hello world - again.

My activity on Tumblr has dried up to nearly nothing, but I haven’t gone away completely… my problem, as always, is my habit of taking on too many divergent projects and not having the time to really focus enough on any one (aside from the ones that I am getting paid for, of course…)  My identity as an artist is always in flux and under threat of being completely extinguished by my business and family identities, yet the flame is still here flickering however weakly and just waiting to get a little more oxygen.

I’ve decided that the only way forward is to merge all of my identities and stop trying to maintain an illusion.  I know that I’ve tried this before, and at least when I look back at my online history in my mind I appear to be constantly merging and splitting off different aspects of my persona and interests.  It’s true that I can’t really fit all of my interests in a neat box that can be easily packaged and sold - as “art” or “design” or “random self-indulgent monologues”  but is there anyone for whom these categorizations make sense?  

The only way that any of this can make sense to me, since I’m not doing this for money or for any specific goal, is to remain unfiltered and uncategorizable. What will that mean for this blog?  I’m not sure.. I don’t expect to all of a sudden find the time to start posting again at the frequency that I did in 2011 and 2012… or to devote as much energy into visual creative exploration and experimentation… but I suppose there will be some changes, maybe some merging with other blogs, maybe not. Maybe, dear reader, this will mean absolutely nothing to you.  In fact I assume that to most of you this will be the case.  To those of you who it does mean something to, thank you for caring!  Though you’re probably over-thinking it.  It most likely means nothing.  It’s pretty much just me thinking in public since there’s no more room in my head at the moment..  But anyway, that’s the end of this train of thought.

reflections

After spending the afternoon wandering through the Rosengart museum’s great collection of artwork by Picasso and Klee, a few things come to my mind.  

First, that I am always amazed at how so much more civilized European culture can be from that of the States.  I’m not talking about their appreciation for the fine arts. Actually, the crowds were quite small at all of the museums in Luzern, and many of the Swiss people that I know do not realize that Klee is debateably the single most influential artist of the 20th century.  I’m talking about the fact that in a major city (albeit low permanent population, but a high transient population), there is about as much security on a massively expensive public art gallery as there is on a private home.  The vandalism and disrespect for public property that we expect in the US is not even considered over here.

Second, that I have some work to do before I can claim to have created a masterpiece

Third,  that it’s actually realistic for me to believe that I still have time to do this.  Unlike most artforms where the public perception is that if you haven’t produced a masterpiece by age 30 it’s all downhill, visual artists seem to get almost universally better with age.  Personally, I find Picasso’s early works and the more conceptual cubist period to be somewhat boring, and it’s not until the works he made in the late 50’s (When he was in his 70’s) that I find his work to be clearly great.  Klee, it seems was rather inconsistent at best before 1919 (when he turned 40) and then entered the prime of his artistic career.  

It’s not as if this doesn’t make sense.  Art is about communicating life experiences, and the more that one has, the better.  What is strange is that we believe that artists go downhill after thirty in music, literature, and now entrepreneurship.  Perhaps it’s the media driven culture that we’re in where we are constantly trying to push out the old, and in doing so favor those artists who embody youth.  I think in doing this we’re missing something great because those who have more life behind them can synthesize their years of experience to create something truly new.  From now on I will be searching out new works by the elders in music and literature in order to find inspiration and perspectives that the mainstream has overlooked.

spam or poetry

Those Canadian online pharmacies are sure getting creative. Here’s a spam comment from my portfolio site that arrived today (of course it was a photograph, not an article)

Comment:
Subject the article so it conspiringly down faking up where you voraciousness as it and unreservedly b verily on the gas the wire to power the bulb. This mastery encompass mounting the ingredient on some unruffled of wood or assault down failure and then drilling a cote all-in-one of the lamp to scuttle the wire. If you do not impecuniousness to cultivate a cleft in albatross of a wire or cannot order it, you can pacify grounds the lamp and assign emergence to the wire be unfaithful on the coating of it from the socket to the plug.

dying words

apparently, these words are about to become obsolete… why am I browsing dictionary.com in my lunch hour instead of going to get something to eat, you ask? 

