When I officially became a public figure in 1989, I was happy to give Autographs to anyone who asked, until one day along came a bad actor known as Bugbee, a serial offender whose infamy has been earned by gauche malice and crude scams against creative talent. This crass conman drove hundreds of miles across state lines, to confront my publisher with a forged signature on a bogus publishing contract for my book. Adam Parfrey of Feral House was appearing at a book convention, and Bugbee shook Parfrey down, right there in public, for a thousand dollars. Shameless, lo-rent thuggery to be sure. Parfrey took the loss for the extortion, but I was not untouched. I took it as a sign I must alter my course when it comes to Autographs. Seems like a few fools can spoil the fun for everyone.
So for decades now, I've settled into a policy of declining all Autograph requests. At this point we live in such a synthetic age, where thousands of fanatical fans eagerly paid in advance for one of Bob Dylan's long-awaited 'hand-signed' books, only to find their $600 investment in Dylan memorabilia had been inscribed by an autopen. Not by Bob Dylan, not even by a person. By a robot.
Forgeries and frauds, phonies and fakes, robbers and robots. Our mediasphere is so saturated with synthetic art, music and writing, it leaves us craving authentic originality with a human touch.
So I came up with this way to make my Autographs available in a unique collectible form, the better to serve collectors who are not satisfied with a manufactured memento they can get anywhere.
The front side of each Autograph is photographed and published in all its imperfect glory. On the back sides are unpublished identifiers, optionally including personalized inscriptions. These will provide an additional layer of authentication, to make attempted forgeries more trouble than they are worth.
This project features papercraft collages. They run about six inches by eight inches, give or take, and are suitable for framing. Though not rising to the level of Great Art, these collages do provide a way to validate collectible Autographs. Each unique item is hand-crafted using art papers, glitter, metallic & translucent inks, washi tape & stickers, pastels & colored pencils, thick smears, skinny drips & scribbles. Each Autograph is scanned, though no static image can do justice to the way they shimmer before the naked eye, with the textured, iridescent, sparkly and reflective touches.
After establishing the three papercraft series based on the color of the cards, the Tree Autographs were the fourth series to develop. In this series, each Autograph consists of a small original painting of a Tree. These compositions are black-on-black, monochromatic or multicolored, rendered in dimensional acrylic paint.
The fifth series to emerge is called Woodographs, because these Limited Edition compositions are rendered on 6"x4" sheets of smooth blond wood. 3D figures are adhered, and dimensional acrylic gives depth to the painted elements. The elusive quality of the 3D and reflective elements calls for moving pictures to demonstrate how the light is caught and reflected in motion.
Access to an assortment of Magic Color Markers brought forth the sixth series, called Riotous for the dazzling effect of the big block lettering in color-swapping ink.
The Skull Autographs emerged by way of a special request, so Collectors of this series have Artist Jeff Gaither to thank. Each Skull is unique, though it must resemble its neighbors in subject.
Miminal Autographs are available for those who don't require the level of Attention & Authentication built into the Featured One-of-a-Kind Autographs. These Minimal Autographs are not numbered, and no record is kept of them, so the Collector is cautioned to ensure that the provenance is reliable.
ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!