Waaaaaay back in December I showed a preview of a print I was working on of a mobile home with dueling hair cutting shears floating above it. I'm kind of ashamed to say it's taken me this long to finish it.
The trouble was, I got to a point where I didn't know what exactly it need to be finished. Typically I plan my work in advance, I just feel better that way. I try to sketch the entire layout, however roughly, so I know basically how the various elements will play together on the page. Yup, I'm a planner. I'm meticulous, and well, tedious.
But in this case, I was in a hurry to get something down in print in order to make the deadline for the OCAC Print Portfolio exchange. As it was, I barely slipped under the radar, and the print I included in the exchange felt unfinished to me.
Another element to the story of this print, is that it comes from a very specific point of inspiration. Let me tell you a story.
Several years ago I worked for the City of Portland Archives and Records Center. My job there was utterly unglamorous. For up to eight hours a day I sat in between a computer and a microfilm reader transcribing, one ordinance number at a time, the entire Portland City Council Calendar. Day by day, year by year, starting from the middle of the 1950s and working toward the present day, I entered data so that one day, all of Portland's city council agenda would be online.The ordinances from the 1950s were ordinary enough. Lots of street improvements and rights-of-way issues, the usual civic stuff. But something subtly shifted when I finished the '50s and began entering the records of the 1960s. Easements and sewers were still dealt with, but a new element began creeping into the record more often - that of the ordinary citizen - requesting permits, filing claims, demanding monetary reimbursement, that type of thing.To break up the tedium of my day, I kept a little notebook at my desk and would sometimes doodle during breaks. The notebook came in handy when I began noticing that not only were some of the ordinances involving more and more of the citizenry, they started becoming funny, and quirky, and sometimes downright weird. So, did I copy some of those down for my own personal enjoyment? You bet'cha!The more quirky ordinances I collected, the more the idea grew in my mind that I would one day create a project around them. The exact shape and form of that project has never become really apparent to me. Maybe one day it will all come together. In the meantime, I thought I'd start with this print.What inspired me was the fascinating intersection between civic policy and citizenry, and during the 1960s and 1970s the city record began reflecting a more colorful characterization of the city. I was offered a tiny glimpse into ordinary people's lives through public record.
This print is being offered in a limited edition of 23, #1-11 are printed on tan paper, and #12-23 printed on grey. The illustration is linocut, and the text is handset in Caslon Openface 14 pt and Deepdene 12 pt. They measure 11" x 14 " and are signed and numbered on the back of the print.
The text reads: "Ordinance No. 134577 5/18/1972 Granting a revocable permit to Ronald R., Mary E., and Jo Ann to continue a beauty shop in a trailer at Portland Mobile Home Court at 9000 Union Avenue."
Note: I made the decision to omit the particular individuals' last names. Although these are public records, and anybody can access them, I felt a little reluctant to "call out" individuals whom I don't know.
Also: The title of this post "Half Price Cuts on Tuesdays, Free Mai Tais All Day Saturday" is an idea I've been kicking around for a title for this print.
Available in my Etsy Ephemera shop very, very shortly!