In The Hall of Stars

In The hall of stars
Originally uploaded by misphit
I would like to explain this series a bit philosophically. A lot of times I just present the art for arts' sake, and the reasoning and influence behind the works is lost perhaps only to me. That's why artists write abstracts and mission statements and all that jazz. I haven't had much occasion to write about my work. I decided that maybe by writing about the meanings behind it, I can help my brain along in finding a better way to visually describe things, and maybe help my audience along, too.

This particular series is about people and their connection to the planetary universe. I have always had a fascination for the stars and I feel that although they are far away from us physically, they influence us all in ways that we cannot measure through our 5 senses. I am humble enough to accept the fact that there are things that happen behind the scenes in this life that are at this time unexplainable. The moon affecting the tide is one example of the amazing things that we cannot exactly explain, but yet no one can deny it's existence. I also accept the simple fact that we humans just don't know it all. So the idea that there is an interconnectedness between us and the universe around us is not out of the question and I believe it has truth.
I treat astrology as a set of characteristics and information that humans have gathered thru centuries of taking notes, comparison, and experience. I don't consider it gospel. I do however see a simple correspondence between some of the basic ideas behind astrology and our reality. It is not an exacting science for me and never will be. I don't read my horoscope and plan my life. I treat it like maybe more of an influence. Again, for me these things are shrouded in mystery. I am not certain of the exact terminology, nor do I really care to pursue the details too far. I just know in my heart that I am connected to everything in the universe. Me, you, them, the chair I sit on, the room I am in, the country we live in, the planet we are on, the galaxy we exist in...we are all connected.
As Eckhart Tolle put it so smoothly in A New Earth, "The atoms that make up your body were once forged inside stars, and the causes of even the smallest event are virtually infinite and connected with the whole in incomprehensible ways."

This body of work was/is an expression of these ideas. I have used planets and stars as my visual language to show that in each setting, no matter how archaic, the cosmic influence is present. In some of these pieces I have succeeded better than others in translating this idea. I have left out reference to astrology specifically, only because then the viewer may try to identify (or not identify)) with that piece because of the astrological sign I would use. I don't want to be that specific...I have been concentrating on this concept, and I have more to say visually. If a teacher gave me an assignment and said, express what you read in the last paragraph visually, I would come up with something totally different than the artwork I have shared with you in this blog.
My challenge is to go back now again to the table and attempt to put on paper the ideas that are more abstract that exist in my head.

These pieces are destined for The Original Baker's Dozen International Collage Exchange that Cecil hosts in Fort Worth, Texas. I also hope to publish a book using some of these images and perhaps others...the ones that are still in my mind.


Artist Call: A Book About Death


Opening, Thursday, 10 September 2009.

Exhibition: 10 - 22 September 2009. Emily Harvey Foundation 537 Broadway New York City, New York 10012 USA

1000 Artists Each Produce Their Edition Of 500 Postcards In The Sprawling Unbound 1000-Page A Book About Death. The Book Will Be A Limited Edition: 500 Copies (Following The Number Of Artist Produced Cards).

An Open Call To Artists Worldwide To Contribute To A BOOK ABOUT DEATH.

A BOOK ABOUT DEATH is an open, unbound book produced by artists worldwide. Artists are invited to create a "page" in the form of a postcard about death– any aspect about death. Works can be of any design, personal or conceptual, color or black and white.

The original work about death stays with you, the artist; the 500 postcards produced from the work is for the exhibition, and are sent to the gallery.

Artists can include any information about themselves on the cards, front or back.

The 500 post cards are then mailed to the gallery in New York City for exhibition.

A BOOK ABOUT DEATH takes its inspiration from the late, underground American artist Ray Johnson (1927 - 1995). Ray Johnson’s unbound “book” of the same title was mailed to his New York Correspondence School “students” and included pages in his idiosyncratic style that were funny, sad and ironic “one-page essays” on death. With the A BOOK ABOUT DEATH project, artists are invited to plunge into subject in creating their own pages that score the dramatic final dance of death.

EXHIBITION & EVENT: Each artist contribution will be displayed in the Emily Harvey Foundation gallery space in New York. Visitors will be free to take cards and create their own book about death. As the cards are removed, the exhibition will disappear.

During the exhibition, a lecture/panel discussion will take place with a number of leading writers, curators, artists and collectors bringing together a number of salient ideas about death, books, mail art works, Ray Johnson and the global nature of A BOOK ABOUT DEATH. The panel list will be announced when it is finalized this summer.

