right now!     ian g. cozzens updates, news, photos, and thoughts

open call: Southern New England Tiny Print Encounter !

June 30, 2014 at 9:12 pm

It looks like I’m gonna be involved in organizing three different print shows this summer and fall — here’s the first of them…


the Southern New England Tiny Print Encounter

Friday, August 1, 4-8 pm
AS220 Labs Gallery, Lucie Way off Mathewson St, PROVIDENCE.

Open Call: an exchange/swap/show of 3-inch-by-3-inch prints, open to all makers of printed matter, one night only!

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Create an edition of 3″x3″ prints (any medium, edition can be as open or variable, or as precise & limited, as you wish). You’ll hang one of your prints on the wall, then you can trade & share the rest with other printmakers from around the region & the country.

AS220’s adjacent Community Printshop will also be open 4-8 on Friday for tours, info, and demonstrations. Prints will be displayed on the gallery walls during AS220’s Gallery Night on Saturday, August 2nd, 5-7pm, and through the end of the month.

If you are wondering, “I might not be —— enough. can I still do this?” or “is —— a valid ‘print’ medium?”, the answer to both those questions is YES, DO IT. (and — if you don’t have a print to trade, come anyways!)

This will take place in the new AS220 Labs Gallery, on Lucie Way off Mathewson St, in collaboration with the AS220 Community Printshop and with RIPExpo: the Rhode Island Independent Publishing Expo.

Here’s the event on facebook, & a tumblr announcement, for your reblogging / sharing / inviting needs…

This would not exist without Amze Emmons and Michael Krueger, whose Pint N Print exchange / party / meetup at SGCI inspired this event. Thanks y’all!

[Also, huge shout out to Ruth Orkin, whose awesome 1947 photograph was the basis for my drawing above…]


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Back in March in San Francisco, I decided that the fastest way to get to the bar that Pint N Print was at would be to bike in a straight line across the city… It looked good on the map, but in the hilly (mountainous?) landscape of S.F., that doesn’t usually work out well. I showed up at the bar exhausted, sweaty, confused, with very grimy hands after having repaired a blown-out bike tire earlier in the day, & feeling wicked awkward for some reason… but I still had an awesome time, and realized that some kind of print-based social event in a similar vein needed to happen in Providence!

I’m really looking forward to this, especially to getting to meet and trade stuff with printmakers from all over (since folks in town for RIPExpo are going to be there too…)… and to meet people in Providence I’ve never met before. Hope you can make it — tell your artist friends… & start working on your tiny prints… !

breaking time & space at Slater Mill

May 31, 2014 at 10:46 pm

I just busted out a project that I am really excited about. I finally got to make some really big three-dimensional letters… it is for a show celebrating labor protest history… and it is in a great old industrial building.

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It is part of a show at Slater Mill Historic Site, a museum that is in the location of the first installation of the “Arkwright Method” of factory textile production in the United States. The exhibit is called The Mother Of All Strikes, focusing on the first factory labor walkout in US history, which happened at Slater Mill in 1824 when women loom operatives walked off their jobs and protested successfully for the restoration of their cut wages. It’s up till July 31st so there is lots of time to check it out — if you want to see it, contact me (secretdoorprojects@gmail) and I think it’s possible to arrange a free visit.

The show includes historical information & imagery, as well as artwork made specifically for it by Christine Ashley, Chelsea Carl, Priscilla Carrion, and Kristina Brown, and me!

I don’t have great pictures of the final installation yet, but here are some process shots and blurry phone pictures of the real thing, with more writing & good pictures to follow!

Slater Mill’s interior, with various textile machines from different eras (some still operational!):

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A little chunk of a project description I wrote for a reporter this week:

The piece I made for Slater Mill, and for the anniversary of the 1824 strike, is called, straightforwardly, “Autonomía” — which translates to “Autonomy” in English. The large letters (made of cardboard and silk-screened paper) are staggered in space and take over six bays of the factory building, getting in people’s way — just a little bit! — as they walk around. From one end of the building you can see that they spell a word; from other viewpoints, the shapes of the letters are visible but it’s not quite clear how they fit together.

