Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another money riddle

(Carroll Dunham, Square Mule, 2007)

Today I learned that we underestimated what we owed in taxes for 2010 by seven thousand dollars.

I haven’t drawn this well in months.

Monday, March 28, 2011


(Julia Roberts chilling in Bali on the path to happiness)

How can you become a better person? In recent years, Hollywood has given us two options, both entirely apolitical. To qualify, you just have to be loaded.

You can go the way of The Blind Side and take in an abandoned inner-city youth with athletic potential. This movie is based on a true story, and as such, is pretty incredible. But when you watch the real family being interviewed by Mike Huckabee on Fox News, you know other intentions are at work: namely to promote a vision of what happens when you rely (not on government but) on the good Christian will of individuals. Everyone will live happily ever after. Just make sure your new family member is docile. But even if he’s not, you’re a member of the NRA, so everything should turn out ok anyway.

Or you could go the route of Eat, Pray, Love and indulge in travel to Italy, India and Bali. In Italy, you might have to buy size 2 jeans, which is a bummer since you used to be a size 1. You’ll lose the pounds in India though, but not your attachments. Guess that would take even more meditating. It takes so long! Never mind, in Bali, you’ll fall in love with Javier Bardem. He’ll make you feel better. And somewhere along the way, you can email your friends who will send over $17,000 for a local to buy a house.

I certainly don’t mean to downplay individual lives and amazing experiences. Sometimes one person at a time is the best you can do. But on the level of popular culture, these tales become parables and also mirrors of the reigning ideologies of our times.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The snob's phone

(Philip Guston, Hooded, Charcoal on Paper, 1968)

I can’t really post today because I got my first iphone. I feel that my status has been upped, that I’m part of a club and that club says something about me. It says I’m savvy, on the go, a multi-tasker, a liberal, too good to be true. I’m coordinated, busy, up to date, pretty damn well off. The iphone is the snob’s phone, for sure. I love it already.

But I still like my art plain and simple. Charcoal on paper please. Do you realize this drawing must have taken all of two minutes, if that - after years of build up to get to this point of course.

And the sound of charcoal on paper. You can't beat it. I think there's app that'll record it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


(Percy Heath and Jimmy Heath)

Like I was saying on Monday, if you have a democratic spirit in art, you focus little on your personal position. What matters is the well-being of the whole, animated by diverse parts. I confess again, I have a hard time letting my individualistic urges go. Therefore, not only am I an art capitalist, but I’m an art snob.

Virginia Woolf, in her hilarious essay “Am I a Snob?” (thanks Ixv) provides a definition:
The essence of snobbery is that you wish to impress the other. The snob is a flutter-brained, hare-brained creature so little satisfied with his or her own standing that in order to consolidate it he or she is always flourishing a title or an honor in other people’s faces so that they may believe, and help him to believe what he does not really believe – that he or she is somehow a person of importance.
Really what has to be highlighted here is that a snob doesn’t actually believe she’s superior. She therefore sets things up around her in order to feel better about herself: she’s comforted by certain friends that complement an image she’d like to project of herself as independent and edgy; she fills her head with lofty thoughts about the potential of art (I think therefore I am). This is snob psychology, and it explains why one such person would prefer to be surrounded by like-minded artists in a gallery. Because, braving difference on her own is too damn scary.

I can think of three art snob antidotes off the top of my head:

1. Find your inner-aristocrat whereby you don’t need to care about other people. My friend, I’ll call her Shields, was a good example. She had no censor mechanism and would tell dirty jokes at every dinner party possible.

2. Find your inner-Heath Brother. To quote Percy Heath, “The reward for playing jazz is that you get to play jazz… It’s something to live for.”

3. Genuine, if only temporary, feeling.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Drawing as performance

Why draw in public? I have no idea.

I'll be drawing from 3-4pm and then will be at the kids station after.

Monster Drawing Rally benefiting the Dumbo Arts Center.
This Sunday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What's Up in Teen Pop Culture

It’s all about Rihanna. Not with Eminem. That was months ago. I mean the new Rihanna video called S & M. A fascinating subject indeed, although here it’s rendered for primetime TV. But let me tell you, when a twelve year old asks you if she can eat the dinner sausage like Rihanna does a banana, you know something is still working in pop culture.

Then there’s a guy (a band? a brand?) called Neo-con. Oh, wait, I mean Madcon. What’s amazing about a song like Beggin’ is its instant familiarity, a jingly – yes, catchy - blend of 60s and 70s for the 00s. It sounds like a spoof, but in fact it’s a cover. Of course I prefer the Frankie Valli version because I still believe in authenticity. So kill me.

One more mention: Willow Smith. She’s Will Smith’s daughter (get it?) and she’s ten. Back in the day when she was nine, she recorded a song, “I whip my hair back and forth,” and well... At one point, she walks out whipping her hair back and forth, wearing a t-shirt that reads “I love me.”

Can you practice along with me? "I love me, I love me, I love me.”