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

the epic to-do list

July 9, 2014 at 12:31 am

Hi readers of these updates! Hope your summers are good. It’s now kinda hot here, Scøtt was dog-sitting for a couple weeks so I was hanging out with this little yellow dog Winnie as well as Buio-cat, they were hot too, everybody was/is hot, it’s hot now & it’s midnight.


So… this is a chance for me to tell you what I HAVEN’T done. There’s a lot of stuff I need to write more about on here, including other projects I did in the spring like complete an assignment for Headmaster Magazine #6, and the final outcome of the print that I shared some process drawings from here.

Also… I never really put together final posts about the Manchester St. Power Station print project (in progress here), or even the Recycle-A-Bike poster from a couple years ago (process moment)! Yikes!

Then there’s a bunch of other stuff from the past year that hasn’t really seen the light of internet-day, or even proper documentation: a dazzle camouflage pattern I made last summer to go on a t-shirt to give myself some body freedom/body obfuscation, which was a personal project that I now want to make some kind of mass-production possible for… a text & slide-projector performance/reading (also about bodies) I did that will become a zine someday… a map-and-memory project I made to be installed in my friend’s apartment in Abu Dhabi, that needs to have a local instance at some point, and get realized fully…

Also I’ve had a blog post in draft form for a while about tools for drawing, which keeps developing & changing in its meaning & context since I got a new wacom tablet recently, and have been learning more computer skills… and since my grandfather (who gave me his engineer’s Rapidograph pens) died this past month…

BUT! There are a couple of print projects on my plate right now which I am struggling desperately to complete. As well as organizing shows & events for the rest of the year… And being a living human who cooks, eats, gets dressed, sleeps, talks to friends, and lives. So I’m not writing those posts now!

Also eventually I will finish some really long-unfinished projects like my epically, drastically incomplete print series about everyday spaces? Aahh! (I kind of don’t want to think about all the other projects that are unfinished / aspirational, that’s just the most egregious one…) Someday I intend to eventually bring all the projects to a close. So basically, as it always has been, this blog is a chance for me to say “sorry everything is not done yet” and “it will be done eventually & then I will make a blog post about it”. It’s good to know nothing has changed since 2007, I guess.

For the moment — I am posting some nice barns, letters, building aspects, etc. to instagram/tumblr; you can keep track of my random nerdy notes in either of those spots — and please enjoy this picture of a drawing setup — on the parlor table due to the length of the horizon line I needed to use to get the vanishing point right. The cat was very happy that I was working on a surface he could sit on (as opposed to my main desk, where there’s really no room for him) while I made the marks.


More soon. !!!

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?

late nites work nites

January 15, 2013 at 5:54 am

So nothing is stopping here, really quick here are some various process shots, as I just keep on task in a really kind of wonderful way preparing for this show (opening Feb 2, Saturday, 5-7, AS220, yes I’m mentioning it again!). When I’m really working on things, which I have been & it’s been awesome, I stay up till 4 or 6am and sleep till noon or 2pm, so A) don’t call me before noon unless it’s an emergency or we planned on it beforehand, and B) it’s really great to have a housemate who is also awake all night and practices beautiful/weird bass & piano scales while I mix colors…!

Sometimes the printed color is the same density as the hand-wiped color swatch (L)… sometimes not (R). The far-right test is closer to the ink these were actually printed with:

test swatches & printed test colors

Test prints usually look more dynamic to me than the “real” print (that’s why a bunch of these newsprint test guys will actually be part of the show…):

test printings of geometric letterforms

These are the first two colors on the four colorways (I know, four is too many) of the “Queers!” print:

different colorways of geometric letterforms

One thing that’s unusual for me is because of the deadline, I’m working on six (!) projects at the same time… I usually work on one thing at a time till it’s done. I am really, really bad at working on many things at once. But because of the scheduling, lots of different elements that need to fall into place, and different logistical things, this is how it’s rolling out — and I actually really like it. It means I have to really focus and set aside my evenings & nights pretty dedicatedly to working (and check out my organizational structures at the bottom of this post)! But it’s really rewarding & it’s pretty lovely to be in a color thinking / print thinking / drawing thinking mode a lot — though I switch back into an organizational / logistical mode often, cause it all has to get FINISHED!