The idea of autonomy is the idea that everyone should have control over their own lives, projects, work, and associations — it’s a specific way of talking about freedom that is about self-determination and cooperation as well as about independence.

The word was created using a perspectival illusion, based on combining an architectural drawing with a drawing of the letterforms. The furthest-away letters are the largest, and as they come towards you they get smaller, so from a specific viewpoint they all appear to be the same size, floating in space, not subject to the rules of perspective. This was a way of breaking the ordered, regular spacing of the building’s structure, which was part of the control system that Slater & his partners imposed on their workers. The word is only legible in denial of the factory’s regularity, contradicting how objects are “supposed to” behave in space.

I wanted to connect workers’ struggles today to the struggles of workers in the past, and make it clear that the fight continues — right now, with the struggles of fast-food workers across the U.S. and here in Rhode Island for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, among many other battles. The word is in Spanish to allow it to communicate directly to Spanish-speaking museum visitors — and to remind English-speaking visitors that these struggles are happening all over the Americas and the world. (And also to make it clear that I am *not* quoting the 1824 workers, since we don’t have any first-hand quotes from their speeches or meetings in the historical record.)

Some epic process notes….!

Based on the building’s plan, and on my own measurements of vertical elements, I made a perspective drawing (here ghosted out under a couple layers of vellum) and then drew the letters of the word I wanted to build in such a way that it would fit into the museum’s space:

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Here’s a detail of projecting the letters, these largest ones cut up into overlapping pieces, back in space onto the “picture plane” (a perspective-drawing concept, the plane where all the elements have a “true height” to scale) to figure out how large I would have to build them to get them to look the same height in person…

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The largest letter was six feet three inches tall, the smallest was about 18 inches tall.

(Most of this drawing was made on a drafting desk with a parallel ruler, but I did have to take it to my parents’ house in Philadelphia with me when I went back for a family wedding in the middle of the crunch time… here it is on their dining room table, with the plan of Slater Mill above the perspective drawing…)

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The thing I wish I’d done differently in the drawing process: I should have made the original plan at a larger scale; it should have been 1 foot to 1/4 inch instead of 1/8 inch! (or even bigger?) Then I would have had more ability to get accurate detail from the drawing instead of having to do complicated proportional translation. Luckily I had this trusty analog tool:

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The proportional scale! Which I don’t use all the time, but when I do use it, I can’t think of anything that could replace it.

Drawings were scaled up and then transferred to cardboard. I got all this two-ply bike-box cardboard which was nice & rigid (thanks, bike shop pals!), and perfect for being able to create a gluing surface on the edges, by peeling off one layer of corrugation, and bending back the other layer to give the hot glue something to hold on to.

Draw letter, add a 3/8″ border, cut partway through & peel:

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Cut through the middle flat layer:

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Gently bend back the bottom corrugated layer, and squish the corrugations down:

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Cut two-inch strips of cardboard and hot-glue them to the folded-down edges (the paper-wrapped bricks are weights to hold the whole thing in place & keep the glued parts pressed tight together while the glue cools):

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If you drop your razor knife with the blade fully extended like that, don’t try to catch it! (I didn’t… but just barely)

Some complete letters stacked in a nice-looking pile…

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Each letter had its height divided in four, and I made four stripes of this pink paper that Alison Nitkiewicz & I screenprinted more than two years ago

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(the Os extend a little beyond the top & bottom line of the letters, so they got a tiny stripe of another color pink added on the top…)

The biggest letters (the first ones that were done!) loaded in the van to go to the mill (and yes, the colors did look completely different in the daylight vs. in the studio lighting):

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Late nite install:

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Scøtt was a crucial, crucial helper in the hanging process, I really wouldn’t have gotten it done without his help… the timeframe was tight enough that we didn’t take any installation shots except this one, when we were almost done:

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Jeremy Ferris took this nice picture at the opening, really showing the size & scale of the largest letters:

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And here are another couple pictures I took as things were winding down:

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And… just some of the smaller scraps of pink paper left over in the studio afterwards:

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… and while we’re looking at letters, here are two variant proportions for the same letters from stops along the C subway line in Brooklyn.

