Monday, December 12, 2011

Toward a New Year...

The image with this post is a studio mock up of a section of the coupon collection. I have been exploring various options for the future presentation of the collection. This grouping in the image is of the October expiration date coupons and 136 of 178 are being represented in the image. I have chosen to pin the coupons to the wall for display, by not framing them or of other archival means of display alludes to a semi-precious context as well as the potential of continual accumulation of the collection. The coupons are originally collected for temporary use in the role of economic exchange in consumption. The expiration date is the finalizing point of the social interaction between the person and the coupon. My objective with the coupon collection is to visually represent the integration of the print media culture and an aspect of the consumption process. The print media culture’s longevity will also be questioned with a continual emergence of digital coupons. These topics will be explored in greater detail with my essay that will accompany the coupon collection.

An Update -
There are 19 additions to the Mouth Collection, which have been updated on my website.
The addition totals for the coupon collection have also been updated.
In the New Year I will be posting more on the essay, additions to the collections, along with new collections.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Overall - Collections Statement

My interdisciplinary approach to restaging the interaction between a person and an object exhibits the functionality of the process. I do this instead of focusing on an object from a certain time period that tends to interpret the history or social relations of a pertaining culture. A specific type of activity, object, or the human body can be the subject matter for forming a collection. By isolating the interaction of a person and object, such as documenting on a sterile white background, presents a focus on the detailed engagement between the two.

I am consciously considering the functionality of this interaction between the two when I start the collecting process. My process begins with ʻfieldworkʼ of observing types of objects or a particular activity that tends to have a specific utility. The ʻfieldworkʼ coincides with socially and culturally based research.

Borrowing from material culture methodologies such as visual and social anthropology along with observational cinema, these methods contribute to an image-based enquiry of the body and the senses with an ethnographic practice. [1] Employing either video or the actual object as a visual representation maintains the focus on the process by isolating the interaction that otherwise tends to be part of a daily routine.

My research has led me to this content and an understanding of some of the absences in the discussions and new approaches of material culture.[2] One example of these absences is Nicole Boivin’s argument for an approach to a new kind of social and cultural theory, but also to recognize how integral the material world is to how individuals and societies operate.[3]

The act of restaging my observations provides individual examples of functionality and the opportunity for future additions to a collection. The accumulation of each of the collections will represent the perspective of how fundamental the interaction between a person and an object is to a consistent consumption of the material world.

[1] Anna Grimshaw and Amanda Ravetz, Visualizing Anthropology (UK: Intellect Books, 2005), 6-7

[2] Nicole Boivin, Material Culture, Material Minds (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 21-23

[3] Ibid, 22-23

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Coupon Collection

My coupon collection is not distributed into the social interaction of the economy that it was intended for. Instead of being placed in circulation for marketing and consumer saving, the coupons are grouped by the month of expiration.

As this collection has formed in the last three months, I have begun to investigate the many aspects of the coupons. Such as: the immaterial labor (marketing), the consumer labor (clipping/ organizing), the transitional time period (the expiration date), and the cultural aspects of thrift and savings.

As I am collecting, clipping, and sorting the coupons, one aspect that was first apparent is the community that the coupons define. From food establishments, local merchants, and chain store retailers, the coupons visually represent my community’s style of consumption.

Periodically, I will be posting on my website an updated list of the coupon collection.

Coupon Collection

Besides being grouped by the expiration month, my plan is to include my location as part of the grouping. The time period of the collection will be determined by when I change my residence.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

From Hands to Mouth

For the next collection, I am considering the mouth as the focal point of interaction. The videos will be integrating the dual functionality of the mouth, consumption of substance and interaction with objects. The focus on both of these begins an inquiry of the body (mouth) with regard to individual sustainability and an object’s function.
Please visit website to view collection.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Collections - Methodologies

