Spoiler Alert

I have a painting in next month’s show at Verum Ultimum, which I am pretty stoked about. What I wasn’t stoked about was the need to write a brief artist statement to attach with my submission to the show.

I can talk art theory up, down and sideways; every now and again I get half a chance to discuss light and space theory for a minute and it generally energizes me for the rest of the day. But artist statements never sit well with me. It’s like when a songwriter explains a song that used to be sentimental and now is just apparently a lie—there’s something inherently untrue about the reality of an artwork. Art needs a relationship with an audience in order to hold relevance, and to break that down defeats the purpose.

This isn’t to say that artists should be allowed to hide behind that premise as an excuse to create art devoid of concept or be free of critique because of it. However, in the invention of language there needs to be an inherent trust in the foundation of that method of communication (which, in art, is a recipe for an infraction).

But like movie trailers and 30-second previews of songs on iTunes, the suggested and piecemeal approach to art these days is to have it be more considered as an aspect of a lifestyle (fitting, subdued) than an actual cultural affront or participation in relevance. Anonymity is going to take a big turn in the art world I’d assume somewhat soon; it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out in a culture looking to propagate ideas free of authorship.

(Which is all a giant tangent from the core of explanation, in that, ideas should simply be free to take place and roam as they see fit, and a lack of definition is sometimes the exact thing that gives it meaning.)



Not Safe For Mornings (For Most)

Uh, okay life. Game, set, match.

For one thing, it’s fucking awesome to wake up and see that Youth Code (along with MOCAtv) released a fantastic fucking video for what inevitably will be one of my favorite songs of the year. I’ve been listening to “Consuming Guilt” on repeat ever since it debuted on Pitchfork, and now with the NSFW new clip, the ex-Carry On act is showing some serious potential.

(Not to mention the anti-animal testing comes off as effective protest here with the form the video takes, as opposed to just being a PETA ad.)

danl145 [7:49]: Jeez this is fucked lol
Colin Smith [7:50]: this song i listen to on repeat while i paint
danl145 [7:50]: Hahahaha
danl145 [7:50]: That explains so much

And then it’s just like, adding a cherry to the cake of rebellion is the new and ban-worthy clip from DOOKOOM, and reading that interview over on Noisey will give a good feeling as to why the music just sounds so fucking … authentic.

I’ve never been a fan of electronic music, but the influence it leaves in punk and hip hop has been staggeringly effective lately. I’d imagine the next Nirvana type act comes from this realm. Maybe they’ll lead the charge to storm the barricades, who knows.



Breaking Ties

Oakland Yards

Oakland Backyards · Click to Enlarge

The Mission

The Mission · Click to Enlarge

The Train

The Train · Click to Enlarge

More from Oakland / San Francisco last month.



Never Settle for Convenient Reform

It’s just after 8 in the morning and I’ve been up for somewhere between two and five hours. My days tend to be littered with naps or other dips in the creative process and I’ve taken to just treating my body like a short-lived fuel cell, with the standard daily recharge of sleep and three square meals being exchanged for, well, whatever I damn well feel like.

There’s no rule book on how to live or treat yourself and I get there are suggested takes for it all but that shit never made sense to me. It’s why I live in a place like Portland, and why all these fucking Californians moving in is a problem.

It can be dubbed a retirement community or whatever, but the fact of the matter is that Portland is for people who want to live before they want to work. ‘Real’ jobs aren’t a priority in PDX because we don’t fucking want them.

And so capitalism will move in. Californians see a gold mine and those bullshit ‘progressive’ values the Bay claims to have (and has since bulldozed and gilded over in some sort of faux nostalgia) are all on the chopping block for when the douchebags of the tech sphere move in.

Because most tech isn’t about solving problems; it’s about optimizing life for indulgence and convenience. And while Portland’s less-work, more-play psychology fits in with that, it is also a finely tuned balance of pragmatism with local economics and an avoidance of the sell-first, sell-out culture that San Francisco adopted so unquestioningly and is now paying dearly for across all fronts. Except, of course, in how much money the rich are making.



The Breaks In Daylight

Holga

Holga

Holga



Instead of Your Gun

Taco Take Out

Take Out / The Fence · Click to Enlarge

Lots And Lanes

Lots and Lanes · Click to Enlarge

Dividing Lines

Dividing Lines · Click to Enlarge

Parking

Parking · Click to Enlarge

So on Sunday I decided to take my old 5-D Mark II out for a spin. While normally this would be an unremarkable morning, the fact of the matter is that I haven’t shot this camera since buying my Leica.

It’s incredible how challenging the entire endeavor was. I did go out for that reason—a challenge of sorts—but I realize that I’d completely lost touch with the photographer I used to be when I would shoot with the psychology of the wide-open range of the digital world.

It really goes to show how much of photography has to exist in the mind, and how much having a direct relationship with your tools can really govern how a result is created.



Imbalance

The thing is, you can see it in everyone’s face. That dissonant stare that snaps back in to reality right before it can reach the end of a thought which began by asking the question, “Is this it?”

It’s the look you get whenever the mind’s inherent self-preservation kicks in to gear. Before you can recognize the folly of it all; the meaning of loss only in that it emphasizes the importance of a glimmer in opportunity. That hope is a temporary state, used to ward off the realization that there is no point to it all.

There’s the curious balance between effort and achievement, all for no great purpose. We say things like Throughout history…, however history is a liar most of the time. The savage truth is most of history has been defined by oceans of blood, while we’ve relatively avoided killing ourselves off for the past half century or so.

