"Mostly Not Completely Serious"
"Gerrymandered Ant Farm"
November 4 - November 25, 2023
Saturday, November 4, 6pm-9pm
This work was never meant to be shown or sold. These pieces were done for only personal enjoyment and as a reaction to working as a graphic designer for 40 years. Success in commercial art means meeting deadlines, reaching client goals, inspiring customers to act, and achieving sales goals. In other words, pleasing someone else. These pieces were created just to make me happy. Yet here I am in a gallery at the encouragement of a dear friend to share and sell my art. It has been a journey I am still trying to understand.
Steve Martin tells the joke about Finley lawn sprinkler heads being fixed with Langstrom 7” gangly wrenches in his 1977 album, Let’s Get Small. This joke purposely bombs because there are supposedly no plumbers in the audience to get the reference, by Martin’s design. He concludes with, “weren’t the plumbers supposed to be here this show?” Many of my pieces, being done for an audience of one, reference my unique life experiences and were only intended to make me smile. I have included some explanation on pieces that if you are not Rich Doty you might need to know some information to make the journey.
I had early aspirations of being an editorial cartoonist and got bachelor’s degrees in Commercial Art and Journalism. I ended up in commercial art. This training formed my love of art with captions and many of my pieces use this technique and work on more than one level. The aesthetics and craftsmanship of the pieces work as one level and the title as the second level. The title can explain the concept, the idea, the backstory, or provide the punch line much as a caption in an editorial cartoon. It allows the viewer to see the work as I see it; you are in on the joke or the animating concept. This second level is where the art lives and breathes.
We are all shaped by our life experiences. My main influence for this work would be getting a Master’s Degree later in life where I majored in sculpture but also my work history at a newspaper, television station, architecture firm, and NASA contractor. Attending college during the Viet Nam war shaped my politics, and a life in progressive churches has shaped me spiritually.
For 40 years I called myself a commercial artist or graphic designer without qualms. Calling myself an artist in the fine arts sense has been harder. I previously self-identified as a “humorist with a wood shop.” With this gallery show I am taking a step towards the former.
Like everyone else, I am a work in progress.