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01 Mar, 2020

I thought I would drop a few words much like a bird will drop a 'gift' from a couple of hundred feet up. Unlike the bird, I have no way to ascertain how or where it lands, unfortunately. But if you have the gift for gab and you've been known to assemble in some pleasing manner a whole passel of syllables, then you truly have no recourse but to continue to Johnny Appleseed them occasionally. Thus, I am at it again.

Historically, I have already given you some of these syllables thus far into a 'new' year. A lot of words do pong around in my head, sometimes at the number 1 setting and sometimes at the 4, sometimes with one paddle and sometimes with two. Ha! I liked that old game! But that's where they have largely remained. Cashiers are not known to be either artists or philosophers though I did meet a pink-haired 50-ish lady cashier recently who said she made recycled art. I go to galleries and I see a lot on-line but I find it difficult to know exactly how to make the distinction between 'regular' art and 'recycled.' I'm guessing she meant she re-purposes items meant for either the garbage or the recycle container into something with artistic merit. This is just a guess. I have been known to do something with what I call 'found objects' myself over the years. In fact, I received an item in the mail recently that used a lot a oddly shaped pieces of Styrofoam as packing material. I have saved same as I think I could use them with my 'custom compound' to make an interesting sculpture or two. So that would be an example of making 'recycled' art, I think.

I mentioned cashiers because my social life has been reduced to the 7 or 8 art shows annually and my weekly shopping trips. Yes, there is the occasional visitation by myself or a few select individuals but, currently, those visits are few and far between. So I see more cashiers than friends nowadays. Believe it or not. No, I am not a Ripley sponsor. Maybe it's just as well that I have been something of a loner all my life. It's just that now I have the time to refine those qualities until they are as 'reduced to essence' as a stick figure drawing. I will admit that my dream world has always had more to recommend it than my usual waking one. Maybe that is why the old seem to doze so much.

If you look through my AW galleries you will see that I've been conjuring images for many years. It is an essential part of me and that is how it should be. Have any of you read T. S. Eliot's 'The Wasteland?' If you haven't lately, I think it would make an enlightening re-read. In fact, I think I'll do so myself. In high school, I memorized 'The Hollow Men' to recite aloud in class.

"Is it like this In death's other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone."

It seems my current life and Mr. Eliot's poem have more than a little in common. It is a shame that poems like this one would be deemed 'too formal' or 'too academic' by today's standards. These are the types of poems I cut my artistic/poetic teeth on. Distilled language with 100 proof content.

'We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!'

If that doesn't ring true today then take me out and shoot me. I'm done with so much bloated flatulence that passes, with such unseemly noise, for culture and high art. IQ should be rising not falling. A generation's culture has historically been a sort of litmus test to gauge its progress. We should be pushing into new frontiers not hanging on for dear life to what amounts to an anchor. There are several distinct parts that make up the anchor. I could elucidate but maybe I'll just end here and ask you, dear reader, to think about what those components might be.

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01 Mar, 2020

I thought I would drop a few words much like a bird will drop a 'gift' from a couple of hundred feet up. Unlike the bird, I have no way to ascertain how or where it lands, unfortunately. But if you have the gift for gab and you've been known to assemble in some pleasing manner a whole passel of syllables, then you truly have no recourse but to continue to Johnny Appleseed them occasionally. Thus, I am at it again.

Historically, I have already given you some of these syllables thus far into a 'new' year. A lot of words do pong around in my head, sometimes at the number 1 setting and sometimes at the 4, sometimes with one paddle and sometimes with two. Ha! I liked that old game! But that's where they have largely remained. Cashiers are not known to be either artists or philosophers though I did meet a pink-haired 50-ish lady cashier recently who said she made recycled art. I go to galleries and I see a lot on-line but I find it difficult to know exactly how to make the distinction between 'regular' art and 'recycled.' I'm guessing she meant she re-purposes items meant for either the garbage or the recycle container into something with artistic merit. This is just a guess. I have been known to do something with what I call 'found objects' myself over the years. In fact, I received an item in the mail recently that used a lot a oddly shaped pieces of Styrofoam as packing material. I have saved same as I think I could use them with my 'custom compound' to make an interesting sculpture or two. So that would be an example of making 'recycled' art, I think.

I mentioned cashiers because my social life has been reduced to the 7 or 8 art shows annually and my weekly shopping trips. Yes, there is the occasional visitation by myself or a few select individuals but, currently, those visits are few and far between. So I see more cashiers than friends nowadays. Believe it or not. No, I am not a Ripley sponsor. Maybe it's just as well that I have been something of a loner all my life. It's just that now I have the time to refine those qualities until they are as 'reduced to essence' as a stick figure drawing. I will admit that my dream world has always had more to recommend it than my usual waking one. Maybe that is why the old seem to doze so much.

