JUL 14 2013

I am in the process of cleaning up around the house and, as in all clean-ups, am finding things I haven't seen in a while. Today I found a CD and press release with promo photos.

Years ago when I was the manager of a custom frame shop here in Austin, one of my employees came in one day saying that he'd seen a CD in a local music store with cover art that looked a lot like mine. Over the years, I had heard this kind of remark before regarding art folks had seen somewhere, so I thought very little of it.

A little while later, I was at a local music store and I found what I figured my employee had. And it WAS one of my pieces after all. One done in the mid-80's. This was happening in the mid-90's, so around a decade had passed since I'd last shown any of my work around town.

I called up the # on the back of the CD and told them that that was my painting on their CD cover. Anyway, it seems the leader of the band had purchased the piece at a yard sale near the University of Texas and no one could make out my signature. At that time, I signed my pieces in permanent marker using my whole name (including JR) and did so in cursive.

I never got a penny out of the deal, but I was invited down to the studio for a day so I could watch them work. I also received a press release and a free CD. I could tell it was a low-budget studio and I was probably more potential liability than anything else, but I had a good time that day and showed them several other pieces from the same time period to prove my authorship.

Today, on a whim I put Argument Clinic Music in a search engine and found that the same CD, with my cover art, is still on sale at Amazon. Ha. Hard to believe. :)

JUL 14 2013

I thought I might clarify yet another point that, on Artwanted, seems a bit vague at present. In the old days at Artwanted you got 'points' for making lots and lots of comments about your fellow AW artists' work. Because of this, many of us got higher ratings, especially those of us who pose no threat of controversy or the suggestion of 'bad taste.' whatever the hell that is in the 21st Century. That usually meant, to me at least, the elevation of the mediocre and the almost guaranteed demotion of anyone trying to work the least bit different, progressive, etc.

So now we come to the point of my blog entry. Nowadays, between work and artwork, I do not have a lot of 'free' time to browse the art here. When I take the time and see a piece that stands out amongst the daily uploads, I comment. If the work does not interest me in the least, or I feel I couldn't in good conscience say anything complimentary, I ignore it and move on. I mean, seriously folks, is a cute photo of a dog and/or child ART? You may think that, but I have no choice but to say, "No comment." ;)

I also hasten to add that just because I comment on your work does not automatically mean you must jump over to my galleries and leave a similar comment. I mean, most comments here could be made into a rubber stamp, don't you think? That means I do not leave a remark merely as a way to receive more on my work. Some folks may very well do that, I do not.

It has become increasingly apparent that we have so many 'artists' here that one cannot see the forest for the trees anymore. I mean 'art' that was uploaded on a free account ten plus years ago is still here even though the artiste has long since lost interest. I don't know about you, but I think a policy of deleting abandoned accounts after an extended period of inactivity would benefit those of us actively pursuing our art and uploading regularly to our AW galleries. This would be limited to the 'free' accounts, I would think. Opinions anyone?

Anyway, if you misconstrue a remark of mine, or take anything I write as personally distasteful, I am afraid you have misinterpreted me to the fullest extent of wrongheadedness. ;) As I said earlier, I am selective and only comment on work that grabs me in some visceral way. So there, I hope I have made my point clearly and succinctly.

JUN 21 2013

I've been on a nostalgia kick lately. Honestly, I've been on vacation for almost two weeks and have had a lot more time with my own contiguous thoughts than I usually do. :)

I was recollecting when I studied with Gustav Likan in the early 80's. He had seen some of my work at an art supply store's gallery and invited me to sit in on some of his lessons. I don't recollect exactly how many of these I sat in on, but I remember going to his great house a few times for parties and/or a meal, then we drifted apart. I think our bond was temporary primarily because we disagreed on what we thought art's ultimate goal was. He thought it had something to do with beauty and I thought it had more to do with personal expression and intellectual awakening. I also didn't like his then habit of blending acrylic and oils in a way that I thought would eventual degrade.

Being the young guy, I didn't make my argument too vocal, just in my art where I could be uncompromising and completely open. Likan had a decidedly European edge and was, to my eye and mind, decidedly 'old school' in his choice of subject matter and technique. Of course, he was many years my senior and an adult when WWII began in Europe, so this is understandable.

I still believe that the only way for art to evolve is for the artist to evolve as well. I didn't think Likan ultimately added much to art's vocabulary, though there are those who would most assuredly disagree with me there. Especially those still trying to sell his work. ;)

You go to most galleries and you see the same old same old. In many ways that means, as a contemporary artist, you must perfect your technique to such an extent that you blend most of your personality away in the process. I guess I am naïve in this regard, but I think when you view a work, you should see the artist first and the art second. The artist should be immediately recognizable from the get-go and THEN the viewer starts to take in the piece. Of course, most American viewers don't take IN anything much. We are a decidedly uncultured collective and love to say such things as, "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like." If you don't know much about art how do you KNOW what you like? ;)

Anyway, I don't mean to stir up a hornet's nest or anything, but this was on my mind and I decided to share it. So here it is in unadulterated form, much like my work itself.

