I'm just getting comfortable with the idea that I am making abstract drawings. I'm also very excited that my studio time and my blogging time are weaving together. I am learning, and being pushed to question my own intentions because of this medium. I would like to pull up a comment from the last post and fold it onto the surface. Geoffrey is starting to convince me that, with these drawings, to title them, would be a mistake: "This is process work however, not conceptual (to make clear my point from earlier, chris) and therefor needs no title. You (any artist doing this) are investigating something by following it by riding perhaps even the strongest intuition towards "something" that you are overcome with and have to follow. With a concept... you do the leading (and continue to learn). The process work informs the conceptual hopefully. "
I get it. I have been rattling the reference to Rorschach around in my gray matter and recognize that my paintings from 2003 enter into a this category.I took squares of stone, like the one above called One Finger Over, and rotated them in my hand until an image screamed out. Then, I would rotate it again, just to make sure that I was pulling out the obvious image. The unforced image. The best paintings, in my mind were the ones that I painted the least. Some freak me out still. What is the value of me dipping into my sub-conscious? I can't really say that there is any, for anyone other than me. In fact, we've had over a century of discussion about this new thing called the sub-conscious and we are not better people because of it.
I would see things in the stone. It is an ancient Chinese secret, and a da Vinci device too. It is all documented in Hubert Damisch's A Theory of /Cloud/ TOWARD A HISTORY OF PAINTING which I touched on in a post in December of 2005. But seeing things is different from me doing the leading, as Geoffrey says. With last night's drawings, there was nothing to see. The paper is white. A drip enters the field and meaning blossoms as tendrils extend and capillaries trace out an animation for my mind.
I begin to see some law of nature transpiring that reminds me of how society works. I try to amplify or magnify the law. Often times these drawings are about the meeting of two opposing laws of nature and their resulting harmonic balance.
I think I do come to these drawings with some pretty clear intentions. I'm hoping however, that I can't articulate them for awhile because I'm really enjoying the drawing for now.
I'm sorry I've been so obsessed with drops of ink lately. I scrolled down and saw an awful lot of third generation Rorschachs. ("Psychologists use this test to try to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients. The Rorschach is currently the second most commonly used test in forensic assessment, after the MMPI, and is the second most widely used test by members of the Society for Personality Assessment. It has been employed in diagnosing underlying thought disorder and differentiating psychotic from nonpsychotic thinking in cases where the patient is reluctant to openly admit to psychotic thinking - Wikipedia).
Today I'm going to refrain from posting drawings and focus instead (in my allotted 45 minutes) on music. Specifically, Franklin Bruno and MAKE UP. But first I want to set the tone (pun intended) with a snippet from an exchange I had with Chris Rywalt about the notion of taste spilling beyond the discipline of drawing and painting:
"It's more that, in context of my writing about art, my musical tastes are irrelevant. Just like while writing about TV, my taste in, say, breakfast cereal is irrelevant. Not that I consider this a PHILOSOPHY -- if music is relevant to your art, or life, or whatever, and you want to post your list of preferred music on your blog, I don't think it's a bad idea or anything. Well, given your tastes, maybe it is a bad idea. But for most people it' okay, I guess. It's just that so much of the list-style opinions on the Internet -- in life in general, really -- is like preaching to the choir and the demons. The whole purpose is for some people to say, "Yeah! I agree with you! Snizzleshit RAWKS, DUDE!" and for some other people to say "Aw, man, Blunderfuck TOTALLY SUX, you moron!" It's all about tribal affiliation,like gang tattoos. Or bird plumage.And I choose to opt out of that. Mostly. I still fall into making fun of other people's music, or mentioning unrelated opinions (one essay I wrote on TeeVee.org actually was mostly about going to see Better Than Ezra in concert). But mostly I try to avoid that.I mean, I'm not hiding anything. You wrote once that you wondered if, when you finally met me in person, I'd be what you expected. My goal online, I realized, is for you (and others) to expect exactly what you'd get if you met me. I'm open and honest and do not use any kind of alias, avatar, pseudonym, character, or front. My aim -- although I might not have expressed it quite this exactly until you wrote what you did -- my aim is to be online exactly who I am in real life, as closely as possible.I realize this is very different from what most people want from their online experience. I consider it a refreshing change.But while I'm not hiding anything, at the same time I don't feel a need to align myself with any particular affinity group. Invariably when someone I know online tells me about the music they like, I'm horrified. Usually when I see what other people read, I'm shocked. Their favorite movies are incomprehensible. And what some people like to eat -- ye gods.And please do not get me started on beer preferences.I find it easier just to skip all that."
Chris is so cool. I'm not sure why I'm not listening to his wisdom.
