“Domestically International”, Extra Series, No. XX

In 2003 I ended up getting a side job as a customer service rep for a fan club agency (most famously known for The Whitney Houston Platinum Club). It was one of my three jobs at the time. I worked in two other restaurants,.. one being California Pizza Kitchen in Union Square, and the other… a quirky 24 hour graveyard gig at Sparky’s… a diner near the Castro in San Francisco. I lived in a walk in closet of a studio off of Geary and Larkin in the Tenderloin District for $447.83 a month. I’m still not sure HOW I got a kids bunk bed in that closet, but by the power of cheap swedish furniture and willingness, I had succeeded in creating a home.

In the daytime I’d answer phones with “Thank you for calling the Whitney Houston Platinum Club” , “Thank you for calling the Melissa Etheridge Information Network”, “Thank you for calling the Kenny Loggins Club” and so on and so forth. It paid 10 bucks an hour, and to me that was good enough. My primary responsibilities were getting fans their tickets, their meet and greets, and setting up their travel packages. It was an eccentric job, one that I soon quit my other jobs for. Over the months I got promoted to CS manager, and ended up sticking around while others came and went.

At night I was a drag queen at the local venue called “Trannyshack”, which was literally moments away from where I worked in the daytime. I ended up hiring a lot of drag queens and burlesque girls for customer service jobs, which made the work far more entertaining that you can imagine. They’d come in the mornings, and spend the day working, while slowly doing their make up, and by the time that work was over, some of the girls had transformed into their personas and left the building different people. Sometimes we’d close the downstairs doors that led to the rest of the building just to put on our songs and ‘lip sync for our lives’, and preparing ourselves for the night to come.

I file these moments under ‘the best years of my life’.

At this point I began to experiment with collaging. I wasn’t nearly confident to even THINK about painting, but instead I just started arranging found objects in a similar nature to each other. I began to collect things I started seeing more of. I had, for the most part of my life, ALWAYS done this. I STILL have hundreds of MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) transfer tickets in a box labeled “OCD”, and I’ve carried these since 1995… as well as empty medication bottles. Yes, I’m sure I’ll get to use these in some “Jason Mecier” like fashion, but until then, they’ll remain in the box with the other things. Point being, I’m a collector, .. which you may also call ‘hoarder’ (POH-TAY-TO .vs. POH-TAHT-TO, really), and at my office job.. the MAIN thing I came into contact with… was stamps.

Every week day, our office manager would bring me a massive USPS bin of letters around the world. Some of these were fan letters, but for the most part, many of them were subscriptions to the fan club. It was our duty to open these envelopes and figure out where they belonged to. While the girls answered the phones, I had them cut out the stamps from each letter and place them in a bag, and at the end of the week I’d haul that massive bag to my apartment..

Those stamps went on many pieces to which have sold over the years. I did however, still have many bags left over, and they moved with me to Seattle, back to San Francisco, and then to Los Angeles where I currently reside. In moving around my boxes the other week I ran into these old stamps and decided to make a 10x10x10 portrait of Mickey.

I split the stamps into categories

I. DOMESTIC

A. Light
1. Cars, Flags, and Monuments
2. People
3. Flowers and Fruit

B. Dark

1. Flags
2. People and Characters
3. Monuments

II. INTERNATIONAL

A. Light

1. Monuments
2. People and Characters
3. Fine Art

B. Dark

1. Monuments
2. People and Characters
3. Fine Art

For this piece I used JUST American domestic stamps for the piece. Around Mickey are darker shaded stamps, while the inside of his face are lighter domestic stamps under the category of flowers and fruit. This piece is the first part of the texture series in where I experiment with found objects and/or methods that have a “texture’ to them. This is a unique category that I hope to expand into 10 pieces based on this subject. This piece is about my focus on my unnatural need for harmony and sense in things, as well as my irresistible desire to sojourn to many places in America and beyond (to which I will get into in the next stamp piece). Each stamp holds a priceless memory of those moments in San Francisco where I felt the most alive with my coworkers and fellow drag mates at that strange and beautiful company that we worked at.

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