Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.
Navigation
Tuesday
Mar062012

Where do good ideas come from?

The best answer ever given to that question, to my knowledge at least, comes from Theodore Geisel.

When asked by an interviewer where he got his ideas, he said the following:

“I get all my ideas in Switzerland near the Forka Pass. There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up above Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Über Gletch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock fixed. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them.”

Brilliant.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Wednesday
Feb292012

Breaking the Chains

Escape can be very difficult.

We are easily acclimated to shackels and servitude. It's a simple and non-thinking way to approach the day. When someone tells you when to get up, what to eat, what to wear, where to go, what to do, when to leave, what to watch, when to go to bed, and even what your dreams "mean" - there is no thinking required to get through the day. We like easy. Easy is...easy.

So we create barriers between ourselves and our freedom. Barriers that all internal. Barriers that keep us in our safe place. Barriers that keep us shakeled to the daily grind and make us think that we do not have what it takes to be innovators. Barriers that actually do nothing more than keep us miserable. We hate our jobs. We hate our houses. We hate our clothes. We hate Mondays. We hate not having enough time to do the things we love to do. We hate ourselves. 

So why don't what we break free from this type of thinking? 

We don't because we are programmed not to. Free thinking innovators are frowned upon by a culture that puts more value on the obedient than the rebellious. We live in a culture that insists that you do not question authority. That you respect those more "important" than yourself. That you follow the rules.

They start this crap when we hit pre-school. And it keeps going. Forever.

I spent the vast majority of my life being scolded for talking back, breaking the rules, not paying attention, not understanding my limitations, not knowing when to quit. And it had me chained.

I am breaking those chains. Somedays it feels amazing. Somedays it feels awful. 

On the days that it feels awful I try to remind myself that those feelings are not real. They are part of the programming put into my head by a society and an education system that does not want me to be the type of person that I am. If I can prove that I can build and design the life I want for my family and myself then I chip away at their perceived authority over me. And they can't handle that.

So they will make commercials for me that try to convince me that their products make me 'cool'. They will stand in front of TelePrompTers and tell me that they can fix my 'economy'. They will spin news stories to make me feel like the bad guys are right outside my window. They will force my kids to spout empty pledges and take tests that accomplish nothing. They will fight by claiming that science is just a theory. They will fight to their deaths to maintain the status quo that keeps them all in power.

And I will fight back.

Not with weapons. Not with traditional techniques. I will fight back by openly embracing who I am and I want to...no, will accomplish. I will fight back by proving to myself that I do not need their approval. I will fight back with my knowledge of their marketing tricks and gimmicks. I will fight back by turning off the news and never granting a politician a soapbox in my presence.

I will fight back by living free and paving my own road through life.

I will fight back by understanding that the only things I really need in this life are the love of my family, a few good friends, and a blank canvas. 

And I will win. I will win because every day I learn that these chains cannot be broken.

Because these chains do not exist. 

Monday
Feb272012

Luck vs. Reality

The most common thing you here when you break out on your own is, "you are so lucky you get to do what you love".

It's a weird thing to hear. 

Because it is true. Sort of.

But what most people miss out on is that 'lucky' is a dirty word when you walk away from the safety net of being employed. You can't get lucky. You have to make every day happen.

For instance - today sucked. Pretty badly for a while. I woke up at 4:00 am to a crying baby (which dosen't suck, but is part of my reality) and had to drive the whole family to work, school, etc... because we only have one car right now. I had a job lined up that was going to pay for the repairs - but my first phone call this morning was the client putting the job off and asking for lower price. Then I drove all over town looking for parts for something I'm building for another client - and it took 4 hours to find everything I needed. There are no 'kits' for what I build. And few real hardware stores in this town.

So it's 11:00pm and I am just wrapping up the work I planned to finish at 5:00. See, the one thing I won't give up is my family time (I'll blog about priorities soon) and so once my family is all home - I'm all dad and husband. Work has to wait. Once they hit the sack, I get back at it.

I'm dirty, tired, but...best of all - happy. I got the work done. I'll get paid tomorrow. And it's a damn good thing...

The thing about this kind of work is that it really is work. When you have a job you can get away with a few things. Slacking off is not that difficult. When you don't have a job - you don't get that luxury. You work or you don't get paid. There's nothing else to it. And when the work gets done, it's immensley satisfying. 

