Monday, February 25, 2008

The Hourglass

What do a metronome, a wilting bouquet of flowers, video software, and one very tired piece of paper all have in common? They are elements in the next round of the Zero Sum Art Project. Appearances to the contrary, things haven't stopped with ZSAP, they just went underground for a while, to give me a chance to catch up with commitments that got set aside during the frenzy of the Blogger Show. But stay tuned, there's more to come. . .

Monday, December 10, 2007

Zero Sum Art Auctions, Week 4 of the Blogger Show

Saturday's opening reception for The Blogger Show at the Digging Pitt Gallery here in Pittsburgh was a lot of fun. It was great meeting a few of you there!

The Zero Sum #33 auction, ending Thursday night, 12/13, at 10 pm Eastern time.

The Zero Sum #34 auction, ending Friday night, 12/14, at 10 pm Eastern time.

The Zero Sum #27 auction, ending Saturday night, 12/15, at 10 pm Eastern time. This is the second time this print has showed up on the walls in the exhibition; it's the second print in a tiny edition of 2.

The Zero Sum #35 auction, ending Sunday night, 12/16, at 10 pm Eastern time. I've been doing a lot of collage work with cyanotypes, and this one was a deliberate departure from those - I wanted to push some paint around here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Zero Sum auctions running this week:

The Zero Sum #29 auction, ending Thursday night, 12/06, at 10 pm Eastern time.

The Zero Sum #30 auction, ending Friday night, 12/07, at 10 pm Eastern time.

The Zero Sum #31 auction, ending Saturday night, 12/08, at 10 pm Eastern time.

The Zero Sum #32 auction, ending Sunday night, 12/09, at 10 pm Eastern time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

This Week's Zero Sum Auctions

If it's a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, you should stop in and check out the latest Zero Sum Art Project auctions. Here's the most recent crop:

The Zero Sum #22 auction, ending Thursday night, 11/29, at 10 pm Eastern time.

The Zero Sum #26 auction, ending Friday night, 11/30, at 10 pm Eastern time.

The Zero Sum #27 auction, ending Saturday night, 12/01, at 10 pm Eastern time.

The Zero Sum #28 auction, ending Sunday night, 12/01, at 10 pm Eastern time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The 4 Zero Sum Art Auctions currently running. . .

Zero Sum #20

The four Zero Sum auctions that are currently up and running are Zero Sum #15, ending on Thanksgiving (bad planning on my part there), Zero Sum #17, ending Friday, 11/23, Zero Sum #20, the etching you see here, finishing Saturday, 11/24, and Zero Sum #21, another etching, ending Sunday, 11/25.

Look for an auction ending every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at 10 p.m. from now until mid-January, with the exception of a week off for Christmas, as part of The Blogger Show at Digging Pitt Gallery, here in Pittsburgh PA.

Monday, November 19, 2007

One year of the Zero Sum Art Project

Today is the one year anniversary of the Zero Sum Art Project. On November 19 of last year, the first Zero Sum Art auction started with this piece:

Zero Sum #1

The project started with whatever free materials I could find to make and package the first piece. This little drawing was made on Anti-Defamation League notepad paper with a Heart of Georgia Technical Institute pencil and a Radisson Hotel pen. The opening bid was $1.77, which was the initial amount that the project went in the hole for the eBay fees and postage. It ended at $22.72, which gave me my first opportunity to spend the profits and add to the studio.

When I first started the project I was imagining that it would be more an exercise of trying to make something out of nothing - I didn't expect that spending the money back to zero would be a large part of the process. Adding still life objects and more exotic materials, a growing exploration of photographic processes, and now an exhibition in a commercial gallery space have all grown from the challenge of juggling the cycle of surplus and deficit.

As of today, after 22 sales, the balance is $51.49. I've got two weeks to spend that back to as close to zero as I can get. I'm looking at adding a new kind of litho plate to the mix. . . That balance comes from an income total of $1912.65, with costs of $1861.16. If you want to see how it all breaks down, you can see the day to day account here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The first three auctions of ZSAP in the Blogger Show

For the duration of The Blogger Show, from now until mid-January, a new Zero Sum auction will start and end every day that the Digging Pitt Gallery is open. If it's a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, at 10 pm Eastern time, and you're near your computer, tune in and see how it's going. Here are the first three:

Zero Sum #9 auction, ending tomorrow night, 11/17, at 10 pm Eastern time.

Zero Sum #14 auction, ending Sunday night, 11/18, at 10 pm Eastern time.

