Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Studio Contents, Part 2

Well, after Zero Sum Art #1's sale, the Zero Sum Studio has added:
one 4B pencil
one "Tuff Stuff" eraser
two sheets of BFK Rives Heavyweight Cream paper
two sheets of glassine
and one piece of chipboard.
There's enough left for a box of envelopes, I think, and that should get our balance back to zero.

Monday, November 27, 2006

In the black.

It's Cyber Monday, and after the sale of Zero Sum #1, the Zero Sum Art project is in the black. As the project's target balance is zero, I've got some spending to do. Unlike Zero Sum #1 and #2, it looks like #3 is going to be made with materials that are actually purchased instead of scrounged. I'll keep you posted. If you want to see the running tally, visit the Zero Sum Art eBay "ME" page for all of the financial play-by-play.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Zero Sum #2

Zero Sum #2, front, ink on cardstock.

Zero Sum #2, back, reproduction of Winslow Homer's "The Fog Warning"

The pen and pencil drawing is a portrait of Robert Foulis, inventor of the steam-powered foghorn in 1853. It's just possible that the fisherman Homer painted in 1885 is listening to a Foulis foghorn.

Since Zero Sum #2 was made before the successful completion of the Zero Sum #1 auction, I had to once again use scrounged materials. As it looks like #1 will make a profit, odds are #3 will be made with slightly more extravagant supplies, as the goal is to always keep the Zero Sum Studio teetering at a zero balance. Gotta spend that income!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Zero Sum #1

Here's Zero Sum #1, drawn in pencil and pen on its anti-defamation paper, ready for shipping, securely held in place on chipboard by Ziggy stickers, ready to be tucked in its jaunty yellow envelope.

For all of the details, a better view of the drawing, and to jump right in to the project, visit the auction for Zero Sum #1.

The opening bid was set at $1.77, which includes the insertion fee of .35, the gallery fee of .35, the cost of first class postage at .63, a projected paypal fee of .34, and a final value fee of .10. As of this writing, the bidding is up to $6.07, which will mean a raise in the final value fee and paypal fee, but will leave a profit to be spent. Will the Zero Sum Art Project splurge on nicer shipping materials - thicker chipboard, a roll of tape, some mailing envelopes, perhaps? or will we go straight to improving the art itself, with some nice archival drawing paper, for instance? Stay tuned. . .

Studio Contents

The Zero Sum Art Project is attempting to build from the ground up, starting from nothing and seeing where we can go. Here's the contents of the Zero Sum studio, Day 1:

- a cardboard box from Fed Ex Express (from something sent by the cell phone company)
- four sheets of cardstock (packing material from some baby-related item)
- a pad of blue-tinted paper given to me by the Anti-Defamation League in some fundraising junkmail
- a sheet of Ziggy Christmas labels, also sent in junkmail
- a "Heart of Georgia Technical Institute" pencil
- a "Renaissance Hotels" ballpoint pen
- a bright yellow envelope left-over from a greeting card.

This is the primordial soup from which Zero Sum #1 emerges.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Zero Sum Art Project: Goals.

Art is a form of alchemy, taking base materials and turning them into something precious.

How a work of art rises above the mass of everyday objects to become a valuable artifact is often a source of great interest, both in and out of the art world.

The studio practice of the artist is frequently seen as a romantic, mysterious endeavor, separated somehow from the everyday world.

The goal of the Zero Sum Art project is to create a financially isolated studio environment, in which every cost and every profit is documented and made visible to the viewer, and see if it is possible to create a self-sustaining studio practice. I have been looking for a long time for a project that would make use of eBay AS the artwork, not simply as a venue for selling artwork.

To this end, I have created an account on ebay, zero_sum_art, that will allow me to conduct the art "business" in as transparent manner as possible.

Any money spent on materials and fees and any other specifically art related expenses will be directly tied to the money brought in by the sale of the artwork, and this relationship will be accessible to the viewer at all times. The starting bids for all auctions will be based on the fees associated with the auction and the cost of materials in the artwork for sale (for purposes of this project, all of my "time" is "free"). The first artwork for sale has been made purely from free materials - mostly items that were sent as give-aways by charities requesting donations, or pens and pencils given away as promotional items. Any "profit" from sales will be spent on improving the materials that go into the artwork, or the shipping of the artwork. Should the artwork fail to make a profit, the materials used to make the next piece will remain very humble. Should the project stay in the red for several consecutive sales, the "studio" will collapse.

I will keep a running tally of costs and profits, available on the "me" page of zero_sum_art.

My target "balance" will be Zero. Anything coming in from sales will go out in expenses.

Starting solely with the most humble of scrounged materials, we will see what can be grown from them. Will a flourishing art terrarium be created, or a tank of art sea monkeys, destined to become a lifeless portfolio cluttered with little brine shrimpy corpses? Only time will tell.

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