Artist has applied over one million dabs of acrylic paint to create his artwork during the past 12 years

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From the headline, I assumed the artist had applied a million dabs of paint over 12 years to the same painting, using a brush to apply thin layers that build up into spiky structures over that time. Which would have been eccentric, but fully within a particular tradition within painting/conceptual art, even if a bit extreme. A million “dabs” of paint over 150+ paintings, on the other hand, doesn’t seem like very much at all.


From Georges Seurat Biography (1859–1891): French Post-Impressionist Artist

Figure 2. Enlarged Segment from La Grande Jatte, Illustrating Number of Dots Used to Create La Grande Jatte
(A) Arrow denotes the segment from the painting that is enlarged 9-fold in Panel B
(B) Detail of the enlarged segment illustrating Seurat’s technique of pointillism. This segment represents 1/200th of the total surface area of the canvas.
(C) Roughly 1100 dots of paint were used to create this segment of the painting, suggesting that the entire canvas contains 220,000 dots of paint.


I do like me some Abstract Expressionism. I’d like to visit some of Rothko’s more monolithic pieces sometime.

An artist who has worked dab by dab on an obsessive scale, counting each mark and naming each work by the number of marks it is comprised of is Robert Sagerman, whose count is well past a million.

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Question: If you lose count of how many dabs you made do you have to start over?


That’s what happens when you assume. Don’t put him down.

Man. Artists are a jealous lot.

Everyone’s a critic of critics.


Are we approaching some kind of critical ass?


My deservedly unappreciated, and still-not-thoroughly sublimated, alter ego calls Seurat’s technique what’s-the-pointillism.

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Aren’t we always, though?

That is the implication implied with the phrasing.


Uh, what? I literally wasn’t. Based on the headline, I was prepared for an extreme example of the kind of obsessive work which has been done so much that, if anything, I tend to roll my eyes at it a bit. The headline actively led me into my incorrect assumption because a million “dabs” of paint over that many paintings isn’t actually notable (and, if anything, a low number, compared to what a lot of techniques require)*. I was amused by the disparity between my assumption and the reality of the situation. What I think about his work didn’t remotely come into what I said**.

*Headlines tend to involve the notable elements. “Artist has used over 20 tons of material to create his artwork during the past 12 years” suggests one monumental work, even if it could also technically describe a sculptor’s whole career of stone carving, because in the later case, it doesn’t tell you anything except that they perhaps worked in heavy mediums.

**There’s an interesting discussion to be had about the whole phenomenon of TikTok-friendly artworks, how social media alters the form and, apparently, reduces the discussion to impressive-sounding statistics that don’t mean anything or tell you anything about the work. Which, again, is not any sort of value judgement or criticism about the work itself.

Yeah, the headline, it turns out, amounted to, “artist has worked with acrylic paint for 12 years,” which is not something I expect to read outside of The Onion.


The paintings are interesting but looking at them I wonder if he frames them with glass covers/enclosures? I see the paintings and think: how will I get the dust out of all those tiny crevices? Ack! How will I get the cat hair out?!

Finally a use for a leaf blower.

I think his medium should really be marzipan or buttercream

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