During my Undergraduate in College, my computer went kaput. It was an old Performa Mac (one of those beige behemoths) and at best I could do Illustrator 5 and Photoshop 2 (taking it back to the old school because I'm an old fool). I still had to do my work though and noticing how you could manipulate images by dragging them on a scanning bed, I did some experiments on the photocopier in class and over the course of a few weeks developed a "printmaking" technique for drawing with charcoals and pens to get various effects that would be "flattened" down by the copiers at the fluorescent-lit 24 hours Kinko's where my friends worked. It's interesting to go from a computer where every move is impermanent to a machine that flattens down your work visually for seven cents a go. In any case, I got a newer appreciation in how layers and collage work, and when it came to Student Work later in the classes I taught, a deeper appreciation to convey how Photoshop functioned.
I was carrying this suitcase full of manilla envelopes and folders containing images to photocopy, manipulate, draw over: a "virtual" file system and I wanted to make the process easier on myself so I started combining my drawings into a book to serve as both narrative and as storage. Why store your files in a tree when it can be a breath of wind. Or less poetic, the nature of unused work is that it is inert, my investing process into an image or file, it becomes active under the current project at hand. But if, like in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, the stored, unused files were involved in a bed of meaning with dreams as the underlying structure, every time you search for information, it would have the barnacles of other tales attached to them.
It made me think of the graffiti artist's Black Book. A sketchbook, but also a portable file of things to throw up on walls wherever the artist may go.
This Book was Inspired in part by the work of the artist and activist David Wojnarowicz, who died from AIDS in 1992. Wojnarowicz combined collage and writing into all of his work, through altered photographs and texts, maps, and films, he was the kind of artist I felt a kinship towards when I was in school. The Title, "Ther's Something in my Blood" comes from one of his works and I take it to mean both his disease, and the deeper thing inside that drove him to create.
“Transition is always a relief. Destination means death to me. If I could figure out a way to remain forever in transition, in the disconnected and unfamiliar, I could remain in a state of perpetual freedom.”
― David Wojnarowicz, Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration