contact / about moments of excellence

Since my early 20s I have made my own Christmas cards. The project Moments of Excellence comes out of a production of Christmas cards in 2012 that essentially never stopped.  These cards are made with colored paper found in magazine advertisements.  Cutting around any text, product or figure, I arrive at pure color.  I cut out the desired shape and adhere it to heavy-weight paper.  The white—or ground—is Avery label paper, which started out as “snow” a la South Park, became “water”, sometimes cloud, and is now often a source of light and graphic balance in the work.

With Moments of Excellence, I am sifting through the endless possibilities of shape and color within a very specific size range and format.  All work is currently made on Canson paper cut into rectangular forms approximately 4 x 9 inches.  The subject matter is usually a reflection of my immediate environment: landscapes, interiors, things I come across that I find amusing or interest me in so much as I ask myself: Can I make that?  I travel frequently, so the scale of the work (small, easily transported), its mode of production (any table will do), and the materials necessary for the work are all convenient.  I find magazine color wherever I go—while waiting at the dentist’s office, visiting friends, or abandoned in a train.  All I need is glue stick and a sharp pair of scissors to make my art.  The original works are fragile but they are not fussy; each card shows the hands that made it.

Since late 2013, I’ve worked with found fonts, specifically advertising copy and titles.  I painstakingly cut out each letter and create new words out of the text as if I was playing a game of Words with Friends.  I’ve learned great patience from this process and am always surprised at what comes out of the most banal sales text or headline.  These works are almost always autobiographical in the sense that they reflect my current thinking, whether the subject is social, political and/or personal.  They are more sardonic and light-hearted than the landscape pieces.

Beginning in 2014 I started to “sign” the verso of many of my cards with whatever scraps were leftover from making the primary work.  You can see the best of many of these signatures on the page marked “signature pages.”

Though I’ve been an art dealer for the last fifteen years of my life, being on this side of the studio wall is still very new to me.  That said, I have had a few commissions: I produced 110+ hand-made wedding invitations for a young couple in Santa Monica in the spring of 2013.  I recently completed a series of works for a yacht moored in Marina del Rey.  A few of the cards have been printed as bespoke stationery in limited quantities for clients in Los Angeles and Paris. An exhibition of my work was installed in a library of a small Breton town in the winter of 2016 and in January of 2017 I had an exhibition of my work in my new hometown of Port Townsend. Some ten prints (20 x 40 inches) of select images of the work are available in editions of 25.

John Tevis