Tag: Paul Gauguin

We are all Dr. Frankenstein!

Frankenstein Chronicles on Netflix
The Frankenstein Chronicles on Netflix – does Sean Bean die? You’ll have to watch and see!

Hollye and I are watching The Frankenstein Chronicles on Netflix – this is to her what The man In The High Castle on Amazon Prime is to me – about the coolest thing ever! Sure I like Sean Bean and British detective series with a scandalous hint of horror, not as much as Hollye does though but that’s cool, totally cool, we are all unique perspectives of the universe!

The idea of sewing together body parts and bringing them to life was not invented by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley who not only wrote Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus but lived a life of ‘gothic’ romance and tragedy. The idea of bringing the dead to life as a creation was well underway thousands of years before the Era of Frankenstein.

We know that the Italian Renaissance was the rebirth of the classical art of the ancient Greeks. By a change in philosophy allowed by a middle class of merchants who rose to power and influence – lost understanding of the ancients Greeks was regained including the idea that mankind was a machine that God, an artist, breathed life into.

Emulating God by re-creating the beauty of the human form in art and by repairing the machine in medicine was a way to honor God in many of their eyes – it definitely was to Michelangelo. Drawings of individual body parts for study is a tool for both doctors and artists who work with the figure.

The relationship between artists and physicians during the Renaissance (roughly 1300 to 1600) was symbiotic. Artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, who were interested in exacting the human form in their art, observed physicians at work to learn the layers of muscle and bone structures that formed certain parts of the body. (from here)

Libyan Sibyl Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo
Libyan Sibyl Sistine Chapel fresco and the chalk on paper figure study by Michelangelo

I (like millions of people in the past half a millennium) still find fascination in the monumental art work in the Sistine Chapel and the process of how it happened. Going from an idea to a sketch to a finished masterpiece it is probably the most researched and documented art project ever.

We all know that our friend Michelangelo thought the male body was more fascinating that the female one and many, if not most, of his paintings of women started as sketches of his male models. I wonder if the very female face on the Delphic Sibyl was inspired by a person he knew?

Michelangelo Delphic Sibyl Sistine Chapel

We, in the modern world, do not find anything creepy about a sketch book full of unconnected body parts or an anatomy text book – they are just tools.

Using individual sketches (or parts of photographs) to make art is typical practice (remember that our friend Edgar Degas was an early adopter of this method) and with the age of Photoshop we pretty much understand that what we see in media has been manipulated to show it’s best side at the very least – if not a complete fabrication!

1950's cowgirl pin up art and photo reference by Gil Elvgren
1950’s cowgirl pin up art and photo reference by Gil Elvgren

Gil Elvgren’s paintings are perhaps the apotheosis of the Pin-Up genre and his works command the highest price amongst collectors today. Like Art Frahm he often painted silly scenes of girls accidentally revealing their underwear, but his jokes are wittier, his brush strokes more expert and his girls more gorgeous. Elvgren apparently claimed that the ideal Pin-Up model had a 15-year-old’s face on a 20-year-old’s body, which is the sort of thing you could say in the 1940s without being thought creepy. That quote may be apocryphal but he did base most of his paintings on the model Myrna Hansen, who started working for him when she was just 13 (chaperoned by her mother, it must be said). (from here)

One thing that I have found in painting is that working directly from photographs can leave the work looking generic (Degas being the major exception it seems) – I mean you can’t deny the success of modern figure painters like Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell – they took what Michelangeo started and added their creativity which is fine, it’s lovely and awesome but in my opinion they fall into the trap that William-Adolphe Bouguereau did – there’s a limit to ‘perfection’ and if you go beyond it then you lose something human about the experience of the art. It can be perfect in every way and still not be ‘good’!

