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Venice Biennale Blog 8

Diary of an Infatuation Junkie© #8

“Why did I Fire the Help?” OR “Building of the Venice Biennale Art Installation”


One of my favorite things I like to say when I wake up is, “Why did I fire the help?”…..wouldn’t it be nice to have tea and chocolate croissants brought to one as they gently acclimatize themselves to the morning light? Also, after they are bathed and dried, to have their carefully washed and pressed apparel placed on themselves without a finger lifted? And why on earth, did my secretary take the week off, when there are all these papers lying around that need something done to them so my lights stay on? It’s really just all too much.

















.…so I sold my Yamaha Piano and my dads and grandfathers Omega watches (that’s ironic because Swatch owns Omega) and bought a 44” Epson 9890 Printer…YES, I did do that; I call him Monster, he’s HUGE. With the generous help of everyone who contributed to my IndieGogo Venice Project I bought 150 feet of 44 inch wide Fine Art printing paper ($1400), five yards of red cotton cloth ($25), 5 cans of black spray paint (@ Lowes only $2.75 a can!), a full set of large inks for the printer ($1900), a LaCie 4 gigabyte hard drive ($249.99), Black, White and Red ‘Map Tacks’ ($24.71) and An LED “BREAKFAST” sign ($180.05) so now I was ready to go into production. The piece, on my computer screen, about 13 inches in length, looked really cool and sweet, but I knew, lurking behind it’s cute exterior was just a crap load of seriously hard work. The rub is, the piece was done in pixels. Anyone could have built it with some overseeing by myself, that’s when assistants are gold and professional print makers even more so, but I didn’t have the money for that and looking at this monstrous job and not knowing if it would work out after I raised $13,000 to make the project happen, was seriously un-fun. So, I made a cup of tea, looked at it despairingly and then pressed PRINT.

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After printing 150 feet of Fine Art Paper (yikes), I rolled it up in to sections and brought one section outside at a time and laid it out to see what I had. Then I spent 3 hours cleaning the floor of the garage and hosing it down to put down plastic and the middle section, to work on the CAUTION tape I sewed… I spent hours trying to find the perfect red material, finally did + then sewed all the edges of all of it (ugh)…. Spray painted them with a stencil, and worked on this in the garage.






































































































































A week later, seriously freaked out, I laid it all out again on the driveway and luckily + generously,  Mark Seski came to help because I was leaving the following day for Venice and I hadn’t even cut the bloody thing out yet from the background. We worked up till 11pm at night. The absolute last thing we did, was stack it and roll the entire thing up into a tube I’d ironically bought In Shanghai. Ironic, because if I hadn’t done the Swatch residency in Shanghai they never would have heard of me and this never would be happening. He later told me it took him 3 days to recover from just working with me for one day; even I, had no understanding of what a montrous project this was when I said, “Wow Swatch, the Venice Biennale!!!! I’d LOVE to do this and all you’re going to cover is shipping? SIGN ME UP!!!!”. I’m not entirely sure why most people think artists don’t need to be paid. …no, seriously, I’m not complaining, I’m just stating a fact. That’s why the really smart ones go out on their own and figure out how to market themselves and make a decent living off their work. I’m not a bad business person, but I’m not great. Kostabi is one artist I know who figured it out and I have immense respect for him. Art dealers take 50% of the profit and more often than not, expect the artist to do most of the marketing, pay for shipping and framing and, if you can believe this, bring in the clients. Also, if you don’t sell, you’re dropped. In return, you get to use their name which unfortunately gives artists clout which is what you need to sell, and selling is the point. If you sell, then you can make more stuff. :-) I completely get this as gallery spaces are egregiously expensive and as my father was an art dealer, I hugely sympathize, BUT…I’m an artist. This is certainly not a job to go into unless you like working one to two other jobs concurrently, don’t mind being broke, treated badly by anyone in the art world unless you already have ‘clout’, like being an artist + a business person always, all the time, love social media + marketing. So why do artists do this? Because it’s in their DNA, they can’t do anything else. It’s like breathing. It’s like eating. It’s like sex; Just saying. :-)

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