Recent drawings

Here are some recent drawings of mine, selected from many others. I’ve been drawing a lot lately, both because I feel the need to produce more work to make more money while selling on the streets, but also because I feel a deep desire to create at the moment, and drawing is the best way, for me, while being in transit. I’ve been using the backs of old library cards. In this way the drawings reside on a nice, semi-heavy cardstock, cut well and each with some curious typewritten text on the reverse side. I’ve seen these often in libraries being used as scrap paper, and acquired about 100 cards from Stanford University when I was there for the John Cage symposium.

I also have a few drawn on blank newspaper stock (of which I have a lot, thanks to my father) and some on semi-textured Paper Source brand paper, left over from a few Notice Recordings releases. All were drawn in the past week, in San Francisco, except for the last two colour ones ;  those are were created in New Orleans, and I recently rediscovered them.

Once again, all photographs were taken with my cell phone, so the focus and metering is terrible. I tried to compensate for that by pushing some of the levels as much as reasonably possible.

Oh, and these are all for SALE. I am selling them on the street, but that doesn’t mean I can’t post one to someone. I could use money. They look better in real life. They come in archival, crystal clear protective sleeves. Shipped with care. Will probably include a free something-else. Contact me for prices. All smalls are under 10$, probably 4 or 5$. A couple are 2$. The big ones would be more. Everything is negotiable. Thanks.


In the desert with Tiny Music and perhaps spirits

From sometime in mid September …
I stayed with 2 members of the wonderful acoustic-junk/drone/folk/experimental group Tiny Music, who used to be based in Chicago. My cassette label, Notice Recordings, released a beautiful recording by them (which is still available … I think perhaps 10 copies). When they gave us the material, approximately 4 years ago, they were in the midst of moving to New Mexico, “to build a house in the desert”. Over the next few years, I followed, sporadically, their awesome blog and saw the construction of their environmentally-friendly house, now completely functioning on solar power. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to visit the house, and this experience was unexpected and memorable. Everyone should go read their blog and see their progress, and, if you can, support them financially. They have a Paypal donate button on their blog. They’re such amazing artists and warm and welcoming people !

Anyway, I waited for Amanda at a ranch entrance on Rt 554. (The “ranch” entrance is really just a gate which leads to a few houses scattered throughout that area of the desert.) She decided it would be best to meet me, since getting to the house from the main road involves driving through a network of dirt roads, dried up old arroyos, washes, and so on. As I followed her, 6 horses galloped in front of my car, their variegated shiny brown coats reflecting in the hot white sun of the desert. They were completely free range, and walked right up to their owner, standing, waiting, with horse-feed. It was endearing and amazing to witness.

Amanda and Daine’s house is a special place. They’ve put so much love and work into it. So far they’ve constructed a living room/kitchen, an attic (under construction), an adobe room (also under construction … I helped them for a day digging and sifting and mixing the adobe), and a cabin about 100 yards away in which I stayed. They’ve accumulated a variety of found items, antiques, beautiful junk and artwork. Every surface and corner provided a resting space for some piece of mysterious miscellany. Most of the functioning items used were gleaned or found from a variety of sources.

My non-phone iPhone stopped working while there, for whatever reason, so the only photographs I took was while it worked in my cabin. I have an affinity for the arrangement of beautiful and/or old things, so I was pleased with the opportunity to document the room.

Something else worth mentioning is the sounds I heard while sleeping in this cabin. All night long, I could hear the hoo-hooing of an owl, the yelping of coyotes, the scurrying of mice, the slow, glassy hum of crickets, and the faint wisping of wind through the small, dried shrubbery scattered about the property. The stillness of the place provided room for these sounds to occupy more of my mind. The vast array of the stars seen through my window were an endless reception to the small orchestra of noises :  emanating from the earth, swirling in their curly-cue soundy ways, up into the cosmos. In addition to these sounds, I also heard footsteps on the wooden porch. Indeed, both nights, around 3AM, I woke to the very clear sound of footsteps. I also heard a large thudding sound, like a pack of heavy books being dropped on the desert floor. This is a sound I’ve heard before, both in Colorado and in the dead of cold cold winter at my family home in Vermont. When I heard it in Vermont, I was alone, and it was very regular ;  about every 15 minutes or so. It was 5 degrees outside. It happened most of the night, and my fragmented sleep produced dreams of nighttime activities in the forest, with colored lights and fires, spotlights shining brightly through the trees, and vehicles driving over stone walls, through my house and on the fields. I suppose I should not wonder what the sound is, and just let it be. But anyway, back to the desert :  I just lay there, still as still can be, listening to these sounds. Each time, I eventually just went back to sleep. The next morning I spoke with Amanda about the sounds, and she assured me that no one would be walking around in the middle of the night, which isn’t something I suspected anyway. But she did tell me that most people who stay in the cabin hear footsteps outside at night …
I do believe in the presence of spirits, and the desert is certainly a place that spirits occupy.
Anyway, that’s that.

