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

leading with the edge

October 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Your long-absent correspondent is very much alive over here in Providence. Summer happened, I helped at my friends’ farm every weekend (except when I went traveling to the south for three weeks), I rode my bike a lot, I met and hung out with amazing people, had really good conversations, had some experiences that were pretty transformational, lived my life: it was totally wonderful.

Then it got chilly, then we had one final weekend of hot weather, now the temperature is dropping by 10 degrees every day and the Buio cat is curled up in a tight little ball & it looks like Fall is For Real. Which means that it’s not time to stop living life, or time to stop being wonderful: it’s just a time for doing work & getting serious & wearing sweaters & buckling down to the task(s) at hand. Also I’m broke so it’s convenient that now there is much less temptation to go on long bike rides or hang out on rooftops or talk late into the night next to bonfires…

I just put up a big re-organizational update to the main Secret Door Projects website.

I did most of the work on this re-organization back in February and March, to get to show some different priorities & new directions that my work has taken since 2007 when I first made the SDP website… so there are new sections for comics & zines, fonts I’ve drawn, a “practice & process” section grouping process work & creative practice stuff together… and also a thing with a little bit about my gender identity & the fact that my name is now Ian!

It took me so long to put this update up because I was attempting to write all my family members actual paper letters about my gender stuff & name shift. This was totally overwhelming (I have a lot of cousins & second cousins) & I ultimately realized I was being held back professionally & creatively by not being able to be out — as trans and as Ian — on facebook & on the internet. It surprised me how much I felt like I was existing as a partial person, not being able to be be consistent & public about my name & my gender & identity…

So… unsurprisingly maybe, my cousins, aunts, & uncles did not all get letters from me yet… but I went ahead and changed my name on facebook (personal page, art page) and put up the giant website update. To my family who may be reading this (and anybody else who is confused), I’m sorry for the lack of more personal communication… but I’ll see you soon & we can talk about it then. Real quick: I identify as a boy (also occasionally as a man!), I use “he” pronouns, my name is Ian Gilpin Cozzens, I’m a queer which means (among other things) that I’m not interested in assimilating to any idea of the ‘normal’ in the realms of desire or gender identity… and I love you.

xoxo

— ian c.


…from my travels…

oh also now that things are more consistent for me on the internet, you can probably expect more regular updates of this page here… and I’ll probably be writing about gender & identity & stuff too… we’ll see how it goes.

new your city forever!

April 25, 2011 at 6:52 am

Real real real quick:

In 2006 & 2007, I conspired with Ann Schattle, the children’s specialist at the Fox Point branch of the Providence Public Library, to work with kids in the library to build a city, in the library!, out of cardboard, recycled materials, and trash. (Here’s the website I made for the second year of the project.) It was named “New Your City” by one of the participants, who was then in second grade…

The library is now the Fox Point Community Library, kids have been asking for and talking about city-building for the past four years, and Ann and local artist Mary Geiser have brought the New Your City project back for a third iteration! The kid who named the city is in seventh grade, and on Friday we built a working drawbridge together, for multiple lanes of traffic…

I haven’t had anything to do with organizing the project this time around, and it’s been really great to pass the project on (under an informal creative-commons share-alike non-commercial license, more or less) and see it come to life again! Back in 2007-2008, two friends who had helped build the Providence New Your City did further versions of the project, one person at the elementary school where they were teaching in Boston, the other with children they were working with in a refugee settlement in Palestine… but I didn’t get to witness those except through photographs.

This time it was great to take part as a helper/builder participant, and to realize that I could be in that space of chaotic building, and be a force for order & structure, without being responsible for how everybody’s building turned out (or whether everything fell over…!). Mary made the asphalt road segments and I built the structure for this super-tall elevated highway:

So why am I telling you about this???

Well…..

