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I've had this one painting for quite awhile. I painted on it, on and off, for close to ten years. I really like it. But there are problems - warped stretchers, other things that maybe I don't even want to talk about.


I decided to do another version in Photoshop. It's not an exact copy, or a digital rendering, but rather another version. It's done to the exact size of the original, 48"x56", but this one is all in one piece, while the other one was three separate panels.


The new one is also created in high resolution with the best pixels money can buy. I might not be done with it yet, but I'm pretty happy with it so far.



I've been busy making 1 foot square boxes to mount some of my prints. The weird thing is I am using pizza boxes. I've been experimenting with the idea for awhile now, and I think I'm getting it "down pat".


I ordered a stack of 50 new boxes from a restaurant supply company. (I think the shipping actually cost more than the boxes.) They came just wrapped in plastic.


So, they're very easy to assemble... but then I put quite a bit of work into them. I've figured out that packing them with styrofoam is probably the best way to go. I'd really like to get a 4x8 sheet of styrofoam insulation from Home Depot, but for now I've been using some salvaged packing material.


I cut off a few tabs and sand a few small areas. Then I tape them up using both masking tape and brown kraft tape, the kind used for watercolor painting. Once that is thoroughly dry, I begin painting them with gesso. I'm actually using a flat white latex primer, but gesso sounds more official. It's important not to get them too wet or put the paint on too heavily at this stage because the cardboard will get all soggy and they can buckle or sag.


I've also bought some nice foamcore mounting boards which I'm planning to actually mount the artwork onto. This will provide a nice flat surface and add to the strength of the face of the board.


They really are looking nice. I think the trickiest part will be mounting the art work onto the boards. Getting them on straight can be nerve racking. I'm using acid-free spray mount - you really only get one chance to get it right.


I have a few more to go to make an even dozen. They will be sturdy, but lightweight for shipping. I'm thinking I can pack a box of them and ship a whole show's-worth to a gallery somewhere.

I'm seeing stories about MFA shows happening around the country at various schools, and they seem to be group shows. Is this a new trend?


My MFA show was a one person show. It was hung in a very small gallery in our art department, but I had 9 paintings and 4 works on paper.


Others had 2 person shows in the larger gallery, but not a larger group type of show.


It's not something I'm incensed about. Just wondering. Maybe there are just more MFAs graduating now.


I'm seeing similar stories about yearly critiques. Yearly critiques? We had different critiques happening every week, depending on the class and who was teaching it.


Of course things have changed, as they do, and what do I know? After all, after graduating in 1979, I am still waiting for my show at the Whitney. Still waiting for a real gallery to show my work, and truth be known, I confess that I never even thought about having a studio in Brooklyn.


And yet, I persist.

Painting painting painting - then, "OK, is it done? No let's try something totally different over here that I've never even thought of doing before!" This is why I love this so much. Truly. Much better than the same old same old, and yet some people think I just do the same painting, over and over again. That's true too. I yam who I yam.

I was introduced to "Chicago Art" while a student at NIU in DeKalb. Before that, I had no inkling of anything. I knew about Picasso, Toulousse-Lautrec, Modigliani, and I had seen magazine articles and books about Pop Art.


Basically, Carl Hayano introduced me to this whole other world, and I think the word "other" is a key factor. The Hairy Who, Ed Paschke, and then many other artist who weren't "Imagists" like Frank Piatek and William Conger became part of my world. This was all before the internet, so you had to actually go into the big city on the weekends.


Friday nights at the galleries were quite the thing, free white wine, hob-nobbing with famous people... probably didn't really happen all that much, but it was fun.


I actually didn't know that the School of the Art Institute was a real thing. I thought that people just took weekend classes there. Then, come to find out, my teacher had gone there, and yes, it was an actual school. In fact, the museum was built around the school to give students a first-hand experience with real art. The museum eventually became the largest collection of Impressionist paintings because of that.


In the early 90s, I married a woman who had gone to school with the Imagists. She told me that she used to eat lunch with Christina Ramberg. She knew everyone. I always loved hearing about all the things they did and what she knew about all of those people.


I had lived in Chicago on the north side for a couple of years in the late 80s. In my apartment building I had a small studio in the basement (cellar). It was cold in the winter, and damp in the summer. It had a tiny window with a little curtain on it - I kept the curtian open so that on the off-chance that Ed Paschke or anyone else might be driving by, they might glance over and see me painting there with my airbrush. (LOLOLOL!) It was a symbolic thing, OK? I knew that wasn't going to happen. You couldn't possibly even see in there while driving down the street, but I've always had my dreams. So, don't take my dreams away.


Chicago still is a big part of me and my art.

"I think viewers have affective responses that lead them to make-believe subjects or representations... ambiguous form encourages open-ended allusions. There's nothing in subjective make-believe that I would exclude from my paintings. I'm often surprised by the affects and allusions they provoke in me. All are accepted and all are contradicted and thus the work keeps returning to a state of meaninglessness." - William Conger


I think he really says it well here. Much of what I have been trying to do for decades. I was aware of his work back in the 1970s. When I see his work from that time I feel a real kinship with his work.

A while back, I was looking at some paintings I did back in the late 70s. A lot of the colors had faded away - the rich reds and violets, the pinks. What was left were the blues and black and grey. 


I started thinking about the tattoos that an old sailor had when I was just a kid. He lived next door to us, and he showed us one night when he was over in our yard drinking beers with my dad. He had horses, various names, stars on his knuckles, and some kind of half naked harem girl on his chest. He had been in the Navy for 40 years. Everything on his wrinkly, tanned and white, old man skin was faded to mostly blue.


I wonder about all the pretty young girls, starting 10-15 years ago, who were getting tattoos on their lower backs, will, or already look. They probably spent quite a bit of their student loans on that. 


Back in the time a group of us were painting with our airbrushes in grad school, we were a lot like the tattoo artists downtown. The renegades of the artworld, painting flesh, skin, sometimes in lurid night-time colors. Now we are old and wrinkling, and our colors are fading away too. 


But the skin on my paintings from that time is still smooth with hardly a blemish at all on the surface. Maybe a little rough around the edges from being all the places they have been in the last 40 years, but too nice to just be thrown away.


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.