William Bouguereau - Nymphs and Satyr
William Bouguereau – Nymphs and Satyr – it’s perfect in every way but it’s still lacking in something that only a human being can feel as true art! (this artist was one of the assholes who dissed the Impressionists as he couldn’t understand how their ‘sloppy’ work could be viewed as “fine art” compared to his perfection of the baroque style. I’m sorry man, we all like tits and ass, don’t get me wrong, but you aren’t putting your soul into this work – we can feel it – there is a difference – it’s nice art, better than I could ever do probably and it shows the glory of God with the beautiful figures, it carries on the fine tradition of quality that the Renaissance started – in text book terms you should be the greatest painter ever and you were back in your day to your fans but you are a jackhole and Claude Monet is waay cooler than you, and besides, they have this new invention called the camera now so people can take their own pics of boobs and don’t need your pretty porn any more – perfection is not enough sir!

Simply copying where the light and shadow falls is possible but a mere transference of a captured image verbatim into to paint on a canvas isn’t enough – that’s why The Impressionists blew away the realist painters and now those former ‘top of charts’ artists are barely remembered at all except for art nerds like me.

You have to skew your viewpoint and add your personality to the art to make it more than a just a copy – you have to breathe life into it! It has to be you, be infused with your consciousness – you can’t just scientifically make great art in a lab – you cannot be outside of it!

Allegory of Abundance mural in progress by Daz Lartist
Allegory of Abundance mural in progress by Daz Lartist

Painting directly from your imagination with no references allows a freedom and flexibility that makes it more fun! Sure, you may not reach the level of anatomical accuracy that Michelangelo did but why would you want to when you can surprise yourself with something that is unique and equally interesting to look at?

I suggest to allow your mind to piece together the bits and pieces of things that are stored away then trust that your hand will put the paint where it needs to be.

Hey, I know Vincent van Gogh was the ‘good one’ and has a special place in our hearts but I’m way more into the painting theories of Paul Gauguin.

Rather than painting a naturalistic representation of observed reality, Paul Gauguin and his followers at Pont Aven aimed to create art that combined (or synthesised) the subject-matter with the artist’s feelings about the subject and the aesthetic concerns of line, colour and form. As Maurice Denis observed in 1890:

It is well to remember that a picture before being a battle horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order. (from here)

We all synthesize reality from the memories and expectations that we have about what we experience – we are all basically Dr. Frankenstein trying to breathe life into a bunch of separate parts we join together in some sense of order – so let’s own it and celebrate it!

My love Hollye is writing a novel in serialized form with a Frankenstein theme on her blog and you can catch up with this really well written and readable novella by starting here! https://hollyebgreen.com/2018/07/29/novella-frankensister-chapter-1-fiction/

My friend Jeff makes the best monster art on the planet right now! Support a cool indy artist by finding his art and buying a whole bunch of it (it’s everywhere – search Ebay!)

Mani-yack Frankenstein and THEY LIVE by Jeff Carlson
Mani-yack Frankenstein and THEY LIVE by Jeff Carlson

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

When bad art is good!

We are human beings; we laugh at other people and at farts. We exist with brains that are programmed to respond, consciously or subconsciously to symbols such as sounds (farts, language, music etc) and of course to visual things such as shapes and colors. Our brains can be programmed to respond in certain ways to arbitrary things; just look at the fashion industry and you can see temporary cultural brainwashing at it’s finest – umm plaid bell-bottom leisure suits? – no thanks.

Fine art (as opposed to commercial art) is a centuries old business that uses symbols to (ultimately) make money – and things of value tend to stick around in a culture – yet some of it you might wonder why the heck it was even made.  You aren’t ignorant for having an opinion that differs from the ‘experts’ in your society – I mean every generation has their Bay City Rollers or Sha Na Na and just because you righteously feel with every fiber of your being that something blowdried and encrusted in tartan sucks and Sha Na Na will always be the greatest – it’s ok.

Your opinion on the arts is just as valid as a museum curator, art gallery owner or Top of The Pops host. You can always change your mind on stuff like fashion because often it really wasn’t your choice of attire to begin with – the only people in the 1970’s who people dress like now are Sha Na Na – (except maybe not the gold lamé suits) – but look at their guests who, with the exception of The Ramones, all look like they are extras in a Saturday Night Fever type movie instead of Sha Na Na’s revved up rock and roll variety show!

