commission progress cont'd...

Between Outside

Still all night
Two long days
If you don't know me this morning
I'm aloud to get along
By myself
Ignore the warnings
I don't suppose I
I could have started sooner
Re-writing the letter
The last one
We get along
Both sides now
Two long days
Feels like rain
Keeping up since I just started
Spell it out
But whose to blame
All my friends use to say I knew you
I don't suppose I
I could have started sooner
Re-writing the letter
The last one
We get along
Both sides now
To strong to start it
To the long departed

-Sam Prekop



What is the popular conception of the artist? In my oversights as an art installer one overhears descriptions given, and often, the resulting composite is a portrait of a malcontent: artists are held to be childish, bumbling, and irresponsible in everyday affairs.
The picture does not necessarily involve disapproval or unkindness. These deficiencies are again, often attributed to the intensity of the artist's preoccupation with his particular view and to the unworldly nature of the artist's vision itself. The tolerance granted to the absentminded professor is extended to the artist. Collectors, and common art enthusiasts contrast the artlessness of the creative person with judgments on the high attainment of his art. While his or her naïveté are gossiped about, they are viewed as signs of simplicity and inspiration. If the artist is inarticulate and lacking in the usual repositories of fact and information, how fortunate, I have heard it said, that nature has contrived to divert from them all worldly distractions so they may be single minded in regards to their special talent.
This myth, like all myths, has many reasonable foundations. First, it attests to the common belief in the laws of compensation: that one will gain in sensitivity by the deficiency in another. Homer was blind, Beethoven deaf. Too bad for them, but how fortunate for us in the increased vividness of their art. But more importantly it attests to the persistent belief in the irrational quality if inspiration, finding between the innocence of childhood and the derangements of madness that true insight which is not accorded the normal person. When thinking of the artist, many still likes to adhere to the view that there invention in him, or he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer fully there. Although science and technology daily threatens to render mystery from the imagination, the persistence of this myth is the inadvertent homage which people pay to the penetration of their inner being, as it is differentiated from their reasonable daily experience.
Strange, but artists have never made a fuss about being denied those virtues that other people would not do without: intellectuality, good judgment, a knowledge of the world, and rational conduct. It may be said that artists have helped foster the myth. In his intimate journals Vollard passed along that Degas feigned deafness to escape disputations and tirades concerning things he considered false and distastful. If the speaker or subject changed, his hearing immediately improved. Local legend, Joe Reno bolsters around Seattle often wearing a dust mask, and claiming to be Degas or Picasso. Often this occurs during some sort of transaction, either to get something or to trade for something. When on other days, he can be seen strolling around Ballard as even headed as any other person, and very easy to talk to. One can marvel at these acts of bravado , since it must be surmised what we know these days: that the constant repetition of falsehood is more convincing and fascinating than the demonstration of truth. It can be understood then how the artist might actually cultivate this appearance, this deafness, this mis-step, these masks, in an effort to evade the million irrelevancies which daily accumulate concerning their work. While the authority of lets say a doctor or electrician is hardly questioned, everyone deems themselves a good judge or better yet, arbiter of what a work of art should be, and how it should be done, and by what kind of mind it must take to make great works of art. I find this viewpoint, given the state of things within the education system, and even the culture at large, understandable, but boring. I look forward to this changing, and hopefully soon.



I've been thinking about audio lately. I've been thinking on how it help shape some of the things I see and some of the ways I thought. I been putting together a top ten of songs that changed me while I was in college. This song comes in on that top ten. The song is called Never Understand. In 1986 I was fortunate enough to have a close friend introduce me to the Jesus and Mary Chain. The first album by the JAMC was called Psychocandy, and it was flawless. I still listen to it. This song, and video had so much attitude, that as a young art student, it became part of my interior arsenal. In as much as one needs a bit of rebellion in their system, this was in the mix. Hope you enjoy the memory and the feedback...



Some damage around my neighborhood and I noticed some other parts that I may stroll into to see if the trees and power are still down. A hell of a lot trees fell on Thursday night, and power around town is still spotty.


A Million Power Outages

I have been in wind storms, and I have been in wind storms. This one was a Opera, Wagner. I live on the top floor of an industrial building, and the ceiling/roofline is a series of 2x8's lined vertically along the ceiling. Well the winds were enough for me to see the waves through the ceiling, as they raised and fell. It was drama. On top of fighting a bitch of a cold, it was drama above what I'm used to. Hope any of you that live here in Seattle or the PNW, are alright. All I can say after watching some of the footage around here is wow.


