Month: January 2014

What Is The Value of Art?

It Is Is Is A Doom Alone That Counts

What is the Value of Art?

For this painting? Exactly $188.43. Why? Because I spent 10 hours of my life working on it. And my wife suggests that I charge at least a $10/hour wage. For the canvas (1½” thick generic), I used a 40% off coupon at an A.C. Moore 30 miles away. With gas money and Golden Acrylics added in, plus sales tax, I get to the above figure, which is exact.
That is its monetary value.
Its intangible worth is another story. A long one. A novel in twelve volumes; the fourth where I finally divulge my true intentions with the piece above. I began the morning in a funk, feeling sorry for the painter alive in a nation that boasts an impossible super economy, yet trounces its good fortune with an F350 sensitivity to life. Squash the spider! Swat the fly! Watch an eight year old smash a thousand exoskeletons fleeing up the anthill to protect it.
I spent the early morning spam tweeting a hundred gallerists to make them wake up to the prolific potential I have always hyper-activated in hard copy for my village. Then a wake-up call to my twelve year old daughter whom I homeschool away from the F350’s—to teach her that diesel is death, yet antibiotics has opened the door to the greatest party that will ever be. We need to live creatively (and quietly) alongside the diesels, so that we can dream this Christmas on earth without interruption.
This thinking cheers me to an idea that ferments throughout the morning and into late afternoon. I prepare a scratch meal while waiting for my wife to come home from work. She arrives. Plops down in the chair and we unload our thoughts for the day.
Dinner and more talk. A trip to the country wine cellar and a blank canvas in the basement.
Go!
I used to rock back and forth in my bed as a boy. I would set three albums on the turntable and let them play through while I rocked myself to sleep. Every single night of my life from age 11 to 18, when college roommates were enough peer pressure to make it a private affair with the door locked.
Now in my basement studio some twenty odd years later, I have gone back to rocking out all of that dreamy energy from my arms and eyes via painting. This night I was going to give my wife a hard copy that would sell. A nature scene at night of our Great Lake Ontario. No more politics. No more cultural critic. Finally a landscape some home decorator would purchase for $188.43. And it started out that way, innocent enough, probably Van Morrison singing “Oh my love when I am away from you…” And all the proposal promises I tacitly made with my lover were kept. We saved for our children’s college. We went to a camp in the summer and cuddled up on the couch to watch TV on stormy nights.
I might have kept to Van for an hour replaying, Summertime in England, and got bold with my love in a red dress, painting soft strokes while slow dancing with her in pacific moonlight. Then suddenly Harvest Moon, and I discover the demon rumors are true. He is rising from the lake! The creature writhes inside every single one of us. No escape. Both rickshaws and diesel trucks. All are accounted for in mortality. Holy Jesus, we’re gonna die!
So the following night I let the born again nihilist Bob Dylan set my text to the painting. It reminds us that doom is impossible to avoid at the onset of middle age.
Even with remarkable advances in metallurgy and sleek rubber linings, the shiny new Ford 350 will rust and leak by the time we are fifty.
It is (is is) a doom alone that counts, and that is the value of art to the living.
This particular piece should remind its buyer that there is no doubt, in a super economy, only a hardened, bitter, and frightened man will buy something he can afford.

So, any takers? I’ll have to add $45.00 for shipping.

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Okay. I have the proof. Buy away!

Last Communion

Eager to get out and buy a book today? Look no further than your computer keyboard. Last Communion has been hailed by the critics. Literally crunched up and set into huge ice balls, and launched from atop angry thunderheads.

Here is the link where I can make the most for my work: Last Communion

Here is where I make some in Seattle, but not as much: Last Communion

Finally, here is where I make nothing: The Rest of Earth

I promised a teaser for visitors. Enjoy!

