hot wheels

1998 - 2002
ink on paper
each 19" x 24"

text from 1998:

Unlike my paintings, I make my drawings in series – usually as the result of an exploration of an outside system or structuring process, yet tempered with a healthy dose of intuitive responses. By setting up rules (or limitations) at the beginning of a body of work, I am able to force the work to move away from a comfort zone – where “work” is different, and things already known are transformed into something anew.

in early 1998, while at the pasadena rosebowl flea market, i happened upon a drawing toy. it was a 1969 stencil set made by Mattel that through the use of various stencils, allowed a child to render images of their favorite toy racing cars. I had this toy as a 5 year old kid, and using the toy was one of my earliest memories of making drawings. When I re-discovered the toy, I began tracing the holes and lines in the stencils to create various images of cars… and while i wanted to fall deeply into the experience again, the resulting images of cars left me wanting.

nonetheless, i wanted dearly to engage with this toy and to allow it to shift the way i make drawings. so, i began again, this time with a brush instead of the suggested pencil; and the messiness of the brush and ink (the “wrong” tools) allowed the Corvettes, Ford MK IVs, and Turbofires to appear wonky, stained and somewhat organic…

through the use of “incorrect” tools, i found myself creating images that were less mechanical or automobile-ic, but closer to images that come from an interior landscape – a place where one is quietly lost in the simple activity of drawing and looking and making.

eventually i began to use the six simple stencils towards the drawing of organic forms – and as the box stated these 6 plastic stencils could create 216 different permutations of the 6 cars – I began to conceive of a series of 216 drawings. i worked on the series sporadically for about four years and let go of the activity once i hit 150 drawings.

aside from the childhood memory of this drawing tool, I am interested in the fact that the resulting organic forms are made up of the lines and shapes of hot rods and racing cars; taking masculine forms and processing them into organic, feminine forms…

what is also exciting is that the drawings are created entirely out of an arrangement of lines that are not my own (allowing the accidental smudges and stains to be the only marks that are truly my own); and i feel that my use of someone else’s lines is similar to the act of sampling sound in rap and pop music. The ink colors were chosen in response to the remembered colors of actual Hot Wheels cars that I had as a kid. the drawings move between suggestion and abstraction. they become a kind of reference to memory – and to the fleetingness of remembered things incomplete.

in 1999, a group of these drawings were exhibited at the drawing center in new york