 Sometimes you have to have faith that certain fine art endures as meritorious even if you don’t understand why at first. Ok and if your girlfriend has good memories of the Bay City Rollers then they must be ok – just don’t expect me to discuss Ian #2’s tight pants or fluffy hair – yes I know Sha Na Na had more tight pants per capita but that has nothing to do with why I like them – their music and style is timeless – grease for peace!!!

If you have ever opened an art history book you’ve probably encountered fine art that you think is ‘bad’. For example a photograph of a famous Rothko painting looks like crap but (and I can attest from personal experience that) – you have to experience color field paintings in situ to ‘get it’ – the effect is not from the shapes but simply (and ingeniously) how the color of the paint envelopes the viewer when you stand in front of a properly lit color field canvas. Perhaps this is why the Rothko painting is poorly lit in the tv show Madmen – to show that the canvas was purchased for an investment rather than by someone who actually understood it’s visual potential haha! (and if you think ‘it looks ok there’ just remember all those people who wore plaid bell-bottom pants in the 1970’s)!

Rothko painting in tv show Madmen
(poorly lit) Rothko painting in tv show Madmen
The Wayo by Daz Lartist
The Wayo by Daz Lartist -oil paints, acrylic paints and glitter on canvas – detail of this ‘bad art’ painting! This one makes me happy every time I look at it and is on my bedroom wall!

Personal taste is your starting point for art appreciation – the next stop is trusting that famous art that you might not understand at first glance can enrich your life in ways you might never expect. I use the artist David Byrne  as my benchmark – I rarely understand anything he has done but I do trust that he is a creative genius and while a blob of paint on cardboard (that I remember he wrote about with such love once) might not be within my scope of understanding (yet) – if he says it has artistic worth then it must have (because he has dedicated his life to the arts and made a lot of people happy with it). You might know about the famous Yoko Ono art piece that required the viewer to climb a ladder and view a canvas on the ceiling with a hanging magnifying glass to see a tiny “yes” on it – John Lennon thought that was way cool! That art lead directly to one of the most effective anti-war campaigns ever put into action.  Thanks to the effort of celebrity artists like John and Yoko it was cool to have common sense and show your humanity rather than be a sheep who just followed their insane political leaders.

War Is Over billboard by John Lennon and Yoko Ono 1969
War Is Over billboard by John Lennon and Yoko Ono 1969
Giant clam and horse by Daz Lartist
Giant clam and horse by Daz Lartist – oil on canvas – this ‘bad art’ one is on the wall in the garage and makes me smile each time I see it!

Terrence McKenna (famous thinker active 1960s -1990’s) stated that bees have no history, it doesn’t matter what happened or what will happen as they have basically perfected themselves to not need history while humans are all about history. History is ‘made’ by events that change the paradigm – plaid bell-bottom pants had to be introduced to the public as a choice and with extensive marketing those symbols were sold as ‘fashionable’ but they now just define a time in history that no one wants to admit they were a part of. Many people have probably claimed to have been at the Woodstock festival in 1969 (featuring Sha Na Na and not the Bay City Rollers) but a lot of them didn’t really go – and yet no one admits to the 1970’s era plaid pants they bought thinking that they would look great in them.

Zombie's petting zoo by Daz Lartist
Zombie’s petting zoo by Daz Lartist – oil paint with colored pencils on canvas picture frame

Paul Gauguin painted Still Life with Three Puppies in 1888 (after all what is less still than a puppy? take that you un-cool status quo!) – of course he wasn’t the one who changed the paradigm of what ‘classic’ still life paintings had been for the past couple of hundred years (static, polished, realistic looking little canvases) it was the Impressionists in the past two decades prior to 1888. Realism is not what makes art that is pleasing (the invention of photography of course was the death blow of fine art attempting to look as realistic as possible). The charming feeling you get from a painting like this 24 x 36 inch canvas is subtly enhanced by the subconscious symbolism of male and female symbols (tails pointing up and the pears for the male- cups for the female etc). The effect is that this canvas is about life, it’s messy, it’s warm it’s lovable! Of course the dullards at the MoMa gave a dry and dusty interpretation of it  ” The incongruous scale and placement of these objects on a dramatically upturned tabletop results in a disorienting composition.” What do you think? 🙂