There will also be a website for the exhibition, serving as the portal for A BOOK ABOUT DEATH.

1. Produce an artwork about death. Make 500 postcards and mail the package to A BOOK ABOUT DEATH c/o Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery 537 Broadway New York City, New York 10012. All submissions will be accepted if they arrive in time. Artists may produce more than one card if they wish.

DEADLINE: Postcards should be in the gallery no later than 5 September 2009.

2. Once images are produced, a light-weight jpg should be e mailed to MATTHEW ROSE, along with the artist's name and URL (artist web site address) for publication on the blog – http://abookaboutdeath.blogspot.com/. This will allow the organizers to archive the works and artist details. Other artists will also be able to visit the exhibition in progress.

Note: An “official” website is now being created by artist Caterina Verde at the address: A BOOK ABOUT DEATH

The artist is 100 percent responsible for her/his image and card and delivery to the gallery.

FORMAT: Postcards should be at least 4 x 6 inches or 10 x 15 cm, but can be any size, but no larger than A4 or 8 1/2 x 11 inches.

To help unify the edition, please include the words "A BOOK ABOUT DEATH" on your printed post cards.

We have also included an image/text by Ray Johnson that could be printed on your cards.

PRINTING OPTIONS: You can either produce the cards yourself or upload the file to any number of printers for delivery to the gallery. You, as the artist are in complete control of your artwork and cards.

Option 1: A very inexpensive online printer offers extremely reasonable prices for a 4 x 6 inch (or 10 x 15 cm) card. PDF upload or online design is possible. Payment directly to the printer via MasterCard, PayPal, VISA are options. Please see: Overnight Prints.

Please note: The exhibition organizers are not working with this printer but in our research have determined that their prices are some of the lowest on the market, their print quality is high, service is good and delivery to a NYC address via United Parcel Service is a very good option.

Option 2: Alternately, artists are free to produce their own cards locally if they need to supervise print and image quality. Artists can sign and number their cards if they wish.

Option 3: Artists can also produce handmade cards, however, these cards must be in an edition of 500 to ensure continuity with other images. Artists can sign and number their handmade cards if they would like. Variety in paper and material is encouraged.

Unfortunately we cannot pay any artist or production fees. Each artist has to finance production and delivery. Like in life.

LASTLY: The organizers will not collect cards for the artists. Institutions who wish to have a complete book will have to come to the gallery space and get their own pages/cards or assign someone to do it for them. The organizers are not responsible for the cards, but will see to it that all cards received are displayed and available to visitors. The organizers are not responsible for the return of any remaining cards; should there be any remaining cards, these will become part of the EHF archive.


This kind of exhibition functions best when one artist contacts another and encourages participation. We would like to have a large and inclusive "book," one that touches upon the broad subject of death in many languages and cultures. There are no taboos here, no age limits, no areas or ideas that are prohibited. The exhibition organizers only ask that you submit good work, worthy of an interesting and exciting page in this global book. Please note that A BOOK ABOUT DEATH is not a commercial venture. The Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery has generously donated the exhibition space for the duration of the exhibition.


I am going to participate in this. I look forward to seeing the end result--creating my own book about death--and so I may have to go down to NYC to see this show also...


Cosmic seamstress

Cosmic seamstress
Originally uploaded by misphit
I am almost done with this 13 part series. It's been a struggle and also a revelation.
Yupo...my substrate for this particular group...has this ability to hold the vibrancy of acrylic color in a way that I cannot achieve on watercolor paper. I like the flowing effect of blended paint that remains frozen in time. It's controllable to a degree and sure does provide for an intriguing background to work with. I am exploring using my photography as a source for my latest work and Yupo allows the rich glossy photo to blend a bit easier into the work. I can't match this effect on paper. It's a small discovery, and it's something I can explore further.
The new glue I am using from Talas is PVA...it's terrific. It's holding down my photos much better than the Golden Matte medium because there's much more tack with this glue. I can take advantage of paper textures easier, since I don't need to coat the entire piece with medium. For this glue, application to the back of an object works just fine. It must have a very small amount of water, because my ephemera does not swell when I coat the back.
All this technical jargon!!! I just want to share my insight! However small it may be, I am earning the information by experience. You good reader, can take it or leave it, however I have lived it!!!


