In which the supreme court of treepledom decided that dragons shouldn't enter politics.
l to r...Reverand Larold, dragon, 99keysindatrees Gordon, the immortal mr. Ifp
(on the left you can see my first attempt at crochet... it just happened to fit reverend larold perfectly... the hat is made of bottlecaps)
I was going to make little wire/mache tail attachments for this guy & Mr. Gordon but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
oil paint on clay
this guy now has a much snazzier paint job on his coat, but I gave him to my uncle and I forgot to get a picture of it
I was going for a shark-like South American Businessman kinda guy... My roommate said it reminds him of something... so let me know if you know what that may be... I guess.
ultimately he's meant to be displayed with found objects such as small stones & seashells overflowing from his boxes
This would have made a good inkpot/penholder but I poked a hole in the bottom unfortunately... next time
I think of the guy as being French but my Aunt thinks a lot of my sculptures have a South American feel.
This is one of the earlier pieces, but I didn't get around to painting it until later. This character first appeared in sculpy form in New Orleans(that version eventually made it's way to England!) and appeared again in illustration form(scroll ahead ten pictures.) I gave this piece to Matt Perry at the Arts Exchange in NoBen VT.
I started making these cases for driftwood in the september 2012 after Kelsey Caitlin stole my room at the arthouse. Thanks Kelsey! The world of Driftwood Apreciation will be forever endebted to you.
Clothes for Driftwood Project
a division of the
International Driftwood Preservation Society
Owen Johnson: Namer
Found by the Mississippi, New Orleans, 2012
I found several great pieces... there are lots of good spots under the warfs & everywhere. I made five or six driftwood cozys but this is the only one I kept for myself. KMC has one, James Pothouse has another... I left one in the light tower thing at the end of the world... Mic Phedusha called it a "psychadelic drumstick" or something.
I made this back in 2010 or 2011... it was the first one I made, before Peaches showed me how to do the weaving. Car Hubcap hoop, hemp twine, found objects from NOLA. I was calling them "American Dreamcatchers"... I've made dozens I think... no idea where they all are. Now I've moved on to "dreamfishers"... basically the same basic concept except I crochet nets that trail out behind for three feet or so.
When I moved to the village of North Bennington Vermont, I posted this ad in the corner market... I was more interested in sharing my art and creating social opportunities for myself than finding a roommate, so I started tacking up drawings on top of it every few weeks. They're all done on computer paper, mostly ballpoint pen & colored pencil, some marker & india ink. In other words a curator's nightmare... they'll all fade to nothing in ten years probably. I know I can do a lot better, but these should give you an idea how far my illustration style has come and where I'm headed.
The second drawing I did in the Powers Market series was just a big blue guy vomiting up a big orange "roommate"... very snarky, and not very good. The third one was pretty decent... me, all green & with purple hair floating in the desert dropping paint on a woodchuck. Both vanished mysteriously. This was the fourth one... at the time I was seriously concidering walking across the country to protest Keystone XL. In the corner I mention Keystone, and refer to it as the most important single decision Obama would ever make. Most of my friends think that politicians are all a bunch of empty suits anyway, but I think the key word is "single." Here was one thing that was and is highly symbolic of all the whole environmental struggle, which would make a big difference. But there are a lot of things like that, so go out and be a revolutionary... a soldier for peace in your own life however you think best. MC Ritalin refers to local NoBen Tagger "DJ MethHead"
I really missed my old roommates when I was living my monk-like existence in NoBen. This drawing wasn't my best but I like the characters.
Mr. IFP deserves all the credit for that title. I felt like this one was a breakthrough... it's the first one that I used india ink & a bamboo stick pen on & I think the color quality is a bit better, the overal composition/background more cohesive & interesting. Of course it's still not good enough... I'm not that happy with the gnome's face... to angry & squished... lacks personality.
This one was kinda crazy. As you can see I couldn't be arsed to do anything with the background so I just wrote down this dream I had... kinda pointless. The lady character first appeared back in my early time at the arthouse... I made a little sculpy sculpture that sat in a flowerpot in the kitchen for years until one of Isabelle's friends took a liking to it & took it to London. I made another similar one out of clay recently, but I haven't photographed it yet because I'm still painting it. I think this is a character I'll keep coming back to.
