Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Arrabbiata Internazionale

Earlier this month we held a gubernatorial election here in New Jersey (an odd off-year schedule we share with Virginia) and in the days leading up to election day I was bombarded with recorded political (running about 5 to 1 Republican) message phone calls, sometimes 3 or 4 per hour. So by Election Day I was getting hesitant to answer my phone. But answer it I did that day and found Eileen Foti on the other end. If you're a printmaker in NJ, you probably know who she is. If you live outside the U.S. you may know her as well, since she is very active internationally. Eileen has been a fan of my work for many years and our paths cross now and then. The purpose of the call was to invite me to participate in an international collaborative print project. Print artists from around the world (Eileen's group are all from PCNJ) will be producing postcard sized art, starting a piece and then mailing the card to a randomly chosen collaborator, who will add to the card to finish it. Meanwhile the other artist will also start one and mail it to the first artist to finish, so each pair will end up with 2 cards. The cards will eventually be collected in one central location and possibly exhibited at the next Tallinn Print Triennial in Estonia, among other places around the world.

About a week later she sent the guidelines. The theme is "For Love Not Money", which can translate directly to the idea of a labor of love, but we are told the range of related concepts can include things like desire, dedication, duty, family, love, lust, etc. The card must be exactly 5.8" by 8.3", to meet some international standard. The art must include a print process. First part must be mailed by the end of next January, the second part by next April.

And now we have our list of collaborating artists. Some of the nations represented in the PCNJ partners are England, Wales, Spain, South Korea, India, and Estonia. Several, including me, will be working with artists from the Republic of Mauritius. If you are unfamiliar with this place, on the map above it's one of the tiny islands above the letter "D" in "Indian". It's small, in area about the same size as my home area of Monmouth County and adjoining Middlesex County, with about the same population. The island was know to sailors for centuries, first officially settled by the Dutch, then later the French, who later ceded it to England, before achieving independence in the 1960's. It's also known as the only indiginous home of the Dodo bird, which was extinct within a century of European colonization. (which also means that when Porky Pig was looking in "Darkest Africa" for the last Dodo in the legendary shorts "Porky in Wackyland/Dough For the Do-Do" he was about 3000 miles away from the only place it naturally lived)

At this moment I have no idea what I'm going to do with the card I'm starting, but I have more than two months to get it done, so I'm not worried. Whatever I come up with, you'll see it here.


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