So the next time you see some of those 'lucky' self employed types hanging out over coffee in the middle of the day - just remember that most of them work 60 hours a week or more to keep the bills paid. We don't get 'breaks', there is no 'overtime', the clock never gets 'punched'. We are the only one's making "to-do" lists. We make all the rules - but then we have to follow them. Jody Holland of MuRF Systems said it really well the other day. "Every job I do - I think to myself, 'what would the person who does this at the highest level do?' Then I do that." Easy enough...

If you want to be one of the "lucky" one's, it's easy. Just committ. Fully. Then take the leap.

But be prepared for what's coming. All this "luck" is freakin' exhausting...

Sunday
Feb262012

Sunday Art Sermon - Feb. 26th

"I'm not interested in illustrating my time. A man's 'time' limits him, it does not truly liberate him. Our age - it is of science - of mechanism - of power and death. I see no virtue in adding to its mammoth arrogance the compliment of graphic homage."

Clyfford Still said that. I can't nail down the exact date, but he died in 1980. So it had to be at least 31 years ago....

What I think I appreciate the most about this quote are the words "mammoth arrogance". It seems very timely.

In the world of today, much of what we see is mammoth arrogance. Call it patriotism, call it religion, call it a political party, call it whatever you will. It all boils down to this - the arrogance required to state out right to other people that you have the (THE) answer is crushing our humanity.

We used to be explorers. We used to be adventurous. We used to have guts.

Now we can't leave the house because we are afraid of the boogey man. Maybe you are afraid of Liberals. Maybe you think Monsanto is going is going to eat your babies. Maybe its Obama that's got it out for you. Or the Muslims. Or the Christians. Or the town you live in. Or maybe you read too much WebMD and now have every terminal illness imaginable. Perhaps your boogey man is your job. Think about it - if you didn't have to go, would you? If you would not - then you go because you are afraid of being unemployed, not because you love what you do.

The sad fact is that we are, collectively, chicken s$%^s. We're scared of our own shadows. And it makes us passive. And lonely. And boring.

I've made the last few years of my life about not being afraid anymore. It's a daily struggle. But I know I'm winning.

But this is turning more into a regular blog post for me than an Art Sermon. Let's get to art....

Art that is not afraid is the best art for me. Art that knows you are going to be challenged by it - and charges forward regardless of outcome. Art that is not about sales, but about substance.

Clyfford Still made art like that.

Clyfford Still was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionists who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years immediately following World War II. Still's contemporaries included Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. Though the styles and approaches of these artists varied considerably, Abstract Expressionism is marked by abstract forms, expressive brushwork, and monumental scale, all of which were used to convey universal themes about creation, life, struggle, and death ("the human condition"), themes that took on a considerable relevance during and after World War II.

Described by many as the most anti-traditional of the Abstract Expressionists, Still is credited with laying the groundwork for the movement. Still's shift from representational painting to abstraction occurred between 1938 and 1942, earlier than his colleagues, who continued to paint in figurative-surrealist styles well into the 1940s.

His work was powerful, personal, and ground breaking. He did it because he had to and his frustrations with the art world as it was (and still is) led him to severe his connections to it. 94% of Still's work was not released into the world until 2010, when a museum carrying his name opened in Denver.

He set forth rules for the museum. One of them was that it would not have a restaurant...

I love this man's work. I love his ethics. I love his ambition. I love his art.

Friday
Feb242012

Pay Attention to Your History

My blog today is about paying attention to your history.

We forget to do that. Most of the time. Some people forget to do that all of the time.

We shouldn't dwell in the past, but we should understand it. Art in Amarillo has a past. It has a history. For nearly 100 years people have been working to expand the visual and performing arts into this region.

Arts Pusher stands on the shoulders of giants. We know that. We respect that. We embrace that.

Every artist should do the same. If you don't where you came from - you have no idea where you are going. 

Some of the best modern American art in the world sits in the Amarillo Museum of Art. Most of it there thanks to the work of one crazy, ego-centric, talented, and brilliant man named Dord Fitz. Follow the link to see an educational component I built about Dord and what he did for art in this area back when I was working at the Museum.

http://amarilloart.org/pachyderms/DordFitz/

Thursday
Feb232012

The myth of the box.

The myth of the box...

Or more importantly, the myth that you need to ‘think outside of it’.

So - what is this box? How did i get inside of it? What is outside of it that is so much more interesting than what’s inside? And how do i think outside of something that i don’t get to see? Anyone? There is no box! The real, honest truth is that there is no box.

