Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Where are you going? Where have you been?

from GRID Magazine, June 2011:

"The World is Flat" is a large map of the world i made of found cardboard. It was originally created for the Chestnut Hill Arts Initiative and exhibited in an abandoned car dealership window as part of a series of installation in public venues. Painted with acrylic, charcoal and pencil, it feels to me more like a found artifact than a painting, with all the characteristics and exuberance of a high school geography project. Picasso said, "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist and grow up." Perhaps this is my attempt at channeling my inner artist.

I find cardboard fascinating; fortunately, most of it is recycled. You could say it is a material relegated to permanent utilitarian status. In many respects, it represents our throw-away culture, as it is used primarily to ship objects from one point to another. It is the modern-day vessel for the transporting of both the precious and the practical. I am interested in the transformation of an object by shifting the context in which it is used.

I hope to engage the viewer in conversation about our culture's obsessive quest to turn our planet into a giant marketplace. Looking at this map, one can only imagine where the flatted boxes have been: from factories to trucks to container ships to trucks again, then stacked into massive bales and recycled. To a visitor from another planet, it might seem a strange way of using our precious resources.

I hope my map points to the absurdity and ever-burgeoning impact of our global markets on our environment, our lifestyles and our emotional well-being. We are dependent on these boxes to deliver us to our next plateau of dissatisfaction. It points to a cycle of waste and mindless consumption which leaves us with a pile of cardboard, always wanting more.

One of my inspirations was Vic Muniz, whose latest project, the film Wasteland, chronicles the life of trash pickers in his home town of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Using material from the landfill, Muniz creates giant portraits, then photographs them. It is in this spirit that i would like my map to be viewed, to empower people to be present to the reality of our actions and perhaps the opportunity to do something about it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Newsletter No. 22

Post cards from America.

Quarterly Newsletter from Tom Judd

Issue No.22 September 2010

What I did on my summer vacation

Picasso said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up.” The project I just completed for the Chestnut Hill Arts initiative is my effort to capture that childhood excitement of making something big and colorful just for the fun of it. I was given the opportunity to create an installation for the very large window of the former Magarity Ford on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill. The piece is entitled “The World is Flat”, is constructed of reclaimed cardboard boxes and is 12 feet by 25 feet long. The map of the world is painted with acrylic, charcoal and pencil. It feels more like a found artifact then a painting, which was the affect I was after. It has all the characteristics and exuberance of a high school geography project. I want to thank my assistant Jamie Rahn for his substantial contribution. He is a student at University of the Arts and was participating in a summer apprentice program. The map will be on display at the former Magarity Ford in Chestnut Hill through October 30th.


I was honored with an invitation to participate in the Kimball Art Center’s first residency program in Park City, Utah. It was entitled “Relevant” and took place the first week of August. The program had a very unique design that included teaming up emerging artists with more established “mentor” artists. The emerging artists took on creating one substantial piece of artwork to be completed by the end of the week, while the mentors made themselves available for critiques and long conversations. The resulting work they produced was ambitious, surprising and impressive. The completed art was then exhibited with the mentors work in the main gallery of the Kimball. A Gala fundraising auction was held as the finale, and the artists received half the proceeds of sales. It was a magical week!

One of the things that made this experience so rewarding for me was working with my emerging artist Michael Amici. His artwork and approach are truly unique. His work investigates science, language, and ancient cultures. Michael’s paintings feel like stain glass windows, mysterious maps and circuit boards. He is truly an original!

Michael Amici at “Relevant” Art residency in Park City, Utah

On the other Hand

I also had an exhibition entitled “On the Other Hand” at the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City in August. The show featured some larger canvases as well as smaller pieces created in the last year. The title of the exhibit is an acknowledgment of the contradictory process of making art; the result of choices and decisions that ultimately lead to a developed idea. Like the question commonly asked, “When do you know it’s done?” It is an absurdly subjective process full of pit falls and second-guessing. As Alex Katz always said, I only get into trouble when I think about it very long. John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” Ultimately, it’s supposed to be unknowable, otherwise, what’s the point. Art is for breaking up the convoluted process of controlling our uncontrollable lives.

“On the Other Hand …” 64” x 47” Oil on Canvas 2010