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

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!?

ian_cozzens_risdmuseum_smaller

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?

irreplaceability

June 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm

As hinted at earlier, I have been working on drawing the Manchester St. Power Station, for a commission design but also for my own purposes. Though I’ve occasionally turned to camera/computer as photo-reference to keep the work moving along, since it’s been raining a bunch this week, mostly I’ve been drawing outside, “from the real”.

stormy building

[n.b. most of this update was written in late May, please forgive the slightly fictional historicity…]

To get the view that I decided is best (I will write more about this in a further post on this project) this means sitting on the Point Street Bridge, on the walkway part but about three feet from the guardrail & the vehicular traffic. This is a very loud experience (I keep forgetting earplugs) and also vibration-y, as I’m pretty sure that bridge was not made for the scale of trucks that pass over it.

providence poses for its portrait

Today it was also a very windy experience; a thunderstorm was projected, I kept expecting a giant bucket of rain to dump down on my head (as it did earlier this week: I attempted to shelter for a bit under one of the bridge trusses, during which attempt I took the photo at the top of this post), and there was a consistent & very gusty strong wind from the southwest. I was using a complicated paper ruler to get a specific kind of simulated-perspectival-regression thing to happen — when you’re setting up that kind of a scenario, you do it trial-and-error-style: “does this look right? does that look right? okay, draw the line, make the marks, good”. Then that little piece of paper with a family of marks and lines on it is your reference document for creating semi-realistic perspective on any line in the building that is parallel to that line. (does that make sense? I’ll write more about this technique at some point.)

buiding & drawing

And I guess that that is the downside of the paper ruler? Because if you have a windy day, and you are sitting next to a busy road on a bridge over a river, and your drawing is taped down to a piece of masonite board, and to keep the little paper rulers from blowing away you are sticking them between the drawing and the board, and if the wind then blows a bunch of grit & sand off the road surface right at you/your drawing and between the paper and the board, and to get rid of the grit so it won’t make bumps under the pencil lines you stick your hand between the paper and the board and try to brush the sand away….

…. well, then what happens is that you watch your dumb little scraps of paper, that you just spent an hour utilizing to make all these crucial precise finicky decisions, blow away across a roadway of speeding cars and in the inevitable direction of a grody body of water. My initial reaction was “Oh crap!”, my secondary reaction was “Ah, you know, whatever, it’s just paper, I already used them to note the perspective lines I needed”, my third reaction was “Oh wait I still need those to make some more perspective decisions for the rest of the drawing…” and my fourth reaction was a deep sinking feeling of loss, destruction, regret, stupidity, and sorrow, an emptiness in the gut, a disaster I had just made happen. All in the course of 30 seconds.

I did jump up, making sure to carefully set my drawing on its board flat on the concrete walkway, but the paper rulers were already blowing down the middle of the roadway — and the Point St. bridge traffic is not to be trifled with at rush hour (or any time, really — it’s one of the worst biking passages in Providence, I think…). Somewhat ironically, the real reason I didn’t run after them immediately is that my new (to me) computer was in my backpack which was sitting next to me on the bridge walkway… I couldn’t quickly pick up backpack & drawing at the same time, couldn’t really run with them, and I couldn’t figure out whether to leave the computer, the drawing, or my bike totally vulnerable to anybody who might be walking past while I ran on a risky mission after the rulers. Bike: crucial to my life, irreplaceable; computer: new & valuable money-wise & also work-wise; drawing after 3 or 4 days of working on it: completely irreplaceable and also now extremely valuable in terms of time spent on the commission & when I needed to get it done by, and also just as a beautiful object that I was attached to………

grubby & stained drawing
[click on this image for a higher-resolution view, so you can contemplate just how dirty this drawing is]

So I let the paper rulers blow away. They weren’t even in the river yet, but they were already gone. This was a weird decision, for me. I hate losing things, I think about everything I’ve lost for a long time, the memory of them keeps coming back to me with regret & sadness. But it was a passable day for drawing, & I needed to get drawing done, and I sat back down & kept drawing. Lines! You can re-draw lines… But I kept being washed over by a wave of the regret and loss feeling, the lack of physical existence of the objects that I had such a clear physical memory of holding in my hands, folding, drawing on, using as tools, with their smeared graphite dirtyness and their intense reality that had just become unreality, or at least a reality that I could no longer reach in the same way…

About ten years ago, I asked a teacher and friend of mine, Peter Stempel, an architect and designer, why he had stopped making pencil drawings and started making his architectural drawings on the computer — in the early 2000s, he had just recently given up resisting the universal switchover to CAD. I asked: was it taking you too long to make the pencil drawings? No, he said, he was really happy about everything about his drawing process — except the uniqueness and fragility of the paper documents: when he took those drawings to the duplicator, if they got caught in the machine or torn or some other freak accident happened on the way there, that was the only copy he had and all the information he had worked so long to develop and note down could be lost. The possibility of this loss — in a profession where no one else was risking it — was too grave to entrust his work to that process any longer……

some details

Drawing as object // drawing as information. That is the dual nature that makes paper drawings so resonant: they embody both at the same time. In a computer era, the printout exists and has a bunch of uses, sure, but that paper is already garbage the moment it comes out of the printer — the important information is in the file, the vector coordinates, a series of numbers…

In a paper drawing, the paper holds the information but is also where the information came to become itself, where the decisions were made, where useless or inaccurate or simply un-beautiful lines were decided against and erased, turned from marks into indentations, ghosts or echoes… The drawing object is four-dimensional, resonant of its past as well as its bumpy, grubby, warped, gritty, folded departures from the plane… it tells of all the things that have happened to it, and of the future potential for its own non-existence. The person holding the drawing in their hot little hands has also had a lot of things happen to them, so maybe they understand how the drawing feels? but unlike the drawing, their own non-existence is not a future potential but instead a future certainty… whereas— unlike both— the vectors will last forever…

So anyways… philosophy aside: now that I’m done the commission (more process notes later) and have turned in the vector files I made based on the drawing to be sent to a company which will print them on tote bags (!!), my conclusion about vector graphics is that using the tablet & stylus to drag little “nods” around hurts my hands a bunch and puts me seriously at risk of repetitive stress injury… in a way that cutting rubylith and drawing never has… BUT… in this modern world, there’s nothing like being able to instantaneously send someone a vector file which they can reproduce at any scale and at any resolution. I just have to not work on those files for too long at a stretch…. AND there’s no question that drawing is way more beautiful. DRAWING!!!

And, on the practical aspect, I did also find a solution to my specific windy-day, drawing-on-a-bridge problem. The *new* informational scrap of paper is attached by a length of blue masking tape to a rubber band around my wrist… awkward but secure?

solution


Hey remember this cool print I worked on last year with Noel Puello? Noel and friends (& fellow NUA alums) Carmela Wilkins and Sara Tolbert are working on another one this summer! Once again, for college fund-raising.

carmela sara noel

Here we are drinking coffee & tea & strategizing (with their sketch and color-test-sheet) around my kitchen table… I’ve seen some photos of their printing process that were stunning… I met with them today to do a quick html/css/ftp tutorial… and now they’re working on an updated web presence for it… I’ll keep you posted on the further developments of this project!


different colorway

I promise I’ll write more about both my weird simulated-perspective method, and the rest of the process on the power-station image, very soon!


Also this update is dedicated to Puppy Bonesteel, a cat who passed away this past week. A unique & personable cat, he had beautiful spots & big eyes, he was a good friend to my dad and my brother (who shared in his ownership) and an adventurous animal. He is missed.

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