I got invited to be part of the Facebook Artist in Residence Program and hang my photos in the new Facebook offices in downtown SF. If you look up the program it is all painters using very bright colors, so for them to ask me to do black and white xerox photos seemed weird for them but super awesome for me. I was stoked.
The plan was to do a permanent installation wallpaper wheat paste style across 2 walls, a little corner nook, and a stairwell. I thought it would be easy and that if I hired BB to help, it would take us 1 day total. I probably don’t need to but I am going to tell you all the details of the ups and downs anyways.
Day 1. It was cool and trippy being in the Facebook/Instagram HQ. Billions of dollars was what I kept thinking. First thing that went south was the stairwell. We needed to glue photos down 3 walls of it. Just figuring out how to set up a ladder properly took a while. And after all that we decided it was too sketchy and might have to get a different ladder set up, probably multiple ladders, and a scaffold type thing. The lady that hired me wasn’t there, we were texting back and forth all day. We decided to scratch the stairwell.
I brought a giant stack of laser printed photos on regular copy paper. We pasted up the first 2 on the first wall and they came out super wrinkled. A couple people there were saying that that is just the way wheat paste works and it is part of the aesthetic, but we decided that it needs to be flat. I felt all fucked up about it and should’ve practiced more with different materials. I just researched on the internet beforehand and thought this would be chill. We are talking over 300 photos that are now useless.
So we ran to Office Max and bought the heaviest paper stock they have. It was lucky that I brought digital back up of all the photos. The plan was to use the FB copy machine and output all the photos on this new paper. After a few hours of messing with it, the machine just couldn’t accept the usb drive and the copies didn’t look good when copying off the prints I had already.
Last try was Fedex Kinko’s. Let’s make just a few copies on cardstock, glue them up and see if that works. It works. It works great! Let’s go back down there and make the rest of the copies before they close in 10 mins. Just a few copies in and the machine breaks. Shiiit. Gotta go to a different Kinko’s. By this time it was already a long ass day, so I took BB back to his crib and I went to another Kinko’s and made the rest of the copies on cardstock successfully. We’ll go back to the office tomorrow.
All this would be fine but I had it in my head that we would be done in one day. And because of all the security and construction going on with the Transbay Terminal Park thing about to break in half, it takes at least 30 mins to enter and to exit the building. I knew we can’t work in the office on Monday. And I borrowed my girlfriend’s car that she needs on Tuesday. In LA. Time was against me.
Day 2. I forgot to mention the first printing attempts. I have my trusty printer that has printed 10s of thousands of perfect prints. I did an exhibition with over 500 prints with this printer. A few months later made over 1000 photos for a show in Munich. This thing handled it no problem. Printing a few hundred photos for this project will be easy. Wrong. I was getting crazy lines. I tried 10 different brand new toner cartridges, I replaced rollers and parts and took it apart multiple times. Still, lines. I went and bought a new printer off Craigslist, same model. LINES. I don’t know what is happening. 3 weeks of this. The day before I drove up to SF, I ended up just making all the photos at Kinko’s.
Anyways, Day 2. The cardstock testers from yesterday are super solid and glued dried flat to the wall perfectly. Let’s go. We pasted up maybe 30 photos real quick. Uh oh, they are slowly peeling up. What is happening. Prints are now aborting themselves off the wall. We check the glue and it doesn’t feel sticky at all. We add more powder mix to it. Still kinda watery. Could the glue de-activate itself over night in a bucket? This was the highest rated glue on Amazon.
We run over to Lowe’s and buy some big time contractor grade wallpaper glue. It works and it works good.
But by this time it is like 9pm and we can’t finish tonite or work tomorrow.
So after some beer and tacos at Isaac’s work and some sleep, I drove back to LA.
And a couple days later drove back to SF.
Saw George’s new beaver tail.
I’m gonna call this install Day 3. Again, not sure why I thought we could finish in one day.
We got to this point and I don’t know I was feeling burnt I thought I was done. I told the Facebook lady, Kristin, that I didn’t want to cut the photos to the edges. That it looks better like this. She was like, “Nah breh, wallpaper it to the edges. It’ll look better.”
She was right. It looked better. We got one wall finished. It was tricky cutting out the photos to fill in the edges. It was like 9pm.
We watched UFC and went to bed.
Day 4. No matter what we have to finish.
We ran out of photos a couple times. A Kinko’s run or just leaving the building for anything is at least 1 hour. So time is just flying by.
Looong day but we did it.
Isaac met us for a victory drink but we were too tired. We only had 1 and then got corndogs at the gas station and went to bed.
I went back in the morning to see if anything sucks or not.
Everything was perfect. Super psyched on it. Got some free snacks for the road and drove back to LA. Now I know how to wheatpaste super good and now I know I need more than 1 day to set up lol.