my . artist run website

 

By 2002, I had been creating personal artwork on the computer. Maybe not everyone will concede that it is/was fine art, but it was personal. I was working at a newspaper, and along with everything else, I was sneaking my own artwork into my schedule whenever I got the time to do so. I was already using Photoshop. I had gotten some of my smaller prints into national, regional, and local shows.

 

I had decided that I wanted my work to get bigger, and I wanted to print in color. Nobody seemed to know anything, and then, all of a sudden, there were experts all over the place. I asked questions, but I wasn't getting any answers. So, I began looking around, farther afield. I found a place in Santa Fe that was offering workshops in Digital Printmaking. This was exactly what I wanted to do. Exactly, and not only that, it was being conducted by a guy who was closely connected to Crosby Stills and Nash. That would be cool, I thought.

 

 

 

Mac Holbert, at the time, was part owner of Nash Editions in California. He and Graham Nash had worked together to take large format inkjet printers into the realm of fine art printing. They took a hacksaw to an Iris printer so that it would accept larger, fine art-type paper. They eventually worked with Epson to invent pigmented inksets. Holbert became an expert at and worked with the people at Photoshop. I became more and more excited. I even got a grant from the Arizona Commission of the Arts to go.

 

 

 

Then, as I read more, I began to get a sense that this whole thing was oriented to Photography. I hadn't even thought of that. It said Digital Printmaking, but the school holding the classes was Santa Fe Workshops, and as I looked at all of the other course descriptions, I saw they were all about photography. So I had to ask. Then Mac said, "Sure, let him in. It could be interesting."

 

 

 

Two or three days into the workshop, the director came walking through our classroom. He looked at what I was doing and asked Mac, who was standing across the room. "Is he using photography with this over here?" He actually seemed a little bit irritated. Mac said, "No, actually he's using raw pixels, starting completely from scratch". The director just kind of shook his head and continued on his way around the room. I don't remember him saying anything to me at all.

 

 

 

Afterwards, I tried to incorporate what I had learned about layers. It was quite a big leap for my work, and I also began trying to add that into my traditional painted works. I'm still working  with all of that. I've owned and worked with several large format printers. I've added to everything I've learned along the way through experience. I've never worked with algorithims. I've never worked with fractal programs. My digital works and my paintings are closely connected, although I think they are also separate kinds of work.

 

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-hard-painting-made-computer-human

 


Of course, you know Myrt goes out to the mall, and she sells her paintings in those art shows they have out there. She goes great guns! One weekend she sold 4 or 5 paintings and made over $100. She goes great guns!

 

But you know me... I can't even draw a stick figure!

 

Well, she took a class out to the Junior College. Yeah, she thinks she's all hoyty toyty now. Taking classes at the Junior College! The very idea!

 

Marty said, "Why don't you go out there? You could take the bus from the Senior Center..."

 

I said "What the hell would I take out there? I can't even draw a stick figure!"

 

He said, "Well you know they got basketball games out there..."

 

"Oh sure, for you! I don't watch basketball! What the hell would I want with that damn Junior College?! No way!"

 

Course, Myrt goes out there. She likes it. She goes great guns with that sorta thing!


I read an article yesterday written by a self-annointed expert about fine art. I won't mention his name, but he writes about the "art biz". His article went on and on about how artists need to use only the finest materials, and the most exquisite craftsmanship, and he went on (and on and on) about how artists need to be careful about not making mistakes and changing directions in a piece... 

 

The guy kept writing paragraphs that said the same things, over and over. He talked about how he carefully went over every piece of art to make sure that the utmost care had been taken in its execution. Artists would not be able to simply make excuses if he was on the job.

 

It was almost nonsensically naiive. I started thinking about Franz Klein and Jackson Pollock using house paint. I remembered a piece that Harmony Hammond had at TMA one year in the Biennial - I remember a series of old doors, some of which seemed to have maybe been burnt. I thought about Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns, and suddenly I wondered if this guy had ever actually gone to a museum and seen any kind of Modern or Contemporary Art. He doesn't seem to have a clue about the creative process.

 

I had a difficult time sleeping. I kept waking up thinking that maybe I should just throw most of everything I've done in the trash. Now that I'm fully awake, and have been for many hours, I've decided he's just full of shit, and he probably wouldn't know a good painting if it bit him in the ass.

 

I'm not saying that artists should just throw a bunch of crap together and call it "Contemporary Art". I think it's important to at least try to use a certain level of craftsmanship and materials that have a chance of lasting at least for awhile. Nothing is going to last forever. I do the best I can. I use the best materials I can afford. I have at least learned how to do things and make an effort.


I've been having a little conversation within a conversation about Formalism on Facebook. I struggle because some of these people have read a lot of philosophy, and I have read, basically, none, but I have some ideas about art, maybe not always the correct ideas.

 

I brought up that, as a student, I remembered discussions about "Pluralism". I don't remember having discussions about Postmodernism until I was already out of school. I tried to delete that but I guess, not fast enough. Maybe if I had taken a class with Josh Kind I would have heard about Postmodernism. Probably.

