May 8, 2018

Hollywood Freeway

Mixed media on birch panel, 48" x 24"

"Hey, did you see this one?" a guy asked me at a fair recently, not knowing I was the artist, his face pretzelled like he'd passed through a fart. "It's a freeway. Why would anyone want that?"

I wanted to respond with something like, yeah, precisely, why would anyone want it? Better one more naked woman on canvas, porno but not really, because it's art. Or a safe bunch of flowers, all happy and lively because that's the mantra these days. Or a postcard that reflects, in  L.A. especially, the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Instead I said, "imagine," or something, because I have a brain that embodies the snail and a tongue that swells in such situations.

For fusspots like myself it isn't the hundred compliments that stick but the one criticism, and so I've been scratching my head, wondering how much of a point he had.

For me it is about beauty, albeit not the glassy, glossy kind. Someone said the gateway drug was not creating art but experiencing it, and yeah, I've had those experiences and want to recreate them. It's also, though, about honesty, realness, a lack of cynicism and BS, old-fashioned ideas in the art world for sure, but whatever.

Oddly, a collection of Wendell Berry's farmer poems has been helping.

- From "The Clearing":
Vision must have severity
at its edge:

against neglect,
bushes grown over the pastures,
vines riding down
the fences, the cistern broken;

against the false vision
of the farm dismembered,
sold in pieces on the condition
of the buyer's ignorance,
a disorderly town
of "houses in the country"
inhabited by strangers;

against indifference, the tracks
of the bulldozer running
to gullies...
- From "History"
Through my history's despite
and ruin, I have come
to its remainder, and here
have made the beginning
of a farm  to become
my art of being here.
I would like also "being here" to be my art.

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