February 1, 2018

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ARTphasia with HAMtasia

February 1, 2018

Hi kids, HAMtasia here. Intern Alexis has encouraged me to start writing about my art since I suck at talking about it (her words), so here is my first weekly dose of ARTphasia, where I'll write a little bit about my process or my work (like an artist's statement, I guess).


You may have noticed that a lot of my paintings are done on cardboard. At my last show, one of my benevolent patrons asked me "Why, HAMtasia? Why cardboard?" The immediate answer is easy: it's plentiful, it's delivered to my home on a semi-weekly basis, and it's free. The FREE part is key because that's how I got started using it.


See, back many years ago when I was in art school, I took a particularly grueling painting course where the instructor required us to show 10 or more pieces per bi-weekly critique session. They could be any size, with any subject, and done with any medium (except shit or animal carcass) on any canvas we might desire. Obviously, being a college student there was no way I could afford to buy canvas cloth and stretcher bars to make that many paintings over the semester, or even cheap pre-made canvases or canvas boards. I had to innovate. The light bulb turned on the day I was forced to breakdown a teeming flatbed cart of huge, tough laundry soap boxes right before closing at my Big Box workplace. The boxes were hard as hell to break down because the bottoms were glued, and as I flattened them for the baler I realized that the cardboard was as thick - if not thicker - than a canvas board. When I was done I looked over and saw not 12 flattened cardboard boxes but 48 rectangular canvases. More, if I cut the top and bottom flaps off to make minis. I asked my boss if I could have some of the boxes. "Moving?" he asked. "Nope, I want to paint on them." Perplexed, the boss told me to take whatever I wanted. I started with 4, because that's how many would fit in my tiny Ford Festiva. With my store-issued box knife, I cut the boxes down into squares and rectangles, took out my acrylics and began to paint. I work quickly and prefer to do a lot of overpainting, so the cardboard's drying factor played right into my hands. I produced a ton of work, painting with and without gesso, cutting the cardboard into any shape I wanted, layering it, or adding collage materials and always finishing with a thin coat of clear polymer to give the finished piece a uniform glaze. Oh my god...I've been doing it this way for 20 years?!?

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