Traveling Allegories

Travel, like existence, is a non-figurative art.
Travel is in the head. It is the allegiance to a complicated spatial ritual and a radical simplification of being alive. It is a moon-landing at the outlying point of all the rest.
I use to believe, when we would, as a family, travel by car from Washington to visit family in Missouri, that the surroundings outside of the vehicle were a distorted projection or moving screen. One that became visible only when viewed in a special manner, like driving across America along the freeway. I believe another word for this is Anamorphosis. I'd still like to think that the visions of the badlands, and of Wyoming were of some distorted screen or projection, all built to fill the imagination of the passer-by, or a wondering child with ideas of painting the world around himself.

-Jean Baudrillard


more Childish behavior...

found a video of the night Billy Childish performed here in Seattle a few months ago, and as well, found myself in the frame. Bowler hat alert!

Billy Childish at the Sunset Tavern, performing "Keep Your Man In Mind"



The greater the tendency to integrate man into mechanical and systemic effects, the more you have to swim against the tide, towards the hypothesis of the illogical sovereignty of material intelligence. I don't look upon this as a mystical hypothesis, or a magic bullet. It's just the only one left with a humorous element attatched.
Increasingly, I have found, it is machines , not people, who get nervous. Tinkering technology surrounds me in my daily routine. I've noticed people only become nervous if they force themselves to look or act like machines. Perhaps I've been working too close, or surrounded by this "Window" of technology for longer than I should? Perhaps I haven't been around it long enough?
I have of late, been feeling that I need an infinite stretch of time ahead just in order to think. Infinite energy just to make the smallest decision. The world is getting denser. The immense number of useless projects is bewildering. Too many things have to be put into balance, and there is no sense of scale to these projects. Consistent adjustments, usually with additional add ons. Working with and towards uncertain scale. You can't disappear any longer. You die in a complete and total state of indecision, and scale reassessment.



I find I only take good photographs in brilliant light, on perfectly clear days, ususally in the fall, or under a leaden grey sky. The colours stand out in both cases, either by their brilliance or their mutedness. Similarly, I only seem to paint well in states of total illumination, or of deep melencholy.
In front of the lens, the temptation is to stand still, as a defensive reflex. But it is the same on the other side of the lens, when you take a picture: you stand still and empty yourself of your substance for a brief moment to take the object by surprise.
How nice it would be to see the sun in profile.


one signal bounces to another...

Abstraction is precisely not grounded in any universal or grand generalities. It is tied to individual experience and to individual sensibility, as they are given greater scope and play. One part of modernity in fact believes in absolute order, and this is one of the reasons that totalitarian governments have never cared for abstract art. Our common culture ... comes, I am arguing, precisely from what is not shared among us. It is not the universal wiring, not the neurology, not the absolute forms of things external to us. The crucial motor generating cultural change, churning out the new, is best found in modern society in private visions, even when those visions are seemingly stupid, banal, hermetic, and utterly particular.

A corollary to the idea that the generator of the new is found in private visions is the idea that abstract art — far from speaking to those things that unite us, to what we all have in common — is generated precisely from giving the greatest vent to those things that make us individually different and separate from each other. And it is by this very process that it re-energizes our shared culture. This freedom and individualism in the creation of art is an irritant, like so much sand thrown into our shells. And for all the sand that we put up with, we get fantastic results, pearls!

Abstraction has been less a search for the ultimately meaningful ... than a recurrent push for the temporarily meaningless: that is, things that are found not often in exotic realms but rather on the edges of banality, familiarity, and the man-made world. It is the production of forms of order that are not recognizable as order, but vehicles of feeling that appear utterly dumb. Abstract art is a symbolic game, and it is akin to all human games: You have to get into it, risk and all, and this takes a certain act of faith. But what kind of faith? Not faith in absolutes, not a religious kind of faith. A faith in possibility, a faith not that we will know something finally, but a faith in not knowing, a faith in our ignorance, a faith in our being confounded and dumbfounded, a faith fertile with possible meaning and growth.

- Kirk Varnedoe
-Dennis Hollingsworth



Does my head have a turn off switch, cause I lay in bed and it just buzzes...ideas, fears, job concerns, painting concerns, relevance in the world, and on and on. I'll leave you and lay back in bed, but I'm actually laughing at myself for how silly this has become. Oh wait, I just got another idea...be right back!