Pride Weekend Post

This year there is a Queer Liberation March happening today in protest of what the Pride “Parade” has become. I thought of a lot of different topics to post as my Pride NYC Post, and I think the link to this YouTube video explaining how Queer Liberation is reclaiming Pride is the best thing to post, to hear it from the organizer, about how the Pride March has been co-opted and turned into something that doesn’t honor the real people who’ve been oppressed for more than 50 years. Slapping rainbows everywhere can be a kind of “Wag the Dog” way of obscuring what the real issues and challenges are.

 

Here is a video of queer people talking about their experiences and the importance of reclaiming Pride:

 

HEre is a video of queer people talking about their experiences and the importantce of recaliming Pride:

 

HEre is a video of queer people talking about their experiences and the importantce of recaliming Pride:

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Everything Old is New Again

The above image is the only remaining Mandala from 2003 that I recently painted over, literally an old piece in process of being made new.

This is what the piece looked like before I changed it, in an online gallery aptly called Something Old Something New:

Old Mandala

Here we go again. That’s a constant in my art making, at least the past ten years or so. In the past ten years, I have circled back to old work numerous times. The one theme I continually return to is the “cityscapes”. I used to call them “Inner Landscapes”. I really started them when I started a different series, “The Moveable Studio” a reaction to the events of 9/11, using oil pastel and black ink. I ended up making a bunch of tiny images of heads and buildings and eventually connected it to 9/11 and the loss of the twin towers and the people in them.

When I started my Inner Landscapes around 2006, I didn’t make a connection to the city or 9/11 and called them “Inner Landscapes” because the concept was about making a picture of a landscape of my mind and they felt internal. However, people’s reactions to them tended towards seeing them as “real” cityscapes and would ask if it was NYC or if it was supposed to be a city.

Anyway, those pieces went through several successful versions, starting with just using caran cache crayons and pencil on paper, then moving to inks and mixed media, paint, and collage and even a few oil painting/collages.

The above one is a favorite from November 2008.

At some point in 2009-2012, I started adding a lot of collage to them, making them on canvas and wood boards. At that point I feel like I lost something from using too many materials. Then I moved on to other things. When I came back to them I was making drawings with bright colored pen, mostly Sharpie, and I made a lot of those, which are not my favorite.

I made a ton of ones like this above drawing which I don’t like compared to other moments in the series…

From there I wandered off into other work and came back to the Inner Landscapes in late 2016 through 2017, when I started using tape and pens to make new ones and made a whole Sketchbook Project featuring them. Here is the link to that Sketchbook:

Inner Landscapes Sketchbook Project

At that point I was feeling excited to re approach the whole concept, and then I lost the thread again. It wasn’t until last year, May 2018, when I started doing daily 15 minute drawings that I returned to the cityscapes and started writing little stories about the drawings on the backs of them.

This is my favorite one from last year that will be in the Wall Online Gallery…

Then I sort of dropped that after destroying a bunch of the drawings. I managed to ender a few of them into the Organization of Independent Artistst last online show, with the writings. Here is the link to that online gallery:

OIA Salon Online Gallery

Then I got disctracted into repeating another project or thread of old work involving faces, drawing them, and that went into mushrooms and adding beards to the faces and turned into my “Cabinet of Unnatural Curiosities” Series that I’ve put aside for now.

I recently became frustrated with the drawings, probably because I submitted 3 of them to the 440 Gallery for a show with the theme of “Light” and got rejected. The positive thing of the rejection was that I destroyed some more work and then wrote about destroying my hugest creation, a big mandala, which resulted in my revisiting the Mandala project from around 2003 and starting new ones. At the same time, I started in my 15 minute drawings after feeling lost and all over the place, again resuming sort of where I left off last year with drawing the buildings, partly due to the 2019 OIA online show theme of the “Wall”, a better theme to work with than “Light”. Light is involved in all art and is too broad a theme.

The idea of walls on the other hand is broad enough to allow for interpretation, but will yield something more focused and specific for a group show, online in this case. Another wall taken down is the whole concept of the Online Gallery, which has grown out of the usual mainstream art problem that breeds new formats – money and exclusion. Gallery space is too expensive in NYC in any borough for OIA to use, so the online gallery allows for a show that can be unlimited in many other ways.

