Thursday, September 29, 2011

Life as an Artist

"Torn" 40x30 encaustic

To be true to oneself as an artist can be difficult, as it is tempting to sway to fashion or what others perceive as right for you.  But it is Truth I seek.  I have never and will never paint for anyone else.  My work has often been criticized as too "busy", or "complicated", but it is all an investigation about my world and the relationships that exist within it.  Perhaps I don't paint 'pretty'.  I once had someone describe my work as 'filled with angst'.  Maybe so.  But I divert to this quote from Eugen Herrigel, "...more important than all outward works, however attractive, is the inward work which he has to accomplish if he is to fulfil his vocation as an artist."  We have to be true to ourselves, and if we are just making pretty, decorative pictures, where are we going?  Are we discovering anything? Are we learning anything?  My work is about discovery, it is how I work out my dreams.  The viewers get little clues in the titles I give my work, but mostly I encourage the viewer to create their own story, their own little truth.  My work, though, is for me first, and then it is presented for the viewer.   That is probably what makes rejection so hard in the art world, I am so intertwined with the work in the first place.  "Torn" is about the dichotomy that exists in many forms in the politics of art.  Unfortunately, it is saturated, sad, and twisted.  But this piece can be about so many other things, which is what is so great about art!  But it is Truth and Love I seek, two virtues which may also be 'Torn' apart. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


My latest abstract work in encaustic, Unearthed, which will be featured in a group show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in October, called "Imagination", addresses the idea of uncovering things which have been buried for perhaps a lifetime, consciously or unconsciously.  However it is the action of 'uncovering' that will sustain one for a lifetime.  The following quote is from The Tao of Pooh written by Benjamin Hoff.  "A saying from the area of Chinese medicine would be appropriate to mention here: 'One disease, long life; no disease, short life.' In other words, those who know what's wrong with them and take care of themselves accordingly will tend to live a lot longer than those who consider themselves perfectly healthy and neglect their weaknesses.  So, in that sense, at least, a Weakness of some sort can do you a big favor, if you acknowledge that it's there....Once you face and understand your limitations, you can work with them, instead of having them work against you and get in your way, which is what they do when you ignore them, whether you realize it or not.  And then you will find that, in many cases, your limitations can be your strengths.  Unearthed also speaks about knowledge gained from experience and how that can be at times, more valuable than anything ever read from a book.  In the Tao of Pooh, Pooh is the epitome of simplicity.  All he thinks about is honey, essentially sustenance.  Really isn't that all we need, even when all has been uncovered...air, food, shelter, oh and art.