Solvent Transfers with Rauschenberg and Sajecki

[To contribute to the MfRh GoFundMe campaign, go here.]

Robert Rauschenberg is well known for his prints and drawings that incorporate multitudes of both hand-formed and found imagery, as well as text and markings, to make busy and vibrant collages. One of the techniques he used in his work, solvent transfer, is a lot like the method I’ll use to install my stories in MicroFiction RowHouse.

To place my microfictions on walls and other surfaces, I’ll use a process called photocopy transfer. After laying out a story in InDesign, I take it to Kinko’s to print it out. I then place the text face down on the wall, moisten the back with wintergreen oil, and rub the paper vigorously with a wooden spoon.

Wall created with photocopy transfer for my Easter Rabbit book release show.

The wintergreen oil acts as a solvent to loosen the photocopy toner and allows it to transfer to the wall. Many artists have used this basic technique to incorporate text and images into their artwork, including Rauschenberg.

In his art, Rauschenberg used solvents like lighter fluid and turpentine to transfer the photos and words he found in magazines and newspapers. In his drawing below, the faces in the work were applied in this way.

Untitled, 1968

A contemporary artist who uses a solvent transfer technique, and who taught it to me, is encaustic painter Christine Sajecki. In “41st and Druid,” shown below, the colorful sky, trees, and bushes were painted in molten wax while the buildings were applied with photocopy transfer.41standDruid

Christine is a master in the art of photocopy transfer and will lead a workshop in the technique in September during MicroFiction Workshop. She’s also a great teacher and her past workshops in encaustic painting have quickly sold out. Her transfer workshop is free, but you should definitely sign up early to reserve a spot, as soon as the workshop date is announced in the near future.

[To contribute to the MfRh GoFundMe campaign, go here.]


Welcome to MicroFiction RowHouse!

[To contribute to the MfRh GoFundMe campaign, go here.]

For more than a decade, I have been installing my extremely short stories on the walls of private homes and art galleries. By means of a process called photocopy transfer, I print these site-specific stories directly on the walls, as well as on wood panels, canvas, paper, and other materials. 

I’ve long wanted to occupy an entire Baltimore rowhouse with these microfictions (10-50 words), installing stories that tell the history of a fictional family who lived in that home—their lives, hopes, trials, happiness and sorrows.

Recently, I decided to take the matter into my own home, using that familiar and intimate space to create my MicroFiction RowHouse. I will share my home with this fictional family and its spirits, writing dozens of stories and placing them on a variety surfaces in every room. The stories will be of many shapes and sizes to match the space they are printed on, the room they occupy, and tale they tell.

In a bid to fund the MicroFiction RowHouse, I launched a GoFundMe campaign. The campaign is meant to fund the project space, my time, materials, a large series of public events, and honorariums to the many artists who will lend their creativity to the project.

The installation will begin in August 2017, and throughout that month and September, I’ll host literary readings, art and writing workshops, musical performances, and an opening reception, all of which will be free to the public.

Workshops will include Microfiction Writing, led by me, Photocopy Transfer, led by encaustic painter Christine Sajecki, How to Rant: A Workshop, led by writer and performer Dylan Kinnett, and others. Readings will be hosted by poet Jamie Perez and fiction writer Justin Sanders. Musical acts include the psychedelic rock of Duchess and the DeadBirds the poetic harmonies of The Mole Suit Choir, and others.

There will be many incentive gifts to donors of the GoFundMe campaign, including the opportunity to have me custom write you a microfiction that you would then own. You would also receive a video of one of several art luminaries reading the story, including filmmaker, artist, and writer Stephanie Barber and novelist and short story writer Laura van den Berg. For other gifts, visit the GoFundMe page.

To read updates on the project, scroll down for more posts. Thank you for your support!

[To contribute to the MfRh GoFundMe campaign, go here.]