Saturday, May 18, 2013

A book

I'm working on a book: How to be Not an Artist (Negativity Will Save Us)

The first thing you have to remember is to think that being an artist is isn't special. When you can fool yourself in to producing things that you declare to be art you have to acknowledge the pedestrian pencil or paint in its viral messiness, the vast, strong, tightly bound canvas waiting, startlingly white, ready to absorb every indescretion lovingly, and throw back the answer to your particular and unique identity, not who you are but much much more, the answer in the various linguistic flourishes of each of your personalities. These are images that may release some surprise meaning or help free emotion that has been inside so long that it has coestablished itself along with the nurtured applications that your mother may have programmed upon you, or even give the casual viewer a short lived feeling of relaxation and pleasure. And when you come in to your studio and see nothing inspiring happening you must say to yourself, "well shit, so what?". And when all the colors are the same and they are all some variety of blue or even the same blue, then you can say, "eh".

And you can make imagery out of burning streets or emotions out of cool lakes, horses spinning around a track, girls steeped in despair, and naked, but nothing will liberate your ideas from the mountain ranges of popular culture, a race to advance our appreciation of the "new" from it's petty chains. In truth it is only a way to reach out to people and those people will only last so long and the feelings that they had for you, that admired the stuff that you made, will evaporate when they do. The thoughts that ran through their heads as they stood in front of your work and slowly edged their way to the front of several other people and then when they got close noticed the way that the paint dripped around the edge of the surface of the canvas and was slightly visible between the frame and the work, those moments will pass in to the most ancient class of conscious lights that fill our existence with starlike constellations of whole orientation.

But then you can think that you will model some planes of our world that will elevate the entire universe, make it organized and manageable, and fun and relaxing, by delving in to a painting and sustain the work on it forever as though the endurance of your physical labor and psychological manipulation is as interminable as evolution. You may put your art on a wall or maybe you will keep all your work to yourself and swear that no one will ever see it and you will live in some alter-nihilistic universe that swims in displeasure only when invoked by illusion but realizes effort still, and that is the foundation for the myth of the lonely, striving, and starving artist driven by his mania for the pursuit of the nothing.

Or then, you may scribble art with a pen until the energy in the pen and its ink run dry. So the funding sources you could have written to trying to explain the importance of what you are doing will never resolve their manifest destiny, or you will find a way to complete the writing, and hustle it down to the post office and weeks later it will be as if some giant cryptophillic vacuum cleaner had sucked your perfect words up and that was that - at least until you emptied the vacuum bag and suddenly there they were, a little crumpled and dusty but still..... and you would pick up the piece of paper and hold it to your breast as though it was a warm puppy, and remember how much more savvy you are than these giant money processors.

Or maybe you will be in a bright-new-day mood to buck up under the auspicious value of opacity - some reclusive nightmare of yours that has a shining hole in the bottom of it that draws you ever closer to that beautiful, and wonderful morning, but when you ask yourself, "why is this goodness like saying blah?" you have answered a question with a question and therefore mathematically ---blah is the answer.

But in the back of your thoughts your mother is still there saying, "artists don't make any money" and that will keep you from making any more art, or conversly make you create more: this prolonged exercise in self indulgence that is for free because that voice must be squashed. What better reason?

So when you find yourself staring at another empty canvas, or even your work table with its cans of brushes jabbing the air with their shiny ferules, and your tubes of paint humping each other as though some orgy was occuring, or maybe they are like the dead bodies piled after an awful disaster,..... and wondering why, then you will know that everything is really going well.

But nevertheless you continue to hunt a narrative into the woods where it can lie undetected, camouflaged as the almond, deeply green-except for the slightly-raised-pale-veins-leaf, or tree deeply rutted with furrowed bark smelling musky as only an organic material of ancient times trunk can, or a backyard fence that belonged to the neighbor whom you spied on as a child and who was an old lady standing, back to you, in a baroque grey room in front of her easil, in her vast and empty, palacial estate, giving you the virus of wonder in the first place, wonder of what lead to this vision of a statue surrounded by architecture and empty space, without a face, now in her bath robe, and alone, a sculpted representation of waning days of a life: the virus that makes some of us think that we can figure us out, when in reality we are simply never sure if the world in one person's mind is the same as the next person or if the table that you just put your book on is a solid object or something the multi faceted sensorary forces have made the perception solidity, a vast conspiracy of the universe to have some fun because of boredom like a wily dog would have it.

