Call & Response #2: Ashton Phillips and Karrie Ross

A collaboration during the COVID-19 Quarantine. Call & Response #2 organized by Kristine Shomaker, had 50 artists paired by a blind draw and given two weeks, or 14 collaborations, which works out to be 7 for each artist. One artist begins and the collaborations proceeds. They can paint, audio, write, video, etc. Each works off the other. A ‘something to do’ during the quarantine. I answered the call, was paired with Ashton Phillips to collaborate with… I think we had a really good time. This slide show is the best representation of our efforts.

There is a complete catalogue of images and emails available at this link on Amazon. Or search for Karrie Ross. The year 2020 is a stress-filled time where artists have to use their ability to communicate when the outside world is going through some tough experiences and especially for me in the USA. I believe that Artists are here to document through artwork that examples the world. Karrie Ross and Ashton Phillips rose to the occasion and collaborated with 50 other artists.

There is an event page at the link is below. Ashton made an audio and two videos and their links are also below this slideshow. And the email correspondences are also below the slideshow. We both put a lot into the final images so if you want to pass all the images leading to the end… click on the end two images in the grid.


Click through to the Slideshow loading

[portfolio_slideshow id=050720]
[portfolio_slideshow size=large]


Links for Ashton’s videos and audio.
Audio #3
Video #13


And to see the other collaborations. Here is the link and a big thank you for organizing the event goes to ShoeBoxPr, Los Angeles, CA.

AND HERE IS THE LINK to the online exhibit. Our work is strangely arranged, not sure how that happened but we are there and the collaboration was fun.


To follow is our email communications which helped drive the responses.

#1    April 16, 2020 : 5:50pm Ashton Phillips
Nice to meet you this way, if only virtually and only through email, at the moment.  

I’m sending you a photograph from a temporary installation I made today using a loose measuring tape, an old retractable dog leash, and some found twigs. The unmoored “measure” device felt like a perfect graphic object for this moment (at least to me).  I’ve spent a lot of time feeling unmoored myself, especially with respect to time.  But, I’m also starting to tune into natural time, the rhythm of the sun, the seasons, my own body.  And, that connection with the slower pacing of nature is helping me feel more grounded, despite never knowing what day of the week it is.  

I’m tenatively titling this “Loose Measure” in keeping with the above ideas.  


#2    April 17, 2020 Karrie Ross

It has been said that we loose ourselves on the journey. I beg to differ, I find me loose in the time, space, location,vibration, and pull of gravity from one place to the next. Within this there are microcosms to explore. What is imagined becomes tangible and makes its way onto my ‘canvas’. The place where it becomes the whole and I become the journey into the unknown. When I looked at Ashtons #1 piece of curving measurements and twigs I started to go in, into inward in-between his expression. I caught sight of my One and off we went and my #2 is what we met.

I’m calling this #2 Journey


#3   Ashton Plillips;   Sat, 18 Apr 2020 19:39:35 -0700

I like this idea of incorporating words into the work explicitly.  I’m also engaged with the idea of collage and the fragment, because that is how my headspace right now.  I think rhythm and arrhythmia, too, are part of this loosening and distortion of measure/time I am feeling right now. 

For #3, I’ve take spoken some phrases from notes I made to myself as I was contemplating this collaboration.  Being away from my studio and tools means that much of my existing creative practice is painfully inaccessible right now.  But, writing – about my ideas and about this moment – have become an integral part of my survival and taken up some of the slack left by quarantine related obstacles.  These spoken words are collaged together with sounds generated from the materials and tools I used in #1: loose measuring tape, a dog leash, sticks, twigs, dirt, and a small spade I used to remove some grass. 

I imagine this could be listened to without a visual or at the same time as viewing #1 or #2 or with an as yet unmade image. 

I’ve uploaded the audio file to my website (because it is massive).  It is the second file on the Sound page titled again Loose Measure: 


#4    Karrie Ross; Sun, 19 Apr 2020 18:23:36 -0700

I enjoyed our conversation today.

Attached is my response to your audio, as mentioned i will be adding one more layer of paint pen and ink to all the parts i send which generally helps bring them into 3D and expression.

I heard the klink the footsteps close. A flitter of thoughts of Earth and growth, a land still forming with seeds starting to show. A journey layered with skipping around a wine glass klinking half empty half full. The audio Ashton sent created a hum and consistent din that carried me through the next bump of reality … within.


#5    Ashton Phillips   Mon, Apr 20 at 3:49 PM

Thank you, Karrie.  I also enjoyed our conversation.  Attached is my response “Half Full.” 

