Aleksandra Mir


In May 2005, I gathered sixteen assistants for a Sharpie drawing marathon in a large, temporary studio in the East Village. We produced twenty huge drawings (190 inches by 120 inches) outlining the map of the U.S.A., each with commentary on subjects such as the Civil War, space shuttles, state flowers, the Bicentennial, the draft, road-tripping, love, God, and the baby boom. Typically, I would outline the drawings overnight, and the assistants would come in and ink my outlines during the day and evening, so there were always three shifts running. Over the course of the month, as we listened to the wide variety of music everyone brought in and shared lunches and stories, we invented a language and developed a cult around this magnificent household marker. Words like "Sharpologist" were invented. A range of up to twelve Sharpie middle tones was achieved with the fading marker, while black took on a new meaning. My assistants—students and graduates from various New York art schools—bore titles such as the Supervisor of Paper Cutting and Protector of Fingertips, Manager of Middle Tones, and Secretary of Finesse. One day Jason Schmidt came over to shoot this photo of us. I think it was he who named it The Church of Sharpie.