Good ideas don’t come on time. Every artist knows that.
My good idea was to make custom-designed t-shirts for each of my eleven nieces and nephews. I designed logos for fictional businesses/places (all but one used their name in the design). The designs were inspired by their interests and the color schemes incorporated their favorite hues.
The good idea arrived too late to make it to Christmas on time. Since, COVID prevented me from going home to Chicago for the holidays, I decided to take my time and do it right. Therefore, they became belated Christmas gifts from Uncle Brett.
I’m already thinking about new ideas. Perhaps I started a new tradition.
As an educator, this is considered a proud papa moment. Eight of my submissions we selected for inclusion in our virtual exhibition. I am thrilled to have some of my student’s classwork included among the strongest made at the Kennesaw State University foundation arts program this semester.
Click on the link to see the Special 2020 Foundations Exhibiton.
How many of you are vacillating between feeling numb and full of rage with little to no buffer between the extremes??? My anxiety makes me revolve pretty damn fast on a normal day. These days it feels like mental whiplash.
The George W. Bush presidency made me upset enough to generate creative energy and be very productive. Trump, that asshole, is jamming me!!! That said, I keep fighting, kicking my own ass toward creative progress. The things I’m interested in most and have been making work about for years are still very real and present (cultural hypocrisy etc.). Unfortunately for me, Trump sucks all the air out of the room and my non-Trump ideas get buried. Therefore, I’m running with that at the moment. The numb rage of living through these days makes me make art specifically about this time.
Numb Rage – I’ll have to use that for a title of a new piece of art. Alright, here we go. Let it flow.
One way or another, like it or not, LIES and the need to ignore or investigate them play an ever-increasing role in our lives.
The LIES brand is not a reaction. It’s a response. This is my universal response to contemporary culture. Supporting the LIES brand is an acknowledgment that truth is in question at every moment about every subject. Yes, some LIES can be harmless and benign. More often LIES create deception as a means of manipulation. Over time, LIES become the institution. LIES are the tradition.
LIES continuously surround us. There will always be LIES, especially when loyalty above all else is the demand. Loyalty leads to LIES. What LIES have you believed today? What LIES have you repeated today? What LIES have you unknowingly spread? What LIES will you loyally support or perpetrate? What LIES will you doubt? What LIES will you destroy?
The LIES brand is a direct statement about the political and consumer culture we inhabit today. In our political culture, facts are continuously manipulated beyond recognition. In our consumer culture, manipulated facts are widely accepted and commonplace. Brand loyalty is what matters most.
Loyalty above all else will result in LIES of one kind or another.
At the moment I have shirts (2 colors), stickers (2 variations), and posters (8 different versions) for sale. Get yours today and tell your friends. Spread LIES.
“An artist has an obligation to be en route, to be going somewhere. There’s a journey involved here. You don’t know where it is and that’s the fun. You’re always gonna be seeking, looking and going, trying to challenge yourself.”
Probably because I’m an artist, but my first instinct here is to think that the person behind it is not a racist at all. Instead, they’re making a subversive statement about racism itself and our visceral responses to it.
It made you look, it made you think. That my friends…is why art kicks ass, regardless of what your emotional reaction may be.
Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 2
I’m surprised at how many people have NOT heard this song. Kids! Give it a spin! Adults, revisit this song and it’s message. It’s sounds like 2020 doesn’t it? We’re living through the Cult Of Ugly Personality.
I plan to make more Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (ARE) posts here on this blog and more posts about other topics in general. Things I might normally post to Facebook. Hopefully I will live up to this proclamation. My mixed feelings about Facebook have helped me come to this conclusion. Post more of what I want on my own blog and post the links to that on Facebook instead of directly posting there.
My next post will be the first of many “song of the day” type of posts. There’s no agenda to these songs, just things I encounter within the soundtrack of my daily life.
Earlier this month John Baldessari passed away. In my opinion, one of the greatest artists of all time. Most definitely a BIG inspiration to me. One of the few that opened my eyes like no other. For that, he was always a favorite. Rest in conceptual peace, Mr. Baldessari.
I was working on class preparations in my studio this morning when I noticed the sunlight highlighting a section of a collage I made many years ago. Robert Mitchum from The Night of the Hunter. There it is. Another valuable nugget from the mine. Something I can use, right now.
Sometimes it’s right in front of you. An idea. Sometimes it’s staring right at you. Not waiting to be seen, waiting to be revealed and placed in the hands of the creative process.
Adjunct life continues. This week I begin teaching at Kennesaw State University, located in suburban Atlanta. As you can see in the picture below, my collection of photo identification continues to grow. That’s the good news. The bad news is this. My classes at Georgia Gwinnett College this semester were cancelled. I was informed of this less than two days before the first scheduled class. So two thirds of my teaching income evaporated within a second. This unfortunate chain of events is further proof that nothing good can happen without something bad also happening.
That’s the way it goes. I understand that. It’s happened to me before, it’ll happen again. That’s the adjunct life. Trust me, it’s filled with all kinds of bullshit you wouldn’t want to deal with. It’s the new normal for many educators.
In a moment of synchronicity, I received this message from a friend in Louisville while writing this post. She also happens to be an adjunct educator. Her message wasn’t good news. She wrote “they canceled my class today and didn’t even notify me. I did my syllabus that was due yesterday and had it all turned in.” When my classes were cancelled a few days ago, it felt like I received a gut punch. I cannot imagine how awful I would feel if, like my friend, I wasn’t even notified. It goes to show, no matter how bad it is for you, another adjunct out there has it worse. Why aren’t these institutions compelled to be professional? If you’re an educator, teaching professionalism is a component of your lessons. However, you’re often not treated as a professional by those that entrust you to teach that very thing to students.
Universities are often replacing retiring teachers with adjunct faculty, so things are never going back to the way they were. For the most part this has a big negative effect on education overall. First and foremost the relationship between professor and student is being blown to pieces. Think back to your best college classes. More than likely you formed a bond with the professor and the other engaged students. That professor/student relationship is nearly impossible to form when you’re an underpaid adjunct scrambling all over town to work multiple part time gigs. In this equation, the educator loses out on the most rewarding part of the profession. The student loses too.
The new classroom relationship is becoming blatantly transactional. A fellow educator friend of mine made a poignant observation of this academic devolution. He said this type of classroom culture means educators are now treated like glorified vending machines. Unfortunately, this type of transaction produces little to no critical analysis. This is just one of the many unintended consequences of this dynamic. I could go on about it further but I’ll save it for another post. The bottom line is that education is being devalued in every way. This has created a terrible chain reaction of additional problems.
Shit treatment of our educators (at all levels) has to stop.
Not quite, but it is my biggest goal of the year. Find clarity in my life and walk toward it with greater focus and discipline. In many ways I am at a breaking point. I actually feel fine about most of it too. I feel I am at a pivotal moment in regard to many things in my life. My relationship with myself, my health and my identity itself are all sitting at the crossroads while I figure it out. Where to go? What to do? How to do it? I can feel the stress. Too often, I paralyze myself under the weight of the pressure. I need to recapture the fearlessness it took to pursue this life in the first place.
There I things within me I do want to break and rebuild. Let’s go 2020. Give me clarity. I am open.
Here are some images from my exhibition last month. Thank you to Glynn Visual Arts in St. Simons Island, GA. All work is available for sale. Reach out to me if you are interested in buying or commissioning artwork.