Still Life with Three Puppies by Paul Gauguin
Still Life with Three Puppies by Paul Gauguin 1888
Still life with fast food and puppies - by Daz Lartist
Still life with fast food and puppies – oil on canvas 1991(?) by Daz Lartist

I use the term ‘bad art’ to describe my paintings that have unintended (or subconsiously inserted) symbolism and/or just bad juxtaposition of motifs. Like I painted a giant clam in the background of a pretty horse – I was just thinking of a quick seascape behind the horse and now it it’s a text book Freudian slip but not anywhere as hilariously embarrassing as my killer whale painting (at least to me). On both on those paintings I simply wanted to paint the animal and then put a background with it – nothing was planned out – but after the animal was painted I then hurried the backgrounds without thinking much except ‘seascape’ and ‘desert island’ and then filled them in.

The cloud looks like a penis, the waves look like a vagina, the mountain looks like cleavage etc – man, I publicly displayed this without even seeing those things! Luckily I’m punk rock enough to not have some kind of serious artist rep to live up to!! I’m not embarrassed about erotic art or art that uses the modern interpretation of ‘irony’ but I am embarrassed that I didn’t see the blatant symbolism right in front of my face!! I don’t think it will warp a young mind or anything negative, in fact it is about creation and joy and all that good stuff, but there is still a part of me that says ‘dude, that is bad art’!

The Wayo by Daz Lartist (2016 gallery show)
The Wayo by Daz Lartist (2016 gallery show)

I am proud of the unintended fish shape that happened below the whale and while writing this I even noticed that the bottom right corner looks like a stretched out face (I wonder if it was put in Photoshop and ‘un-stretched’ who it would look like?? – quite frankly the thought is a little unsettling to think that my subconscious hid a secret story in my painting!! Sometimes you have to look closer at an artwork to get all the meanings but thankfully that is entirely optional!

At first glance you might not think that Lenny (the fat guy in the wife-beater t-shirt and sax strap) dancing with childish glee in the Sha Na Na concert song performance below is the greatest art performance in the world – but it is! I hope you find such joy in your life as Lenny did with his friends in Sha Na Na!

And one more important thing! One of the greatest moments of my life (other than seeing the Dead Milkmen live back before Punk Rock Girl made them ‘famous‘) was when I picked up their brand new album and found that they had shared my love of Sha Na Na in one of the greatest tribute songs ever!!!! So perfect in every way!!!

Why figure painting and sculpture is still relevant

“How can there be other without self?” – Alan Watts

By appreciating the other we can define the self and thus gain understanding – with understanding of the self we can then see the other more clearly.

Vive la différence. I am a male painter who often paints the female figure using the classical tradition of light and shadow. I am not interested in portraying our day to day reality (I know that women fart but I don’t have to make art about it). I am carrying on the Renaissance concept of ‘God made us – let’s celebrate the best about humanity and therefore we honor God’.

I didn’t care so much about drawing female humans at first – because I was terrible at drawing them. I wanted them to look as awesome as the illustrations in my childhood fairy tale books but found that drawing the alien and the grotesque is far far easier than drawing anything classically beautiful.

Allegory of enlightenment by Daz Lartist
Allegory of enlightenment by Daz Lartist

It took a long time for me to get my art to the point where I am happy with it but it was worth it. I may not work from a model like a classical painter (my method is far more of a synthesis like Paul Gauguin used rather than Vincent Van Gogh’s observational one) but it is fine art in the same fashion as my ancestors and it pleases me to have dedicated this life to following in their footsteps.