If you look through my AW galleries you will see that I've been conjuring images for many years. It is an essential part of me and that is how it should be. Have any of you read T. S. Eliot's 'The Wasteland?' If you haven't lately, I think it would make an enlightening re-read. In fact, I think I'll do so myself. In high school, I memorized 'The Hollow Men' to recite aloud in class.

"Is it like this In death's other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone."

It seems my current life and Mr. Eliot's poem have more than a little in common. It is a shame that poems like this one would be deemed 'too formal' or 'too academic' by today's standards. These are the types of poems I cut my artistic/poetic teeth on. Distilled language with 100 proof content.

'We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!'

If that doesn't ring true today then take me out and shoot me. I'm done with so much bloated flatulence that passes, with such unseemly noise, for culture and high art. IQ should be rising not falling. A generation's culture has historically been a sort of litmus test to gauge its progress. We should be pushing into new frontiers not hanging on for dear life to what amounts to an anchor. There are several distinct parts that make up the anchor. I could elucidate but maybe I'll just end here and ask you, dear reader, to think about what those components might be.

Reply

26 Jul, 2019

Hey, all you blogoholics! I bet you've been waiting with either baited or bated breath for my next harangue. Or maybe not. It's gotten so I can no more predict human behavior than I can the weather. Though I'll bet a quarter I can probably do as well as some professionals in either field. Just another in a long line of observations based upon empirical data.. Though the data MIGHT be skewed a bit. Just saying.

So if you've been keeping up with my latest uploads, you'll notice a lot of drawings and a few 3D pieces. Yes, that's pretty much the IT of it. I'm gearing up for a painting marathon but I'm still in first at the moment. I have a lot of sketches I can use for inspirational purposes, if nothing else. AND I started a painting yesterday, so that's hopeful.

It's been quiet since April here. Well, at my end of the stick anyway. No shows. After some time passes, I start feeling pretty invisible. When I was a kid there was a Mr. Nobody who was blamed for a lot of things. Maybe I am that non-person personified these days. It's anyone's guess. But I did get into a show that opens early August, so I can look forward to that. I have enough new work done over the past year that I'm at least three years ahead as far as the Austin ArtSpace Gallery is concerned. I already know what I will submit in the next two shows. It's the Christmas Show that I haven't worked out as I usually do a seasonally themed piece or two for it. Let's hope I can come up with something when the time arrives. Has anyone seen my verve? I know I had it here a minute ago. :)

Here's a side note. If you look at my recent drawings, they are of faces, heads, torsos. Many of them are on my ubiquitous landscape with tilting cloud. BUT please look at those pieces a bit closer. It's the way I assemble those faces, etc., that make those drawings mine. And I usually put them together differently each time. Drawing was my first love and she's been the most faithful

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21 Mar, 2019

Okay, I'm going to spell it out for the wide wide world we live in, more or less. If you think photos of your garden, a bug in that garden/yard or your pet is art, I have some sad news to impart. If you think doing portraits of celebrities, living or dead, is the way to to go with your art, I'm pretty sure you are in for a sad surprise. (IF I see one more portrait of Frida or Marilyn, I will have to vomit. Truly. I'm throwing up a little in my mouth just thinking about it) IF you think fan art of your favorite Manga/Anime or Marvel character(s) is progressing your artistic career, well, you can only go so far with homage and/or imitation.

It all depends on what level of art you are aiming at, I guess. As I see it, there are basically three levels. There is art. This is the level wherein the majority resides, learning the basics and how to color within the lines. Then there is Art. At this level, a person has reached a level of expertise/proficiency that has others, especially those at level one, in awe. At this level there may or may not be a suggestion of genius or difference that 'might' evolve into full-fledged originality. It is safer by far to stay at level two and rob and/or imitate. This could be viewed as similar to 'coloring within the lines' as mentioned as a trait of level one.

Now we will discuss level three. This is ART. It is characterized, usually, as having a personality that is entirely its own. It doesn't overtly borrow from another artist, living or dead., Nor does it shade itself under the umbrella of another genre of art, equally living or dead. It stands up and lumbers forth on its own two feet. It does not ask for support nor does it require it. It is autonomous and alive.

