Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Good questions are hard questions.

When people ask me what it is I paint a void open up in my mind. It's a difficult query. Generally I will not answer it seriously. Blame Dada's perversity. Blame Surrealism's psychic automatism. Blame non sequiturs.

Person: "What do you Paint Peter?"
Feathers: "I paint rats."
Person: "Rats?"
Feathers: "Rats."
Person: "What do you mean, rats?"
Feathers: "I don't know what your talking about."

The truth is: I do not often paint rats. I just don't like to answer that question. It feels trap-ish when it comes from the general public. The only time I attempt a legitimate response is when I detect artistic insight within the inquisitor, or sometimes when I'm in the forums of creativity, or sometimes libation. A question like that is never a easy one to answer. To make matters worse I feel like it can't be answered in the same way more than once. For me Art is an evolution; always changing and never rooted for long.

What is the context of the question?
How long do I have to explain myself?
What do I do now? or what did I do yesterday?
What do I do relative to those who came before me?
Can my work affect those who come after?
And how?
What makes what I do worth the breath?
How can I explain myself?
What is my context?
Should I answer or just default to rodent distraction method #1?
I overcomplicate the issue.

I have never met a talented artist that didn't spend great deals of determined energy in a effort to exclude themselves from the flock. Excelling in the realm of art requires phenomenal individualism. Excellent artist are almost like immortal telepaths who enter their minds into ours when we view a great canvas. From the moment they struck the first mark onto fabric they became acutely aware of many aspects. Of the creative physical: surface, color, medium, form, contrast, luminosity, size, gesture and so on. Then the creative psychological: relationship, intensity, emotion, intention, and again form. Like the conductor of orchestra a painter brings culminating force to mental substance and buttery paint.
Imagination is a wild force. It is a creature which lives inside all of us in various states of dormancy and rampage. My imagination is the collected knowledge, goals, dreams and nightmares of personal past projecting into the future. It is radically unstatic and unreasonable realistic. Imagination inside my mind it is a veritably quantitative verisimilitude. Full of paradox and analogy. So as a natural outgrowth, I try to render the equation visually when possible. In paint I make it real.

Behold! is a theoretical equation meant to represent the development of a painting single painting when coming from my perspective

Everything I know= A
Everything I feel= B
People I know= C
What I expect=D
Physical supplies=X

(A+B) = Content

Content + D + (D+E) = Imagination

/ Imagination \2
I ----------------- I + (XxY) + Z = 1 Painting.
\ relevance /

I am an artist, not a mathematician.

Perhaps it is easier to identify what it is I do not attempt. Rarely do I paint a classical still-life. I enjoy still-life paintings others have created. It is a worthy discipline with many talented disciples. They create heartfelt tributes to actuality and the simple delight of objects. For me they often conjure emotions like loneliness and self love. But that is just myself. I rarely paint a still life. That desire is satiated through photography, a entirely different creature.
Some times a landscape will emerge in my paintings. I think it is all ways moving in from the unconscious. A primal lurking sensation will be dwelling in the recesses of my mind until it forces it's way our through a horizon line or grass flocked shape. Nature is a staple in my work. Literally, abstractly, metaphorically. I feel like a conduit in its matrix. When I feel its' pulse I generate better work. But do I ever paint the scene from life? You will not see me standing in the field like Van Gough-like, paint brush in one hand, gun in the other. That isn't my way. I choose to adorn canvases with the elements of land, water and air but only those whose organization befits my perspective. Rarely would my constructs hold up to physical laws. Water doesn't flow uphill. So I stick to the brush. Once again I choose to reside in verisimilitude, the image of real. Fake world. So I don't paint landscapes. Real places don't allow mountains to balance on their caps.
Portraiture is mysterious. I've done it before. As a sophomore at the university I was awarded "First Place: Painting" which annoyed the seniors and those people who actually studied the art of the brush (At the time I didn't. I was taking a elective). It was called "Self Portrait from a Photograph of Me in a Corn Field". It now resides with my Mother. I made another smaller image of myself with a blue background and a brown "Newsy Cap" which my Stepfather excellently sold for $250.oo. It was 8"x10". For some reason the paintings I make of me sell pretty well but as with the previous couple archetypes; I don't paint them often. It feels unusual, almost masturbatory, to paint me. Selling paintings of self to others seems so ridiculous.
Maybe it has something to due with my admiration of the subjects. When I paint myself I feel my ego being brush-stroked. But I don't consider myself egotistical. So that discipline gets neglected due to irony.

What I make is abstractly referential. I don't adhere very well to any of the classifications developed during the trumping " Great War of the Isms". The canvases are thoughtfully imagined and wake-dreamed. I paint what I see. My eyes are 20/20 but they are just tools. Orbs that allow my Mind's Eye to see its course and proceed with figuration. To put it shortly: I paint the sum of myself, allegories of my individuality and desires, and not rats. And I use materials improperly.

But I tell people I paint rats anyway. Rat fables.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I am regarded by most people as 'unaccented'. Without local colloquialism. Devoid of distinctive southern drawl and pace. Although I think they are wrong it has never bothered me. I am unaccented only by comparison. Perhaps I speak Southern Light. At work I am often asked where my accent is, as if it was a physical object. Something to be removed from my pocket, used, then replaced in the pocket.

Just a moment ago I was entering text into a new book. It has yet to be published because rather than working on it I'm blogging. Books like: Stackhouse, An Original Pennsylvania Family are featured in the endnotes. Copy. Paste. I was thinking to myself 'Boy, they sure got there moneys worth out of that History of Chester Co. book.'

Apparently my mental narration has the southern dialect sometimes.