There’s a New Your City party this Tuesday, April 26th, from 5-7 pm, at the library (90 Ives St, corner of Ives & Wickenden), and we would love for you to stop by & see what everyone has made. All the kids’ parents will bring great snacks, the What Cheer? Brigade is going to play, it’s your once-every-four-years chance to run around & yell in the library… NOT TO BE MISSED.

My favorite part of the city project is possibly the binder notebook in which kids & grownups are asked to write (or draw, or dictate to somebody else to write) about what they made. The binders from the previous years are still proudly displayed in the library, as a record of everybody’s ideas, work, & intentionality. Here are some snaps from this year’s binder… come see more at the party!

and, um, my favorite that I’ve seen so far:


Other work news: the Plant Sale poster is done, the eggplants are just about the same color as my eggplant-colored sweatshirt, what happened there???? I dunno.

The other poster is laaaate but siiiiiiiiiiiiick. ok more soon!

being public

January 27, 2011 at 4:03 am

Quick notes about upcoming events; fractional treatment of complicated subjects.

sign

I am going to be speaking on a panel this weekend, as part of an event that the RISD Office of Public Engagement is putting on, titled “Queer Representation & Resistance as Acts of Justice“.*

The panel I am on is called “Identity, Place, & Practice” and (quoting from the official description), “will explore the ways that queer identity intersects with creative practice.” Since being asked to be part of the panel, I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot. …. I mean, I think about it a lot in general, but recently I’ve been trying to think about it constructively instead of just worrying a bunch of things around in my head.

I’ve been intending to do some writing about it, but I have had three other serious deadlines which have also been occupying my mind & time… plus a certain amount of procrastinating, finishing the first five pages of the Scar comic, enjoying being snow-bound with my awesome housemates, and cleaning up half of my print studio and my main working space, which, though it was really important and necessary, just got me back to clear-desk-land, didn’t get anything truly accomplished.

So yeah, I have a bunch of thoughts on these topics — queer identity, art, purpose, social identity, community, context, audience, story-telling, meaning — but nothing is concrete enough to put up in writing here yet. So, come to the panel to hear me attempt to sort it all out!

Sunday, January 30th, 12:30pm
AS220, 115 Empire St, Providence

My awesome and accomplished fellow panelists are Matthew Lawrence, Mickey Zacchilli, and Laurencia Strauss. There is another panel discussion afterwards about “Institutional Silences”; there is a related talk on Saturday afternoon… I am excited for it all, and very proud to be part of it.


I am also going to be in an art show at Cade Tompkins Projects, called “Printed in Providence”,* from February 4th to March 19th. You can and should come to this party too, especially if you need to ask me more questions to clarify what the crumb I was talking about in that panel!

opening reception Friday, February 4th, 6-8pm
198 Hope Street, Providence
(Entrance on Fones Alley between Waterman and Angell)

(more…)

time, timer, timing

April 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm

new orleans, poydras st.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written or posted anything here! and I’ve generally been neglecting my internets in general. (with the exception of Facebook, for what it’s worth…) The translation of this is that I’ve been working really hard & intensely on stuff in the physical world.

new orleans, beautiful can from the fridge at Nowe Miasto, long-opened and full of moldy beans!

quick list:
new orleans …

new orleans, central city neighborhood

back in Providence…

  • drawing
  • printing (postcards, prints, posters)
  • a little bit of gardening
  • making zines
  • mixing colors, printing infinite rainbow rolls that really deserve the name
  • trying to get old projects printed so I can move on to new projects.
  • building little block cities out of a bag of woodshop scraps from Utah.
  • taking lots of pictures, realizing on return from new orleans that there are a bunch of things I like to take pictures of (hand-drawn letters, beautiful buildings, useful/weird customizations of things, falling-apart stuff) here as well! and that I should document it somehow, and that drawing just isn’t fast enough… that the speed of the camera doesn’t imply some kind of lack of moral grounding. I know, self-limiting thoughts, hilarious. !

providence, off of Prairie & Public streets.  they may be tearing this building down, it’s unclear…!?

etc?

