Monica Churchill

INK, SCRIBBLE, PAPER, BRUSH, STRING, BUTTER (Black and white works on paper) by Monica the Cookie Lady

I made these pieces with ballpoint pen, pencil, india ink, tempera paint, titanium white pigment, acrylic matte medium, accidental traces of butter, note cards, grocery bags, black paper, and string. These are all very affordable mediums, and I strongly encourage other artists to indulge in these pleasurable budget-friendly little treats. (Careful with the pure pigments, though, they're not great for the liver.) I adore black, in the Ad Reinhardt sense, because of its many gorgeous tones, not because of any silly association with evil, or the "dark side of humanity." When I play with my inks I remember his descriptions "...redblack, blueblack, brownblack, purpleblack, lightblack, darkblack, carbonblack, ebonyblack, dirtblack, inkblack, nightblack, tireblack, exhaustblack, waterblack, tarblack, hairblack, pupilblack, linoleumblack, tileblack, shadowblack, antblack..." Reinhardt's anti-gloss approach stuck with me as well... I do enjoy a nice non-reflective matte finish. If you ever see my work under glass or plastic, assume the reflective elements were someone else's choice, and I didn't object.

I started with about five hundred note cards and scribbled on all of them until I had none left. When I ran out of cards I scribbled over my old practice drawings and photocopies of my last show. I recycled all the junk, kept about 40% of the work, and what you see in this show is about 20%. My best scribbles came from my bus rides. My best paintings were set out to dry in the lairs of cats, who found that the texture of my work greatly enhanced their tactile pleasure. They liked to walk on the mazes of cards, and really enjoyed taking naps atop my cushiony mountains of paper. One cat ate my pencil shavings. Thankfully she did not drop dead.

The stuff in this show is mainly about my love of process, medium, working with my hands, and getting absorbed in a nonverbal activity. The subject matter is a sideline for me. So why do I have story lines and subject matter so prominent in the pictures? So why the violent subject matter done in black and white? That's simple. It's because the topic and the mediums are cheap and fascinating. When I depict violence I feel interested, not violent. Please don't misunderstand this for a sociopathic inkling. If I verbalize or experience violence, I feel adrenaline and several other emotions just like everyone else who is not a sociopath. The nonviolent themes are somewhat random and impersonal. They reflect my general curiosity about human activity and landscape.

I lean toward abstraction, but I rarely abandon the figurative unless I am totally alone in a vast studio with only my mediums to engage me... alone in a vast studio... been there, done that, a million years ago. Now I'm a single mom street vendor so I gotta do art when I can, which is in the middle of everyday life, on the bus, in waiting rooms, during conversations.
Contact Monica at



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