Works on Paper--Drawings

From David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base
Jump to: navigation, search

From a very young age Wojnarowicz exhibited a facility with drawing; he recalled selling tracings of pornographic drawings to classmates in elementary school. [1] His first published drawings accompanied his debut as a writer in the April 1974 edition of Novae Res, a poetry journal put out by friends who worked at The Community Store, which only lasted one issue. Alongside four untitled poems, Wojnarowicz published several interior illustrations, and his pen-and-ink drawing of Seaport Diner graced the cover. Wojnarowicz also illustrated his last book, Memories that Smell Like Gasoline, with delicate drawings and watercolors illustrating sexual encounters.

Wojnarowicz also drew extensively in his journals and phone logs, adding imagery from his travels or from his dreams, creating playful doodles, and sketching out paintings, installations, and film work. Early on in his career, Wojnarowicz developed his drawing practice with the hope of showing the work in galleries. He drew a series of landscapes and dreamscapes while he was in Paris in 1978, and a series of factories and portraits in 1980 in New York. He discussed with other artists and friends his intent to show these to galleries. Yet although drawing was an essential and continuous activity for Wojnarowicz throughout his life, aside from juvenilia, sketches, and illustrations that accompanied his published writings, Wojnarowicz did not exhibit drawings on paper once he started regularly showing in galleries in the 1980s.

Media and techniques

Wojnarowicz used felt-tip markers, watercolor, pen-and-ink, and graphite pencil.

Conservation and display

In his sketches, Wojnarowicz paid little attention to the archival quality of paper. As these were not works he intended to display, he often used yellow legal pads, which are acidic and highly unstable from a conservation perspective.

Selected works

Illustrations in Memories that Smell Like Gasoline (New York: ARTSPACE Books, 1992)