Also, all of these projects were begun / conceived of / initiated sometime in the past two years… and are now seeing a final push towards completion for the show. I don’t know if I could be coming up with new ideas or new complex drawings on this kind of deadline and all in the same stretch of time… that might not be possible.

* * * *

This picture was taken as a “visual note” so I can remember how I might want to line up the next layers:

printed script letters with rubylith transparencies over them

Printed on my 5+-year-old plastic alignment sheet, as this gloss varnish dries, it seems to make the worn & scratched alignment sheet look clear & clean… hmm… oooh… gloss varnish… !

gloss varnish, printed on plastic, showing its anti-refractive tendencies

Harnessing the magic of the test prints to make cool unique “real” prints:

cool accidental/intentional color magic

Also I’ve been re-laying-out & adding a second layer to these stickers from this past summer:

screenshot of misalignment test for stickers

They are gonna get Risographed by Walker Mettling of the Providence Comics Consortium, which I am excited about, but the degree of my stress about getting the layout & alignment of the images set up for the RISO machine was totally out of proportion to the importance of whether these are actually well aligned. Walker was like “it’s just like a photocopier!” and I was like “waaaahhh I am scared of processes that I don’t have control over…” HA. hmm. Turning over control to someone else, it’s good!

Looking back at these photos of the earlier Queers prints, to figure out the next colors:

screenshot of looking through different variants of one print

Tonight, testing further colors (WHY CANT I USE ALL THE COLORS) for the Dissonance prints, and using the testing time to think about what order the layers should go in. (Anybody out there got color thoughts? I really kind of do want to use all the colors…)

color testing for script font print

… and… this is how all these things come together over time & in their logistical sequence: pages of basically illegible notes & calendars & details:

lists of scribbled handwriting

Note mediocre drawing at bottom center, of the orange cat sleeping on the mat in the hallway with all his feet tucked under! cat blob!

too busy for documentation

December 5, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Yesterday, the fabulous Muffy Brandt told me about her new tactic for artistic professionalism: “I can’t make anything new until I have taken a picture of the thing I just made and posted it on the internet”. I don’t think that that’s exactly the right strategy for me, but the conversation gave me the kick in the pants to finally update these updates. Yikes!

so…I’m gonna make a list of what I have been up to, maybe for a little bit of bragging rights, but mostly just to note or record for myself that I have indeed been involved in worthwhile activity! (and/or because of Umberto Eco’s rationale about why we make lists…)

Some of this stuff will get more elaborate updates, with more photos, sometime soon… but for now, here’s the brief rundown.

  • came back from Pittsburgh to roll straight into a solid month of finishing the Dave Cole / Unreal City print. (Aug-Sept)
  • unreal city final screen

  • visited New Orleans really briefly (early Sept) and was frustrated by my clumsiness at drawing things I saw around me. Time to get practicin’!
  • curated & organized a print show of twelve Providence (and related) printmakers, titled “Pattern Factory”, at the Bushwick Print Lab in NYC. (Sept)
  • bushwick print lab show

  • finally bit the bullet and wrote the final report for the grant I got for the second year of the New Your City project… three years late! Interestingly enough, the long-term perspective allowed me to write a more interesting report — the kids at the library have been asking for the past three years when they are gonna be able to build a city again, so librarian Ann and another local artist have applied for another grant for the purpose! Cross your fingers for them! (end of Sept)
  • went down to New York, hung the Bushwick show, went to Dave’s opening at Dodge Gallery (which the Unreal City print was commissioned for), then hosted (collaboratively with other Prov folks) an all-day art show opening which involved seven hours of live screenprinting…! (early Oct)
  • printing on t-shirts!