Instead, I want to point you all to Franklin Bruno's recent blog, nervous unto thirst. I say "recent" because when I started blogging back in the day, Franklin was already hip deep in his blog konvolut m. Somewhere back there in Feb. of 2004 Franklin described himself as "Me: Franklin Bruno. Write songs, make records, write some criticism, some poetry, work on dissertation in philosophy. Teach. Watch movies, love one Bree Benton. Future plans: Finish dissertation, keep doing all the rest. [Update: Dissertation filed as of May '04. All else unchanged.] " Well, Franklin is presently teaching Introduction to Aesthetics to students at Bard College in New York. He wrote to tell me that his new blog is "much less frequent than km, which seemed to take over my life at intervals. I just don't have time or energy for the volume of posting that I was doing" The point is, Franklin is good. You could spend hours squirming through his Wikipedia page. Oh. . . and he plays music. Now, as far as MAKE UP goes:
I listen to music when I paint and I have an mp3 player that does a fascinating random shuffle of the the 10,000 tracks I've loaded onto it. Most of the time the music is comfort music. I can't get too distracted or agitated while I'm trying to puddle ink. I simply can't keep running over to a piece of paper to write down "Looper's Treehouse= brilliant" or that "Modest Mouse's Bukowski is amazing". (Well, while I'm at it: David "Fathead" Newman's Hello There is exceptional and anything by Gang of Four still slips me into bliss). But, the point is that this band MAKE UP keeps tweaking me out of my painting groove. I constantly have to walk over the the player and look at its monitor thinking, "Who the fuck is this?" In the best possible way.
Amazon.com Make Up preach punk-rock gospel with three-chord minimalist rave-ups infused with a whole lotta soul. Imagine some kind of Prince/James Brown bastard stepchild raised on DIY ethics and DC punk. Ian Svenonius struts and prances his vocal pyrotechnics all over the funky backdrop, ranting, pleading, whispering, and shouting from his pulpit. I Want Some collects the best of Make Up singles, released on a host of indie labels, and the result, easily their best album, is jangled, whacked out, and splenetic. Though Make Up (like their predecessors Nation of Ulysses) imagine themselves as some kind of socialist-DIY collective, neither their half-baked political rants nor their hip cultural critiques are worth taking seriously. But the frenetic groove they hit on "Born on the Floor," the shake-your-ass stomp of "Pow! to the People," and the agonized soulful croon of "Walking on the Dune"--now that's serious. --Tod Nelson
There are some downloads here. Some sample downloads that is. My time is up. I was hoping to link all these song etc. . . Oh well. Back to the grind.
The Rules are: Everyone starts with one drop of ink. Try not to repeat yourself.
Some foreshadow observations: I use my breath to draw with. It is ironic how clean my hands need to be in order to make these drawings.
When The Weeds Take Flight
The Soul Survivor Finds a Mate
The Rebirth of Dashed Hopes (Not for sale, MINE. .MINE) well maybe I'd part with it for $300... does that mean that it has to sell at a gallery for $600? That is outrageous! I wouldn't pay 600 dollars for a drop of ink! Well. . . maybe...if someone else could do it better. UPDATE: While walking Miso this foggy morning and sloshing through the rapid snow melt, I re-imagined these drawings at $150. A good gallery would earn their half.
The American Dragon Fly
Creating Heat I know that this drawing was initially titled upside down but, I like it better this way.
all drawings: 7" x 10" or 10" x 7" Sumi ink drop on paper
Just sit back and follow the logic. It is sort of a psychedelic elegance.
(remember to print out a copy and spin the image above in your hands until you are positive that someway is up and then comment in the comment section as to your preference so that the orientation shall be chosen democratically.)
In the "comments section" of my penultimate posting, Chris Rywalt writes: "I'm not a big fan of automatism, and these look dangerously close to that. I like ink on paper, always have, and I like when pigment bleeds into water on the surface and you get those capillary variations of tone and texture. That's neat. But if I saw these on a gallery wall, I'd say just that: "Neat. Now what?"
I want to see a guiding intelligence. I want to see someone trying to unlock some box in my head. I want the artist to be climbing into my brain like a second-story burglar, rifling through my things for something I don't even know is there. And when he finds it I want him to kill me with it."
Or. . . as my wife Stacy said: "They should look more like drawings and less like drips."
Untitled for now
Untitled for now
What if I told you that these drawings were extraordinarily coordinated?
Untitled for now What if I told you that these drawings are not automatic, or coming-from-nowhere, but are studies from photographs?
Untitled for now
Rotate these drawings every four months. These drawings have an "up" like a season.
Broadway all drawings: 10" x 7" relationship Sumi ink on watercolor paper