These are different shapes, to fit a different size panel & with different street names (the first one is Nostrand Ave, the second one is Kingston-Throop Av), so the angles are all different… BUT the small tiles are the same size, and the “style guide” for how the tiles are cut and placed is the same, including the extension of the top point of the A and bottom point of the V past the bounding line for the rest of the letters.

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Things I like to look at!

I have been posting a lot of found letterforms, also cool architectural things, process work, and occasional cats, on my instagram recently, I’ve been really psyched about that format for internet interaction… follow if you’re into it!

pushing & trouble — conversation on creative practice with CJ Jimenez & Beth Nixon

April 26, 2014 at 5:52 pm

This coming Monday, April 28th, from 7pm to around 9, I’ll be part of a broad-ranging conversation at New Urban Arts with CJ Jimenez, facilitated by Beth Nixon, one of the current NUA Mentor Fellows.

Here in an authentic multi-dimensional Providence context is the multi-dimensional poster made by Andrew Oesch (unfortunately the other two conversations already happened, sorry for not posting this earlier! TIME! augh!):

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… and here’s the event on Facebook if you wanna “share” it.

This is the seventh (I think?) year of having these series of “conversations on creative practice” at NUA — I’m really honored to be asked to be part of one. Based on the preliminary discussion that Beth & CJ & I had, a) there is a lot to talk about, and b) we will be getting pretty real? or at least I aspire to that (as always, but especially in this context). Come even if you’ll be late, you can jump into the conversation at any point… it’s free & there will be snacks… Okay! See you there I hope!

Among some likely subjects: non-documented actions/interactions as art, racism / white supremacy, dog walking, political art, narrative & text, tumblr, invisibility, bodies, the possible scope of our actions as humans…. and more? I’ve known CJ for a long time through various connections (if you go back far enough in this bloggy, you can find a picture of CJ helping Emmy Bright print a poster for one of the earlier iterations of the “conversations” series), & I keep being amazed at how New Urban Arts has created these connections which extend over time and allow me to keep understanding new things about people I first met when they were teenagers… and to grow and learn alongside of them. Yikes!


Other things that have been happening:

— with the organizational help of a friend who is good at the organizing & prioritizing things, I am *finishing* lots of projects to get ready for the RISD Alumni Spring Art Sale, Saturday May 3rd! 6 more days to get ready! lots to do! gettin it all done hopefully… Jess X. Chen & I are sharing a table, & we’re near other friends — come say hi at the corner of Benefit & Waterman Sts from 10-4 next Saturday!

— Hand-drawn letters, they are everywhere:::

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…and I’ve been posting the cool ones that I see, as well as work in progress / neat buildings / interesting patterns / cats / etc. on instagram, I like its simple interface for whatever reason, follow if you want… most of those pictures get cross-posted to tumblr

— In other bloggy news, I’ve been keeping track of my favorite spring happening, the bright green blooming maple tree in our yard

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— Did I write anything yet about being a contributor to the 6th issue of Headmaster Magazine? Well dang, again, TIME!!! (Here’s the preview image I posted a couple months back, but all the contributors were still under wraps at that point, and I have yet to put together a full post on that project…) Also on May 3rd, from 9pm till late, Headmaster is having their Providence release party: “The Pawtucky Derby” (facebook event) at Machines With Magnets in P’tucket. Dancing, fun times, magazines, drinks, snacks? boys? (“men?”) okay! Headmaster (aka. Matthew & Jason) are the sweetest most tender fancy-art-magazine publishers everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr <3 — Along with a bunch of other local artists, I'm working on a project for a show at Slater Mill, celebrating the Pawtucket strike of 1824, that will be opening in mid-May! More three-dimensional letters, coming up. I’ll post progress pictures along the way; here’s the space we’ll be working in:

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!!!

— found a use for old laser-printed offset plates! as the best, water-proof, re-usable sheets for masking off areas of silkscreens while printing. YES:

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the show is up!

November 6, 2013 at 3:21 am

… after four and a half relatively brutal days (and some long nights in there) of installation work. I cut a ton of pieces of glass to put the art behind, I hammered in almost 400 L-pins to hold the glass (and prints) to the wall, I began to understand why people *frame* art (cause once you frame it once you never have to frame it again!!!), I depended on my friends, especially Scott, for help & support… I felt more professional than ever before, and also very much like a force of chaos in the desirably-predictable space of the gallery… and not in a cool disruptive gadfly way like when AO & I were working on the Magic City Repairs project, but in the way where I was letting people down… if that makes any sense?