“You paint too fast” says Paul Gauguin to Vincent Van Gogh who then replies (in the brilliant movie Lust for Life) “You look too fast”!! Often art can creatively tell the truth better than mere documentary evidence ever could!

Just because we use the figure as subject matter here and now in 2017 doesn’t make the results less important in the gestalt of art history. When you make the figure the subject matter in your work you are adding to the glorious legacy of work that started thousands of years ago ! You are a peer to Praxiteles!! You could have discussed art over coffee with Cabanel and Courbet (and like anyone with an ounce of coolness in their soul, then dumped off Cabanel at L’Académie and painted the town red with Courbet all night haha)!!

You have a common language that transcends culture when you make the figure the  subject matter in your art. All détente starts with commonality. Sadly there are still cultures that cannot handle art with people in it – oh well can’t please everyone!

Some of my favorite figurative art comes from female artists. Look at the wonderful Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge by Mary Cassatt. We see the woman as one of the pretty flowers in the field, she’s not flirting or being coy she’s just showing her beauty because it is appropriate to do so.

Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge by Mary Cassatt
Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge by Mary Cassatt

A female painter starts from a different set of memories and feelings than males do about our common first love (our mothers) and by our second loves who are our sisters, aunts, grandmothers etc. Paternal love, brotherly love, the love of our peers and comrades also affects how we will see art with the figure in it of course but we all have a common first contact with the figure.

Sisters will have a different feeling about girls (competition perhaps) than someone like me who is an older brother and (naturally) feels protective to them. A parent will see a child in a different way than a person without children and a grandparent will have yet a different one on top of that. Obviously there are many variations of families and interactions that create each persons general view about our most basic archetypes of life and these all influence the work we do but how much of that you use is up to you.

Frank Frazetta paintings - Framed by Daz Lartist
I put my favorite Frank Frazetta paintings (from the covers of the paperback that I’ll probably never read)  in these frames – to me this is the archetype male – ok so Hollye makes me keep them in the garage but I could still kill zombies if i had to!

Another female painter that painted women and girls so well was Madame Vigée Le Brun. She, like Mary Cassatt, brought out the beauty in all her subjects, she painted to inspire and to make people happy.

 

Self portrait of Elisabeth Louise Vigee LeBrun and her daughter Julie
Self portrait of Elisabeth Louise Vigee LeBrun and her daughter Julie

Madame Vigée Le Brun was one of the painters in the court of Marie Antoinette if you want to have a general time frame for the life time when this was done.

The bather by Elisabeth Louise Vigee LeBrun
The bather by Elisabeth Louise Vigee LeBrun

You can (still) go to the link below for a website with tons of information and the lovely art of Elisabeth Louise Vigee LeBrun http://www.batguano.com/vigee.html

Her autobiography is also available for free in its entirety, and its worth a look! (I quoted some of it below)…

I will begin by speaking of my childhood, which is the symbol, so to say, of my whole life, since my love for painting declared itself in my earliest youth. I was sent to a boarding-school at the age of six, and remained there until I was eleven. During that time I scrawled on everything at all seasons; my copy-books, and even my schoolmates, I decorated with marginal drawings of heads, some full-face, others in profile; on the walls of the dormitory I drew faces and landscapes with coloured chalks. So it may easily be imagined how often I was condemned to bread and water. I made use of my leisure moments outdoors in tracing any figures on the ground that happened to come into my head. At seven or eight, I remember, I made a picture by lamplight of a man with a beard, which I have kept until this very day. When my father saw it he went into transports of joy, exclaiming, “You will be a painter, child, if ever there was one!”

I mention these facts to show what an inborn passion for the art I possessed. Nor has that passion ever diminished; it seems to me that it has even gone on growing with time, for to-day I feel under the spell of it as much as ever, and shall, I hope, until the hour of death. It is, indeed, to this divine passion that I owe, not only my fortune, but my felicity, because it has always been the means of bringing me together with the most delightful and most distinguished men and women in Europe. The recollection of all the notable people I have known often cheers me in times of solitude.

http://www.batguano.com/vlblsmemoirs.html

~I had the following below on a separate page but it is essentially the same theme as above so I will include it here – Daz~

I like to paint allegorical figures.