JUN 08 2013

So I found a sketch page from last Fall of 2012. It had gotten buried in a pile and I just found it again. I haven't used any of the images as a springboard but there are a couple that do have possibilities.

It's interesting what little sketches out of a batch I eventually use and what I discard. I think it has to do with progression, whether an image is, to my mind, the same old-same-old, or has something different or new to add. Sometimes the sketch and the next incarnation are not exactly the same, but that's OK too. At least I felt it initially interesting enough to springboard into a piece. If I'm not engaged by the image from the get-go, it usually finishes still-born, or I discard it unfinished.

Addendum: Here it is mid-November of 2014 and it looks as though I've used as many of 6 of this sketches in other pieces.

MAY 28 2013

Yet another peek into my process. I probably should upload to the blog area a sheet of total throwaways, but I'm pretty sure I've already done that---throw 'em away. :)

Sometimes I wonder where the imagery comes from and what it might mean. Sometimes I feel that doesn't matter so long as I am totally absorbed in the piece at the time. I've had pieces that were initially mysteries to me become something like self-revelations after some time.

In the early days I would start a piece with no idea whatsoever and hope for something to magically materialize in process. Sometimes something DID indeed manifest itself, but by-and-large I was ultimately dissatisfied with the end result, so I began the one-minute sketch means to a hopefully more positive end.

If you look through the one-minute sketch sheet, you'll see the beginnings of what eventually became 'Three Invalids.' Two of the figures made it to the color piece pretty much as they were in the original sketch, but one had wings and a pot added. :) Centrally located, you see the original sketch for what became 'King Missile.'

MAY 25 2013

I have mentioned previously that to jump-start some of my imagery I fill up a sheet of drawing paper with what I call one-minute sketches. I try to do these as non-analytic as possible: "Just draw," I tell my brain.

Sometimes I get some great ideas and sometimes it's all rubbish, but it's the way I like to get my imagery. So to demonstrate this, I'm uploading a sheet of one-minute sketches I did a month or so back. You should see a few sketches that have been revamped with color and uploaded here. And one that I've reworked but haven't uploaded as yet. You guess which one that might be. :)

MAY 24 2013

Last night I pulled the plug on my old website since Yahoo and AT&T are about to split up their old alliance and I hadn't been updating it anyway. It was costing me many times what my AW account does and it was just wrong to keep it if I wasn't going to DO anything with it. So I'll be thinking about a 'new' website when and if I feel it would actually do me some good.

If you click on My Website you now go to my Redbubble profile which I started a little less than a year ago. It has pieces that I have here, but I felt it better to have 'something' happen when you click there than nothing. :)

So I have killed my newspaper delivery and my old website accounts a month or two apart. That must be saying something about either me or the time in which we live---or both.

MAY 19 2013

The piece I uploaded late last night, as I mentioned in my very brief description, is a re-visitation of a previous idea/theme. You see, my view of mankind is that, as a race, we are still very much in a state of adolescence: we have yet to mature. That view manifests itself on a pretty continual basis in my work, be it verbal or visual. Since we are still in a state of becoming, as it were, our final form has yet to show itself. I create beings that are not quite human and not quite whole, maybe mingled with other species, or no known species at all.

My first sketches for 'The Misbegotten' were done in mid 1995 on the back of a piece of mat board. It was not until 2002 that I took up brush and painted an acrylic version of this idea. That painting is in my 2001-2002 sub-gallery, BTW.

Several years later I did a clay piece of this idea as well, so you can see that this idea has been around though evolving for quite some time. I probably should upload a pic of that clay piece soon, to give you some idea of how the image has been modified over time. :)

MAY 06 2013

I thought some of you would like to see the preliminary sketch for '2nd Birth.' I did a quick sketch earlier in the day and then worked on the piece itself that evening.

The winged moustache was an after-thought, BTW, as evidenced by the chaos in that region and the note to myself in the upper lefthand corner.

MAY 06 2013

The second weekend of the West Austin Studio Tour went by very much like the first one did. Clumps of folks both days. This weekend's weather could not have been better---high around 80 with a nice cool breeze. It was unseasonable for us, but very welcome as well.

I'm thinking that musicians like my work, maybe 'get' my work, on average. I had the musical group, Justif, on Sunday have really nice things to say. One of them mentioned my having poster-sized prints made up of some of my images. Not a bad idea--if I had some idea of how many folks would like an image versus cost to produce same. I will have to cogitate on this a bit more. Right now, all I've done is pick 6 images, trim them a bit, and hand them to Mr. Luna, the photographer. He's going to have 4 pair of earrings made for each pic, but he won't be going to Mexico until late May and won't be back until some time late June, if I understood him correctly.

The Austin Visual Arts Association doesn't have anything scheduled again until the group show in September, so I need to find some way to keep the ball rolling during the dry spell. I'm looking into the billboard competition and the Austin City Hall annual exhibit but those are rather specialized and a few months away also.