The box is a myth. It’s a modern form of magical thinking designed to make you feel like you are missing something. It’s a term for people who do more talking then thinking. It’s a false sense of boundaries created from nothing, representing nothing, manifesting....Nothing. When we let go of the idea that great ideas come from some magical place ‘outside of some box’ - we can learn to accept where they really come from... You!!!

Great ideas are swimming through your head right now. At this moment you are thinking things that no other human being on the planet is thinking. They are brilliant (some of them). Creative. New. Yours. Creativity is all about getting them out of your head - and into the world. And that is the hard part...

Why is it so hard to be creative? Well, first off - because you have been taught not to be for most of your life. But some of the other reasons are: ➡ lack of training ➡ fear of failure ➡ lack of dedication ➡ unrealistic expectations of instant success.

In the end, we only fail because we quit. We quit because something doesn’t work right the first time. But...Great things never come out right on the first try. Nobody publishes their first draft, the ipad2 was not built on the first try in the garage...Even Da Vinci did multiple studies of the Mona Lisa.

Good creative work takes work. That’s just how it is.

But there is something you should know about failure... It is 100%, absolutely, positively, without question - required. In order to create something new - you have to fail. I don’t mean quit. I mean fail. When you are creating something new, you will make mistakes. You will overreach. You will make wrong turns. You will overlook things. It happens to all of us... But there is something you should know about failure...

The real truth is this: if you are not scared, if you are not failing, if you are certain of every outcome - you are copying someone. Maybe someone else, maybe yourself, but someone. If you want to be successful in your quest to tap into your creativity, you must not only be willing to fail, you must expect to. The trick is learning how to learn from your failures.

Forget the box. Look inside your own head. Start failing more often. It pays off.

Wednesday
Feb222012

THERE IS NO BOX!

There is no box. You should know that. Let me say it one more time: there is no box

This is about you. And Me. And our innate powers of creativity. Within each of us is the power to create something brand new. Something no one else has ever thought of. But you have been tricked into thinking that this is not possible. You have been brainwashed.

Brainwashed? Me? Brainwashed? Me? Yes. Me, you, them... All of us. We have all been tricked. Had. Hornswagled. Misinformed. Mislead. Fooled. Brainwashed. We are all products of a teaching style that was designed to help feed the factory floor with a complacent workforce - one that does not question authority or think for itself. We have been trained to jump when the bell rings, eat when we are told, take breaks only when allowed, and only work from 8am to 5pm, monday through friday. Why? It’s simple really.... Profit margins. Jealousy. Ego.

They have created a complacent workforce. This is to their advantage. A complacent workforce will accept: ➡ low pay ➡ limited time off ➡ any request sent down from ‘management’ ➡ lousy work conditions ➡ the sacrifice of your family time for the ‘job’ ➡ ...That this is the only way to survive. Everything you have been taught is a lie! The truth is: we do not have to live this way! You can redefine your life on your terms. You can free yourself from the chains of the ‘job’. You can use your own talents to create something that allows you to live the life you want. You have within you the spark that is required to start the fire that will free you from yourself.

All is takes is creativity.

Cre·a·tiv·i·ty - noun 1. The state or quality of being creative. 2. The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns,relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, or interpretations.

...To create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, or interpretations... That sounds easy...But how? It does sound easy... Just be creative. That’s all it takes. Simple. Elegant. Easy.... But we all know it is not easy. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult things for modern people to do. It’s difficult because we are afraid.

What are the greatest fears of man-kind?? Traditionally they have been 1) death & 2) taxes i can’t help you with #1. Arts pusher Dan Johnson can help you with #2 (but that’s another blog).

But in our modern world there are “new” fears: losing your job, losing your home, losing your freedoms, not making a difference, not making your “mark”...And more. How fear keeps you “in-line” where does this fear come from??

There are three primary fear factories in our modern world.

• schools - the fear of disobedience

• the media - the fear of not “fitting in”

• society - fear of failure fear of disappointing any of these keeps you “in-line”. And trapped... These fear machines keep you trapped.

They make you beleive that there is a box. You are inside of it. The good stuff if outside. This is a lie. Tomorrow we'll address the fact that there is no box.

Tuesday
Feb212012

Do Not Work for Free.

Tuesday
Feb212012

Camille Pissarro

Let's talk about Camille Pissarro.

Pissarro once said, 'Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.' And he meant it.

