was through Craig and on to André Lemos and Opuntia Books. André's work was all up and rather than take it down I covered it all with garbage bags and kept heaving glue. I tried to keep Opuntia's artists work together more, but it still got all mixed up.

I put some posters at either end of their section and started getting clever with composition, putting some heads at the top and some weird animal/people at the bottom. Mostly I tried to mix up color and BW and make it look interesting and alive.

When I finally passed out Thursday I could see the end - way off, but there. More to hang, a little more to paste, a book to assemble and a thousand other small things to attend to, but the end was in sight.

Next: Books, shelves and a Franklin. Oh, and victory.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hang hanged hung pt 1

It's lame that it's taken so long for me to write about the hanging and opening of the show, so here's a start...

The show before us was still leaving Monday, but I was able to look around and figure out where to put stuff. There was some variation in what I wanted from artists and what they were able to send, so I had to make some switches in placement from my original plan.

The biggest change was that instead of tacking up all the books pages, we decided to just wheatpaste glue them up. It was kind of a crazy moment whern Greg and I realized that wheatpasting wasn't going to be just the easiest way to hang the million pages - it was going to be the AWESOMEST way to do it, evoking street art and making an inviting lovely surface to look at and contrast with the original work hanging up.

Oh, and it was raining like CRAZY and the roof was leaking. Drips! I recorded them and I'll post that sound soon.

So Monday and Tuesday nights were spent figuring out where to hang stuff and then starting to put stuff up. I had tape-tabbed all the art sent to me earlier, so I had to do some math to even things out and started putting it up. First Craig, then Oliver, then André, then some of Franklin's. It was a little weird because I had to guess where the wheatpasting was going to go, but I drew and drew and figured it out, I hoped. When I went to bed Tuesday night I really wasn't sure how this thing was going to turn out...

Next, wheatpaste, a helper and bar-b-q.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review of "Leaf and Signal" in The Hook

We got a great review by art critic Laura Parsons in The Hook, a weekly news, arts and culture magazine here in Charlottesville. I gave Laura a tour one afternoon last week and both Franklin and I talked to her at the opening. Here's the text:

The public option: Craghead opens the books

by Laura Parsons

How to measure success? For many artists, the acme is having their work selected for the Whitney Biennial or perhaps profiled in Art Forum. For Warren Craghead III, though, the pinnacle is making art as publicly available as possible. He often leaves post-it drawings on gas pumps and in grocery stores, and he offers do-it-yourself books at his website for people to print and staple themselves.

This month, Craghead brings together an international group of like-minded artists for the exhibition, “Leaf and Signal,” at The Bridge. Consisting of original works and pages printed from computer files, the show’s artwork comes from books self-published by three individual artists and three collectives, who practice what Craighead calls “lo-fi” publishing. A few of the pieces are framed, but most— and there are hundreds— are plastered to the walls using wheat paste to create the feeling of street art.

“I wanted to kind of overwhelm if I could,” Craghead says.

The floor-to-ceiling mosaic of images on the gallery’s south wall represent Southport, England-based Café Royal, a group helmed by former abstract painter, Craig Atkinson, whose own mixed-media works fill the southern end of the east wall. The overall aesthetic is often raw and cartoonish, but there are moments of refinement, such as the tie-wearing, faceless heads drawn by Daniel Mackintosh in a series that mocks gallery-goers with captions like, “At openings this month, I will behave in an aloof fashion and won’t talk to anyone. I will stand out.”
In contrast to Café Royal’s organized chaos, Kelly Lynn Jones’s San Francisco publishing group, Little Paper Planes, creates meticulous letterpress prints (on view in the main gallery) and complex color works (displayed in the Bridge’s anteroom). Falling somewhere between Jones’s and Atkinson’s approaches is André Lemos’s Opuntia Books, based in Lisbon, Portugal. Lemos, who was last in town for the Craghead-curated SSG show, “Impera et Divide,”— and who painted a mural on the Bridge’s exterior— publishes everything from children’s monster drawings to complex collages in books that often feature unusual aspects like velum overlays or fold-out sculpture.

The individual artists included in “Leaf and Signal” each use books to respond to the physical world. England-based Oliver East creates watercolor and pen-and-ink impressions of his travels for his series “Trains are…Mint.” Franklin Einspruch also paints personal experiences, often supplementing his watercolor images with haiku-like poems. Meanwhile visual poet Geof Huth plays with typography and also photographs environmental poems he composes.
For Craghead, artistic success is literally— and literarily— about public exposure.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Café Royal subscriptions

Café Royal is offering subscriptions to it's published zines.  This is a great idea - I subscribed so I can get weird books mailed to me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How This Happened Pt 6

André Lemos and his Lisbon-based Opuntia Books comrades were one of the first groups I thought of for the show. André was in the show I co-curated last year, showing his own work.  He even painted a mural on the side of The Bridge that is still up. BENNY LAVA!

André has a great commitment to making and publishing books. His own work has a living fluid line - a giant slap of ink that seems alive even when depicting something else. He also does inventive and crazy collages and we have examples of both kinds of work up in the show.

We also have lots and lots of pages from the books he's published.  Opuntia makes books that ate beautifully printed and presented while still being "lo-fi" and inexpensive. He has artists from all over (Finland, Italy, Brazil, France etc) and publishes their work in "no reprint!" editions. I really like how André and Opuntia keep their books atthat edge of cheapness but still beautiful products.

We have a limited number of Opuntia books for sale from a variety of his artists along with a bunch of André's original pieces.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kelly's victory

Kelly of LPP had a great victory last Friday as well - the opening of her show in Oakland.  Like LaS there's a bunch of folks involved and it looks like she'll be busy all month. VICTORY!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More images of victory

Cafe Royal with some books (from my personal collection) to look at.

Craig Atkinson, el Maestro

Oliver East's beautiful pages and some very popular Little Paper Planes prints.

One of Franklin Einspruch's great pieces. Yes, that's a red dot.

More candy from Franklin.

Some Opuntia Books images. The "Time Life" pieces are so good.

Reading area, some lovely LPP prints and some Geof Huth power.

More Huth.

and more to come...

more Leaf and Signal victory