Xerox Art


Irene Dogmatic

In the late 1970's and the early 1980's I was very involved in the Correspondence Art Movement. During that time I did a number of single-page and booklet format xerox art pieces. They were black and white.

The black and white pieces were usually just ink line drawings which I then xeroxed several copies of and then sent to various artists I corresponded with.

One I did is an account, with drawings and text, about being bit by a dog. Another couple of drawings are like little visual poems and word plays using dog imagery. Since I use the artist name Irene Dogmatic, much of this work is on a dog theme.

As time went on, I got involved in doing little booklets. Some are as small as 2 1/2" x 4". the first one I did is called Animations, and is similar to two of the single sheets of dog word plays, pictures of dogs with titles such as dog jowls, dog howls, etc. Sort of visual dog haiku. I did three of these 2 1/2" x 5" booklets altogether.

Collected Barks consists of cartoons about books, the names of which are based on book titles, and features rather broad word play. Some examples of the titles are: The Ballad of Bad Coffee by Arson A Culture, The Dear Barked, by Normal Failure, and Cream and Feenamint, by Fido or Dog's Toyota. Another booklet is called Confused Colloquialisms or It's Snow Picnic and was more word play, this time old saws got the treatment, such as "Let Weeping Dogs Cry" or "Rake Pay while the Bun Shines."

I also did four 4" x 5" booklets of my own images. The first, Dogmatic Attitudes, came about after a photo-slide piece that I collaborated with Pat Tavenner on. It was called Victorian Attitudes and was us, posed in costume, next to photos from an old Victorian book, in which women showed various moods and emotions, such as curiosity, command, expectation, etc. In the Dogmatic Attitudes booklet, the characters became dogs.

The second book was called Dogarithms. It was a series of song titles with dog cartoons as illustrations. Examples would include "My Doggy Valentine", "Dogs Get in Your Eyes", and "I Left My Dog in SF."

The third was called Cock and Bull Stories and consisted of cartoons of expressions, such as "Running Ears" (two ears running) "Left Holding the Bag", a giraffe holding a bag, and "Barking Up the Wrong Tree," showing two trees, and the dog is barking at the one the cat isn't in.

The fourth was called I Led 13 Lives by House Plant. (a pseudonym of Irene) It was drawings of characters that Irene could have or did portray, such as Patti Pooch, Mutta Hairy, or Bobo Bassett.

These were followed by several collaboration booklets, three in the 5" x 4" format, where correspondence artists were asked to send a drawing for the theme booklets. One was called Rover's Romance; one was called Star-Spanieled Boners; and one was a punk booklet called Insult. I also did one called The Canus Book of Dog Records, which was 5 1/2" x 8" and had a color xerox image that I made especially for the cover. I did three different xerox cover images, which I put on the different books. Each collaborator got a copy of the booklet, and I sold some of the booklets through the correspondence network as well, for as little as $1 a copy. Some of my more famous contributors to these booklets included Ray Johnson, S. Clay Wilson, Anna Banana, and Clayton Bailey.

This xerox work was fun to do, since ideas could be quickly translated into images, easily and cheaply duplicated, and shared with other correspondence people, or in the case of the collaborations, involved a group effort.

Women Artists Working in New Media