The current collections visually represent the interaction between people and objects. I am consciously considering the functionality of this interaction between the two when I start the collecting process. My process begins with ‘fieldwork’ of observing types of objects or a particular activity that tends to have a specific utility. The ‘fieldwork’ coincides with socially and culturally based research.
Borrowing from material culture methodologies such as visual anthropology and observational cinema, these methods contribute to an image-based inquiry of the body and the senses with an ethnographic practice.[1] Documenting the interaction between a person and an object exhibits the functionality of the process instead of an object from a certain time period that tends to interpret the history or social relations of a pertaining culture. Documenting the process on a sterile background maintains the focus on the process by isolating something that otherwise tends to be a daily routine.
For my art practice, the medium of video is new. Considering past experiences with materials and processes to produce artwork, I am fully aware of the limitations of employing one medium to visually represent my concept on collections.

[1] Anna Grimshaw and Amanda Ravetz, Visualizing Anthropology (UK: Intellect Books, 2005), 6-7

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Forming a Collection

As mentioned in the previous blog pertaining to forming a collection of social interactions of work between a person and object, I have posted on my website (under the collections category) the first collection that has formed. These collections will be presented and added to as the series progresses. Please visit website

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Convenience Needs Manual Labor

The easy open lid of a food can is an example of a direct social interaction between a person and an object. No extra tool, besides the can opener, is needed to open the can. The design of the can’s lid allows the person to be the function of a can opener. I perceive this intimate interaction also as a form of manual labor.

My description is of this simple act of an idea that this convenient object needs manual labor to perform the activity of opening a can with the easy open lid. The significance of this description is to consider the cultural ideals of the idea of convenience and work and the beginnings of forming a collection of these social interactions of work between a person and object.


The left hand is securely grasping the main body of the can. The tin can’s cylinder shape makes it is easy to grasp. The right hand reaching for the tab blocks the long thin rays of light that bounce across the shiny surface of the lid. With a starting position of the pointer finger on the tab and the thumb on the outer edge of the can the pointer finger’s nail begins to lift the tab from the surface. The pressure from the hand to the fingernail along with the hard metal surface pulls the nail slightly from the finger. This slightly induced physical pain causes a reaction to slip the end of the finger under the tab. The pointer finger pulls the tab to the vertical position away from the lid of the can. This new position of the tab breaks the seal of the easy open lid. A suction noise occurs when the seal is broken and the center of the can swells and rises with the air entering the can. The pungent smell of condense soup is pushed out of the can with the entering outside air. With the tab bent up vertically a very small section of the lid is bent inward. This exposes the sharp edge of the lip of the can. The hand repositions with the pointer finger in the opposite direction and the thumb in the center of the can. Now all the pressure is on the thumb while the pointer finger is lifting the lid from the can. The tendons tighten across the back of the hand as the motion is carried through. The sound of metal releasing from metal does not last long in the quickness of the motion. The condense soup odor becomes stronger as the opening is enlarged. The thumb’s position moves from the outer edge of the can to move upwards with the pointer finger. The thumb contributes to the grasp on the tab during the final separation of the easy open lid. The hand carefully twists back and forth with a final sound of the metal edges scrapping together to confirm the lids removal.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flea Market Observation

A time clock that usually has the job of logging workers’ time was mixed among other objects on a flea market seller’s table. Stopped at 6:10, unknown if that is A.M. or P.M., it’s boxy industrial design stood out with all the domestic type objects around it. This seller’s table was not organized into categories like the majority of other tables, as in glassware or specific types of tools. This eclectic arrangement of these objects made me consider all the uses of them and the interaction or "work" between people that have put them to use. This type of “work” that I was considering is usually not supervised by a time clock system of hourly time keeping. I was taking into account the tangible and intangible aspects of work.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Review of Labeled Installation