I ask you, which level do you wish to attain in your lifetime? What are your aspirations and, equally important, how deep is your well of inspiration? If you create to impress then sadly you will never reach level three. If your greatest goal is to make money with your art, then you will probably live comfortably at level two. There are exceptions but basically, for the majority, this is true. Only a few make it to level three, after all. It is a winding, rocky trail with briars, thorns and snapping beasts. The demons of doubt and despair will follow you everywhere, even into your dreams. You will risk obscurity and ridicule on this path. There will be false signposts that you will follow and have to back-track from. It takes talent, courage and more than a little stubbornness. And there is no guarantee that you will ever reach the destination you seek. But art, like life itself, is a journey and it's all about what happens along the way.

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18 Feb, 2019

Already President's Day and I'm just now stepping up onto the soapbox in 2019. I've been working diligently every day on either 2D or 3D work. The sculptural piece I'm working on right now is going to be hoot, I think. I'm thinking of calling it Reluctant Incubator 2 but that's just a title running through my head presently. It's not finished yet so things are still a bit fluid.

Anyone familiar with my work might gather that I'm not much of a joiner when it comes to the status quo . My guess is that contrary attitude bleeds over into everything I do, including art. I mean where does art originate except in thought, a casual sparking of neurons, a little synaptic fireworks display? And in those thoughts, and there are many always on a low simmer, are many politically incorrect musings. If I wanted to gain notoriety via shock, I think I could do a pretty good job. If my intent as a person and artist (and where exactly does one end and the other begin?) was to entertain the' everyman' or placate those who repeat platitudes like mantras, I could probably do that pretty well. But it would only be succumbing to the rather low standard of this, that and EVERYTHING that pervades our lives at the present time. When life is chock full of trivialities then the art 'of the moment' must, in some way, be just as trivial. Or so say some curators today. For some, art is merely a reflection of that status quo I mentioned earlier. Of course, one should only 'do' this type of work if one is UNAWARE of that dramatic slide into banality. Or maybe if one floats on the surface of life like a wind-surfer, perhaps. If you don't swallow the 'what is' of things easily, if it makes you gag or break out in a rash to see and hear what many other 'artists' are doing, then you are probably not going to reflect the 'what is' of things much. Maybe you'll reflect the 'what should be' or 'what could be' instead? It really depends upon your mind-set as a person and your ability as an artist.

So can a person then exist embedded in this gluten-free rather tasteless aspic without any effect? No person is an island. No one exists in a hermetically sealed bubble, sensory deprived. I think therefore I pick and choose the worth from the worthless, the wheat from the chaff. This is the true definition of 'free will.' Unless something is done on an individual basis, organ by organ, cell by cell, this collective body of humanity will continue its downward march. Maybe there's a virus/catalyst of change looming just beyond today's horizon? As it stands now, I hate to think what we'll be in another 50 years.

When one exists in a world where truth lives in the biggest pocketbook and power is represented by the large guns on the hips of paid protectors, art may be the only realm in which the individual can still make his/her 'free will' visible. It is too bad that the art world has become as corrupt as governments and the biggest most outlandish lie makes the best daily headline and the largest sale at Christie's. So it is up to the contrarians, the 'outsiders,' the non-believers and the fringe-walkers to create for the sheer joy of creating. Every one of their personal truths is like a spark of light, not solar, not exactly cerebral either. Maybe soulful? Let's just hope there's enough light generated over-all to expose some of the lies and illuminate a few minds in the future.

Okay, I'm stepping off the soapbox. Agree or disagree. When I write, I usually just let loose the dogs of my discontent, those pesky back-burner thoughts. By the way, they aren't vicious and have had their shots. :)

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10 Dec, 2018

Well, here's another Holiday Season which traditionally heralds the ending of another year. This one contained a couple of milestones which may be worth mentioning. In 2018, I found myself gainfully unemployed for the first time in 20 years and I began creating 3D pieces in a big way---though they are not huge themselves. When you are handed a lemon or two you either add them to an alcoholic drink or you use their skins to make an exotic jelly. I'm not a big drinker so I found making something exotic preferable. Being able to think about my work without interruption throughout a day, a week, and/or month has been not only an illuminating experience, it has allowed me to both expand and compact ideas. It's as though I have become a universe which is expanding and contracting simultaneously. Vague notions have become physical objects which can be viewed from all sides.. Ideas that seemed convoluted and overwrought have become simplified and more easily digested visually. I'm not saying they have become easily digested overall, merely reduced to their essence.