  David Hockney is Talented and Rich

Went to a painter’s site last night and remembered why I should be glad to have been a history major in college. He is a living old man who has six decades of work to view. David Hockney. Never heard of the guy until my cousin, the more knowledgeable painter in the family, referred him to me. I am a man who is rarely interested in the work of others. However, their personal stories thrill me. We all start at the sound shot of the same gun. Some, like David Hockney, end up well known and loved, having strangers from everywhere on earth watch his mid-morning interview live on YouTube.
Others, channeling what appears to be my fate as well, get neither an interview nor a living, no matter how sober (or drunk!), dedicated, and possibly interesting they and their work happen to be. The art market of unartists has no idea how to appraise art until long after all coins have been flipped, landed, and marked on the ledger.
Don’t get me wrong. This Hockney is good, having made beautiful paintings that I admire more than anything I have ever done. Color, wow. Form, complete. Skill? Enough to say almost too much. But what is he? What is his story? As a young man inventing style, was he a Wright brother, or more like a Henry Ford? That’s where history and biography make their way into the whole art story. It is the birth of creation, the labor pains, growing pains, old age pains that interest me. Never the output, which is arbitrary, subjective, boring really, without the struggle and fire of personality. Hockney painted a chair in the 1970’s. So did a multitude of college students at the time. Probably seventy million chairs painted that decade. Was his truly in the top ten? Who says so? History tells me that he got a break. That he was in the right place at the right time. That all artists of good fortune are like colorful pebbles picked from a heavenly (or Hades) stream by a God-child. They have been made at an early age, and by virtue of authentication from these “higher beings” are able to study, hone, magnify their art unto themselves, for self pride is the artist’s best life weapon.
So I document my story. And if I live to be 76 years old, your children and mine will be able to access on the Internet several decade’s worth of Ron Throop work. Poor buggers won’t be able to decide for themselves if the paint was worth the mixing. That is the fate of the unknown. The reality of history. Last year some guy bought a house full of art from the sister of a dead local yokel painter. He paid a couple thousand bucks, and the following months had the work appraised by a gaggle of college degrees. A fast three million. But the artist willed that they be tossed in a dumpster. Great irony. Super story. A better one than Hockney could ever be on roller skates.
Although no one ever asks me for it, I shall give advice now to fellow artists of the dung heap. Keep at it for posterity. Find strength in the grave silence of galleries and museums. Believe, even if in pretend, that they ignore you because there is only so much time to make money by feeding us some more bland crackers of what has already been digested by the industrial art market. David Hockney maintains two residences in the high end real estate of Los Angeles and its environs. A man who feels would abdicate at least one of these thrones to make room for the life-giving ones. But his sage advice? Keep on drawing.
Bootstraps, bootstraps, bootstraps! He’s a Henry Ford for sure.

I Sip Rose Water and Usli Ghee in Old Delhi

A Love Focus For the Next Two Weeks

Rimbaud the Line Cook

2013. Acrylic on panelboard. 48 X 64″

Watching home videos last night on our daughter’s thirteenth birthday. Every second of film was precious, exposing outward expression of an inward laughter. What a messy ego drive and determination make. Some years have gone by and memories forgotten. Hell is not other people so much as a present life coveting comfort. In the painting above I am wooing my rollerblader date. We will be artists in France! We will board a ship because planes breed business, which is anti-love and laughter. And ships are slow. We have a whole lifetime to arrive. How simple I was in days of courtship, cherishing alike the nightly promise of a meal and the natural shine of a horse chestnut.

This painting is for sale. All of my paintings are for sale. I sell few, and those I do, garner way below the price of a bus ticket to Cincinnati, let alone month of May passage to Le Havre.

You can read how a painter-poet (fool) woos the most beautiful girl in the village in the 2013 publication, Leopold Courting Rose.

Below is an excerpt for free:

