Thursday, February 26, 2009

They can tell and they know all about you.

Moving is an interesting thing.

I grew up in Santa Barbara, and if you drive away from our house towards Washington School and keep going, you will get to Monroe School (McKinley school is right across from both our place and Santa Barbara City College, where my dad just got a job). Anyway, we are living in a small 2 bedroom place, sort of a place with two or three units on Barranca Street. It's me, my sister and my mom and dad. We are about to move to a bigger place on Isleta St. My dad is teaching at the College and Charlie Atkenson has just suffered a heart attack and passed away. He was chairman of the Art Department and I could tell everyone was really shocked that he died so suddenly. I was playing with his kids, on a pile of dirt, I think some gardeners were preparing the soil for some soon to arrive plants. I could hear the freeway somewhere off in the distance, and maybe this was a memorial service, it was foggy in a "it looks like dawn or dusk all day" type of Santa Barbara way.

So, I am just young maybe 4 or 5, because I haven't started kindergarten or anything, and we haven't moved to Isleta Street yet. Isleta St. is only a few blocks away, but there I will meet a neighbor who is building a small wooden boat in his garage, it has a square front and is made of varnished plywood, somehow, it seems we go look at it many times, they do live next door. Right around the corner were the Smiths, Susan who is my age and Emerson, her dad and her Mom who's name I can't remember, they live around the block and when we moved to Sea Ranch Dr. some 4 miles away, down past Monroe School and past the beach, the Smiths sort of stopped being our friends. Emerson buys a Vespa and comes by once or twice and my mom says he will most likely get killed on it. He does tell us that he is a safe driver. My mom says "it's not right that we've invited them over a number of times, and they cancelled last minute because they can't leave the new dog."

The house on Isleta has a gravel driveway and we bought a used Fiat Sedan, which ended up as a rusted out art project at our next house. My mom suggested we take our pet goldfish out to get some sun, they liked it but they died. On my fifth birthday my mom made a cake that looked like basketball player. I also, watched a bee crawling on the lawn. Years later, I go back to the house on Isleta, as an adult to a party, with my parents and it makes no impression on me. I don't think, wow, I used to live here when I was 5, nothing. I am sure it is the same house, but I don't remember why I am here, I think it is now another art teacher's house, Mr Robertson's, and therefore, his party was at his house which was once our house, (the one on Isleta St.) If all that is correct, it means that I also know his son Danny Robertson, who was the first person to hassle me when I started surfing, even before I started surfing.

I had just bought a surfboard out at the swap meet for maybe $12 and some change (my dad didn't really want me to be a surfer, so I wasn't getting a board at a surf shop). It was a faded red board, one that was definitely not pink, but a sort of dingy red-grey with a touch of brown. Short boards were in and long boards were out, it was the transition years, and this board was a long short board, skinny with a swooping nose and a narrow tail, not a long board, but also, it was a board completely not suited to the small end of summer waves at The Pit. I did get a wetsuit, or I should say half of a wetsuit, the farmer john, long-john sleeveless and therefore freezing kind. My dad was, as I said sort of not buying into the California surfer thing, perhaps he was noticing some of the guys around The Pit, like Bill Ledbetter, who a few years later decided to kill himself and put a flare gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. This attempt blew out his teeth, and tongue, but he survived, until he killed himself a couple of weeks after getting out of the hospital. Once at a party at the Culinary Alliance Hall, Ledbetter, said "The next motherfucker that bumps me is gonna get fucked up." Soon he was bumped and blindly threw a punch at what turned out to be one of the bigger gentleman at the party, who while perhaps not actively looking for a fight was, not only "up for" but also decidedly prepared to give Bill Ledbetter a sound and actually, quite sever beating. In those days no one really thought about breaking up a fight, so it went on for a long time as everyone went back to watching the band playing some rock and roll cover song.

My dad might also have noticed Mike Anderson, who got "into shaking up cars" by jumping up and down on the trunks, then cupping his hand over the gas tank and taking what would today be considered a "mega bong hit" of gas fumes. Was it a good buzz, or just good theatrics? Either way Mike ended up working at a tire shop.

Marco got shot 7 times by the cops while breaking into a restaurant over on Milpas St. Turns out he was stealing 2 cartons of cigarettes and 3 avocados, he and his buddy got surrounded and tried to make a run for it, the cops thought the cigarettes were guns. Marco, lost some fingers, and was shot in the leg, chest, arm, stomach, etc...and he lived. After he got out of the hospital he told me the story and added, "Dude, this is just all bonus time, I should be dead." A few weeks later his car hit a Palm tree near my house at over 100 mph.

