Unhappy But Used To It/Six Years And Then Some

Anthony Campuzano

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“Headed for Doomsday on a Leap Year?” is one headline that passed through my head as I tried to gather my thoughts about this (third) version of my project Unhappy But Used To It/Six Years And Then Some, made especially for Title Magazine. The first version was made in 2001 for a show in Los Angeles, and I put together a larger second version that was exhibited in 2007 as part of my  show Note On Door at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, but the beginnings of the idea go back to about 1998.


My then-girlfriend and I were walking around New York City and had, over the course of a day, ceased speaking to each other. We began only communicating via messages scrawled on index cards and passed back and forth throughout the remainder of the day. In late 2000 I had moved to NYC and we had reconciled enough to be friends. I was helping her pack up her apartment before her move to Milwaukee when I spied one of the index cards I passed to her on that day a few years prior. It was taped above her desk and read: “Unhappy But Used To It.” It really struck me, and at that time I had begun to primarily use text in my work. I thought about the phrase for a while afterwards. I worked as a secretary, and on my work computer I had a seven year calendar that I used to make appointments that were often months apart from each other. I kept thinking of the phrase, and slowly it was revealed to me how I could use it. I originally made a drawing but wanted to get to the essence of what the phrase meant, so I began to focus on the passage of time. Years that had passed from when I wrote the note to when I had rediscovered it. I soon figured out that one can spell out the phrase “Unhappy But Used To It” using only the letters present in the twelve months of a year. Starting with the U in January and going forward, it takes roughly six and a half years to complete the phrase. It really blew my mind. I loved how the completion of the sentence came close to the “seven year itch,” how, by the time you completed the sentence, you were in fact “used to it,” the seven year calendar cycle ready to repeat.


In the time between the making of the 2001 and the 2007 calendars, there were many things that I was unhappy (about) but used to, in addition to things I was actively trying to change, as well pleasant surprises. The 2007 calendar was primarily focused on the then-foreseeable end of George W Bush’s second term. I came up with the idea of doing another calendar after I had high quality photos taken of the 2007 version. I am now going to make a smaller fourth version after this third incarnation, contrasting drawings with inset photos of the 2007 version.


This third version has come into being over the past month and takes a form of a download. Daniel Gerwin approached me about doing something for Title  Magazine, and I thought of making a version that people could print out for themselves. A black and white, simple design that one could color or make notes on as one saw fit (in my versions I usually fill in the letters that make up the phrase in red, but feel free to pick your own color).


In this polarized election cycle, amid the depressed economics of the last few years, there are many topics that one could feel”unhappy but used to it” about, yet that is not the only possible outcome of the calendar. It could also be seen as a warning, with the message deciphered and present, so one knows to avoid complacency and perhaps even make changes in life. There is, however, the pesky and persistent talk about the Mayan calendar and the world’s end coming this December. If that is unfortunately the case, you will only be able to get to “Un” on this calendar.


Anthony Campuzano, 2012


Anthony Campuzano has had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art and Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia and at White Columns and Churner and Churner in New York.  Current and upcoming projects include: Shelf Life 3: Anthony Campuzano, Put These Away or: The Storm, Transparent Things, and In Praise of Al’s Grand Hotel, a project of the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative at the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage; a White Box residency, also at the the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage; Peace Is A Haiku Song, a project for the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia in collaboration with Sonia Sanchez and Parris Stancell; and A Complete Die, etc, a curatorial project at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery. He does not hold a drivers license and is a fan of pop music and pop music videos.