philip k. dick

2019.19

            School’s out for summer. School is definitely not out forever. Grades are submitted. Contract is expired. See you in August. I’m currently slated to teach 2D Design in the fall. I haven’t taught that class in at least 12 years, maybe more. I wasn’t particularly good at it when I taught it, but I plan on prepping steadily throughout the summer, so I’ll be ready to go. My own art-making methodology has changed a lot over the years, so my brain is better prepared for talking about this stuff on a regular basis. I’m limiting the amount of collage I use in the studio these days after a few years of focusing on it, so it’ll be nice to keep active with that somehow. Something as simple as a piece like this Ellsworth Kelly always makes for rewarding experiments with spontaneity.

Ellsworth Kelly- Brushstrokes Cut into Forty-Nine Squares and Arranged by Chance, 1951, MoMA

Ellsworth Kelly- Brushstrokes Cut into Forty-Nine Squares and Arranged by Chance, 1951, MoMA

Other than continuing to make a series of still life pieces, I plan on using the summer light to work on cyanotypes. I’ve never done them before, but it looks ridiculously easy. Sometimes a person just needs a hobby.

            I’m rounding toward home on another skull painting. After that I need to be more intentional about a legitimate composition and use of color. It’s nice to be deliberate and mechanical and straightforward sometimes but it can’t last forever.

            My family and I moved back to Nashville six years ago as of this month. I’ve had six solo shows since then. I wish I had realized that a few months ago when I was jaded. I’d have been more grateful or at least more aware of why I was tired of the idea of exhibiting. I did not know what to expect in regards to my art when we moved here. I knew the “scene” was growing but there were no guarantees that there would be a place for me here. I’m grateful for the way the art world has invited me in here. I should get out more, be more proactive, mingle, whatever. Maybe I’ll be recharged by the fall and ready to go. Right now, I rarely leave the house. I went to a coffee shop last week and ran into four people that I know. I forgot that was possible. 

            Right now, I really need to paint more than sitting here, writing. I was reading Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly but I found the audiobook of it read by Paul Giamatti. His reading of it is a lot better than the voice in my head so I’m going to roll with that for 8 hours instead of doing it myself.

            Quite possibly the most glorious comeback in the history of Liverpool happened yesterday. They overcame a 3-0 aggregate deficit and beat Barcelona 4-0. On to the Champions League final. You’ll never walk alone. Something like that.

 

Currently reading:

The Book of Luke

Revelation

Psalms

St. Augustine: City of God

The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity by Timothy Ware

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

2019.18

            If you are reading this from somewhere other than Nashville, take comfort in knowing that we have survived. The NFL Draft landed on us last weekend, as did the marathon…as did a viral marketing campaign for a new Taylor Swift song. There was also a mosaic tile convention at a hotel near the airport that I found out about by way of two attendees eating tacos in my neighborhood, kind of stunned that the town had been overrun by grown men in football jerseys. Bachelorette parties that didn’t do their research either had to embrace the chaos or spend the entire weekend upset that they weren’t going to be the ones making the most annoying dent in the city’s nightlife.

            The Swift song is called “Me!” which might be the most perfectly calculated name and concept for a song for this time in which we find ourselves. That’s not a compliment. It’s like boy bands singing songs about how girls don’t know that they’re pretty, but darn it, they are, and that boy band sees it. The boys you go to school with don’t see it, but they do. That is some low hanging fruit. Strangely, it is the first Swift song that I have heard in its entirety. I watched the video out of curiosity. It looks like Baz Luhrmann and the ad agency that handles Target hosed down Paris with unicorn pastels. Like I said, it’s “perfect”. I’d say more but I don’t want a bunch of Swifties emailing me death threats.

            The overwhelming weekend invasion is probably best summed up by a segment of an article from the Nashville Scene:

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 11.33.09 AM.png

            What is it that we are really doing in this town right now? And why can’t any of you drunkards buy some art? For a town that floats on an ocean of beer and whiskey, you’d think someone might accidentally buy some art. They accidentally do everything else. I saw a crew of 10 people today with matching “I’m Just Here To Party” t-shirts. That’s fine. Just don’t pee in the fountain at the symphony hall. I feel like we’re turning into an old Mardi Gras episode of COPS where the officers would say stuff like, “Can you have sex on a sidewalk in your town? Well, why do you think you can do it here?” Am I the only one that thinks a downtown casino is an inevitability? Might be 5 years. Might be 20 but it’s coming, right? Am I too cynical?

            I was at the bank this week and a woman walked in the door about 20 feet from me, looked at me and loudly said, “Oh! *giggles* Oh!” She walked over and said, “Who do people tell you that you look like?” I said, “Well when I was younger and didn’t have a beard, people said I looked like Egon from Ghosbusters.” I also had a Rob Morrow phase but that didn’t last long, and I think it was because of a Yankees hat that I wore. She said, “Do people tell you that you look like Mo Rocca?” Yes. Once or twice. Yes. She then didn’t let it drop. It went on for so long that she really might have thought I was Rocca and she was going to ride the conversation a bit further to see if I would eventually cop to it. It was uncomfortable.

            I lifted my Instagram account suspension. That’s a not-so-clever way of saying that I am back on there in some limited fashion. I don’t have anything to post though. I finished a painting of skull. It’s on there if you want to see it. As with most things that I start, I tried to give myself some rules about the whole thing to keep from being swallowed by it. The 5 months I was away from it were great for clear thinking and powering through some studio/life issues.  

There is a base level that I have been trying to get back to with art. After 20 years, it’s taken so many turns and has been growing larger one little layer at a time. It’s like when I moved into a rental house in college and my roommate and I ripped out 6 layers of linoleum flooring from the bathroom. Every layer had water trapped in it. Each layer had the best of intentions but piled on top of one another had caused an increasingly messy situation. I’ve spent the past 5-6 months stripping my art down to the studs to see what I valued most and what would adhere to new career goals less interested in “me” or individualism, period. Things are clicking. I am re-reading an essay about still life and its denial of the body, etc and I spend the entire time nodding my head and highlighting passages. The rest of the year will be spent making work and establishing limitations. I allowed “everything” into my studio and now it is time to kick most of it out. I work best with established restrictions. For the first time in months, I feel like I have a specific goal. I tend to feel passionately about revelations like this and then crash and burn 48 hours later but this seems to be sticking. Fingers crossed.

 

Lyric for the week:

“So I'm back, to the velvet underground. Back to the floor, that I love.”

            “Gypsy”- Fleetwood Mac

 

Quote for the week:

“Still life pitches itself at a level of material existence where nothing exceptional occurs: there is a wholesale eviction of the Event”- Rhopography, by Norman Bryson

Currently reading:

The Book of Luke

Revelation

Psalms

St. Augustine: City of God

The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity by Timothy Ware

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

temporarily suspended:

The Discarded Image by C.S. Lewis