Perception 

I just finished up with an all day, rather grueling artist workshop , the topic at hand being business practices.

Ugh.

 Much I was familiar with, at least superficially, but when role playing was introduced, ( again, ugh) new revelations were revealed .

I’m insufferably shy , I feel ill from exposing myself and of course , who do they call upon first . I was mortified , but I suppose fighting one’s demons is half the task . It’s almost impossible for me to discuss my own work , always trying to deflect scrutiny of the work and by extension , myself .

I still feel mortified . But I tried to persevere through the discomfort.

Part of the workshop was, once divided into small groups, we were to view and describe one another’s work to our group mates . Me being me made positive , probably lame , certainly vague comments  ; truthful but never wanting to hurt feelings . In hindsight I see that as unhelpful.

The observations made concerning my own work were revelations- at least to me .

My  work was described as :

Macabre 

Disturbing 

Religious associations 

Strangely biblically tinged 

Weird

Depicting decay 

Realistically rendered 

Strong 

Chaotic 

More familiarily , it was described as :

Surrealistic 

Colorful 

Brueghel-esque 

Devils 

Narrative 

Fantasy 

On one hand I’m concerned that my work can be perceived as disturbing but on the other I AM trying to create emotionally evocative work . In the end , I left feeling fascinated by perception , the very concept of perception, how I perceive my work not always translating , or if it does , in a darker stranger way than I had planned . This is something , that in so many ways,  cannot be controlled without deliberately designing an image to evoke a specific response .

But that’s perhaps best left to marketing .

It is all so personal ,the work  I make ; it might seem idiosyncratic, perplexing , off putting to some ( many?) . I have only just begun to acknowledge that fact in my bubble of splendid isolation.

I’m not going to make any significant changes after these revelations, in fact I feel committed , dare I say  confident in the direction I’ve set for myself. Whereas previous critique left me in a puddle , I found this experience a helpful , and strangely ,an affirmation . 

One of the facilitators tried to coax me into being more natural while  role playing . The truth being I WAS  being the natural me, the terrified , the insecure me , the one who makes stuff that may seem inscrutable ( even disturbing ) at times . My job now is to continue exploring my beingness, staying focused upon my truth and when possible try to explain it more efffectively . 

And keep business cards at hand.

Now I’m going for a run.

Click, Shoot, Exit

I’ve spent the weekend manning  a wall at a local art walk . A first for me . I generally do not attend art fairs , usually attending museum and gallery exhibitions. 

The decision is a pragmatic one , with so many openings , it is really just a matter of time management. So I’m unfamiliar with art fair culture , its norms and practices .

 As the art walk winds down I’ve come to the conclusion that many art fair attendees come for the booze , folks enjoy drinking beer whilst perusing the open studios . Perhaps the only thing they enjoy more than warm brew is snapping at images of artwork and hastily retreating to the next experience.

This isn’t an unfamiliar sight , particularly at museums; I’m afraid to say I’ve done it myself . But when it is your own work , you ache to inquire their motives for snapping away , seemingly in a random superficial way . It seems a peculiar form of ownership , ownership of experiencing a work without commitment.

 I understand that , like I said I snap away with great abandon . Often accruing too many images with little to no  engagement , frequently it’s an impoverished experience.

That said , my “Adam” has been quite the hit . An ideal selfie prop for giggling young women and buff young fellows . It’s odd for me to see my work as a naughty joke , but “Adam” was created in a playful spirit , for him to be recieved that way , seems appropriate. Plus , he doesn’t seem to mind . 

Now I need to take it all down .

Good night , I’m pooped .


The Road to Damascus 

I just needed to draw today. I have several projects going on , some concepts I need to move forward with for upcoming shows but that all said , just wanted to draw , for drawings sake .

 So I did, not the most disciplined of actions perhaps …

I ignored a big looming unfinished painting which is at that stage of “will I ever finish ??”; ignored other works half begun ; ignored projects germinating . 

