Mackazona Roadside Prints

I’ve always been fascinated by the weird transient nature of some of the truckstops and roadside attractions I’ve seen in the American southwest. There could be mass produced snack foods that you can find anywhere in the country, but there could also be locally made crafts from jellies to rare crystals to authentic Native American artwork. There’s an interesting kind of phenomenon in culture right now where twitter bots like @SpaceLiminalBot are feeding into this realization that we have a huge number of little places that exist that we’ve defined as being kind of “between” spaces we intend to be. Lots of spaces where it’s hard to imagine actually living there or doing anything in particular there, but nonetheless they’re there and we can be there – and it’s worth asking what exactly we’re doing if we linger too long.

The connection I wanted to make was between these kind of liminal spaces as a concept and designating entire roadside places, truck stops, really expanding the concept until there was – in my mind – an entire state comprised of a liminal space: “Mackazona.” It reminded me in a way of William S. Burroughs using places like Interzone and Annexia as sort of symbolic locations – representing any number of actual places around the world in how they work and feel. The actual lore for the series is that you can only get to Mackazona by almost dozing off while driving, and when you’re thinking clearly again you pull of at a roadside stop that seems mostly empty. Someone is selling these prints in a little shack near the road, but you don’t exactly remember purchasing it, but here it is when you start driving again. Kind of a dreamy acquisition from a place that you can’t quite find when you try to research it again later.

I haven’t explored using some of the secondary color palettes of southwestern art before now, and even though I’ve done lots of animation in my life, I hadn’t done a ton of it as art still. The idea of compositions that are moving and kind of changing constantly reflects the transitory nature of Mackazona – it’s not a place your eyes are meant to rest. I added some paper and wrinkle textures to kind of make it feel like an odd combination of being real and animated – obviously you can’t have a sheet of paper (yet!) that animates like that. I’ve found it kind of freeing so far to just jump into arranging geometry with only a vague idea of what I want it to be – but developing rules and tropes as I work the series out, and then letting it come to life afterwards by animating the compositions.

I also took a little time to experiment with a new marketing technique: minting cheap as free postcards from these designs to give away on Hic Et Nunc while the art piece proper was for sale on Known Origin. I like the idea of promo freebies, and some people did pick them up and some of the first Mackazona piece sold (probably not because of those). Mostly I just like the idea of people who don’t have money to throw around still being able to have fun and retweet and have something they can “hold” that makes them feel a part of it.