July 15, 2014

The Tango Singer: Milestone Number 2400

For some years now, I have been working on a digital archive of my work. Occasionally, I reach a milestone; The first one thousand works...the first two thousand works. Sometimes just even numbers are small events to celebrate. The drawing of the singer above marks entry number 2400. The drawing is full of a number of circles to mark the two zeros in my new number.

What is in a number? Is there a right number for an artist’s life work? Certainly other artists in history have made much more than 2400 works. Others less. Much depends on the size of the work and the speed of execution. I have a balance of quick work, slow work, small work and large work. So I would expect my lifetime of accumulation to be about average.

Most artists don’t painstakingly catalogue their work. Perhaps they are too successful in the here and now of marketing and exhibiting to be bothered by it. The cataloguing for me has certainly been time consuming. I also think that the catalogue is a contribution for a posterity that may never be but there if needed. It has helped benefit scholars who have written about my work.

I must confess that it was a hard sell for me when my brother, a scholar editor an archivist himself, first proposed the project. It would take too much time I whined. And there was this problem of having to confront mortality. When we first designed the archive and defined catagories for items (i.e. drawings, mosaics, paintings, paintings in series etc.) we had to agree upon an upper limit to a number. The limit was 999 for each category. In other words, I probably wouldn’t do more than 999 of any one type of art before I DIED. That is most likely correct but to see it in black and white was rather intimidating. Thus far I have not surpassed the 500 mark in any one category but with over 342 drawings and maybe a few more years left I suppose it would be possible.

For now, I’ll celebrate the number 2400 with a hope for many more to come.

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