Archive for the ‘artists’ Tag

10/06/2021 Thinking Outside the Box   Leave a comment

Thinking outside the box is a rarity these days. Some people do it automatically in everything they do and are called, weird, odd, strange and a host of other not so nice descriptions. Unfortunately the great majority of people that are truly out-there are artists and creative types. In order to create something that people will pay attention to you must be out-there. I’ve been lucky enough to be labeled out-there since I was seven or eight years old by my parents and friends alike. That to me has always been a badge of honor and always will be.

People continuously use the word weird for those of us who are strange, little off center, or just plain different in our way of thinking. I’ve been called much worse by many people over the years due to my unusual approach to the art I create. I understand that some people are offended by that description but I never was. I’m a firm believer that if you walk by any of my projects and didn’t stop for a second look, I wasn’t getting the job done.

Many years ago I created a piece called “Death Penalty”, and it was displayed in a museum art show. To my great surprise it actually won an Honorable Mention award from the judges. I created a miniature electric chair with all the bells and whistles of a real one. It sat upon a base covered in a collage of death penalty photos and newspaper articles which made quite the graphic statement about the death penalty, both pro and con.

I stood on a raised stage nearby drinking coffee and watching the main floor of the exhibit. People were milling around but I was more interested in those looking at my piece. It drew quite a crowd and a lot of discussions were occurring. I mingled among the crowd anonymously listening to comments and the numerous and varied conversations. The consensus of opinion was that the artist was a little weird and totally off-the-wall. I was absolutely thrilled. That meant even more to me than the Honorable Mention award. I was later approached by the father of a young Goth girl who attempted to buy the chair for her Christmas present. I didn’t have the heart to sell it and I kept that chair for many years before it eventually fell apart during one of my many moves. I’ve always had a hard time selling my art after putting so much effort into producing it. It’s like losing a child.

Now let’s drop back few decades to my days in college. I was inspired by a fellow student after being requested to do some sort of display that would sell a fictional product. This was a commercial art class and a required subject which I truly detested. I thought it was too blatantly commercial and I complained to everyone. A fellow student on the day of the final review took me aside and said “your taking this stuff way too seriously”. He took me into another room and under a sheet on the table showed me his final project. He’d set up a place-setting with a knife, fork, spoon, lacy napkins, and a half filled bottle of Coke. Directly behind the place-setting was a a faux campfire. Over this fire he’d placed a headless baby doll on a spit. He spray painted the doll with a reddish paint to make it look roasted. I was a little shocked at first until he uncovered the last part of his project. He pulled the the sheet away to show me a large, round, red, Coca-Cola sign. It simply stated “Things Go Better With Coke”. I was blown away and thrilled to have met someone who was truly out-there. All these years later I still remember him, the piece, and the attitude it took to make it. I also remember that he got an “A” on the project and I didn’t. I’m carrying on his philosophy as best I can to this day.

If you’re a creative type and I hope you are, don’t let people put you in a box. It’s been my experience that the further out-of-the-box you can take yourself the better your work will be. There are way too many people spending way too much time being critical of virtually everything. To be an artist, poet, or writer is to put your creations “out there” for public viewing. It’s the most rewarding risk you can take.

STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF

09-02-2016 Journal – Big Easy-2!   Leave a comment

The first day in NO was coming to an end and we decided to just hit the streets and roam around to get a better feel for things.  It was just getting dark and we were both starving. That airline food really is a joke.  We stumbled on a place on the north end of the French Quarter called Coops.  It’s one of those places with a questionable first impression and it was filled with mostly local residents some of which were way out there.  Of course we immediately went in to sample some good old Cajun food and we weren’t sorry.

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My rule #1 for eating in NO. Go local!

I ordered my usual ice cold Chardonnay while my better-half discovered a new love. She ordered a Big Easy IPA that’s brewed locally.  She fell in love with the brew which meant I would have a few more of them on my credit card in the coming days. . . AND I DID!  She ordered some sort of shrimp dish while I stepped outside the box once again. I dined on rabbit and alligator sausage jambalaya.  I hate to say this about the rabbit but if cooked properly it tastes just like chicken. No eye rolling please. We were finally cooled down by the air conditioning and decided to continue our walking tour.  Temps were still in the low nineties at dusk.

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We stopped at a number of small shops when we saw something interesting and to use their air conditioning. I’d already sweat through my clothes and would do so many more times during our stay.

NO is known as an artist colony and one of the reasons I love this place so much. We saw murals and sculptures just about everywhere we went. Here are two samples from our first night.

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We spent a lot of time looking at art work displayed in galleries and also on the street in Jackson Square.  Some of it was really good, some just OK, and others that were unbelievably bad.  To each their own I guess.  We continued our walk into Jackson Square where the line of horse drawn carriages were waiting for customers.

