You’re here about the job – you’re looking for work – and this is the ongoing story…
- The artist with 4 x 4 foot photographic tessellation
This story is bound for the national and international stage. I know – I know. It’s a brazen lead. But before you’re put off, just consider what the Italian artist Piero Manzoni did: he sold his own breath. And after that he sold Merda d’Artista! He’s one to read about.
My wife and I are artists. We recently partnered on a conceptual art project. The project involves a portfolio of my tessellations coupled with the creation of real jobs and it is called “Project Job Creation.” You can be a part of this if you’d like. It will work.
I completed a portfolio of 49 masterpiece tessellations built of 35mm photographs. The pieces are perfect squares and we are selling them through independent art sellers.
A conceptual art project that creates jobs?
- “fabric in the woods where I climbed the bent tree” - 4 x 4 foot photographic tessellation from “I’m considering the square”
For sure. The unemployed, the underemployed, the motivated and the unmotivated alike—we have a job for them. Put this in lights: art seller.
An art seller can be the jobless woman in Iowa. The talented high school senior with the audacity to approach a celebrity. Or the ingenious individual who needs some cash and knows an art collector or financially secure friend. We also welcome the college dropout, the North Carolinian, the family of four living on the West Coast, the bored manager, Lance Armstrong, the dog walker and bartender and veteran and occupier and coffee drinker—anyone can join our project as art seller.
In return for selling a perfect square from the portfolio of 49 pieces, the seller earns 40 percent.
Any first 7 pieces sell for 8,000 U.S.D. and the seller’s 40 percent is 3,200 U.S.D.
Every next set of 7 pieces doubles in price.
And each sale from the final 7 includes one perfect square along with any one piece of stored art from my intriguing body of early work.
- Amanda and Christoher Shoup. Milwaukee Summer Fest. 2011.
Manzoni’s work was ground-breaking due to the ideas he executed. All of my work here is the result of an 8 year period (2004 to 2012) when big ideas appeared like the streetlights along Fullerton Avenue. During this period I was blessed with consistent insights and skilled hands. I still have big ideas – I keep journals of new insights and I practice with my hands as much as possible - but right now I’m on pause while I breath life into “Project Job Creation.”
This is a conceptual art project. This is an introduction to a previously unknown artist. This is a chance for early collectors to gain a handsome return on their investment and for all collectors to add a strong conversational piece to their collection. This is also a story that people will appreciate—we are ordinary folk from Illinois with a conceptual art project designed to help people by putting them to work while capitalizing on the principle of trickle down economics.
Access the galleries at www.christophershoup.zenfolio.com. Please view the work, consider the concept, and strongly consider joining our project.
Everyone should feel comfortable contacting us with additional questions and thanks,
Christopher and Amanda Shoup
Kankakee County, Illinois
projectjobcreation at gmail dot com
- These are the 49 tessellations in the portfolio “I’m considering the square”
ONGOING UPDATES (Scroll down…)
I sketched out a logo and recreated it on the computer. Below is the result.
- “Towards a logo.” – Christopher Shoup. 2012.
Amanda wrote and directed a short commercial for the project and she asked me to create and post it on a YouTube account. The resultant commercial can be seen at Project Job Creation commercial 1.1 and it’s ridiculous and might stll hold water after the elections.
This morning I created a single-take film for the YouTube channel, The feet of a guitar player. One, because I wrote a song with a borrowed VOX pedal and I wanted to hear it without at the same time playing it, and two, because I wanted to see if my right foot could act in a film.
Amanda created an introduction packet for art collectors and art investors and important “art world people” as a means of getting our project noticed. It contains a card, a 5 page letter, and a collectable logo piece. We have high hopes for responses because we’re contacting really great people.
This morning we sent 10 mailers. I am hand-drawing each return address. Consequently, United States Postal Service facilities become short-term galleries for this momentary work. I posted a video, Addressing the mailers, on YouTube that shows me creating the mailer for Eileen Kinsella of ARTnews in New York.
- Letter for Madeleine Grynsztejn, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
- The first 10 mailers on my limestone patio.
- Amanda really wants to get Ellen Degeneres’ attention.
Over the past week, I’ve hand-drawn more than 50 return address labels. In the process, I envisioned a wall piece: the logo strung between two complete brick buildings with fantastic, colorful elements appearing all throughout the landscape of the larger composition.