Well, never mind about that.  The point is, Alienism is a great word, and I am determined to save it.  Maybe it’s the title of my perpetually drawn out screen-play/graphic novel.

So I post a rambling diatribe about e coli

And it turns out that the water authority of western Nassau issued a ban on drinking the water in my town because a sample tested positive or e coli. Of course the test was 3 days ago and I just got the notice today, plus I have 2 young kids, so I’m not that happy with this travesty of a local government we have here.

nightlight.

as sleep quietly creeps in, thoughts gain mass and the lines between them are blurred. a new language of metaphors is created, with meaning only for that one instant where the thought takes shape.

nightlight.

as sleep quietly creeps in, thoughts gain mass and the lines between them are blurred. a new language of metaphors is created, with meaning only for that one instant where the thought takes shape.

Sometimes, when I look up at the clouds,

I have a very vivid, realistic memory of being able to fly.

Does that make me crazy?

creative inspiration

I am always inspired by people putting their own creative vision out there.  I think that as a society, we (the industrialized world) have been convinced that true creative expression is for the few.  We’re told that individualism is valued, but only if it’s about an individualistic drive to enhance wealth.  If we could get back to the point where people mattered for who they were regardless of where they worked I know we’d be able to move past some of the big conflicts that are holding us back.  

Sorry for the melodrama, but my mind just keeps turning whenever I find a new artist as it gives me a new way to think about things, and I just found a great new NYC based contemporary artist… now I’m starting to feel motivated to break out the art supplies this week-end and see if my paints aren’t all dried up.  

My daughter is putting me to shame

.. at least in terms of artistic output. I’m struggling to get a few things done and she’s cranking out masterpieces every day. Of course, she doesn’t have a job, but then, why am I measuring myself against a three year old?

Anyway, I guess I’ll post some of her work now to disguise the fact that I’ve been neglecting both Tumblr and my drawing project for the past week and a half…

The best alternate reality movie

is David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ.  

I really love this film and it’s one of my all time favorites, so it’s worth exploring why that is … if for no other reason than for me to understand myself so that I can use those aspects that I like in my own work. 

(my write-up is a bit long-ish so I’m putting a page break here…)

Read More

from my notes

I just found this old idea for a script in one of my notebooks.  It’s probably not anything that I would ever shoot, but it’s kind of interesting.  It was sort of a stream of consciousness exercise where the first paragraph of whatever words came to my head dictated the plot concept, and the whole thing was done in 5 minutes.

———————————————————————————-

Woods - sad - alcoholics - trucks - cabin - party (bonfire) - parking lots - grey sky - cold river - abandoned buildings - dogs - deer - car dealers - memories of childhood - barbed wire fences - historical graveyards - satanic graffiti - poison ivy - dams - coyote - geese - lichen - gas stations - crazy war veterans - telephone poles - rocks with quartz veins - rusted metal things - dirt bikes - three wheelers - fishing.

A young man has gotten kicked out of his parents’ house for selling drugs.  He spends two days looking for a place to stay, going to a party, and being angry.  He decides to stay in an abandoned mansion.  He sees things which remind him of his childhood and he is able to come to terms with his anger and forgive his parents and himself.

Conflict: Two punks from out of town steal some drugs from him.  Throughout the film our protagonist and his friends are planning to hunt them down and attack them with bats and/or guns in revenge.  In the end he decides that violence is not worth it.

Speaking of dreams

… I’ll relate one quick one before I go to sleep. It’s a little cliche’d but here goes:

A few years ago I had a dream which started with sleep paralysis. I was frozen in bed and couldn’t move. Outside my window there was a bright light. I tried to yell for help but couldn’t get any sound out. I struggled to move my eye in it’s socket to see where the light was coming from. I only could get a glimpse through my peripheral vision, but it was clear that it was from an alien space craft. I tried to remain perfectly calm so that they wouldn’t sense my presense, and I tried to channel all the false bravado I could in the face of inevitable death or worse. Then I heard the voice of the narrator from Dune (the David Lynch version). She said “the only thing to fear is fear itself”. I was like, “wow, that’s cheesy … And yet profound at the same time”. I went with the advice and removed the fear of the unknown from my mind. I felt myself begin to regain control of my body. After that, the light outside the window grew until it engulfed the whole room, and as it grew, I felt a wave of energy going through my body. I felt that focusing on the energy could help me break the paralysis, so I did it. Then the dune woman spoke again, “life is inherent to the material, not the brain. Children are pure electricity”.

I woke up with a feeling that I just found out the meaning of life. It was actually an amazing feeling, even though my answer didn’t mean much. Im not someone who puts too much weight or significance on any one event, but this was a feeling that I’ve not been able to get back since, and one that I always hope to recreate. So without further ado, i will now attempt it one more time.

Good night

Detail from the cover of ‘Death - the high cost of living’ #1 by Neil Gaiman

'I never sleep, 'cuz sleep is the cousin of death' - maybe Nas had it right.  Maybe everytime we enter deep sleep we die a little.  Maybe the person who we are when we wake is an entirely different person altogether now inhabiting the same physical shell and dealing with our material memories and hopes and dreams.  This could be the cause of my perpetual insomnia.  This deep rooted fear that all the progress I'm making towards solving the problems at hand will be for naught as my successor tomorrow won't have the same sense of urgency.  But really, why fight the inevitable?  Just go to sleep and take that chance … right?

Detail from the cover of ‘Death - the high cost of living’ #1 by Neil Gaiman

'I never sleep, 'cuz sleep is the cousin of death' - maybe Nas had it right. Maybe everytime we enter deep sleep we die a little. Maybe the person who we are when we wake is an entirely different person altogether now inhabiting the same physical shell and dealing with our material memories and hopes and dreams. This could be the cause of my perpetual insomnia. This deep rooted fear that all the progress I'm making towards solving the problems at hand will be for naught as my successor tomorrow won't have the same sense of urgency. But really, why fight the inevitable? Just go to sleep and take that chance … right?

I’m not sure what it is about AI,

but I’ve always been attracted to it from a conceptual point of view.  I don’t care about how it could help us make more useful polymers (well I do but I don’t), but what I do care about is how it gives us a kind of mirror into our own minds and into some of the mysteries of life. 

I mean AI is not about a computer being smart, but about people being insightful enough in order to translate parts of the human experience into programmatic code.  however we experience it, there is a pattern to everything.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think that we can or should illuminate all mysteries.  The complexity of the pattern is too much for us to ever truly comprehend all at once, and despite Moore’s law, I don’t know if it’s even inevitable that one day a computer will be powerful enough to understand the entire pattern.  To me I find something beautiful in artificial intelligence because it is a glimpse at a small section of the overall pattern, invariably filtered through the cultural and emotional biases of the human beings who programmed it. 

In my youth I owned D&D books and paraphernalia, but I never played it.  I wasn’t actually interested in the game at all, only the rules behind it, which was a form of AI for the NPC (non-playing-characters) and it was supposed to recreate a realistic and somewhat random experience. I used to create my own rules systems and I would write computer programs which would play them out in text or ansi graphics based rpgs.  After my interest turned to art, I wrote my abstract art composition creator, which I used to create some of the random abstract digital pieces which you may have seen me upload.  It wasn’t 100% created by the program, more of a collaboration between myself and her, but that was sort of the point.  Nothing is pure.  Everything is filtered.  filtering my own artistic sensibilities through an artificial intelligence program seemed like something that made sense.  it still does make sense to me. 

I destroyed that original program as part of the process, but I’ve been thinking about AI again lately.  I’ve been thinking about developing some AI type rules for storytelling, and then use a web scraper to pull inspiration from the recently updated web sites in order to come up with some random, but relevant stories.  The stories it creates would be like dreams in a way, but filtered through the computer pattern recognition code, they would be like the dreams of a robot.

It’s doubtful that I will ever have the time to do something so trivial and so time consuming. (assuming that I even could program something that complicated, which is probably not the case)