Real briefly, big developments in my life & thinking have been these two:

— Realizing I don’t need to be an architect someday. This may seem like a no-brainer, but for me it is a big one. Since I finished school, I had had in my head the idea that at some point I would stop making prints and go work in an architect’s office and work my way up into that kind of career… that that would be when my “real life” would start.

Recently, due to a number of incidents & factors that all kind of piled on each other, I realized that a) I really love making prints and those challenges and sets of ideas and questions and things to explore (especially, hey, prints about buildings); b) as an artist who understands buildings, I can always work with architects and build off their deeper knowledge and learn more from them and add something to their understandings (even in traditional architectural practice, architects hardly ever work alone, they are always collaborating with other architects, engineers, specialists, etc!); c) that I can always work on buildings but under a collaborative and co-learning model, not trying to fit the way I work into the hierarchy of an office (very intimidating to me), and not being limited by “architecture’s” rigid separation between designing and building.

With the idea in mind that I was someday going to stop printing and change paths, I wasn’t really letting myself give all my energy to print stuff… now I sense a re-focusing and a shifting of my attention, and expansion of energy… it’s very exciting. We’ll see what comes out of it. !!

drawing for plant sale poster 2010!

— A friend ribbed me that “For the past five years, you’ve been making the same thing!” Aha, a sensitive spot!

Like all writers, he measured the achievements of others by what they had accomplished, asking of them that they measure him by what he envisaged or planned.

(Borges, The Secret Miracle)

Thinking about this, I realized that I have, for the past bunch of years, actually just been executing ideas that I originally had two or five or eight years ago… that I have kind of been a carrier-out of my own ideas, as opposed to an artist working in the present with what I am thinking about now… ideas I have now are pushed off till later (“till I finish the projects I already planned”) and sometimes get forgotten or shoved away entirely. Not the best of situations! So along with focusing my energy on printing instead of on a vague and not-really-desired future as an architect, I am finishing up long-standing projects and trying to get to a place where I can work more directly on ideas I have now…

Okay, so this could get into a much longer ramble about thoughts for the future and specific projects and etc. that I know you all want to know about… but I really need to get to printing!!! The upshot is, still working, still thinking, same projects, new motivation, new projects, new ideas pouring in all the time, can I keep up with them? Probably not, but I’m still trying.

can I get a little figurine made of this?[attempt on the left by me; drawing on the right by Lena, inspired by San-X, there is a singing worm from the worm-bin next to me; in background, new Industrial Trust Building postcards!]


Helpful Tools note:

I have started using an internet-based work timer called SlimTimer, which Arley-Rose told me about… I was skeptical at first, having had limited success with ‘systems’ which are supposed to help you manage your time… but whoa, being able to know how long I actually spend on things is actually CHANGING MY LIFE.


Also, Meg Turner & I are gonna be selling our work at the spring RISD alumni art sale! Saturday May 1st, 10am-4pm, Benefit St, Providence. Directions are at the link… come by & say hi even if you’re broke! I will have cheap postcards/small prints and zines for sale, as well as some older/larger/more expensive work too. Meg will be bringing her gorgeous photogravures (some new & some old), as well as new screenprints, up from New Orleans. Hooray for ART!

drawing in new orleans!

February 17, 2010 at 8:15 am

I got stuck in New Orleans for five extra days last week, because of the many feet of snow that fell on the mid-atlantic cities, blocking all airport connections. So I got some extra time down there to draw, watch the Saints win the super bowl, build a loft with Meg in her room, and work a little bit more on a new print. It wasn’t really *warm*, but we did get some good sunny days, and it was really good to be there.

post breakfast
[looking skeptical, but actually feeling great, on a typical street in the Bywater neighborhood… my facial expressions rarely correspond to the internal emotions!]

Going through the photos of this trip and my visit in December, I realized there are way too many to put up here, and I should probably finally bite the bullet and make an account on flickr or something like that… but for now, here are just a couple of pictures/notes.