You wonder what it’s all for, knowing that it’s going to end.

That being said, you’ll notice the site has been updating recently. I’ve been refining details, adding things, removing things. It’ll hopefully have new work up soon enough.



The Time of Your Life

I think a lot about time these days.

I mean, it’s fascinating because it’s not necessarily a universal language the way mathematics is, however it’s a necessary global concept for basic civil understanding. It’s measured in all sorts of strange increments, again in almost strikingly un-mathematical ways. There are even different ways to read time (I prefer this). There’s sixty seconds and sixty minutes, but after that it’s 24, 7, 356 and pretty soon you’re in an episode of Lost.1

This is why the intersections of math and time are so fascinating. We celebrate time in an almost Fibonacci-esque way; at the beginning of life, each hour and then each day and then each week count to the annoying point where you’re telling people your kid is 11 months and 2 weeks old instead of, “Almost a year.” With each celebration, the anniversary almost loses meaning instead of gains; 18 months is about as old as anyone will care in that term before only years matter. And then when you hit 18 years, birthdays matter less between 21 and 30. And nobody cares how old you are after that.

At the beginning of a relationship, it’s cute dates to celebrate the first week since your second meeting and by year three in marriage, it’s barely worth celebrating in the relationship. Nobody else is going to throw a party until you hit a milestone anniversary like 25.

Ten Months

Ten months is not really an anniversary. You don’t hit the metric system until after you clear the first year, and even then it’s less metrics and more whatever the Romans thought would be a good point of designating a new letter for.2

Ten months is just 304 days, or at least, that’s how long this specific ten month span has been since I stopped drinking.3

But ten months is still something. It’s a span of time, one that is less important than the minutes in between the spaces of a broken heart and the bar next door when you really want to drink and more important than the ten years spent inhabiting said space, drunk.

And I don’t know, I guess it’s for the better. I’ve been told that I am—that my life is—better off this way. I can feel that I feel a little better, but I can’t say it’s for the better. The way that they say for good like for ever even though obviously permanence is not a synonym for perfection.

These people all tell me that it’s better to be more like the rest of them, especially when it comes to the bottle, but most of them can’t even explain to me the insane way we make sense of time. And if you can’t even figure out the space of a dimension you’re inhabiting, how can you really know the best way to live in it?

This isn’t to say I’m intimidated by alcohol or see some sort of imminent relapse, but it is daunting to think of anything as forever. Choice is what makes us innately human, and feeling restricted from that choice is more a tempting reason to break it than even the finest scotch in town.4

But whatever. Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow. The rest, well. I’ve got time. And if I don’t—if I died unexpectedly—I guess this isn’t the worst way to go out.

      Notes
  • Which, spoiler alert, is about time.
  • I understand this is not how calendars actually work.
  • That’s another fascinating thing about time—measuring the same amount of time in days, weeks and months will get you possibly three different answers depending on which start points you use. Like, three months is not always 90 days; it averages out to be, but the span of July, August and September is not the same length of time as October, November and December.
  • This is actually probably a lie and if I could get some sort of unrestricted tasting pass to the MCWL, I’d probably give myself a day off from this sobriety thing.


The Thinker

Not that I’m comparing myself to Michaelangelo; more that I’ve just been re-watching Lost recently and this struck me.

When I ‘work’, it’s usually at least 35% of the time (sometimes upwards of 80%) to where I am just sitting in my studio staring at a wall or a canvas. Actual physical activity for me is pretty infrequent. My interactions with a canvas are usually very direct and by design.

This is inherently antithetical to the more impulsive nature of postmodernism, but I still have issues with the fear of not getting something to look right. Maybe that’s why it always looks wrong.

Anyway. For now, it’s just good to know that other people have worked how I do and did something with it. And I’ll keep an eye out, so one of these fucking days I’ll find my block of marble.



Stocking Up on Canned Goods

I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, and when it comes to all the whacked out Alex Jones / False Flag stuff I just end up shaking my head. But a quick Google search reveals there’s plenty of these theories1 regarding the Ebola case in the United States.

I say case, because the first guy died and now there’s a second.

Now, since seventh grade I’ve had a bit of an obsession with viral hemorrhagic fever. I read all the books and saw the movies and did more than a couple papers on the Marburg virus.2 And so now I am beginning to get concerned, mostly because conspiracy theories are sounding less irrational.

The fact that a hospital worker managed to get the disease, while being under full CDC recommended protections, means that the fear can now spread that anyone in the hospital could have been exposed. It doesn’t matter that the worker may have had contact with the patient outside of a clean room or protected environment; what matters now is that the first patient is dead and now a worker has it and who knows who else.

There hasn’t been a mass panic in the US since 9/11. While I don’t see 10/12 turning in to the next, that would probably make sense to a conspiracy theorist. It would make sense to think that the CDC and maybe even the White House should make statements pretty quick here.

Because I am not generally a paranoid person, and maybe it’s just my 13-year-old obsessive self coming through with all these fears about a deadly contagion spreading via the interstates, but this is a pretty dire threat to start a Sunday with. There’s a fine line that needs to be walked with public information, but we know the news media will only induce more fear.

This is all pretty fucked up.

      Notes
  • “Theories.” Also, I’m not linking to any because, why propagate that shit? I’m sure you can imagine what it says.
  • I was something of a chemistry whiz in high school and loved microbiology. If I’d taken a non-art career it would have been as a scientist.