Caught

All the great artists out there who are anywhere have a stated purpose and intention with their art. It’s called an artist’s statement. I came across a really good one recently, so complete and polished, I felt like slithering somewhere dark. For a while I was thinking perhaps I had something good here. At least I have a portfolio site and I’m writing a little, expressing myself—somewhat.

I know I need to write a good solid artist’s statement. All the self-help books who make us even more helpless say so. But what if I don’t have anything to say? In my world, it is rare when an idea comes before a drawing. If there is an idea at all, the viewer will know when they see it. Most of the time I just feel like drawing.

 I just want to make things.

Often I will look through books and magazines, find something that interests me and add my own embellishments along the way. I illustrate what illustrates me. I find the story in the drawing, not the other way around. I used to write stories this way; coming up with a title and writing a story around it. It’s like taking little trip each time I pick up a pen. What fun is a trip, always knowing what’s around the bend?

There is a common misconception that an artist is supposed to be omnipresent, ever clear and trying to make everyone else think. We are so deep. Actually, I am just as thick as the rest of us. I like what everyone else likes. I work all day and watch television at night because I’m too tired for anything else. I cook dinner, do house work, pay bills, shake a tail feather. I don’t have time to be deep.

If this is bringing me any closer to a well balanced, concise artist’s statement, I’d like someone to tell me. Maybe this will have to be it.

Mixed media, 18 X 24.

 

Apocalypse

apocalypse

Destruction is inevitable, resistance is futile. After the first Matrix movie, I stopped listening to the screenplay, it was so full of fantasy physics and beyond making sense. I do remember the part about living in a false consciousness  generously padded with the fat marbled layers of a material world. We eventually awaken to discover we are naked and afraid, living inside our own eggs precariously attached to a cold wet outcropping at the edge of the howling wind and crying ocean. It is much cozier to gaze at the raindrops pelting the window pane, forget we are engaged in our own undoing. It’s nice in this chair, but it doesn’t stop the polar ice caps from melting. Hiroshima was an awful mistake, still praying for peace, but we can’t look in the mirror anymore.  Just get rid of the bombs. You first, no you first, forget it. Nobody is flying the plane. Mixed Media, 24 X 18.

Ghandi Mountain

It’s one hell of a mountain to climb—the journey to superhumanity. To be more insightful, more intelligent, more compassionate with each passing day. It’s not the destination, right? It’s the journey. Just getting to the foot of the mountain on the other side of the river is an accomplishment. This is where I am now. Ten years ago I didn’t even have a single thing packed, felt selfish and angry all the time. Then one day in my thirtysomethings I woke up and thought you know what? It’s not about me. I’ll admit, I’m still dragging my ego behind me, but I’m not tripping on it as much as I used to.

I remember seeing the movie about Ghandi when I was a kid. I yawned through the whole thing. There were no Muppets. I watched again recently and it captured me. He changed a whole society by just being there, and proved that love was stronger than hate. Love is really the best system for problem-solving. An example—what works better when modifying behavior, positive or negative reinforcement? Positive, ding, ding.  If the Indians had fought back with violence, the British could have called it a war. But a war is only a war with two sides fighting. How can you beat them down if they keep standing up and smiling? The situation became so absurd, eventually all the British could do was just leave. Ghandi trained them well.

It takes guts to be Ghandi. Infinitely more guts than it takes to stand there with a gun and be all like, then he’s like, and then you’re like goaheadmakemyday. When you know that you’re about to be ground under someone’s heel and you will not be defending yourself. When you are expecting to be ground to bits more times than you can count, and accept that you’re only a grain of sand letting the ocean wash over you. Mixed media, 18 X 24.

The Never-Ending Story

No beginning, no end. Neither coming, nor going. Neither here nor there. No future,
no past. Not inside, not outside, neither east nor west, not above, not below, nor within.
The serpent is the truth. The city is a construct for our mind. It is there to help us choose what we want to see. You want this, gotta have that, it’s the latest craze, it’s the hip-est fad, it’s the hap-hap-happiest dance. Society dictates who you want to be, but it doesn’t change who you are. Let it all fall away. Fly above and be free. Mixed Media, 18 X 24.

Egyptological

I was poring through a book about Egypt one day and came upon a picture of a scarab amulet. What would it be like if these things were actually in a swarm? At the time, I was experimenting with drawing perspective and wanted to see for myself what it would be like to have more than one perspective in one picture. It turns out the effect is much like having many creatures buzzing about your head at once.In ancient Egypt, the scarab was a depiction of the Sun God Ra, who carries the ball of the sun across the sky each day, giving life to the body and transforming the soul. The scarab does the same thing, only with a ball of dung, which it keeps as food and shelter for its larvae. In the most general sense, the scarab is a symbol of regeneration. Another day, another ball of crap. Mixed media, 18 X 24.

Gran Mal Torino

This was done almost a year ago, right after the Newtown massacre. When something upsets me, it goes straight to paper. The results are difficult to behold, although the Gran Torino is the perfect getaway car. This is the most I can say about the subject without opening a big can of nasty.

It’s good to serve up some nasty every so often, just to keep us thinking and talking. I suppose the biggest question about modern-day massacres is “why”. The answer doesn’t matter. It’s the fact we are still asking that indicates we remain a relatively civilized society. Anyone who has delved into history knows that civilization has cycles of evolution and devolution. Being a glass-half-full type, I would stay we’re still at the apex. For example, consider the colonization of the western hemisphere. Not only children, but entire races of people have been wiped out in the search for riches, power and political gain. There was the common perception that some people were lesser than others. People were killed for entertainment, and there were very few souls asking why back then.
So of course, be sad for the lost ones, but be glad for the unity we share in this time. And never stop asking “why”. Mixed media, 18 X 24.

Riding High in My GTO

I’ve always wanted a muscle car, despite the reality of skyrocketing gas prices and the fact that they’re useless in the snow. I know I can’t have a GTO, so the next best thing is to draw one. When you are in a GTO, the hum of the engine aligns the chakras, and off you go. Perhaps it’s quite telling that the GTO is adrift in a pink tree, out of my reach. Everything seems out of reach these days. I hate to be a bummer about it, but that’s the way I feel when the winter is too long.

And if you must be adrift, be adrift in nature. Admit that we put ourselves adrift with our own desires, drilling the earth and polluting the air just to feel the thrill of hitting the gas while coming around the bend. Cranes are revered by the Japanese, but in the United States, god bless the GTO. Mixed media, 18 X 24.