I created the database in 2000 and moved a few hundred art ideas into it from bits of paper collected over the years, then updated it every so often. In 2010 I deleted maybe 1/8th of the worst entries, but there's still too many impossible, personal & opaque, or just plain stupid ideas.
In fact there are so many stupid ones that I had to add a Stupid(er) category. But while reviewing the ideas recently (2018), I could still remember how powerful some of the most far-fetched ones felt when I had them.
The idea here was to organize items and get a sense of how they add up; it turns out that was a silly idea. But I tried, and there it is below, in category-tree form.
I'm well aware that unrealized ideas are no better than empty talk, and that an artist must "produce." This is part of what I produced during some wayward, but not quite lost, years.
- Babel Tower vs. Aztec Temple
- Bad Words Go Limp
- Brain Freeze Victims
- Nerdiness Sells - Wrox
- Rap Video Meets Bollywood Video
- Reality TV's Purpose
- Starbucks Inside McDonalds
- Thoughts Powerless Until Communicated
- Architecture 101
- Building with Less Surface Detail per Floor
- Bury Buildings to Roof
- Flop Ceiling and Front Wall
- Lego-Like Global Chain Stores
- Mystery Wall
- Self-Standing Door
- Sheetrock Shelves
- Sidewalk Contstruction Detour
- Sinking Line of Self-Standing Doors
- Aesthete TV
- Art Special Effects
- Art Video from Good vs. Bad Movie
- Fresnel Box Next to Images Made from It
- Is Idea-Space Shrinking?
- Sell My Secret Painting Processes
- Spooky Room Full of Paintings
- Abstract Pictures
- Channeling - Flow Paint on Hex Tile
- Paintings with Braille as Action
- Paintings with Ornate Frames as Action
- Public Art
- Masterpiece to Schlock Translation
- Schlock Like My Paintings
- What is Schlock?
- Street Theater
- Art World
- Art World Is Like Fashion World
- Artist Realness Rankings
- Beavis & Butthead as Art Critics
- Found vs. Factory Made Art
- Cultural Evolution
- Coronado to Kid Frost
- Everything Idea
- Every Garbage Pile in NYC
- Everyone Who Ever Lived
- Everyone's Thoughts at Once
- The Everything Craze
- Absolut Ad - Artist in Gutter, Art in Dumpster
- Mix Face and Flowchart Ads
- Pirate Ad Projection
- Xzibit Hennesy Ad
- Rap - Bittersweet
- Rap - Reverse Radio Version
- Rap Lyric Diagrams
- Rap Lyric Face Shots
- Rap Lyrics vs. Sample Lyrics
- Fake Second Coming
- Fix Summer in the City
- Flying Sideways
- Subway as Air Conditioner
- Trees and Utility-Line Trellis
- Image Tree of LOATI
- Next Possible States - Tree of Snapshots
- Agent Borg and Idling Free Agents
- Agent Clones Fill Screen, Saying "I'm not you" Over and Over
- Agent Lip-Syncs Backwards Song, with New Lyrics
- Agent Triplets - Person, Angel, Devil
- Agents React To Live Speech
- Agents React To Live Text Feed
- Agents with Human Faces
- Idling Agents
- Automated Process
- Home Control Devices Change Room Theme
- Art Review Generator
- Artwork Title Generator
- Form Conversion
- Real to Digital Rainbow
- Property Sheets
- Label Artwork with List of Ingredients
- Accidental Street Sculpture
- All It Can Be - Pool Full of Water Bottles
- Blow Plastic Bags Off Body
- Doormat Pictures
- Foam Fossils
- Huge Yogurt Cup Ball
- Napkin Tornado
- Paper Armada
- Plastic Bags Over Light
- Plastic Burka Standing on Light Box
- Popeye vs. Sinbad
- Sculpture Shaped by Act of Delivery
- Self-Organizing Yogurt Lid Video
- Subway Grate LCD
- Yogurt Lid Reflector Field
- Yogurt Lid Space-Time
- Yogurt Lid Stack Code
- Yogurt Lid Trail
- Cell Phone Users Spread Out
- Noise Torture - Koyaanisqatsi of Noise
- Car Alarms
- Rockets & Weapons
- Bomb That Digs Graves - No Muss No Fuss
- Cruise (Missile) up Newtown Creek
- Cruise Missile Coffin
- Cruise Missile Package Delivery Service
- Cruise Missile that Recognizes Faces
- Missiles and Smokestacks
- Reagan's Star Wars Dream
- Strapped-Down Rockets Drive Wheel
- Increase Subway Capacity
- Subway Car Airliner
- Subway Car Ceiling Reflections at Rush Hour
- Graphs Over Images
- Draw Bands from Earth's Core to Space
- Idea Database
- Land of Lakes - Reflective Surface of Painting
- New York Underground
- Views of Scene from Different Vision Systems
- Google Earth Flight - Earth Becomes an Idea
- Information Continuum from Physical to Abstract Being
- Layered Prints - Gray Seas
- Live Satellite Scan of Painting
- What Is Photo Presence?
