stuckism

This Week I Painted Some While Lake Turned and Weather Charmed

lakeontariospring

“I Know Lake Ontario Doesn’t Look Like This in April, but Maybe It Should” 2017. Acrylic on birch panel, 24 x 24″

puzzle

“Only Jay Leno and Other Jingoes See the American Dream From Outside the Dollar Store” 2017. Acrylic on 500 piece puzzle for a dollar. What a deal!

peartreedollar2

“After Sacrificing 23 Pieces of Crap From the Dollar Store, I Planted This Baby Pear Tree” 2017. Acrylic on dollar store frame, 8 x 10″

dollarcordonbleu

“Dollar Store Frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu and Blueberry Muffin on Ceramic Plate Made in China, $3.08” 2017. Acrylic on plate, dinner plate size

dollarclip1

“This Dollar Store Clipboard Does Not Want My Dream of Mexico Unless I Make It So” 2017. Acrylic on Chinese dollar store clipboard, 10 x 14″

dollarstore

“How I Look and Feel at the Dollar Store in Town” 2017. Acrylic on dollar store frame, 8 x 10″

alligator

“Even at 50 My Attempt at an Imaginary Alligator Should Spark the Professional Curiosity of a Bored Psychiatrist” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 11″

50Train

“For Those of You Living in 1 of the Other 195 Nations, the Reason Americans Don’t Love Trains Anymore is Because Our Brains Have Been Usurped by Cognitive Dissonance Aliens” 2017. Acrylic on Stepanov packaging particle board, 12 x 16″

1940’s or 50’s Autumn Forest Stream When Rich People Were Still a Bit Embarrassed About Their Wealth

rich

2017. Acrylic on loose canvas, 41 x 13″

My friend and I are submitting to a regional show with the theme “abstraction”. I think I will frame this under glass, and sell it for less than what it cost me to make. The frame will be the big expense. It’s usually the case. I just want to see if Americans will barter or purchase a luxury item—it’s visible worth not even detected as a tiny greed smear on a corporito’s brain scan—even when it’s priced cheaper than a Denny’s® brunch and a few gallons of gasoline.

I do not fool myself about the material value of this painting. It is what it is. Canvas, paints, brush use, light overhead, man, man’s thoughts, man’s moods, man’s dreams, man’s hope, and man’s hands in his pockets—No, wait. After “man” it’s mostly a squat pile of private abstract suffering. And very few besides a friend or two would pretend to want a material representation of that big idea!

I can’t blame them!

And yet, people would want it, even more than shaving cream, if people’s desires were real and not abstractions. Not so much in want of the painting as any true thought, true feeling, true expression of another man or woman cut up into pieces, and each piece set on a cultural conveyor belt of behavior controlled and monitored by abstractions.

People would want it if they trusted men.

I don’t trust them either, hence the painting, another in an endless bombardment of material representations of Americans worship of abstraction.

And maybe after my demise, someone will pay a few thousand dollars for that “forest stream” painting. Provided the post-mortem marketing team is sharp and can make some abstract tool think valuable a material fool.

 

Installment #3 of “Capillary Reaction” To Counter the Simple Sentences of Politicians

Panem_et_Circenses

“Panem et Circenses”

John Katko wants to frack New York State. It will not bring money to poor Republican voters more than it will bring sadness and sickness. It is said quite often that we deserve the government we have. Tell that to the German Jew in 1935. Good government will allow the cream to rise to the top. Bad government just stinks because it is spoiled. Unfortunately, in a civilized world, we can’t just poor old John down the proverbial drain. So, we have to vote his kind out, and for good.  My campaign manager quips that it’s all well and good to complain about fracking, but tell us Ron, what do YOU use to heat your house? He’s right! By virtue of a rich, bad government, I am a poor hypocrite.

Vote Throop in 2018, and that distinction will change very quickly for all of us poor hypocrites. I will vote “no” on any and all subsidies/favors to the gas and oil industry. Above all, I will vote to make it much more difficult for oligarchs to fossil fuel exhaust our atmosphere, and push into the public discourse reasonable options to renewable energy. And like the poor hypocrite President Jimmy Carter, I will persuade my constituents to wear sweaters and cozy bed caps in the wintertime.