Allegory of Imaginative Dreaming by Daz lartist

I was asked by a fellow artist what my fascination with the female form in art is.

Im not sure I have any particular fascination beyond the traditional ones, appreciation of beauty, sexual interest, that feeling of protection, pride and potential we get from seeing mothers and children. It is an innate pro-human solidarity in a multiverse of creatures! I like organic lines and shapes and the emotions we get from faerie tales where we can live happily ever after if we just believe!

One of the most interesting things about being human is how multi-faceted our minds are and I enjoy the challenge of figuring out what pushes my buttons.

That exploration of psychology is another part of what I find interesting in art and the female figure is often the most complex motif to decypher. We all see the figure through the filter of our life experience.

Luckily my experience with females has been mostly positive, so my figures reflect those experiences in some positive way.

The main reason I paint the female figure though, is because it is a tradition in art, the ultimate motif to master and a challenge for me to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors.

I like the idea of using a female figure to represent an idea.

For example the concept of ‘truth’ has been traditionally represented by a nude female. Truth is probably the main allegorical figure I use, I see a truth and represent it. For example the truth being represented in this painting below is that girls often feel a need to spontaniously pose. Obviously there is a biological and sociological reason why females show themselves off, but more than that, it is art in the purest form.

fairy-painting-dazlartist
Moonbeam dancing girl painting by Daz Lartist

I was driving by the park near my home when I lived in New Jersey and there was a group of young people chatting , one of them happened to jump on a rock, make a momentary pose and then jump off. It was totally spontaneous and for one brief moment she was the star, her friends were the audience as was I. It was a moment of art that transcended the everyday and I wanted to pay homage to that moment in a painting. The other figures represent things too but it is obvious who is the center of attention!

A theatre group asked to use that art and they made the following!

What the Moon Saw Flyer - using Art by Daz Lartist
What the Moon Saw Flyer – using Art by Daz Lartist

 

Girl with Swirlifants by Daz Lartist
Girl with Swirlifants by Daz Lartist

How to paint – without stress of failure

Critterz - spontanious painting - oil on cardboard - Daz Lartist
Critterz – spontanious painting – oil on cardboard – Daz Lartist

If you do not want to read all this then you can listen on the youtube video I made (of me narrating this post)!

I’ve found that painting/writing with just the barest idea of what I want to manifest on the canvas/page allows for the most satisfying process and results. I do not like stress.

People often ask me to draw or paint them something and if it’s something I enjoy (and would draw or paint anyway) I don’t mind as long as they have no expectations, however, people also say “would you copy this photograph of this loved one so I could frame it and have a nice gift – I can pay you of course” to which I politely say NO (go pay a professional portraitist 10 times more- you’ll be much happier regardless of how good an artist I might be).

I do not ask my friend who is good with cars ‘you are an awesome shade-tree mechanic – it would mean much more to me to have you change the oil in my car than the garage down the street – I can pay you of course (the going price is about what I make an hour at my office job)’. I do not ask my friend who brings great cookies into work to ‘make me some of those awesome pumpkin bars – I’ll pay you (the couple of bucks I can buy similar items for in the gourmet section of the bakery on fancy-pants people street)’ – so why ask me to do something that I’m good at for you?

DO you even know what I like to paint or do you think that you are being friendly by acknowledging my identity as an artist and are playing your identity as a patron? I don’t care for the idea that my identity is subordinate to yours, no offense. God is a creator and that is a pretty good role model; I have a day job and I don’t care if I am subordinate to all the whinging clients and bosses – that isn’t my identity! My identity is how I have chosen with my free will to explore this life and you cannot change that!!

The Hound from Game of Thrones telling you to quit whinging!
The Hound from Game of Thrones telling you to quit whinging! I borrowed the pic from here.