- Data Visualization
- Data Visualization of Below My Paintings' Terrain
- Elevation Map from Toothpicks on Foam
- Flip Data Visualization of Parking Lot So Pollution Is Above Ground
- Global Air Conditioning - Core Sample
- All I Can Be - Terra Cotta Army
- All I Can Be - Wading Pool Water
- Ghost Show of Lost and Test Paintings
- Land of Lakes - Water on Tarp
- Lit Water in Grid Suspended from Ceiling
- Room of Alternating Pictures and Voices
- Room of Swirling Ghosts
- Water Ghost
- Bryant Park Audio vs. Silent Video
- Building in Cliff Face
- Clashing Images and Sounds by Era
- Clashing Images and Sounds by Location
- Compare Expressive Power of Image vs. Sound
- Cuckoo Clock Bird Pops Out Door in Wall Under Video
- Merged Skyscrapers and Cliff Dwellings
- Mixed 3D Modelers - Mechanical vs. Natural
- Squadron of 3D Forms Hover Over Sunflowers
- Arm Sticking out of Surface, Throwing a Shadow
- Clouds as Transition
- Faux 3D Elevation from Shadow
- Headlights of Passing Car on the Ceiling
- Shadow as Transition to Other Dimension
- Foam Chip Mountain Covering Light
- Impale Milk Cartons on Black Spike Fence
- Whispered Soundtrack Added to Quiet Video
- Virtual Reality
- Are We Inside a Virtual Reality Box?
- Wireless World
- Tree of Possible Phrases
- Anticipation Is 90% of Pleasure or Pain
- Blow Away Foam Chip Forms
- Anonymous Jesus Test
- Core Sample - Layers from Sacred Places
- God as Luck
- Jesus as Virtual Reality Avatar
- Stores to Churches
- Ugly Jesus Test
- Faith vs. Knowledge
- City Block Built from Every Building I've Lived In
- Dating Website Eyes and Dogs
I wanted to do some pictures of people (usually heroin addicts, I believe) whose brains have "frozen" in the middle of the sidewalk as traffic flows around them, like pebbles in a stream. It's amazing how well they can balance in paralysis, and how people ignore them.
But not only would I be exploiting them like they're wildlife, they are hard to capture.
Then this guy was in Washington Square Park, functioning normally, when he locked up right in front of where I was sitting. He stood, balanced but seeming asleep, for a long, long time.
I thought "Why should I act like I didn't see this?" Still, you'll notice his face is not shown.
These pictures come from the sidewalk outside St. Mark's church in the East Village. Seeing the way the hex tiles channel water in a patterned way, and having made some paintings by flowing layers of paint over texture, I'd guess there's some potential in painting on hex tile.
I guess this is where it becomes obvious that talk is cheap, and that I would have to actually make a hex tile painting to prove my claim. Maybe one of these days...
5 mil translucent plastic tarp, wrapped in folds. Life size, on my 36" light box. Use child mannequin with wig, as in picture here? Tarp is blurred enough to make it hard to tell it's not alive.
Launching a normal cruise missile to kill an enemy is stupid, because people move around; what the missile blows up is a place where (bad intelligence claimed) an enemy hung out, so anyone working or eating at one of Saddam's favorite restaurants was in more danger than he was, and the massive explosion destroyed any evidence of exactly who was blown up. With face-recognition software, you would at least be guaranteed that a look-alike would be among the dead.
A grid of bags hanging from a lattice of string hanging over a large shallow hole, like a dug up terra cotta army. Clear plastic bags full of dirt / paper effigies? How to create above ground?
