ARTIST STATEMENT: For nearly fifty years I, Howard Saunders, worked as a practitioner in the applied arts, all in the service of one social movement or another. Sometimes I called myself a propagandist. Colleagues at the two think tanks where I hung my hat called me a cartoonist, and often I was, but in 2007 I left that world behind and began making art for myself. I needed to be transgressive; to question authority wherever it crossed my path.
Two projects emerged. The first, URmonumental, was visual analytic riff about the opening of the New Museum on the Bowery. It emerged in Hudson, NY,as a street installation followed by a document, 40 pages, full-color. It can be seen on my website and in the archives of Bard CCS.
The second, and ongoing, has been the creation of an anthropomorphized alter-ego; AxeMan. It originated as a 62-page full-color book, AxeMan Who will be 70 in the year 2010, funded by kickstarter. The book was then repurposed as a series of ten collages, 18" x 24". After two gallery shows, I believed AxeMan had seen the end; but no - he came back to life in, of all places, an MRI machine. He developed x-ray vision. He could not see through walls, but he could peer into his own body to watch the potential disintegration of his own organs. Thus, Knight of the Living Dread; 11 watercolor/collages.
And still AxeMan flourishes in a new series, The Care and Feeding of an Alter Ego. He is housed in the flat files of Pierogi Gallery in Williamsburg (drawer #60). And, if life follows art and medicare stays relevant, AxeMan might become 80 in the year 2020.
AxeMan Crosses Imagine'O Line August 2012 Crayon, ink AxeMan; Care and Feeding of an Alter Ego # 1.
All In the Family 2013 watercolor/collage From AxeMan: Care and Feeding of an Alter Ego.
Lena Dunham on the red carpet followed by her adoring parents, Carroll Dunham and Laurie Simmons.
Cop Art 1 2013 Watercolor, ink, crayon From AxeMan: Care and Feeding of an Alter Ego. Everybody steals everything. Bob Dylan and/or Prince of Thieves mets the 2000 year-old man. All this and Man Ray?
Cop Art 2 2013 watercolor/collage AxeMan: The care and Feeding of an Alter Ego.
The gospel according to Weisslink.
How to Draw a Nalogy 2013 Watercolor, ink, crayon AxeMan: Care and Feeding of an Alter Ego. R.I.P Ray Johnson, or Life and death among the anthropomorphized.
Faceoff: Marina Abramovic takes the Tennis Court Oath 2012 watercolor, ink, crayon AxeMan; Care and Feeding of an Alter Ego # 3. Marina Abramovic announces the Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art in Hudson, NY. AxeMan lives 6 blocks away. They have not
Tom Waits for No Man 2012 watercolor, ink, crayon AxeMan: Care and Feeding of an Alter Ego.
An homage; Even a man with a head of steel needs an anthem.
Knight on Bald Mountain 2013 Watercolor, ink, crayon AxeMan: Care and Feeding of an Alter Ego.
AxeMan tries to get inside the head of Master Alter Ego builder.
Winter in America 2012 collage/painting Care and Feeding of an Alter Ego #2. Two old buildings just down the street from AxeMan's house are being rehabbed by a suspicious developer who has been buying up property all over Hudson. Befor
Knight of the Living Dread 2011 watercolor AxeMan sees his 8th decade zeroing in on him. Be afraid; very afraid.
Cogito Ergo Sum 2011 watercolor Suspicious blood work forces AxeMan to get MRI. Inside, he sees writing on the wall; cogito ergo sum. Bad news; when he comes out, he seems to have contracted x-ray vision. He has no desire to see his
Keys? 2011 watercolor These are your keys on alzheimers.
balloon payments 2011 watercolor Are stents risk-free? Not by a long shot.
The Replacements 2011 watercolor/collage AxeMan can see his innards coming apart. He'd rather go blind.
A hip can be such a grind 2011 watercolor/collage First the knee; now the hip? Where will it all end?
Getting Shorter All the Time 2011 watercolor/collage AxeMan, used to be 5'8". He is now 5'7 - 3/4"
Hands down! 2011 watercolor What will he do without his hands?
Pedal to the Mental 2011 watercolor So there's the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. One's the brake, one's the accelerator. Go to Wiki if you can't figure it out.
If an artery fails in the forest... 2011 watercolor AxeMan sees his echocardiogram. He begins to fear hiking alone.
AxeMan who will be 70 in the year 2010; cover 2010 collage, drawing, found images 60 page book, printing funded through kickstarter.
AxeMan's War Years 2011 collage Just misses Viet Nam. All talk, no action.
Goodbye to all that 2 collage AxeMan goes back to school under the G.I. Bill. Under the tutelage of one Manny Farber, he takes a shot at color field painting. Misfire. Second failure to matriculate at institute of higher learning.
Following Christo 2011 collage/painting AxeMan goes coast to coast to coast to coast in a futile search of his identity.
Up the Family Tree 2011 collage AxeMan discovers that because of family migration and intermarriage he has been nominated to the Mormon Book of the Dead. He wants out!
The Huckster Epoch 2011 collage AxeMan spends five years in the advertising trade as an artisan but not an artist. Of that, he was not aware.
AxeMan welcome Bishop Dolan to NYC 2011 collage AxeMan and I are ambivalent, to say the least, about organized religion.
Stealth Bomber 2011 collage AxeMan has been appropriating his whole damned life. Or stealing, as it used to be called.
AxeMan's Imaginary Friend 2011 collage Philip Guston? In 1973 AxeMan never heard of him. And wasn't 33 a bit old for an imaginary friend?