Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Spy vs. Spy Toy

Posted on July 5, 2011

Spy vs Spy CloseUp

Hi, you guys. I’ve been lax in updating this blog over the past week, which I know has many of you suffering pretty severe withdrawal symptoms. I apologize. The reason is that I was asked to contribute to an amazing project for MAD Magazine. I just handed it in, so I can finally show it off.

Dave Croatto over at MAD is spearheading a huge celebration for Spy vs. Spy’s 50th anniversary. He sent dozens of six-inch plastic toy blanks around the world to some super talented artists, designers and toy makers, and somehow I was lucky enough to be included. Each contributor had free range to modify the toy however he or she wanted.

Here’s the process that went into my contribution:

Spy vs Spy Blank

The six-inch plastic blank…

Spy vs Spy Pieces

Disassembled into its component parts.

Spy vs Spy First Coat

Applying my first few coats of Flashe paint. Each color needed about five coats. I had never painted a model before; It’s painstaking but that much more satisfying.

Spy vs Spy Pumpkin

Here I am hardening a pumpkin I made out of a ping pong ball and Sculpey. I had never worked with Sculpey before. Normally you bake it, but I couldn't risk the ping pong interior melting in my toaster oven.

Spy vs Spy Final Coat

The final coats of paint.

Spy vs Spy Spray Finish

Up on my roof, applying a few passes of protective spray finish. (Coincidentally disturbing my neighbors’ last romantic sunset before they moved upstate. They seemed nice. I wish I had met them before they moved away.)

Spy vs Spy Glow Tape

I designed a skeleton template on the computer. Then, I scored through the printout to create decals out of theatrical glow tape. I also made some bombs out of Sculpey and cotton twine that I forgot to photograph.

Spy vs Spy Front

My finished Spy. His Halloween bucket is filled with smaller bombs, so the name of the piece is “Trick or Trick.”

Spy vs Spy Right Profile

Left and right profiles.

Spy vs Spy Glow Front

The side-by-side of him in the light and glowing in the dark.

Spy vs Spy Glow Back

Same with the back.

It has been a real honor to be included in this art project. I had a hard time handing it over after two weeks of sneaking in painting and sculpting after work or shows.

But, turning it in, I got a chance to see some of the other finished spies, and they are terrific! So proud to have mine alongside them.

They’ll be on display at the DC booth at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. If you have a chance to see them, I highly recommend it. Otherwise, you can see more now at MAD’s blog The Idiotical.

Now, I promise to get back to writing stupid puns and stuff.


Ironic Shirt

Posted on May 25, 2011

Why, yes. Yes I am wearing this shirt from the Gap ironically. That’s very astute of you to notice. I think everyone else at this gallery opening just assumed I’m some sort of hick from Wisconsin. Yes, yes this is an ironic outfit. Sure it is.

Those are very interesting legwarmers, you’ve got there. Are those made out of beer cozies? That’s what I thought. They’re nice. Did you make those yourself?

No, of course I’m kidding. I know who that designer is. He’s very … five minutes from now.

My shoes? They’re from the New Balance Outlet Store. It’s meant to be a commentary on the plebeian fixation on function over form. Which we all know is ridiculous. So flyover state, right? Yeah, who would wear non-ironic sneakers? Some sort of gross doofus.

I like your glasses, by the way. They’re very reflective. I can see myself sweating a little. I’m surprised you’re not warm in your beer cozies.

So, what do you do for a living? I’m just kidding. I can tell by your expression that that’s an offensive question. It was actually meant to be thought-provoking. Like as in, what if people had to work for money? Wouldn’t that be weird? It’s fine that you didn’t catch the subtext. Don’t be embarrassed.

Whew, I hope this champagne kicks in soon.

So, um, what do you think of the exhibition? I saw the artist masturbating in the corner as part of a performance piece. At least I hope it was a performance piece, ha ha.

Oh no, I didn’t realize the piece was about the Apartheid. Yes, you’re correct; there’s nothing funny about the racial segregation.

Do you know the artist’s work then? Oh, wow, it must be interesting being the daughter of a famous artist. Does he practice his performance pieces at … you know what, never mind.

