Stripe Factory


February 9 - March 22, 2008

Stripe Factory, Danica Phelps

I have been painting stripes as part of my work for about 10 years now.  Up until about 3 years ago, the stripes were all integrated into my drawings, which were drawings of everything I spent money on.  Each red stripe represented one dollar that I spent, and green stripes, one dollar that I earned. There were also grey stripes that represented debt (because debt is kind of like earning money and spending money at the same time).

About 3 years ago, I started making panels that were just stripes.  They became an abstract image that was generated using the data of my financial life. The first of these represented one month of red stripes and green stripes, painted in the order of which the money came in and out of my bank account.  I am still making these monthly panels, but I have also just completed a series of very large panels which each represent major financial events in my life.  The last one of these is my mortgage, which has 627,000 grey stripes... representing each dollar that I owe my bank.

Painting this many stripes would have taken me more than a year on my own, so I had to hire a lot of people to help me finish the piece.  At first, I had 4 people painting stripes with me full-time, but after one month, with a deadline approaching, I realized that we needed serious help. I ended up hiring 14 people a day to complete the project and this whole production really inspired me. The overall composition of the grey panels is really kind of amazing in my view.  It shows the difference in each stripe painter’s hand, even though you would think that a stripe would be a pretty generic thing. The stripes end up looking like genetic sequencing similar to a metaphorical genetic map of each person who made the work.

 I would like to really focus on this aspect of my work for a year or two, and really create a stripe factory that spins labor into very dense matter. This factory will produce no toxic waste, no by-products, and will create a pleasant working environment for its workers who are acknowledged in the final panel (they write their names at the end of each line of stripes, and the project, in the end, is about them).

So, we are taking the first orders for our factory and this letter serves as an invitation to be part of the project by ordering a panel, which will be made specifically for you, to your specifications. The stripes are now going to come unmoored from my personal data, and instead, the stripes will be purely visual, they will only represent their own production. For this reason, I've chosen to mix all my colors from both red (usually money going out) and green (money coming in), so there will be 8 shades of earth color making up the field of each panel.

Each stripe will cost $.15. $.05 of this cost will be collected as a deposit, before production, and will be used in to pay the stripe painters (they will earn $.05 per stripe). The remaining $.10 will be collected upon completion and delivery of the panel and will be split between the gallery and myself.

  This project will continue for sometime between one and two years, not longer than that. I will be producing stripes for exhibitions at Sister Gallery in Los Angeles, Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago, and many other locations over the life of the project. The minimum number of stripes that I feel will show the visual complexity of having numerous people working together is 50,000. The chart below will give you a very general sense of the possible panels that can be ordered, but you can order a panel with any number of stripes above 50,000.


  50,000      $  7,500.00       2ft x 2ft

100,000      $15,000.00       2ft x 4ft

200,000      $30,000.00       2ft x 8ft


You get the idea. The sizes are going to be slightly variable depending on how each person paints their stripes, but you can choose whether you want the panel to be a vertical, horizontal or square format.


I hope this letter explains everything adequately, but if you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact the gallery.


Very best,

Danica Phelps