He worked on the docks in Paris when he was young and spent his down time sketching life as he viewed it. When the working life got him down he 'bolted to Caracas in order to get clear of the bondage of bourgeois life.' He returned to Paris later in his life and became highly involved with the Impressionists. From a book by one of his contemporaries, Rewald, 'He experimented with theories of art; studied the effects of light, climate, and the seasons; adopted new techniques; from these he fused a style that remains his own, within the larger style of Impressionism. And Pissarro was especially regarded as a teacher; he became the centre of a group of painters -- Renoir, Monet, Degas, Cézanne -- who respected his art and turned to him for inspiration. Pissarro, thanks to this generosity of spirit, did much to bring about the achievements of the Impressionists.'

At the time, Impressionism was still considered an 'insult' and the artists who practiced it were rejected for their 'bold departure from the classic. [Critics] of the old school often looked no further than technical execution.' Pissarro believed that 'light was inseparable from the things it illuminates. And that painting with delicate or bold strokes of fluid light one could reach beyond sense of sight, into the realm of emotion.' In a community that valued technical detail and photographic realism -- and expected the artist to idealize the subject, this was 'seen as an absurdity'. Sounds like a little town I know....

http://www.humanitiesweb.org/human.php?s=g&p=c&a=s&ID=39

Tuesday
Feb212012

Umberto Boccioni

Umberto Boccioni comes to mind today...

I've seen his work several times - at the Getty in LA, at the Nasher in Dallas, at the Modern in Ft. Worth, the Houston Museum of Art, and at Raymond Nasher's home - and it never fails to amaze me. "Boccioni was an Italian painter, printmaker, writer, and a sculptor. As one of the principal figures of Futurism, Boccioni helped shape the movement's revolutionary aesthetic as a theorist as well as through his art. In spite of the brevity of his life, his concern with dynamism of form and with the breakdown of solid mass in his sculpture continued to influence other artists long after his death. Like other Futurists, his work centered on the portrayal of movement, called dynamism, speed, and technology....Umberto Boccioni's first futurist sculpture dates from 1911. In 1912 Boccioni wrote his "Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture," in which he propounded the use of unconventional, hitherto unacceptable materials. The "totality" Boccioni strove for was the simultaneous representation of the temporal evolution of an action. His revolutionary dictum for sculpture, "Let us open the figure like a window and include in it the milieu in which it lives," is illustrated by 'Development of a Bottle in Space', and 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space'. In 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space', Boccioni puts speed and force into sculptural form (see the thumbnail below-jb). The figure strides forward. Surpassing the limits of the body, its lines ripple outward in curving and streamlined flags, as if molded by the wind of its passing. Boccioni had developed these shapes over two years in paintings, drawings, and sculptures, exacting studies of human musculature. The result is a three-dimensional portrait of a powerful body in action. Boccioni took part in all the important futurist exhibitions in Europe and America, beginning with the Paris exhibition of 1912. His book Pittura, scultura futuriste: Dinamismo plastico , written in 1914 is the most comprehensive statement of futurism written by one of the original members of the movement. Boccioni was wounded in World War I. While convalescing, he was killed in a riding accident in Sorte in 1916." If you ever get the chance - see this work in person. His sculpture is the truest reflection of a body in motion I have ever seen...

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Umberto_Boccioni

Tuesday
Feb212012

Chuck Close - Inspiration is for Amateurs. 

To truly appreciate his work - you need to see it in person (which I have been lucky enough to do twice). He is credited with one of my favorite quotes of all time..."Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work." Yup. Love it.

He has another quote that I am quite fond of, "Painting is the most magical of mediums. The transcendence is truly amazing to me every time I go to a museum and I see how somebody figured another way to rub colored dirt on a flat surface and make space where there is no space or make you think of a life experience." The rest of this is stolen from his website: The remarkable career of artist Chuck Close extends beyond his completed works of art. More than just a painter, photographer, and printmaker, Close is a builder who, in his words, builds "painting experiences for the viewer." Highly renowned as a painter, Close is also a master printmaker, who has, over the course of more than 30 years, pushed the boundaries of traditional printmaking in remarkable ways.

Almost all of Close’s work is based on the use of a grid as an underlying basis for the representation of an image. This simple but surprisingly versatile structure provides the means for "a creative process that could be interrupted repeatedly without…damaging the final product, in which the segmented structure was never intended to be disguised." It is important to note that none of Close's images are created digitally or photo-mechanically. While it is tempting to read his gridded details as digital integers, all his work is made the old-fashioned way—by hand.

