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2 Masterpieces in 2 weeks

Studio Logs

JP Delaney
2 Masterpieces in 2 weeks

Earlier in the year, Antonio Sammartano called me up to invite me to participate in a group show at his gallery LINK in Trapani. He said you have 2 weeks to make 2 masterpieces.


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Studio Logs

2012-12-02

2012-12-02

As a young artist, I would have relished the challenge of trying to turn out 1) a masterpiece, and 2) in such a ridiculous time frame. Anyway, I accepted Antonio's offer and spent the next week sitting in the studio (after the dishwashing day job) sort of wondering what to do.
I had been thinking of 30 years ago during my art school days when I'd pass the ceramics studios on the way to the fine art faculty. Someone there had made a crazy vase with wings, breasts, and a fat belly. It had a comically surprised expression that made me smile each time I passed. It had been placed on a storage shelf by a window and was clearly visible to passers-by. I grew to love the thing, but figured such a masterpiece couldn't be sold as it was surely a prize work for the end-of-year craft exhibition. Anyway, it remained in place for months, and each day I'd admire it's humourous originality, it never failed to cheer me up. One day towards the end of the academic year, I found to my chagrin that the thing had been smashed, with the pieces lying desolately on that same shelf. Remembering how disappointed I felt, I entered the ceramic studio and asked about the vase. Someone there told me it had broken when they were arranging the space for the end-of-year show, but that it was just an offhand frivolous work done by someone who wasn't at all perturbed by it's demise. Looks like I was the one one to appreciate it.
Why did I mention that? I thought I'd try make something silly and see if it's possible to embue it with the ease and significance of some light-hearted homour that someone might pick up on and like.
I made a couple of doodles and figured that just in case no-one understands the importance of the works-to-be, I'd better prepare a couple of official-looking accompanying certificates attesting them to be true masterpieces.

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2012-12-02

2012-12-02

Having decided more or less on the form, I hurried to get going. It wasn't long before I realized that I'd end up with the usual hulking great thing of over 2 metres in height, so I had to start again, always remembering that the finished piece was to be sent by courier express if it was to make it in time for the exhibition opening - and courier mail costs - a lot. And the bigger it is, the more it costs. So I had to re-dimension the thing. Here's a couple of images of the metal wire structure.

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2012-12-02

2012-12-02

The more I worked on it, the more I thought what a dumb looking thing this is. They're really going to have difficulty accepting it in their midst as a contemporary masterpiece. I'd better make those certificates I mentioned really impressive with lots of rubber stamps and wax.
At this stage, it's been sealed with paper and rabbit-skin glue, so you get to see the full form of what an ungainly creature it is.

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2012-12-02

2012-12-02

Still and all, as time went on, I was getting used to it, and it began to feel less awkward to work with. However time was running out, and it was far from complete - and this was only the first one. I wasn't sure what I'd tell Antonio next time he called.
In these images, a layer of raw jute and rabbit-skin glue has been applied.

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2012-12-02

2012-12-02

Not surprisingly I did run out of time. I went to the local express courier to ask how much it would cost to send it and they said at least €300. Figuring that was a real waste of money, I sent the money directly to Antonio to walk into the street and pay two random people €100 each to make a masterpiece that would be exhibited in my name, and the third €100 to go towards the costs of the exhibition.
He liked the idea, but had someone else on his mind for the two artworks.

Some days later, he send me a photo of my two masterpieces, with Ahmed, the Egyptian artist who made them for the exhibition opening. I must admit they're probably the best works *I've* ever done. Added to that, when I showed the photo to some lady friends, they replied "Wow, he's so handsome!" The result being I'm very jealous of Ahmed. Nevertheless, well done - excellent work. I'll try to get Antonio to convince Ahmed to hopefully register on artprocess and upload some more of his work for us to enjoy.

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2012-12-02

2012-12-02

Months have passed, and all I've done is add a couple of coats of gesso to get it to the point where I can begin painting. It's standing there in the studio each time I go in, observing. I'm calling him the "free dude" - in contrast to my dreaded daily dishwashing life of a loser artist.

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2012-12-22

2012-12-22

While I'm waiting to start on the painting of the dude, I pass the time working on this drawing for forgetting. It's called that as it's done on a couple of folded-out beer boxes, and the beer served for forgetting what a loser artist I am. Anyway, they're more like exercises, not too exacting, and useful to do when you're really pissed off or depressed after a day washing dishes. They can go on for years. I've lots of them in various unfinished states lying around, and always return to them hoping one day to make some sense of the mess.

Comments
Kristina Lycke
2012-12-23 13:17


There are too many people in this beer box ... Sure it was meant to forget? Waiting to see what more can happen and of course to see what i still have not yet seen about it ....


JP Delaney
2012-12-23 15:52

You see people? But there aren't any people. It's just a bunch of lines and colour. Nothing else other than a box and oil pastel. Do you think it can lessen the effect if it's not meant to be figurative, or representational of anything other than itself?
On the other hand if it's full of people as you say, I want them out. How dare they? What are they doing there?

"OUT OF MY DRAWING YOU LOT!!..."

Perhaps you can suggest a way I can get rid of them Kristina?

Kristina Lycke
2012-12-24 23:15

I would probably keep the dude away from the beer box full of people to start with, it's clear he's trying to jump in there. And of course if there is really nobody inside the box, it still remains a beautiful beer box full of anti-people. Can i say it?


2012-12-23

2012-12-23

So started the painting. It's going to be really difficult to prevent this from ending up as a stupid decorated thing. Probably impossible actually, at least for me.
Anyway, it's been ages since I've been painting - such a satisfying relief to smell the turpentine and oil, the simple act of squeezing out some colour and scratching away with a paint brush. At times like that I think It's the only thing worth doing.

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2013-01-13

2013-01-13

It seem easier to keep working on this than facing painting the dude. I've done some work on the sculpture but not enough to merit a photo. What continues to surprise me is that although I think I've done a lot of work on the drawing, in the end it doesn't look any different than in the previous update photos made last month. Going around in circles you say?

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2013-02-05

2013-02-05

Threw some of whatever paint's available at the time over it just to get a feel of what's involved. The main thing at this stage is to understand the three-dimensionality of the thing in painting terms. Not sure if that makes too much sense to you. Never mind - it's early days yet.

Comments
Kristina Lycke
2013-02-06 14:25

There is something about Dude that makes him so real and alive. He looks like someone who wants to peep out of a dream-zone.
He’s going to call you up one of these days and say “ hey, take me for a drink “

JP Delaney
2013-02-08 18:34

Many thanks for your kind comment Kristina. Actually I'm thinking of attaching three wheels to it's legs so it becomes a moving dude. How about that for ridiculous? To my mind, nothing is too extreme (as in exaggerated) for the dude. It's ugly I know, but in times like these, the dude has a duty to show cool-headed responsibility can also be fun.


2013-03-29

2013-03-29

Nothing much to report. I'm just continuing on with applying more paint risking too much complication. Naturally I'd like it to be simple and clear in whatever statement, if any, it makes. And as usual I'll keep hacking away to see if anything comes of it.

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