Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Is this what's called failure?

Wiser (?) voices in my head tell me to stop making stuff-after all, who needs it? Who wants it?
I look around me and see what I deem to be lesser work flying out of studios, galleries, shops.
Is my work really that bad or is it that my opinion/taste is badly skewed?

A hound on a very long bad trail

Granted, I can't sell ten dollar bills for five bucks, but my salesmanship should be an irrelevant point. After all, shouldn't the work stand up for itself? Maybe not-for one thing, there's so much out there clamoring for one's attention. Or maybe I'm just so damn naive-to continue the analogy, that dog don't hunt…
A foolish thing to make work that's useless, yet to keep on with it. OK, admittedly, I think I'm doing good stuff. And besides, I do enjoy the act of working.

You'll know when I croak-watch for the huge bonfire.

Friday, September 9, 2016

A quandary along the road: more older, more confuser

I'm working on seven sculptural pieces right now.
All but one, they are all fairly well along in terms of completion.
But in working towards completion, I now question each one to the point of deadlock-
Does the piece have relevancy? Does it use too many "cliches"(conventional and/or personal)?
Am i repeating myself? Is this work too remote from "my" style (voiding consistency, therefore  credibility)? Shouldn't "good "work take longer to create?
Is this a spin with insecurity or a valid questioning?
Beginning the pieces, there were none of these doubts-I wouldn't have taken them so far along.
Working with them for so long, I'm now blind to seeing them objectively.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

What old looks like

Several days away from the age mentioned in a song (First hearing this song while still a teenager, I clearly remember thinking the idea as so remote it couldn't even be a possibility), I am turning 64.
I've given up time to get to this place-and maybe some brain cells that help memory and some musculature that now causes me to recover not so quickly. Did I mention hair? Everything else seems to be still here.
I've gotten somewhat wiser, as the old adage promised (and more confused, according to another, more sarcastic adage).
I mourn the loss of many people and things, but I've always been sentimental. I've still never skied, can't swim very well, can't ride a bike hardly at all (poof! went the biker image) and cannot speak Spanish well (But I sure have tried!)
I have few close friends, but many good acquaintances. Like Superman,  I can see through artifice and, like Bill Skrips has always been, am a skeptic at every turn.
I managed to get my ass out of the locale I call my hometown-for better or worse. Spent many years in a big city and now can say I've lived in several rural locations. As any who know me know, I make art (again, for better or worse). Yes, I do other things, but this is what I got put here (or crawled out from under a rock) to do.
Yesterday, courtesy of NPR, I heard a young man interviewed who stated that whenever he left his comfort zone, things got a) interesting b) challenging  c) more rewarding than staying in his comfort zone. I had to take this with a grain of salt-not that I disagree, but it seemed almost flippant the way he spat it out-or maybe it's easy for him. Or maybe it is either the resiliency or ignorance of the young. The comfort zone is something I've struggled with a lot.
I will only say that (in my opinion) a comfort zone is where you feel  secure in your methods and products. Or you happen to be selling work hand over fist-you may not understand why or how you got there, but why rock the proverbial boat?
But this could also be a euphemism for a rut.
If this is why you started making art, fine. Stop there-read no further.
In full disclosure, if I were famous and selling work like hotcakes, my view here might go unquestioned and therefore I might not even be writing this.
But it's good and healthy to question your path/discipline/technique/subject, the life you chose to follow, especially when at it a long time. Much like car tires and water filters, check for wear (and rotate).
A comment I heard the other day was that we (artists) leave our critics and criticism behind when we finish art school. This leaves only you as the do-it-all critic for your work, unless you are a lucky sonofabitch. By this I mean you have someone you trust AND who is honest AND who is objective to offer you real observation on what someone from the "outside" sees (or finds lacking) in your work. I'm not talking about a sycophant or a groupie that loves you no matter what. A stone-cold critic is what is wanted. Too bad we can't hire talent for this, to get criticism from those who do not know/care about us, but are involved enough in the art world to proffer real insight.
Back to the young man and his comment.
It is hard to tear myself away from what I consider a good and pleasing and natural direction, to immerse myself in a strange and unknown medium. But I find painting (relatively "foreign" to me) to be the easier choice as it offers escape from my sculpture and a way out of my "comfort" zone.
But what is the result here? After getting my hands (literally) wet, can I honestly say that painting is the ticket, the way to new and earth-shattering experience?
Of course not. But the rawness/newness, the challenge, the not-being-able to work with eyes shut IS the reward. A ticket out of that comfort zone. To try and quantify the results here is akin to rating any new experience you have had in life…much like Wonder-Bread, all new experience helps to "build bodies in twelve different ways!"

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Latest in toys and canines

Will have to keep you posted…I bought some circuit-bendable items on which I'm going to do some work (Speak + Math and a Casio SK 1) AND an Arturia MiniBrute, which is a somewhat serious synthesizer…course, i have dreams of teaching myself music so i can "record" just what i'll do with this new toy (outside of make some very strange sounds)…
Dropped my Letterpress class as i just feel time right now is too valuable to commit to a 16 week schedule. This may also have something to do with the new dog that I brought into the household yesterday…at this point nameless (outside of the name given him by the shelter: Mork-I'm guessing that the name just came to the shelter, and after viewing literally hundreds of shelter dogs lately, naming each has got to be a daunting and necessary task).
He's a quiet pooch so far-his shelter photo made him look a lot like Sharkie, but he's about ⅓ of Sharkies' size and he needs to gain weight. We think there is some Rottweiler in his mix, but really dunno for sure. Disappointed in his size, but after one night, i think he's a keeper. He is not at all fickle about food, which marks him as one of mine-I've always been lucky with dogs that eat everything…Sharkies' favorite is watermelon and the only thing he turns down (but only occasionally) are slices of grapefruit.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Questions about making sound

Today I'm wondering why I'm looking at an "instrument" that makes music/noise that is not recordable or amplifiable (in other words, I'd make the noise for myself-the music/noise is not repayable nor commercially viable and, unless I play for an audience as well as my own ears, is heard )…"why oh why would you want to do this? " you ask-my answer is that it's the same as making art without a buying/paying audience…the old, "if a tree falls in the forest…" routine. Does this weaken the personal experience? If there is an audience, does it weaken that audience's experience?

What about photographs? Do we make/take them to validate our experiences? To keep a souvenir or a proof of our experience? Is my experience any lesser if I do not have a camera? Is it possibly a richer experience? If i do not see your photograph does it lessen the sharing of your experience?
So here's the difference: the art making that i do creates a product. The noise/music making that i do creates a product that is ephemeral/fleeting and stuck in time. This is also true for most of the conversing I do with others. Not so true with the computer, which, I've been promised, keeps an "eternal" record of what actions or typed verbiage have been created on it.
Is this last bit for purposes of liability? A wholesale human ego trip? or just the side effect of the machines with which we are so thoroughly inextricably engaged?

Art gets made because I make art- the same is true for the noise and speech I make, which generally is not recorded. Unless we are having a VERY bad day, I do not question this-"it's what I do…" Maybe the art question has fewer issues because there is always a product (this being true for the type of art that i make)