men who measure the earth
Plaster1, graphite2, foam3, white acrylic4, black acrylic5, copper leaf6, pine7, laminate countertop8, collaged paper9, burnt wood10, burnt heart pine11, nails12, extinct heart pine13, brass screws14,shellac primer15, cartographer’s caliper from 196416, Styrofoam coffee cup17, bituminous and anthracite coal18, colored acrylic19, bubinga wedge20, camphor21, pick axe head22, walnut23, PVC sheet24, fir25, epoxy and polyurethane resin25, Sinclair oil cans26, San Quentin Prison work shirt27
60in. x 48in. x 120in.
1. Given to me by Eli after he had to vacate his studio.
2. Found in a warehouse on the south side, which I was particularly excited about because I had just read that about how graphite is actually the most compressed version of coal short of diamonds, which I hadn’t realized.
3. Salvaged from Mia’s first attempt at her massive failed onion mold but which she eventually succeeded at to everyone’s relief
4. Which was being used as a makeshift dry erase board I salvaged while demolishing the labyrinthine and ramshackle “office” left in Michael’s new studio by the alcoholic contractor Frank who’s name Michael liked to invoke as “The Frank Special” when something looked shoddily made.
5. With the eighth-inch stuff being cannibalized from an older piece that I reluctantly threw away but saved parts of in an effort to salvage some value from its expense, and the half inch stuff coming from a particularly good dumpster bonanza from Trident.
6. Bought from Plaza after I gold-leafed Michael’s throne sculpture and decided I wanted to use it but that copper was better than gold because of its relationship to Arizona and the potential for it to oxidize turquoise, which it didn’t.
7. From the perfectly usable scrap that the VCU AFO students left behind, for which I feel both resentful of and responsible for, as I’d like to think I taught them better than that.
8. Initially forced on me by the very talkative Alton who ran a boutique carpentry shop next door and who would come over when he was bored to chat for nearly a hour but which was then very much appreciated after I found a use for it and all the other things he brought me.
9. From 1940’s-60’s National Geographics bought at a discount from the Richmond Antiquarian and collected from various thrift stores after a conversation with Michael about how amazing the color prints were in the early issues when they still used lead-based inks and how you had to be careful not to lick your fingers because of that and afterwards felt a little worried that I may be ripping off one of Michael’s materials but did it anyways because we had always had so many of the magazines lying around as a kid and felt a deeper personal connection to them.
10. From a house next door that was the site of a murder/arson in the 90’s that was graciously loaded into my truck in the middle of the night by the renovators who would suspiciously only work from midnight to 5am.
11. Salvaged from joists in the dumpster outside the storefront site of the massive Broad Street fire that almost claimed Dan’s apartment which was apparently started by a squatter who left a lit blunt on a pile of blankets.
12. Pulled from the burned floorboards of the arson house, hammered straight, oiled, and saved in a rinsed sour cream container.
13. Initially from the lumber salvage place on Hull Street that mills down old 19th century house timbers and then given to me by my studio landlord’s because it was left over from his kitchen cabinet refinishing that he had been saving because he owns a massive warehouse and he’s an inveterate packrat.
14. Salvaged from the VDOT warehouse liquidation.
15. Bought from Lowe’s after seeing how amazing it was when painting one of Michael’s sculptures.
16. Ordered from Ohio on eBay in a vain effort to start a collection of old USGS surveyors equipment after reading about John Wesley Powell and then abandoned after realizing the ultimate cost and impractical nature of the endeavor.
17. With a particularly nice sunset graphic on it I noticed long after forgetting the eatery of origin and then had to find a replacement cup because the first was soiled and I got it for free from the organic coffee roasters at the Oregon Hill farmer’s market after I noticed they carried the same line and told them about the first one
18. Gathered from where it spilled out the open hoppers cars at the train tracks down by the James after I got the idea from Matt and his coal castle.
19. Scraps saved from too many previous projects to list.
20. Successfully traded as part of a package deal with James in exchange for a violin obtained from a craiglist trade with a sweet music student for drum hardware I had saved from high school.
21. Scraps from James’ guitar-making days, unsuccessfully traded in part of another larger package deal with him for an as yet undelivered wooden Buddha, tuxedo, or tuba, none of which I seem to be able to find.
22. Bought from Pleasants years ago and initially intended for use in an ultimately misguided and failed video piece, but the current use of which in this later piece brought me a good degree of pleasure and provided the relished opportunity to seek out the colorful old chroming guys way on the south side in order to polish it up but was ultimately left sort of depressed by their squalid and hazardous working conditions.
23. Left in the studio from the previous tenant, a furniture designer who’s name I think was Jesse and who’s extensive use of walnut ended up covering every single square foot of that place with at least a quarter inch of toxic dust.
24. Retrieved after hours from the Trident Plastics dumpster after the good old boy owner told me I could hit it up because he “thought I was alright” but not to tell anyone else.
25. Left over material from building stretchers for Alexis
26. Given to me as a gift for helping a stressed and departing Arthur quickly move his studio and house into a cramped POD after he realized he was being optimistic with how many of his belongings he could actually keep.
27. Ordered on eBay after seeing the disturbing dinosaur logo from ads in old National Geographics and remembering them in Steve’s garage from childhood.
28. Given to me by Matt from his salad days as a straightedge vegan punk and all he would wear was labor clothing from the San Quentin thrift store in Orange County.