I’m continuing our shared exploration of text, written, and spoken word as material – this time with layers of my handwritten notes collaged over an image of the wine glass I mentioned in the my audio piece. This glass contains new growth in the form of microbial growth on top of the juice and seeds of the heirloom tomato I crushed by hand.  It looks gruesome and there is decay here, but it is also part of the recommended process for germinating these seeds. I find beauty in this interconnected play of growth and decomposition – the form returning to the formless and the formless taking form.

#6    Karrie Ross    Tue. April 21, 2020 14:34-0700

Inside outside osmosis reduced within a vibration amplified directed connected. No boundaries of form or substance floating amongst the defining energetic lines of time not counted existing continuing the journey. Immediately upon seeing Ashtons #5 I was taken by the mechanical calculations and felt a confined structure that needed to break free, evolve.


#7-1     Ashton Phillips    Tue, Apr 21 at 5:50 PM

Thanks, Karrie. Received. I connect to this metaphor of breaking free of confined structure… One time I axed a wood painting in half for similar reasons, I think. Too restrained, too contained. I also relate to the craving to see through/past boundaries and float amongst the totality of connected energy.

We will see what I can come up with.

#7 second email; Weds, April 22, 2020, 6:03:56 PM PDT,   Ashton Phillips


The sense of flowing, boundlessness – of movement and breaking through form to formlessness – that I am finding in your writing and visual work has brought me back to video. This medium also feels like part of my evolution and a way of letting go of some of the control and desire for certainty that I think you saw in the conceptual diagram I included in the last image. For me, time-based media, like video and sound, are fundamentally flowing, fleeting, moving, and formless – in a sense – because they can’t be “possessed” or touched or stilled. I know video is not your favorite, but I hope you will enjoy seeing some of your ideas and energy channeled through me and into this new medium here. Also, I’ve attached a still from the video that you are welcome to use in your response, if you like.

Leak (The only way out is through)
video link was here
wet hand-molded clay, water, garden crate, steel shelving, aluminum sheeting, plastic lid, concrete wall, wood decking/fencing, midday sun


#8  Karrie Ross California Artist~ Thu, Apr 23 at 5:08 PM

Escape from the waterboarding! Help…! Well, “…you’re gonna’ drive me to drinkin’ If you don’t stop drivin’ that Hot Rod Lincoln”. Best car I ever partnered with was my ’63 VW Bug, she was considered a member of the family for years. She crossed the streams and road the waves a water beetle in the best of days with water dripping off her metal frame my 63 VW was a dame of a dame. From the mountains of Colorado to the city and deserts of California SF LA hasn’t seen anything like her to this day. I like Ashtons explorations to video and audio there is nothing not to like. The minute I saw heard the water pouring the metal resisting the clay absorbing… ESCAPE was the only thing I could think of.

#8 Escape!


#9    Ashton Phillips      Fri, Apr 24 at 3:48 PM

Dear Karrie,

I would also like to escape this situation – the pandemic, I mean. I thought I was showing the illusion of containment and a kind of escape in #7 Leak by showing how something soft and fluid, like water, can transverse something apparently solid, like clay. I was identifying more with the flowing water than with the clay form, I guess, but I can see how it could be read differently.

Now, to the car and memories of a different kind of escape.

# 9 Get set, GO!Ashton S. Phillips

#10    Karrie Ross California Artist Sat, Apr 25 at 6:49 PM

My #8 was about the water not the clay.

Ok I’m seeing this coming to an end, I would like to stop
this discovery at 14 if that’s ok with you.

Here is #10
A simple wire, ceramic, paper tube sculpture of a journey
being played out each bead etc marks progress along the way.


#11     Ashton Phillips — Sun,      Apr 26 at 6:06 PM

Hi Karrie,

Hope you are well.

Attached is #11. Kaffir Plum seeds from multiple generations (this year and last) in various stages of germination, within a network of loose bailing twine, on concrete. Untitled for now.



#12     Karrie Ross — Mon, Apr 27 at 6:09 PMAshton

Attached is the #12… your green seeds got me to thinking of faces, or at least ones I might draw faces on… lol. These are Monkey faces I bought the mask awhile back and loved the colors. Here they are all in a row, looking at us and taunting us to go on the way with them.

I’m very much looking forward to making #14 and finishing this off. I’m putting together a catalog of our progress and will send you the pdf to look at before I send it to be printed. I’m going to hunt down my youtube stuff so I can start posting again on my account. I’m looking forward to putting this on my blog too.

