That said, I’m happy to announce that I’ll have work on exhibit at the Zanesvlle Museum of Art, in June of 2018.
But it’s more than any overly- mystic sounding explanation. It’s real, and present, and current. It’s contemporary to our "now", our experience of reality that will be both the same and different for generations in the future, who just as we today have been preceded by so many in the past, are preceded by us.
So then, it’s about participation in creation that, while defined by a precise moment in time, also occurs because of a drive that exists outside of time. It’s about participation in a timeless act of creation.
It’s exercising the human birth-right of mark making, an insuppressible drive to respond to whatever force inside our species motivates us to communicate and to question.
In watching the History Channel, I’ve come to learn that, regardless of the question, 100% of the time, ancient astronaut theorists believe the answer is “yes”.
So we've all heard the expression "tortured artist".
It's a bit of a pop culture joke these days but let's dig a little deeper for a minute and think about that expression. There is an aspect of truth in the expression.
You see, the upside of being an artist is that we are virtually indestructible.
I don't mean physically of course, but rather emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. By virtue of our artistic affliction, artists have the ability to absorb and transform negative and painful experience in unique ways.
This isn't to say that our wounds are ever fully undone. On the contrary, it hurts like hell and we feel the all of the horrible symptoms associated with the injury --- possibly to an even greater degree because of the inherent intuitiveness of our nature.
But that's also where the magic happens.
As though metabolizing poison, pain makes us stronger if we can learn to let it happen. It is never pleasant of course. It takes patience, time, perspective, and unfortunately - practice, but for the artist - suffering is inevitably a source of unlimited power and painful experience becomes the catalyst for summoning formidable creative force.
So good luck trying to hurt artists.
We learn in time that our wounds are only temporarily destructive and that suffering, when we learn to process it, is a native language that unites us.
There really is a powerful truth to the "tortured artist" cliché.
Work to have a happy life but on the occasions when that isn't possible, remember that within all of us is the ability to transmute pain into enormous power and beauty, rather than succumbing to suffering.
We are bound to walk down the wrong roads and encounter dead ends.
What choice is there then, than for as long as you are alive, to admit your humanity, recognize that no one lives without failure or disappointment, and to double down, work harder and channel those experiences into resolve to overcome the next barrier?
We are only ever in competition with ourselves, mentally, spiritually, physically, to see how much harder we can push, how much more pain we can endure, and how much stronger we can become in the process.
One of my favorite expressions is, "sometimes the best way out, is through".
It's fact. There is no finish line.
Okay, that's all the inspirational bullshit from me today. Stop reading this and get out there and kick your own ass into becoming better at overcoming whatever is in your way, and remember, you don't suffer or rejoice alone. The world is with you.
Hello. I'm not in the habit of dispensing relationship advice.
In fact, if history is any indication, I'm probably one of the least qualified people to do so.
Years ago, I had a painting professor tell me that life as an artist is a calling and that it comes with sacrifice. Being younger, I didn't really understand. With more time, I've begun to see what she meant.
So there is something I've noticed that I want to share with any of you who find yourself, by some quirk of biological programming, to be afflicted and blessed with the vocation of being an artist.
There are people out there that I call "tourists".
These are men and women who for whatever reason, think it would be interesting and fun to be in a relationship with an artist.
They like the idea and perhaps the "edgy" prestige that comes with being able to say they're with someone who is an artist. Maybe they have similar leanings and want to live vicariously through you. I'm not sure what motivates them, to be honest.
When you're in a relationship with a tourist, everything is fine when things are kept to interactions where you maintain the usual façade that is required by most most superficial social settings.
There are some who will also tolerate the long and strange hours that artists keep, that to the "normals", borders on the obsessive.
What tourists don't or aren't able to understand is that there is no "off" switch. That this isn't a life you chose but it is intrinsically who you are. The same intensity that attracts them initially, is also ultimately what begins to erode the relationship.
You may find that tourists can't or won't accept the degree to which ALL experience affects you. When you're inescapably connected to whatever source gives you the ability to open views into worlds no one else is able to access, that comes at a cost of "normalcy".
Usually the things that are important to tourists are intolerable to you. They seem to you, concerned with things that are insipid or meaningless and you wonder how - in their pursuit of material objects or social status - they can bear to overlook the hundreds of thousands of moments of pure wonder that are available in every day.
If you've found yourself in a tourist relationship, it happens and hopefully it hasn't hurt too much to find out what they really are. There's nothing wrong with us. Artists are attractive to these same people BECAUSE of the things they later cite as reasons they can't be around us.
Relationships come and go, but the art we make is above that. It will never quit, and we shouldn't either.
Obviously this is just my experience and opinion and not everyone is like that, and it is possible to be both an artist and in a solid relationship.
But, I have realized that, if you're lucky to have a relationship (romantic or otherwise) with someone who accepts and understands (as much as they can) who and what you are, it's probably a good idea to remind them how much you appreciate them.
So, to that end:
We don't know each other in "real life", but you all are the latter to me, and I appreciate you all, and the time you spend visiting here.
So much in the present day has been photographically catalogued and documented incessantly, that the level of saturation of representation is greater and more instantaneous than at any point ever in human history.