Beside my left hand a ceramic cup is resting . It is full of vending machine coffee. I feel its warmth breath-like as I type.

Earlier this week I was thinking about a hypothetical situation wherein I was for some reason asked to speak using a southern accent. Maybe I would be acting or entertaining. My voice could change for guests when I'm at the table. Being a waiter is one of my jobs. Most inn guests think that a sudden change in dialect is amusing or at least smile-worthy. I don't care for it much. To me it smacks of a theatrical antebellum cantor. Much like the late Ned Plimpton (aka Kingsley "Ned" Zissou) of Team Zissou fame. But I do it anyway. The accent makes the tips rise just a bit higher. Linguistic upselling.

Visitors to the Inn on Biltmore Estate often expect it to be filled with "locals". Generally they are surprised. Rarely do employees have the speech associated with the south. If you hear an accent at all it is more likely to be Jamaican. "Off-shore associates" are rather ruthlessly employed by the Biltmore Estate, most working more than 40 hours and, for some reason, ineligible for overtime pay.

Jamaicans speak Patois. When asked about it they usually respond with a eerily similar textbook-like "It is just broken english…" explanation. I suspect they were actually instructed by the Biltmore company to answer that question with the same phrase. I smile when thinking of people arriving to the inn, expecting to here quant North Carolina english and instead listening to wild Jamaican creole.

Diphthongs are aboundin.

I regard myself as a quiet man. I enjoy listening. But trying to understand Patois is very difficult. Their creole began as a Pidgen. Its lexicon is comprised of words from all the old colonial powerhouses (Seafaring Gun-toting European Assholes) and those who they subjugated (Natives, Slaves, Cheap immigrant workers). Sometimes a word will be a combination of a words for different language groups. To make matters more interesting Patois has many varieties. Perfect speech is used for more formal purposes like talking with a guest. Its sounds much like proper old english.

"He is working over there."

When speakers who know the diction are relating to each other they will use Broad speech.

" 'e a wok ova de-so."

One is high. The other is low. They sound nothing alike. It is bizarre.

Now my coffee is cold.

Now it is gone.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Come down through the tunnel into a stiller place, a quite world of harmony and balance.
Enter here my new friend. Depart earth's relentless dichotomies. No more check and balance. Welcome to bold comfort. Know now how to be so still that the trees grow through you. All things begin to learn your name. Feel the embrace of summer. Be well and clutch the grass between your fingers.
This is in. Like a conduit in the machine your body has been tapped. Through it flows the information of the ages. Soil and Mind. We are one at a time. We are all at once.

Today I finished a painting.
The square canvas on which its been created is around thirty inches in length and width. The first marks made on it's surface was a dusting of soil. Dirt taken from an exposed bank off the 19-26 towards href="">Cullowhee. Dirt heavy with iron and oxidized orange. All the colors that can be discovered with a shovel will never cease to amaze me.
Many people drew on it at first. A drawing was formed and then many more followed, overlapping their predecessors. I want to say seven people had formulated the sketch that would become this painting but really I can't recall. After the rabbit glue and sumi ink dried pieces of the image exposed secrets to the patient observer. Most of the surface was gloomily grey. Those few colors that where applied were brushed on under dim blue light in the earliest hours of the day. It is no surprise that it was conceptually loose and in articulation it was vulgarly vague.
To make many things into a singularity is a subject worth study. In the hours it takes to paint a whole idea some part of the mind is left to spin threads of cognation.
I think about the things that are simple.

Paint brush.

Wood beams.



Then I think about complicated things.





I was thinking about being like to soil. Earth is at once a singularity and many splendid/terrible things. Perhaps if given the option to be myself the human or a huge swath of rich farmland I would have chosen the later. But where would I have been offered that option. Nowhere terrestrial I assure you.
The Immigrant Worker's protest in downtown Asheville reminded me of this. So many people. They all wore unifying white. It was retina-burning. The images are still in mind. In camera too. I sympathize with all the traveling souls. Some of them looked so tired and worn. People held up signs to remind our world not to judge the displaced. Who can say where people should be and live. As the global population spirals out of control it is important to remember that we all come from somewhere. There in no such thing is completely local.
entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
It's Occam's razor.
We have way to many people already. I would have chosen to be soil.

The Germans have created a car that can get 157 miles per gallon. It is called the loremo. I love the Germans. Eddie Izzard made a great deal of them in one of his performances. He said that if there is ever any trouble the Germans and Japanese should be parachuted in to stop the fighting. Over the past few hundred years they have tried everything violent. I like the Germans because the have exhausted the possibilities of warfare. Now they make cars that, if mass produced and distributed, can solve more problems that I am aware of. I'm aware of many problems.
The Loremo LS has 20 horse power.
It can go from 0-60 mph in about 9 seconds.
It carries four people.
The Loremo is a amazing new German sports car.
I think it may be able to prevent wars by taking power away from Massive Oil Companies and dangerous Theocracies. Eddie Izzard may be a profit.
I think that much of the world is German. Look into the history books.
The ethnogenesis of the Germanic tribes is thought to have taken place in southern Scandinavia and north Germany during the early Iron Age. Ever sense that they have been pushing into other territories.
Once Germanic tribe was called the Franks. They moved in on the Gauls and became the predecessors to the French.
The Franks made quite a name for themselves. William the Conqueror led the Normans (French(German)) into England and shattered much of the Anglo-Saxon culture. Many years later the damage to pre-Norman traditional stories and folklore motivated a man to write "In a hole there live a hobbit" on a paper her was grading.
The English then went on to deploy flags all over the world.
I blame Germany.
I love Germans.
I want a loremo.
I want to be more like dirt. Good and filthy.