In a previous life and a previous century I visited and exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston of 200 items that had just been excavated from Pompeii. The items had a very familiar feel to them, all being "Western" art. They were Western but pre-Christian. They still felt like home. Among the items was a bronze cult item, a human hand built to be placed on a staff: The Hand of Sabazuis. It was slightly smaller than full size with an acorn, a snake, a flame, a little seated man, et attached to it. For some reason I never forgot it.
Human hands are an iconic item. They show up on cave ceilings and historical ruins throughout human history. I've used them in many images in the Blackfork Bestiary. They are showing up in Magic & Logic, my kinetic still life series. Enough to make their own show at the point.
The miracle of Ebay. I bought ten beads traded to American Indians before 1800. At least that's what they say. There isn't any provenance, just Paypal.
The story is that they are Venetian glass beads produced on an island North of Venice before 1800 for the indian trade. Came from an area on the Great Plains. 11.00 or so, delivered. I'd picked up a blue bead on a Caddo site cut by a road West of Tyler and wanted to compare it to something authentic. I don't know for sure that these are it, but seems reasonable.
Been carrying one around in my pocket to remind me of previous lives lived in America. Touching in during church, taking it out during radio show on the arts. Looking at it as a talisman, a memento of the past. Cindy and I did a little round of estate sales on Saturday and I picked up a shot glass to put them in. It's just more clutter but maybe clutter is what life is. All artists want to live an enchanted life.
Hardly time to draw a breath in the crowd. Tried to talk to as many folks as possible. Around 300 people at the reception. Got to make some remarks. Lecture coming on Sunday, April 23 at 2:00. Show was very well received.
Only time for a few quick iPhone shots. Had planned on a lot more but was just too busy!
On the radio at 8:00 Saturday, January 28th morning on Art Connection. 97.5 FM. Caleb Bell and I will tell some stories about the images.
Installed, lighting done and labels on. Going to check it at lunch. Staff has done a wonderful job. Many fingerprints on a project like this, though I will get most of the credit. All any artist wants is to have work seen. I'm very grateful for the folks that made this happen. They are doing excellent PR. Been on TV twice, in a local magazine and the newspaper gave us a whole front page on an inside section. One more radio show to go on Saturday morning.
Michael McClendon, enologist and wine maker at Kierpersol Estates.
Thursday, January 26th at 5;30 will be the members preview of Brick Street Anthology, Working title was 100 Tylerites. Been shooting on it this year through Katie's exit. Sorry she didn't get to see it.
50 framed pieces. All film and darkroom work. Used the Hasselblad all the way, though I thought about the Fugi 6X9 and the Deardorff 5X7. Went with roll film. All HP5 in Pyrocat, printed 15 1/2 square on Ilford Multigrade Warmtone. Nice prints. Once I got the darkroom set and the workflow established it was fairly easy printing.
Rusty Mitchum at Skunk Hollow.
Robert McKinney with Armadillo.
Phillip Pruitt at Brookshires #8 grocery store.
Bailff Leonard Spruill and Judge Carol Clark with Justice statue from old courthouse at the Smith County Historical Society.
Baptism, DaySpring Methodist Church.
Federal Magistrate Judith Guthrie and Oak she planted, Federal Courthouse.
Prayer stack, Church-under-the-Bridge, Tyler.
AC Gentry working crossword.
Rose Parade, Tyler.
Miss Fashionetta, Rose Parade, Tyler.
Caldwell Zoo director Hayes Caldwell with shovel of Rhino by-product.
Compared to the alchemy of the darkroom, juicing is just raw industrial-grade mechanical work. It's about like mixing darkroom chemicals. You have to do this to do that. I hunt and gather the raw vegetables from the stores I shop, looking for ones with some inside secret, but I've seen enough modern farming practices that even the "organic" labels merely indicate I'm about to pay more just to have bug legs in the Kale.
Still, you have to be organized to be an artist, so I lay out the ingredients for one concoction or another and a sharp knife and I start feeding them into the chipper. I'm currently wearing out a mid-priced juicer with a good reputation. I can hear the bearings and see the wear on the blades and crush surfaces. It sings no discernible song, just a soul-less post-modern whine.
But this is the fight I'm in and these are the weapons at hand. Katie has a taste for this or a taste for that and I was more amazed than she when I took over the kitchen.
I didn't ask for any of this. Katie fighting her life out on the couch and me hither and yon like a frenzied dueling second. I make lists, I rub feet, I peel drug patches, I move the dog, I do laundry, I toss out garbage, I clean toilets, I detect fevers. I juice. I live to serve this ship, but it's not a voyage I would choose on my own. Every once in a while someone among our amazing group of support people will ask how I am doing. As if it matters. Who cares? I certainly don't. When it's over there will be time, (because humans always think they have time), to de-scale myself of whatever armor or attachments I've acquired. In the meantime a terrific commission from the Tyler Art Museum and a few shows here and there are keeping me searching. Plus my devotion to Katie and our little household up here on the Blackfork. I may blanch and I may blink, but my foot. Will not. Be moved.