Re All I Can Be - Terra Cotta Army and Water Ghosts Clear plastic pouches of water suspended from string grid in wading pool. Re nuclear fuel rods.
- Warped Spacetime
- Elemental Phenomena
- Fresnel-Edge Rainbow
- Birth as Lottery - Person vs. Culture
- God and Gambling - Give Structure to Chance
- The Necessity of Chance
- Flocking or Flow Over Subway Rush Hour
- Now That I Can Dance
- Subway Station Rush Hour Video
- California Suburb Pictures
- Hood Fades to Landscape
- Shift Top Halves of Orchard
- Nature Climbing Up Through City Cracks
- Release Termites on a Painting
- Things In Between
- Evolutionary Value of Individual vs. Collective
- Nervous Caveman in Bouncing Lowrider
- Terrain to Tower of Babel Sequence
Use bungee cords to demonstrate spacetime warped by gravity. Whiffle ball at center, with bungees pulling thick clear plastic container inward from open barrel.
I'm not sure this even qualifies as an idea, since I can't think of a good way to illustrate it.
Both God and gambling give structure to Chance, and the universe pretty much runs on Chance, with random decisions and actions built into the way we think and move, the way things grow and flow, and on and on.
The idea of God lets accidents and bad luck happen "for a reason." Gamblers pray for luck at the ultimate altar of Chance, the slot machine, which stands in for nature's supreme indifference to feelings, merit or "a reason."
God is omniscient. Casinos have surveillance everywhere, from cameras behind mirrored ceilings to the smart slot machine debit cards that track you through the casino. All the slots are wired into central computers that can change their odds, and their appearance and sound to suit gamblers' tastes.
Our pathetic governments look to both God and casinos for easy answers. Don't want fiscal responsibility? License casinos and lotteries, then skim the profits. Don't want social responsibility? Turn it over to religious groups.
Take a neat-grid orchard of trees in a 3D program (Bryce?), cut trees at a horizontal plane halfway up, then shift the top half so its trunk sections are a foot away from the bottom halves. What about a real-world picture of a flooded forest? Or an HO model landscape embedded in Lucite, then cut into shifted planes? Doing it virtually might be harder than doing it physically.
Below, a real-world example from Hungary's 2010 toxic flood.
- Barking Dog Web Cam
- Bleecker and Bleecker
- Burka Dance Video
- Cellphone Cursing Excuse
- Custom Carved Soap
- Drive-Through Things
- Dumpster Home Sign
- Instant Karma Machine
- Manhole Cover Art
- Newtown Creek Garbage Disposal
- Remix Cover-Art Photos
- Suicide Bomber Video Portrait Franchise
- Waiting Video
I wanted to do a series of pictures of drive-through things.
America is built on gas guzzling vehicles, and roads through some National Parks were designed to let visitors see the park from their car (or the living room of their moving RV), so they never have to actually walk across a few feet of nature.
When I was a kid I rode in a car through more than one redwood in California. Then there's drive-through banks, liquor stores, fast-food outlets, etc.Interesting drive-through buildings here in New York include the Manhattan Municipal Building downtown (the roadway underneath now blocked off against terrorists), and the tunnels at the foot of Park Ave. proper that travel under, around and through the buildings at Grand Central.
This one really is a stupid idea. I guess because we see so little evidence that people get what they "deserve," I thought a "karma machine" might help solve the problem.
My saved description: "Detects wrongdoing and retaliates immediately." Considering the level of evil coming out of Washington, DC for the past six years, where better to place the machine than the top of the Washington Monument?Of course ceding "justice" to an extra-worldly overlord/device, after the myriad ways we've seen the idea of God abused lately, is a bad idea. But since the alternative is permanent vigilance on our part -- work -- the idea is appealing.
I saw this manhole cover and was reminded of an idea I had and forgot long ago: you could probably make money if you went out and made molds of distinctive manhole covers, then cast them in a lightweight material so buyers could hang them on the wall.
This is exactly the sort of thing a real entrepreneur -- or real artist for that matter, since most of the commercially successful artists I've met run what amounts to a small business -- would just go ahead and do.
I have cast things before, and I'm sure a reliable technique for casting-in-place could be developed. You would need an art intern to assist you, of course -- to direct traffic around you while you're working in the middle of the street.