Where is that waiter with more drinks?

So, did you watch the Parks and Rec finale? Sure, that’s okay. I’ll just go stand over here then. Nice talking with… buh bye.


My Art’s Meaning

Posted on August 11, 2010

Don’t get me wrong—I love being an artist. I love making art. I just wish I had more control over how it’s received. No one seems to understand my art’s deeper, disgusting meaning.

Everybody refers to my paintings as “pretty.” They like the bright colors. They enjoy the soft lines. Can’t they break through the façade to grasp my work’s off-putting and disturbing subtext?

Take for instance this piece titled “Dragonfly Picnic.” Yes, all the insects look chipper in their top hats and parasols. But, do you notice anything about the shapes of the lily pads? How about the look of fear in the ladybug’s eyes? There's clearly a relationship between the dragonflies and the willow tree that frightens the ladybugs. Did none of you study WWI Balkan History? If you did, you’d cringe at my scandalous take on “dragonfly/ladybug” relations.

Or, the piece called “Turtles First Bicycle.” People look at a turtle riding a Victorian-era velocipede and take it at face value. I’ve never once had someone come up to me to talk about the horrifying sexual symbolism, let alone my comments on the class structure of contemporary South Africa. I don’t get it; it’s all right there in plain sight.

Sometimes I wish I could just tell people my art’s deeper, icky meaning. But, that’s not what art is. Art is about the back-and-forth. It’s about an artist challenging the viewer to grapple with inferences and implications.

Yet, somehow, none of the families at this library art fair seem interested in being challenged. One woman bought my piece “Bunny Finds Its Pencil”, saying it matched the green in her daughter’s nursery. I must assume she failed to notice the allusion to the deep psychosocial scars left behind amongst a landmine-ravage Pacific Ring. Nor, did she realize by extension our culture's fetishizing of commercial products made by— Oops, I almost gave to much away.

I don't know. Maybe she did get all that, and she just wants to expose her child to complex, disquieting concepts at an early age. Some people are weird like that.


Art Joke

Posted on April 17, 2010


In honor of a trip to the museum today, the following is the greatest joke I’ve ever written. Maybe I should give it a bigger build-up, so as to make this post seem as important as it really is. But, I’m just gonna let it stand on its own as definitively the greatest joke I have ever written and maybe one of the greatest jokes ever written by anyone.

Are you ready? Here it goes:

(Read aloud.)

Q: Why did Peggy Guggenheim pick up her mobile phone?
A: Because, Alexander Calder.


The Art Show

Posted on March 8, 2010


My thoughts on a recent art show.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


[Text of the above audio. Best if read in a thick German accent.]

This weekend, I attended the rather large Armory Art Show in New York, and I found myself pondering the same question that critics and art historians have been asking for decades. Yes, it is beautiful. Yes, it hangs on the wall. But, is it a vagina?

I know, I know, it is the most subjective of questions. I assume many of you have settled on the classic answer: “I know a vagina when I see it.” But, especially in the world of contemporary art, I think it is an uncertainty that demands further study.

Anyone can look at the established, canonical artists like Egon Schiele or Georgia O’Keeffe and see that, yes, this is clearly a vagina. But, what of the work of Jeff Koons or Takashi Murakami, pieces that mix artistic technique with brazen commercialism? Are these still vaginas? (In the latter’s case, I believe it to be a mix. Some work is vaginal, while other pieces are something else completely.)

Can a pile of spilt sesame seeds be a vagina? Is a statue of Scrooge McDuck a vagina? What about a video installation of man hitting his penis with a belt? Surely, we can agree that this is a vagina.

Some of you might scoff, “Tut tut, my five-year-old can glue a triangle of shag carpet to an American flag. That doesn’t make it a vagina.” Well, I think this brings up further questions rather than easy answers. Is the scenario, itself, a sort of meta-discussion on the role of vaginas and their place in our daily lives? Can anything be a vagina when seen through the perspective of an artist?

I don’t believe we can come up with a so-called “answer,” but the topic deserves deep, penetrative analysis. Every day, we must strive to dive face-first into our basic precepts of what is and what is not a vagina.