Maybe Putin didn’t get the memo, but war is bad for business. Especially big messy land wars requiring the pacification of a recalcitrant population. I have this studio mate at the Banana Factory, Doug Boehm, who I told in an adamantly, and defiant tone, that Putin would not invade Ukraine. I told him this mostly because there would be no real upshot for this czar wannabe in the deal. Ask North Korea or Venezuela or Cuba how much fun it is in being an international pariah. I feel bad for the Ukrainian people in all this. I really feel like the West should be doing more, but short of starting WW3. Its moments like this current international crisis when one realizes that principles matter. This whole international incident underlines a human trait that I think we have which values some lives and experiences over others, in art I call this phenomenon star-fucking.
Its painful to be on the other end of “not that important”. We’re willing to pay higher gas prices and send a bunch of sad-face emojis with blue and yellow Ukrainian stickers on them but not escalate matters and involve Western lives. Were willing to acknowledge that Black lives are no different than White theoretically but refuse to hold racists and bigoted politicians and public figures accountable because doing so disrupts profit margins. Creatively it can be hard to live in such times given how our survival is dependent so much on sucking at the tit of the wealthy and privileged. Protest art rarely does well outside of the target audience for example. For my own personal work there is also the extra added dilemma that I find that listening and absorbing too much news affects line quality and color. I believe we as somewhat empathic creatures exude human suffering, and it permeates out of us in how we treat each other or preform at our jobs.
Here are some images I’m using as inspiration for a new series of tree paintings I’m planning for the Spring
As Spring continues to burst forth, I think about the contrasts that exist all around us. Flowers blossom amidst dropping bombs in one corner of the world while, in another onlookers gasp as one black celebrity clocks another for a poorly executed joke. It feels like we are living through a second Dada era, where horrible pastiches of delight and human suffering exists right next to each other.
Here I am with my friend Terri Neifert at Cree Wines in New Jersey in front of my painting Big Bouquet. I will be hosting at Wine Tasting along with Cree Wines in early May.
I really understand why so many conservatives seek the solace of communion through church fellowship. The anxiety of our era can make even the strongest of us seek a moment of repose. It is for this reason that I love the promise of a green field out in nature. Quiet, peaceful, full of possibility, devoid usually of human evidence. This is why I still do landscapes paintings.
I found out that I will lose my studio in 18 months or so to make room for a glass clad monstrosity and that I would not necessarily be invited to the new incarnation of the art center that is to replace this one. I’ve been told it’s for the greater good that these things happen, and these changes are meant to service an underserved community. Funny how these utilitarian arguments always come from the rich powerful and well connected. Even funnier that the glass towers that get built turn invariably into gentrifying tools driving up property values and further and alienating communities. This project that will replace my beloved studio I’m certain will do the same due to the inept and narrow mined leadership that’s spear-heading this effort. All this news comes at the same time as all these great positives happening creatively. The Libra nature continues, and I must move on. I must remember that I matter even if others don’t see my worth.
Here is an image showing progress on my latest painting “Sighting MLK No. 2.”
I’ve been listening to all kinds of stuff lately. A lot of jazz to clear my mind with all stuff happening to my studio space in the near distant future. Also, a lot of Marvin Gaye and Teddy Pendergrass, both in preparations for a commission piece on Teddy Pendergrass that I’m working on right now. Music continues to be my escape from all that bedevils me. Thank the ancestors that they have granted me a wide musical appreciation. Here’s two selections I’ve tuned into lately, REM’s “Everybody Hurts” and Teddy Pendergrass “Love TKO”. Here are two YouTube videos of these tracks:
Artists are accustomed to change but when it’s inflicted on them unnecessarily the capriciousness of the change can feel intentional and very very personal. The looming specter of a move will linger over all my work and artistic endeavors for the foreseeable future. I’m hoping I can mitigate the negative effects of this move with the same enduring spirit of progress that I typically tap into when facing hardship. In any case, I’ll report out these next adventures in my career in these posts, and next I’ll write about all the fun pieces I’ll be working on these next months to prepare for a wonderful art-filled summer exhibitions season. Until then do be well!