bits of paintings i did tonight to use in another project

'cause everything is more than one thing...

and your link for SEAA this evening: Rachael is making sweet paper dolls, with bonus: biographies! Fun and reasonable. You could adopt a whole tribe of these interesting characters.

Best. Mug. Ever.

One of the great joys in life is morning coffee. Even better when it's from a supremely sweet mug (and I'm no pottery snob, most any vehicle to carry the liquid will do, but really, one of these mugs elevates the experience)

Mine is quite similar to the one on the left (i'd take a picture of it, but don't have my cable handy and I'm too lazy to go find it).

Given to me as a generous thank you gift by Courtney of Courtney Martin Pottery. She probably has more, you could ask her. I bet it works well for tea, too...

The aforementioned links begin

Typically I'm prone to over-reaching on a lot of stuff I make. In the past year I've done several big productions that involved a good many people, or solo projects that required an enormous amount of work. Over the same time I've reached the conclusion that while the efforts generally end up being gratifying (assuming the come off ok and don't suck badly), in the middle and right after them I find them to be pretty demanding and the fun gets lost in the details. So I've become fairly conscious of scale. Now I think the pendulum is swinging the other way and I'm deliberately trying to make things (including posts) smaller and lighter. All that to say I'm tossing off my big planned "back with a vengeance" elaborate posting of people and places and links on the subject of socially and economically accessible art and will instead drop in a post with a link or two and not a lot of editorializing. Which I suspect anyone that is reading this post will find hard to believe, but I can do it and one has to start somehow...

Ok. first up, I've always been interested in zines as a great example of a DIY art form. The most basic of self publishing (include in that chapbooks, which to me seem to be a bit more involved and more expensive on the average and thus less accessible). So I've made some friends in the zine world (the recently mentioned Morgan Inez Smith, who by the way continues her run of exceptional offerings with her newest one, which has one of THE funniest and most accurate quotes I've ever read about the human condition, and which I'll blog separately once I get my new scanner) and as a result have become interested in the phenomenon of the "distro" which is a labor of love if there ever was one. So a distro is a clearinghouse for zines, a one stop place to find many titles, and the good distros review and interview and catalogue everything in detail. It's a lot of work for the possibility of moving an item that is in the range of a couple of dollars, and the few people I've contacted are SERIOUS about it and do it well. Impressive. Making a zine is one thing, running a distro a completely different thing, and apparently many distro owner/operators do both. Doubly impressive.

The first one I want to mention (my current personal favorite) is Learning To Leave A Paper Trail. The website alone is a piece of art. And this thing is maintained and operated by ONE person, who keeps it current and answers emails quickly, packages and ships orders fast. She also does EVERYTHING else which is quite a long list (you can read about it here. And even more amazing, at the moment she's doing it while she's in the process of moving! A true DIY'er doing it on a shoestring and in an incredibly professional manner. I should be so good at my job.

So that's it for tonight. I'm signing off, then I'm going to watch Robert Croma's latest and end the day with his jewel-like scenes in my head. You could do the same. Mr. Croma is my favorite video artist and has been very encouraging and supportive in my endeavors to become one myself, for which I am eternally grateful. It's safe to say that he along with Jan McLaughlin of the FauxPress have taught me more about digital media than all other sources combined over the last few years and I owe them a debt of gratitude. One day I hope to make them proud. They are both darn nice folks, and I had the great pleasure of meeting Jan and spending a delightful evening with her early in the spring when I went to NYC to recharge my batteries.

And you, dear reader(s) have just received a 3 for 1 link extravaganza, courtesy of my tendency to run on...

PSA #247: On Affordable Art

I firmly believe art and craft should be socially and economically accessible. That would actually benefit makers and viewers/users. So I've been delving into the arena of alternative and DIY art and handcrafted stuff lately, both as a maker and consumer.

There's lot of talented people out there making a lot of intellectually stimulating, fun, provocative, thoughtful, beautiful and whimsical stuff. Good for them. Good for US. Contemplating jumping into the I have the chops? We'll see.

In bit I'm gonna give you guys some links to look at and some contact info. Consider this a teaser. And also a placeholder as I'm temporarily disabled from scanning stuff that would make this posting much more interesting and colorful. Add to that the fact that I have to dash off to the day job, after walking the wonderdog on this first really fall morning. Yes, fall is most definitely here in the hills, and early too. Very cool and breezy this morning, and the leaves coming off the trees before the color really set in. An early winter, maybe. The thought of which has prompted a flurry of wood gathering/splitting/stacking.

Stay tuned. The follow-up to this post will be worth waiting for.

Eyes blinking like a mole...

I had an unexpected note from a teacher/mentor friend the other day, she being confined to her sofa for 8 weeks following one of those bizarre mishaps that can only happen in real life (broken leg from a dog walking incident). I have great regard for this person and her partner as artists and people, so it was nice to hear from her. She had come across a couple of my videos and was sending a "hi, how are you?" note. In the body of my reply, I wrote something that startled me to read: "I think I'm just emerging from the dark side of the moon..."

Which I am chagrined to say feels pretty accurate. The thing that bakes my noodle is that I'm not really sure how I got there to start with, or quite what to do now that I'm sort of peeking around the other side. At the moment (quiet, morning coffee, grey day and steady rain) I'm thinking it's a result of various combinations of speed, trajectory, circumstance and a collection of uncertainties. It definitely wasn't intentional, and for the most part, not desirable.

Not being certain or secure of my place in space is a fairly common feeling for me and I'm used to it. I've never been quite sure how to resolve that, or what to do with it. Now I have inklings (nothing more, yet) that maybe there's something there to work with, a point of departure if you will. I have a random set of skills and a wide range of interests and surely there's some connections to be made between them which will lead to some organic assemblage that makes some kind of sense. In turn maybe that will result in some illumination, definition, and clarity. For the moment whatever light there is causes me to blink in confusion, and wish for a cool pair of Wayfarers to wear.

For a while, I've been pondering questions of speed and scale, ideas of containment and expansion, and definitions of success, contentment, and satisfaction. I also seem to be hyper-conscious of points and purposes. Of course it's a meandering path through all this, no conclusions have been reached, and a lot of flotsam and jetsam is being created along the way. I firmly believe objects are artifacts of experiences, and muddling around and making things is one of the ways I communicate to myself the world at large should anyone be interested. Mostly, it'd just me trying to get stuff out of my head and into the light of day. There does seem to be a lot of fits and starts and dead ends and revisiting, but I never claimed to be very efficient.

As I said in the last video installation I made: I'm not trying to make great art here, I'm just trying to figure stuff out.

Maybe a little more light will make it easier to see...

This is brilliant!

Everything is more than one thing...

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

(from Mikaelah's blog)

Celebrating the mundane...

the ubiquitous pint-sized mason jar:

Recently emptied of my mom's pickled beets (which are the best in the whole world!)

More recently (in the past hour or so) filled with and consumed (in order):

ice water
amber lager
an industrial strength g&t

Mason Jar? I salute you! You are perfect in your utilitarianism, and graceful in your timeless style.