Another statement, meant honestly but perceived less than politely that I have heard many times is “you could sell that” – to which I typically respond internally (depending on who said it) with a comment such as “you could sell those tits at the strip club” or  “you could sell your wife for a penny a go in the park after midnight“. You can’t buy my creativity with just a bunch of numbers in an account! I allow you to gift me large sums of sweet abundance according to your talents and means should you desire the fruits of my labor but it’s a case by case basis – my consciousness must be involved in the transaction!

Being forced (if only by your own expectations) to do a particular creative project that you have envisioned (exactly as you envisioned it) typically results in stress, writers block etc etc at least for me – my mind wanders as does my brush and unless the sum of bank notes offered for consideration will allow me more time to be an artist (aka dump my day job) then it’s just chump change.

As Alan Watts (the great 20th century bridge between Eastern and Western philosophies) said (in the entertaining and educational video below) and I paraphrase here ‘a lot of people think that the spontaneous -or completely natural life – is to act according to whim (but Zen is more like being ready for anything )‘. Bashar, another great speaker who’s mouth lives in the magical land of California, also states that being spontaneous is the key – as when you aren’t getting in your own way by ‘thinking’ then synchronicity (literally) opens the path up – if you aren’t expecting the path to look differently then you are open to see it when it appears – all you have to do is consciously choose to follow that path once it appears.

Most pain comes from unfulfilled expectations as Bashar stated – people regularly assume that the solution to a problem must come in a particular way (the way the brain has settled on as the ‘right’ way) but as we all know and experience often – there are often many paths to an effective and satisfying solution – just allow yourself to be open to more than just one of the possible solutions.

I do not claim to know the totality of the wisdom of Bashar and I am not even close to understanding the ways of Zen but I can tell you that I do not have stress when I paint and I am often delighted at the results of my spontaneity.

Many artists feel that they cannot gauge their worth without patronage. They will even throw their creative process out the window to mechanically mass produce work when given a gallery show with space to fill. Is it worth being in that rat race? How many thousands of dollars can you make from your local yearly or semi-annual ‘one man show’ to make a living on par with an office job?

When it comes to being an artist – I’ve been there and done that and yes, I know all about the ghettos that art websites almost immediately became on the internet when people realized they could make a few bucks there too. This is why many artists are ‘housewives’ (no offense intended with that word – if you have a wealthy and kind enough spouse so that you can make your art career without stress then you are winning in the best possible way).

Money for your work should always be a sprinkle on the icing on the cake – not the reason for making the cake – or you will be fighting for scraps (no offense intended). The crappy mainstream media has reduced fine art to how much it is worth in terms of money – or, if it is so famous, it can be labeled ‘priceless’ which means someone like me, a regular person with no silver spoon, would have to pay someone to see it. Of course something can be ‘priceless’ and still be put up for sale.

albertpinkhamryderfarmyard
“it was property formerly in the collection of…” If A.P.Ryder was so “mystical” why are you treating this like a used car? This artist is in the art history text books!!!! At least the comic strip Apt.3G gave A.P.Ryder a mystical tribute and the “Fifty Two Pieces” blog post about that (linked here) from 2009 explains that brilliantly!!

It’s insulting to me to just rank artists as a whole especially by the amount of money that some rich people (whom I label as a whole here ironically for purposes of illustration) have paid for those artists work (mostly because of some arbitrary investment potential that was often contrary to the spirit of the artist). Artists themselves, decades ago, understood the insanity of it all but even canning your feces like Piero Manzoni did results in ‘art’ that rich people buy  (instead of helping that homeless veteran or family etc). Who wants the shit-buyer crowd to be your patron anyway?

The allure of fame and fortune, even with its lottery winning odds of occurring is often what takes that child who is naturally creative to become an adult with the identity as an artist. All adult artists have to make a contract with their ego mind that tells them – is it worth it – will I starve and not be able to get laid and/or be loved? Being independently wealthy off your own work is the intellectually saner goal that many artists aspire to but often results in settling down to your art being a second day job where you schlock your wares like a fishmonger in the market – nothing wrong with that but it’s a job and who needs another one of those – talk about stress!