I drew.

 And this drawing , my interpretation of that moment on the road to Damascus is the result. Not the greatest of accomplishments perhaps but I feel more at ease. 

It was wonderful to have new thoughts and to just let the pencil move where it wanted to . Mentally , drawing is so clarifying. Particularly welcome as my studio is a happy jumble at the moment. Actually it’s always a jumble , which is how I like it.

Tomorrow I will begin anew on “Goblin Market “. But for the moment calling it a night , pleased I listened to that inner voice . 


Mother of the Moon

Given that today is the Lunar New Year ( Year of the Rooster) and after this week of blustering male bravado coming out of the White House , I decided a bit of feminine rebirth was in order.

My relief print from 2015 , a limited edition of six , is available at a reduced price of $75.00 including domestic shipping . There are four left , if interested please contact me at neobaroque@mac.com

img_0833
Mother of the Moon

Upcoming Open Studio

14937276_1141635655922287_1552414071464054411_n

Open Studio,  I’m part of the Arroyo Arts Collective’s 24th Discovery Tour. Northeast LA is a hotbed of artists,makers and oddballs: I’m happy to be part of this community and this year’s studio tour.

Visit me, drink my cheap hooch, say hello to the pups and pretend to like my paintings!

Sunday November 20th, 9:30 until 5:00 @ 1053 Colorado Blvd., unit H, second floor, LA 90041.

14657487_977273819067137_347713521942755126_n

14915403_1139916752760844_4329484066231216142_n

My Wunderkammer

fullsizerender

My Wunderkammer

My life, my art, my burning passions, all will, at some time be dust. This eternal truth faces us all and the shadow I leave behind may very well be a creaky antique cupboard crammed to bursting with a treasure trove of misfit bric-a-brac, ephemera and bibelots. Treasures (and trash) gleaned since boyhood, initially stuffed into pockets and cigar boxes, then into aching drawers, now find a home in the fanciful fretwork of a fusty Chinese Export armoire. The musty, the dusty, the cracked and the flawed, the unwanted and the unloved, all are welcome and treasured in this little kingdom .

As a boy I was enamored with Hans Christian Andersen’s The Shepherdess and the (Chimney) Sweep. Anderson fashioned an imaginary world within a fancifully carved cupboard, perhaps not unlike my own (although from the description of rutting satyrs it sounds decidedly Renaissance), his world is one in which bobble-headed Chinamen ( when one could still use such words) were once lovers with pot-pourri pots and now broken hearted he fancies the pretty little porcelain Shepherdess who fear the dark of his lair as Persephone feared Hades’. This world of wonder enchanted me completely and has never left; I have spent my life trying to recreate this magic, a world in which the seemingly inanimate and the trivial have a story and a soul. This desire is expressed within my work where the silent speak and the forgotten are honored. It is also expressed in concrete way, for the theater of Anderson’s folk tale is found within a Wunderkammer of my very own, perhaps my greatest joy.

This is a personal reliquary, where marionettes unstrung and bobble- headed Maya gods keep company with gnarled chicken feet and azurite Egyptian deities, where soldiers of lead still emit the foul stench of death and plaster Virgens are eager to heal (even if they too are as broken as we sinners). This worthless collection will be my legacy and when I am dust and no longer able to defend my misfits, what will be their fate ? Will they like Anderson’s young lovers crash and fall? Will my joys be left curbside ? Once again unloved, unattended to, fluttering to an indifferent wind, in a world enamored with all that is digital but not at all moved by the aching  tangible .

Or will they like the Shepherdess and her blackened Sweep be riveted together, treasured and facing a strange yet hopeful eternity. My desire  is some book-besotted boy or girl, quiet and inward, will catch the sparkle of some bit of fin de siecle frippery and surreptitiously pluck a few treasures into an open pocket, thus continuing the story, my story, their story, our story.

To read Anderson’s story follow this link:

http://hca.gilead.org.il/shepherd.html