Zero Sum #15 auction, ending next Thursday, 11/22, at 10 pm Eastern time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Zero Sum #9 in the Blogger Show

Zero Sum #9

A couple of hours ago the doors opened for The Blogger Show's Pittsburgh venues, at Digging Pitt gallery, Digging Pitt Too, and the Panza Gallery. These three shows will be up until January 12. The opening receptions for the Digging Pitt and Digging Pitt Too shows will be on Saturday, December 8, from 6-9 pm, and the opening reception for the Panza Gallery will be on Saturday, December 15, from 6-9 pm.

My contribution to the show will be a frenzied rotation of works from the Zero Sum Art Project. The first six pieces are up on the walls now. Each day that the gallery is open during the exhibition, a new auction will begin from the Zero Sum Art Project. These auctions will run for a week. So, every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night from here until January 12, you will find a new piece from the Zero Sum Art Project being auctioned off on eBay. Every week I will take out the sold pieces from the exhibition, and replace them with the next artworks on the auction block. It will be a different show every week. Visitors to the gallery will see a small slice of the project, but they will see it in "the flesh". Online viewers will see the work through the pixellated haze of the computer monitor, but they will be able to see all of the work in the project in one place. So it's an odd blend of "virtual" and "real" worlds.

The first piece, that will start its auction at 10 pm tonight, will be Zero Sum #9. You can find the Zero Sum auctions, once they start tonight, here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Zero Sum #26

Zero Sum #26
cyanotype and acrylic

Here's Zero Sum #26, essentially a painting on top of a cyanotype base. I love the ghostly blue of the dangling plane - it reminds me of the odd blue glow one sees from the street when people inside are watching television. . .

the "raw" cyanotype for Zero Sum #26

This is the first image in the Zero Sum portfolio that was pulled from a bunch of cyanotypes that I made with the help of Justin Kasulka. I worked up a bunch of transparencies of images that were either photographed from the Zero Sum box and odd object collection or collaged on the scanner, and then shipped them down to Texas, where Justin worked his magic with chemicals and exposures and made the cyanotypes, printing them on my favorite heavy printmaking paper. In terms of the project, it was a nice challenge to buy the chemicals and paper and pay for his time over the course of several Zero Sum sales earlier in the year.

This piece will be sold during the Blogger Show. It will be on display at the Digging Pitt Gallery here in Pittsburgh during the week that it is up for auction on eBay. Once it is sold, it will be replaced in the show by the next piece for sale. Every day of the exhibition that the gallery is open will have a corresponding auction ending. It will be a nutty rotation of artwork over the 2 month run of the exhibition. We'll see if I'm conscious when it's all over.

Tomorrow night is the opening of the New York City component of the Blogger Show. My contribution to that part of the exhibition is Zero Sum #24, which will be sold after the NYC show comes down.

Zero Sum #25 is the last piece that will be auctioned on eBay prior to the Blogger Show. Once the Blogger Show gets going, you'll notice a new expense in the pricing of the work - the 30% gallery commission!

Things will get fast and furious towards the end of next week - stay tuned!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Zero Sum #25

Zero Sum #25 started with the etching of the moon - I was thinking that it would be a nice backdrop for some photographs in the Zero Sum box, but as I worked on it I became more and more attached to it as an image on its own. So it became an enormous moon-rise over both Paris and Hot Springs, Arkansas. As this image seemed hopelessly romantic and sentimental, I added the various bits and pieces of text to the bottom of the image to tone it down a bit. But this seemed to only send the image rocketing towards nostalgia on top of romantic and sentimental. So I added the more clinical "Figure 1: the Moon", turning it into a textbook example of how the Moon can be used in a romantic, nostalgic image. In other words, turning the image into a model, consistent with the exploration of models and facsimiles that have become such a part of the Zero Sum portfolio, and mirror the odd model-like quality, with all of its inaccuracies, of the Project itself.

Zero Sum #25 will go up for auction later tonight on eBay, as is the eventual fate of all the Zero Sum artworks. To add a bit of drama to the auction, I should point out that the current Zero Sum balance is over $20 in the red. The auction starts for the measly amount of $8.61 (see the auction for the full reasoning behind that odd number). Usually, if the auction finished with one bid of $8.61, then the Zero Sum Art Project would break even, and the next artwork is made in similar fashion to this one. BUT, with the Zero Sum Art Project participating in an exhibition in the Blogger Show (see the previous post for details), I've piled up $20 in shipping costs to get Zero Sum #24 to the gallery. So this is a do-or-die auction for the Project! If the ZSAP balance remains below -$5.00 for two weeks, the project collapses. Time will tell!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Zero Sum #24 in the Big Apple

Zero Sum #24 has been shipped off to the Agni Gallery in New York City, as my contribution to the New York component of the Blogger Show. The show opens November 3 and runs through November 30, with an opening reception from 6 - 9 pm on the 3rd. This piece, Zero Sum #24, will be on display for the duration of the show, after which it will go up for auction following the same rules as all of the other Zero Sum pieces. The starting price will include a new expense, though - the 30% of the profits that are earmarked for the gallery.