To date, I have produced 26 3D pieces since late June of this year. I am currently working on numbers 27 and 28. I have also painted a number of paintings and drawn many small sketches. This amount of productivity would not have been possible if I still had an eight or more hour workday to siphon much of my energy, creative or otherwise. This makes me think of all the artists who have the opportunity to work unencumbered and are free to think and ponder art with minimal interruption. Picasso was a creative fellow but he was also a very lucky one. You combine boundless creativity with 'free' time and it's little wonder he produced so much work. But I would not have wanted to BE him. I have enjoyed being who and what I am for as long as I can remember. :)

It is unfortunate that I have never deemed it necessary to play anyone's game or abide by anyone's rules but my own. But I put that down to just being me. As I have noted previously, I began as a poet who drew and became a person who creates pretty much anything he can visualize in his head or can pull from the end of a pen or pencil. That I can still do this at my tender age of 66 means something, if not to the planet at large, at least to me personally. So I shall continue for as long as I can. It has become my impetus for living in a world where many seem to have no real sense of self and who hurt, hate and belittle as a means of bringing the world down to their level. Artists do not live in ivory towers to look down upon the world with bemused looks upon their faces. They live in the real world alongside everyone else, whether they choose to engage in much of the fruitless and hurtful behavior or not. So here I am living and working on my art in a world which prizes triviality and largely ignores honesty and talent. We currently exist in a world where traditional values exist at the bottom of a heap of garbage. This gives me a vague idea for a new piece. Let's see if I can define it more clearly in the coming days. :)

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01 Jul, 2018

I'm working on another sculpture presently so thought I would drop a few words of indelible wisdom upon you. Well, maybe not indelible and, maybe, not truly wisdom but a few thoughts emanating from this head at this present time. I've been running thoughts like some folks run water when they're brushing their teeth. if I don't occasionally share a few, I fear I'm being as wasteful as those tooth brushers. :)

I found myself writing my life story here since arriving in Austin in the summer of 1973 but I deleted it. Suffice it to say that I have been interested in art since an early age. I did illustrations for the school paper and even got a custom job as well in high school. No lessons though. I now wonder if being an art major over an English would have been the better course but my parents wouldn't have stood for it. Anyway, after so many years what could have been is rather academic, don't you think?

I've been enjoying working on the 3D projects and even have some ideas for possible venues for them. Terra Toys and maybe furniture stores have come to mind so far. Terra Toys has a little gallery but they also have a display case with three dimensional objects too. Once I have a bit more 'product' I may go around in this heat and see if I can do any good. I even revamped my LinkedIn summary yesterday as my 'situation' has changed recently. I'm still adjusting to it though more as a mind game than anything practical so far. I get so awfully tired of being practical, don't you?

I've done some impromptu drawings on the newspaper I've been covering my work table with. Impromptu drawings are my specialty, you know. I'll share one with you. Thanks.

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18 Apr, 2018

I stumbled across a Pinterest page yesterday that had an accumulation of vintage photos of famous artists. Among them were, Leger, Klee, Munch, Magritte, Van Gogh, Dali, Man Ray and others. Some had been colorized, but tastefully. I downloaded a few to study more carefully. We tend to forget that artists are just people with a different skill-set. A few months back I found a page of photos of artists with their cats. Picasso had two pictures, one when he was young and one when he was older. I guess it is safe to say that Pablo was a 'cat person.' As I remember Dali was a cat person also; he just liked a larger variety than your average house cat. Such was Dali.

It made me realize that I don't have any photos of me actually painting or drawing. I guess I could do the popular 'selfie' but it would be nice if I had folks who found my true calling something worthy of chronicling. O well. Painting is usually a lonely or, at least, alone time profession. I found it interesting that in several cases it was ANOTHER artist who took the photo. I don't remember if it said or not, but in all the photos I saw of Klimt he was wearing this full length garment which I am sure was good to keep paint and turpentine off good clothing but none of the shots were taken in his studio. They were of him walking along out of doors or on a lake in a rowboat. Obviously, he wanted folks to know his profession by his garb.

From childhood all the way through my thirties, the only photos available were found in reference books in the local library or in books I myself purchased. Nowadays we have much greater access to data. I am constantly researching people and events. I find it delightful to be searching for one thing and find something totally different but equally interesting. These photos, for instance, opened tiny windows into a moment of an artist's life. Some were very informal and some were obviously taken by a professional photographer. There was one of Gauguin playing the piano without pants or shoes. Luckily he had long shirt tails. ;)

I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do when I 'retire.' Social Security will not suffice; my work retirement fund won't last long either. So I'm brain-storming my options. I would very much like to devote the rest of my life---my sight and mind, inclusive---to my artwork. I know the usual options for that, such as placing work in restaurants and galleries. There is such a dearth of galleries here that would appreciate my inclusion, though sometimes I wonder if I'm not just being the least bit defeatist. I have been known to talk myself out of things. We'll see. I did see a restaurant yesterday with some artwork for sale around the walls. That has opened my eyes just a little. There was even a few 'sold' tags too.