Close’s paintings are labor intensive and time consuming, and his prints are more so. While a painting can occupy Close for many months, it is not unusual for one print to take upward of two years to complete. Close has complete respect for, and trust in, the technical processes—and the collaboration with master printers—essential to the creation of his prints. The creative process is as important to Close as the finished product. "Process and collaboration" are two words that are essential to any conversation about Close’s prints.

Tuesday
Feb212012

John Constable, 1836

"the attempt to revive old styles that have existed in former ages may for a time appear to be successful, but experience may now surely teach us its impossibility...It is to be lamented that the tendency of taste is at present too much towards this kind of imitation, which, as long as it lasts, can only act as a blight on art, by engaging talents that might have stamped the Age with a character of its own, in the vain endeavour to reanimate deceased Art, in which the utmost that can be accomplished will be to reproduce a body without a soul." Well....John Constable, 1836.

Tuesday
Feb212012

John Alexander

Let's talk about John Alexander.

I was lucky enough to attend an opening of his work at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary back when I still lived in Dallas. One half of the space was filled with amazing large scale abstractions - while the other half was filled with draftsman like drawings and water color paintings of birds. As the tuxedo clad crowd walked about many of them made crass and negative comments about the bird images. "He lost his way...He lost his vision...etc". All the while a man in blue jeans and a simple button up shirt mingled through the audience listening to this commentary. Then he took the podium. I wil paraphrase: "Many people have asked me what my abstract paintings mean. I will tell you. What these paintings mean is that I was drunk, on a ladder, and possibly naked." In a conversation John granted the few art students who stuck around until after the show - John explained that the bird paintings were his favorite works to date. He had a comfortable home at Martha's Vinyard and the birds were what he experienced and felt drawn to incorporate into his art making. I walked away from that show having learned a few lessons: 1) Never condescend the work of an artist if you do not know what that artist looks like. 2) Always paint what you are experiencing - art without the input of your life is not art at all. 3) As an artist grows - so does their art. Life and art require that you change. 4) Embrace your current set of experiences and incorporate them into your work. Now about John. John Alexander has been described as iconoclastic, irreverent and, at the same time, deeply compassionate. He was born in 1945 in Beaumont, Texas, an oil and fishing-industry town in the marshlands of the Gulf Coast, a region heavily influenced by Cajun, Creole and African American cultures. Early in his career, Alexander produced visionary landscapes and feverish drawings that incorporate elements of self-portraiture grounded in the imagery of his East Texas heritage. He lived in Houston, where he was an influential teacher at the University of Houston from 1972 to 1979, until he moved to New York. His work first took the national stage at the 1977 Corcoran Biennial in Washington; and in 1980, he returned to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which held a major solo exhibition of his work. Alexander’s paintings and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States, Europe and Latin America, especially in France and Germany. Currently, he divides his time between New York City and Amagansett, Long Island.

www.johnalexanderstudio.com

Tuesday
Feb212012

Jesus Moroles. Brilliant.

This week - Jesus Moroles. (That's Hey-Seuss, not Gee-Zuss) I have met Jesus and several occasions and was lucky enough to spend several days working with him at the University of North Texas (our shared alma mater). In my experiences with him he has always been genuine, humble, and willing to talk about his work and his career. From Jesus - I learned that art is about the communication and understanding that occurs between an artist and their materials. About Jesus: Well known for his monumental granite sculpture, Jesus Morales has one of his works in the White House sculpture garden. A 64 ton piece is also across from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He works, not by carving granite, but by hammering 5-inch steel wedges into large slabs, causing them to split against the grain. He polishes some surfaces and leaves others raw. He apprenticed with Luis Jimenez (who we will talk about soon), who tried to persuade him unsuccessfully to work in fiberglass that looked like stone. But he wouldn't do it because he likes "living stone" that resists his efforts. Moroles first encountered granite in 1978 on the eve of his graduation from the University of North Texas in Denton. And his first piece of granite sculpture sold at the Shidoni Outdoor Sculpture Show in Tesuque, New Mexico, which of course gave him much encouragement. For the last 20 years, beginning in the 1980s, Moroles, born and raised in the inner city of Dallas, has based his studio in Rockport, Texas, about 35 miles north of Corpus Christi. It is a sleepy, fishing village but is also headquarters to Moroles, Inc., a multi-million dollar business that employs about 20 people. His parents, Mexican immigrants, also live on the property as do the peacocks raised by his father. He travels widely including to Aswan, Egypt and Changchun, China where he has installed his sculpture.

http://www.veoh.com/collection/s472784/watch/e143719ZhnKwhNZ

Tuesday
Feb212012

Deep thought for the day.