My review of the Labeled installation, an exhibition of mine that occurred over ten years ago, is to investigate the contexts as beginning stages of my interest in work culture. This installation was formed by my own employment experience. After the exhibit I placed the idea in storage then pursued other materials and processes to represent my artwork over the years. The actual Labeled artwork from the installation is no longer in storage. The uniforms were affected by water damage and no longer exist. My review is carried out by the slides and other saved articles from the exhibit.
In 1999, I presented an installation entitled Labeled at the Center for the Creative Arts in Yorklyn, Delaware USA. The artwork consisted of found clothing (uniforms) and screenprinted yellow “Post-It” notes with stereotypical names that tend to be negatively used towards these types of employment. Some examples of the words are low class, lazy, and unintelligent. The uniforms were stiffened and hung from the ceiling to allow visitors to walk around them. The selected uniforms were chosen by how distinctive they could be associated with a style of employment, such as a housekeeping position dress, a dark blue polyester shirt and pants, and aprons from retail and food service industry.
During the opening, visitors were greeted at the door and labeled with a yellow “Post-It” note with one of the stereotypical names printed on it. This was intended to integrate the person within the installation. In the gallery space an audio of a short personal narrative was the background sound for the installation. These narratives were not about work experience, but personal experiences. A sample from several of the narratives is, “He didn’t expect to have this kind of job; his dreams were with the music business. His mother’s failing health needed attention first. Since he was the only one left to help her, this was the plan for his life for awhile.” The personal narrative was to influence a human element that is beyond the visual presences of the work uniforms service related ideals. To construct these narratives I borrowed from my different employment experiences with other employees who would express their own personal experiences to me.
Reflecting on the exhibit I realized there are very few times I used found objects in my artwork. The uniforms and stereotypical names could have been taken further, for example to include other employment apparel such as office related. This would have produced an interesting balance between the diverse work cultures. The act of interviewing actual people with these types of employment and presenting their narratives and uniforms instead of found uniforms from a charity shop can utilize my interest in material culture methodologies.
My intent in reviewing the Labeled installation is not to reproduce the artwork, but to consider future possibilities of what can be explored from the event of creating artwork and exhibiting it. The limitation of the installation is the visual representation that the uniforms portray, disregarding any personal effects of an employee. This aspect is already widely known. My interest in work culture needs to reach beyond the scope of singular ideas of employment roles.

Monday, September 5, 2011

American Labor Day and Objects of Work Culture

As the media emphasizes the current political climate of high unemployment and the future status of the American worker for this 2011 American Labor Day, I began to consider barbeque grills and their affiliation as objects to the holiday. The Labor Day holiday’s main purpose is for the recognition of the contributions from the worker that have established the prosperity of the United States as a nation.[1] The grill is one of several prominent objects in the holiday’s festivities that contain other contexts of work culture.

Obviously, the grills main job is a source to cook food. There is an interaction between person and the grill for the process to occur. Whether the perception of this process is leisurely or utilitarian it tends to have some aspect of referencing the idea of work.

Rather than the worker and the customary work environment being concentrated on, my investigation of the grill’s social relationships of being used on a personal scale and the broader cultural concept for the American Labor Day holiday will to some extent extend the viewpoint and dialog of work culture.

[1] (Accessed September 2, 2011)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Drawing Series

For more information about this drawing series please contact and see previous posts with the digital mock-ups of possible groupings. I am interested in the concept of presenting the drawings in an abandon small store building.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SGCI Graphic Impressions

I am currently published in Southern Graphics Council International Spring 2011 edition newsletter of Graphic Impressions. My review of John Goto Mosaic an exhibit at Edinburgh Printmakers Studio and Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland considers the use of Internet images referencing an historic event.
To read the article please visit

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mock-Ups for 2011 Series

These two images are digital mock-ups of how the drawings could be arranged in larger groups similar to how they were observed. For more information about this series please contact

2011 New Series

I am currently working on a drawing series that began with daily observations of activity at a charity shop. On the drawings I have included a hand written idea of what might have been the pieces daily involvement with the past owner. The objects in the charity shop space are leaving one purposeful narrative and waiting to be purchased by a person who will intertwine them with a new objective. My working process includes taking materials through several alterations before a piece is complete. The final process of sanding is representing the transitional state the objects are in.

For more information about this series please contact