Paul Volker's Studio Newsletter
Try New Things
Every Day

March 10, 2014
     I've been spending the first part of 2014 oganizing my tiny work area, throwing stuff out, building easels (so I can work on four large paintings at once) and creating new paintings at the same time. I found a whole gallon of metallic paint for $5.00 (as if already having over 60 different paints wasn't enough) and have been mixing that with various colors, just to see what happens. It's important to try new things every day.
     I now also have quite a large supply of dried paper pulp, the result of recycling all the paper that would otherwise get shredded. By mixing wet paper pulp with wood glue, window caulking, and other binding compounds, I have developed a very good sculpting material that is both rock hard and extremely lightweight. It also adheres to styrofoam, which really sparks ideas for all sorts of projects, such as this 2 ft. x 2ft "Block of Granite" weighing only 4 lbs, with tiny wire legs.
Inside the Studio

The easels are waiting,
The paints are in stock,
There's a wood cutting room,
and a big "granite block".

People as Products
September 1, 2013
      When you get right down to it, what McDonalds manufactures, what their end product is, what they really make money from the production of, isn't hamburgers or soft drinks, or real estate, but the manufacture of consumers for those things. And how does one go about mass - producing a particular type of person?

      I was thinking about why it is that in my paintings, my animal subject matter is humorous, but my human subject matter is so cynical, and I realized that the two actually have nothing to do with each other, so comparing them is a mistake based on the coincidence that I painted them. But taken alone, the what my human characters are, something I have only just realized, are people who are in fact products. The paintings which come to mind in this regard have all been done in the past few years: Double Coupon Day Operation Value Meal the You Remember So-And-So series, (and a few more) and even the work, An Angry Mob Is A Happy Mob to some extent.

     But what prompted this realization, is that I have been working on a new series for a show in December, 2013, (in fact, a humorous animal set) which incorporates varying degrees of mass-produced as well as individually created components.
      And It occurred to me that the juxtaposition of these two things, mass-production and individuality, the dynamic tension between the two of them, that this actually plays a role in my work. Of couse, I have known this for some time, but I hadn't considered just how important it actually was, and especially in terms of how it bleeds into my human subject paintings, because what they end up addressing is not just the issue of the individual in society, but the question, to what degree are people becoming mass-produced products themselves?

The Artist's Garden
August 24, 2013
      Summer comes to an end, and the sunflowers are now skyscrapers,, the potato plants look like Christmas trees, the tomatoes have turned into red-eyed octopi, covering the ground with their green tentacles, bees still swarm around the mint. I rescued three worms the other day, giving them a new home in the compost which is wriggling with life.

All images by Paul Volker appearing on or linked through this website 2014 Paul Volker No reproduction without expressed permission.
volkerworld studios •  po box 141143 • columbus, oh 43214 •  email
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