"Near Mint/Mint" is a side project that I have been thinking about and working on in small bits for the last three years. The title refers to the term used to describe the condition of a card or other collectable that is in perfect or near perfect condition. Any collector recognizes the importance of the condition of a collected object and mint is the most desirable of all.
The project relates to the idea of collecting as a hobby, an investment, and even an obsession. I collected thousands of baseball, basketball, football, and other cards when I was between ten and twelve years old. Though they were thought of as an investment at the time, they have little monetary value and stay with me for sentimental reasons only. The project is an effort to come to terms with the time, energy, and money put into collecting cards and will attempt to answer the following questions:
1. What is the relationship that we have with objects we collect and can that relationship change over time?
2. Why is it so important that objects be “mint” condition?
3. If I love an object so much that it loses its “mint” status, is that object less valuable to me as the owner?
4. Who controls the worth of an object and why should they be able to?
5. Is collecting objects worthwhile?
6. Are my art works just objects to be collected? Isn’t there a certain amount of irony in this?
7. If no one knew about my collected objects other than myself, would I still collect them?
8. My dad told me over and over that I was wasting money by buying baseball cards. Will I ever be able to prove him wrong?
9. Can I enjoy objects that other people have collected just as much as if I were the owner of the object I was trying to enjoy?
10. Does an object that I have coveted for some time become less important or special once I have gained ownership of it?
11. Can an object be changed by the collector in a way that makes it more valuable to the collector and less valuable to everyone else?
12. Can I change the collected object in a way that it becomes more valuable to myself and to everyone else?
Please refer to my blog for updates on the project. As these questions are answered, I suspect more will arise, and the list will be added to. This project is open-ended and has no date of completion or set rules. Other artists are encouraged and welcome to contribute ideas and artwork.