my . artist run website

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.


As a starting point in my work, I employ a basic, undulating, organic form. This tube (snake, worm, noodle, branch, vein, vine) twists and entwines itself throughout the space of the canvas. These forms are not meant to be anything in particular, but refer to a universal form found throughout nature and in the manmade world.

 

The paintings all take shape intuitively and I paint until I see something happening that excites me and then I try to develop that. This doesn’t happen, usually, unless I take very bold steps along the way and chance trying something that might very well ruin what I’ve
already done. Sometimes this is a hard decision to make, but I force myself, hoping that something good will result, but if nothing else, it will challenge me with a new problem to solve. Much of the actual creative process happens subconsciously.

 

Sometimes my painting is more linear and sketchy, and on other days I find myself carefully rendering and modulating different areas, depending on my mood.
I believe my paintings contain all of the thoughts and emotions experienced over an extended period time.

 

I often work on multiple groupings of canvas panels. When I have a composition at least somewhat developed, I mix up the panels and create mismatched family units, which I try to unify into a new painting. The fractured picture plane relates to different intervals of work time. In the end I try to make everything fit together in its own imperfect way. The workflow is organic, intuitive and for the most part unplanned.


I am a painter. My background is in painting and drawing, and I continue to paint, and drawing is an integral part of my work. I love the time I spend in my studio, working on several canvases at a time, and I like to work relatively large. I enjoy the experience of painting itself, and I don’t like to be in a hurry to finish something - it takes
as long as it takes.

 

As a part of my skillset, early on, I worked as a graphic artist. In fact, I was a paste-up artist. It wasn’t until maybe the mid-90s that I realized that I was actually a graphic designer... but as a result of all of those jobs along the way, I learned more commercially oriented processes for image-making. Going back to the 70s, I used an airbrush, and experimented with color xerography and even ditto copies. Pattern and repetition became a more important element in my work by the end of that decade, but organic form has long been at the very heart of my work.

 

My latest digital series consists of works created on a Mac platform with Photoshop. I start with a single shape which I create from raw pixels (no photography involved), then I repeat that shape to create different elements. I am able to shift color hues and intensities. I use many, many layers which I move backward and forward. My intent is to create work that is bold and dynamic with a strong sense of movement.


Today I began work on three new canvases - well, I began on the first one... I bought the canvases from Dick Blick. I had been thinking about starting a new painting based on some of the prints I had done. I had thought about actually printing them at this size (2x3 ft) but the cost is just too overwhelming, so I was considering taking an older painting off the stretcher and restretching it... then I decided to just look and get an idea what it might cost to buy a ready-made canvas. When I saw the price for a package of three, I was absolutely amazed - less than $60 and shipping was free.

 

They came yesterday via FedEx and when I unpacked the box, I was surprised at how nice they looked, very sturdy, very clean corners, beveled edges. I honestly don't think I could build them for this price, and I have built many, many stretchers over the years.

 

Things didn't come together quite as easily today as I had imagined, but then I'm not quite sure what I imagined - some sort of magic? Anyway, I got a good start, and I can go from there, or here. It's all about the work, after all, and not about magic, or fancy words, or anything else. I am truly psyched to have new things to be working on.