Saturday, November 18, 2006

Press at Art Basel: Stuffy's

Yesterday, at Art Basel: Stuffy's, I met an artist named Press. He was working on a portrait, from memory, using only toner, Q-tips, and a brush.

Press' portrait, with tools. He is unsatisfied with the jaw and wishes parts of the portrait were darker, but the copy shop doesn't have any more empty toner cartridges for him.

Press is welcome at Art Basel: Stuffy's.



Anonymous said...

Press talked my ear off...

He has made 1800 poems, was in MCV Hospital for 10 years, and "was in a coma for 3 years, 5 months, 4 days" after being shot in the head and stomach while saving a woman from being raped. "They found cancer while I was in the coma. They put me through chemo... which I guess was a good thing because I didn't feel any of the side-effects."

Most of his poems are not written down because Press has spent most of his life illiterate, only recently learning how to read and write. He composed his first poem sitting in Monroe Park, on the last day of 1999... "it took me three years to learn how to spell them and print them up."

He recited a poem, and told me that someone named Professor Clip has been recording them. He had Professor Clip, or someone, google his poetry to make sure he wasn't copying something he'd heard before... "everything I've done is original. I kind of figured it was, but I want to be sure."

Press has never been to school.. "when I was a baby I was put in a trash can. I was found in a brown paper bag"... he was placed in a foster home where he was chained up for ten years until he was rescued, and that "when I came out I couldn't see, walk, or talk." Press doesn't know his age.

Press has made more than 140 artworks... "this is number 149"... using whatever materials he can find. He made a portrait of Max Weinberg, including drums and cymbals, on a 5" skillet pan using bolts and nails. Press prefers to work stoned.

Press lives in the woods. He carries ground coffee in a plastic bottle and gets hot water at Stuffy's. He brings his own cup and filters. He gives all of his artwork away, even when he is offered money for it. He has a big Jesus painting in a church somewhere, which I will try to find.

Press says he has used 7,812 Q-tips in making this portrait.

Press's favorite artists at Art Basel: Stuffy's are Travis Conner, Paul DiPasqaule, Michelle Arthur, Bruce Wilhelm, and Barbara Tisserat. Press on Scott Eastwood... "I guess I could do that". Press on Timothy Sean Johnston... likes it but "I see a lot of that".

Press was hesitant to say that he didn't like any of the work, only that there is some that he doesn't understand. He cannot get into Don Crow, and his strongest criticisms were for Michael Lease's obituary piece, expressing concern for those friends who may have seen it and thought it was real... "that's only supposed to happen once"... "he's going to pay for that".

How much of this is true? I don't know...

Anonymous said...

Press is not so far off... Obit to Self April 10, 2005, the title of the "obituary piece" made a number of close friends and even some of my mom's friends very upset. After the initial critique of the piece Tom Adair was very worried about me and his words were similar to Press'. He made me nervous and his words, (in conjunction with all the resons why I made the piece and the death of a close friend) had me on edge for a couple of weeks.

Press brings some of those thoughts and my questions about my motivation for the piece, back.


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