The “Bread and Circuses” wine bar. 2013. An old secretary turned into a morality kiosk to display my politics and country wines. New York summers are a fruity lush paradise. The forager can feel all squire-like berry picking along the public road. With some vine yeast and modest initial investment in equipment, delicious, potent wines can be had by the time the four month lock down of a New York winter temporarily close all doors to hope, health and happiness.
Elderberry, dandelion, blueberry, and my personal favorite, blackberry. They are high proof, delusion of grandeur wines, aged just long enough to make the common man feel as powerful as any governor coached in the backseat of a black SUV.
I will now attempt to break down the story that is painted in the work above. First off, please note that it is an opinion piece. I am one of those rare modern fools who still preserves some 19th century, quirky human misfortunes. Especially in matters of life and death. Winter, by virtue of the wine, recharge my dreams of equality, and I convince myself that, beyond communal law, no person has authority over another. That is, the Golden Rule should be the only indicator applied to all community problems—local, state, national, private, and public. Of course no democratic or totalitarian regimes ever abide by this simple application of human justice. Anarchism, which is likely impossible, is a label word reserved for the young and dumb, who might actually believe that such a system applied would preserve texting and orange juice for lunch when desired. However, localism is a word to scare the designer underwear off any crooked piece of garbage humanoid, who would suffer most under its auspices. That is, representatives of the multimillion billion dollar corporations—puppets easily placed into positions of power and influence. Our present day governor being one such corporito empowered by a system at war with the Golden Rule.
I sincerely believe in the libertarian idea of nullification, but only if backed up by a local economy. There are 18 + million people living in this state. One man and two parties, made up of many corrupt lawyers do not represent even the tiniest fraction of our families. They support ideas, loud ones, that seldom come from the hearts and minds of the real men and women who vote in November. Manufactured debates, wedge issues, to line up one candidate against the other, when both are just nefarious party stooges snorting coke at private functions.
Which leads to one panel of the secretary with the following text: The Farmer-governor Teaches the Coke-sniffing Governor Empathy on a Stick. My ancestor Enos Throop was governor of New York State from 1829-1832. He was not re-elected because he was a farmer in a time when a farmer had to answer to each one of his farmer neighbors. His farmer neighbors did not want the governor to tax them so that the farmers of Hamilton, Binghamton and Utica could have the state build a canal (The Chenango) to enrich their farms. Hence the interior of the secretary where I have Enos water board our present day governor. Why not? The President declares that his minions at the CIA have that right. So my imagination can too.
Another panel depicts the water-born disease of cholera, so often epidemic in 19th century America. Enos had to deal with the outbreak during his governorship, through no fault of his own. He traveled to inflicted towns and cities to oversee the tragedy and spread the idea of calm leadership throughout the panic. Cholera ruled the streets before Mr. Snow put the new science into practice, locally, without multimillion dollar profit driven research by GlaxoSmithKline. The dandy choleras are out enjoying a Sunday evening stroll.
On the back is a rack for the country wines, and a homage to the famous old west U.S. Marshal entitled Leadership During the Time of the Cholera.
Individual homemade country wines bear the following labels:

Elderberry Heaven/Elderberry Hell/offer Mr. Cuomo/ a glass of HCL

Blackberry—Ready or Not/V2O5/Try to keep your kids alive

Dandelion toluene/a glass of golden sea/a cheap, if less efficient/lobotomy
Blueberry—Share this with a lover to woo/or a close friend to confide/ C5H8O2/or just glutaraldehyde

Finally the secretary’s legs are dressed up with a skeletal Cuomo gesticulating with the words: Andrew doth dance ’round the leukemic hole Jole.
And the Devil with, Satan cries a toluene tear.
There’s a human hand holding a salt loaf of bread, dried basil and tobacco strung around a piece of shale with a photograph of Cuomo and a painting of Throop pasted on a rock. I displayed the wine bar last spring and summer with an essay handout authored by yours truly, and an old speech by Governor Throop (that he wrote himself), explaining his position on the future construction of the Chenango Canal. Both are written by men bearing a conscience. A virtue that power brokers in the present day state of New York fear like rational people fear a family-shrinking infected water supply.
Come to the wine bar and we shall toast the nullification of corrupt human beings, which today means anyone seeking power as a representative in New York State.

