Once, in my studio, someone whose insight I trust, mentioned the opacity of time. It sounded poetic but I wasn’t sure I knew what they meant. You could call these strange times, but historically speaking, they’re probably more normal than the short period of relative stability some slice of humanity has been able to claim and grow accustomed to. Of course, it’s impossible to see what’s coming but it also feels increasingly difficult to understand how we got here.
I started working with newspapers around 2018 when I, like everyone else (I knew), became captivated by the 24/7 coverage of the House impeachment proceedings, addicted as anyone to a steady drip of outrageous, or at least lurid disclosures surrounding the Trump administration. But why am I talking about politics? Isn’t everybody?! I’d always thought newspapers were great props, very cinematic, but from another Hollywood era. I was experimenting with them intuitively but eventually I focused on the rigid grid of the newspaper layout, starting with a kind of butterfly form and eventually developing a simplistic typeset over its quadratic structure.
When I consider methodologies of creativity, I generally see two possible and seemingly opposing tracks: A considered conceptual reasoning that produces a form that is then repeated until the original concept becomes emptied out or, conversely, a spark of inspiration that results in work that is intuited but is gradually worked and reworked while a conceptual framework is developed around it. Call it a lack of rigor or a principled refusal to submit to a reliably static brand, but I seem to bounce back and forth between these two ways of working in steady sequence.
Time is a mirror, not a window, but opacity has its own strange way of way of revealing. Likewise, cutting and erasure can uncover latent forms and meaning to expose hidden agendas in supposedly neutral content. It’s not detective work, more like Herr K. or Lebowski, stumbling over clues with clownish determination.