"I found her on a night of fire and noise
Wild bells rang in a wild sky
I knew from that moment on
That I'd love her till the day that I died
And I kissed away a thousand tears
My lady of the Various Sorrows
Some begged, some borrowed, some stolen
Some kept safe tomorrow..."
Opening lyric from Do you Love Me by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
I am happy to report I have a featured exhibition coming up in February at the River Market ArtSpace in Little Rock, Arkansas. Now is the time to solidify my ideas and concepts, make my plans and get started. I am relieved to have this new focus. I have been drifting a bit since the last show in June and July and taking some serious down time. I have painted many small works on paper for my Etsy shop and managed about 12!?! canvas paintings since then as well, but just sort of floating through, un-moored.
I decided I would call my next exhibition "Fire and Noise" inspired by the above song. I am a new Nick Cave fan, always knowing his name but never listening to his music, well that has changed. This song has been on constant repeat in my ears for about 2 weeks, and I have watched the song's video (another inspiration) hundreds of times by now. Something about it just speaks to me currently.
When I am germinating ideas for new work, I feel the need to talk it out, test it out and share it with others and that is what I have done for the past week; sharing my thoughts with my community of artist friends near and far. The concepts become more clear when I write them to someone else rather than keeping them solely in my head. I want to compile some of this early correspondence here to remind me of what I want in this new body of work as I move forward in the process.
I recently wrote to a friend about my art career and he asked me the following questions. I think they are important and I want to remember them.
"...Why you paint like you do? Why you don't paint like you could? Why you're lost?"
My answers follow. I have a show in Feb. and I want to do all new work, perhaps work that won't even sell.( why I don't paint like I could).
I need money and I want galleries to be happy with me- If I paint like I could the paintings might not be as "lovely"(why I paint like I do).
I am lost because I am conflicted about marketable work/money vs. art/passion/purpose.
Rest assured I am oversimplifying things in my response to his questions. I do not feel like I am just churning out art that looks good over someones couch simply to make money. I paint with the colors I do because I love those colors. I paint the way I do because it is the way I know to paint and it fits my brain most of the time. I do feel pressure (mostly self imposed) to paint things that have the ability to sell (we all have bills to pay), and perhaps are not the most challenging ie: nothing that new or revolutionary in the grand scheme of the art world. However, I don't really want to create "high art." A lot of what I see in famous art magazines is bizarre self indulgent pretentious shit (there I said it). I don't want to produce that, but I do want to put more of ME into my work, whatever that means. If I don't feel "lovely" perhaps the paintings don't have to be jewel toned, perhaps they can resonate a darkness or coal-like quality if that is how I really feel. (I told you in the title this was a note to myself) Anyway, I digress, back to my conversation with my friend about inspiration for the upcoming show.
I am serious about what I said about the Nick Cave song. I need something to fuel my fire and when I look at that video I would like to dive into that seedy world of fire and noise. But will it sell, who knows... and am I capable of making paintings full of noise and interference???
This is the thing, I doubt my ability to change, I know how to paint the way I paint, it is very intuitive at this point in the game and I don't want to reinvent the wheel. I don't want to begin again, I just want to be more free, and find a way to put more of me into the work, and as an abstract painter, I find that difficult. Certain colors could represent emotions, certain lines can mean things to me, but in the end, how different can it be? My hand does what it does.
In a different conversation with another I artist I talk again about what I am hoping to capture.
I want to take all the doubts, the highs and lows, the passion and drama and try to put them in this show. I am going to try to create Art and perhaps art that won't even sell, and try to be okay with that. We will see. I am tired of painting " lovely" paintings. I want a little more substance, something to ruffle my own feathers if you will. I need to get excited about a concept again. I want to go into something a little darker. If you look up the video for the song( Nick Cave's Do You Love Me?) those are the colors I am aiming for. I am not sure I can really pull this off, I may change in mid swing.. interference will feature prominently.. Buzz, hum, the shit that gets in the way.. electronic prattle of emails, and e-dreams, friends that are friends but not, borders and boundaries.
Sounds like an interesting concept, but again with only color and line, how is the prattle of email portrayed, how is the increasing bombardment of electronic noise captured in an abstract painting? This will be my challenge. I seem stuck in this idea that my work is simply lovely and has no substance as it is, and I don't think this is exactly true. I guess I do give into the pressure that "Art" should not be pretty or decorative but mean something. I am not sure if I can put meaning to the abstractions I create, even within this newly proposed conceptual framework.
Another conversation, again trying to put into words what I want to accomplish...
The ups and downs, the messes that I make, the mix of identities and self imposed pressures, the lines and darkness- I want all of these things to factor into my new work. Perhaps, if the Evidence of the Disappearance was the rise, this show will be the fall- which may actually be free of all the nonsense and soar to new heights?!? Like dirty electricity, a certain truth, static, interference, not pretty- not perfect- Can I ? Do I dare?
Who knows? But I must try...
Today is the last day to purchase work from my Etsy shop and have 20% donated to my friend Will's health care fund. I appreciate all the purchases so far. Also if you put "blogger" in the memo to seller when you place your order I will gladly refund your shipping via paypal after your order is placed.Free shipping to anywhere in the world! So if you have been thinking about it, today is the day to act! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Also if you haven't already, please do not forget to Vote November 4th- this one is too important to miss- thank you.