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BUT! It all* got up on the wall, despite (or because of?) the chaos; it looks very professional (I think/ I am still surprised by), and I really hope you will come to the….

… OPENING RECEPTION!

free & open to the public, wheelchair accessible, etc, as a public institution all places should be. Catered! food! drink! (no wine though since it’s a university? or somethin’? bring your flask if you wanna, I guess). Thursday November 7th, 4:30-7:30 pm, University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center, 105 Upper College Rd, Kingston RI.

please come & join the party & check out what I spent 13 years of my life on!

People are coordinating some rides from Providence on the facebook event page, if you’re not on facebook & need a ride, email me & I’ll connect you to somebody. You can also take the 66 bus from Kennedy Plaza, it seems to run about every hour… If you can get down there, someone will probably be able to drive you back to Prov afterwards, as a last resort you can climb in the back of Scott’s van….!

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(This is the front of the postcard that I made, featuring many of my favorite tools…)

*(The only things still missing from the gallery walls, in my mind, are some photos that are necessary to give context to the paper ephemera from the Magic City Repairs project… photos which I don’t have physical prints of yet. In thinking about this, I realized that I haven’t gotten a physical print made of a photo since I stopped taking pictures with film, which is strange… but I’m gonna go to CVS tomorrow to remedy that situation, hopefully I have a chance to sneak in with a hammer & level before Thursday afternoon!)

The funny thing was, when we started to actually get all the artwork up in place, my first thought was “it’s like looking at my website, but all at once and without having to click on links”. I’m not even gonna try to figure out what that means in terms of how much the internet has colonized my brain, I’ll just leave it there… and I really haven’t processed the surrealness of having all this work, each piece of which has defined and shaped my life in its own way, up in the same physical space. It’s surreal. I don’t know what more to write about it than that — I’m still pretty sleep-deprived… !

Here’s a moment from the hanging process, this is the “recent work” wall, which is (parts of) 2012-2013, in progress… (and yes, “Queer Buttz” did make it into the show…)

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Here are some screenshots of the spreadsheets that I made to organize the many (I haven’t counted yet) pieces of work for the show, and that will hopefully help me to put everything back in its correct place when it’s time to take it down…

October 27th at midnight:07:47 AM:

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a detail of another screenshot around the same moment:

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… and then, November 1st at 2:53:54 AM:

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and here are the same documents (or a selection of the information thereon) in action, as reference documents for cutting the glass to go over the prints:

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Here’s the *back* of the postcard that got printed (the yellow/orange image above up there is the front); I’m proud of all this hand-drawn text (from the poster) used as computer text, even though that in itself was a project & a half….

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And here is the 4-foot-wide text on the gallery wall, I traced my scans of the knife-cut-paper letters into vectors & then it got computer-cut by some place out of a plastic fabric / sticker stuff… looks so cool, doing the vector work is physically difficult for me cause the tablet I have is old & it’s strenuous to hold the pen (because it’s wide in diameter, I think…)… but it’s cool to see my hand-drawn letters so big! Yay for vectors? maybe? It’s so not-fun to make them but… well… they’re useful…!?

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That’s it! gotta keep working on some spreadsheet stuff tonight! Tomorrow I teach the second class of my AS220 class (on their website it’s marked as “sold out” for now, but there will be another one in January 2014!). Thursday the opening! Then hustling to finish up Craftland stuff! and to move my woodshop stuff out of Building 16… and you know, just to get everything done… whatever…

rapid update

October 11, 2013 at 8:09 am

Remember the beginnings of this guy? It’s finally getting done, I hope!

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Detail of layer 2 (actually the first printed layer, but begun 5 months after what will be the second printed layer) in progress, this is rapidograph on wet media acetate:

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Hopefully I’ll have some of these ***finished*** at the RISD Fall Alumni Art Sale, this coming Saturday October 12th, on Benefit St. in Providence between 10am & 4pm… I’m going to get some sleep this time so I can be coherent & friendly… Come say hi!