If possible can you put the images together to send to Kristine I think you can use all the ones I’ve sent and the final one I’ll send. Let me know if you need anything else from me.

Looking forward to your #13



#13    Ashton Phillips Tue,       Apr 28 at 7:57 PM
Goodness. My computer crashed on export and the export process took the machine way longer than I expected. Sorry again for getting this to you after the deadline. I may do a little more editing on this before the final submission, but it won’t change much.

#13 (un)masked

All filmed today in Los Angeles County.

I’ll write something more about this tomorrow and send it along. Essentially, I am very interested in the metaphor of the mask, including how our actual faces/bodies can be a kind of mask. I also think about the city itself as a kind of mask that covers the earth. I’ve never used by body in my work this way, but it seems like the best way of showing what I am feeling and thinking in this moment. Hopefully, I won’t regret it. I might obscure it a little more in the final…

Also, I’m excited to hear that you have bigger plans for this project. I love the idea of a catalogue and am happy to hear that this may have more life on your blog and you tube channel.

And, I’m more than happy to send the final files to Kristine.

Looking forward to seeing your final response,

I’m thinking about masks: the cloth mask, the face itself and the body as a kind of mask, the city as a mask over the ground, and the ways those masks are defeated or circumvented.

I’m also thinking about the vulnerability and vitality of the things we are covering up: the raw earth, ground water, the flesh, and the respiratory system.

And, the strange persistence of exploitative industry that somehow defies pause, even when everything else is shut down and even when oil is trading at less than $0/barrel.
I find myself wondering if this oil rig will just keep pumping after all the humans and other animals are gone and the well has run dry. Creaking and grinding alone. Like an after image of humanity – just disembodied, mindless pumping.

I’m also thinking about my relationship to the two other “animals” that appear here: first, the heron crossing the edge of the lagoon slowly, almost silently, looking out over the water and, then, the oil rig itself, bowing and rising, pumping mindlessly into the earth, extracting its poison for the fire.

Am I – are we – more like the intelligent, graceful heron or the rhythmic, grinding rig?


#14   Karrie Ross California Artist Wed, Apr 29 at 11:43 AM


Its been a pleasure collaborating with you. I really enjoyed how we merged and adjusted to each others space. We explored our place and how we communicate within in it with each other.

Here is #14
The Beginning. As we have now passed through the exploration of a friendship to happen. We road the vibrations of our creativity and took what made us spark. Our energy held it’s own in the merging of art. My piece was always going to be one piece not seven as the journey is made up of parts and pieces joined together into one fullness, a whole…and now at the end it has morphed into a new beginning for me having been touched by your exploration of yours. Thank you.

I’m almost finished with the catalogue and will send you the pdf to review and let me know if you want any part of your emails blanked out. I’ll wait until the work is presented in May so I can add the “opening” shots and when it gets up on Shoebox site. Then I’ll send it to print and send you a link when its published.

I’m still trying to think of what the video will look like, not sure if it will just be a page spread slideshow or what. My blog will be that representation along with the written text added.

Karrie Ross


### The End


These are the other artist pairs that are featured in the exhibition: Cheryl Wilder, Bibi Davidson, Adeola Davies-Aiyeloja, Julia Montgomery, Adrienne Cole, Genie Davis, Aline Mare, Taly Bar, Anne M Bray, Angelo Izzo, Ashton S. Phillips, Karrie Ross, britta k, Lissa Young, Chris Fontaine, Madeline Arnault, Dale Voelker, Victor Wilde, Dani Dodge, Kerrie Smith, David Estrada, Susan T. Kurland, Diane Cockerill, Diana Linquata, Gini Mann-Deibert, Autumn Palen, Heather Arndt, Sonji Art, Ibuki Kuramochi, Sandy Huse, Jessica Chappe, Mia Risberg, Jody Zellen, Kimberlee Koym-Murteira, Katie Stubblefield, Sarah Knouse, Kayla Cloonan, Elizabeth Flinsch, Kimberly Morris, Linda Stelling, Kristine Augustyn, Jill D’Agnenica, Kristine Schomaker, Sheli Silverio, Mathilda LaZelle , Rebecca Bennett Duke, Nancy Kay Turner, Hillory Rex, Pascha Goodwin, Tom Lasley, Rain Lucien Matheke, Eris Sharon, Robyn Alatorre, Dwora Fried, S. Vollie Osborn, Zarina Silverman, Sohani Holland, Laura Henneforth, Susan J. Osborn, Jeannine Chanin-Penn, Tina Linville, Emily Wiseman