Hunting for Black Star Moss

Hunting for Black Star Moss
Originally uploaded by misphit
This one is busy busy busy. Tangled and confusing, dark and angular just like a real forest.
There's a crazy amount of photos in this pic. I did a background out of acrylic which I seriously hated. I let it drip and I also painted it hoping for a grassy effect and what I got was some kind of contrived looking mess. I decided I had to cover it. The waterfall photo started it off and the rest just grew organically like a real forest.
The people parts are copyright free...continuing my quest to be able to do this using more of My Stuff. It's not that hard, my brain is catching on. My photography continues to drive me and I search for a look that is half realism, half dreamism. Just like in real life, the lines are always blurred for us as to just what "real" is.
Photo notes In this piece, the central waterfall was from a shot taken on the path to Jockeybush Lake (pentax 35mm), the mossy closeups were taken at the shores of Horseshoe Lake (pentax), the sideways grainy pieces were taken in my lawn at night with the Lomo colorsplash (and i thought they came out so odd I could never use them...), and the random yellow twiggy pieces were taken at the trailhead to Cranberry Lake (lomo colorsplash).
Bringing all of these locales together seems magical from the start. I like the concept.
Relying on the Yupo and acrylic for some background chemistry works most of the time. On this one however, I found myself going off the path...and into my own tangled dream forest!


Set Sail by Cellestial Navigation

Set sail alright....straight to the studio table and right to work.
Spent most of the day working on this piece. I liked the vivid colors. I think this is my latest thrill in these pieces...to be able to use such bright acrylics and mix them with the richness of glossy photos. The dark black in the upside down columns (boat!) make a great foil with the red.
Starting to feel much more comfortable but I also notice I am relaxing the rules. There are lots of pieces of ephemera in this work. The mans' bodies come from art auction catalogs I picked up for $3.00 a piece in Philly at a cool art bookstore. I don't know what the copyright rule is on a print of an old masters artwork...? Certainly these originals are more than 100 years old, but the print was in the last 5 years most likely....??
(I needed bodies with rich color! There the half torn catalogs sat. What could I do?) I wrestled with using them, but the overall effect could not be achieved otherwise...There's a partial Lindor candy label in the upper left corner. The rest was free and clear.

No name yet

No name yet
Originally uploaded by misphit
Still on this trail of change.
These pieces are going to Cecil for his Bakers Dozen Exchange.


Collecting Violets in the Valley of Venus

#2 of this series.
Opened up the rules just a bit. I allowed ephemera only if it was 100 years old. Much easier this time around. The weird anxiety faded a bit. On this one I felt a bit of the new look starting to evolve. A bit more photomontage...
Still, it looks like my work. Not an entirely bad thing.

Seeking Solace in the Swamp Saturnal

Palms sweaty. Furrowed brow. Tired brain. New Rules.
I am sitting at my studio table and every creative urge I have wants to be a robotic repeat of something I have already done. I fight it like crazy. I don't allow myself to use my usual "tricks" to fill space or to add colors.
Frowning. Indecision. Void.
Time passes while I sit and stew over my internal oblivion. The piece sits on the table another week. I sit down again, with a new attitude, a different day, and still it plagues me on so many levels.
Redundant. Repetitive. Disgusted. Anxious.
I slowly pieced this together each step of the way pulling tugging and sometimes pushing myself and much to my Horror, in the end, it still looks like My Work.
I am dumbfounded.

Every time I wanted to pick up a piece of printed ephemera, I considered it first of course, as usual, as to the value, line, color and subject. But right after that the ghosts of copyright surfaced and then each piece receieved the final examination. Most pieces were sent back to the box where they came from. If the piece was small enough, a scroll, a hacked up piece of type, then I could allow it. The man's body was difficult. I didn't think painting it would look right. I ended up leaning on a magazine cut, but for the head, my personal rules required an actual photograph. No copyrighted heads! After such intense consideration over every single piece of paper that got glued I am kind of disappointed to find that the end result really does look like just another one of my works!
After considering this dilemma...I think I can come to terms with it. Perhaps changing my materials and obeying copyright laws isn't as imposing and restrictive as I made it out to be. If I can still come out in the end with a piece I am happy with what does it matter?
I have to admit tho, that I am craving a New Look for my work. Imposing new rules didn't seem to affect that at all. I think this is where my attention now lies.

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