Anyway, now that I am 13, with my new swap meet surfboard and a fresh coat of coconut scented surf wax applied to the deck. I am walking in a crisp fall sunshine from the back of the parking lot towards the beach. This is a moment very much like when you buy a guitar that you "hope" to learn to play and you walk out of the store with a cheap guitar and realize that you are a complete phony, because you are walking down the street with a guitar, but you don't play guitar, and the people who are walking past, well, they are either out-of-it and not cool, or they know, they can see it, you're not a guitarist, you haven't even been to your first lesson. They can tell and they know all about you.

So, I am actually feeling okay about the board and the walk, I have friends that learned to surf over the summer when I was away, so we've talked at Jr. High and I know a little bit about the sport, and there's Danny Robertson, he's got a VW van and a girl hanging out with him, and it looks like for 16, he's got a pretty good mustache coming along. So Danny takes a look at me and announced to the general area around his van "Kook" and well, I keep going. Now Danny and I both have VW bugs, and Danny's still surfing the Pit. His sister Edie, was in a band in the 80's called Generics and owns a restaurant now, I see her with a chef uniform from time to time.

Coming home to Santa Barbara, the old memories flood back, but it was a different life then and it was a different world. Could it be that I was really that person that grew up in this place?

Honestly it does seem possible, because, while yes, I have spent a year or two here or there and I didn't actually arrive in Santa Barbara until I was 4 and a half tears old, the truth is, I am just moving across town, but somehow, it sort of feels like I've been here before.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hello Dear Readers,

Hello Dear Readers, 

The exciting thing about the economic reset, as they are calling it now, is all the opportunity for all of us that do things besides make money. Meanwhile, it's moving time for us. We are out by Feb. 28th (4 days) and as of yet we have not found the perfect place, but Santa Barbara is full of cool, beautiful places, so 4 days is plenty of time to start looking. 

The place we are leaving behind has been home for 2 years and we were in the guest house located under the pool. To see the website click below.

I am about to launch (next post) The First Annual International Reindeer Haiku Contest. So, grab your writing utensil and start composing. The winning Haiku will be read at the 2009 reindeer exhibit, out loud, on opening night!

How to write Haiku
In Japanese, the rules for how to write Haiku are clear, and will not be discussed here. In foreign languages, there exist NO consensus in how to write Haiku-poems. Anyway, let's take a look at the basic knowledge:
What to write about?

Haiku-poems can describe almost anything, but you seldom find themes which are too complicated for normal PEOPLE's recognition and understanding. Some of the most thrilling Haiku-poems describe daily situations in a way that gives the reader a brand new experience of a well-known situation.

The metrical pattern of Haiku

Haiku-poems consist of respectively 5, 7 and 5 syllables in three units. In Japanese, this convention is a must, but in English, which has variation in the length of syllables, this can sometimes be difficult.

The technique of cutting.

The cutting divides the Haiku into two parts, with a certain imaginative distance between the two sections, but the two sections must remain, to a degree, independent of each other. Both sections must enrich the understanding of the other.

To make this cutting in English, either the first or the second line ends normally with a colon, long dash or ellipsis.

The seasonal theme.

Each Haiku must contain a kigo, a season word, which indicate in which season the Haiku is set. For example, cherry blossoms indicate spring, snow indicate winter, and mosquitoes indicate summer, but the season word isn't always that obvious.

Please notice that Haiku-poems are written under different rules and in many languages. For translated Haiku-poems, the translator must decide whether he should obey the rules strictly, or if he should present the exact essence of the Haiku. For Haiku-poems originally written in English, the poet should be more careful. These are the difficulties, and the pleasure of Haiku.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the Metropolitan Museum seems like a good idea.

Reindeer paintings at the Metropolitan.

It had to happen, some old photo of a hand (perhaps connected to yours truly) looking for validation in an institution. 

The truth is, it was me, I actually had to deliver 6 paintings to the Frank J. Melie Gallery (1086 Madison Avenue) however, they were out for the afternoon, so I was stuck with a couple hours to kill. It was cold, and a walk down the street to the Metropolitan Museum seems like a good idea. It was only then, that I found myself in an well know art location with, by chance, a bag full of my paintings. Then the delightful Tara, my associate in crime, suggested a photo op. She's full of ideas, like me painting 2,009 Reindeer this year. 

Needless to say, showing my art at the Met was no big deal, if I remember correctly, the guard that eventually asked us to "stop with the photos" could barely bother to walk across the room. Well this all happened a few years back and currently I have more pressing business to attend to. 


Monday, February 16, 2009

I may have met your ancestors years ago!

