I\W: How do you incorporate faux-finishing into your work?
Paul Erschen: Some of my work, because it has been sitting around for so long, has dust on it anyways—which I really wish I could figure out how to recreate. There are faux-finishing kits to get rust to happen, which allow me to use real rust, but it has more of the feel of painting when I create it. Through experimentation I have figured out tricks to make weird things happen by not using the faux-finishing kits according to the instructions, or throwing in an unexpected substance. I have used caulk which is originally white, but by putting some ammonia on it, it turns blue. A lot of times I save this step to closer when I am going to show the work because the stress or phrenetic energy of getting this stuff done lets things happen more easily. I don’t think they are completely convincing as far as the faux-finishing. I think if you really spend time looking at them you will realize that they are cast objects, and that there is some trickery going on. I am not interested in taking it to that level where it fools the eye. I want it to be just convincing enough that you are unsure about it being an original form or a casting, asking yourself what is the actual authenticity of the object.
(Paul’s studio is filled with the remains of years of sifting through the city for discarded objects, pieces dually considered memory-laden and easily forgotten. Stacked high in blue tubs, the findings are organized as neatly as the many molds for his castings, delicate drawings grace the side of each to distinguish which casting is their match. Through collections Paul has explored the throwaways of Chicago’s inhabitants, creating narrative exhibitions he purposefully leaves incomplete.)