Monday, February 25, 2013
AND, LO: THE WHALE WAS MY HOME, AND I MADE OF ITS STOMACH MY GARDEN, ITS INTESTINES MY WALKING PATH, ITS LUNGS MY PARENTS.
Visits are nice. Except when they're not.
I don't regard the man very highly in terms of how influential his work has been on me, but Julian Schnabel once said that as an artist one should listen to everything others have to say, and then ignore all of it.
That's been a guiding mantra. It's the kind of dickhead zen that an artist often needs. It's also another beautiful exercise in futility. One cannot ignore input. Once the poison has been put into the ear no will can fully extract or extinguish it. But just HOW it is accounted for goes a long way.
To my ears much of the time even direct questions to me sound like a radio in the background to which I choose to respond.
A lot of folks seem to think I'm not looking at contemporary work much. This being based on looking at my work (largely in progress). But 'progress' is a touchy thing with me. Mine is a process of digging, carving, whatever disentangling metaphor you'd like to apply. Don't point at the sky if you see I'm more interested in digging into the earth. Don't stomp on some loose rubble if you see me staring into tree branches. All's well that ebbs well.
A painter came into my studio. "I'M JUST SORTA BIASED AGAINST BROWN" she tells me. "HA HA HAHAHA! I MEAN WE LIVE IN THE ERA OF PLASTICS AND COLOR TV AND STUFF, SO... YA KNOW! HAHAHA! WHERE'S ALL THE COLOR?"
She mentioned during her talk that she learned that she needed to be an abstract painter in grad school because she didn't want to be pinned down too much or pigeonholed. That doesn't sound like sound learning.
"What do you like about your own paintings?" someone asked her. "WELL, I LIKE THAT THEY REFUSE TO BE IGNORED, YA KNOW? THEY'RE LIKE THE LOUDEST THING IN THE ROOM. HAHAHAHA!" All I could think was how Spinal Tap boasted that they had been dubbed the "loudest rock band in the UK." It's not necessarily a nutrient-rich attribute.
Why would I use pure color? When and how? To what extent? So much of that kind of work feels puritanical without the necessary conviction. It's much more convoluted for me. I feed my work on a steady and strict diet of my developing worldview, not theory. When I paint I feel a flux of my being able to be free of myself and then just as suddenly being objectively hyperaware of my rotting body. Cycles sure to fail. That's a body, that's human experience.