Saturday, May 25, 2013

The End: Outtakes and Curiosities

Apropos of the release of The End  this week, below are a few outtakes and curiosities from the book, beginning with the layout 'map' of post-its that I used in the last few weeks to keep the overall sequence of pieces straight in my mind while moving them around. It can be a bear keeping everything flowing just right – balancing the rhythm and content of the individual pieces with chronology while also keeping two-page spreads on even/odd pages... there is also one 16 page color section (signature) that had to begin on a page number that was divisible by 16 (the pages in red outline mark the beginning of each 16 page signature). Keeping all this straight can be a little crazy-making.
One of the main anchors of the book is the piece solve for x. An early draft of the piece was done originally for a show at Junc in L.A. in 2006, curated by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson. They sent participants a small accordion book to draw in for the show. I used mine to adapt and rework some of the messy venting I was doing in my sketchbooks at the time.
The piece always worked in a way, but felt ever so slightly incomplete, even as I was laying it out for The End #1 later in 2006. It was late in the editing/proofing process for that book that the idea for a parallel algebraic monologue fell in my lap. This is a sheet of corrections to be scanned and inserted, which includes that parallel monologue for the first time. I've always liked how these corrections sheets can become like weird poems all on their own.
One of the main pieces that didn't make it into The End #1 is this piece, You Were Born and So You're Free. Originally I did this as a screenprint in an edition of 120 (I think) on a collection of topographical maps of Cheryl's, though it also existed as a slide reading, which is closer to how it appears in the new book.
There is one section from The End #1 that I ended up cutting from the new book. A few months after Cheryl's death I went to Europe – Dogs and Water had just come out in French and my publisher brought me to Angouleme to promote it. I extended the free trip to just get away from my life for a bit. My friend Ryan met me in Spain for a week to skate, and I went to Berlin after that to visit my friend Nina. The End #1 had a few pages of sketches and lists from that visit. I included them in The End #1 half as filler and half as a sort of juxtaposition of normality.
The last few images are included to give a sense of how this material existed in my sketchbooks, where it began, and a few of the half-finished fragments that didn't make it in the book for whatever reason (there are many many dozens more pages in that category). Even most of what did make it in was not originally intended for publication, so there are no 'originals' in the usual sense.
Below on the right is a drawing of me and Mike McGinley working brunch at Lula. Which has nothing to do with anything.

In 2007, about a year and a half after Cheryl's death my sister had a son. I wrote a piece for a family gathering in his honor. Later that year I added visuals and it was turned into a six color screen-print in collaboration with Sonnenzimmer, this image is an early version of the idea for that print. It was probably this piece more than any of the others that made me feel like there might be a good reason to publish the material as a whole – finishing the story started in The End #1 – that it might add up to something greater than a well-crafted, but bitter, self-pitying lament. This piece also appears in substantially altered form in the book.


Vida Vega said...

I have yet to get a copy of "the end" so can't quite put this all into context perfectly, but this post is one of the most amazingly inspiring things I've read in a while. loved it and look forward to revisiting when I stop being so lazy and go to the book shop

Alexander Chee said...

How amazing.