Also, thanks to the late night internet and Printeresting for this encapsulation of my life recently:


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, back to it!

roll over, more to come

September 30, 2013 at 2:05 am

This was the ten-thousandth (at least) picture taken on my little camera:

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The other day, the camera created a new folder on the card & started putting pictures in it, and I was like “huh?” until I noticed that the first image in that new folder was titled IMG_0001.jpg. Looking back, the first picture I took on the camera seems to have been IMG_1576.jpg, so I’ve taken eight thousand four hundred and twenty four pictures since March of 2011… & a bunch more photos must have been taken by its previous owner (I can’t imagine that he only took 1575 pictures with it, but it’s possible?)… (and it’s a canon powershot sd1000 “digital elph”, if you’re curious.)

So, good going, lil camera! Thanks for being tough & sturdy, fitting snugly in my pocket, having decent battery life, and letting me take literally thousands of pictures of manhole covers, building details, hand-drawn letters, and cool-looking cats, etc etc, that I am happy to have recorded somewhere, even if they may never see the light of day…


I realized that in the last post I totally forgot about two other event-type things that are happening soon! Crap!

October 2nd through November 2nd, in Lowell, MA, some of my poster work is going to be part of a show at Zeitgeist Gallery, called “The Message is the Medium: Prints, Propaganda, and Persuasion”. There are two opening events, one Thursday Oct. 10, 6-9 pm, and another Saturday Oct. 26, 6-9 pm. Lowell is having a celebration of printmaking (?!) this fall and the folks at Zeitgeist decided to showcase political print work, and asked me & some other Providence artists to be part of the show. I don’t know what it’s gonna look like but I am excited to go & check it out, and I’ll try to make it to at least one of the openings! (Lowell is a really, really beautiful mill town… and when I’m there I’m gonna be looking around to catch a glimpse of a cat, so I can make the dumbest joke ever….)

Here in Providence, on Sunday, October 20th, from 2-4pm, I’ll be doing a presentation about my methods & process of working on things by hand, and leading a conversation about intractable, flawed physicality, at the RISD Museum.

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My talk/presentation/conversation is called “Material Resistance”, it’s a “Demo & Discourse” event in the “One Room” series of presentations that is part of their “Locally Made” show happening now through November 3rd.

Confused? I am too, a little bit. But it should be good, I like showing & talking about my process work (as readers of this blog already know), and I’m excited to get to link the materiality / immateriality of the artwork I do with the materiality / immateriality of the body, language, and body+language stuff I think about a lot. RISD Museum admission is free on Sundays! FREE!

Here’s the statement for that talk, which I just re-wrote & expanded from what’s actually on their website at the moment… hopefully they’ll switch it up…

I’ll show some of the layered process work and test sheets from my silkscreen prints, and some recent drawings of buildings & spaces in Providence & the surrounding area, and maybe some other new projects. I’m interested in talking about how the physical substance of the world is crucial and everpresent — and always incoherent and stubbornly inaccurate. We muster up all these tools to bring our worlds into being, whether they are pencil, ink, & paper; structural and sheathing elements of the buildings we create for ourselves to live in; or the ways we dress, modify, and present our bodies to enable our existences… and even though all these attempts will fail us in one way or another… we do them anyways!?

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I will also probably talk about screenprinting as a one-, two-, and three-dimensional medium… and about dazzle camouflage as queer protective/illusive body strategy, via analysis of scale and pattern in architecture… just some things I’ve been thinking about recently all the time…


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Today I got to hang out with Tara Cavanaugh and do some co-directing, kind of, of some video documentation of my process & existence…? It was fun, we noodled around the Paragon Worsted Mills building and Tara took some footage of me drawing on the drawing of the loading dock alley that I’ve been working on (slowly!) since April 2012… and she got psyched on the afternoon-light-gorgeousness of that seemingly infinitely complex structure; it was cool to share that building with a friend…

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Then we walked up Manton Ave to the house & she documented my visually hectic studio and me cutting tiny rubylith things (last steps on the power station rubylith!), and then we did a hopefully cool process walkthrough of shooting a screen, washing it out, setting it up, and printing! Bam! It will be very useful (as a teaching & explaining tool) to have this all well documented; I will share it here when it’s done!

