Our town is so devoid of art venues. I need to display this music player at a show in June. There is a screen printing shop in operation by the river in the process of convincing me that there are no other galleries worth art’s time. The proprietor offered the space to me. I am over-obliged, and here is why.
It’s a huge space, dark, maybe dank, but full of life, youthful, unpretentious, and dreamy like rock n’ roll at seventeen. The owner, Glenn, has the right idea. He prints shirts and stuff, and offers musicians and artists a gathering place. In five years he will be able to boast saving egos, marriages and perhaps even a life or two. In the last two days he has hosted pro bono art on the level it must be raised to, if humanity is to carry on for another thousand years. On Friday there was a performance art gig organized by my friend, the college gallerist and his buddy, the sculpture professor. Last night, a benefit for another teacher-artist who had a heart attack a couple months ago, but as adjunct, was uninsured. Last month another artist friend, and also a teacher, set up a sumi ink station on the floor during open mike. My wife and I had a date with our daughter. We got to be ageless and stroke newsprint paper with fat bristle brushes.
Zink Shirts® is the Island of Misfit Toys, and Oswego artists, Santa’s not-forgotten poor girls and boys. Small town middle-aged men and women mingling with inspired youth not yet crushed by the weight of vanity; themselves ready to become misfits, but most will lack the courage to remain, and move to the big city and struggle to make art for the artless. I plan to teach them at Zink not to bother—to just “get a job and someplace to live”. To make art their living, whenever possible. If a big break comes, take it, but give back to Zink Shirts®. Every town must have one, a meeting place to feel. The counting houses posing as bars, restaurants, and hip and hop retail have played host to the twaddle of finance for too long. They don’t want to know anything about you past your money. It works for them, and the people suffer for it. To me American towns appear twisted like the gangrened insides of a moaning zombie, rather than the healthy paradise such incredible wealth could provide. Walk up the main street of my town on a late April afternoon. Pottersville.
I am a 47 year old father and house-husband who paints. I have been applying my vanity to the undeserving New York “art” scene for several years now. To hell with the gallery wizards and witches. Their coven on Manahatta brews soulless international bunk to don the palaces of millionaire twits. The business of art. Ha! I call it the undertaker of happiness medicine. My healing place is wherever I feel ageless at the moment. For dinner, the culinary arts. For family, time without appointment. For freedom, my art to pull me back to love. For society, a place like Zink Shirts, where I can stand proud, a fellow failure in solidarity. Glenn has a loading dock, and behind the dock the bands play in “The Dark Room”. On Friday night I played dead there on stage while my friend laid a quilt and dried sticks over me. A flute played and he joined in with an Irish round drum. I was able to keep still for the performance even though I got a charley horse in my shoulder.
Flashback to 1983 under the trestle with my best friends. Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill, an eight-pack of Matt’s Beer, and the girl on Cypress Avenue. Another night of performance art at Zink Shirts®.
Thank you Glenn.
Now from the Sunday morning music box. Play it loud:
That Feel by Tom Waites
Cypress Avenue by Van Morrison
And one more so you don’t go back to sleep:
Stay With Me by Faces