The Artifice Editors visited the studio of Spudnik Press last Wednesday to pick up the prints for the Artifice Issue 1 Special Edition. The editors had a wonderful time, took many pictures, and later asked Issue 1 Author Andy Farkas, who was not present, to write the following Photo Essay.
You can find out more about Spudnik Press and their awesome screenprinting work here.
The tale of the journey to Spudnik Press is one I can tell, should I be interested, because I was never there. Here I am pictured in the Spudnik Press offices surrounded by Spudnik Press artists, all smiles of course because they have been waiting so long for me to visit. “We are overjoyed you are finally here,” their faces appear to say. The fact that I was not actually visiting doesn’t seem to bother them. They were just happy to see me, even though they weren’t seeing me.
Of course there were rules that had to be followed, even for those of us not present. When I asked what the rules were, the Spudniki, being artists, put together a quick poster. I informed them, in no uncertain terms, that I would follow their rules to the best of my ability, but only if they were rearranged thusly: 4, 1, 2, 3, 5, since I have an overwhelming fear of ordinals in their correct order. I also mentioned that Rule #6 probably necessitated the First Aid kit, so all chopping activities should perhaps be reevaluated. As can be seen here, the Spudniki want to complain that an outsider perhaps shouldn’t come in and rearrange the rules, but since the outsider hadn’t come in…
The courteous Spudniki even gave me a mailbox, slot #13. It was oh so kind of them, even though I hadn’t had any correspondence forwarded to their offices. I admit, even now, I am nostalgic for the days of delivering my outgoing mail to that bank of metal cubbies, of checking my #13 for postcards, letters from long lost pen pals, messages from home, requests for assistance from foreign dignitaries, missives from despondent ingénues desperately awaiting word from me.
Here you see the Spudniki who wanted to show me that, much like the Yetti, when you take his picture, it appears blurry.
His twin told me, “I hate when my Yetti brother shows off like that,” and promptly bent up the picture. But as he did, the rest of the world went blurry.
This sympathetic Spudniki informed me that the world was often blurry, that things weren’t as clear as they seemed, that only at Spudnik Press did the universe acknowledge, accept, and display this inherent haziness. I looked at myself. I looked at the sympathetic Spudniki. I tried to remember exactly what she looked like, tried to use her as my cynosure in this indistinct world, and began to wonder if maybe I really was in the confines of Spudnik Press. Maybe I’m always in Spudnik Press.
I informed the Spudniki that it was obvious they didn’t follow their own rules. “You call this clean?” They said, “No, but we do call this paint ‘fire’ because it is fire in paint form. We could paint you with it. It would burn.” They menaced me with a paintbrush of fire. I responded merely by pointing to myself. I am not sure if they saw me.
At one point they showed me the door. “This is how you get out,” they told me. “But I am not here.” They thought about this. “It could also be the way you get in,” they said. “Is it the way to get in?” I asked. “No,” they said. “It is the way you get out.”
“We have come for you,” the magical glowing balls of light told me. “But why? Where will you take me?” I asked, my eyes, as is apparent, full of marvel. “Away from here,” said the magical glowing balls of light. “But I am already away from here,” I said. “Then we will take you to where you already are,” the magical glowing balls of light told me. “But I don’t want to be where I already am,” I said. “I want to be somewhere else. Please, please take me somewhere else,” I said. “What do we look like, your freakin’ taxi service?” said the magically surly glowing balls of light. They continued to shine in their resplendence. They shined and shined. And then, as I am told, they were gone.
One Spudniki throughout was particularly nice to me, but I knew it wasn’t going to work out between us because she refused to show me her right eye. When I complained she said, “Why should I show you my right eye when you won’t show me your anything-at-all, no, not even an ear or a knee cap?” After our pleasant exchange she turned around and pushed her way through the door.
And then, at one point, gravity got tired of forcing everything down, and instead forced everything … to the side. “To the side,” said gravity, “is much cooler. It’s hip. It’s funky. Before, like The Man, I was holding everything and everyone down. Down, down, down. I’m holding you down. But now I go … to the side.” I shook my head. “Sorry, gravity,” I said, patting gravity on the shoulder, “you will never be cool.” “Were you just talking to gravity?” asked one of the Spudniki. “Why yes I was,” I said. “And whom, may I inquire, are you talking to?”
In front of this door is a table. I demanded to be shown what was behind the door. The Spudniki said, “No, never. We will never show you what’s behind the door behind the table.” “Ah-ha! I knew it! You’re hiding something from me.” They paused. “No, we just really don’t want to have to move the table.”
Here is where I finally realized that I was in Spudnik Press, that I was actually there, that I am actually here, that I always was here. Although they took this picture of me alone, sitting in the semi-dark of the end of the day, they told me I shouldn’t despair, that Spudnik Press was a good and decent place. “I thought I knew where I was.” Where? “Somewhere else.” That’s not very specific. “But it’s where I was.” Is this place so bad? “No, but it reminds me nothing of home.” Where was home? “I have no idea.” Then it should remind you precisely of home.
When I entered Spudnik Press, I never expected to get lost amongst its artist supplies, its lights, its residents, its hallways. But at the end of my stay, instead of the door they showed me earlier, the Spudniki directed me to a hall, a hall that appeared to be simple to follow, a hall with an exit sign at the end of it, a hall that was not a labyrinth. I walk toward that exit sign still, still the haze returns, still the Yetti’s picture is blurry, still the twin gets pissed, still the girl will not show me her right eye, still there is no mail. Only, in these hallways, I am not alone. There is you now. You tell about the time you didn’t go to Spudnik Press. You tell about how you were somewhere else. You tell me many things for which, really, there is no evidence. And even now, you wander along this never-ending hallway alone with me.