Here is (slightly sloppy) evidence of demonstration printing of the 1-color version of the power station print; it’s come a long way from back in May

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Well there’s already been some building details on here, but we need our hand-drawn letters, stuff on the ground (no manhole covers this time, sorry), and cool cats… in the interest of letting photos see the light of day, here you go!

Hand-painted sign plus doughboy doll from Mr. Doughboy in northern R.I.:

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Some squished garbage that is totally gonna be the beginning of some art thing:

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Rowan and a kitten on a string!

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upcoming awesomeness!

September 26, 2013 at 4:54 am

Now fall is officially here, I guess, and with the season, a TON of work & projects just hit me on the head with their reality and urgency! So it’s time to get to work & stop feeling weirdly bummed out all the time……. okay?

Past couple days, I’ve been buckling down, and amid MUCH distraction, finally getting back to this image from the spring. Lots of ***sick*** rubylith cutting is going towards a “finished” version of the Manchester St. Power Station print (there will be many versions of this, but I’m just trying to get a decent one(1)-color [just one color?!! whoaaaa] version of it right now…):

I’m working from a photograph of these reflections, but not tracing: drawing onto paper and then cutting the rubylith out over the drawing, then varying wildly from the drawn lines with the goal of getting the feeling of the light from the windows reflected on the water… The improvisation & amorphousness that it’s necessary to embody in my lines, at the same time as I mark the precision and specificity of the reflected light, is a very strange & complicated mental/artistic state to hold myself in… and I keep having to take breaks & look at webcomics. :D

I will have the above print done for the RISD Fall Alumni Art Sale, Saturday October 12th, 2013, on Benefit St. in Providence, 10am-4pm. I’m also working on completing other (old & new) things for that, hopefully it all gets done in time!

Then the Craftland Show work delivery deadline is right after that… so all the ramping up will just continue…

Wednesday October 20th is the first night of the fourth (!) class I’ll be teaching at AS220 on “Knife-cut stencils, rainbow rolls, and other mysteries of the non-digital silkscreen process”.

Color test prints, experimenting with ink transparency and color order, by Corrine Hill, a participant in the class I taught in July:

(more images from past classes)

For this session, we reduced the class size to six, so there will be more time & space for everyone. The awesome artist/activist/engineer Jen Hall will be the T.A. This is gonna be great! Four classes (+ an extra work night as well) for $160, sign up here!

All during this time I’ll be getting ready for a solo show in November at the University of Rhode Island Main Gallery in Kingston, RI. I’m hopefully going to display all (“all”?! well, maybe) the prints & posters I’ve made since 2001. We’ve been jokingly saying it’s “a retrospective” but that is actually what it is so I guess I should quit jokin around! I was pulling out the contents of the my archive/portfolio flatfile drawers to show to Ron Hutt, the URI gallery curator, and I got slightly overwhelmed thinking “oh crap, this is like my ‘life’s work’ right here”. Geez! Deep thoughts! You better come see the show! The opening will be Thursday November 7th, 4:30-7:30pm; the show runs through November 29th.

I’m also super excited to be working on a short video with Tara Cavanaugh that will go in the gallery along with the print work, most likely showing some of my process, shots of my visually-overwhelming studio, me talking about how & why I do all this stuff, me walking romantically among some empty industrial buildings, my roommates making faces in the background, Buio-cat, etc etc etc.

(possibly similar subject matter but much better than this “action shot”:)

Okay, that’s all the near-future stuff. Further out / further away: if you find yourself in Abu Dhabi, some of my art will be in Maya Allison‘s apartment/gallery show “Providence — True Love Always” there, beginning on October 25th; in Providence, look out for some kind of holiday sale type thing in December; in February I’ll be lurking around New York City to help out my lil brother & his partner after they pop a babs (!), and maybe I’ll be making some kitchen-window drawings or something; at the end of March & maybe early April I’ll be in California cause I will have a piece in the “Queer Communities in Print” portfolio that Corrine Teed is organizing to be part of the SGC International Printmaking Conference in San Francisco; annnnd…. that’s it? for now? see you soon? what is this thing called life?

queers edition // art sale today!