What do Amanda and I hope for? To connect with people who also conceptualize great possibilities in our fantastical dreams.
Amanda and I will use our profit from “Project Job Creation” as an important grant. We will revitalize a stagnant sector of our local economy and create even more jobs. “Project Job Creation” is a tightly wound coil.
“this is how it happens” (one). Christopher Shoup. 2012. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum.
“this is how it happens” (two). Christopher Shoup. 2012. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum.
- “this is how it happens” (three). Christopher Shoup. 2012. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum.
I drafted the second progression of my logo / wall design. It’s terribly rudimentary but I’ll claim it. I did so on the back of the mailer going to Sir Nicholas Serota at the Tate Modern in London. Barry McGee’s wall installation at UCLA/Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2000) is an inspiration for what I want to do.
- View of Barry McGee’s wall installation at UCLA/Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
- Mailer to Sir Nicholas Serota at the Tate Modern, London. Notice I re-spelled “Project” “Projoct” because that’s how the British say it.
- ‘second progression of eventual wall piece’ drafted on back of Sir Nicholas Serota’s mailer. – Christopher Shoup, 11.10.2012
The square tessellations accompanying the following confessional statements are included in a recent series created from photographs taken during a walk on Amanda’s birthday.
ABOVE: two studies of rock creek. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum. From ‘a walk on Amanda’s birthday.’
Amanda and I have a good relationship – we both like walks, the same music, neither of us likes housework, we’re good parents, we each have a deep appreciate for science and the wonderous ecosystems stitched atop the earth, we’ve had adventurous travels and we always have fun together whenever we get a “date night.”
ABOVE: the artist as shadow in own picture. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum. From ‘a walk on Amanda’s birthday.’
Don’t judge us solely by our day jobs (public school teachers) – we are both artists by nature. We sat in the same room a lot working on our respective art projects (her oil painting, me working with photographs, drawing or writing). We listened to music and talked and worked but it wasn’t until a few winters ago that we decided to partner on a project. We created three drawings, the final (The Movement of Celebrity Commodity) reaching a height that hinted at our greater potential. Aside from learning that we could create good work together, we also learned that our egos were competitive. Because we were interested in creating three rich compositions, we did a lot of talking prior to working. Sometimes, we were driven to argue because we each wanted our own ideas to win. On better occassions we acted like real mature folks and worked and collaborated in peace.
ABOVE: tank. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum. From ‘a walk on Amanda’s birthday.’
Q. How did “Project Job Creation” begin, and when did Amanda get involved in it?
A. Project Job Creation began as a single spark. This past June I was framing work for an upcoming show at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bradley House in Kankakee. Sunlight poured through the southern windows in our bedroom. I was down there in it, working. I had great hopes for the Frank Lloyd Wright show – my work looked awesome. In an instant my train of thought switched tracks and went from self-satisfaction to longing. I often longed for more. I can’t for sure say why, but being a contemporary artist keenly aware of the art world, I am driven to be ‘in it.’ I didn’t know how to get attention, though. I lacked the devotion to sell myself to the national and international art world, where I felt I could hold a place. Get other people to do the work for me, sparked in my mind. Create an art project where I give people jobs selling my art. It first appeared as a flashing thought.
I learned in college that early artists considered themselves conduits for the gods. These early artists didn’t have original inspirations. They were merely conduits through which their gods’ inspirations were made manifest. I can accept that. What happened next was Freud invented the ego. And suddenly “the artist” was in control.
I’ve given up on thoughts that I’m the sole pilot. I’m just a steering assistant. Oftentimes I’m a receiver of ideas that appear in a flash from elsewhere. I’m sure there are others who will identify with this.
ABOVE: dry wood. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum. From ‘a walk on Amanda’s birthday.’
Amanda and Alice came home and I told them I would create a conceptual art project where I employed anyone and everyone to sell my art. “It will be a project about creating jobs!” Amanda thought it was a good idea, “but don’t just daydream it and pursue it for a week and then put it away like you always do. Follow through with it,” she said.
ABOVE: four dimensions / clear water. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum. From ‘a walk on Amanda’s birthday.’
