Thomas Arthur Schaefer
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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It Makes Sense To Not Make Sense Especially When Making Sense Of Things Is What Makes It

Spent most of last evening hurridly scrambling to built as many 5"x5" wood box frames as possible for a large set of Donut works that I'm going to have at my upcoming show. Hours of cutting and glue'n balsa wood together and I'm not even hardly into the process. Anyone out there wanna come build these little bastards with me so I can move on to the other works I need to build for this show? ..... yeah didn't think so.
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Anyways, that's what I'll be doing late into the evening again tonight, after I get back from have'n drinks with a friend. Maybe I can convince her to quit her job and come build these little frames for me. In a perfect world I'd like to have a few hundred of these little things on hand and always ready to go. But again, the issue with these is not in the building of them and it's not even the filling/sanding/priming. It's the pin-striping that is the real nightmare and these little suckes have (7) 1/8" stripes running around them. Maybe it's time to figure out a more efficient way of doing that step, but it still has to involve paint... no cheating with pre-printed paper. I thought of that before and decided that if I went the paper route they would become less special. Pehaps if I used hand cut colored paper though.... hmm. Well I have a few days to figure this part out, since it probably won't be until the weekend that I've finished the frames themselves. Once the pins are done the rest is a cake-walk. Ha... cake-walk - donuts. The other option that I thought of was to coat the outer edges of each with real Jimmies... the same that appear on the donuts themselves. Hmmmm.... that would save days of work, but would they be as special? And by special I should say hand-worked. The entire point of creating components from scratch with these works is that they become more of a unique piece of art v. a whole set of prepurchased manufactured parts slapped together. But then again, would that cause the works to be more in the ideal of a real Retroconsumist work, since everything was premanufactured. No. The current idea that by replicating the same elements again and again by hand makes the artist himself more of the manufacture of his product — since I'm esentially producing the same item, only multiple times. I like that idea better. It essentially plays more to the idea the Warhol spoke to when he stated that he wished he was a machine. Would his Brillo boxes have been as special if he had bought the wood boxes premade and then had an outside company do the screen printing on them v. he and his assistants creating everything by hand. Now of course what he was doing was far from a Retroconsumerist ideology. In Retroconsumerism, the artist has to use some personally purchased, personally used, mass manufactured product as the central idea behind the work. Then make that item a part of the work by incorporating it along with the process of the artists daily practice. Then, sell it again as a wholly new product in mass. You can't just create one work and consider it a Retroconsumerist piece. It's the fact that it is replicated again and again, that allows the work to enter into the modern day consumerist world as product unto itself. The retro aspect is the use of a real product as an imitative element as well as the works catalyst.
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I've decided that I'm going to do a set of drawings that are donut based and then another set that is either Nik-L-Nip or Peeps or PBR based. Not really sure at this time. I still need to finish the box painting for the PBR-BB and Abortifacient Peeps works.. time, time, time.

1 comment:

Just call me Jimmy... but never fuckin' call me Sprinkle! said...

The beloved jimmy could be lost

A sprinkling of history for a name that's melting away.

By Michael Vitez
Inquirer Columnist


Which came first, the jimmy or the sprinkle?

Evidence suggests the jimmy.

A far more important question for local readers is: Which will endure?

Sadly, the sprinkle.

The jimmy - at least as a piece of slang, an expression of local flavor - is doomed.

"If it's not a dead term, it's a dying term," said Peter Georgas, vice president of Can-Pan Candy, the Toronto-based company that sells a million pounds of sprinkles every month.

"I will rarely, rarely get on the phone with somebody who asks me for a jimmy," he said. "And if someone does ask me for a jimmy, he's an older man."

The fact is that jimmies and sprinkles are the same thing, which is almost nothing, a wisp of sugar, oil, emulsifier (don't ask!) and coloring.

But by any name, the world consumes about 50 million pounds a year, according to an industry expert - about 1.3 trillion sprinkles or jimmies, give or take a few hundred million.

