The third and final (for now) print in my become-a-human-color-separation-machine series (that’s not really what it’s called) is complete, just in time for holiday shopping madness. Or whatever kind of madness it is we’re having right now. But supporting artists is never mad: For every $1000 in sales, I will buy a piece of art from another artist, passing on the love and money. It’s called Artist Support Pledge, a way of getting through this together, and the brainchild of UK artist Matthew Burrows. There are a number of initiatives to buy from artists and other small businesses directly this year, and I hope the sentiment continues. It’s a challenge for anyone to make a living at their craft even when there isn’t a pandemic.
But back to my true love, CMYK printing! This new print is the most chromatically complex of the series, making more use of layering and transparency to render, for example, fat (get it?). Additionally, I was trying to create more space in the picture plane, still using the inherently flat process of cut paper stencils. Inspiration came from looking at lots of still lives—from old Dutch masters to Wayne Thiebaud, with stops at Matisse and Morandi—and I finally settled upon simple repeating elements of circles and lines, along with a gingham ground whose linear perspective would add depth and hopefully tie the whole thing together visually.
Ham and pineapple recur throughout my vast collection of mid-century cookbooks, always touted as “Hawaiian” in the same way that topping anything with avocado makes it “Californian.” The title, Hollywood Hawaiian, references the general feeling of fakitude attached to the word “hollywood”, as well as a Warren Zevon lyric.
Earlier this year I was already at a juncture in my painting where I was questioning everything about it that had worked up until now: process, materials, subject matter, scale, context, everything. I was ready for a reset . . . be careful what you wish for, reset-wise. I started this screenprinting project partly to have something physical and technical to work on while I worked all that out. I have since learned that big-ass social and personal upheavals wreak physical havoc as well: they bring about physical neurological changes and we have to kind of re-wire our brains afterward. As it turns out, boiling the visual world down to its most elemental properties—flat shapes cut with a knife, four colors—was the perfect exercise for my pandemic-addled noggin. I still don’t know what it’s going to look like when I resume painting in the coming weeks, but these prints are an integral part of my new wiring.