Okay, you’re lucky. No notes about thighs, eyes, sighs—I shall write to you a confessional. That is my desire for this Tuesday morning, a little over a year gone by since I first held your hand. Always in the library I am on these fall days when I have a greater sense of the life within me. Since childhood I have revered these moments spent in the gray cool morning. As a man I am still overcome by them. They take my breath away. Delve me into dream. Retard me for the betterment of self.
I am the happiest man alive. Now at twenty-nine years I scan the shelves of books with the small part of my brain that seeks to know some other man’s happiness or misery, and this I do for a good long hour to end up cursing the great ones, because I know that good behavior will never get published in a book I write. I hate them and deliberately misplace their works back on the shelf because they don’t deserve all the attention I give to you in dreams. This makes me happy. Dostoevsky will mingle with Thoreau probably until the next time I arrive at the library to mix things up again. Then I will carry that Russian idiot over to the Hindus, and all the dead
philosophers can argue over who is more miserable in their time, and therefore deserving of recognition. The Hindus laugh. The Buddhists snicker. Saint Testicle wears a hair shirt. Good god, they’re all jealous of each other. Petty fools. They are dead! I have nothing to share with them. I am certainly not going to give you away. No more sacrifice. You are mine, and these skinny legs will prove it. I hoist my pile of books up to the counter, check them out, and take our happiness outside where it belongs on this perfect day. Here is the gray light. Shoulder my backpack, hands thrust into corduroy pockets, and the long walk back kicking the leaves high. I am alive with you. That is all we need to read about.
Okay, I lied. Your eyes… Now bear with me.
Two years ago about this time I was being haunted by a dream ghost. You were coming into so many dreams at a time I was out of myself and delusional. Then to New York to wallow in my misery, which I did very well, a strange man equipped with the special powers to plan and execute his own demise. I was well aware of all my moves, fully conscious and sane, for I knew all along that I was torturing myself. Oh, but I felt alive. I went on long walks throughout the city. No different from today, except the feeling was different. I could lose myself. With both hands in pockets, I walked through Central Park oblivious to all around me but the sound of my own breathing and footsteps.
Today is a day similar to many of those I had in New York. Inspirational feelings abound… They take hold, control me, pull me back to the realization that I was “chosen” for this day, (better make the best of it), a complete sentence in the story of my life. We all have this ability to not take for granted each moment of our lives. The novel won’t amount to much if it be replete with
paragraphs about shopping for shoes.
Anyway, I feel then what I feel now. Every move I make I make for the biographers. I live my life as though I am being watched. A one man act, who writes his own plays, and performs on the road. These are the romances I have been writing. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this type of behavior. It’s original for sure. And it gives purpose toward realizing fatherhood, companionship, poetry, self-liberation… Whom do you know, other than yours truly, who would live a whole sober day in this super economy, solely for a meal? Who but village idiot Ron would give up certain lifetime security if it meant losing his ability to dream of you and the impossible requited love on a ten mile walk around New York City? Who besides a fool could claim one of his happiest days penniless with a borrowed cup of coffee, sitting on an Upper West Side stoop dreaming of her? Just dreaming? She didn’t even know him in that way. She barely knew him at all! But he knew about her. All the important things. He knew that if she ever took the plunge with him, he would always use a good olive oil when cooking for her, no matter what the cost. He would over-elaborate in poverty. It’s what poets do. Everyman would become a poet for the woman he desired. And the woman would only respect poetry offered. All dealings with security and pension into old age would be mutually respected after love. But love must come first, and love can only be born of poetry.
So he walked a long day and in the evenings sauntered into any neighborhood book store. His story gave him the strength to seek comfort in the stories of other men, dead and gone, who would never get the chance to know his joy and suffering.
From the stoop on gray days like this I would look into the eyes of girls passing by, think of you, and watch your tail wag down the street on your way to class. Your face on every woman. Your eyes glaring into mine. Eyes so sleepy, wanting a warm boy to curl up with you under covers. I thought of you thinking of me on a walk and talk along the lakeshore with another guy. You wanted me to hear your laughter and listen to your speech, its tone and vibration reaching all the way to Larry’s cold November stoop. These Autumn days I would keep with you. In evening the street lights glowed brightly in the rain. It took the length of a day for you to love and lose three men before spying me on an escalator heading up to my favorite authors. They were going to write about our life together from now on.
Rose, you are in time a mystery to me. I will not become familiar enough to let you go. I still cannot pronounce your name correctly. You are a lovely dream and vision of hope to me. This time spent with you has been streams of evenings on Larry’s stoop wondering how perfect the world would be if you would just let me hold your hand.
kitchenkids

The Painter Has No Dowry… Yet

The Painter Has No Dowry... Yet

My daughter is getting married and she isn’t a reader of this vitriol. She is not quite a half year out of graduate school, has been awarded an art teaching position at her high school alma mater, and is engaged to a good man whom she loves deeply. I think she stays away from my writing because sometimes it is bile, and she is one of the strong happy bases in my life who dilutes the acid of me, and no doubt in the process, often compromises snippets of her own immediate feelings of well being to do so. Like all daughters and sons, she is a bit ignorant of the cornucopian hope/worry of the future her parents imagine for her. The hundred mile commute to and from her new job in a hundred dollar car. The payback of student loans at a loan shark interest rate our government sets to lock up the joy of living to our nation’s young and eager. The fear of return of last autumn’s double mononucleosis that found her worn down from overwork, and paid her dearly for it. We worry knowing worry is futile. Living check-to-check, from debt-to-debt is nobodies’ joy, yet for the struggling creative artist in America, it can be a season in hell. The work is not an issue. The work gets done. The paintings amass in piles on the basement floor, or, if framed, stacked against the wall along the perimeter. You keep painting and dreaming the painting will pay off, someday. Brick by brick you build a delusional optimism or succumb to the madness of failure, which is an internal flame all men share in all cultures—yet becomes a conflagration to the artist of that culture who still retains its traditions. I want to be a part of my human family. But they are embarrassed of me. Whether in Tanzania or the U.S.A., all fathers desire a proverbial dowry toward their daughter’s wedding day. Here in the states nuptial traditions are falling by the wayside. The roles are shifting. Husbands and wives compete for careers. Money flows if you want money. All can work so the dowry is dead. But the tradition lingers. Our daughter will make more moolah this month teaching than I have made my whole life as creative writer and painter. Soon she could support me and pay Rose a dowry to “get Dad off her back”. That is just how the modern global village would have it be, (no doubt, by virtue of my country’s economy stuffing its money cheese down the throats of earth’s nations). No more traditions. No meals at the table. Both parents off to work at jobs they despise to come home and count the money, which is never enough. So I fight tradition (as creative painter) yet adhere to it in daily life, maintaining a strict regimen to nuclear family closeness which is a nigh impossible task in a nation replete with personal comfort junkies. Believe me, financially, it does not pay.

