Many years ago I became a little obsessed with junk mail.
Where did it come from?
Why was it in my mail box?
How can I use it to make art so I don’t have to spend so much money on new paper for art class?
Seriously. After an intense semester at Northern Illinois University I hit break and looked at the wreck that was my apartment for the first time in over a month. During the clean up and clean out I realized that in a month of not throwing away mail I had a literal garbage bag full of junk mail. And at the same time I was struggling to afford the art supplies needed to complete assignments for school.
It felt maddening. I couldn’t afford paper and yet… here was a rich untapped resource. So I started with what, where, why, how and became lovingly entranced with it’s path from trees to my door.
Over the next semester I conducted junk mail experiments. It’s a tricky substance to work with. I never did really puzzle it out while in school. But it set the foundations for works to come.
Several years later I decided to go all in. I collected my junk mail for a year (pictured above). Which lead to more experiments and the final forms of the work – a series of paintings about migratory birds in Iowa whose habitat is being made into junk mail.
The series focuses on 37 migratory birds and each bird, in addition to the studies of the physical birds, I also collect data on migration patterns, sightings, history, and even bird calls. I’ve always wanted to share that side of the work, so here on this blog I’ll do just that.
Until Next Time
Kristin M Roach