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We were at the end of a very long day and headed back to our hotel for the night.  That little pool in the courtyard I posted about earlier was the best thing that happened to us the entire day. Off with the clothes, into the swim suits, and into all of that lovely cool water.  We chatted with some new friends from Germany at the pool, finished our drinks and went off to bed. Our room felt like a refrigerator and thank god for that.

MORE TO COME

06-17-2016 Journal– Art & Criticism!   Leave a comment

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It’s another day in paradise here in Maine as I drag my butt out of bed this morning. Time to leap to my feet, put on my shorts, and go jogging for a few miles.  If you believe that then there’s something really wrong.  The only jogging I’ll do is with my car. I’ll be spending my time today sitting in front of this computer and working on my series of designs that have consumed me for a month.

Yes, I consider myself an artist even though a few others might dispute that.  What others think has never really been something I concern myself with and I doubt I ever will.  If you’re around long enough you learn early on that everyone is an effing critic.  I love critics and on occasion I’m one myself.  It’s the anonymous and cowardly ones that irritate me.

I’ve been reading a strange book of “Poisonous Quotations” and that anonymous guy sure has a lot to say in that tome.  Here are a few samples of his anonymous work.

“Modern art is like trying to follow the plot in alphabet soup.”

“Modern art is when you buy a picture to cover a hole in the wall and then decide the hole looks better.”

“A modern artist is one who throws paint on a canvas, wipes it off with a cloth, and sells the cloth.”

“One reassuring thing about modern art is that things can’t possibly be as bad as they are painted.”

Those four quotation are cowardly since the authors were afraid to identify themselves.  I don’t mind criticism if the individual will stand up in front of the artist and offer his opinions directly.  Here are a few well known people who also have an apparent distaste for art but aren’t afraid to say so publicly. 

“Abstract art is the product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.”  Al Capp

‘One sees a square lady with three breasts and a guitar up her crotch.”  Noel Coward

“Art is a jealous mistress.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.”  Paul Gauguin

“Art for art’s sake makes no more sense than gin for gin’s sake.” W. Somerset Maugham

“I’m glad the old masters are all dead, and I only wish they had died sooner.”  Mark Twain

Lets hear from someone once very well known in the political world. Like any politician he takes forth-three words to say two . . . “It stinks.”

“I can truthfully say that the painter has observed the Ten Commandments. Because he hath not made to himself the likeness of anything in heaven above, or that which is on earth beneath, or that which is in the water under the earth.”  Abraham Lincoln

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And last but not least here is someone who answered his critics directly and clearly. My second favorite favorite artist of all time right behind Salvador Dali as seen above.

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“Everyone wants to understand painting. Why don’t they try to understand the singing of the birds? People love the night, a flower, everything which surrounds them without trying to understand them. But painting – that they must understand.”  Pablo Picasso

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WELL STATED PABLO

04-22-2016 Journal – Creativity!   Leave a comment

I spent the first two hours of my day today in bed drinking coffee and watching a dozen or so TED speeches. If your not familiar with TED I’d recommend it to you whole heartedly. It’s a series of speeches from experts around the world on  a diverse collection of topics. The anagram of TED stands for, “Technology, Education, & Design”.

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‘It sure isn’t the Sistine Chapel!’’

My main topics for today concerned Creativity and the Arts.  Listening to people from Bali who design green homes from bamboo or others from Europe who specialize in the creation of designs and art is exciting. It’s nice to know that Creativity is alive and well on this planet and not getting lost in the technological hustle and bustle of our societies.

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I’ve always been a proponent and supporter of anyone or anything that creates something.  The best times of my life are those spent where I’m relaxed, alone with my thoughts, and putting paper to pencil. Either writing, drawing, painting, or sculpting, it’s all good.  With that in mind I thought I’d share a quick look at my lair. It’s my oasis filled with my things and represents my life in one small room.  

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For twenty years I saved every little doodad, birthday card, and memento from places I’ve been and people I’ve known.  Then I began making a series of collages or “life panels” of those years. It started out as two  small panels but grew  to more than nine with some of them measuring 4’X4’. 

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‘This is what I call a workspace.’

I never had a sufficient amount of wall space and I had them in storage for twenty years. I moved them from place to place until I finally settled down here in Maine.  I still didn’t have the wall space for them and finally decided to make them the ceiling of my so-called man-cave.

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Now I can sit at my desk surrounded by things that make me happy. I can lean back in my chair and look up at the ceiling and see the people, places, and things that I’ve experienced in my life.  The photos in this posting are a quick peek into the craziness of that  space that I’ve had the pleasure of creating.

EVERYONE NEEDS A HAPPY PLACE

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