There lies the painter’s frustration, and he may take it out from time to time on curators of museums and galleries. Of course they cannot support him! Their donor’s misconceptions of themselves make the artist’s delusions look like children’s dreams. He wants to be a humble painter. He charges twenty dollars less an hour than a level 9 secretary to the department chair. The garbage man makes fifty dollars more a day than what the artist would want to make in his imagination with strawberries. The dishwasher is on a financial path tenfold more secure than the painter, and the latter gets a social life thrown into the bargain! My city museum claims to support the local artist. I got in a twitter tiff with a representative the other day. “We’ve lent our support to 60 local artists in 2012 alone!” He didn’t like my essay charging the cult of art with art homicide. “See,” he wrote, “We’re showing this local guy now.” And he links me to a page of an established artist with credentials ranging from write-ups in the New York Times, to gallery hosting of his work in The Museum of Sex. He uses blood to make his art. They’re quite beautiful and decorative as far as blood goes. His spotlight is switched on via the several page list of “places where I have tricked art history Ph.D’s into believing I am worthy to invest in”. I do not have that special list which pleases members of the opposite humanity I spam on a weekly basis. I am local, and prefer to be local because I gotta live with these freaking people, I might as well get them to appreciate me, as I do my car mechanic and cashier at the super-duper market. Still, I hope to break through someday to one influential member of the elitist crowd who shares mine (and Henry Miller’s) vision of the artist. Just so I can secure a humble dishwasher-income living through my practice. That’s it, and that is simple. But it ain’t happening, and my daughter’s dowry suffers.
For two years I have maintained a “donate” link in the right column of my free blog. Not one penny in charity. I even wrote about offering nickels to the artist as a symbol of support to a vocation that knows no vacation. I have a hundred paintings and several self-published books available for sale, and if it weren’t for the kindness of a few good friends and family members, I never would have sold any. It is torture to “make art” in America, where people exchange money every second for a Slim Jim or barbecue potato chip. People here are out of their minds. But in a kind of insanity that is beyond insane (for even the psychiatrists who monitor this behavior cannot see past the noses of their own Slim Jim sensations). Here:

“Most of the young men of talent whom I have met in this country give one the impression of being somewhat demented. Why shouldn’t they? They are living amidst spiritual gorillas, living with food and drink maniacs, success mongers, gadget innovators, publicity hounds. God, if I were a young man today, if I were faced with a world such as we have created, I would blow my brains out. Or, perhaps like Socrates, I would walk into the market place and spill my seed on the ground. I would certainly never think to write a book or paint a picture or compose a piece of music. For whom? Who beside a handful of desperate souls can recognize a work of art? What can you do with yourself if your life is dedicated to beauty? Do you want to face the prospect of spending the rest of your life in a straight-jacket?”

—Henry Miller

Well, I am no longer a young man. Then I am either an artist or a supreme fool, for I still believe that I will amass the dowry my daughter deserves. She and my future son-in-law must not pay for their own wedding. If you read this (local friends aside), yet not inquire about the low low price of a Ron Throop painting, then I will go back to line cooking this month or the next. I will be that seedy guy on the broiler who adds a gob of spit to the bubbling butter, just because you were dumb enough to pay thirty dollars for a meal that will last thirty minutes in your mind

First WordPress Post to Plug Four Books

Please get out to the cyberstore and make me a couple bucks today. I need to sell one of these before I go mad (der). They are entertaining. I promise (as I pull my tongue out and wrap it around my head).

Cookbook For The Poor

Last Communion

Leopold Courting Rose

Moonlight in Groundspruce Woods

Published December, 2013

Published December, 2013

The latest book. Published last week.

The latest book. Published last week.

Leopold Courting Rose 2013

Leopold Courting Rose 2013

 

Moonlight in Groundspruce Woods

Moonlight in Groundspruce Woods 2011