  • participated in the RISD alumni fall art sale, with Meg Turner… (also early Oct)
  • worked on stuff for the holiday version of Craftland, making a little bit of new print work as well as awesome tiny lined-paper notebooks! (mid-Oct)
  • notebook covers:
    many variations…

  • after a year plus of discussion and distraction (on my part), the awesome Ann and Evan of “risd|works” finally tied it down: I’m very proud to have selected prints of mine available in their shop!
  • gathered a couple of friends in my studio to teach a quick two-day workshop on multi-color transparent layer screenprinting, as a practice session for teaching a longer class in New Orleans. (late Oct)
  • working…
    working on rubylith

    the final (or at least preliminary) results!
    the results

  • celebrated my birthday with a backyard fire & lots of Yacht Club orange soda! (Oct 29th, scorpiooo!!!)
  • flew to New Orleans and stayed there for almost the whole month of November, teaching what ended up being a six-day class on advanced silkscreen techniques, specifically rubylith-stencil making and transparent color layering, at the Louisiana ArtWorks Community Printshop. I was so proud to be working with a number of people who are active volunteer members / monitors at the printshop — these people are in the shop every day printing anyways, and so it was great to be able to seed their already prolific creative practices with some new techniques and strategies and materials… and to see them throw what they were learning immediately into action… delightful! (November)
  • preliminary pencil drawings, separating an image into layers:
    hannah’s drawing

    cutting rubylith:
    will’s rubylith

    looking at different color versions of a final print:
    kitty’s prints

    I encouraged the learners to test print *before* their rubyliths were finished — this is a not-quite-finished but still awesome stage:
    rachel’s birds

  • while in New Orleans, I also:: worked on some drawings of letterforms for future text-only prints, participated in the New Orleans Bookfair, showed my work in “Editions At Dawn”, a group show of LAW printshop members and teachers, collaborated with Meg on a poster (finally)!!!!!, biked around a lot, drew, cut rubylith, built an awkward-looking-but-quite-effective light fixture in the printshop to allow people to do fine detail work, cleaned out a backyard shed for possible future inhabitation, saw some interesting performances, met a friendly letterpress printer, a neat illustrator, and an awesome painter of radical letterforms, helped out the Meg somewhat with all her projects, laid groundwork for future schemes, and generally stayed way busy. (also November)
  • collaboration with Meg (out-of-focus photo): “whoa, look at that sexy fire escape!”
    collaborative fire escape

    “termite-infested shed? or photoshoot from ‘Anthropologie’ ?”
    shed setup

    “must… have… bright light… for drawing…. ”

    chillin’ with Lentils the cat at Nowe Miasto

    a beautiful and disintegrating city….
    sidewalk tiles
    tiles part II
    tiles part III

  • Thanksgiving: with family in Philadelphia (reading Tintin books), and a too-brief visit with Erik Ruin… (late Nov)
  • returned to Providence this past Sunday night; and yesterday (less than a week later) participated in the RISD alumni “holiday” art sale — a long day preceded by no sleep. (the present moment!)

In the meantime, I also was a volunteer work-share at Scratch Farm in Cranston, I’ve been compiling a list of (and then reading) young-adult books with strong female protagonists, applying for some fellowships, and trying to stay organized.

What’s next?


  • December 8th, 6pm-9pm: I will be live-illustrating 100 very short stories by 10 different readers! at Knight Memorial Library, 275 Elmwood Avenue, Prov.
  • December 10-11-12: Secret Door Projects (me) trunk show at the Eli Phant art/craft shop in Portland Maine!:: update Dec 8: show not happening, postponed till the spring! Eli & Ella Phant are on the brink of having their Ele-baby, and I have enough on my plate here in RI… as evidenced by the following…
  • December 18th, 12-5pm: “Cardboard Pankakes” informal last-minute-before-holidays studio sale of a bunch of Providence artmakers/crafters, at Emmy & Andrew’s apartment (124 Chapin Ave, #2)
  • holiday-zone self-promotion: my work is for sale at Craftland, Frog & Toad, risd|works, and from me right here on the internet!
  • January and February: two months straight to spend in Providence and to draw and print. What is winter for? I know what winter is for.

and generally:

  • drawing a short comic as part of a compilation my friends are making, based on comic characters invented by middle-school students…
  • finishing prints, old prints and new prints… oh my gosh so many prints to finish. Trying to make that list shorter!
  • making some bigger/ more abstract/ more complicated prints…
  • working on the print series…
  • planning to exhibit work next fall…
  • helping build out an airstream trailer for my friend’s wife who has a chemical sensitivity…
  • organizing everything, getting things shipshape…
  • building things & fixing things…
  • seeing friends instead of looking at facebook…

Okay that last list is pretty cursory but I gotta be done with the computer for tonight!!!!

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