June and July and August and September passed. I’m always working on something. I had gotten a tube amp for father’s day and the guitar was taking a lot of my attention. I started work on another large writing project (A Good Night’s Hard to Find, which is going to be a great novel). I was back for my eleventh school year in my increasingly dysfunctional school district. We had a new baby (Leona). Something though was missing in my life. I was 39. There was no reason to hesitate. I needed to go long. “Project Job Creation” started to drumbeat in my mind near the end of September.
ABOVE: leaf study one. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum. From ‘a walk on Amanda’s birthday.’
Four weeks ago, after several failed launches, one of which involved me spending 400 dollars on a help-wanted ad in the Sunday New York times that got me only 9 responses, Amanda stepped in. “I was thinking why should I watch you put other people to work selling your art – I want that job. I want to sell your art so I can stop teaching and spend full time with Leona (then eleven weeks old).”
ABOVE: leaf study two. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum. From ‘a walk on Amanda’s birthday.’
Amanda drafted letters and brainstorm ideas and daydreamed with me. We clashed at times on certain things – when our visions went off on their own tangents. Some art is born in arguments. I learned the really hard way not to change a single word in something she’s written (she’s a fine writer). But within the past two weeks, we hit our stride. She approaches this project differently than me. She wants to use the money like a grant to re-invest in our local community and economy. I want to create this art and continue to create art as my occupation. But in the end, we’ve learned to capitalize on our individual strengths in order to strengthen the project. We know where it will go.
ABOVE: leaf study three. 48 x 48 inches on aluminum. From ‘a walk on Amanda’s birthday.’
We’ve sent mailers to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, London, Switzerland, Germany, the Middle East and Beijing. Contacted individuals have been hand-selected through Amanda’s research. We have this blog; we have 2 videos posted to YouTube; I have my zenfolio site; today we started a facebook page (search “Project Job Creation” on facebook). While I’m the first to admit that I naturally loathe ‘the waiting process’ and that putting myself out there like this gives me an stomach ache, “Project Job Creation” remains a tightly wound coil, and I envision how excellent it looks when expanded.
I’ve got to get my game on.
Next week is Amanda’s final week of maternity leave. When she returns to teaching, our lives will get even more busy. We have sent out over 70 mailers (please, please contact us!). We decided to go to the Chicago museums, pulling out the stops and photographing a performance piece I’ve planned for years.
On Tuesday, November 20, I am going to wear a 2 x 2 foot aluminum piece into Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Chicago’s Art Institute. I’m I going to get my art photographed within the throngs of a downtown humanity. I have no idea what will happen. I think I’m the first person to ever wear his own art into an art museum. The following photographs document the preparation steps I undertook today.
Aluminum original worn on my back.
Side view of aluminum piece on my back.
Front view wearing aluminum original on my back.
Damage-free, removable “backpack” straps constructed today.
The 4 x 4 inch flyers I will pass out. *I’ll also sign some during the day.
Sketch of me walking up the front steps of Chicago’s Art Institute with onlookers watching.
Sketch of me inside a gallery room at Chicago’s Art Institute.
List of good and bad things I considered that could happen to me when I’m wearing my art into the museums.
GOOD THINGS: I could be applauded, invited to lunch by the museum director, photographed for a major newspaper, “liked” on facebook, this could lead to the first piece sold, I could be asked to kiss newborn babies on the head, I could be smiled at by security guards, I could be offered popcorn.
BAD THINGS: I could be laughed at, dismissed, spit on, pepper sprayed, shouted at, shot with a rubber bullet, hog-tied and thrown into a police car, blown up by a predator drone, have popcorn thrown at me, bit by an angry child.
Late last night I had the idea to make a story out of my initial process steps for the art museum performance piece. This morning, after I finished my Sunday morning routine of sorting and paying the next bills, I got onto the laptop and created the work below.
input / output sketches, 8 x 10. – Christopher Shoup. 2012
I am the one who has always wanted to express himself. It’s like an obsession. That “Chris” above? I wrote it. On my mom’s kitchen wall. When I was little. And when she busted me, what did I say? “It wasn’t me.” Perfect.
Tomorrow is Tuesday. Museum Day. Amanda and I are going to Chicago. I’m missing a day of work for the event. In the end, what lesson does this teach my fifth grade students? “Teaches them to dream.” From time to time I’m asked to do that, between times when I’m instructed to consider them as standardized test scores culled from unscientifically collected data. When the teacher no longer dreams, what happens?