Teacher, Sorry I Painted On The Desk. I Want To Be A Ditch Digger

2014. Acrylic on antique scholar’s desk. Running out of paints again, but Dan is in Denver. I suspect Santa will drop some coal black and pyrrole red tubes in my stocking…

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Here is the result of a week spent suffering canvas and paint box depletion. Sitting, stretching and bending all over the floor has made me more limber than normal. The desk was a miscellaneous tool box cobwebbing in the basement. After some color it became a testament to my education and a brief eulogy to the poet Lou Reed.

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As explained in a previous post, earlier this week my friend Dan dropped off some paint and a couple canvases to my surprise and wonder. Then, he came back the next day with more paint and canvases. He also rolled up several Arts sections of the New York Times so Rose and I could be entertained with human good news over our morning coffee. I am a ditch digger of wealth and taste.

There was an article about Milton Glaser collaborating with the writer of the TV show Madmen. In it the reporter referenced the door of Glaser’s company bearing the words, “Art is Work” on the transom glass.

Yes! That is what this famous graphic artist is worth to me. Passing on a truism that I will take to the grave. Art is work. One, two, perhaps a cliff drop in salary grade from ditch digger. However, even with all the maneuvering to paint in awkward positions, I will never wake with a slipped disk and a painful drive to the next work site. So in matters of health and possible longevity, I save big time by being a painter. I work. I just don’t work for a living… Yet. Rose is making an investment in my education. She is putting me through life art school. She works. I cook the rice and beans. We eat together. She grabs my hand and admonishes me for the dirt under my fingernails. The paint dirt!

And what do I have to show for it?

A small house filled up with much more than a repeated yarn or two expressed at the shuffleboard court about that awesome French drain I dug back in the summer of ’98.

“I have been in love with painting ever since I became conscious of it at the age of six. I drew some pictures I thought fairly good when I was fifty, but really nothing I did before the age of seventy was of any value at all. At seventy-three I have at last caught every aspect of nature–birds, fish, animals, insects, trees, grasses, all. When I am eighty I shall have developed still further and I will really master the secrets of art at ninety. When I reach a hundred my work will be truly sublime and my final goal will be attained around the age of one hundred and ten, when every line and dot I draw will be imbued with life.
—Hokusai Katsushika (an art crazy old man)

More desk. The tribute to Lou Reed part.

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Coney Island Baby

Cremation

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Waldemar Januszczak, the Sadist Print Media Troll, Likes To Make Creative People Feel Bad For Money

critic

2016. Acrylic on wood panel, 12 x 16″

Last night Charles Thomson, quiet painter from north London, posted a link to a review in The Sunday Times, in part about a painting exhibition at a millionaire’s mansion of speculative art stuff. You can read it for yourself. Imagine you are a creative humanoid being reviewed by this narcissistic, crafty misanthrope. Or, you can feel the pain empathetically, like I did, for other painters a world away, and cringe at the flippant arrogance aimed at pleasing his equally arrogant, non-creative betters over their morning pastries and tea.

I refuse to sully my good taste and break down his article into counter argument. He is just another art critic who does not make art. A well-oiled bearing in the propaganda machine, to help the sickly skepticism of bloated westerners continue to run smoothly.

However, I will spend an hour this morning relegating his kind to the most loathsome and disgusting monster lair in any creative person’s make-believe world.

What does Waldemar do for a career? He writes about other people’s creativity and path to self-realization. In his most recent content rant for a newspaper seeking print ads from any prostituting organization that pays, he mocked the career choice of some painters because they did not live up to his highly subjective world view of art. Strike one. He searched for the latter confirmation at Saatchi Gallery, sent by a board room of non-painting millionaires to be critical of the aesthetic choices of a non-painting art collecting millionaire. Strike two. And finally (although I wish several more strikes were allowed in this game), Waldemar’s mum and dad raised him to be a sadist. Strike three.

