Jordan Scott is a Chicago artist currently working on a series of works inspired by theories of the collective unconscious and Scott’s 35 years of martial arts training and teaching. This series pays homage to his beliefs in the interconnectedness of the universe.
Scott collects millions of previously used and canceled postage stamps, describing them as “both beautiful and provocative.” Where did they originate? Who sent them? What letters did they carry? Each stamp represents an unknown story and points to a life context to which they were once connected. The stamps become the perfect construct for Scott’s concept of the universe and the layering of thousands of human stories.
It takes thousands of stamps to create just one of Scott’s larger works. Each one is painstakingly applied to the canvas or wood panel, transforming the common materials into brilliant color fields and/or abstract geometric patterns or landscapes. By using these materials in ways they were never intended, the stamps are layered and woven together creating an interconnected whole, greater than the sum of its parts. At a distance, the eye identifies the work as an explosion of color and texture, perhaps a textile piece of meticulously woven fibers. However, closer examination reveals the variations and imperfections of the thousands of individual canceled stamps all with unique postmarks. The pieces are finished with layers of glass-like resin. The resin acts like a lens through which to see the interconnectedness of the individual elements, playing out the micro-macro concept and keeping the pixilated components assembled, defined and clarified.
Each piece takes several weeks to complete. Scott describes a certain freedom that comes from working repetitively with a particular set of similar materials. His work demonstrates a great deal of discipline. When asked about his years of martial arts training, Scott says, “I’ve translated the discipline of karate into my artwork.” Both his art and his martial art require a focused state of mind through repetitive external activity, each involving the creation of something larger through one at a time basic construction with extreme repetition.
Layers of stamps, layers of stories, are all meticulously woven into the vision of the artist. Every Scott piece is a complex and beautiful visual experience and is indeed a sight to behold.