I saw a dirty rear window adorned with the commonplace admonition: “WASH ME”. The glass had a general roundedness reminiscent of an old television screen. Such a screen, if dusty, would be adorned with “WATCH ME”.

I dislike this kind of thinking because it demands action. In this case not so bad as I have discovered the joys of plastic and could imagine something in that medium.

Finding an old television or crt and smearing it ala Robert Rauschenberg could maybe work, but the product would be an orphan without a context. Going Oldenburg might be better. Many of his signature works have involved a process of simplification that can catch the essential syntax of a design while allowing it to serve as a support for superimposed meanings. In this case I needed to find a way to say “TV” in an elementary way, allowing the message to be comfortably introduced.

My first impulse has been to create the outline of a tv screen in smoky lucite and to bend it into an affixed curvature, set against a background plaque, appropriately shaped and painted. Fortunately, the television screen is a deeply ingrained shape, and announces itself with no outside aid. The ‘cabinet’ might be a simple rectangle showing a little more at the bottom than the top, implying the presence of knobs and buttons. Another usable is the allowance given by the continuing depiction of older technology, like steam locomotives, in the media. Coors drives its cold refreshment choo-choo through town on steam, not diesel electric.

Granted the rest, my initial concern was for the dust and writing as all would depend upon getting that right. “Watch Me” was the correct thing to say. Writing it with a finger was also a given. But should it be applied to the outer surface of the ‘screen’ or be seen through the plastic? And what should the dust be? I tried sprinkling plaster on the surface, writing, and spraying the result with a clear enamel. It ended up clumpy and unlike genuine road crud, and the spray looked painty. One could plead the artist’s hand, but it didn’t come across.

Next was to repeat the process in reverse on the side away. This created more of a picture as though generated by the crt itself. A brush was dipped in Albany slip and the dust was applied by running a finger over the bristle ends. A new screen in clear was used as smoky lucite obscured the effect.

Another decision is whether to present the ‘screen’ bowed out a little, or laid flat.

In this study I applied to the back, leaving the front reflective. The question of how and on what to mount it remains, as does the issue of the particular character of the finger work. The black and white contrast also appears a bit much.

Nobody said it would be easy. I would prefer to wait until I had a finished product to display, but A&P is about process, and this is certainly an example. Plus, we’re starving for posts.

Question: do you think that the writing should be on the side toward or away? Should it have a little bow ?