Monday, August 18, 2014

The Cricket's Song

Although the activity of insects and animals surround us, in our busyness we are often blind to their movements and unfazed by their sounds. While lawn mowers often wake me up, the chirp of birds and rattle of cicadas can become part of the background as I get ready for the day. However, in an opposite way, I linger with the acoustics that arise in the evening. In August as the night air cools, I appreciate the sound of the crickets as they call to their mates. It is a concert that reminds me that summer is waning. I wondered how to picture nighttime concert. So I made a drawing that mixes order (the pattern of sounds) and a kind of unknowing dance in the dark (a depiction of what I can't see but can imagine).

To make this post a little more interactive, I have added the following YouTube video where one of my friends sounds the call.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Vacation Pictures

Last week I was in Ocean City, New Jersey. I spent part of an afternoon walking around town taking photographs.

At first I thought this was a living breathing bird.

On inspection I found that this large stone was plastic. I am not sure what it is hiding?

This sculpture appeared in front of the firehouse. I could find no marker for it. However, it contained part of a beam. This made me think it was part of a monument to the firefighters who courageously worked on the site of the World Trade Center.

This box seemed to be painted to look like a cow or a dalmatian. I am not sure why this was the case, but I like the directness of the painting.

City Hall reminded me of Europe.

I have had dreams about this restaurant, but I can not remember ever eating there.

Doorways that have been closed off peak my curiosity and make me wonder where passages use to lead.

Pastel pink and green houses seem to make sense in an environment of bright light.

In a town where the houses seem to grow year after year. It was a surprise to see that this garage could no longer fit the car.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Time Bandits

Today I was thinking about how art can fit into my life. Sometimes it feels like there is little time left over to make something speculative. This seems to point to a key life lesson. Even if it does not look like it will fit, sometimes it is necessary to squeeze an important activity into the day. The results may not be perfect but at least the effort is realized and there is a point of reflection.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


I am not sure if I will have a chance to live in Detroit. However, it is a city I dreamed about as young person, visited as an adult, and have identified with. I am currently working on some art related to my sentiments and experiences.

Below are some notes and some words I hope to use:

Street Names:
1. Woodward Ave.
2. Gratiot Ave.
3. Grand River Ave.
4. Jefferson Ave.
5. State Fair Ave.
6. 8 Mile Rd.

Among many other roads and paths, an impression is left. Cathedrals fall, but the light is still pure. Diamond reflecting a diamond. It is up to us to see our heart and give fruit to all our little actions. Pick up a scrap. Say hello. Offer a smile. Set a root in the ground.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hand Some

I pulled out some prints I use for collage, and in the pile I found something something reflective. The hands seem like brain matter. Literally a handful, I wondered if thoughts were being shaped and ideas formed like sculpture. My present mind feels muddled between the call of the birds outside, the desire to learn spanish, and practical concerns to reach out to others. I hope these hands of the mind settle and find the substance they are grasping for.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Green Machine and Productivity

Recently, I have been thinking about blog posts that gain a large readership. Posting about art tends to have a select audience that seek specialized information or news. Posts that stir intrigue or argument (e.g. politics or celebrity news) attract wider attention but people also come to a blog seeking advice or help. These posts tap into our aspirations to fix things (e.g. make a better meal, become more organized, live a healthier life).

One aspect of life I would like to fix is my relationship to productivity. No matter how productive I am, I sense that there is more that could be done. To perpetually feel less then fully productive may not be reasonable perspective, but perhaps it is natural. There has to be an impulse which propels us and challenges us. However, there seems to be an irony in thinking that we can become masters of productivity. What is thought of as productive may not be very important and what seems unproductive may have its own unique purpose.

As I was out on a walk, pondering ways I could become a more productive blogger, I came upon an abandoned lawn mower. I could not figure why the wheels were missing, but it reminded me of a car vandalized up on blocks. I began to think about the ways this broken mower could be productive. Though my first thought was of scrap metal, I realized this mechanical decay revealed potential as a subject. Although its color matched the grass, the broken machine offered a counterpoint. Like many of mankind's other pursuits, we cannot hope to keep up with trimming every blade of grass. So, a healthier outlook on productivity may be to realize our best options (usually not grand) and negate, subdue, or ignore that which is most disruptive to our growth. This outlook is useful because road blocks will be put in our way, and sometimes things come apart.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pen of the Month - Part 2

Shortly after my last post, new pens arrived at work. I quickly rounded up two test sheets (small pieces of paper where customers try out pens). The new pens consist of at least eight different color ballpoint pens. The ink appears more saturated than the pens from last month and these new results were striking. Given my attraction to color and mark making, I began to wonder about the meaning of these seemingly random drawings. Although they did not start out with much of a plan, they did begin to take a direction. The lose structure mixed with a sense of chance seemed to me linked to a strain art that follows modernist exploits (material exploration and directness trumping most other objectives). This kind of approach often has a richness and vitality.

Even now Mark Rothko's big blocks of color, Pollock's drips, Frankenthaler's stains, or de Kooning's brush seem liberating. However these artists seem unique and forever locked in time. In today's data driven world, where digital screens offer glimpses at every scribble (including my own), and schools prepare gallery ready artists, I often wonder if this kind of direction is enough hinge one's artistic identity? Are the variables too minimal? Is it heroic to cast aside illustrative qualities in favor of pure expression of form or is that expression merely more marks made by a mortal hand? Surely there is a place for all kinds of art because it grasps for our best instincts, desires, and hopes. However, how much is too much? If the loop of productivity returns to the same places how many times do we watch?. There is no question that art of great merit is being made, but in my more cynical moments I wonder how will we recognize it? Will it be great, great scribble, or just more scribble? Lets hope for the best.