I often struggle with defining my art for people. Defining abstract art is an arduous task in and of itself. My personal abstract art has it's origins in dada, punk, and existential philosophy, guided by a hard-fought life lived with force under the umbrella of a postmodern capitalist society. In a sense, my abstract art is my punk manner of expressing love for living in force while rejecting simple ideas, like commodity and definition.
There's a rumor going around that my work "rumors of war (dropped a bomb on me)" will be in the AVAA Member's Show at the Austin Art Space Gallery. Come check out the show September 8th - October 7th. The opening reception will be on September 9th, with live music from 6-8.
"rumors of war (dropped on bomb on me)" is a graphite and encaustic work on paper. I drew the scene while listening to news reports of the war. From San Salvador to Raqqa, war has been the background noise of my life. There's all this fighting and killing and machines, exploded, civilian casualties, insurgencies, covert operations. Drones are flown by kids in California, dropping bombs by happy hour. One bomb was so big, they made her the matriarch and you can watch her blow on youtube, though we can never be sure how many people she killed.
And all this goes on, what can I do? I go on living my life. I don't believe in war on principle but I also pay my taxes. On and on the war it goes. The army's a good way to get out of the ghetto, the barrio, suburbia. Machines are built and destroyed. Lives are ruined, extinguished. And I see it all on my phone. I read about it in the morning with my coffee, on the bus, on the toilet, in my bed at night. This war, I live with, this war without end, this underpinning of our society. Maybe in a few centuries they won't show our art in museums. They'll exhibit our trucks, improvised explosive devices, mortars and rifles, night-vision goggles, our bloodied boots and exploded cars.
The Art That.
I’m not trying to make Some Thing that Looks Nice.
I’m not really an artist.
If I had to be a Thing I’d be more like a “quote/unquote” philosopher than an artist.
I’d also say that i do not put much stock in.
or ) philosophy ( i don’t care about art.
, as philosophy don’t give a damn ~
Lying awake during a cold, moonless night in the Mojave desert I listened to the sounds of coyotes and freight trains. Unable to sleep as thoughts about the eternity of time and of infinite space washed through me, I felt as if I were floating without the ability to control my direction in the midst of a massive vacuum. I was seven years old. That same sense of existing in a vacuum, facing down the full expanse of time never left so I've tried many different methods of facing it, the most productive of which has been art.
I utilize art to express an essence of time passing and of being all at once. I want my art to illustrate the b-theory of time: an object exists throughout all of the points of time that it has been in existence. I attempt to illustrate time both passing and of being with a method that relies on the repeated growth, destruction and growth of a painting's surface. My art does not exist as an object or illustration; this art exists as a temporal body.
I am attempting to decide whether or not I should paint with acrylics again. When I created all of my lost art I switched easily between acrylic and encaustic/oil media. I used to say that I shared my thoughts with acrylic and I shared my soul with oil and encaustic. After I lost all of my art and moved to Austin I decided to only paint with my soul.
Lately I've considered painting with acrylic again. I'm not totally sure why. There are some pretty Big Deal life changes afloat. Some of these changes scare my wallet and I worry that I only want to paint acrylic because I know that I can turn them quick.
The quickness of the media is one of the reasons I enjoyed creating acrylic art. In a sense it was as if I painted acrylics to pass the time while waiting for my oil and encaustic works to cure. I like the quickness of the media but when I was young I liked the quickness of many things that I used to do until I got smart enough to stop doing them.
What do you think?
Six years ago I hung a painting entitled “been dead already”. At least that’s what I call it now. This painting’s had many different names over the years. In the beginning, I believed in Permanence. While I could not articulate the reason at the time, I thought that an object was the thing that I was looking at in that particular moment, that it would always be that same object. I figured that things and objects and statements needed to be saved and recorded and preserved and objects are what we name them. I believed in a linear history in which the present moment is all that exists and a work of art is only it's end product.
In 1998, when I began working on “been dead already”, I knew living quickly and I believed in punk rock. Aside from that there was not much else I consciously knew or trusted. I created the painting’s original body in two 30 minute work sessions. In the studio I poured down orange and red encaustic to collage drawings of a young woman. In the second session I set the painting on fire with gasoline. The flash fire of gasoline was hot enough and fast enough that the wax surface floated and began to flow just enough to create a sense of movement without pouring off the edge of the wooden surface. I gave the painting a title and called the work finished.