May 4, 2013 at 2:06 am

Via grainy cellphone camera, the finished colorways of the QUEERS! editions. As seen in progress here and decision-making process discussed here. Finally done, after being promised / procrastinated on for two+ years!

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I’ll be at the RISD Alumni Art Sale ***today***, Saturday May 4th (10a-4p, Benefit St. & Waterman St. in Providence) with these brand new guys, the new-ish “dissonance” script-font prints that were in the show, the new-ish colorways of the “complexity” manifesto print (and a couple copies of this purple/orange/gold one), the Recycle-A-Bike prints, with their cool silkscreen duotone, that I finished last year but somehow haven’t posted a completed image of until now….. and lots of other stuff! Tabling with Sam Merritt of Double Vision Embroidery who is super cool.

We’ll be accepting “credit cards” via a borrowed “mobile digital device” — your favorite Luddite screenprinting grandpa dips a toe gingerly into the 21st century…

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Okay gotta run & finish the last stuff! See you soon! Wish me luck with sleepin’ tonight!

artist talk / closing reception: thursday february 21st, 5-7

February 19, 2013 at 3:23 am

On Thursday, February 21st, from 5-7 pm in the AS220 performance space gallery at 115 Empire St, I’m going to do some kind of artist talk! Which will probably be more like me saying some things about this work, then people asking questions, and we can all talk about language, bodies, complexity, identity, difference, desire, representation, etc…

Also it’s a “closing reception” even though the show will be up for one or two more days after that — I think I have to take it down on Saturday the 23rd. So Thursday night is a nice chance to check it out, among some other humans, but most likely with a smaller group than at the opening (if you were socially overwhelmed, as I know some folks were)! I hope to see you there. (here’s the facebook event, but all the info is also here.)

Also — Greg Cook wrote a nice review of the show in the Providence Phoenix!

“practical tools for shifting reality” – snapshots & statement

February 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm

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The show is up! & I am on to the next projects (and of course finishing the things that I didn’t have time to complete for the show itself!). Here is an assortment of snapshot-based documentation, plus the artist statement — written the night before the opening, but based on ideas that have been rumbling around for a couple years now, as usual.

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Practical Tools for Shifting Reality
artist statement

I was a nearsighted, nerdy, artistic, attention-hungry, weird little kid: fascinated by printed objects around me, terrified of losing unique things (and pretty much everything, even trash, fell into this category), captivated by odd dreams of creating my own brand of notebooks, and compelled to learn to draw horses realistically. The horses thing kind of faded away (for the better, probably), and I long ago stopped collecting boogers & dust balls (for the better, definitely), but the rest of it remained — along with all the drawing practice I had done, and the terror of loss — as a great recipe for becoming a meticulous maker of screenprinted posters.

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Additionally, I was a boyish kid who didn’t really understand why she couldn’t be in the Boy Scouts, have short hair like her brothers, or be called “Keith” on a regular basis. In recent years, as I realized that I didn’t actually have to be “a girl”, and became aware of the validity and realness of my gender variance, I worried that much and maybe all of my single-minded, perfectionist, intense-work-ethic art- & poster-making had been born from the combination of the attention-hungry kid with the teenage girl who didn’t identify at all with her perceptible, supposedly “girl” body. This person figured out that if they could draw the most complicated drawings, make them into neat-looking screenprints, and distribute them, that people would pay more attention to the images than to the physicality of the human behind them…

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This tactic worked for almost a decade; it was a good one! But it stopped working when I realized I had the chance to figure out an embodiment and a physical presence that would potentially feel more true to myself. The fact that the posters were no longer the point of my life revealed the fact that they had been: that much of my identity and even my physical presence in the world was wrapped up in the work I had made. For a long while after that, when I was working on art, it felt like I was actively avoiding having a gendered body — a continuation, perhaps, of the avoidance/distraction/dazzle-camouflage scenario that I had been constructing for so many years.

