So some guy buys an old Jimi Hendrix album and just loves it. It’s so beautiful. Geezus just listen to that solo! But how was it done? Was Jimi a magician with super powers? He must be!
Time passes and the guy starts ‘understanding’ what he’s listening to. “Wait!” says the guy in a moment of arrogance that he thinks is clarity “That’s a guitar! It’s just a piece of wood with strings. That’s the trick. I thought this beautiful sound was coming out of Jimi’s ass, but it’s a trick. It’s a guitar!” So this guy buys a guitar. He has plenty of cash and even more self confidence so it’s a drop in bucket. Why? He’s going to play a Jimi Hendrix solo. Is he inspired and wants to learn to play the guitar, and ya know, write songs and stuff? Hell the fuck no! Jimi didn’t do that! This guy knows exactly how Jimi made art. I mean, if it’s even art. He cheated! He used wooden tools and amplifiers. Yeah, this guy is gonna show the world that there’s a trick to making those sounds, and in no way is Jimi a visionary or even an artist. It’s all a trick. So he sits there with his guitar and can’t play a fucking note and it doesn’t matter. Ya see, he knows that Jimi couldn’t either, and this guy is gonna prove it. He’s gonna debunk Jimi Hendrix.
So this guy invents a little gadget (He names it the Note-u-lator) that that plays each single note on the CD that Jimi plays in this guy’s chosen solo. It just plays it over and over. Then the guy takes his guitar and plays every note on the neck of his guitar till it matches the CD's corresponding note. Then on his “Record-u-lator” he sounds the correct note. The duration of each note is measured by using a sun dial. Those are available at your local hardware store. “Oh Jimi! I got you now.” He does this over and over. It’s painstaking, but hey, This is what Jimi did. It takes this guy four fucking years to finish his solo. But at the end it was so worth it. Here it is, proof that Jimi Hendrix Was just a goofy old mechanic, and anyone with four years and a whatever-u-lator can do the same thing. I mean, this guy has a bloodless, stilted copy of Jimi’s solo! It’s proof! And I for one will never look at Jimi’s songs the same. He’s a fraud!
Why am I telling this ridiculous story? Because I saw 'Tim’s Vermeer' last night. Penn and Teller should be ashamed of themselves for being so afraid of any art they can’t make that they need to debunk it. Yeah, Vermeer used optics. He’s not a fucking wizard, he’s a painter. He’s not magic, he is just a hard working visionary. He’s like Jimi Hendrix, who used tools and discipline to write and perform songs. Fuck you, Tim, you self obsessed turd, for not just taking an art class. Your conclusion was embarrassing. Debunk Wu Tang Clan next: "Wait! That's just a part of someone else's song! They cheated! I can do this! Just give me four years and I'll make a bad copy of C.R.E.A.M. ... Because I'm a fucking idiot."
I’ve decided That I will no longer show my current series of paintings on the internet. I’m not even gonna photograph them. I don’t want the image removed from the object, or the experience removed from the direct commune with the object. My object: painting, exists as a singular event, not as a concept, illustration or a even a narrative. The image is an integral part of the object and I feel it must be seen as such. The paint, the canvas, the hand… all the things that have been shit on for 50 years of Academic* dogma are what I want to show you.
I will absolutely show my work. It doesn’t exist till it’s seen. When you are moved, amused, offended, humbled, elated, bored, or part of these objects, they function. They are not concepts, and they are not dialogue contingent, they are EXPERIENCE CONTINGENT. Therefore an image of them I will not propagate. This isn’t Performance Art, or an Installation. In contrast, it’s simply creating a sacred space for people to view an object that was crafted with intention. Ya know: a gallery! Or even a rented warehouse because nobody wants to show them. Whatever. I’ll figure that shit out later.
Why am I doing this? Because I’m pissed. I’m pissed because I can’t fucking stand walking by the the New Museum. It’s a pile of soulless excrement with an ironic boat stuck to it. It hates my humanity, and insults my need to experience the sublime. I’m pissed that almost every gallery I see seems to despise everything I love. It all reminds me that the Academy has suppressed magicians and rewarded incompetent cowards whose only artistic talent is kissing the bloated, ever-out of touch Academy. I feel like I have to stop turning away.