Unintentional art found on a dryer in a seedy bathroom

Unintentional art resonates with me very much. Whenever I draw, I almost always try to remove myself from intention, or direction. Not to the extent that someone like John Cage did, or other artists using chance procedures—as in, I don’t necessarily create situations in which random events are created independently from me—but I do try not to draw something, but instead just draw. If I try and draw something it usually results in an uninteresting piece. Although this is far from new or innovative, a lot of people still don’t understand this. I’ve been selling art on the street for the past 5 or so months, and many folks viewing or buying ask me what I was thinking about or why I drew something or what it’s supposed to be. I do understand that these questions can be important, and there’s nothing wrong with them, but I don’t have very clear answers. A specific drunken lady in New Orleans once got very, very mad at me for not being able to explain one piece to which she apparently related emotionally. After talking with her for 40 minutes at least, I had to physically remove her from my post, as my explanations were apparently insufficient, and she violently demanded more.

With painting, it’s the same thing, except there are many more variables, which is exciting :  How the mediums relate with one another, how something is applied and dries, what can be revealed from before, after additional layers of medium have been applied. Most of this goes without saying. But it became very emphasized when I saw this hand dryer in a filthy bathroom in a San Francisco park. Perhaps years worth of stickers, graffiti and grime had been applied to and removed from the hand dryer’s surface. What resulted happened to be completely gorgeous, and is right up there with some of my favourite abstract expressionist paintings. Furthermore, capturing this image on a cheap cell phone, emailing it to myself, downloading it, and posting it here contributes to its ephemeral nature ;  it is unstable, will probably be forgotten, exists in a variety of forms and is appreciated in a variety of ways.

New Mexico photographs, 2

These pictures are from Pecos National Forest and the surrounding area. Sometime in mid-September. After a few days of the desert in New Mexico, it was refreshing to see the massive ponderosas and aspens in the higher elevations of the Santa Fe area. Pecos was especially beautiful, with low-lying fog and the smell of wood stove smoke. Sweater weather.

Lone Pine

4 October 2012, 7:30

Jenny’s Cafe, Independence, CA. Slept in the desert again, outside of Lone Pine. Down quite a ways, off Lone Pine Narrow Gauge Rd. Massive rotating antenna in the desert. Next to me, a dried, cracked patch of land where water once was—now compacted and dry polished to a sheen, reflecting the white setting sun over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Quiet and empty save for the muffled, undulating conversations of some people in a weird triangular camper (like a mobile A-Frame) about 200 yards away. I don’t know; I’m bad with distances. Later in the night, the man (the others left) was talking/singing/mumbling loudly to himself at 10:51. As I went to bed around 8:00, I thought it was at least 4AM. Slept fairly well. Got cold finally around midnight. Not like New Mexico and Arizona climates; it seems that up in this territory (in-between two mountain ranges), it takes a while for the cold to set in. Woke up at 2, very cold. More socks, a wool blanket, a hat. Moon in the sky, bright as a spotlight. Truly silent, then. Up at 6:45, before the sun. Mountains soft, early illumination. Land still, soft, small movements. Color, less.

Lost all the light in fine towel mine is take not for the real action nothing of short no grass well time efer then hidden.

Fabric art in Las Vegas

I have been staying with a lady in Las Vegas whom I met while selling art, and she works with fabric, mosaics and soaps, primarily. Last night we were both sewing, and her gorgeous decorative cuff work inspired me to improvise some bead and thread work on the fabric squares with which I’ve been travelling. I like the results, and will be working more with these small fabric/thread/bead improvisations.

Funny, this fabric square isn’t, um, the best representation of my time in Las Vegas. Proper photos are forthcoming, along with ones from Arizona and New Mexico.

Off to Rt 395 in California.