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At the same time, I knew that that was not the only purpose my work had served. As a poster-maker with my art practice founded in my community of friends, I knew that screenprinted posters & prints, distributed as limited multiples, become important objects to other humans, and carry strong associations for everybody whose lives they touch: “that was the gallery opening where my partner and I first kissed”, “that was the last show in our house before we got evicted”, “that was my favorite building before they tore it down”, “that poster was above our kitchen sink for six years, I looked at it every day…”

These printed objects hold power for creating our lives & realities, for piecing our stories together, for sharing them with each other, based on memory, imagination, delight, the irrational, the impossible, the failed & beautiful. Shared self-made graphics allow our lives to be located outside of a dominant or market-logic paradigm, through a visual language that we teach each other & make up together as we go along. I realized that I wanted to turn this power towards furthering validity for trans, queer, and gender-variant existences like mine — towards making complexity visible, and by showing what I saw of it, to create chances for further complexity in the world.

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I wanted to put visual tools in the hands of others like myself, who might occasionally need a reminder that they are real, when from many sides they are told that their existences are impossible. I also wanted to get to do more of the practices that are the most engaging & interesting for me — drawing, first of all, and also printing, but not printing epic, grueling editions (which I do enough of already): “fun printing.”

So, the work brought together in the gallery here is a beginning stab at both those projects. There are lots of hand-drawn words & letterforms, which hopefully reveal my discovery & delight in the drawing of them as well as the self-imposed limits (and also delights!) of following a system, creating a graphic space that is coherent and includes weirdness, and learning deeply from drawing things seen in the world around me.

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The “word prints” (the ones in white frames, two of which are in the photos below) are a group in which there are no mistakes. Each one is different; every print that gets made is part of the continuing whole, and any strange or unexpected color layer simply presents a challenge to figure out what the next layer and color on that print will be, and/or a (parallel) challenge to understand the existing combination as complete and unified.

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All of this work involves interference between patterns, scales & layers, as well as colors and images overlapping by chance and by intention. Language as action, graphics as tools, words as accumulated structures. Printed things as evidence of thought, of having an idea & making it real & sharing it with the people around you, providing them yet another piece of structural existence to build their own selves with. The dissonant territory between “reading” and “looking”, between up close & from across the room, between what we can see & what we can’t see. Creating reality, creating our bodies and existences, and the world around us, through strategic and/or magical language and significant objects — as well as through improvisation, accident, making do with what is there, making it into something else, making it into what we want to see in the world…

February 1, 2013

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[from the wall with the letterform drawings on index cards, this text says: “To wrap something in stories rather than in theory is to let words work at its strangeness rather than at its credibility. — Robin Evans, Translations From Drawing to Building” … I couldn’t resist the (un-posed) reflection of a gallery visitor reading the hanky tags near the opposite wall…]

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[I drew & printed the bandanas — the color is ink, the white lines are negative space, Liz Novak and I hemmed them all on the sewing machine! Somewhat impulsively, in the middle of a late night, I sent some emails asking the people who had requested a specific color how they wear their hanky (or hankies), what color(s), and why… It soon became clear that those statements would be a really crucial part of the project, and that the accumulation of different colors of hankies and of written statements of visible desires, attached to these significant, coded, yet potentially infinitely varying objects, is its own project and will probably go on for a while… If you’d like to contribute thoughts about how & why you wear a hanky, please get in touch!]

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[“…starting the revolution by publicly announcing the object of your desire, and asking in public who desires you…” this Guy Hocquenghem quote was on the wall of hankies/bandanas.]

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[this Robert Venturi quote has been kicking around on the bulletin boards in my room for about four years… I think I’ve finally made some of the work that can properly have this text displayed alongside it, in my general realm of “thinking about bodies like thinking about buildings”, and possibly even “thinking about words like thinking about bodies”…]

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[A friend bought this little print, which is a rectangle cut from a chaotic test print that I have been printing on since 2010 or earlier… the orange curlicue & blue-gray rectangles are elements of a test from when Meg Turner was printing this poster in my studio a couple of years ago!]

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[The “our complexity is the world” print, originally made for this portfolio, serves as the textual & conceptual backbone of all the work in this show, I hope…]

[below, a shot from while I was installing… (if you haven’t, please read Mark Aguhar’s blog.) These are re-prints of the stickers that Meg Powers & other friends & I made this summer; they’ve now been Risographed by Walker Mettling (and look beautiful but the ink is smudgy, so they don’t make great stickers as such — it was experimental anyways!)… BUT look how nice & serious & real things look when they are behind a little sheet of glass!]

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