Behind The Scenes Photos of "Attention Economy"

January 17, 2017

My biggest creative accomplishment of 2016 was finishing the "Attention Economy" series. Over a year-and-a-half in the making, the creative process felt like a rollercoaster: there were periods of ease and progress, but also spells of frustration and chaos. In retrospect, I welcome all of it. This was the longest I've ever spent working on one series. Beyond just creating a body of work that I'm extremely proud of, I learned many lessons along the way (how to better translate concepts into my work, time management, use of materials, and most of all... patience).

Here is a collection of behind-the-scenes photographs from the making of "Attention Economy"...

The series required thousands of social media icons to be cut out - this was probably one of the most tedious parts of the process. I printed the icons in various sizes and opacities to achieve the desired effect.

"Byproducts of The Social Money Machine" was the piece that inspired the entire series. Here I am building the layers of smoke by gluing 1x1 inch tiles onto a black canvas. I used Photoshop to tint the tiles which allowed me to create the illusion of three columns of smoke at different depths.

At first, it was a strange feeling cutting up so many bills to use as material. However, after seeing the texture of the bill collage, I knew it would be worth it and any apprehension I had went away. This wasn't the first time I'd used real money in my artwork, but I'd never done it on this scale before.

I moved studios twice during the making of "Attention Economy". This is the second space. It was nice to have a lot more space which allowed me to layout the pieces next to each other and get a better feel for the work as a whole.

The spill coming out of the oil barrel seems simple enough, but it took me four tries to finally get it right.

The studio got really, really messy. There were scraps everywhere.

Applying the diamond dust and glitter was the final part of the process. I wildly underestimated how much glitter it would take to finish all these pieces - I kept having to get more material.

I'm still finding specs of diamond dust and glitter all around my house (it's been months since working with the glitter).

The pharmaceutical labels had an interesting look when laid out. Each label was printed and hand cut, then applied to the pill bottle.