The big goal is to make bigger pieces in general. I’ll end with a small drawing from last week made during 15 minute sessions that I like:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m in the OIA, Organization if Indepwndent Artists. I must have joined before 9/11 happened. We used to have a gallery in Tribeca. We moved to another one near Duane and West Broadway. I remember being in a group show of Refrigerator Magnets in the space. I had art in their group shows for years.

Eventually OIA moved out of Tribeca to – nowhere. We lost our space but not the website. Then there were shows in temporary spaces, a cafe in Brooklyn. An animals show at a college lobby and a few others.

After that there have been online group shows where we submit images of our art to be displayed on an internet gallery. There will be one soon on the theme of walls. I think it’s a great theme.

Anyway one time the call for work was to pick an old piece and a new piece to display side by side.

That’s partly what I’m doing in this post. I made huge circle collages I called Mandalas in around 2003 I think. It could have been 2005. Two of the main ones were the huge ones I destroyed a few years ago. I guess writing about old work stirred something up in me. I got the idea to do this series again in terms of form and materials- to collage together mostly pieces of watercolor paper in the shape of a circle.

In the past week or so I started 3 of them. Then I made

I’m circling back to last post about destroying my art work, the huge mandala. After writing that post, I got inspired to start making another big mandala in a similar manner, using a similar process to build the circle. I started a big one but then stopped and started a different one. The first one I only used piece of white watercolor/thick paper. With the next one, I took old drawings I had ripped up and glued pieces of them together. Eventually I had three starts, so I took two of them and connected them to start a big circle. Then I figured out the diameter of the circle, 36 inches.

Once I know the diameter I can map out the circle on the floor. My floor is not real wood and is a studio floor, meaning a mess, so I’m lucky in that I can draw a circle on it with a sharpie and it doesn’t matter. So I took out the ruler and mapped out a basic circle, not perfect, as the edges of the piece are never perfect so the circle isn’t an exact circle. Then I had my supervision group and started a small circle in there. I actually did the small circle first and the day after, last Wednesday, I did the bigger one.

Art Homicide: Is it Common?

We rolled it to the point where it was a 7 foot paper taco and carried it down the street home like that. It was too thick from collage to roll up completely. Once home we put it on top of the wood bed posts on the frame around the posts. Every time I lay on the bed I could see the underside of my masterpiece slowly crumbling from the weight in the middle that wasn’t supported.

Having it there along with another big round mandala piece was not a great idea psychologically. If we had stashed it somewhere it may never have met its gruesome end and the other piece wouldn’t have been collateral damage.

Most people don’t get angry at their apartments to the point of feeling like destroying stuff, but I never was” most people”. One day or week I got so frustrated with the chaotic state of my house, that the feeling kept building more like a fire when it catches on to something and the next minute the whole building burns down. As I couldn’t burn down the building, I decided it was time to destroy the mandala. I’d been eyeing it for weeks wondering how and if I wanted to fix it as it was getting damaged.

Suddenly it was clear how to solve the problem. This huge piece used to hang in my old studio on one wall and took up all the wall space. It was up there so many years I remember looking at it and thinking, “What will I do if someone buys it or if I have to move it? Maybe it will be here until I die.” It felt that permanent. Fast forward to me ripping the whole thing apart and destroying it. I don’t remember it well even though it was probably only 4 years ago. After that, I took on the piece that was my height in diameter, like a lion after a kill who finds an extra dead animal baby and eats it just because it’s there.

Do I regret doing it? Do I miss the piece that I still consider one of the best or at least most ambitious things I have ever made? I don’t know because I had forgotten about it until I recently destroyed something else that I liked. I guess if I could have it back I would and it might be in my studio now or  I would have sold it and been happy it had a place. It did serve a purpose in its short life of being on that studio wall because my clidnts faced that wall when they sat in the chair across from me. I remember one client seeing a person in a wheelchair in the middle of it. It was a completely abstract collage. I can probably find a photo of it to post with this. So when it was alive on the wall, it was serving a purpose and beign seen by lots of people. Back then the Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour still existed, so for those few days in April annually, I had crowds of people come through my studio and see it as well as the smaller piece.

I know a lot of big deal artists have destroyed their work, but in a very calculated way, not in a sudden fit and not something they thought was one of their best work. Part of the delight I took in murdering my big mandala was that it was really one of my greatest achievements, so it was a really crazy meaningful kill.

I have destroyed many peices before and since which I will write about in another post…