Similar to Kickstarter, USA Projects is an invitation-only fundraising tool for artists that local photographer TJ Norris is raising money through for his forthcoming book No Sign. Norris’ work combines the starkness of documentary photography with the beauty of art photography in a way that is both poignant and tender. And with your help this synthesis can make to to a coffee table near you.
This is how he describes the project:
It all started in 2008 while on a trip to Los Angeles. The economy was shifting dramatically. I looked up at the deep blue sky and saw two towering blank industrial marquees staring back at me. The everyday architecture of signage was hollowly attractive, bold. In the ensuing few years the work has evolved from a candid, scant glance to over 4000 images, abundant, repetitive banality. From mom n’ pop shops to big box chains, the side of the road is oft dotted with these blank-faced signs.
To develop this series I travelled the Northwest, the Sierras, Northeast and Midwest finding similar in small rural towns and major metropolitan areas. There is no inherent mystery or majesty to my subject, they simply sit there, unabashedly stoic. I have excised the horizonline, separating the location from the great unknown, or as philosopher Emmanuel Levinas might have termed, “the other”. These totems to the fallen American dream have been spied on highways and dusty back roads, disconnected from the surrounding sub/urban plan. The archetypal references now obliterated, leaving only an erasure of a long lost message lingering without intent.
After 3 years I wish to bring this work to a larger audience through publication. One goal would be to work directly with a publisher to print a limited edition of 250 copies in hardcover that would include thirty-five (35) b/w plates and one four sheet foldout grid panel in color that would depict as many images from the series as possible. Twenty-five copies of the book would also include a numbered, signed archival print. The book would have a self-penned preface and a forward by a respected (unnamed) curator or architectural expert (I have approached Robert Venturi).
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