I am wondering right now as I start to write out this post, if I can't start it out in some different way? 
For instances, it is raining and our house has a metal roof, so the rain sounds nice, and there is an ant crawling along this keyboard and it is a very good thing for the ant and his recently arrived friend, that I use two fingers and look at each key as I type. Be safe ant, I may have met your ancestors years ago as we have spent considerable time, years in fact along this part of the world. 
It is clear that a year of blog entries stating that I have painted more paintings... again... is going to be, not only repetitive but also, impossible to find interesting for me or you, so instead, I will at least for now, not tell you about the paintings that I did work on since the last post, also, I will skip other efforts, like cleaning out the hallway (full of paintings) at my dad's house, that are part of, if not the main part of the energy it takes to make art.
So, really this blog could read. Yesterday I got up and went to work, I cleaned and organized some stuff and painted for awhile, then I went home. Today I got up and went to work, I cleaned and organized some stuff and painted for awhile, then I went home. Tomorrow I got up and went to work, I cleaned and organized some stuff and painted for awhile, then I went home.
However,  it won't read like that this time, because, today I got up in Morro Bay, had breakfast at The Hungry Fisherman, it was raining, then I organized some stuff and did some painting at Tara's mom's house, then we went back to Santa Barbara, the rain had stopped, then I went to my dad's house and cleaned and organized some stuff, then I painted for awhile, then I went home and started typing, the two ants mentioned above are still here. It is Feb. 16, 2009. I have over 1,000 paintings started now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An extreme venture into the world of art video.

Today is more Reindeer work, and it's Valentines day too. Tara and I took Scooter, our dachshund on 3 walks today and I also managed to start another 112 canvases, plus we watched a few episodes of Alfred Hitchcock's television show. 

Also, I was able to finish the script to a music video for Indy Sagu who is a really cool musician with a new album out now. I am taking this one side project to do a video for one of his songs this year. Actually, I am very excited to make this video. 

Speaking of video, Tara just showed me a great video that she produced and edited and was also director of. It was a wonderful surprise and an extreme venture into the world of art video. It was a feature that focused on the plight of the world economic situation by hovering above me, close up on my mouth as I both slept and snored. Copies available here, $29.99. Duration 00:33.

Well, back to work.


Friday, February 13, 2009

New backgrounds, Feb. 12,09

Yesterday I managed to paint a few backgrounds, actually, this represents three layers of work. Initial color, second layer of color, and finally some beginnings of design. Lot's of layers, so really this was three days of work.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Give you the answer when it reveals itself

Okay, today I was able to work on a lot of important background activities. Like counting the Reindeer that are started. Seems simple, especially since I have only started just over 900, not even half way to the grand total of 2.009. Anyway, somehow they seemed to get all mixed together, therefore I have realized a big part of this project is, so far, counting as in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc... and trying to find the missing numbered canvases. And there is already a mystery, of sorts in that, about 12 canvases are missing. Miss numbered? lost in transport? I will give you the answer when it reveals itself to me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

or else, well... talk about sad.

I think keeping that for this project lightness is necessary, at least somewhere in the back of my mind is really important to keep it that way. It would be really easy to quit, but so far I have kept a pretty positive approach. 

If I am able to be sort of open to anything, to experimentation, and not letting preconceived ideas of art - especially other peoples ideas, or my own idea of what someone else might be thinking, creep in and side track me, then it is possible for some good work to happen.

There is so much "art thinking" and "art ideas" and "art world reality" out there, that it makes it hard to paint directly and to the point for a lot of people. 

Luckily, I have figured out how to try filter out all that stuff. You know what I mean, the anti-academic yet learned at art school vibe that we have been stuck with since the 60's. I think it's very much as if the art scene today is equal to a Classic Rock Radio Station. The same stuff over and over. Jeff Koons a.k.a. Journey, © MURAKAMI a.k.a. Hall and Oats and that other Hirst, I can't remember his first name, the guy who has the dead stuff, I mean if you think painting Reindeer is lame, that guy Damien Hirst (I looked him up) is really somewhat sad, that's what I think, I don't mean any disrespect. 

Then again, if I didn't know me, I would probably think my work was weak too. (maybe not).

I was talking to Ken Nack the other day and I said how Andy Warhol (who's art I sometimes like, but I also have a lot of reservations about) got the part about the "in the future everyone being famous for fifteen minutes" statement wrong. How it's turned out is that everyone is really famous nowdays, (facebook, myspace, blogspot, youtube etc...) but the thing is no one has more then 15 minutes to care. So, he was sort of right, it just turned out opposite.

Therefore, because I actually work at being open to letting things develop as they will, with a total lack of focus, and a non-detail orientation etc..., I was able to get the idea of taking a bunch of canvases and setting them up and then painting a larger reindeer on those canvases. They are canvas # 331 through # 420. The thing is this is just really background paint. These individual canvases will all become their own paintings and the image pictured above will be gone forever, unless I make a postcard out of it. Should I do that? Please comment. Also, please become a follower, I need to heave more than 10 followers or else, well... talk about sad.

Anyway, I was thinking that I could take the shrink wrap off of the one thousand seven hundred 4X5 inch small canvases in a few hours. That is not the case. I am up to the low 700's and that has been since Jan 29th. Today is the 3rd of February, so, it has taken me 5 days to do just over 700 of them . In this time I have also managed to paint the initial backgrounds on around another 300 canvases, this I described above.