A much larger and more involved exhibition of the Zero Sum Art Project will be seen in the Pittsburgh component of the Blogger Show at the Digging Pitt Gallery. This show will run from November 10 - January 12, with the opening reception on December 8, from 6 - 9 pm. That's the opening I'll be able to attend, by the way, so I might see you there! During the course of the show I will rotate 32 different pieces in and out of the gallery. Every day the gallery is open after the first week (being Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of any given week) I will have an auction end. Every week during the days the gallery is closed I will swap out the sold work and hang the next pieces. It'll be nuts. But hopefully, it'll be an interesting kind of nuts. All of the work will be sold as part of the Zero Sum Art Project. You can follow it all here or over at my blog for the Fiji Island Mermaid Press, and you'll be able to see the show grow online at the Zero Sum Art Gallery at FIMP.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Zero Sum #23

Here's Zero Sum #23, a collage made up of an etching, acrylic paint, and two vintage postcards. You can see a larger version of the artwork, read a description of some of my content concerns, and even buy the thing, by visiting this auction on eBay, where you'll also learn why the starting bid is only $11.87.

If you surf on over to the Fiji Island Mermaid Press blog, you will find a little animation of the etching proofs that preceded this collage, which is kinda nifty.

But here I just want to direct your attention to something of very little importance or relevance: that postcard with the cherub spilling the coins from a hot air balloon is a Christmas card from 1911. It's a common gripe to hear that we've become far too materialistic concerning Christmas these days. I just want to point out that it's not exactly a recent development. Here's a card from the second decade of the 20th century in which Christmas is celebrated as a time when money rains down from the sky. Let's face it - we've always been greedy and selfish, it's just us.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Zero Sum #22

Here's Zero Sum #22, the second Zero Sum etching to use solarplate. I'm really delighted with the very rich velvety blacks that I can get with the combination of transparency and aquatint screen I used to expose the plate.

This piece will go up for auction starting on Sunday night. This link will take you to the Zero Sum auctions. If you go there now, you'll find Zero Sum #21, if you go there next week you'll find #22. So there you go.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Zero Sum #21

Zero Sum #21
intaglio and chine-colle
8" x 10" image

So here's Zero Sum #21. Another editioned print, in another tiny edition of 2. #1 of 2 is being sold now, and #2 of 2 will be sold during the Blogger Show.

As I describe in the auction listing, I'm really excited about this piece, as it brings together elements that I have gathered over the course of the entire project to date. The still life objects in the image include the head of a quail purchased after the sale of Zero Sum #6, a little plastic astronaut from Zero Sum #11, and a globe bank from #16. The box that they were photographed in was built with the proceeds from Zero Sum #16 and #18. The solarplate used to create the intaglio plate from the photograph comes from #13, and the mulberry paper and archival rice starch adhesive for the chine-colle were purchased just after the last sale, of #20. So Zero Sum #21 really takes advantage of materials and imagery that have been developing for the last eight months or so.

I'm going to have to talk about that box one of these days - I'm really excited about it too. It made its first appearance in one of my Fiji Island Mermaid Press books-of-the-month, before it started appearing in the Zero Sum imagery. I'm interested in the way it echoes the theater and puppet shows. It reminds me of the black box, the camera-obscura. It serves as the pedestal that displaces the little objects I'm collecting from the real world and declares them to be "still-life". It's a good box.

Zero Sum #21 also takes advantage of a new technique for me - it's my first use of solarplate, a relatively non-toxic way to do photoetching. The last time I used photoetching it was about the most dangerous stuff you could do in the printshop, so this is a nice return to photography for me.

So, check out the auction for a bigger picture of #21, check out the Zero Sum Art Gallery on FIMP to see all of the previous ZSAP artwork, and watch this blog for updates as we get closer to the bid Zero Sum Exhibition in Pittsburgh and New York and online in November.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Zero Sum #20

Zero Sum #20 goes on sale tonight. Here it is, hot off the press. Actually, as etchings are printed on paper that has been soaking in water for about an hour, it's more cold and wet off the press, but the ink still has that nice new etching ink smell. It's an 11" x 14" intaglio, full of nice rich aquatints and glowing burnished highlights. You might recognize the birds from Zero Sum #16 - that was a collage that included a proof from this plate. Well, the plate's finally done. The edition size is only 2, one for now and one to be sold when the Zero Sum Art Project is part of the Blogger Show at Digging Pitt gallery. Stay tuned for many more details concerning ZSAP's attempt to bridge the gap between bricks-and-mortar and cyberspace.