I do this in direct opposition to Conceptual Art and its descendants.
I piss in Duchamp’s Fountain.
I don’t fear the esthetic. I don’t despise illusion or magic. I don’t believe that art, unlike science, is a linear event wherein we must move forever forward. I see that 100 years of missteps and false directions have put us so far off the path of Truth, that to continue on it makes my bones ache.
Without shame, I will attempt to put authorial presence, expression, skill, intent, illusion, grace, and fucking Truth into my world - Into my work.
I am making objects to dream upon and commune with, not oblique statements so philosophers can call themselves artists, and critics can call themselves philosophers.
To create change, sometimes you have to risk being seen as an idiot… Or actually being one.
This I decide only for my current doings. The series of paintings I’m working on are specifically a condemnation of the bullshit that has been shoved down our throats by teachers, critics, galleries, museums and philosophers for the past 50 years. I don’t condemn work shown on the internet. I love seeing stuff online. I love VISUAL ART! I fucking make it! So I’ll stick around and discuss stuff, and look at your work and be inspired by it. And maybe I’ll post some things that aren’t a part of the series of paintings I’m working on.
I love you,
[* “Academic” is was used in the true sense of the word. Not in the sense of Academic = Traditional, but in the sense that it is the position of the current Academy.]
I’m painting again. It’s been what? Like seven years? More? Less? I’ve no idea. I forgot almost everything about the process of painting. Every recipe, every method, everything. Each painting I’m working on is constructed differently. Changing everything. The ground, the medium, the order, the pigments… I’ve no fucking clue what I’m doing. Miraculously, it’s given me a freedom to move untethered. I’m a hungry student again.
I feel like I’ve been dropped back into a high school English class. I know so fucking much about the power and arrangement of words, but it doesn’t matter because I can’t spell, and I can’t remember what a gerund is. I think the teacher is younger than I am, and everything in my ape brain says “If I fight him and steal his wife, would I get an ‘A’? Is there any way out? What the fuck am I doing here getting my ass humbled?”
Why do I do this? Honestly, what is my drive? Approval? Geezus, that can’t be it. I mean, humanity has already placed me in a specific corner of the room. I’m the Venture guy. Anything else I do will look like a hobby, and be “approved” of as such. “Nice job, Venture guy! Where’s my next season?” (NOTE: It’s coming, it’ll be great, and Venture is eternally a huge and beautiful part of my life… I can do many things at once. Ya gotta trust me.) So approval can’t be it. For fun? Do I paint for fun? Ummm, fuck no. Painting brings me a constant crisis of faith. It’s a miserable process of balancing never ending disappointments on the trembling back of your expectations. True, there are moments of glorious understandings that fill the entire body with intoxications unavailable through pharmaceuticals. A glimpse of Truth that almost explains every ‘why’ you’ve pondered. But for the most part, painting makes my heart hurt.
So what’s the reason I do this? Okay, fine, I’ll give you the goo in my chest, the blood in my veins, and the tears locked behind my eyeballs: I feel I must paint. I must paint alone and consider nothing but my esthetics. No opinions, voices, judgments, kudos, praise, scorn or demands but my own. It’s torture. Every stroke keeps me alive or pierces my heart. I must drive myself like a hateful employer. Maybe I’m proving something to myself. Or! Maybe some asshole broke into my parents house, and as a joke leaned over my crib and whispered “You are the greatest painter of your generation, now prove it, you worthless shithead.” Or! Maybe we have a destiny. Okay, wait, hear me out! I don’t mean that we have a fate. That we can’t make choices, and everything happens for a reason. C’mon, that isn’t what saying. I’m saying that maybe life is a journey from A to B. There is a path that we feel below our feet. We know when we’re on it. And we know when we’ve walked off of it. And at our worst, we know when we’ve strayed so far off the path that we are just fucking full-on lost. Ya see what I’m saying? Like, we still make choices, change our fate, and control our destiny. But it sure feels like this “destiny” has carved a path for us that we can either take, or not… But I think the thing with somebody breaking into a child’s bedroom and setting the seeds of later torments is probably what happened. I mean, messing around with the cosmic unknowable is fun and all, but I know my parents didn’t always keep our front door locked when I was a tyke.
I love you,