Saturday, September 19, 2009


I watched an episode of PBS' Art21 program today because I found myself in need of some direction. Being out of the art centric environment of school can be a bit challenging, actually I remember being told by professors that continuing to make meaningful work is the biggest downfall of art majors. And I look back at pictures and memories of myself being immersed in my art and how much I loved it, now I have to continue to make without being immersed. Bills have to be paid after all, I didn't have someone else to pay for my schooling, its all on my head.

So I watched the episode of Art21 that focused on artists who's work functions as a protest... because its something that I consider fairly often. I don't consider myself a protestor in the general sense of artist creating volitile or repugnant images that make you realize what we're doing is wrong. I like pretty things, quite a lot really, and I see nothing wrong with wanting to make things that are beautiful. I often feel that focusing on the negative and pointing out the wrongs is a good way to create apathy and depression. Those emotions don't usually get anything done. Instead they result in people tuning out, getting drunk, getting high, sleeping all day, staring at mindless tv (has anyone seen the latest animal planet craze of pet talent show competitions?) or whatever other escape they can create. In short, nothing happens.

This doesn't mean that I don't see the value in protesting or pointing out the wrongs. By all means people should be aware. But it becomes overwhelming. And so my mind brings me to my so-called solution. Beauty is all too often ignored. Ansel Adams brought reform by photographing the beauty of wild and virgin American lands. Its not an unheard of approach.

Culture is often beautiful and often misunderstood. Its long been the practice to consider the "other" to be wrong or ugly or horrifying. Culture is also often destroyed by conflict and the desire to force one's culture on another. I was horrified that day in March in 2003. I was a distraught teenager who's mother was knocking on the door asking why on earth this event upset me so much. I couldn't really answer her... I was just scared. Years later, the war continues, and I know a little more about what there is to be so distraught about. Mosques have been destroyed, landscapes scarred, people killed and chased away from their homes. Politicians can spew their purposes all they want, but a culture is slowly being erradicated. The more I looked, the more I realized that its much larger than the war I originally protested and mourned, its much larger than any one event. Its really a lot larger than I can even comprehend, so I'll take my bits and pieces and put them together so I can understand.

This leads me to a way of working, culturual cut and paste... Middle class white american mom's making scrapbooks of their kids, intellectuals recreating historical painting methods and mediums, historical art movements and Islamic art. Its a whole lot of what happens to catch my eye. But within that selection, a pattern of two cultures who are trying to kill each other with astonishing similarities comes out. I'd like to think that the familiarizing the people around me with the beauty that can be found and combined from two seemingly rival sources can be a protest. I'd like to think that familiarizing the "enemy" creates empathy. And when the "towel heads" or whatever rediculous horrible name they've created this week become familiar, we won't be so quick to think that they need to be erradicated.

Some day, I'd like to see the mosques of Iran and the mountains of Afghanistan, and I think its a little messed up that its currently not safe for me to do so. And that's largely why I work with the particular patterns that I do.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Its a thought that I have often, what happens when something breaks? Eventually it happens, paint cracks, someone left it in the bright sun, there was a fire, the pottery fell off the shelf, etc, etc. Having a (slight) background in conservation, specifically for books, it irks me. I avoid clear scotch tape like the plague, I'm not even sure I own any at this given moment. Masking tape makes me cringe just a bit too... its one of those things that after you've seen what 50 year old plastic tape does, you just don't go back.

However part of me sees a great deal of value in fragility, you can't take it for granted as easily if it disappears with the next rain. You can't cling to it and ignore the rest of the world if it will shatter. I have a fascination with sand mandalas and the ritual process of destroying them. It puts much more focus on the process and less on the finish product, and at times when there is too much stuff and too little space to live in it just seems like a good idea.

I suppose I could attempt to decide between the two, but I'm not much of a decision maker.
What I can say is that I have watched a few paintings fade away because the ink wasn't light fast, as the artist its not a pleasant feeling. I've broken more than a few of my ceramic pieces as well, one quite recently which has gotten me on to this thought path. I think I'd almost like to be less attached to the finished products, but if I wasn't attached I'm not quite so sure who would be. Either way, I want to make something that will disappear on purpose...

Monday, August 24, 2009

A job has been started and a move completed. The studio in Elkton will be up and running at least until the end of October. Now its time to get some work done. I have a few cockamamie ideas and have been rethinking why I bother doing what I do and specifically the subject matter that I focus on. I think regular blog posts will be attempted to have out on monday nights. Its good to write, even if I did hate doing it for classes.

Keep an eye...

Sunday, May 31, 2009


I am for an art that is meticulous, beautiful, painful, obsessive-compulsive, masochistic, rewarding, and satisfying. I am for an art that is purposeful even if it is only selfish. I am for an art that is in motion - circular and rotating, spiritual and personal. I am for an art that cannot be understood, even by myself. I am for an art that explores my thoughts on my surroundings and myself - meditative. I am for self-medicating and cathartic art. I am for exploratory, playful, curious art. I am for escapist and thoughtful art. I am for resourceful art. I am for an art that doesn't use clear scotch tape because it gets brown and brittle as it ages. I am for art that doesn't know if its a student, a graduate, or a master... it just is. I am for an art that shouldn't quit its day job but is more than an occasional hobby. I am for an art that is in touch with its history, its ancestry, and its culture. I am for an art that doesn't know its just a dream. I am for imaginative art. I am for an art that is hard to catch. I am for an art that can never be quite as blue as the sky on a clear day, but it tries anyway. I am for an art that talks to itself. I am for an art that branches out like roots in the dirt and reaches out and sways like an old red oak in the yard. I am for an art that is only a few steps away from the laughter of the elementary school playground waiting for a turn on the swingset. I am for an art that knows more than you do. I am for an art that is fresh as an autumn tuesday at noon time. I am for an art that can't stop thinking, even if it wants to. I am for an art that scrambles for the deadline, even if the deadline doesn't matter or doesn't exist. I am for an art that is easily distracted. I am for an art that doesn't want to know its credit score. I am for an art that doesn't care for grammar. I am for an art that doesn't really have a stopping place. I am for an art as tasty and familiar as a bologna and cheese sandwich. I am for an art that's as foreign as the depths of the ocean. I am for an art that favours British spelling. I am for an art that doesn't need a degree to see that it has grown.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In the beginning

Welcome welcome... 

This will be a new place for me to write about and share my art. Stay tuned for future updates and images!