Perhaps you think that first love is to blame for this artist thing that you have because after you saw that young girl standing on her skinny steel-framed fire escape in the bright day, watching the street below - she, made up in red red lipstick, her eyes blue her skin pale, red wavy hair, you more than wanted her, you felt your skin and bones and organs pulled magnetically to her sundrenched innocence for no reason you understood, but knew it was impossible - she was far away and unreachable. And that vision that gave you the bug, that itch that could not be scatched, became the provacateur of your creativity.

But then if your imagination is running amok like a wild stallion suddenly on the loose chasing its tail, its eyes unfocused, its musculature vibrating in several different directions at once, defying anyone to place themselves in the desparately dangerous zone of reach, then you are probably about to steer clear of yourself and stay away from the paint and canvas unless of course you want to abuse it for fun.


By now you have forgotten how to be not an artist but remembered something... let's see what was it?


"Have you ever thought of poetry?" The words flashed through my skull like a frantic ferret, prancing up and down over dissassembled matter falling round its feet.

- like a cat with dog in pursuit. Wavering heads nod - the dog's tail and hind end dissappear over the edge of the field.

And, just like that, your dreams and ideas fall away swimming downstream.

 Just as suddenly a geyser of grey blue clouds rise above. They are carrying a pink baby, the last one done.

And you doze off again in the quiet rain of the household. Thoughts are asleep there without the effervescent clatter of jack hammers or the swishing of a nightmaiden's forest.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Studio - a short story

I look at my studio and it is a living thing. Sometimes it is a warm, nurturing mother, sometimes a coiled snake. In any case these 350 square feet are mine - I do whatever I want here - I can create new things or alter the old, can have a tantrum or adjust my sensitivities to a particularly measured level. My friends are all here on the walls. They await my attention.

I fancy somewhere hidden in these walls is an element of humanly mystery, left amidst the framing an empty beer can with a note of contrition inside written by a carpenter seeking relief from the torment caused by dropping his infant son, damaging the boy’s brain, and then covering up his responsibility. Maybe some day when the building is torn down as a step to urban renewal the note will be read by a migrant worker making seven dollars an hour and this current of self abnegation will seep out into the well of life’s spiritual equilibrium.

And then

Sometimes I walk in to my studio and it is a cool empty blue. It is lonely, melancholic and prone to actions of self defeat and exhaustive self flagellation. On one of these one-foot-in-front-of-the-other days I sit breathing hard into my cup of tea and fogging my glasses in the hopes that the effect will prompt me, in spite of my soft–edged, blurry reality, to take something and make it what it is not - achieve some alchemical majesty.
Suddenly the top on my tea cup rolls out of my weakly applied grip, circles across the table, and falls to the floor. For a brief moment I feel anger but quickly realize I am halfly purposeful in doing that, a self destructive measure which can then lead to another: putting my heavy tape measure on top of the tea as a substitute for the missing top, which then makes the cup top heavy and likely to spill if the flimsy table is jostled. For the moment I am living on the edge.

But then I turn away from myself to gather all of me to huddle in privacy where in peace I remember green fields of pure colors.

As I am kicking down the turf, dust and dirt participate in a rooster tail of false phone calls having to report fanatical fascists driving their cars around in a mischievous manner. Prancing pinks put forth, without hesitation, pandering to political people. By then, the event of my lost teacup top, with one’s life within, belongs to the panorama of all human experience over the course of history. A draw results.

And I am back in my studio pursuing a life force today. I look outside and watch as the wind blows a hanging plant against the backdrop of a shady concrete wall – that is separation. The sidewalks and pillar posts are quietly loitering – perhaps talking to each other.