I was really happy with this one at the time... Now I have to say the color quality of all of these seems tired to me. I like working with pens & markers/colored pencils but I'll probably have to start mixing in some paint too because I want to get more nuances and variety into the color scheme when I do a more serious project(on real paper.) Also the compositions are a little stifled by the 8 1/2X11 format. I'm looking forward to spreading my characters out across a nice bristol pad.
I did this guy when I was still living in NOLA... fall of 2012 I think. He's sort of inpsired by Chris Fontana's smile but mostly by myself. I later showed it to my friend & erstwhile bandmate Elliot Hartman Russel who asked if it was a dragon... that eventually inspired me to recreate him as the lizardman in the last picture.
I associate this feller with my old longlost friend and mentor Ralphalphenbanger... if anybody can put me in touch with that dude... I'd appreciate it.
pencil... these last few are all number 2 pencil on computer paper... sorry the image quality isn't that great.
Not the band. This was a really important drawing for me... I did this when I was about 11... 2000 or 2001. I hope to bring him back when I do a more ambitious work... possibly as the main character.
I've been sewing this overcoat by hand from scraps for months now... I should probably learn to use a sewing machine & take a patternmaking course... it'd make my life easier I spoze... sigh.
A lot of the material is from old pants of mine... Mike Phedusha may recognise some of his old pants too. The big plaid pieces are giant pockets.
The material with the writing on it is from an old potato sack(I know... duh.) The belt is made from an old pair of pyjama bottoms that I cut into strips, sewed together, braided into cordage, and then braided again. I decided to stop wearing leather after I read something in Autobiography of a Yogi(never finished it... got bored) about how hindus don't wear leather on spiritual journeys. I still wear a leather belt and shoes for fancy shmancee family outings and funerals. WHY AM I TELLING YOU THIS?!
I like this appolstry fabric, but I'm going to put silk on top of it... silk mobster shirts.
The material with the horses & horseshoes came from a shirt my(and Ralph's!) friend Forest (from Long Hungry Creek Farm!) gave me. I was supposed to make it into a vest with tails to give to him but... he's not really the kind of person you'd ever be lucky enough to meet twice.
KMC found the red fabric in the free pile at the art house... the stripey grey/red stuff is from Stacy Balkan's pyjamas... the yellow plaid was a dishtowel that has been in my life for as long as I can remember.
I tend to put the nice stuff on the inside... KMC's influence probably. On the Overcoat there are sooo many layers that will only be revealed when the whole thing falls appart... whatever the shelf life of polyester thread is, it should all fall apart at the same time, so whenever that happens maybe that can be an exhibition... Owen's dissintegrating overcoat. Or my descendants can just keep adding to it until it's the size of an igloo.
I started working on this dress at Zuccotti Park. My fellow occupiers may remember(probably not it was a hectic time) that I was planning on turning it into a giant beduin tent. Obviously that hasn't panned out(yet) but when I got back to NOLA I made it into a dress. The Black and White blotchy patch on the front is a piece of a canvas that Brad Wooten painted(as far as I know.) On the back is a piece of fabric that Old Man Owen gave me... he had some random aquaintences in Japan who he's been keeping in touch with for twenty years for no apparent reason and for no apparent reason he sent them one of my paintings, which they hung in the vestibule of their appartment, and sent back that piece of fabric, which now hangs on my butt. Aren't you glad you know the whole story?
at that time I was using thick cotton embroidery thread for everything, which looks cool but I think regular sized thread makes for more durable garments... it lays flat & doesn't make giant holes in the fabric so I think it'll hold up longer... I can always put some cosmetic patches on the outside with the embroidery thread if I'm feelin' frisky.
I made this hat by sewing together strips of scrap fabric, braiding them into cordage, and then sewing them into a spiral pattern. And then I learned to crochet the next day. But I like this one... it's very solid. I never got around to attaching the birch bark... now I just wear cool a baseball cap that Elliot gave me under it instead.
I DID NOT MAKE THOSE GLOVES... my cousin Zoe got them for me in Chile where she hangs out with an awesome dentist, probably doing laughing gas all day. My crochet is still at the most basic possible level. In other news, that is a pocket you see my hand going into... and the necklace I've had since the summer of 2010. The stone is from the Colorodo River in Austin TX(Roy G. Guerrero forest) the teacup part I found in the back yard at the art house... lizzy claims she was going to do something rilly kewl with it... so... duly noted. Sonia Saxamavone found the telephone in a stream in Tennessee where she and Ralph & I were skinny dipping... most beautiful stream. I put the thing together with some wire I found in Kentucky, while I was at Terrapin Hill. Then I got hit by a car a couple days later and for some reason I've been wearing the necklace compulsively ever since... pretty strange.