“been dead already” remained like that for a few years until my finances wore out enough that I struggled to keep up with bills, let alone keep up with the cost of fresh art supplies. Initially I was stuck and did not paint, but soon discovered dada. With a loosening of my sense of Art, I began to rework my art with found objects using anything I had on hand. For “been dead already” I adhered translucent red and yellow plastic to the surface with small nails. Later, I removed the plastic and set the surface on fire again. A slower fire now. The drawings gradually burned and I began letting go of the idea that art is a finished object. Time passed and a new drawing replaced the girl; a self portrait. A year later I covered the surface with red cadmium. I cut an image, a grinning skeleton skull out of an acrylic painting and screwed it into the painting. I was having a conversation with my art, about this life, as I went on living and painting.
A move to California made my art fresh again. I started college and had the resources to acquire fresh art supplies. I made new art. For my old art, like “been dead already”, this meant a new process that would evolve into something integral to my art today- weathering. Initially, I buried the painting. Later, I dug it up and moved it to the roof. For the next few years, weather did all of the work. First in California’s kind weather, then in Florida’s complex weather. Here, the painting met with the wet, stormy weather of hurricane season. Eventually, I was able to bring the work indoors. As the painting began to dry out I watched the surface decompose. The self portrait's paper shrunk inward, cracked, peeled apart, flaked off. The red surface grew darker and darker until it all turned to black.
Painting by lantern late one night, I laid red and white paint into the heart of the work. I wasn’t sure if it was done, but I knew that I did not want to work on it anymore. “been dead already” was my own “Picture of Dorian Gray”, yet I was unaware I had been watching myself age. Time passed without my realizing it, without a recognition of my own self portrait in “been dead already”. In contrast, the art I create now is meant to capture the passing of time, particularly the b-theory of time. The b-theory of time stipulates that “been dead already” is all of the moments in time in which it exists. The work is not the object I named it once I finished painting it. “been dead already” is simultaneously existing through all of the time that it has been and is.
It's almost time for the East Austin Studio Tours! There is a ton of amazing art to see on the east side this weekend. The tour is a lot of fun if you hop on a bicycle, ride around, and stop wherever you find a tour sign. The tour is also a lot of fun if you pick up a catalog from any public library beforehand, find all of your favorite artists and make a day of it. Even if you can’t make it to my place, I hope you head east and see anyone’s really rad art.
My hot encaustic work space lies between the raised garden bed and the chicken coop and I’ll have the full studio set up with plans to work during the tour. My current body of work will be on display, hanging from the trees and floating on the breeze throughout the yard. When the wine & cheese from other stops begin to weigh you down, refresh at my stop with whole grain snacks, fresh-pressed juice and honest conversation.
Snacks generously provided by:
Find out more: east.bigmedium.org
i don't particularly believe in the fidelity of images, like,
i know that images are
but i have still to be convinced that images
After three frenzied days of looting monotonous postmodern primitivism, I write a manifesto that begins to flourish in the heat of a heart of words, dada. Revolution without beginning, having invented the greatest cultural nada on the basis of a supreme supernatural force. Government ministries and agencies run aground as looters stuff their pockets with obsolete futures. “All gone, all gone.” he said, “All gone in six days.” The actual point is infinity and in principle I am against manifestos, rifles, pistols, axes, knives, and clubs, as well as bold soldiers, kings and princesses, beauty, gold, silver and copper, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons. Accepting that reality means that we must sweep and clean vowels and consonants constantly while smashing typography and ceramic rhymes to an ignominious end, ringing with z noisy noisy explosions, boomboom. Possessing profound gravity, several thousand of the marauders organize prose into a new currency, slipping along the line but never quite writing.
Among flames, lucid and clear, troops arrive to quell the looting and storm the museum grounds. There is the bouquet of a phantom in minutes. Though each thing has its word locked in a glass display case like irrefutable evidence, some thousands of years old, words are tapestry fragments and can be smashed like ivory figurines. Everyone dances to his or her own personal tottering world and I am in them all, among the band of looters. I want words of insufficient force to tell a tale of lonely losses. In the latest appearance of dada I am seeing being destroyed in front of my eyes, the word itself preserved for safekeeping, boomboom. Boomboom soaked in gasoline, decomposition.
Everything, every shapeless invention, (boom boom (
is carried away by the looters to the artists who are waiting at the edge of perception, always writing around.
i have no art
like dada kissed an existentialist and fell in love with light in time as the thing perhaps is to eat flowers and not to be