koi stencils

and why they are in my backpack

i chose to spend the night before i took off for argentina in my garage. it was frozen shut, so a little bit of digging was required. i alternated between holding spray paint cans and rubbing my hands together to stay warm. by the next morning i had 15 little canvases with fish. they were to be presents for people i met on my journey.

so why koi?

when my friend lilly came over to silkscreen some mladost tshirts we realized we had forgotten some key ingredients and ended up making stencils instead. she had been talking about a koi design… it was stuck in her head and apparently it needed to be cut out. i did a few little pieces of it to give her a break, but it’s truly her stencil – technically there are two stencils, one for the base body color, and one for the scales, face, and fins. that night i took one of my many canvas boards sitting in the corner of my garage, one that could never quite figure out its purpose, and haphazardly sprayed on my first koi – a red body with cream accents.

the next morning, i came down for some breakfast and noticed the light pouring over the table and illuminating the experiment. nice.

the basement

the basement

josh had once asked me if I had any interest in the forsaken canvas boards of his students. he’s an art professor at WPI, and for a particular class he has his students paint the same still life in 3 different color schemes of their choosing (e.g. complimentary, analogous, monochromatic). they usually never reclaim the masterpieces, often halfhearted renderings of objects they never really looked at, or even owned. at least i hope that kid who drew the handgun didn’t actually keep it on his dorm room desk.

in any case, i love making things on top of other people’s stuff, so it was perfect, but what to do with a stack of 60 canvas boards?

it was hard to commit to any ambitious series. for the most part i used them to block out areas while i was stenciling other things onto tshirts. over time, interesting compositions would sometimes emerge often to be quickly covered and lost. when i sprayed that first koi onto one i had been saving for no reason in particular, i was exited enough to run out to the garage for another freezing night of spraying.

somehow they took on added meaning in those few days because of a bird-fish anecdote my new, effervescent friend, katrina, shared with me… so now i’m just waiting for the bird companion to my koi. i think it’s coming, but i don’t want to force it.

so now the koi are on my wall here in buenos aires… and most likely they will follow me around south america, a reminder of my life at malvernabrown, my old house. as planned, their numbers will dwindle as i give them out to special people during my travels.

that is if i can get over my attachment thing.


dude! i’ve been giving out little dangly fish from the old city in Jerusalem for YEARS! did you know that?? wow.. i guess the blood we share is thicker than i thought (-:
love you. looks beautiful. write to me of life and love.

your only female cousin. guess.

each one is so special in their own way, beautiful!! you have SO much talent!


me know
what you think
just remember i have feelings too