Jeffrey Allen Price is a multi-media, interdisciplinary installation artist and pack-cat. Price works in a variety of media including but not limited to painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, and performance. The bodies of work he creates are so diverse that it’s hard to label him as a ‘signature artist’. “I have signature themes but not a signature style” said Price. His works have been featured in The New York Times and on the Food Network. He’s a professor of Studio Art at York College in New York, Art History at Hofstra University, and Renaissance, Baroque Art History, and Contemporary Art History at Nassau Community College.
Price’s art takes on a whole new meaning of recycling. His works are inspired by life’s natural processes and are created using up-cycled objects. “A lot of my work comes out of everyday processes. For example a tea bag could be used and just thrown away OR it could be put on a piece of paper and left to dry and that stain becomes a kind of evidence of process and it can even have a nice look to it. The teabags can also be accumulated and become sculptures themselves,” said Price.
As Price continued painting he began saving the ‘residue’ or left over supplies (i.e. the drop cloth, brushes, and tape) and recycling them to create new works hence the term ‘pack-cat’. The accumulation of the process of creating art becomes an art in itself with what has been left over and how it can be used in other ways. “I started noticing these things around me that were just by-products like used tape and realizing I was going through a lot of tape that was just temporary. I noticed the tape was really cool looking sculpturally, it could be compressed and its form changed” Price said. Living modestly at the time Price realized how expensive things were to only be used temporarily so he learned how to make the ‘residue’ into art. For one exhibition in New York Price filled an entire storefront window with 15 years of collected used tape.
Similarly the same happened with used sponges. Inspired by Jean Dubuffett, Price began utilizing used sponges to create different maps with each sponge representing a county or country. “I started accumulating them and have had the idea for many years to make a U.S. map out of used sponges. It was a kind of metaphor for American being used up and dirty. I wanted every sponge to be different. When I go to the grocery store to replenish my sponges I look for different colors, patterns, textures that once I’ve finished using would become my latest creation.”
“I like making the sponge maps, but I’d like to continue to find other interesting uses for used sponges,” said Price. Currently, he’d made four USA maps with another one in progress. “They are each a different scale, I don’t want to repeat myself exactly” said Price. During the interview Price stated that he wanted to make a large globe out of used sponges. “The honest reason that I do not have a globe yet is because I don’t have enough blue sponges. I need a shit load of blue sponges to make the piece” said Price.
“I received cat stickers as gifts but at that time I wasn’t sure what to do with them at first. I mean, am I going to put them on letter to people? [laughing]” After accumulating over the years an abundance of cat stickers, inspiration struck to create collages of cats using the cat stickers. The two collage pieces he created were inspired and modeled after two of his cats that recently passed away.
Appropriately labeled, Price calls all of his up-cycled art pieces part of his ‘PAK-CAT’ project. “People would probably call me, (perhaps not to my face), a pack-rat. I agree with the pack part, but I don’t want to be a rat. I’m more of a cat so I call myself a pack-cat instead.” 15 years ago Price made a list of about fifty items (i.e. used teabags, light bulbs, markers, lighters, etc.) that people could save for him to create his works with. “I wanted to save non-conventional materials and made Plexiglas boxes for them because I saw even the accumulation of these things as aesthetically pleasing.”
Price is also passionate about the potato. “I would like to organize an International Potato Festival in Central Park with Neil Young and Devo playing. This was a goal I had when I founded my first potato festival in 1996 when I was living in Missouri. They were heavy influences at the time and had potato references in their music.” Currently Price is curating another potato-themed exhibition at the Islip Art Museum on Long Island, which opens in September. “This is my biggest potato art event I have done yet, an exhibition called ‘Occupying Potato, Cult of Potato 2012′.” Price would also like to organize a potato art exhibition that includes masters that have made important potato art contributions like Vincent Van Gogh, Matthew Barney, Claus Oldenburg, and Sigmar Polke to name a few.
Jeffrey Allen Price will be showing in Brooklyn, New York on August 10th, 2012 for one night only. To view more of Price’s work check out Converge Gallery at http://www.convergegallery.com/portfolio/jeffrey-allen-price/ and for more information regarding the ‘Underground’ show please go to http://www.convergegallery.com/popup/ and keep checking back for blogs with the other artists who will be showing their works in the ‘Underground’ show as well.