Erik Farseth, “Emergency Art Kit: Portable Gallery-In-A-Box”

Erik Farseth
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Emergency Art Kit: Portable Gallery-In-A-Box
mixed media (cardboard box, vinyl stickers, zines, linocut print, magnet, etc.)
13 x 9.75 x 3″

Artist Statement

I am a mixed-media artist specializing in relief printing (woodcuts, linocuts), zine-making, and cut paper collage.

Zines are small, self-published magazines produced as a labor of love, with no regard for profit. The cut-and-paste aesthetic of zines was a direct result of artists laying out pages by hand, through a combination of line art, found art, and glue sticks — the same techniques I use to create my cut paper (“analog”) collages. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) publishing is a form of cultural output that seeks to break down the barriers between producers and consumers, blurring lines between artists and non- artists. Even when my artwork isn’t overtly political in its content, it is political in its process.

My 2019 boxed set Emergency Art Kit: Portable Gallery-In-A-Box was conceived as a book arts project in the spirit of “Flux-Kits” and Duchamp’s Box in a Valise. Each box contains 16 items.

The Portable Gallery-In-A-Box is the size of a first aid kit. Each boxed multiple contains a carefully curated collection of objects, including: One hand-printed relief print (linocut); one 32-page art zine, printed in full color (They Use Their Smiles To Bury You); four artist-designed buttons or lapel pins; one artist-designed refrigerator magnet; one greeting card; two postcards; and six vinyl stickers based on my relief prints.

This dynamic micro-exhibition is interactive and easily transportable. Available for less than the cost of dinner and a movie, the boxed set makes my artwork available to people who could not otherwise afford to purchase original works of art. The portable gallery marks a new direction in my work towards 3-D objects made out of paper or cardboard: interactive book sculptures, mail art, and ephemera that encourage visitors to touch them.

This latest body of work is part of a larger project dedicated to the democratic production and distribution of art. Traditional gallery spaces become a jumping-off point for a variety of grassroots media shown and distributed in public spaces, designed to be participatory and accessible (storefront art, skateboards, etc.). As I repurpose and circulate images from my collages and woodcuts into screen-printed posters, wearable art, and zines, I’m less interested in the concept of “limited editions” than prints as affordable art.