Out in the distance of the great grey sexy sky there are bullets crossing a bridge over water that is a massive liquid protest demonstration and has reached a riotous pitch. Cowboy music is slashing the tires with nothing in mind besides the purity of organic line dancing.

The waters heave and roll, ready to vomit except that the bullets racing across are binding. In each bullet is a mind and inside that a theater of children’s games, forcing thoughts to travel faster to achieve an insurmountable lead on the environment.

Obstinately time seems to be ticking along slowly. I can see it rubbing up against the glass sidewalls of my truck.

Suddenly the rhythms are having an effect on skin and bones and the moment goes on and just as suddenly clean breath is returning to the maladjusted heart and there is dancing magnificent and wondrous.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rroad to hipness

The draedle spins making cataclysmic facts out of centrifugical force; the thermostat talks to the furnace and a chill leaves your back.

As morning begins to manifest into another day the stories of Margaret in 303c rise out of sleeplessness. She attempts to remember the last dream she had that awakened her giddy with laughter. While swimming in the vagaries of her thoughts her hands punctuate the space within with cut and chop gestures.

Margaret’s emotional mechanism shifts gears and discloses that her finger tips glide across any surface ingesting information.

Skulking her way up the sidewalk, walking with flair, running vertically - using the language of art to stay in balance she throws her head back when she laughs. She runs to make the light and crosses the street starting and stopping to avoid collisions.

People talk about nothing and yet she manages to say nothing - it is not her child she says. The child is perched on her hip and handing the tot over to a dark haired young woman, she exclaims, “Not my child”.

The baby with glorious light, transcendent light, floats up, lighter and faster.

Luminous shafts thrust up into the ultra-violet sky, leaving a trail of blue dust behind the flagging baby.

“If love matters forget about justice”, Margaret cries. “Everything wants to be hip”, she breaks the brittle night, “Even lizards, logs, and lying legislators.

Her black perfume is bitter like diamonds over kneeling men with a penchant for God.

As for Margaret, in the lake of her mind, her eyes and the stars are all existence.

Friday, January 28, 2011

House of My Dreams: The Studio

I move past stages of my life seeing collectively just how I arrived here gazing into every delicious corner of my cold busy basement space.

Virginous brethren paintings, and phantom reality sensations bless my studio.

Tiny dust swells on streams in the yellow air – in the basement where evil is rampant. As popularly reflected, it is the place where rooms within rooms are used to perform acts of torture which give pleasure to the sadistic mind both in pursuit of application to others and to ourselves. The basement is a damp hole in the grounds that by its concrete barriers provides strict privacy to do things we know are socially unacceptable but are nevertheless fascinating. It is an environment quite unlike what we have been taught about hell – which is hot and fired with tormenting demons. In the basement we are the demons and we are locked into ourselves by the bondage of our psyches and we self-stimulate into annihilation. But maybe the basement has gotten a bad rap - sometimes good things happen down there – snakes in jars and grasshoppers in pockets of pants and an enormous heart in a jar – and occasionally clothes will come ejecting from the chute.

Maybe that face in an old painting that hung there was me kissing my bright future – Breughel’s dancing peasants take a left turn into my dream in their burlap dresses and vests. I am in my studio again randomly applying paint to canvas – without cause or effect and defying any constructive impulses – but then suddenly I hear the silence and it sounds vaguely like music – and I try to imagine inspiration.

My face in the reflective glass that covers the painting is an assemblage of elements that formally convey a conscription of malfeasance. A constellation of noses, and bulges beneath the jaw line, that orbit around the idea of a face and other legitimate problems. Can you look straight at this thought and address it directly?

My house became my studio. My mind poured over into this shabby space. And now my curiosity follows the place where one thing becomes another, that blessed alchemy that gave birth to pure freedom.

It is a construction out of elements of my spirit. I have laid a foundation of long ago events that grew increasingly notched together into a gray patina of battles won and lost.

