An Abbreviated History with Burns Maxey

July 29th, 2011  |  by Published in featured, featured artists  |  1 Comment

Burns Maxey is an inter-media artist based in Easthampton who’s work was recently featured in the Hosmer Gallery at Forbes Library.  This body of work, the Easthampton Alphabet is an incredible journey through the hilarious, strange, heartfelt, and tragic history of Easthampton’s residents. These works on paper were inspired by sifting through microfiche and finding true stories that happened in Easthampton, MA from 1898 to 2009. The almost full alphabet can be seen here:


























This body of work is playful and touching. I found myself close to tears somewhere around the V and certainly laughed out loud throughout my viewing at the Hosmer Gallery.
An abbreviated version of the alphabet can be seen until TOMORROW(!) at White Square Books in Easthampton (a splendid little bookstore: ) through August.

The Alphabet is part of a larger body of work entitled Project Elements Easthampton.  The alphabet is one piece of an installation for Earth which featured an audio tour and living installation.

Following Earth is Water, an installation of audio, video, and sculpture exploring the dreams, history, and waterways of Easthampton.

Get ready for Air.

Burns’ website and blog can be found here
the almost full alphabet can be seen here:

Burns Maxey is currently working on several new projects including Air.

What are you trying to communicate or explore in your work?
Most recently, I have been exploring place through different perspectives of time such as historical, the present, or even the unconscious. This may include many other facets such as mapping, narratives, memory, creatures, and plant-life.

Where were you when you created one of your favorite works?
Standing in front of a house in Easthampton at 3 a.m. in February while taking a prolonged exposure with nothing else around but silence and televisions flickering through windows. This was the first step to Project Elements Easthampton: Earth and it began to unfold—the grass chairs, the rotary telephones, the audio stories, the alphabet, and the night photographs—right then and there.
How do you see your art in relation to cultivating community, and how does community affect the work you make?
The community is a focus in all of my works because my projects have been rooted in the concept of place.  The relationship has become extremely reciprocal. The community inspires and in turn I create an experience that includes the community.

What is your spirit animal?
Jackalope with swimmer’s ear

What spaces in Northampton are you most curious to see inside of, or to make work in?
Shaw’s Motel. There are definitely some stories there.
What are some strategies you use to sustain your art practice (while living in the Northampton area)?
While living in Easthampton I keep myself continually interested in my art and subjects by keeping involved with different projects and mediums. When that fails I switch geographies and head to Flywheel for some sounds or to Mobius in Boston for some art that blows my mind.

What 5 items do you always carry with you?
An assortment of tea bags, keys, mini-sketchbook, juggling balls, phone/camera, rubber bands


  1. V is for Valentine’s « Project Elements Easthampton says:

    July 30th, 2011at 10:11 pm(#)

    […] to Jackie D of C3 in Northampton did and interview with me on my Project Elements  project and others. Share […]

Leave a Response