Sisyphean Home

Sis·y·phe·an      adjective
  1. A pointless labored task that is fated to be eternally repeated.

This is my personal monkey paw. 7 years of holding on to this one. 7 years of pushing this boulder back up the hill every morning. I can’t stop until I can convince someone else to take up the task and hold the paw.

Until then, it’s my home away from home…

(In a very strange way, I kind of enjoy the pride of keeping this field up and ready.) 


The Haptic Choice 

Color is the seducer… Form frames the experience… Representation brings meaning.

The visual artist is individual who comes preloaded with a notable predilection to objective reality, who’s primary rational for their effort is the representation of the world as it is.

The craftsman, an individual who finds their self worth in demonstrations of their ability of unifying skill, utility, and form.

For the haptic artist, the experience of the artist takes precedence over the artist’s devotion to the subject. For these artists, reality is put through their own personal subjective filters.

Generally speaking, artists were believed to be self selective in these matters, drifting towards one end of the spectrum or the other solely at the whim of their own personality. At times, sofisticates would believe that skilled mememic representation trumped the playful massing of line and color, and other times the pendulum of consensus would swing in favor of the other. It was tha just that. It was black or white, one or the other. Craft wasn’t even a noted choice.

Things always change, even when no one in authority has asked for change. Artists have long shed their reluctance to mix their objective realities with their subjective experiences. Even the mixing of fine art and craft has became gentrified.

I’m very aware of where I stand on the issue. I’m easily bored by the skill for skills sake approach of both academic realism and formalized craft. Too often, the adherence to a standard or an ideal results in an object’s creation that is absent of any dither, there’s no looseness or play in the finished object.

I prefer the vocabulary of the haptic artist. A language that gives preference to feeling rather than precision. The feeling created by balance. The feeling created by color. By line. By rhythm. By harmony and discord. I willingly talk about a world that exists, but not as it appears. I dream that it is more than that. I believe the world exists in poetry.

The limits of a person’s language are the limits of a person’s world.

Closing My Eyes

I regularly catch myself making snarky comments about not being an artist. It’s not that I “am” this or that I’m “not” that, rather it’s that as a child, the artist that I wanted to be wasn’t someone who just needed to make things and draw pictures, everyone did that. An artist was someone who invented new ways of seeing what’s familiar. An artist opens up spaces to discover ourselves. An artist slows us down. An artist teaches by sharing.

There was only one example of what an artist looked like in the world in grew up in. It was a ghost of a past woodshop teacher named Grant Wood. He was a craftsman and a teacher. A man of ideas and art. Everything in his paintings and prints was familiar and comfortable. His work permeated the neighborhood I grew up in. Original paintings were left on school walls, his carved benches hidden in hallways, murals tucked away in long forgotten rooms, light filtering through glowing cathedral windows. I knew what an artist was and what an artist did.

I am not an artist… but I do enjoy closing my eyes and pretending. It’s not a tough call.

Rationale of Age

One of the unexpected joys that’s come along with getting older is that I’ve embraced the view that it’s less complicated and much more interesting to allow myself to relax into my own opinions, tastes, and judgments concerning the work that I’m making rather than looking for affirmation from others by coaxing myself into conforming to someone else’s aesthetics.

I’m obviously rationalizing my decision making after the fact.

Just Walk Away

Just walk away. Find the work with new fresh eyes. Eyes that aren’t clouded with expectations and dissatisfaction. Comparing work with the daydream that originally fueled the process can be counter productive. It appears that discovering the work for what it IS rather than what it IS NOT is challenging. It takes practice to learn to forget a work and it’s original intent once it’s been made, finding a new way to experience it. Discovery at a distance becomes relational. The space between can be felt, a treasure hunt of emotional triggers and tools of transformation. Let go and enjoy the depth and beauty of the world that’s been created. Enjoy what is found. Enjoy what’s been made expressly for you.

Spring Swallow 2018 (backside)