This is the third pair I've made... basically you start with a sock(it has to be stretchy... I have a specific kind I like to use,) cut a slit in the toe(so you can wear sandles with it) then sew padding all over it, especially under the arch. I've used towels in the past, but this time I used a fleece blanket which is really comfy. Then you cover the whole thing in some tough jean material or appolstry fabric... and I've put rubber on the bottoms but I haven't really figured out the best kind/way to do this so they remain flexible & comfortable... there's a danger that the more you ad to it, the more it'll pinch your toes so be careful & strech your toes out or put something inside the toe when you make them. I've always sewn them on my own feet, but ideally I'd like to make rubber molds of people's feet so they wouldn't have to sit for it. Not taht I want to mass produce them necisarily but I'm open to it. They're ridiculously comfortable, although probably not that durrable. But the whole point of patching is that you keep doing it... I know how to sew so it's not a problem for me... if I tried to sell them then I'd have a problem unless I only sold them to people who know how to sew... which everybody should anyway because real adults know how to sew. And do their taxes... so I guess I'm not real... yet.
I made this out of a vynyl stool cover I found on the side of the road while I was marching from Richmond to Chapel Hill with Occupy the Highway. Originally I had a piece of driftwood for the handle, but I ended up going with a looong spring inside a bike tire, which works pretty well, although if I had it to do again put the loops to attach it to the bag further apart because it doesn't really balance that well... tends to flop around from side to side. I'll make another one(next time I find a vynyl stool cover on the side of the highway.)
I made these while marching with Walkupy as well... somewhere on the internet there's a picture of Cologino wearing them... I think he's smoking a cherute. Ian destroyed the original JohnzeoneVisionGoggles because "there was a good pair of sunglasses in the middle," THOSE WERE A COLLECTORS ITEM YOU NINNY. You'll be sorry some day Ian.
The safety goggles underneath were a huge improvement over the originals... they allow the piece to ride on top of my glasses... with the original ones on I could barely see anything.
I guess you're supposed to register trademarks but whatever. SSSHHHH. I found most of the flops by the riverbank in NOLA. They're pretty comfortable to stand in... walking is a little bit of a challange but you get used to it... definately gives you a little bounce but I can't exactly sprint in them & sometimes they go out from under me & I look like a bafoon... I mean I look MORE like a buffoon than usual. It's all about how you tie them.
Sockasins with the multiflops... with these ones I really don't intend to wear them with the full multiflops... just a simple one level flip-tie would be ideal.
These were the second pair I made(the first ones weren't nearly so stylish.) They were really comfortable until I added all the stuff to the outside... now they're a tad tight... not uncomfortably so if I'm just casually strolling short distances, but I wouldn't wear them for any serious walking... more of a hang around an art gallery shoe. I'll perfect the science eventually. Or learn to make real shoes.
sometimes I wear lots of hats... and then my mom says "you look like an idiot"... and I cry myself to sleep(not.)
My mom found this hat on the side of the road when I was in highschool... a neighbor was throwing it out. I painted the band, & added a lot of stuff to it until it started to fall apart to much... note dreamcatcher, deer's spike horns, antenai, little medal I painted, occupy wallstreet:democracy at work pin with photo from Union Square, plastic sheep, little wings. I don't really wear it any more because I want to fix it but I'm not sure how... probably I'll have to sew it on top of another hat.
Ralph Alphinbaangger gave me this hat back in 2010... made by Johny's custom hatters in San Antonio(?) Texas... I added the stones & buttons, which make a sort of map that I'm not going to tell you about because I don't want to. My grandparents gave me the stones. Unfortunately the hat's a little to big for me so I don't wear it much.
I made this back around Christmas/New Years time. I started with a wire frame, and added patches on it piecemeal. I don't wear it that much because it's really light & it just sorta sits on top of my head, so if there's a strong wind it's liable to blow right off... I plan to make a little cordage chin-strap for it but I keep forgetting to do that.
the big green piece is a silk shirt I got from Kim Folse... I'm going to put more that on the back of my hoodievest.