Mostly, they're sprinkled on ice cream. But if laid end to end, they would stretch 2.3 million miles, enough to circle the Earth nearly 100 times.

This region - from Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore - historically has been jimmies territory.

Jimmies - not sprinkles - have been on the menu for 53 years at the Custard Stand on Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia.

"I don't bother people who call them sprinkles," said Vince Joyce, 21, a jimmies loyalist and employee for seven years. "But if you call them shots or dots or ants or black beads, I say something: 'You mean jimmies, right?' "

Right across Ridge Avenue, at rival Dairyland, jimmies have been on the menu since the establishment opened 30 years ago.

The present owner, Michael Kiedaish, 32, grew up with jimmies and says he will never change: "When someone tells you that something's a jimmy, it's a jimmy."

But hints of extinction are everywhere, even in his own store.

"The college people... they're all sprinkles," said Laurie Taylor, 23, who has worked the counter at Dairyland for eight years. "And the yogurt people are sprinkles. And kids all say rainbow sprinkles because it sounds more fun.

"I grew up saying jimmies," she confessed, "but from working here so long, I've started calling them sprinkles."

Sprinkles are encroaching everywhere. Old reliables like Kohr Brothers on the boardwalk in Ocean City are holding firm with jimmies, but upstarts like Ben & Jerry's on Rittenhouse Square? Sprinkles.

At Daddy-O's Dairy Barn in Mount Laurel, owner Rob Cotton grew up in Northeast Philadelphia calling them jimmies, but on his menu he lists them as... sprinkles!

"The distributors all call them sprinkles, so that's what I put on the menu board," he said.

"This is the No. 1 question: Is there a difference? And where does the name come from? I must hear that three or four times a week."

Here is some history:

Back in the 1930s, the Just Born candy company of Bethlehem produced a topping called chocolate grains. The man who ran the machine that made these chocolate grains was named Jimmy Bartholomew.

"Thus, his product became known as jimmies," said Ross Born, the chief executive officer. He was told this story by his grandfather and company founder, Sam Born. Just Born registered jimmies as its trademark, and continued producing jimmies until the mid-1960s - which is why the name was so popular here.

The trademark expired and soon after, Just Born stopped making jimmies.

This account, however, has been disputed.

The Boston Globe investigated the origin of jimmies last winter after a reader inquired about a rumor that the term originally was racist - the idea being that some people refer only to chocolate ones as jimmies, and rainbow ones as sprinkles. Perhaps, the reader surmised, the word descended from Jim Crow.

The Globe found no evidence of this, but did cite a commentary in 1986 on National Public Radio by the late Boston poet John Ciardi, who claimed: "From the time I was able to run to the local ice cream store clutching my first nickel, which must have been around 1922, no ice cream cone was worth having unless it was liberally sprinkled with jimmies."

Ciardi, the Globe said, "dismissed Just Born as claim-jumpers looking to trademark someone else's sweet inspiration." His jimmies had come first.

The truth may never be known.

But what is undeniable, according to industry experts, is that jimmies gradually gave way to sprinkles, a more vivid and appealing name.

For example, a world leader in sprinkles is QA Products outside Chicago. It started making sprinkles 10 years ago - under the brand name Sprinkle King.

When Vince Joyce of the Custard Stand on Ridge Avenue gives his customers jimmies, he gets them from a Sprinkle King box.

For the record, a chocolate sprinkle includes cocoa and offers a faint chocolate taste. But all rainbow colors taste exactly the same, which is to say, have virtually no taste.

This was confirmed by Kasey Dougherty and Kathleen DeMichele of the Dairy Queen in Ocean City. On a rainy day last summer, they conducted a taste test - blindfolded.

Neither could tell pink from yellow from green.

"Nobody gets rainbow sprinkles for the flavor," Dougherty said. "They get them for the colors, and the crunch."