Ghosts

When I was in Art school, and for a while after, I’d sell my artwork to private collectors to pay for my tuition, rent and sundries.  When I could afford the luxury, I would shoot slides of pieces but, more often than not, usually wound up slapping them down on a xerox machine and photocopying them as my only record.  Since most of my work tended to be small, anywhere from the size of a phone to a matchbook, this was an efficient way of keeping track, at least according to my brilliant twenty odd self.  I disliked slides, they gave no sense of the actual object and galleries rarely returned them.  I always had more success just going into a gallery and laying my work on the front desk since I always had a few icons on me at all times.

While sorting out some old piles of paper, I recently came across some of the old xeroxes.  It was quite jarring.  Many of the works are personal and, like most all of my work, autobiographical but with the urgency and immediacy of youth, reflexive rather than reflective.  These bits of wood and paint were the most important things in the world to me until they became monsters that had to be exorcised, they’d take so much out of me that selling them end even giving them away to friends, family, acquaintances and in some instances strangers was a cathartic experience.

These ghosts, these brittle bits of paper now work for me in a different way.  They are like contact prints (my favorite type of photograph), a direct positive that reconnects me to the original image, no longer icons but relics with the same primacy like the toe bone of a saint or a lock of a lovers hair.  I still have the visceral experience of those works in a way that a high definition digital image or slide could ever provide.