Is there something hidden in the house that can help me?
Something that would put me right – a composition of mysterious solutions that I am blind to as camouflaged by reality?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Big Blood Painting

The famous artist rolls out of bed at about 9:36 – he puts on his paints. He looks out the window at the snow falling and wonders what amazing work of art he will create today?

I hide behind myself in a standoff with another rabbit, sprinkling the
last bit of time – onto bread. Follow my past for breakfast.

And in the smell of the work is the whiff of oil paint gasping at the wall of meaning. A voice tells me that objects have life – they have a look, they do things, they have power, they represent nothing and they represent things.

Engrossed in meaningful nonsense. Smitten by air and structure and things that are but aren’t, ironic color keeps finding its way into the canvas. It is cold in the studio and to keep warm I think about jumping figures… and violins…, how they dance upstream and disconfigure apparent justice.

I just sit in my studio. My paintings are my roommates. They pass equations down a family tree: these gentle hands and this wild heart beating, a bristling guide to me in the medium. Here is my mind locked into a passive resistance to lethargy; now in my sleepy chair there is little to do other than gaze, wishing it to become something and then seeing it. The figures dance – having a party- laughing – heads looking past the pennants of suffering.

And so constructing a fantastic fantasy out of the pungent, fecal decay of self deprecation, I dream our world as a series of scenarios that coagulate in clumps, disassemble and move on to the next.

I inhale all the morality, ethics, generosity and love that are inherent in humanity and pass it to the canvas in a show of spirit without reason.
Energy is busting again – contain it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Little Conversions

Hello to Positivity – goodbye to death and the good depressive souls that are left alone to observe the freefall of birds in the amber afternoon sky.

Secrets are owned not by their owners but by some amorphous sphere of influence, and in that arena often dangerous soups are fomented – when one part of the secret tricks another and you’re left with performance anxiety. Secrets lie like unremembered slices of your story.

Because when we are children we don’t know about secrets, assembling them in random desperate grabs at fun and burying them beneath tasty talk.

Small conversations and little conversions fill to the brink the orange breakfast nook and then hang around the rest of a life.

And for the songs of movements the crowds have their palms turned toward the thalo sky. They make you sing God Bless America and All of Her Sanctioned Properties.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dirty Nasty Writing

Dirty nasty writing. Putting a hat on under the sun and beneath it a face. Climbing the nest to see shoes under socks waiting on the red and gold tile, posed to surrender to the hard facts. To move and then flex and move while light razzes raison reds and reveals what is underneath. For a trail of principles there is no benefit. For the trial in error the most of a capture is trim. While away in the time zone waves are lapping up on shore – lapping up the sand.

An Eastern European grayness, a shore to shore parade of ships transporting the vague personalities -- along. Perspiring metaphors rise out of the earth pulling up life behind them, branching out from our trunk full of orgasms and old clocks ticking the space away, fright reflections fool your eyes and fire escapes that climb to where one can sit on the roof of the fifth story and see everything that’s worth watching and you ponder the earth is warm, a warm building. But cold highways pass through. It’s collecting green and brown depression pitched between gray buildings - concrete masses with dark windows marching in lock step ever upwards and revealing only clues of life inside – designing, laboring, meeting, like by god’s water cooler.

Every window is an entrance to irony, deception, and virtue behind it. Each window throws back an idea to the world around it taunting and teasing us to discern that which is inside and what is out. And every fire escape betrays the windows and their damn meaning – running rudely from ceiling to floor and from ceiling to floor over and over. Bring us airborne to safety to leaving our deceit, vanity, and narcissism behind – the windows laugh at our delusions and create illusion simultaneously warming us inside and showing up at our environment and parsing who we are.

But inside those windowed hallways with silence – kissing rays of sun – combing the walls flooding yellow yellow enacting with plaster and mahogany doors on brass hinges where as children we ran, disturbing the neighbors, but filled with the joy of springing over bodies through passages tubular and of lightful color. Betraying the average loyalty to our parents.