Monday, December 31, 2012

Good bye, 2012

Okay--so it's arbitrary. A change on the calendar that means nothing but what we want it to. But I like these marker times... not the holiday stuff, which makes me feel profoundly alienated, but days where I can check where I've come to on the ascending (or descending) spiral... where I... we... all of us, have come to occupy the same space again, a place--which is not the same at all.
Years ago... pretty sure is was Martin Buber (I was in thrall of him in my 20's), said something to the effect that ones life is never over so long as one has the capacity to begin again. This year I made one of those life change moves... from a little too expensive efficiency at 13th & Morris in South Philly, to an old, unheated warehouse on N. 2nd St... sharing space and life with some 20 others... all many decades younger.

This was like... and has proved in one other profoundly significant way, a move back by moving forward... or the other way around. I lived in a commune from 1966 to 1970. Here I was again.

At that time, I was painting... in oils. Had many hours and courses in art behind me--from children's classes at the Art Institute in Chicago... where (like the Nelson-Atkins Gallery in Kansas City years later, I was able to wander the halls and bond with the art as a child... with almost adult privileges. Sunday at La Grande Jatte ... was like something in my second living room (all the museums in Chicago were like that, thanks to an unmarried Great Aunt who lived nearby).

I gave it up... for 8 years or so, to make pottery. And then... some dumb ass wish to be respectable (?)... merged with a genuine passion for intellectual pursuits... I gave it up.

After moving into the Ox... even before--the first view from the roof, I knew... that with space to work, and tools. I moved quantum leaps forward by moving back.. this time, without the pretensions, the inhibitions of what it meant to make 'art.'

In June, I walked to New York from Philly with Occupy Guitarmy.. and everything I saw made me want to go back and start putting things together. THINGS. Objects. Street junk. It was an act of pure pleasure. With no sense at all of where this would take me. But I kept doing it. And found that I was .. surprised, startled... by what was happening. What I was making. It began to sink in... that yeah (still hard to use the word)... I was making 'art' ... and it was, like .. ok. I mean... maybe better than ok

It's become an obsession. On a day when I make progress on a piece, or finish one, or begin another... I'm happy! I mean... as happy as I've ever ever been in my life! And on days when I don't... ?

So here I am. End of this arbitrary number (2012)... having begun again. Half way through my 72'nd year. Thinking... this time, it's to the end. It's all the way. Maybe... before 2013 has passed... I'll be able to think of myself as an 'artist' without irony, without self-consciousness. Not just all those museum images.. it's family. Really talented family... never felt quite up to snuff. Mostly, cause I was trying to do what I thought OTHERS judged worthy. Now... I've found my own way. I'm so glad I lived long enough ... talk about Late Bloomers.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Art Notes: #65

A better image. 24x24. Acrylic on wood, with can lids, strips of weathered wood, paper, street dirt

Friday, December 28, 2012

Art Notes: #78 Work in Progress


Large flakes of mural, graffiti covered, found on North 5th Street

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012


Something strange and powerful about all this.. .making stuff. 'Art' ... if I can call it that. I matted some drawings and a couple of woodcut prints I did in 1969... gives me ... boosts my sense of legitimacy. What a strange idea? Legitimacy? Forty years I've been away. Because I didn't believe enough in what I was doing to do what I had within me to do. But it's all ... nothing to do with whatever or whoever passes judgement on these things... and yet, not entirely free of that... the question, an echo at the bottom of the well... so why do I keep dropping that penny into the well? That little stone? Legitimacy... what a strange idea. Not at all sure what I mean by that word. Not what the word means--but what it means to me. Authentication? That I am real? that what I'm doing is real? But it's play... play, and play is only real to the extent of its power to resist the real... even while ... like a child, playing the reality it sees as a game. The child only wants to graduate from the game... but as an adult, everything depends on resisting that temptation. The red wheelbarrow, glazed with rain
The problem is... I am not free of ambition. Complicated. I both need it to drive me forward, and to resist with all my might what it would drive me towards.

Art notes. Work in Progress


November Storm over the Alleghenies. Acrylic on rusted metal cabinet door, with twigs, dirt and bits of leaves.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Art Room at the Ox




Drawing table...the woodcut I did in 1969. Of a patient in the geriatric unit at Haverford State Hospital.

My workspace

#65



24x24 Acrylic on wood, with paint can lids, torn paper, street dirt, weathered wood. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Art Notebook: 12/5/12: Why An Ear, A Whirlpool Fierce to Draw Creations In?


# 57 21x21 Fusion: Second of a series of 15, fragments from Blake's Book of Thel. Auto insulation, weeds, tulip poplar seeds, rusted iron, wood paper and acrylics.  $1,200