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.