This has many positive benefits but for the work I'm making it requires that I tune this out, close down that "feed" of immediately accessible mechanical rendering and instead, in a psychically quieter method, turn inward in partnership with chance and chaos, to bring into being, imagery that doesn't aesthetically describe any reality that is readily named or so easily accessible.
I am not relying on observation of the external world but working to contribute to it; bringing views and images that are only accessible perhaps to the subconscious, into consciousness.
Whatever forms and vistas arrive, they have a familiar and repeating arrangement of formal elements that I'm beginning to recognize. They seem to adhere to a set of rules that is uniquely their own; one that I'm still working to document and one day more fully understand.
To get there I get out of the way of the work and wait for it to arrive and guide me, letting it reveal in itself, worlds and moments that I'd never have access to through base observation of our overly and instantly documented shared reality.
I can tell you, there is a very distinct sensation when the work takes over and the "ride" begins. I'm reminded of descriptions of Vodún ceremonies where what those practitioners refer to as the Loa are sought and summoned, and the participants are "ridden" by the spirits.
It's hard to put into words without making the process seem unnecessarily dramatic and mystic but it's a very distinct sensation that, more often than not when I'm working while listening to music, makes painting indistinguishable from dancing.
Personally I'm enamored with the 2D, the surface, the contained space. I'm not personally interested in video or overtly sculptural hybrid painting work right now.
There's certainly nothing wrong with those media at all,
and you can always find some wonderful examples but I'm personally very interested in the deliberately two dimensional, contained, 90 degree angular object-ness that has long been associated with the format of painting.
You can use a digital device to read news and stories and still have a nostalgic fondness for the tactile format of a book or magazine or newspaper.
There's seemingly a rush to define the next "big thing" in painting.
Painting itself is already an enormous network and universe to explore. We, as contemporary artists haven't always taken advantage of the new technology that will allow for plumbing the depths of the past, to learn about our artistic genealogy, before art schools and art fairs and art markets etc., pressure us to define the next wave.
The entirety of the history of painting and finding out how we personally relate to it, I think is the best "next thing" to consider.
We have to become the best version of who we are now, and let history worry about how that all fits in later.
Right now, we have to heed those instincts and do what we are compelled to do, and make the work we are compelled to make.
To be an artist is to content yourself with toiling in near anonymity and obscurity, knowing that you're among a collective of hundreds of thousands who, bound by compulsion, work ceaselessly to generate the trove of cultural componentry that will be discovered and utilized by generations that haven't yet been born.
Life is not slowing down, and brings with it every day a variety of joy and horror. But, the wheel keeps turning.
Thanks for being out there and in here.
BY LEONARD PITTS, JR.
"Dear Mr. So-Called President:
So let me explain to you how this works.
You were elected as chief executive of the United States. I won’t belabor the fact that you won with a minority of the popular vote and a little help from your friends, FBI Director James Comey and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The bottom line is, you were elected.
And this does entitle you to certain things. You get your own airplane. You get free public housing. You get greeted with snappy salutes. And a band plays when you walk into the room.
But there is one thing to which your election does not entitle you. It does not entitle you to do whatever pops into your furry orange head without being called on it or, should it run afoul of the Constitution, without being blocked.
You and other members of the Fourth Reich seem to be having difficulty understanding this. Reports from Politico and elsewhere describe you as shocked that judges and lawmakers can delay or even stop you from doing things. Three weeks ago, your chief strategist, Steve Bannon, infamously declared that news media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
Just last Sunday, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declared on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that “our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
What you do “will not be questioned?” Lord, have mercy. That’s the kind of statement that, in another time and place, would have been greeted with an out-thrust palm and a hearty “Sieg heil!” Here in this time and place, however, it demands a different response:
Just who the hell do you think you are?
Meaning you and all the other trolls you have brought clambering up from under their bridges. Maybe you didn’t notice, but this is the United States of America. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Nation of laws, not of individuals? First Amendment? Freedom of the press? Any of that ringing a bell?
Let’s be brutally clear here. If you were a smart guy with unimpeachable integrity and a good heart who was enacting wise policies for the betterment of all humankind, you’d still be subject to sharp scrutiny from news media, oversight from Congress, restraint by the judiciary — and public opinion.
And you, of course, are none of those things. I know you fetishize strength. I know your pal Vladimir would never stand still for reporters and judges yapping at him.
I know, too, that you’re accustomed to being emperor of your own fiefdom. Must be nice. Your name on the wall, the paychecks, the side of the building. You tell people to make something happen, and it does. You yell at a problem, and it goes away. Nobody talks back. I can see how it would be hard to give that up.
But you did. You see, you’re no longer an emperor, Mr. So-Called President. You’re now what is called a “public servant” — in effect, an employee with 324 million bosses. And let me tell you something about those bosses. They’re unruly and loud, long accustomed to speaking their minds without fear or fetter. And they believe power must always answer to the people. That’s at the core of their identity.
Yet you and your coterie of cartoon autocrats think you’re going to cow them into silence and compliance by ordering them to shut up and obey? Well, as a freeborn American, I can answer that in two syllables flat.
Original article here