Rants and Rambles

It's just me going off a bit--running my mouth.


Political Volleyball
I've really been bummed out lately about the craziness we call politics.  It's hard to be a centrist these days.  The two party system we have forces the lawmakers to take extreme positions just so they can be against the other side.  There are some issues that the Republicans have latched onto which I can agree with.  There are some issues where I agree with the Democratic position.  The problem is that I think both sides are simply pandering to their extremist supporters while leaving people who can see both sides of an issue out of the discussion.  I think this comes from the situation where these people raise money, pick positions which will 1. get them noticed and 2. get them more money from lobbyists.  They then spend lots and lots of money and get elected.  Unfortunately, once they're in office, they have no time to do their jobs, it all begins again with fundraisers and meetings with lobbyists to decide how they're going to finance their next campaign.  One contributing factor in all of this is what I see as an upsurge in one issue voting.  There seem to be a lot of people who have one issue that they care deeply about and will vote accordingly, not caring much about the other 99% of the decisions.  The politicians love this because they can wrap a speech around 10 "hot button issues" and deliver a 15 minute speech which solidifies a large block of these voters.  I feel like I'm standing by the net in a volleyball game where one team hits the ball to the extreme back court of the other team and where it is returned to the extreme back court of the opposite team, over and over and over.  Being someone who stays in the middle and agrees with some of what both sides believe, you never get to touch the ball. 

I'm told often enough that I can be a bit of an extremist.  Take, for instance, my new summer haircut =>

I've been known to have my hair down in my face (well, it was that way about a month ago), and now this is my summer coiffure.  I always seem to dive right into things and go all out trying to make them succeed.  I consider this a good thing.  The problems arise when I found out later that I've been on the wrong track for whatever reason.  I really think that this is an outgrowth of the obsessive behavior which is a requirement for people who become artists.  You have to be totally committed to your own unique vision and slog your way through many, many rough times and doubting people in order to make anything worth looking at.  Having the confidence to go all the way (and also having the sense to know when you've gone too far), is very important.  Indecision and worry will kill most artistic careers before they begin.


Artist Statements

The reason I thought about doing this was that I think artist statements are very dry and stale.  When I sit down to write mine, it's like I'm back in college and a truckload of art critics writing dead verse to entertain the other art critics are dancing in my head.  Everything has to be poetic and at the same time factual and descriptive of technique and intention and it all has to be presented in a very concise manner, easily digested by quotable.  It's quite an art form unto itself.  Unfortunately, the artist statement quite often doesn't have much to do with the art.  Artspeak.  When I was in college we used to toss around jargon during discussions in art history or perhaps in a studio critique and we had no idea that we were simply reiterating what we had heard or read.  It often didn't have much to do with how we felt when we looked at the piece and certainly not how we felt when we created it.  The truest critiques were to be heard around a table in some dark and smoky lair when you'd get 5 or 6 artists-in-training (and occasionally a professor or two) tossing around insults and jibes and digging at each other while digging for the truth.  Truth.  That's what it's all about, but it's really hard to define.  Truth cannot be spoken--it is what it is.  It must be felt.  That is the true artist statement.  If a person stands before a painting and just goes blank--their eyes go wide and their mouth goes "wow".  That's truth!  It's all about emotion, about communication on a level so base and instinctual that it cannot adequately be explained with mere words.

Now, how do I wrap something like that into an artist statement?  How is a newspaper going to quote from that? 

The Value of Artwork
I sell my work.  I make money off my work.  I know what I get when I sell a piece and what the gallery gets.  But, what is the true value of artwork?  It's not about money.  Money is only the crass mechanism we use which allows people to exist in this social construct we call modernity.  Artwork--and in this case I mean ORIGINAL artwork, not prints or copies--creates a bond with the person who sees it, is enticed and seduced by it, and ultimately purchases it and brings it into their life.  A good painting has a presence, it comes off the wall and enters the room as a person would.  It "speaks" to those who enter it's space and offers comfort, meditation, agitation, energy, oblivion.  It's so easy to look at a good painting and see the colors, the brushstrokes, the play of light on its surface and lose the fact of the subject and slip deeply into the interplay of colors and textures.  The painting becomes something to be cherished, not like grandma's plate, which you like because it reminds you of grandma, but because it creates a deeply personal relationship with each person who lives with it--and each person's relationship is unique.  We see the world through the filter of our soul.  When we find an artwork that speaks directly to our soul, we feel the bolt of lightning, the hand of God that says "Yes, this is right, this is it, this is part of me".