Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation. Acrylic and pen on board. 9” x 12”. 2020. Abraham Lincoln And His Emancipation Proclamation came out of the #BLM movement that erupted during the pandemic. For whites, Lincoln’s proclamation is easy to see; for Blacks, it gets hidden in their struggle.
It was a working title, I've since jettisoned it, because it's how I'm exploring memory. What does memory look like? But it's something in my head. I'm making marks with carpentry tools. T-squares and carpenter pencils. On a bigger piece I'll use a blue line; I'm anxious to see the chalk wisp along the line. I'm making lines like a child who thinks what he's doing is so important, so grand, but isn't. That's how I see America being made better right now. I like seeing lines dissolve, fade, into dust. Even real dust from pastels.
I love process. I love reading about other artists' process. How did you do that? Today I read about an artist who just won a big prize who fills maybe three sketchbooks before she starts a painting. But then the painting doesn't change. I'm not so capable. Today, I tore three pages out of a sketchbook, and then took a nap. When I woke, I filled the three. That's all. The last three above. The ones with color. I want to learn how I feel about these lines. I want to understand what they are capable of doing.
John Greiner-Ferris is an artist in the Boston area. Sometimes he makes images. Sometimes he writes. Sometimes he does both.