Thomas Arthur Schaefer
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Friday, December 31, 2004

Retroconsumerism: Fluoride Set 2004

Finally completed the 24 Fluoride paintings today. I think this has been the longest project outside of the 100 Small Works I've ever worked on.. and I'm so glad I am finished with it (at least for this year). The one thing that I did learn is that I utterly hate peppermint toothpaste... it's rotten!! Cinnamon will be my choice for all of 2005.However I won't be doing another set of Fluorides for 2005. (1) I don't have the patience to deal with another 365 days worth of painting these things (2) I don't have the space to keep them... 24 paintings that are 24" x 32" and 2" thick take up a lot of space in this tiny apartment — I'm going to have to move into a bigger space in 2005.

Now that the most tedious part of the project is done it's time for the second tedious phase and the continuation of the 2004 Fluoride set in 2005. Framing of these works is gonna cost me a small fortune so I'll have to start looking for funding. All 24 works are going to be set in white powder-coated aluminum frames. They will be encased in a 1/4" thick piece of etched glass. The glass will have the month and time-of-day designation etched into the lower right quadrant of the glass. Certain pieces will have a square etched on the dates we switch brushes and paste. This part will correlate to another aspect of the series, the artifacts.

Each of the tubes and brushes (artifacts) has been cataloged and stored away to be placed in glass vitrines. There will be 4 vitrines each with a red & blue set of artifacts. Each vitrine will have either an engraved plaque or etched glass indicating the dates the artifacts were used between. The dimensions will be 12 x 12 in relation to the number of months the artifacts were used.

Another part of the series are two monochrome oil paintings (red/blue) that I am painting in a retroconsumerist vein. The base subject for the painting are a set of 4 photographs I paid a professional photographer (Jaroslav Kanka) to take of the artifacts and of me brushing my teeth. So far I have completed the underpaintings for the 10" x 12" area of the left side. Both of these portions will have to be completed first in their entirety and masked off before I begin the more technical right hand sides. These are going to take me a while to paint because they must be exact copies of the photographs, if they vary in any way from the original they will not work under my terms of retroconsumerism. I've explained to a few people the reasons for doing the paintings... "I don't want to listen to people tell me that the Fluoride set is nice but I should learn to really paint first before I go off on some conceptual trist." - I'm not hearing that. The Fluoride set by themselves are about as minimalistic as I could get, but I think that these paintings will be a perfect compliment. While being highly detailed they will still fall into that vein of minimalism because of the aesthetics that are going into their creation. These paintings will also be framed in the same fashion as the Fluoride set. They are 12" x 24", so mathematically they will be equally proportioned to the other works in the series.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with the packaging left over from the artifacts. In terms of the real material I think I'd like to put it into a paper pulp machine and use it for the gallery catalog paper (very retroconsumerism). I'm also tooling with the idea of doing either large Warhol like replicas of the boxes or even some bronzed enamel painted artifacts (similar to the Adds series). Another idea came from the actual packaging itself. It has a silver mirrored paper on it and the other day I dissected & flattened the boxes and made a 400% enlargement of both. I'm playing with the idea of silkscreening the designs to large die-cut sheets of mirror, so that the parts that appear silver on the real boxes are real mirror on these. I think it'll be a nice concept with the mirror making viewers catch themselves looking at their own teeth.. so that if the rest of the work doesn't make them think of their dental health they'll catch themselves subconsciously looking at their teeth in these works. Also it fits along with the glass encased works.. they too will have a reflective quality.

Anyways this is why I'm not doing another set of Fluorides for 2005... I have to finish the second half of the 2004 set. Maybe I'll do these every other year. We'll see how well these works are received. My photographer friend Phil Hollenbeck already told me in March (before the whole set was complete) that he definitely wants to purchase the February set. Good man that Phil.