Nave Residency, Day 9

Drawing, Graphic Geography, Residency, Scientific Exploration

With Labor Day and various other stuff happening, I haven’t been able to get over to the Nave until late this afternoon. Alas, I was only there for a couple hours, mostly to make more repairs to the Mississippi and to lay the other two out on a different support system. The plinth wasn’t quite the right height, and both the Nile and Yangtze started sagging in weird ways. Evidently wooden cubes and wood glue are more pliable than originally expected. Here are the rivers in their new layouts, with clamps visible on the Mississippi:

Nile-Supports Mississippi-Repair Yangtze-Supports

I also took the opportunity to hang up the latest Flow Pattern drawings, made by dripping ink over wet paper that had been set over newsprint to make interesting topographies:

Flow-Patterns-07 Flow-Patterns-06 Flow-Patterns-05 Flow-Patterns-08

The black Flow Pattern drawings are made with reclaimed inkjet ink, which contains a certain amount of every ink used in professional-grade inkjets. So I was hoping that some kind of separation would happen as the ink dried, and different colors would become visible against the composite black shade. And, indeed, there are areas of cyan and magenta bleeding through the basic black in certain areas of these drawings:

Flow-Pattern-Inkjet-Detail-02 Flow-Pattern-Inkjet-Detail-01

Finally, I pieced together another Tetra Experiments piece, this time following a pattern: I started with a basic zigzag line, then added an extension with three empty sleeves to every third segment. I then attached it to an earlier piece, the one curled around the pole with a cube held in a little cage.


First Actual Day at the Nave

Drawing, Random Processes, Residency

At long last, I got over to the Nave on Powderhouse Blvd for some art time. Everything’s preliminary, everything’s laying groundwork, and everything’s feeling out directions. One of the things that happened was process-oriented data collection.

I created random 6×6 grids with six-level grayscale dice:


Random Sketchbook Montage

Drawing, Random Processes

I’m certain that everyone was as curious as I was to see what would happen if I ran all the random walks in the Random Sketchbook together as a single path. Well, good news! I put them all in Photoshop and joined them end-end-end as best as I could, and came up with one of several versions of the continuous pathway. (Actually, one of 3.96 x 10^28 pathways, assuming a coin-toss between joining either the start point or the end point to the free end of the previous pathway.) How exciting!

Actually, I think it’s pretty cool, and it was fun seeing exactly how this path would develop. I marked the start point and end point with a red dot and an arrow. It’s here below, click to embiggen:


New Sketchbook: RANDOM

Drawing, Random Processes

Last summer one of my students gave me two lovely stab-bound sketchbooks. I normally don’t use sketchbooks, but it was a very thoughtful gift, and I figured I should probably put them to use. I already described the process I used in the SIXTY sketchbook, so now I am here to unveil the second one: RANDOM.

As with my other random walk projects, I simply use a spinner and some sort of marking utensil to trace out the random directions the spinner points. In this case, I used a bit of ribbed plastic with one end marked black and an aluminum pushpin as a spinner, and a whole passel of Prismacolor markers — in fact, the same ones I used in SIXTY. (I attempted to pull the markers out of my backpack in as random as fashion as possible, but there seemed to be a preponderance of Parrot Green, Pink and Mulberry in the selections.) Here’s a pic of the spinner:


I started from approximately the center of each sheet, and drew random lines until the line fell off the page, and then started again at the center. This way, I’d make sure I had the longest line possible, because starting anywhere else would tend to lead to shorter lines.

SIXTY Done: The Sketchbook Completed


I finally finished up the SIXTY sketchbook I posted about earlier. To recap: each of the pages in this notebook contains a drawing that consists of sixty strokes, in various colors and media. Things were wildly gyrating earlier in the year, but I settled down on Prismacolor markers in various hues, a set of graphite pencils, and a Rotring Artpen I’ve had since I was about twenty.

The full sketchbook PDF is available here,  but I’ll post some favorites below. In the PDF and in these images, the newer drawings are on the right-hand side of the page, with the earlier drawings their companions on the left-hand side. Here are five of my favorite spreads, in which I think both drawings have a nice interaction:


And Now, A Sketchbook (!)


Most people who know my practice know that I pretty much mess around on the computer and rarely put pen or pencil to paper unless I’m doing a quick cartoon to calculate angles or just to get something down in physical form. Well, this summer I taught The Book As Art, a summer school class at the Bow & Arrow Press, and one of my students made me two lovely stab-bound sketchbooks as a thank-you. (You can see the video she made of the Press here.) So, basically, I felt that it would be a shame to let something like that go to waste.

Back in the day I used to make long rambling doodles when I was bored in class or at work, like most people will. So I figured, why not try those again? Maybe, given repetition and some experimentation, they’d turn into something interesting. From what I understand, that’s the way sketchbooks are supposed to work, right? But, knowing me, I have to have some sort of concept involved, some sort of boundary to push against. So I decided I would do my rambling doodles, but I would limit myself to only sixty strokes, defined as how long the drawing tool stayed in contact with the paper, regardless of length. Sixty is a nice number, not too long, not too short, and can be subdivided in multiple ways should the need arise.

For drawing material, I decided there would be no limit, I would use whatever implement I found in my backpack that looked interesting. So I used ballpoint, pencil, giant marker, and Sharpies in various colors. I also decided I would try to do one a day, and since the books were made from folded sheets so that each “page” was actually two-in-one, once I reached the end of the book, I would turn around and do the other side of each page. It turns out there were fifty pages in the book, which means one full book will be exactly 100 drawings. Nice!

As it turns out, the once-a-day thing didn’t really work out, for various reasons. Being busy was one, forgetting was another, but I also found that doing one per day did not really allow drawing concepts to be explored in depth while they were fresh. So it kinda worked out that I did seven drawings every Thursday, which gave time to play with ideas and develop at least one of them. You can see some pretty clear progressions at different points in the book.

About two weeks ago I made it to the end of the first book, which was the perfect time to document the drawings and publish them here. I wanted to photograph them without drawing on the other side of the page, because the pages are somewhat translucent and I wanted these first ones to stand alone. So, it took me a while to get around to shooting the pages, and the first run looked crappy so I had to reshoot them, but I think I have something worthy of presentation. A small PDF of the drawings is available here. And I’ll post six of my favorites below, for ease of viewing.

SIXTY One 009

^ #8, using a chisel-pointed Sharpie, a nice lyric flow.

SIXTY One 021

^ #20, ballpoint, nice loopy swoops

SIXTY One 027

^ #26, an early form of my circle/square/triangle experiments, in yellow Sharpie

SIXTY One 045

^ #44, a blind drawing, done with my eyes closed, using cyan Sharpie

SIXTY One 046

^ #45, maroon and yellow Sharpies, with a nice interaction between them turning red

SIXTY One 050

^ And #50, a CMYK Sharpie composition with the black and magenta done blind.

Random Walks: Paper Cycles

Drawing, Random Processes

I posted the Minumental random walk drawing, and then I realized: I never posted the set of random walks I did for my MassArt thesis back in 2008. Well, let’s fix that oversight! Here is a gallery of the 10 random walks I created using 22″ x 22″ paper, a pencil and a spinner made out of the bottom of a cup, like so:

I start at the center of the paper, let the spinner spin, and then draw a line to where it points. Then I reposition the spinner to the new point, and spin again. I do this until the line intersect the edge of the paper, then I start back at the center.
Here are the 10 drawings I made in my thesis show:


And here’s a gallery of the individual pieces: