The Waiting Room

Temple 1

The Waiting Room, 2017.  95″ tall x 160″( edition of 1 ) to 31″ tall x 53″ wide ( edition of 12)

Transition

Recently a friend was describing an NPR Radio Lab episode(Afterlife season 6, episode 2 http://www.radiolab.org/story/91680-after-life/ ) he heard, which was about death. In the episode, a writer and scientist was talking about three deaths and a waiting room. The story, as my friend told it to me, grabbed my attention; I immediately thought it would be an interesting art piece.

A few days later, I was listening to Radio Lab when that very episode was rebroadcast. I was struck by the coincidence, and struck again by the concept and the possibilities for imagery that it conjured.   I ordered the book by neuroscientist David Eagleman,, where this tale of three deaths and a waiting room originated. The book, SUM: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, is a collection of his essays which explore what the afterlife might be like. All of the stories are well written and immensely creative. But it was  Metamorphosis, that had aired on Radio Lab, that I found myself still wanting to pursue.

Metamorphosis is about the process of waiting to transition, and then transitioning, to the afterlife. In the story, after we die we go to a waiting room until our name is called. The wait can be quick, or it can take a very long time. Once called, we go through a door, behind which is a mystery.

When we experience a loss, death of a loved one, loss of a job, not getting a promotion, an unexpected change in a significant relationship, what do we do with this disappointment or loss?  Do we spend any time being still, or consciously waiting to see what we want to do next?  Often, where we will go after loss is a mystery.

How we deal with loss, sadness, or change differs from person to person. Some get busy and distract themselves, others sink into deep sadness, others become angry, others simply deny their feelings. It’s rare to find the person who consciously waits and listens for a new direction.

Carl Jung said, “ We cannot change anything until we accept it.” Pema Chodron says, in her book, When Things Fall Apart, “We think the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things really don’t get solved. They come together and they fall apart.  Then they come together and fall apart again…The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” And Jeanette Winterson, in  The World and Other Places: Stories, wrote, “ In the space between chaos and shape, there is another chance.”

The waiting process is hard for me, as it is for most people I know.  It is this conscious waiting process, however, that is vital, that, if given a chance, will allow us to walk through the next door with openness and curiosity.  link to full story here

The components of “TRANSITION”:

For the left side of the piece, I used a photograph that I took of a man who seemed to be in front of every painting I wanted to look at when I was last at the Museum of Modern Art, in NYC.  Now he IS the art. 

The clock on the wall is from my home, and is a reminder to be mindful of our time and how we use it.  Below the man’s feet is a poem by the poet Marie Howe titled What The Living Do.  see link here for Ms Howe’s poem and an amazing interview.

For the Waiting Room section of the piece, I posed and photographed three people.  The face of the woman to the right belongs to a mannequin in a shop window.

The art in the background of the piece is another collage that I created for the purpose of this piece.  It is of a man searching, or on a journey.

The writing on the wall is from the three sources already referenced above: Carl Jung, Pema Chodron and Jeanette Winterson.

The diagram on the floor is a black hole diagram that may also be seen as a mandala.

The magazines on the floor, from left to right are, Thoughtful Waiting which has the image of a Nuxalk Indian illustration from 1865.  This illustration signified transition to the Nuxalk.

The next is Man in Chair from one of my earlier collages, and the next is a photo of the George Washington bridge in NY that I took a few years ago. The magazine is titled Bridge Symbolism.

The magazine to the far right is titled Just Sit There. Far from just sitting there, the cover shows a woman on a horse juggling.  It is based on a funny teaching, attributed to various sources, an old friend of mine used all of the time, “ Don’t just do something, sit there.”

The writing on the newspaper has a 1582 alchemy illustration of man in transformation and writing from the Jungian psychologist, James Hollis.

Finally, the man to the right is a friend who often models for me. The sky is meant to reflect possibility.

The writing surrounding him is from the Tao, and the gold stars in the sky are actually illustrations of the Higgs-Boson “God “ Particle.  The other stars, the color in the sky, and all of the color throughout the piece comes from photos I have taken of paint on train cars, sidewalks, splattered paint, and weathered walls.

Carl Jung said, “ We cannot change anything until we accept it.  Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”

Discovery of Choice

 

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The Discovery of Choice, inkjet on aluminum, 120″ x 180″, 2016 ( see bottom of page for more sizes and pricing )

I was driving across the west last year listening to one of my favorite NPR podcasts, On Being. During one particular episode, host Krista Tippett was talking with the poet Marie Howe about life, poetry, and all things spiritual and psychological. I will confess that I had never heard of Marie Howe, but I was taken immediately with her manner of self-exploration, her charming self-deprecation, and her wit and wisdom. Her ability to link her brother’s death from AIDS, her religion, and everyday mundane things like spilled coffee and a mustard sandwich, was impressive and captivating.

During the interview, Ms. Howe described finding a circle that someone had drawn on the sidewalk. The words “step inside for happiness” were written outside the circle, and “Happiness Here” was written inside the circle. I love–and agree with–the concept that we make a choice to determine our mood or state of well- being. I immediately saw an image for an art piece in my mind, in which people were standing around a box drawn on the ground, trying to decide the ramifications of stepping inside it. The box was surrounded by the word “fear.” Other people were looking away, and up, at ladders* and doors. I held onto this image in my head until this past winter, when I created the art piece.

Discovery of Choice is clearly a meditation and examination of the role we all play in deciding how we are going to live in our world. The piece asks whether we are present for our lives, and if we understand that the choices we make create and shape our lives and, by extension, our world. As the happiness circle drawn on the sidewalk by an anonymous philosopher-artist reminds us, even our mood and state of mind are, at least in part, a choice.

To listen to the conversation between Krista Tippett and Marie Howe, click on this link.. http://www.onbeing.org/program/the- poetry-of-ordinary-time-with-marie-howe/5301

*The ladders are meant to be ambiguous. Are they career ladders, ladders to escape, or “Jacob’s Ladder,” connecting us to something higher?

*This is a very limited edition piece, edition of 1 at size shown, total edition of 12 in all sizes. Piece shown, $12,000.

The Challenge of Creation

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The 1663 illustration, Metamorphosis Planetarum, by the alchemist J. de Monte-Snyders served as an inspiration and starting point for my piece, The Challenge of Creation (2016).

In pondering this creation illustration from the 1600s, I tried to envision what a modern day version might look like. The question turned into what would a modern day creator look like?

Instead of going with a mythical God-like creator, as J. de Monte-Snyders did, I chose to represent each of us as creator.  We all participate in click here for rest of the story

City of Loveland Colorado Selects My Proposal for Indoor 18′ Public Art Mural

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Anatomy of a Mural 

The RFP ( national Request for Proposal ) asked that the mural be urban, edgy, vibrant and colorful.  In creating the mural, I wanted to incorporate Loveland landmarks and history. The city has many beautiful and historic buildings, but when I looked at including them all in the mural, it made for a more historic and peaceful (as opposed to urban and edgy) piece. So in the end, I settled on five primarily industrial buildings.

Once I had the basic structure of the image, I began cutting and pasting multiple photos of weathered paint and paper, utility poles, street signs, words from documents and other images and text for color and texture. read about the entire mural and the key to finding and understanding everything in it at this link

Commission for Pinnacle Financial Partners

I have recently finished a four-piece commission for Pinnacle Financial Partners headquartered in downtown Nashville. Pinnacle has added my  piece, Snowy Night in Nashville, 54″ x 43″ to its permanent
corporate collection and wil reproduce all four images for the group’s holiday cards.  When asked to create the initial Nashville image, I immediately had a vision of  an iconic cottage sitting in a snow covered field, and thought about  how unexpected it would be to see their downtown high-rise in place of the cottage. That vision was the genesis of the four pieces. You can see the other three images here.. other images

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Images from Artist Talk and Opening of Solo Show at The Gallery at Penn College

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See more images from the July 9, 2015 artist talk and opening here….TGPC Opening.

Also, thanks to Penny, Cindy and Lenore for the posters, catalog, postcards, images, video and the large amount of work that went into the show.  Link to the Gallery at Penn College site.

Ignoring The Door

HR ignoring the door Final 2 copy
Ignoring the Door
I recently read a story about a man in a jail cell. Every day he would stand on his tiptoes to look out the window, the small bit of light he could find in his small cell. One day a large gust of wind blew, and the cell door, which had been unlocked the whole time, blew open. By refusing to explore the dark, he had kept himself trapped.  

Man with Parachute

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Man with Parachute

Last year I jumped off a mountain.  Since I am afraid of heights, I had not planned such a thing, but I was on a trip and had vowed to a friend to be more to experience. Which is how the 9200 foot tandem paraglide jump in Sun Valley, Idaho happened.

I have been asked by a number of people if it changed me.  The answer is a qualified yes. There was no big “aha!” moment where I suddenly realized I was free and had no fears.  But there was a subtle shift from my lifelong tendency, when afraid, to say “no,” to being able to remind myself that I jumped off a mountain, which makes whatever is scaring me no longer so big.

This piece is was inspired by that jump.  It is about the metaphor of taking a leap into something that we know probably will not kill us, but scares us terribly anyway.  And it is about bringing something back: the courage to jump again and again.

The Search for Balance

war web image

Last year at an open air flea market on the pier in Barcelona, I found a group of illustrated WWI cards made by the chocolate company Chocolate Amatller. The cards were bright and colorful and hardly conveyed the gravity of war.  I bought thirty and kept them out on a table for inspiration. They were the starting point for this piece.

The Search for Balance on first glance may appear to be a statement about work, success, and career competition as war, and certainly I had Sun Tzu’s The Art of War in mind when building it.  But I also had Middle Passage, by Jungian Psychologist James Hollis, about the journey and struggle of midlife on my mind, as well as Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching which encourages one to go with the flow of life rather than fight against it.

The Meaning of the Wu Wei Cowboy

 

Knoxville Museum of Art Features Cityscape with Bridges at Artscapes Live Auction and Exhibit

feature_larger2I am late publishing it, but thank you to the Knoxville Museum of Art which featured my piece, Cityscape with Bridges, 43″ x 54″ , inkjet on aluminum, edition of 9 on the cover of their catalogue and in the live auction on Sept. 14th.

Commission for Scripps Networks

guitar final for mary Tuesday copy

40″ x 66″, inkjet, edition of 1

Thanks to Mary Morris of Mary Morris Arts Management for her recent placement of this commission for Scripps Networks.

Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville exhibit ” The World of Daryl Thetford”

HALL OF FAME 3

Following the successful show at The Arts Company on 5th Avenue in Nashville, the CMHF is continuing the show “The World of Daryl Thetford”.  The show, which is in cooperation with The Arts Company, will run from September 12th, 2014 through December 31st, 2014. For additional information or

To purchase or inquire about availability of the artwork please contact
The Arts Company at 615-254-2040 or at www.theartscompany.com

 

Read more: The Arts Company Presents: Introducing the World of Daryl Thetford
Follow us: @countrymusichof on Twitter | countrymusichof on Facebook

 

INTRODUCING THE WORLD OF DARYL THETFORD, the Arts Company, Nashville, Tennessee through August 8th, 2014

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interview 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NA-July-2014I realized earlier today that I have not posted anything on my blog about my show at the Arts Company on 5th Avenue in downtown Nashville and it is closing on August 8th, 2014. So if you have not seen it, there is still time.

Below is the information on the show which opened on July 5th, 2014 and was followed by a live discussion between me and Paul Polycarpou, editor of the Nashville Arts Magazine on July 11th, 2014. Paul chose my piece, “Man in Chair : World as a Mandala” for the cover of this months magazine.  Paul is the one entertaining the crowd and holding a copy of the magazine in the photo to the right.

INTRODUCING THE WORLD OF DARYL THETFORD at The Arts Company, 5th Avenue, Nahsville, Tennessee

Daryl Thetford offers fresh perspectives to The Arts Company.  He uses thousands of images he has captured from urban places such as crumbling walls, grafitti, signs, etc. He uses a collection of these images as an urban background for all of his finished pieces. His images come together through his layering of his own images. He creates narratives based on classical themes that are given new life in our urban culture. The resulting photographs are printed on aluminum in small editions and coated by his hand three times to protect and brighten the surfaces, again to reflect the effect of urban life as we know it. His finished photographs come across as narratives that are embedded in the images.

ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Daryl Thetford grew up on a hundred-acre farm in Bradford, Tennessee, a small town in the rural northwest corner of the state. His father was a forklift operator who worked in a warehouse, and his mother was a beautician. While they encouraged their son to pursue so-called “practical” avenues of work, they also recognized an early artistic bent, and enrolled him in oil painting lessons–which he loved–at age nine. Although he went on to obtain a graduate degree in counseling from Murray State University, and spent 15 years working as a vocational program director, mental health center manager, and a therapist, his creative juices never dried up. In 2001, when Thetford left mental health to return to his first love, art, he discovered that the psychology of behavior and emotion–everything he’d been studying and practicing for years–flowed neatly into his artistic process. The result is a compelling body of photo collage work that is informed by the richness of the psyche

Daryl’s work has been described as graphic, modern, pop, and contemporary, although what to actually call the process has been a larger source of debate; it has been called photo collage, digital art, and digital mixed media. The process begins with Thetford selecting a single, original photographic image followed by a digital layering and combining of dozens of additional original photographs. It is a process, which takes an average of 40 hours. His resulting images range from culturally familiar individual pieces (bikes, cowboys, guitars, cityscapes) to more esoteric series’ based on man’s inner struggle with modern society or the human sense of isolation in the noise of the modern world.

Thetford’s recent exhibits include a solo show at the Art Museum at the University of Memphis; an invitation-only group show at the Annenberg Space in Los Angeles; a solo show at the Jung Center in Houston, Texas; and an upcoming show at the Coffman Gallery at the University of Minnesota. His work has also been shown at SOFA Contemporary, Art Dallas, Art Chicago, the Knoxville Museum of Art, Mobile Museum of Art  and others, and is in a number of individual and corporate collections across the nation.

Daryl currently lives with his wife, writer and artist Dana Shavin in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They enjoy travel, great food, great art, and the company of good friends.

 

 

Landscapes

Landscapes

I walk in fields in my mind. Years ago I realized that I was doing this mainly during conversations. I’m not dissociative; to the contrary, often I imagine I am walking with the person I’m talking to. The fields are near my hometown in west Tennessee. Interestingly, while I’ve driven past them many times, I’ve never actually walked in them.
I believe that we make art as a result of a psychological call or need. Since I have most often found inspiration in the color, movement and energy of urban environments, I was initially surprised by my own move in the direction of landscapes. I soon realized, however, that whether I was taking in the vastness of the Great Plains, the majesty of the Rockies, or the simple beauty of the hills and gorges of the Southeast, landscapes provided a template onto which I both projected, and had reflected back to me, my thoughts and emotions. Storms, depending upon my mood, could be dark and threatening or a peaceful isolated shower. A path through a forest could be lonely or lovely.
It’s my goal, in creating landscape images, to provide the viewer with a template onto which thoughts, feelings, and emotions might be projected–to provide a field, so to speak, that invites a larger conversation

Man in Chair

man in chair

 

Last year I went on a trip out west with a good friend.  I went into the trip knowing that we have very different ways of interacting with the world.  When traveling, I am rigidly on time, often arriving at scheduled events long before they begin. I schedule my 3 ½ star hotel rooms well in advance and choose my meals carefully.

My friend, on the other hand, has a more casual relationship with time and destinations.  He often leaves hours later than he planned, makes multiple unscheduled stops and drives well into the night.   It is not lost on either of us that he is the happier person.

Since I know our style differences, I also realized that a two week trip could create great stress for our friendship.  So I vowed that I was going to say YES to everything with a couple of very modest exceptions: I would not drive after midnight, and we would have to arrive at shows on time.  At some point during the trip he suddenly turned to me and said “ You are agreeing to everything”. I am, I said, “ I am calling it my YES Tour. “ I told him that it would be interesting to see how this little bit of letting go impacted me.

With his discovery of my experiment, things quickly got interesting.  We took an unscheduled site seeing trip into the mountains with someone we did not know, told the chef at an amazing restaurant to bring anything he wanted to bring, and made arrangements to stay on a houseboat instead of a hotel.

This was life changing.  I did not know how much it changed me until I began winter in my usual way with stacks of books to read, multiple ideas for series and a 1000 art and exhibit opportunities to apply to.  I made the same choice I usually make: do it all instead of to prioritizing based on the reality of time and energy.  This is an old pattern passed down for generations in my family which has created various results including never missing work, a perfectly manicured yard, premature aging, needless suffering and multiple levels of neurosis.

I was shocked to realize that, unlike in the past, I was unable to complete everything that I had laid out for the winter. Not only did I not get everything done, I did not even get close.  As a result of the Yes Tour, some part of me had decided that letting go was a strategy that made sense.

I am guessing now that my unconscious had a plan all along.  It was a setup to overthrow the internal dictator that often over schedules my life.  Life was not just one big Yes after the Yes Tour however.  Although my new system was in agreement with the Yes that chose to go with the flow of life, it balked at the Yes that agreed to do everything on every list.

This was scary since I have always functioned by over-controlling.   So I began to ask myself just how, if I am to work with this new system, can I remain productive without being compulsive.

More on this and the “Wu Wei” tour planned for summer.

 

 

Wake Up

Wake Up w Mask

wake up in garage

While the image Wake Up is not new, this is the first and only one that is 84″ x 74″. I deliver it today in Tampa.

The two somewhat crude images are a “selfie” of me in the studio coating it and one of the final diptych leaning against my garage for size perspective.

Commission Finished

Commission Completed

This commission consists of 4 separate pieces. Each piece consists of documents, maps, names of places they have worked and other information that is personal and important to each of them. It is seldom that I do a personal commission, but I am pleased with the way these turned out.

The Second Question

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Woman w a Halo : A Modern Icon.
This piece is 36″ x 54″, inkjet on aluminum, edition of 9, completed March, 2014.

I mentioned previously that I am frequently asked two questions.The first question (and answer) was included with my post, “Two New Pieces and Two Frequently Asked Questions.” This is the answer to question #2 (which is really a statement): ”You must have a lot of fun doing these.”
It’s true, I do have fun. Especially for the first 20 hours or so, when I’m most excited about the new piece and it doesn’t yet feel hard. After composing the initial piece however, and getting its structure how I want it, the effort becomes, like the collages themselves, fun, fragmented, stressful, obsessive, frustrating, tedious, frightening, playful and all-consuming.
Here’s a brief description of the process. I usually start with an idea and then look for a photograph I’ve taken that might fit it. This becomes a dialogue between the idea and the image. I find that often the choice of the image changes the concept a bit–sometimes quite a bit–depending on the image and how different it is from my original vision.
At other times, I stumble across a photograph I took months or even years earlier, which for some reason now speaks to me. The same dialogue then ensues about the nature of the direction I or we ( we = photograph + idea and me ) want the piece to follow.
At this point I begin experimenting with multiple photographs that I’ve taken, of painted surfaces, text, road signs, weathered wooden walls, torn paper on urban poster walls, paint on train cars, paint on sidewalks, etc. From this I create the foundation of the piece and begin adding other, larger elements. I progress this way for hours.
Often this all happens over the course of a day or so, leaving me with the foundation of the piece and the crazy notion that I’m only 2 or 3 hours away from finishing it, even though I have never finished a piece this quickly. (Balancing Act took more time than almost any piece I have ever done.) I think the answer is contained in what a friend of mine once said about self-help books. Because they “almost” work, she said, we believe the next one will fully work. Same with “almost” finishing an art piece quickly. Surely, the next time I really will!

Two New Pieces and Two Frequently Asked Questions

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Balancing Act, 36″ x 62″, inkjet on aluminum, 2014

I am frequently asked two questions. The first is, “How long does it take you to do one of these?” The second is almost always in the form of a statement: “I’ll bet you have a lot of fun doing these.”
Neither answer is simple. To the “how long” question, the answer is “around 40 hours.” This is just an average, and doesn’t take into consideration the time I spend taking all of the photographs, or the times that I trash an image I’ve spent many hours working on because it’s not going anywhere. Then there’s the issue of my obsessive indecisiveness, whereby I declare something finished only to return to it the next morning to find that the piece spoiled during the night and needs more work.
Balancing Act, included with this post, is a case in point. Its true name should be Balancing Act #10 or #12. This is because I “finished” it a few months ago, so quickly that I was amazed and pleased it did not take the usual 40 or more hours. I then posted it, only to realize it still had significant issues. So I began working on it again until it was truly “finished.” This “finishing” and reworking went on so long I finally decided that the piece (and I) needed time to breathe. I recently returned to Balancing Act with an open and positive attitude, and I’m happy to say that it is really, finally finished…again….for now.
Why, you might be asking, was Balancing Act such a struggle to “finish?” I’d say it has something to do with the lack of balance that I felt this winter. So to end the longest rambling answer to a simple question, my pieces often take more hours than I can justify, for reasons that have everything to do with the intersection of life and art.

Here’s hoping we all have a balanced spring.

The Art Museum at The University of Memphis is showing STRUGGLE TO EVOLVE BEFORE THE END OF TIME.

journey to the next day

This is my series on our struggle and our interaction with the world and our inner reaction to it
Here is a link to the Museum Website. http://www.memphis.edu/amum/darylthetford.php

This is my series on our struggle and our interaction with the world and our inner reaction to it
Here is a link to the Museum Website. http://www.memphis.edu/amum/darylthetford.php

Reflections and Resolutions : Creating New Worlds in Digital Art, Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, CO.

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This 4 person exhibition opened January 17th, 2014 and will run through March 8th, 2014.  The show was curated by Jeanne Shoaff who selected 12 pieces from my The Struggle to Evolve Before the End of Time series.  Several of these pieces will also be on display beginning March 28th at the Art Museum at the University of Memphis Caseworks Gallery.

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Denver firm Brownstein, Hyatt, Faber and Schreck purchase two pieces.

Denver firm Brownstein, Hyatt, Faber and Schreck purchase two pieces.

Brownstein, Hyatt, Faber and Schreck recently purchased two pieces for their offices in Denver.

I would like to thank Kay Brouillette and Chris Fullerton at Sapiro Art Consultants for their work on this project.

You can find more about them and see some of their work at this website. http://www.sapiroart.com/

Temple Beth-el Art Show, St Petersburg, Florida

I was recently sitting around thinking about food and lists. I had thought it would be fun to list some my favorite restaurants of 2013. The list is extensive and diverse, ranging from a vegan asian place in Providence, RI to the first place on my list in Tampa, FL.

I have since rethought the list idea, but since I am heading to St Petersburg, FL again for the Temple Beth-el Art fundraiser, I realize that I am excited not just about returning to the show ( which I am ) but also about returning to two of my favorite restaurants in the area.

I was in Tampa running an errand before the show began last year and decided to “google” the best places to eat Cuban food in the area. Two restaurants in the Ybor City section of Tampa came to the top of the search as one might expect. One of the top three, however really grabbed my attention. It was La Teresita Grocery. ( Columbus Ave at Lincoln in Tampa).

In La Teresita Grocery, a huge buffet of Cuban food is on display. For $5.00 I was able choose a meat, ranging from goat to chicken and 2 sides. So, the huge quantity and amazing fresh quality of chicken, black beans, rice and plantains cost me $5.00. I know I mentioned the price before, but is bears repeating. It would have still been a bargain at $12. I sat a a long community table and had one of the best meals of the year.
coln ) . http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-teresita-grocery-tampa?nb=1

The second place in the region is the Taco Bus on Central Avenue in St Petersburg, FL. I was browsing the antique shops and other interesting places along Central Avenue when I came upon a large line of people ordering food. While I assume that the bus is indeed mobile when they want it to be, a large indoor/outdoor seating infrastructure has built up around it making it an great place to eat and people watch. The menu is large and diverse and the food is fantastic. http://www.taco-bus.com/

See you in Florida.

REFLECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS: CREATING NEW WORLDS IN DIGITAL ART

REFLECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS: CREATING NEW WORLDS IN DIGITAL ART

Man and Media II ( pictured ) is one of twelve images that I have at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado for the REFLECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS exhibit. All twelve of my pieces included are are part of the “Struggle for Evolution Before the End of Time” series.

The three other artists who “share the new worlds they’ve imagined through the media of Digital Art” are Fran Forman, Osvaldo Buccafusca and Daniel Fonken.

The show will run from opening night on January 17, 2014 to March 8, 2014.

Thank to curator Jeanne Shoaff for bringing the show together.

Half of 4 Part Commission Complete

Half of 4 Part Commission Complete

I am currently working on a 4 part commission.

I posted these two a few weeks ago before completion. Both have changed quite a bit since those first posts. One, much more than the other.

The image on the right hardly resembles the one posted on November 25th.

2 down and 2 to go.

The Final Version of Branding Day on the Bird Ranch

The Final Version of Branding Day on the Bird Ranch

After 5 or 6 or 10 revisions, this is it. I am not sure why, but the colors are not quite right rich enough on this upload.

45″ x 66″, inkjet on aluminum.

The Reading List

The Reading List

Just as I am beginning to make my way through my stack of books, the website/blog BrainPickings releases their list of the Top 13 Best Psychology and Philosophy Books of 2013. Suddenly the ground that I have gained now lost and I am 13 books behind. Still, if you don’t know this site, I encourage you to take a look.

What I can tell you about my current progress on the book list, posted on October 7th is that, unlike other areas of my life I follow new leads and directions more easily. I try to pay attention to what I am wanting to read, what is really calling to me. Why is this easier to do than in other aspects of my life? I will have to talk to my therapist and read some more books and report back. Here’s my progress report so far.

2) Banksy : The Man Behind the Wall by Ellsworth-Jones. I finished this book right before Banksy hit Manhattan this fall. It is an easy read, and while not a great book, it gives an interesting glimpse behind the scenes of the famous street artist’s world.

5) The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion by Mircea Eliade. This book is not for everyone. Because he addresses myth and culture in an academic style, reading it is a bit of work, but I have found it a worthwhile read and an inspiration for my religious series.

4) Salvador Dali’s Tarot.”After initially not being fond of Dali’s work, I have grown to appreciate both the artist and his art. I did not realize he had a Tarot series until I ran across a print in an antique store. This is an excellent introduction to his work and the thought behind the meaning of his Tarot images. It does not address the Tarot itself in any depth. For a great group of Tarot images from early to contemporary, see The Art of Tarot by Christina Olsen.

7) What Are You Looking At? : The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art by Will Gompertz. A really excellent read which I highly recommend.

9) True Meditation by Adyashanti. This is a very nice book consisting of his lectures. If you are going to read just one Adyashanti book, and if you have any interest or appreciation of Eckhart Tolle, you will love his book, The End of Your World. This book was recommended to me by young-adult author Whitney Stewart when I told her that I was enlightened for an entire week one time (another blog post for the future).

9)The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is described as a “haunted odyssey through present day America” and is a great new novel by the author of The Secret History. When I love a novel I want it to last for a while and at 800 plus pages, it does.

The Circus Loop in My Head

The Circus Loop in My Head

It has come to my attention that I’m caught in a loop of my own making. Not that this anything new.

I decided to start my art making period, the majority of which falls October through March, with something light and fun. Making a few circus pieces seemed a fun and somewhat psychologically relevant way to start. Later I would work my way into the heavier, odder images I’ve been carrying around in my head for a while.

Unfortunately, the art ideas in my brain sometimes do not mesh with the deeper psychological self that wants to move in another direction. I created three images fairly quickly. I only needed to spend a few more hours editing and finishing them before I could move on. That’s when I realized they actually needed a completely new and fresh look, one that departed from what I’d been doing. So I re-entered the loop, and reworked them. I was satisfied. Until, that is, I got up the next morning and realized that the guy who had created them the day before was a bit lost and confused about what finished art is. And on the cycle went. Now it’s approaching mid-December, and I have three circus images and their multiple variations to show for it.

I woke up yesterday and knew it was time to move on. Time to get out of the circus loop. I was tempted to label it a failed experience. Instead it has led me to question why I am fighting the experience so hard.

In Jack Kornfield’s wonderful book, A Path with Heart, he talks about “the war within.” An example of this is when we attempt to move in a direction that is at odds with the internal (or external) flow of our lives. This is when things become a struggle.

Which brings me back to one of my old issues: fighting the flow by attempting to force my will onto the process, instead of looking for the direction that is opening for me. Funny how things loop around.

Flying Woman with Blue

Flying Woman with Blue

Ok, If you have been following this work progression you will know that I have reworked the circus images twice. So here is another one….again.

Evolution of an Artist : How Not to Sit in a Corner and Suck on Rats

Evolution of an Artist : How Not to Sit in a Corner and Suck on Rats

Several years ago I saw the movie, Interview with a Vampire. While not really a great philosophical movie, and I think I am being generous here, one concept really stuck with me. The new vampire, Louis, played by Brad Pitt, was baffled as to why, if vampires are indestructible, the oldest one was only 400 years old and not 4,000 years old. The explanation was simple: vampires failed to evolve.

Flash to the last part of the movie and you see Lestat, Louis’ maker, hiding from streetlights in the corner of an abandoned house. The once grand and confident vampire, afraid to go out, was feeding on rats and starving. He too had failed to evolve.

I sometimes get signals that it is time for me to evolve. When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone, I knew that I had to either embrace the new culture of connectedness or hide in a corner. Years later I rode the tide of digital photography from shooting straight photographs to manipulating my work–using Photoshop–into collages.

I am now faced with another opportunity to either evolve or retreat into a corner.

This year was one of my best ever; at the same time, there were some unexpected rejections on the art front. I initially thought that only a re-evaluation of my art was in order, but I am reconsidering this idea now. What is needed most, I believe, is a re-evaluation of my perspective, my lifestyle and perhaps most importantly, my ego.

So I am trying new things: little experiments with the look, materials and meaning of my work. I know that many of the pieces I am creating are stepping stones to the next place I’m going.

And as far as self is concerned, I am returning to the places that have helped in the past. I am rereading an amazing book, The End of Your World, by Adyashanti, along with writings by Pema Chodron. The real challenge, for me, is to recommit to what helps most: meditation.

So here’s to new art, a new perspective and to stepping out of the corner and into the light.

Branding Day at the Chicken Ranch

Branding Day at the Chicken Ranch

I have been feeling a strong pull to do something different in the past few months. While most of the people who know me would recognize this and pieces like Nurses in a Boat, that I posted previously, as my work, they are I think a departure and for better or worse bring a freshness.

48″ x 60″, inkjet on aluminum with varnish coating.

The Juggler

02 02 02 copy

Ok, I recently mentioned that I have done 2 jugglers in the past 3 years which, I am guessing, is no coincidence. Add a 3rd, which happens to be my favorite, and I think we not only have a pattern in my art making, but also in my psychological state.

This is also the third in my new ( small) circus series. I have actually done four, but am rethinking the woman on the bike.. Woman on a Wire. I am thinking that the woman on the bike has to go. I am hoping to keep the background and just replace the rider.

Just to clarify, by small circus series, I mean that I am only doing 4-6 pieces

The Flying Woman

The Flying Woman

Circus Series, also 48″ x 72″.

After two days of working on this, I literally had my finger on the delete button when I got a new idea. Woman’s dress from photo I took of mannequin, vintage circus cannon in Wisconsin when I was driving through, signs in background from Texas truck stop, crowd from Louvre…looking at Mona Lisa and dozens of other photos used that I have taken from almost everywhere.

Ferris Wheel begins New Season of Making Art

Ferris Wheel begins New Season of Making Art

Every year from October to the end of March, I make as much art as possible. Sometimes I do a few pieces during the year, but I am aware that this is the time for the big ideas or new series, experimentation and reinvention.

This year is no exception. My first image, seen above, is already well outside my normal color palette. I may keep it or I may not, but for now, it is my beginning.

The lofty goals, which I can never fully meet, are to finish my Evolution Series and begin 3 new series. These include a very abstracted series on symbols and religion taken, in part from the classic book, The Sacred and The Profane and a reading list as long as my arm; a Circus Series reflecting the psychological aspects of our daily lives; and a Landscape series, which is a real stretch for me.

Even though I call these goals, I have realized the impossibility of doing it all. In past years I actually believed that I could meet all of my obsessive mind’s demands, creating amazing amounts of stress. I now know that these goals really serve as a starting point. I will likely finish the Evolution of Man Before the End of Time series, start and finish one of the other series and do a few pieces on the others in order to find a direction for future pieces.