It’s stressful to build an identity as an artist – people are multi-faceted and typically members of a society that requires certain standards and conduct. Luckily we can dress like good old Vincent and be splattered in paint like Michelangelo and not draw attention these days but we cannot just choose to be like Paul Gauguin anymore – sure you can live and paint in Tahiti but you can’t fight the system to forge a new type of art and philosophy with oil paints any more.

You also don’t have to suffer to be a great artist by rejecting society or feeling that you will be selling out if you have a day job – just make your identity as an artist be one of your many facets – a favorite hat to wear when you get the chance. Just don’t be wishy-washy about it – have a passion for your beliefs! No whinging in art – it’s arbitrary! Just paint over it if you don’t like it and don’t set yourself up to fail – it’s not a race to be great!

In some ways, like Terrence Mckenna alluded to, history is running out (at least in terms of oil painting). We’ve mastered the realistic (500 years ago!!). We’ve mastered the emotional and sensual feeling from color field non-objective work (think you can do better than Rothko? – maybe, but you will always live in his shadow). We’ve mastered the surreal, the psychedelic, the erotic, the folky, the charming, etc etc – you name it and many many people can pull their veiny throbbing art meat out and it will be bigger than yours.

For oil painting this is the final chapter in the art history book- ‘having done every possible thing with oil paints on millions of canvases, walls and object d’art- artists finally settled into the realization that like explorers of old, someone had already been there’. Someone has probably already written on this theme before too haha!

Can you do better in your chosen style than the acknowledged masters? YES! For example in a way that (only by pure synchronicity or SEO) will any one of my readers understand – Mean Jeans write better Ramones songs than the Ramones (yes I know that is practically sacrilegious haha)!

My favorite Ramones style song was written by Bil Mcrackin of the Mcrackins. I am weird, oh yes, but why am I STILL (almost a decade later after I wrote my original blog post about it) the only person on the Earth who raves about the track “Belly Jean” (that apparently was only released on Coldfront Records “Music To Listen To Music By” sampler CD). It is still the only song in the world (I’ve searched for) that hasn’t made it onto Youtube (and I like some obscure punk rock stuff trust me!)

music-to-listen-to-music-by-belly-jeans-mcrackins
Music to listen to music by CD – long ago vanished unfortunately

“Shared my secret with a few of my friends, should have kept quiet cos they’re laughing again” Belly Jean by McRackins

In 2007-8 I did a Google search for “Belly jean” mcrackins and found two measly hits, one was the Amazon site for the CD that has Belly Jean by McRackins, Music To Listen To Music By (there was a sample of the song on Amazon back then but now it’s completely vanished). The other hit was my old art blog – trust me, this bothers me way more than being a flat Earth believer.

Belly Jean Mcrackins search 2007-8
Belly Jean Mcrackins search 2007-8

I had even written Bil McRackin, the guy/egg who wrote the song, and even he didn’t consider it a hit single, he remembered writing it and quoted the lyrics, and while he had a sense of pride about it he considered it ‘a rarity that didn’t make the cut for one of their regular albums but it might be included in a rarities CD one day‘.

“My Belly Jean she means the world to me, my Belly Jean if you could only see, could I be that lucky guy, you can’t say I never tried” Belly Jean by McRackins

I loved this song the moment I heard it, it has all the elements of a perfect pop-punk song including the 5 second guitar solo and catchy chorus, even la-la-las! Now it seems like a miracle I ever found the MP3 in the first place; I downloaded the MP3 randomly from Napster (back before it was illegal to do so).

“a ten pin bowling ball, she threw a strike like it was nothing at all..” Belly Jean by McRackins

Do you ever get that feeling that the world makes things just for you? Words cant really describe how grateful I am for this song, even if I am literally STILL the only person who has cared enough to write about it on the internet.

~have fun my friends! I love you all! Daz Lartist~