A few rhetorical questions to follow, all with the answer of “no”…

Can a non-painting person ever catch even a chance glimpse into the creative impulses and results of a stranger who paints? Does the latter work a lifetime waiting for the opinion of people whom he or she does not like or love? Can posers like Waldemar reach the freedom of self liberation that all sensitive human beings on earth strive for? And finally, can an unhappy critic love a work of art enough to discontinue a professional life spent in mockery of those who seek freedom through art?

Waldemar is an adult man of the six-year-old child who bullied me in the schoolyard. Every day, Brad Davies would find me before the bell rang, to tell me it was time for my morning punch. Brad was big and scary. I don’t think he had any boxing training—just another nasty, unloved child set up against a kid who appeared weaker because he knew how to be kind. I just wanted to get it over with. And, every time, after keeling over, I felt freed to finish the day any way I liked. Brad was just a nuisance, like a bath or bowel movement, to whatever private adventures my 6 year old day would envelope.

That’s how I feel today about a person who attempts to criticize any effort I make to express my humanity as a 49 year old man. I also should mention that probably because of Brad, and the many other bullies to follow, I became a staunch protector and champion of the underdog. Reading Waldemar’s frightened distrust of painters  and especially his wrong knowledge of their painting processes, just turned my visceral anger nodules up to high and hot red.

How about those painters finally getting their chance at dishwasher salary success, eh Waldemar? Would the Times’ subscribers have been better served if  instead you championed the lucky painter’s wonderful breakthroughs? As an art critic, surely you must understand the humiliation, both public and private, that is daily suffered by human beings who “put themselves out there”? Waldemar, you of all people would understand this, correct? I mean, with extensive training in art history, you at least got a B in Private Struggle 101, yes?

No. Waldemar is an uncreative bully, a sadist, like little Brad Davies. He probably spent most of his college time in the fraternity practically hazing to death hopeful initiates. I see him snickering to his dumb buddies during the lesson on van Gogh. I suspect, had he the same job in 1880, (as every painter who just finished reading his article now knows), Waldemar himself would have offered a loaded pistol to van Gogh to end his “career” early on, and avoid all that unnecessary suffering.

My wife and I discussed Waldemar’s article earlier this morning. She didn’t want me to be too hard on him. She’s a very pretty woman, and as a young girl most likely did not suffer a daily Brad Davies’ abdominal pain. So, at times like these, over problems she rarely suffers in a workaday world of mutual politeness, I have to educate her on the subjects of art, man-made creation, and of those cowards especially, who seek to undo all that expression has to offer. I do this for her benefit, as well as mine. I have very strong opinions, but unlike Waldemar, I am not a public twit. And, I can admit to all and sundry that I am an artist who doesn’t even like art very much. And as an artist I can promise you, and I’ll stake my “career” success on it, that Waldemar, not only does not like art, but he is determined to punch it in the gut until it dies. His betters, who sell everything from recycled toenail clippers, to highly absorbent paper towels, would not have it any other way. They have an agenda. A world of artists would make for absolutely rotten consumers of the trite and inane. Millionaires of no creativity, and their huge army of inexpressive, deadpan soldiers like Waldemar, subsist to make creative people question their own powers of creation. They keep good people guessing while the sad people buy more useless crap to make the dumb millionaires even richer.

It will end someday when masses of humanity cease to put faith into the print media trolls of planet earth. Fortunately, there are few as insidious as the likes of a Waldemar Januszczak, that it shouldn’t take too much more time.

Finally, the last word, because this is my blog, and I don’t get paid for it.

In that same conversation with my wife this morning, she agreed that even if made to exist in this world as a dishwasher sharing the rent with other dishwashers for a flat on skid row, then I would continue to paint with pigments of hope and desire. Every day. Day after day. To know if Waldemar can be a valuable tool to criticize other people’s private and public joys we must ask ourselves if we think he would continue his craft if he wasn’t getting paid to do so?

Ha! The sadist without encouragement. Brad Davies crying in his pillow.

