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50 Conceptual Affirmations


50 Conceptual Affirmations is a limited edition piece blurring the lines (quite literally) of what a framed and hung piece of art means. The sentence explains its function and it’s nature in a literal sense. The message becomes blurred by it’s own medium, forcing the viewer to lean close in and strain their eyes and minds in order to read the meaning. Art requires rumination to understand and derive true meaning from, this piece commands that interaction to happen while remaining as simple and minimal as possible.

The conversation moves from the piece’s conceptual origins to a discussion about the usage of text as art. More specifically, using text to explain a sort of meta-objectivity. Is the sentence a narrative? Does considering it as a narrative change the way it’s perceived? Perhaps the entire piece in itself is a narrative. Also, what does it mean when a piece of art explains how it’s meant to be used and viewed?


The block of text says this:

” A simple but clever self-referencing sentence manifested in a block of text spanning 18 lines, using 99 words, printed using a typewriter from Germany on a 6in x 6in piece of frosted mylar purchased in Lincoln, NE and placed underneath two more pieces of mylar which have been placed inside a 7in x 7in hand-built pine frame, fabricated in Lincoln, NE on March 1, 2014 at approximately 1:35pm; all of which is meant to be placed on a wall to be viewed and understood through varying lenses, each unique to the viewer’s subjective experience.”

The piece is available in an edition of 50, each stating the same thing but unique in that the date and time that each is fabricated will be on the text. The pieces are available for purchase from my website Printed On Demand.

The piece weighs less than 1 pound so hanging it is as simple as placing two tacks or nails in the wall about 5in apart and leaving 1/4in sticking out from the wall for the frame to rest on.


A Few Thoughts

So, I regretfully did not obtain the Community Supported Art grant I applied for. However, there are certainly other ways to fund work.

After a bit of finagling, I created an online shop called Printed On Demand from which I’m going to start selling small pieces of art, as well as artist books. The idea with Printed On Demand is that as soon as you purchase a piece, I will hand build it and ship it to you. This allows me to use the money I receive to create the work I’m sending and gain a small profit for my time. The pieces are created in 3-4 days and shipped instantly.

The current work on display in my store, Printed On Demand, is available in limited editions. This means that I will only be making a limited number of each piece of work. Work will be numbered and signed so you, the buyer, are receiving a rare piece of work.

50 Conceptual Affirmations is the first piece I have available for purchase, you can read the artist statement and explanation here. The work is listed as “coming soon” and will be ready for purchasing by mid-March.

On another note, I’ve been going through the painstaking process of organizing and compartmentalizing everything I’ve done as an artist/designer/photographer for the last four years in order to display it in some format on the internet. I’ve set a deadline for myself to have a website up by May. It’s been long in coming, and it has to be done right.

CSArt Lincoln

MockUp_RussellAlexI just applied for the Community Supported Art commission here in Lincoln which (if accepted) requires each artist to produce 50 original pieces of art. In continuing some of my most recent conceptual pieces, I proposed to make a sort of homage to some of my conceptual art idols – Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, et al. The idea of the piece is to create a message explaining the meaning of the work and then obscure the message to the point where it becomes considerably difficult but not yet impossible to read. This forces the viewer to quite literally strain their eyes and minds in order to read the meaning. Revelation isn’t instantaneous, it takes time to develop within oneself. In the same way, Art requires rumination to understand and derive true meaning from. 

Regardless of if I get commissioned or not, I’ll eventually make these pieces. Money will definitely be a factor so becoming a CSA artist and receiving a stipend would be more than excellent. I’d love to be invited further into the art community of my hometown, I’d love to give people a piece of myself.

This idea stemmed from Entropy of Thought, 2013 which was shown at the Eistentrager Howard Gallery in December.


This piece is significantly similar conceptually to the proposed work above. It can be looked at two ways: left to right in which you are reading the text and understanding the meaning, however, as you progress it becomes more and more obscured to the point the words disappear completely. You can move in the opposite direction as well, in which the difficulty  to read the work dissolves and finally becomes clear.


For the sake of saying too much I’ll let you ponder at your screens. I’ll be making a more lengthy post about this work and it’s humble beginnings soon.

Read more about conceptual art here. (via