My experience with metal-plate-based printing is very slim: I made a couple of drypoints back in 2002 as part of a wintersession class that I partially audited before fleeing Providence (heartbroken!) on a two-week greyhound-bus Punch & Judy tour. Now, Meg is running a community printshop at an arts non-profit in New Orleans, and they have two large etching presses… so one of my goals for visiting was to print those drypoints again, and to work on a new plate… or two… or however far I got.

meg’s favorite factory

I’ve been really drawn towards just looking & drawing, as I’ve written about here before, and I had an idea about drawing directly on the printing plate… Well, this was more complicated than I thought it would be, because it’s very hard to see what you are drawing in the shiny metal, and even harder to understand how it’s going to print.

Sitting outside and drawing the factory was really rewarding, but the technical demands of the plate made those rewards fewer and farther between. You scratch a line in the metal – it feels like it was deep enough – but it might print really lightly, or really darkly — it’s hard to tell… and you can’t tell for sure until you pull a print from it, which is a bike ride and 45 minutes of work (at least) away.

preliminary pencil drawing and metal plate with tools…
[left: preliminary drawing on paper, and right: beginning to transfer it to the plate]

I guess I should say that it’s hard to tell *for me*, a beginner. Also, it’s really hard for me to feel like a total beginner at something: and the learning curve is pretty steep here, at the point where I am, and in this process which is ancient and demanding. Right? So, I can go easy on myself. Or, I would like to be able to…

reflection & scratched lines…
[out-of-focus scratched lines in the plate…]

The initial proofs look good, but I’ve got a ways to go… somewhat like all my other projects right now… argh. I don’t know why I expect anything different, at this point. My friend Sandy, who recently moved to New Orleans, brought up the idea of doing a series of prints about the city… I would like to… maybe studies of building details, especially of awnings and overhangs… I took some pictures while I was there for source material… but there are so many things I am trying to do!


Here’s Meg’s loft under construction (for some reason there are no pictures of it completed – yet):

meg with the drill
[yeah, we know you are supposed to use nails and not screws to hold joist hangers — but she wants to be able to take the whole thing apart and re-assemble it, if need be…]
(more…)

pencil/scissors

February 2, 2009 at 4:35 am

Today: I cut my hair and made some fan art!

(Also worked on preliminary dimensions for the new print drying rack, FINALLY. Things have been taking me a long time recently…)

Fan art: for Mickey Z‘s comic “Bullshit Frank & Gorilla Joe”, which I don’t fully understand but do fully love:

birdeye(s)

“in solitude we all are Birdeyes”
(mickey, is it birdeye or birdeyes? if I’m wrong I’ll fix it when I ink it!)
much better!
birdeyes

Haircut: Reiter says “SHARP!” (photo, and back-of-neck trim, by scott)

new short hair

This is the shortest my hair has been since the summer of 2003 (when I’d had a shaggy mohawk for a while, then an italian anarcho-punk squatter kid buzzed the sides of it for me. It’s been growing out since then, for the past year or two it’s been mostly just looong). I was gonna not post pictures of myself here but, whatever, haircuts are crucial moments, and I’m psyched about this one.

(yes, that is an american-flag-painted ceramic grenade sitting perfectly as an extra hat on top of mini-santa-claus-cup in the background…)


A little while ago I hilariously joined Facebook, after much persuasion by my brother. If you are into the social media stuff you can find me here. I also signed up for twitter, but for now I’m just putting my updates from here onto my twitter feed, so if you’re already reading this you already saw it. However, if that kind of thing works well for you, here it is.


Lilah has been rocking it with amazing posts about fashion, appearance, and identity at mattababy, and Deb perfectly captured where I am at these days with this post on her art blog. In the real world, good conversations with many friends, about intense stuff, each offering new insights and different perspectives. Also a lovely day spent playing pinball in two different cities, and listening to/seeing this show. Thank you everybody.

ps. that is my first fan art ever!

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