The art world knows very well that Waldemar is a coward. He would know it too if he dared some day to make his own painting. But he stopped learning a long, long time ago. I am going to take my wife’s advice, and be nice. May the art critic live a long, satisfied, myopic life, and die alone and soon forgotten even by his grandchildren. To the Saatchi painters he criticized for pay on a late autumn day, I give you the following advice and encouragement:

Just keep painting. Because even if you’re a total ass like Waldemar Januszczak, at least the progeny of your line must remember you for as long as it takes plastic or oil to disintegrate.

¡Viva la Stuckism!

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Seven Dingleberries Judging a Fool

dingleberries

2016. Acrylic on paper, 22 x 15″

I hate the word too. It makes me cringe. Certain words do that to me. Maybe I am grossly synesthesiac. I get a physical reaction to the utterance of some off color words. “Chunk” has the same effect. My muscles tighten. I visualize the word as a big square box and myself pushing it away. My sister and I made up a word when I was nine. “Balooka”. We were saying it all day long and that night my grandfather died. It was then I understood that words have power. A lot of power. A single word killed my grandfather. I imagined the awesome effect of whole phrases let loose on a population.

And it is done day after day all over the world. Bad words uttered carelessly. Innocent people suffer. Somalia could become a safe and happy land if wrong words were outlawed. “Boeing”, or “army” would be a start. Eliminate “general” from the vocabulary and local children will one day enjoy a worry-free ice cream cone on Secondo Lido Beach. Take out “warlord”, and not only do mothers look forward to motherhood, but some arrogant, ethnocentric English or American journalist gets his mouth washed out with soap.

Last night on the radio before Barack Obama spoke about why being a U.S. President is hard work killing people for the Pentagon, an NPR reporter named three nations’ governments: Russia, Iran, and then, with mention of Syria, spoke the word “regime” in place of “government”. Ah! There it is! Another word to make me cringe. I have been pushing that big box away ever since George W. Bush began his campaign to shrapnel embed  every Iraqi child north of Basra that his toy night vision goggles could spy pleading for mercy.

Now “regime” is a perfectly normal word, unlike “dingleberry”. However I believe the press as well as the President know its cringing power over Americans. We have heard its negative connotation more times than the people of North Korea have heard their equally powerful word “leader” spoken of in the positive.

I believe for the majority of people, words, even bad words, spoken over and over, can eliminate the initial cringing effect over time. Hence North Korea, and the dribbling idiocy of its people. And also America, where HBO and Donald Trump have made the word “pussy” as commonplace as “shit”—two words that I believe should be kept under one’s breath while scolding your cat for having her “diarrhea” miss the litter box. Those words make me cringe. One is a cat. One is so obvious and therefore unnecessary to talk about, and the last, in my mind, reveals the image of U.S. Civil War prisoners in Andersonville lined up on a plank suffering their dysentery.

Finally, this week I have heard the word “homeland” uttered twice on the radio. Our executive leader in Washington thinks Americans are losing faith in their government because of “partisanship”—another nasty word. Maybe for some. Especially the behavioral wanna-be North Koreans. Not for me though.  “Homeland” is the big white box I am pushing away and away. In it are all the foul-mouthed fascist lawyers pontificating an unlearned patriotism, agreeing on the common usage of more cringing words to aid an American regime in the further dissolution of a peaceful humankind.

NPR, my government radio station, likes to use the word “homeland”. Nazi radio used “Vaterland”. Both have already amounted to the same thing. Hitler and his foul-mouthed dingleberries used it to kill lots of people within old and new German borders. Likewise, our “homeland” dingleberries use it to kill lots of people outside United States borders, and set its own peoples intellectually against each other like starving rats in a cage.

Some words make me cringe. My modern Presidents, their “generals” and “intelligence” officers just don’t get it. They do not represent anyone at all. We have been disenfranchised. I did not want to vote for Hillary Clinton because as my senator, she voted to shrapnel embed other people’s children. Likewise, I did not want to vote for a New York City billionaire who is obviously so discumbobulated as to not know how to behave around a naked cat.

You curve your arm and pet from the head downward. You’ll know by the top of the spine if she’ll let you continue down the tail and up.