"We were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted to battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses." - Robert Ardrey

Tuesday
Feb212012

Stop. Collaborate and Listen.

I cannot avoid these feelings today that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So I am going to look at a grand idea - rather then the individual artists who participated in the idea.

The Black Mountain College was created as an experiment of "education in a democracy," with the idea that the creative arts and practical responsibilities are equal in importance to the development of the intellect. Dramatics, music, and the fine arts were regarded as an integral part of the life of the college. And for a short time in the middle of the twentieth century this small school in a small town in North Carolina became the hub of American cultural production. Founded in 1933, the school was a reaction to the more traditional schools of the time. At its core was the assumption that a strong liberal and fine arts education must happen simultaneously inside and outside the classroom. Combining communal living with an informal class structure, Black Mountain created an environment conducive to the interdisciplinary work that was to revolutionize the arts and sciences of its time. Among Black Mountain's first professors were the artists Josef and Anni Albers, who had fled Nazi Germany after the closing of the Bauhaus. It was their progressive work in painting and textiles that first attracted students from around the country. Once there, however, students and faculty alike realized that Black Mountain College was one of the few schools sincerely dedicated to educational and artistic experimentation. By the forties, Black Mountain's faculty included some of the greatest artists and thinkers of its time: Walter Gropius, Jacob Lawrence, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, John Cage, Alfred Kazin, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Goodman. Students found themselves at the locus of such wide ranging innovations as Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic Dome, Charles Olson's Projective Verse, and some of the first performance art in the U.S. By the late 40s, word of what was happening in North Carolina had started to spread throughout the country. With a Board of Directors that included William Carlos Williams and Albert Einstein and impressive programs in poetry and photography, Black Mountain had become the ideal of American experimental education. Its concentration on cross-genre arts education would influence the programs of many major American institutions. In 1953, as many of the students and faculty left for San Francisco and New York, those still at Black Mountain saw the shift in interest and knew the school had run its course. Black Mountain had existed on its own terms, and on its own terms had succeeded in expanding the possibilities of American education. Realizing that they had essentially achieved their goals, they closed their doors forever. Black Mountain's legacy continues however, with former students such as painter Robert Rauschenberg, publisher Jonathan Williams, and poet John Wieners bringing the revolutionary spirit of their alma mater to the forefront of a number of other cultural movements and institutions.

Tuesday
Feb212012

Kurt. Kurt. Kurt! (Vonnegut, that is...)

"Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies - 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'" - Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday
Feb212012

A little Edvard....

Let's talk about Edvard Munch. Munch is best known for his intensely-colored images of human anxiety and death (two experiences he, sadly, felt or witnessed often in his life). Besides painting, he was a prodigious printmaker, working in etching, lithography and wood engraving. His work greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century, which in turn greatly influenced our good friend Mardy Lemmons. My favorite quote of Edvard is this: "We want more than a mere photograph of nature. We do not want to paint pretty pictures to be hung on drawing-room walls. We want to create, or at least lay the foundations of, an art that gives something to humanity. An art that arrests and engages. An art created of one's innermost heart." 

www.edvard-munch.com

Tuesday
Feb212012

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. David Smith.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. David Smith, "Art has its tradition, but it is a visual heritage. The artist’s language is the memory from sight. Art is made from dreams, and visions, and things not known, and least of all from things that can be said. It comes from the inside of who you are when you face yourself. It is an inner declaration of purpose, it is a factor which determines artist identity." Good morning.

Tuesday
Feb212012

David Smith, part II

Because he just says it so damn well....David Smith, part II. "When I lived and studied in Ohio, I had a very vague sense of what art was. Everyone I knew who used the reverent word was almost as unsure and insecure.

Mostly art was reproductions, from far away, from an age past and from some golden shore, certainly from no place like the mud banks of the Auglaze or the Maumee, and there didn’t seem much chance that it could come from Paulding County.

Genuine oil painting was some highly cultivated act that came like the silver spoon, born from years of slow method, applied drawing, watercoloring, designing, art structure, requiring special equipment of an almost secret nature, that could only be found in Paris or possibly New York, and when I got to New York and Paris I found that painting was made with anything at hand, building board, raw canvas, self-primed canvas, with or without brushes, on the easel, on the floor, on the wall, no rules, no secret equipment, no anything, except the conviction of the artist, his challenge to the world and his own identity.

Discarding the old methods and equipment will not of course make art. It has only been a symbol in creative freedom from the bondage of tradition and outside authority."