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02 Apr, 2018

February went by in a blur as I prepared for and then experienced my first studio tour. It went okay but wasn't quite the event I wanted it to be. At least I got some exposure and the event to some degree paid for itself. It did go a long way to calcify my belief that curiosity, at least of the creative or intellectual varieties, may be diminishing along with critical thinking and empathy. 'ART' has become something that the average citizen has a limited understanding of, especially now that the conceptualists have sprung up like so many ugly weeds in the once well-defined garden of the art world. Many look to Marcel Duchamp as the 'father of conceptualism' but I think he just wanted to loosen things a bit---not throw centuries of artistic aesthetics out the readymade window. I also think he had a rather sardonic sense of humor. That fountain was full of that wicked sense of humor of his. 'R. Mutt' indeed.

I've been painting today on a piece I started yesterday. It is based on the sketch I used on one of the tote bags a week or so back. I think it is coming along okay and I should be done with it soon. I hate to overwork a piece. Finesse to a certain degree and then leave well enough alone. It's a 12 by 16 inch piece on 1 and 1/2 inch deep stretcher bars.

I should have produced more this weekend but I've not been feeling very energetic. I have found myself taking several short naps daily which somehow haven't impacted my usual sleep pattern. Strange. Are they the result of physical or psychological factors? I am not exactly sure.

Anyway, more later. Hopefully, my energy and enthusiasm will return soon in equal parts.

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22 Jan, 2018

I've been watching Jerry Seinfeld's new series---well, it's new to me anyway---and have found it what I call a GOOD watch. Some of the guests are a little lackluster, but seeing folks like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, cast members of the old Seinfeld show, etc., has been entertaining and, in some cases, enlightening. Alec Baldwin is funny, for instance. And he appears to have a pleasant personality. Who knew?

With Mr. Seinfeld you never know what to take seriously but I have found it interesting to see how many comedians have been Jewish. Yes, if any single group has been given a reason to develop a heightened sense of humor, that would be one. But I did find a couple of bones of contention that I could chew, if not for their flavor then just to have something between my teeth when he said something to make me grit my teeth. Mr. Seinfeld doesn't appear to understand or care for visual art, poetry, or in one episode, the Arts in general. If you can't do it solo in front of a live audience to test your meddle then it isn't worth doing. Yet he does believe that comedians are great observers of human nature who find much of modern life the meat with which to cook/create comedic 'bits.' A bit is a joke with at least two parts, the prep and then the send up. He thinks much of modern life is absurd. In that he is very much correct. And there is a point wherein absurdity crosses over into the realm of insanity. Look at the work of the Dadaists, Modernists, and Surrealists that come just after WWI. They were the result of the greatest absurdity of all, war on a global scale. And what they endured was a kind of hell Mr. Seinfeld personally has not. Luckily, I haven't either but I think I understand/appreciate it a little better. Or maybe he just doesn't want to dwell upon it.

One of the early guests was Jim Carrey who also does visual art. I didn't know that. At one point we go to his studio but we never touch upon any of his pieces. I did note that Mr. Carrey appears to be simpatico with modern day street artists, at least to some extent. It's difficult to get an overall opinion which what little I saw but i did note the illustrative feel with overlapping verbal phrases. I'll have to research a bit more, now I think on it. Oh, and if it is truly HIS studio, then not only did it cost several times what my little house did, he appears to have a staff of worker bees. Oy Vey.

So what will Mr. Seinfeld do when he has run the gamut of acceptable comedians and classic/iconic cars? Will he tire of the repetitive nature of his own show by then, I wonder? I like the show, as I said, but the very structured nature of it, even within what is proclaimed a very non-structured venue, does not escape me either. And, Mr. Seinfeld, can you please explain a little more fully what you mean when you say 'hipster.?' It seems to be a derogatory.

I hope I don't sound negative here. I have enjoyed many of his guests and loved the Mel Brooks one. And I understand why he interviewed Carl Reiner first before Mr. Brooks came over to his house. Mel takes over any space he's in and poor Mr. Reiner could do little but eat. Though as a friend of Mel's, I'm sure he is used to that. :)

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