Tuesday is a big day at the office for Immony Men; he'll finally finish that big project he's been working on. For the Montreal and Toronto-based artist, the office is Vancouver's Grunt Gallery, and the project is a multi-wall, floor-to-ceiling mural, created with some 10,000 Post-it notes.
Taking Care of Business began as a satirical commentary on office life, dreamed up in an overworked haze at a time when Men, now 28, was working three part-time jobs while completing his BFA at Concordia University.
"I just came home one night and I thought, what if I took all this time and I put it into my art practice? What would I make?"
Like many office jobs, this performance piece/installation involves much drudgery. Sitting at a desk set up in the small gallery, Men prints out each one of the 10,000 squares that will make up the photo-based image, directly onto a Post-it note stuck onto a piece of letter-sized paper. He then meticulously arranges the sticky notes into rows, mounting them onto the walls using double-sided tape (stickier than sticky notes) to create a scene of - what else? - an office.
What a way to make a living.
He's created the work at several galleries across the country, altering it each time to fit the space. The image comes from Montreal's Belgo Building, where galleries and artists' studios exist side-by-side with shipping and telemarketing firms (where many artists earn their rent money), blurring the line between the art world and the workforce, in a shared dynamic.
The inkjet-black on sticky-note-yellow image contains many office staples: file folders, a coffee mug, the water cooler. And of course, a clock - captured at about 22 minutes to quitting time.
"It was almost more of a farce," Men says of the work's beginning, four years ago, when it was full of disdain for the white-collar world.
"At first it left a sour taste in my mouth, to go through that 9 to 5 routine, have two days a week where you recover from the work week and then you might have a one- or two-week vacation at the end or middle of the year."
But some 70,000 sticky notes - and many conversations with office workers - later, Men's view has altered somewhat. "I think different people need different things, and financial stability is quite comfortable."
Call it an office party: Vancouver's Grunt Gallery will mark the conclusion of Immony Men's performance Tuesday from 7:30-10:30 pm. The piece will remain installed until Aug. 6.