Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Vulnerability and Fragility

Hello Artsy Folk,
I have several thoughts rolling through my mind. I walked my dog, Delilah, through a cemetery by my house this morning. I saw an area of smooth brown dirt in the green grass. Obviously, the dirt was about coffin size. There at the foot of the dirt area was a tomb plaque, the kind that sits flush with the ground instead of standing upright. The plaque was out of the ground and had the woman's name and birth date. They had not yet put the date of death on the plaque. Just another reminder that we are only here for a short time. In light of this, I could throw my hands up in the air and figure art isn't worth making - after all, I can't take it with me and, fifty years after I'm dead, no one will even remember me. I should spend my time loving people instead of spending my time alone in my studio or on my computer.

A little despair sets in for a bit, but then my dog wants some food, or to play, or to eat. Eventually, I find myself wanting to paint or draw or write..., or something. And I think art is a way of loving. It is a way of loving others by communicating what is in my heart and brain. Hopefully, someone finds beauty in it like I do and we can begin a dialogue. Art is also a way to love myself. I have an inherent need to express these things that come into my heart and my head. To not would actually be hurtful to myself. Of course, you don't have to listen/read/view what I make... but I do have to make.

This week I talk with Ellie Kingsbury photographer, whose work deals with aging and fragility and inner beauty versus outer beauty. And it has a lot to do with food - so I LOVE it!



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Industrial Meal of Happiness - Oil Painting

Industrial Meal of Happiness
Oil Paint on Canvas
48" x 48"

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Good Artists and Good People

Hello Artistists,
I sometimes wonder about our impact on people. What does it mean to be a good artist and a nice person? It seems that in history there were artists who were intense and difficult, but because of their genius, people would admire them and give them some slack. There is also this strange idea that artists are aloof, living in their own world. If they turn you off or seem rude, it's acceptable, because they are a man/woman-child who needs to be unsullied by the outside world. But what happens if you are a good artist and a good person? Do people even care about the artist's temperament when purchasing or admiring their work? Obviously, community artists are in a different boat, because they are creating an experience. If they make the experience unpleasant, they won't be making many community projects.

Most artists I know are concerned with what people think about them. I don't mean this in a bad way. Most artists want to leave a legacy of being helpful, being good to others. They value community and genuinely hope to engage with people in a positive manner. That said, what I like about these Artist's Brain Podcast interviews is that I am meeting genuinely good people who are concerned about this world. It is very affirming.

This week I have a conversation with Chris Faust, one of the good guys. We talk about his photography, transitions, working with youth and, of course, we talk some gear.



Thursday, June 2, 2016

It Takes a Community

Dear Artistas,
I have been thinking about community.  Yes, I sit alone in my studio creating these odd paintings about food.  You also sit alone in your studio making that crazy art about gas stations, death, birds and whatever else you think is important to life. But no artist who ever made a living from their own work, or became considered a good artist by the surrounding community, ever got anywhere on their own. It does take a community of people to help you get to a point of recognition, a place of artistic maturity, a parapet of accomplishment.  Without interacting with others we simply become idealists lost in our own little world.

Really, do I have to get on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram, and...?  No, but you do have to interact with people and the more diverse that group of people is, the better off you will be.  When I say diverse I mean getting feedback on your work from as many different kinds of people involved with the art world as possible. Of course, ask the artists close to you for their honest opinion about your art. Ask gallery owners, ask art critiques, ask artists who work in a completely different medium, ask artists from a different culture than your own, ask people who buy art, ask people to exhibit their work with you and write proposals together, ask artists to ..., I think you get the idea. The more meaningful interaction you have with others, the more it will help your art.

Just make sure the interaction is meaningful. No, you don't have to get on social media and share your whole life. But you could get on there and share the work you are making. When you go to an art opening, you can ask people about their work and share a little about your own.  In the business world its called networking. In the art world its called building your community. Whatever you do, you should realize that it takes a lot of people besides just the artist to get somewhere.

Do you know who your community is?

On the podcast this week I talk with Rogue Citizen. Rogue Citizen is a small collective of artists with backgrounds in printmaking, design, graffiti, illustration and ruckus-making, founded 2009 in Minneapolis. All five members work on the same artwork at the same time or work on individual projects under the Rogue Citizen banner. I sat down with three members of Rogue Citizen and talked about communal art creation, non-political political art, the role of technology, and the future of the world.