If you want to see a larger image, and perhaps bid on this etching, visit ZSAP's auctions on ebay, after 10 pm Thursday night. . .

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Zero Sum #19

Zero Sum #19 is a bit of a departure from the previous artworks - a sculpture of sorts! I've been doing a lot of photography with the still-life objects that have been accumulating in the Zero Sum Studio, and this seems like a natural product of that work. The shell of this box is an actual camera, a "Kewpie" No. 2 made by the Conley Camera Company sometime between 1917 and 1922. I enjoyed using the vintage postcard - an old photograph - inside the camera body. Flying in to Paris is Charles Lindbergh aboard the Spirit of St. Louis, a flight he made in 1927, so it's conceivable that his arrival could have been documented by a spectator using just such a camera as our Kewpie here. As in previous Zero Sum collages, I've used paint to sew the image together, blurring boundaries between the photographic, the collage, and the drawn. The glass eye refers to the single glass eye of the camera itself. We are so willing to believe that a photograph is a faithful representation of the world, though it is really quite false - the world just doesn't look like that, unless you are a single eyed, completely immobile viewer. History, model-making, story-telling, and the way we organize and make sense of things. . . the directions the Zero Sum artwork seem to be taking.

You can see many more views of this object, and even bid on it (bidding starts at $17.55), by visiting the Zero Sum Auctions. The auction starts late Thursday evening.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Zero Sum #18

Here's Zero Sum #18, and the bidding starts at $13.32.

If this is your first visit to the Zero Sum Art Project, you might be interested in an overview of the operation, which you can find on the Digging Pitt blog. ZSAP will be on display there in November - it'll be a nice complicated puzzle to solve, putting the exhibition together within the rules of the project.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Zero Sum #18 in progress. . .

Zero Sum #18 is coming along. I had a little tin globe bank when I was a kid just like these two that ZSAP recently bought. The tide of strange junk continues to rise in my studio.

If you're interested in an overview of the Zero Sum Art Project, I recently posted just such a thing on the Digging Pitt Gallery blog. Digging Pitt is going to present ZSAP in November, as part of a multi-gallery show of artists who blog. It will be very exciting.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Zero Sum #17

Here's Zero Sum #17, which is entering the flat files to join the other ZSAP artworks being held for an upcoming exhibition of the Zero Sum Art Project. You can see all of the artworks in the project to date by visiting the ZSAP gallery at the Fiji Island Mermaid Press.

This exhibition, which will open in November, is already creating some interesting logistical difficulties. I need to balance new pieces that I sell immediately to keep the project rolling forward with pieces that get set aside for the show. Framing supplies, and other exhibition related expenses, will have to be spread out over the next few months in order to get the artwork on the gallery walls. And of course, no income is actually guaranteed between now and then, so planning has to be completely contingent on sales. Add to that the inability to "bank" money, according to the "spend it in two weeks" rule, and you have a fairly absurd situation on your hands. But hey, that keeps the wheels turning, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

dangling eyes and getting to zero

Here's the first little hint of Zero Sum #17, featuring a few glass eyes attached to wires, dangling in space. The taxidermy eyeballs first showed up in Zero Sum #15 (scroll down) as bit players in that lunar drama, so I thought I'd give them their moment in the spotlight with this image.

I recently asked the Fiji Island Mermaid Press' Philosopher in Residence Paul Moriarty to take a look at the Zero Sum Art Project and offer his feedback. Amongst his numerous useful and insightful comments was the observation that from day one of the project to the present, ZSAP has never once had a balance of zero. Paul pointed out that having the statement "The target balance at all times is Zero" in the rules for the project should compel me to make a better effort at reaching that goal.

Jasper Johns, Target, 1958

I must admit, I'd been thinking of my target balance as more in the model of an archery target, with the bullseye being zero, but with the project continuing as long as I kept hitting the target itself. Personally, I think the current balance of negative $14.37 is more exciting than zero, because it makes the success of the auction for Zero Sum #16 vital to the survival of the project.

BUT. . . Paul has a point. So, after Zero Sum #16 sells, I will make a real effort to actually reach a zero balance. So how can I use gumballs in Zero Sum #18?

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