That black & white square pattern is from an old fat mobster's shirt or so the story goes. Brain-On got a bunch of these nice silk shirts from his boss at ArtAccent Tattoo on Rampart... supposedly they had belonged to a mafioso who died. I used to wear them as a sort of sarong/samurai outfit for most of the summer of 2012... really comfy. I love wearing shirts as skirts... you don't have to alter them at all, just button them in the right spot so they fit your hips and hope it don' slip when you're walking by the gas station & flash the homebums gettin' their drink on.
I just wanted a clear shot of the potatosack without the belt in the way... just so's I can represent North Pownal VT(one of my many hometowns.)
Matt Perry suggested that I stop by the Arts Exchange for a knitting/bluegrass night. I met Amy Anselmo there, who taught me how to crochet. The knitting group was planning to knittbomb a poets shack that they had built, and sell it to benefit a friend of theirs who was undergoing chemotherapy. I made this piece out of bottlecaps, twist ties(crocheted) abstract drawings covered in packing tape, and yarn. Amy and I decided it would be better as a standalone piece hanging inside the shack, since the drawings would fade in direct sunlight. Amy took this photo. Thanks Amy!
After I learned how to crochet I had the idea to crochet the dream-catchers... I don't know how I got the idea to make it a net that trails off behind, although it might have been partially inspired by something my friend Daniel from Occupy the Highway said about using the dreamcatchers to fish with(making fish traps.) I added a lot of stuff to this one that I had found all over(Long Island, New Orleans, Wisconsin, Vermont, etc.) I hung it up in the Basement concert hall at the VT Arts Exchange. I took these photos(sorry they're not that great.)
This is a little guy made out of twist ties. The first cat I saw do this was Ryan Dunne, who, during our Freshman year at MICA made a really impressive replica of the Battle of Constantinople out of twist ties. It had cassles, ships, and hundreds of little soldiers... it was pretty mind blowing. I wonder what he's up to now... probably playing a 19th Century Russian Poet on TV. Sometimes I think about ordering a ton of twist ties & making dozens of little guys & girraffes & whatnot to sell on the streets for a couple bucks a pop. I think it'd be a good way to make money, because you can make em' pretty quickly & easily, and they're easier to part with than something that you invested a lot of time in & may feel more attached to. Also I think twist ties are pretty cheap although I haven't looked into it yet. Here's Ryans Deviant-art... and there's a lot of twist tie art out there apparently.
The Shells are from Long Island. That's a bluejay feather. My mom gave my that red ceramic heart... it's from somewhere... I wanna say outside the US. That black & white thing with the peace sign is a hackysack.It probably belonged to one of the boys from "Of Lumeria," my neighbor Steve's metal band.
That's a hair pick of course. I forget where I found it. Lego piece, bottlecaps, bits of bark from the Mississippi. Bell.
Coupla shotgun shells, buttons, key. That's an abstract drawing I did on paper from an abandoned warehouse in NOLA. I started covering them in packing tape so I could send them through the mail, and to preserve them. I like how it looks too.
The wings are made of Goose feathers from the mill pond in North Benn. There's also another Turkey feather.
In October 2013, I set out on foot from my mom's house in North Pownal VT for New York city. The plan was to walk along the Hudson as much as possible, collecting driftwood & periodically mailing it back home. A few days into my grueling trek I was passing through the lovely berg of Schaghticoke, when I heard "Hey wierd guy!" this was the start of a beautiful friendship.
I had made it as far as a few miles south of Poughkeepsie, mainly walking on the RR tracks by the river, when a cop car pulled up. It was two metro police who said they'd been looking for me for two days. They were very nice to me, but insisted on putting me on a train to the city. I was pretty tired by this point, so I was ok with that. They told me that they weren't arresting me because of the way I acted(mellow and polite.) When they got the call about someone walking barefoot on the Railroad tracks, they had suspected that I was unhinged or possibly trying to die. One of them even said to me "you're not unbalanced"(I laughed)"well, you're not unbalanced in a way that concernes US... you're unbalanced in the way that WE'RE unbalanced... we're all a little crazy right?" I think they were glad to meet me, hopefully it made their day more interesting. The hat I'm wearing is a MetroNorth conductor hat that I found on the tracks. Later, on the train, a burly snarler of a conductor made me give it to him claiming it belonged to "a fallen comrade." You'd think I'd have learned my lesson about wearing provocative headgear on public transportation by now. I was once refused entrance to a Greyhound bus in Georgia because of the deer horns sticking out of my fedora. But that's another story.