Wednesday, May 28, 2014

art is dead

i can tell you as an artist, sometimes all we think about is marketing, merchandising, competing, deadlines, applications, displays, selling, trying to make a living...  when you create in this mind set it can kill the very essence of what makes art art... a lucky few come naturally to a style that people can't get enough of and their needs merge seamlessly.  others have a patron supporting them removing that financial burden. the rest of us have day jobs and use what time we have left over to create whatever it is we're moved to make, helping to keep the art pure and unsullied by commercial appeal.  for the true artist art is often a compulsion, that drive to express and bring to reality some strange vision. this is the soul of living breathing art.  keep art alive. buy art. and make what you feel.
this keeps it more interesting for everyone- viewers, creators, all.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Carved Grotesques

current series of gargoyle inspired block prints and stamps
I've had a long running fascination with gargoyles: when I was young I watched the animated cartoon series on television and as an adult I've taken photos of "carved grotesques" (as they are also known--which totally fits the idea of my block prints perfectly!) wherever I have had the fortune to find them.  While I  knew the function of most gargoyles (serving, in addition to mere ornamentation, as a downspout for rain water to keep buildings from damage)  I only recently read of the practice of using anthropomorphized creatures on buildings (especially churches) to assist in converting Pagans to Christianity...  because in medieval times creatures had been attributed various mystical powers... and so these creatures were carved and have adorned public spaces for years, even centuries... and now I come along to continue the legacy in my small way, conveying my own perspective on them. As I'm coming to realize, these themes we use as artists are deep rooted and repeat without our always being aware of it.  I guess I am still that grade schooler loving the dark mystery of watchful sentries hovering above...

tower of london

miller and paine building lincoln nebraska

near mirror lake st petersburg florida     

cemetery near dublin, ireland
state theater st petersburg florida

gargoyle screen print on shirts

Saturday, May 17, 2014

when i see this, i make this

I recently spent a weekend in Palm Beach/West Palm Beach for an art event and was amazed by the hedges and shrubbery walls in use. It gave everything such a green lush yet private feel. And it reminded me of my love of strange topiary.  A good friend lives near a house with one monolithic shrub out front that the owner must pass thru to enter the front door. It seems magical like Edward Scissorhands was there.  If only....

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Free or not to Free?

A few years ago i started leaving art out around downtown, unannounced, just for fun... a secret game with a friend who also liked to just leave stuff out to be found by passers by....  now there is an organized facebook group and it turns out this is an international movement by generous wacky artists around the globe.  no doubt we all have our personal reasons for leaving art out.  free advertising? just for kicks? left over surplus you won't sell anyway but can't stand to throw in the garbage? i like to think mostly it is for generosity of spirit like hiding easter eggs or may baskets. (ok no one does may baskets anymore unfortunately but they should)  Some folks won't participate saying it cheapens their brand or lowers their market value.  i don't care.  sometimes art can just be for pleasure. not barricaded behind glass, maybe not even surviving an afternoon rainstorm. for me this is a way to experiment without risk of something not fitting into my 'body of work'. and it is a way of giving back to people who support my efforts and a way of exposing a new audience to art in a direct and exciting way.  so, keep an eye out on friday. it may be your lucky day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Limited Confusion

As technology advances there is a challenge for printmakers to educate art viewers on what exactly we mean by a print and a limited edition...  now that anyone can easily create a print out on archival paper using a computer and fancy ink jet printer there are a lot of reproduced artworks out there sold as 'prints'.  But that is not the kind of print i make. To me a print requires some elbow grease... ink rolled out on a glass slab, transferred to a block, and pressed by hand onto paper.
Recently at an art event a fellow exhibitor asked me about my process and how many pieces i make in my editions...  because i print by hand and it takes time and incurs error i usually end up with 12 or fewer final images in my limited edition runs. (In fact my latest works are all intentionally unique and one of a kind, but that is another post yet to come).  Fellow exhibitor said his limited editions are 100 pieces.   I have heard of 1000 in an edition.  So what would you rather have for your investment? Something touched by hand that only a handful of people may share or something mass produced?  Not everyone cares about this, but i do.  So if i cant give you the image you want in a different size it isn't because i don't want to it is because that is not my process.  I am analog not digital.  And when you see me explaining passionately the glory of a hand touched piece you'll understand better the method of my madness.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

it's the little things

as a kid in summer one of the most remarkable things to see for me was a praying mantis in the yard...  sure we had daddy long legs and fire flies but a mantis was a specialty, uncommon and exciting.  i guess i've never gotten over that as i've made many mantis inspired artworks as an adult, all without realizing any pattern. who knew i was repeating myself? apparently true inspiration maintains itself over decades. and who wouldn't be inspired by such magical things as a mantis?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Manifest Your Desires

As an artist and i guess as a human being i do a lot of soul searching.  I have a continual search for meaning (see also my solo show "lost in the wilderness" all about looking for direction and home)

so what is it we want? what place does art hold in our lives? what unknown abilities might we have? how much subconscious power goes untapped? ask these things and then you'll understand a little bit about my recent sigil set(s).  (set of six hand printed sigil cards)

I heard this song "Adventures in Success" on a community radio station late one night when I was living in Nebraska... possibly in high school...  probably in the '80s and it has stayed with me.  I love the idea that anything you think you can do.  You can manifest your desires.  "The fact is, you will become the person you honestly describe. You can't avoid it".  Make it habit, make it happen.  I have played it a million times.

Now I've created a set of images to assist in my personal quest and they're available for anyone to use...  want nothing, find love, success, good health, make art, joy...   basic human truths.  Make it happen.

From Wikipedia:
A sigil (/ˈsɪəl/; pl. sigilia or sigils; from Latin sigillum "seal") is a symbol used in magic. The term has usually referred to a type of pictorial signature of a demon or other entity; in modern usage, especially in the context of chaos magic, it refers to a symbolic representation of the magician's desired outcome.
In modern uses, the concept was mostly popularized by Austin Osman Spare, who published a method by which the words of a statement of intent are reduced into an abstract design; the sigil is then charged with the will of the creator. Spare's technique, now known as sigilization, has become a core element of chaos magic.
The inherently individualistic nature of chaos magic leads most chaos magicians to prepare and cast (or "charge") sigils in unique ways, as the process of sigilization has not been rigorously defined. Sigils are used for spells as well as for the creation of thoughtforms.
Unlike with traditional sigils, whose creators made use of traditional lore passed down from generations or from books, modern users often create sigils entirely themselves and devise individual means of "charging" them with metaphysical power.