Source of the material

A few years ago, I bought several LPs at the Malden Library's annual Friends of the Library Sale. They were priced at a quarter and the album artwork was pure schlock. I bought them just for the artwork, which left me with a bunch of actual LPs.

I didn't have a record player at the time and I didn't want to throw them out. I ended up using them as a canvas for some new pieces. Originally I painted on them using stencils. There were other artists creating similar work. I only have one image of my stencil work from that time: Purple Bear.

I wanted to do something more with the circular shape. I ended up doing my Growth series on these LPs. The circular shape reminded me of a petri dish and these painting are really about experimenting with organic growth.

The Growth Series

The bulk of my paintings on vinyl records were part of the Growth series. While trying to figure out what to do with the records I started to keep a small journal of microscopic images including: viruses, bacteria, medical conditions, etc. I think I got a bunch of old issues of The New England Journal of Medicine and cut out the more interesting images. This somehow got me to look at the records not as what they meant (old media, storage, black vinyl, grooved canvas) and think of the shape as a stand-in for a petri dish that I could somehow use to experiment with painting as a biological process. (I mean I had no use for the records, so why not experiment on them. The first few records were covered with primer and I started to paint on them with the goal of colonization of the surface by single strokes. There were a few rules on the paintings. Each cell had to be enclosed and linked to another cell. The shapes would form based on the concept of time-lapse, certain parts of the painting would grow faster than others. This would cause the paintings to take their shape. I also wanted to have more than one starting point on some paintings. This would result in several colonies on the piece or one giant colony where it was clear when smaller colonies merged (the shape of the cells would be smaller, more squished to reflect an impact). That was the thinking behind the creation of the pieces.

Of course I ran through the first few records I got really quickly. I started scouring library sales for cheap vinyl. I was also given a bunch of white label mixes from a friend who had purchased lots of LPs off of ebay. I suddenly had more than enough material to make these pieces. I continued throughout most of 2005 and 2006 to paint my growth series. The series were in shows throughout New England including:

  • SOWA Art Walk. South End, Boston, MA. (May 21 & 22, 2005)
  • Collections. Elise Mankes Studio, Marblehead, MA. (September 15th - October 13th, 2005)
  • Vinyl Killers 3. Zeitgeist Art Gallery, Portland, OR. (October 27- November 26, 2005)
  • Bazaar Bizarre. Cyclorama, Boston, MA.(December 11, 2005)
  • The LOCALS: III. Artspace@16, Malden, MA.(February 11 - March 11, 2006)
  • West Medford Open Studios. West Medford, MA. (April 29th & 30th, 2006)
  • SOWA Art Walk & Open Studios. SoWa Art District, Boston, MA. (May 20th & 21st, 2006)
  • NEMO Art Show. Cyclorama, Boston. (September 28 - October 1, 2006)
  • Panopticon-GSLIS Technology Lab Fall Art Show, Simmons College, Boston, Ma (September 18- December 21, 2008)

After Growth

In 2007 I entered the Masters Program for Library and Information Science at Simmons College and started teaching at Emerson College which gave me very little time for art. There are several half-finished pieces of a new series of paintings waiting. This series is a bunch of line drawings on yellowed paint on the records. It is more representational than the growth drawings. I wanted to change my focus and think about vinyl as old media and what that means.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.