As one might expect, some folks were moved, but now we are at the place where the souls who couldn't stand the heat and the process made excuses and quietly eased away. I understand. It's a private war we are waging here. Best wishes and good luck, little hearts.
I can't seem to find a Biblical verse that applies. Favorites involve wastelands and wandering. Early Job. Genesis. Exodus. I'd prefer something about traversing the valley of death, without fear, because I am armed to the teeth. Or something about God being good, REALLY good, but he drinks, see?....and there just isn't that line anywhere to be found. Like with most everything, its there but has to be teased out.
I'd regarded juicing as a vanity. (Why not just EAT the vegetable?) Experience is revealing a little more of the interplay and subtleties of mixing flavors and aftertastes. As the mixture goes through the juicer and then filters into the refrigerator jar I keep up with the ingredients fresh off the mesh. I hadn't understood apple sauce, (basically a by-product apparently of...juice.) and certainly hadn't tasted it fresh, much less with a touch of ginger or jalapeño infused. Lately I've taken to throwing in a beet or a plum just to get them as an undertone to the main taste. Anything stuck in the filter usually gets fingered up just to monitor the process. Always interesting stuff. Maybe this IS healthy and good for you. Have a sip of carrot and ginger, you T-cells, then go and KICK some molecular K-RAST ass.
The maintainence of the whole catastrophe is a drudge, like painting or chopping wood. Nobody is eager to do it, but when you are finished there a sense of satisfaction. Then just like mowing a lawn, you have to do it again.
Killing Gaia, of course. Electricity and manufacturing and garbage bags and paper towels and water flow and soap. Thermostat at 72 in August. Let the power grid sing. She's staying cool.
And probably it will add some inflection to art-making. I'm searching with silver and lens and light for visions never before seen in nature or culture. Maybe some collision of kale and celery will help get a foothold to see the next thing.
I'm interested in ideas and where they come from and try to notice when a new one appears. Late in the week I learned two new things, both of which I needed to know. They weren't grippingly important- one involved building frames, and the other a film processing tip, but both were unencountered new ideas.
Once I get a visual idea I'm interested in pursuing, I work out the details of shooting it in my head and let it morph a few times, then round up the subject matter and set it up. The details shift at every step. For some reason, I have to actually burn a piece of 8X10 film, then immediately I see the next incarnation. Then I shoot that an see the next one. If I can put on the brakes enough to go process film and contact it, then there is another level staring me in the face. Takes about three shooting sessions to get an idea worked out. I'm interested in visual ideas that have never occurred in nature or culture.
Irons in the fire this year, and lots of fire. I proposed a project for the Tyler Art Museum called "100 Tylerites. I'm in full mortal combat with the shooting. Using roll film and Hasselblad. Nice to use old workhorse after a bit, though I did shoot some trail people at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon during AIR so it wasn't that dusty.
Woman with dog, Bright Angel Point Trail.
Some of ideas I think up and build out. Some I search and find. Every photo shoot always has a problem and a surprise in it, even careful plans. Hoping for delightful, never imagined images.
The shooting part isn't a problem, but the scheduling can be. Usually if subjects have a list of questions its a bad sign. I go for three cancellations, then move on down the list. Usually chasing about five people at a time, plus going where people are and winging it. Doing this all solo.
I'm shy, so I've learned to push through that: walking into birthday parties at the park, approaching people in grocery lines and stores. Judges, teachers, business folks, garbage men, sickbays, wanderers, neighbors. I missed catching a man with the most interesting and ugly face at Walmart last month.
So far, I'm in control of the list. I've warned the museum about the danger of having any influence on the list- folks will be mad they weren't on it. I'd rather them be mad at me than the museum. I do ask a few people for input, but most of it is folks I already know.
Shooting folks everyone knows, like the mayor and sheriff, but many people that are only known in their community. When I can, they are in a historical background that refers to the city. Captions will be one or two sentences, saying where who they are.
Averaging three rolls a day. Processing every few days. HP5 in Pyrocat on reels. Proofing out often and looking them over with cropping bars. Not cropping much if at all except by camera viewfinder.
Jamal Logan and grandfather.
Jamal Logan at swimming lesson.
Clowns at the park.
Linda, Cox's Grill.
Rusty Mitchum, Skunk Hollow.
Sherrie and daughter.
Doc Muckleroy at Doc Witt's house.
Gibert and Gus Ramirez.
Michael McClendon, Vintner.
Councilman Don Warren boarding the Red Line.
David Demic with Harry Jenkins.
Alan and Henry Bell at the Marsh House.
RobinHood Brians, recording studio.
Dennis Smith, TxDot, on Loop 49.
Staying with square format for matting. Printing 14X14 I think. So far just shooting and proofing, since tap water temp is 89 degrees. Showing proofs to museum on September 1st and wrapping shooting about November 1st.
Images getting a little bolder as I go along. The interior mind talk is complex. I'm pushing into what I don't know, doing things I don't do.
Photographer from Tyler Texas. Images in collections and museums in the region. Still using film for exhibitions. Commercial work in digital.
Contact for sales or assignment at Blackfork(six)atAOLdotcom