Tuesday, September 24, 2013


11.5x28 Rusted cabinet door, weather stained board, copper wire


26x30 weathered electric panel door & composition board, acrylic

Monday, September 23, 2013


Auto door panel, acrylic

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Changing Names with the Clouds

Clouds forming as I watch. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this. A smudge in the blue, an opacity grows into a single small cluster. Forms & reforms in same place in the sky, dissipate, form again.
How much I’ve changed in the last few years. Retiring from teaching was such a release. I feel like a different person. I am a different person. A job freezes identity. This certainly was true for me. Having to perform in a role acceptable to the institution—inhibits change. Finding myself free of that—no longer having to play that role, that same role, day after day, year after year, holding me back. From the day I stopped looking for work, I began to move into a new life—first the poetry. A few months with MMP, the Spirit Stick, the Poem Tree—a series of de-inhibition exercises (reading aloud in Love Park, the subway concourse, carrying the ever more elaborate walking sick, the Urban Pilgrimage poem, getting my ears pierced). Then Occupy Philly and the Ox, a return to visual art.
As an artist & poet, it’s possible to keep changing, growing—& even there, there’s the danger of falling into habit, a pattern to repeat. Hear so much talk about ‘growth” in a culture that inhibits real possibilities of change—sets such limits on what you can grow into.
In taking on a new identity, first you play a role. And in time, the role becomes an identity, but that word is all wrong! While the role is something you put on, a pattern not fully of a piece with who you are yet-- ‘identity’ , what comes after, is fluid, free of the constraints of playing the role, dissolving it, always evolving, elusive & indefinable. Invisible… like a Faerie by day, wings and glitter by night.
What do you want to be? that young man asked at the party in Wichita. I don’t want to be anything, I answered. Fifty years learning what I meant by that. Goby. I think my name will be Goby. You see! I’ve always believed in having different names for different stages of life. As a child,
I was Rusty.
Then Russ/ Russell – formally,
W. Russell Johnson
Then I was Jacob Russell, which became my poet name
& Willard for art—reclaiming my birthname.
For the last chapters—Goby. My Faerie self. … out of the chrysalis.
Cousin caterpillar, takes his changes, easily. … some day, you’ll wake up…with wings

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

OWS 9/17 two years...

Those first days of rain and cops banning one form of shelter after another, as though, they only needed to dampen spirits and everyone'd just go home. Those, I think, were OWS's bravest hours. Wherever the encampments dealt with material conditions, dealt with procuring and preparing food, planning for demos, setting up and organizing space, we saw grow as out of nowhere, a collective energy and creativity that no one could have anticipate, saw awakening in our camps a realization of untapped power that made us, in those first weeks, giddy with love and hope. The general assemblies and commitment to "process," that seemed so important then, looking back, seem to have been more of a distraction, and as they became increasingly divorced from the logistical and material realities we faced, a drain and divisive force. They were about how to govern a new world before the foundation had been laid and before anyone could imagine, in other than abstractions, what that world might look like. We almost let our most impressive efforts, organizing and learning how to feed ourselves and hundreds of the homeless who came to our camps, slip by as though it were merely incidental. Where 'process' mattered, was in the planning for actions, in solving material problems: skills that have continued to be applied, as in Occcupy Sandy, on so many different fronts. What we thought the GA's were for, we did best with no process at all but that of the endless conversations and discussion that went on in those first weeks. Forgive my presumptuous "we," ... but I think it less so than using language of the outsider. How can I say "they" to something I was a part of, whose mistakes I share, along with the intoxication of those moments where my 'I' really did feel like a 'we', that I was a part of something larger and more important than myself or any one of us… and still do, still feel that. “This is for a lifetime,” I remember saying the first day at Occupy Philly, and it was, and is, and I will share a bond of love and dedication and purpose with my beautiful brave flawed comrades of those days to the end of my days. Solidarity/Love/Imagination/Resistance!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Anarchism must be collectively realized

In a Libetarian perspective, anarchism means: I can do what I want, fuck you. Real anarchism posits, that if we (not just "I") concern ourselves with the real consequences of our actions on others, there will be no need of rules. The key point here, is that our actions are almost never solitary and individual. We do things together, and no exclusively individual perspective does justice to the interconnected world we inhabit. Understanding the consequences of our actions on others, demands both collective reflection, and active participation with, and listening to those outside our communal circles. Anarchism is not a simplification of how we go about decision making, but demands an infinately more complex, nuanced, fluid and creative way of living together in the world.

#209 Happy Homunculus Bursts His Bonds!

Art for perpetual loan. I will not sell my work. Because art should be available to all, not primarily to the moneyed class. Because art should never be allowed to treated as a commodity. Because an artist deserves material support, I am open to and encourage, but do not require, contributions, which can be one time donations, or on-going, to be worked out case by case. Loans are perpetual. I ask only that you pledge never to sell or trade what you take. VIEW ALL POSTED WORK HERE, (scroll down) or make arrangements for a day-time studio tour of my studio. We cannot defeat Capitalism, but we can replace it and make it obsolete.

Monday, September 2, 2013

We Know Everything Before We Know Anyting

Someone visited THIS PAGE I posted in 2008. Four years before I made my return to visual art. More than making art foregrounded here. Like we know everything before we know anything.
Check out newly posted poems on Ryan's blog. Chase scenes. What kinda world where we can't fucking dance in bars. Never could get it straight--whose job it is to do what.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

His Master's Voice: Poetry overrides Philosophy.

Have been thinking about how making visual art again has been part of the process. Feel deeply that it has, but wondering how? So was thinking about last year when I started making things... and drawing. I wanted to reclaim my drawing skills. Did dozens of gesture and contour drawings of this broken plastic dog. Remembering how my thinking shifted to a visual language without words. Like slipping out of one body into another. For a long time, I stopped writing. Couldn't read for more than a few minutes at a time. In a state of rebellion agaist the constraints of word. Then I thought... oh. That dog, that's the RCA dog. "My Master's Voice." Holy shit! There it is... how often I've recited the lines from Blake's Garden of Love, and never applied them to my own life. Yes! What I've been feeling, my heart so filled with love... the emergent power of homoerotic fantasies... the Master Voice overwhelmed by art and masturbation!
I wrote this--thought the thought walking home from Superfresh in the afternoon. Not a drop of wine since the night before. No excuses. It felt like it meant something--that Master's Voice thing. Still does. Only now it comes home that I don't know what. But then, what would it mean if I did? Ok, I'd tell you... tell myself. Here's what it means, and I'd write something else. So what would that mean, but the stuff I was talking about--the Master's Voice. Everything goes in circles when you try to explain. That's why poetry is better than philosophy. Like this is poetry or something, ya know what I mean? "One does not get better because one remembers. One remembers because one gets better" Lacan