I’m working on a small series of mixed media collages from a short story. This is the first drawing for possible use. Charcoal approx. 6″X 8″.
I enjoy the organization and system of the old library card catalogs and similar outdated systems. Printed text has changed considerably with the advent of digital media and with that refinement a certain amount of apparent human connection with the writing. I am working with the idea of a system that, in a sense, removes that personal impact from the resulting creation while, because of the inherent flaws and unique characteristics of the typewriter, a trace of human contact is remains.
The text, though difficult to read, is about Randy Cunningham, a congressman convicted of accepting bribes for war related government contracts.
As time moves on and the fog dissipates, information floats to the surface. This information suggests the worst as reported by Bill Moyer.
No blood for oil! It has not been shed for oil but for country. Those that betrayed our trust must be held accountable. They know there has been blood for oil.
Why would a community even want to accept some of this risk? I mean, does the accept any risk for its other members? Sure it does! Tax breaks are often advertised to businesses to relocate to a community. Local newspapers promote new business as if they were real news items all the time. These are just a couple of examples of the risk as it is accepted by the community for the sake of its members. Of course it is the community in general that benefits from the acceptance of some of these “risky” endeavors: Jobs are created, the tax base is expanded so additional services and civic works can be completed, and of course citizens hear about a lot of tasty new restaurants that open up.
“What about art?” you might ask. Why would a community accept the risk inherent in any new art form? Why should we care if an artist sinks or swims? The answer to that lies in humanity itself- that is the big answer- in that as human beings we derive a large part of our lifes quality from the things we see around us. Proof for this can be found in the cars we drive, the shoes we wear, and the shape of the cell phone we keep on our being at all times. “Sure.” you might say, “but those are things we need and as we all know “art is useless.” (I’m not saying that, Andy Warhol did- besides that would contradict myself- ooh, sorry, almost another quote, I’ll try to stop myself) “Form always follows function” you might say but I say, “function fills a need that’s true, but form sells- form is what we want!” So, in short, by having artists around we get what we want and that promotes a greater quality of life. (Was that too much of a jump to the simplistic? Probably.) Therefor, most artists need communities and communities want artists.
Now it is important for me to admit ignorance on the details of many communities though I am familiar with a few and I have, at least a bit of information on a number of civic programs to promote the arts in communities in my area of the United States. Artists need three things for initial establishment assuming, of course, their work is of reasonable merit (this is not required, however). I think I’ll focus on these three things in my next few posts: I want to look at each one in some depth to explain what I think is needed and what a community can do to promote a healthy environment for the arts to develop.
In my work I try to reverse the painting process, so to speak. You see, it is my understanding that paintings usually begin on a piece of scratch paper, on a napkin, or in a sketchbook somewhere. Then it is refined, edited, paired down to simplest terms, and put onto canvas in paint or collage or whatever. I do this too, but in my work the painting usually begins with the idea written into my sketchbook and several sketches added of how the idea may be represented visually or metaphorically. Following this I collect additional material like newspaper articles or research on the subject to flesh the idea out a bit more. Then I set up some problems to be solved on the canvas like the devision of space, relationship of the elements, ect. by painting a few of them on the canvas then adding or reducing as need be. Lastly I try to add once again the sketch right out of my sketchbook onto the top “layer” of my painting. An example of this may be “Repetitive Pump in Purple“. In a way I want to invert a painting so others can see the process the idea goes through in the work. I hope this last sketch carries the freshness or urgency of the original idea in some way.
The Quran tells of a raven teaching Cain how to bury Abel and Native American traditions from the pacific northwest see the raven as both a creator and a “trickster” god.