 

Saul Ostrow Pluralism was a code word for regionalism/ and minor practices - rather than diversity - and multiplicity, which is what post-Modernism was meant to signal.

 

So, upon further reading - A kind of populism or democratization in the artworld. The idea that the outer regions could produce anything as vital seemed to threaten the Mega-center, and then in a reverse way, the artists "out west" had chips on their shoulders. It's kind of insulting in a way, but you can go live and New York if you want to, or you can always carry around with you the stigma of working and living outside New York, and so, outside the artworld.

 

Both Pollock and Rauschenberg came from those outer regions, but they had to create their work in NYC for it to be validated, or maybe their work would not have developed somewhere else? I suppose you could wonder about that, argue about it. They're both gone.

 

The "isms" keep shifting in their meanings over time. Stella's work shifted greatly itself - I wonder if that's related somehow, and how conscious was he in that shift. Were his minimalist early works too confining?

 

I wonder if west coast art is considered "regional/minor"? I suppose it is, just like Chicago. And I live in Arizona, not even... But still, I persevere, kind of. 


I worked with a guy, at a bookstore in the art supplies department, when I was in grad school. He had been a university art professor for several years in "Nashville, Tennis-shoe". He had stories to tell, lots of them, and I think I heard most of them, multiple times. Mostly, we had a good time working together. He was always telling me that I need to "up my beer ration".

 

Young art and design students would come in, regularly, and we both got to know them. There were a lot of very pretty female "Viz-Com" students. They'd come looking for some very specific type and brand of whatever - a nib for a pen, lead for a mechanical pencil, a Pink Pearl Eraser.

 

Bob would ask them "Did you learn anything in college today?", and they'd look at him and smile. "Did you use a motif?" That one would always result in a cute little giggle. Of course, after you heard it ten times... it started to lose its charm. But it wasn't anything serious. He was happily married with a little daughter. It was a pretty boring job, although at least there was contact with students, and in a way, there was some teaching involved. He interacted with them and they trusted him as someone who knew what he was talking about, not just trying to make a sale.

 

I always wondered whatever happened to him. I'd heard that he "taught out at Kish" (Kishwaukee Community College) for awhile, part-time. Maybe he told me that. He always wanted to teach at the university, but that just never happened. I Googled him and found out that he died a few years ago, had a heart attack. Way too young.

 

I think about him, and it usually brings a smile to my face - "Did you use a motif?"

What a pickup line! Wish I could get my hands on some Blatz!

 





One of the things you hear people say is "you gotta get your work out there!" Sounds easy enough - you just gather up a bunch of stuff under your arms and walk right into your favorite gallery, and they take it and hang it right up there on their walls. Yeah! but no.

 

It seems, more and more, galleries, museums, and people have ways of guarding themselves from hoards of unsolicited artists trying to get their "foot in the door".

 

Used to be, what we all had to do, was to have slides taken. Then we'd send them out, along with our neatly typed resumes and artist's statements, along with a return envelope (appropriate return postage affixed). Maybe you'd hear something back, maybe not. Maybe you'd at least get your slides back, but sometimes, many times, not.

 

Then came CDs, but still, the same package, same routine.

 

Now it's all done by email. Much easier to send out - but also so much easier to just trash. Maybe even more difficult to get someone, anyone, to have a look at your work. Many galleries just say on their websites that they are not accepting new artists. I can imagine that they probably get hundreds of emails from people every week. I can also imagine how annoying it could become.

 

Then, there is "Social Media"! and of course, every artist needs to have a personal website. Still waiting for the magic to happen.

 

Still, I persist.


The painting is coming along. I guess, maybe, this is the difficult part. When you get a painting to a certain stage, and then all the little changes you make happen at a much slower pace. Looking at it, and then deciding what needs to be done, or maybe to just leave things alone for awhile.






A couple months ago I bought 3 canvases from Dick Blick - too good of a deal to pass up (great price + free shipping), and they let me use my PayPal. I had intended to "try to replicate" three digital prints that I had made. After the first day, working on the first canvas, I felt so depressed - I don't know why I ever thought I could do this. It only took me over 40 odd years to figure out that I don't have a clue about what I am doing... But the next day, I got up and worked again, and it was wonderful.

 

Along the way I had decided that it wasn't going to be three separate paintings, but a triptych. I also had combined the three images on the computer and came up with a nice composition, so this was the new idea.

 

Somewhere along the journey, I decided "screw all that, this is looking too interesting".

 

Today, I mixed them up, turned one upside down and am on my way to "the greatest painting that's ever been painted". I love it when the artwork takes over and shows me new things that I had never even imagined. I could have maybe achieved what I set out to do, and it would have been nice, but now I have something happening that is so much more exciting. It's the difference between producing something and actually letting the creative process take over. You have to accept the small failures along the way, and then you work to turn it all into something so much better.