stuckism

My Silver Dollar Campaign Updated

Newtie

“I’d Rather Rendezvous With This Sexy Italian Newt Than Wait Around Here For Tasteless Billionaires To Win Again” 2016. acrylic on discarded press cleaning sheet, 7 x 17″ (In private collection of a friend)

Repeatedly, I suffer bouts of intense self-doubt that usually presages a light epiphany of sorts. I get a new idea or a reaffirmation of a past philosophy, and all is set back right with the world. Always temporary though. Another self-doubt monster will invade my pshyche in due time. It never fails to torment again and again.

Last night was bad. I won’t go into it, because the good idea that transpired has charged me back onto a positive path.

For some unknown reason, the life of my great grandfather sprang into my mind this morning. Henry Throop lived in the central New York area all his life. He was born in 1880, raised in Lebanon, N.Y., attended Colgate when it was still a prep school, went to Cornell to study civil engineering, married, and settled in Syracuse, where he worked as a railroad engineer, and then on his own as independent engineer/contractor until his death in 1956.

I use his life often in writing and conversation to juxtapose today’s culture to the one of a hundred years ago. Was it a better time? Who knows? I can say with certainty that Henry was a very mature twenty-something year old. He kept a journal—observations and day to day life for the most part, and also an expense account book, showing where every penny went. This morning’s idea was to use this account book to revolutionize the way I intend to sell my work.

My Silver Dollar Campaign

I have had it with business and art. It doesn’t work. The moment the painting gets offered, haggled, denied, etc, on the market exchange, the entire culture of the thing created gets violated. I lose all semblance of its original innocence as soon as the money door opens. Only once have I made a painting thinking about money, or a sale. Here it is:

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“My Heart’s Desire Is That One of You Is Drunk Enough To Buy This Painting” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16″

I was invited to a rock concert with some friends where there would be a section of the parking lot cordoned off for vendors. I painted this the night before, and had it sold before we finished putting up the tent.

It is stated in my great grandfather’s account book that on September 14, 1907, he purchased the following for one dollar:

2 loaves of bread
1 dozen cookies
toothpicks
paper
salt
chestnuts
peanuts
pound of butter

and a haircut…

A dollar in 1907 had the spending power of about $25 today, without the haircut (some small luxury to prove how contemporary inflation experts always seem to get it wrong). So, about $40 today would buy these goods Henry bought in 1907. A dollar was a dollar and it purchased what forty more dollars could buy today.

I love the silver dollar because it has an ever changing value on the money market. For several years I have watched its value move between about $15 to $35. And it’s just a dollar! It also feels good in the hand, and I bet many of them in a small pouch attached to my belt (a lá Rimbaud), would feel even better.

Henry’s items I listed above are worth any one of my paintings. No one is buying the luxury items I have made available. So I have sweetened the pot in order to avoid the money exchange problem for the rest of my life.

I will amass silver coins!

From this day forward, any one of my paintings not hanging in a gallery can be bought for a silver dollar. Not what a silver dollar will buy, but exactly one, shiny silver dollar. I don’t want to barter anymore. I want to jingle coins in a pouch. I have set the value, and it is universal. Any size. Any painting not in a gallery. Of course, the buyer must pay for frame and also shipping on top of the silver dollar. I have some very big paintings. If they were purchased, I would have to charge a handling fee. (Quite a bit of work goes into hiring a tractor trailer to pick up at a residence). Frames, shipping and handling could be exchanged in paper currency, however, the painting itself—always just one silver dollar.

Now imagine the creative time we could have. No more of that embarrassing “real” money exchanging hands. You can stop at the local pawn shop on your way to my studio and deal with the proprietor. He or she will certainly have silver dollars to sell you in trade for the paper money. Get it. Heck, get two, and stop by to pick out any painting(s) you want. If framed, I will price it fair, and you can give me the paper money that I will spend on groceries, or a dress for Rose at the second hand shop. I will mark your name, painting, and date of purchase in a little cardboard envelope, and if I make it to seventy-five, cash in on retirement fried eggplant sandwiches once in a while, thinking of you and our shared human experience.

(Please note: I can only accept silver dollars, and not paper money of what a silver dollar is currently worth on the pretend money market. I made the effort of the painting. Now you can go the extra mile to pick up the actual silver dollar).

Please think about this, and spread the idea far and wide. There must be some painting that you like for such a fair price. Think of birthdays, upcoming holidays. I am just so exhausted from these encounters with the self doubt monster. It’s time to kill the money.

Several of my recent paintings can be found here. I look forward to jingling coins in a pouch.

Ron

Honestly, If I Tamed The Wild Phthalo Wolf, What Makes You Think I Can’t Put Down These Sterile Thermonuclear Puppies?

Phthalowolf

Not much to say beyond the title. Men (mostly men, rarely women) my age are holding the earth hostage with 20th century mass death technology. Not one of them is made of more  virtue than I—Better bureaucrat, yes. Better fearer. Better mistruster. Better God or mother-hater. Better White supremacist. Better Chinese or Korean Supremacist. Better Indo-European, maybe even Dravidian supremacist, of course. But never a better man than me. Any military that holds these in arsenal is more than coward—it is degenerate evil. Logic for this kind of destruction is insane. So humanoids in or out of government who tacitly set aside madness for status begin their climb from a much lower level than I, and I hope, you too. Maybe they are what hell would be if it existed.

It truly is a world divided into us against them. Especially if “us” ever raised and loved a child. I tamed the phthalo wolf. I am better than all manufacturers and the combined militaries of nations that would serve this evil.

Kinetic mass annihilation is premeditated mass annihilation. People who are connected to these weapons need their noses forcefully pushed into their own Armageddon pile. Even our dear mother, uncle or son who collects a paycheck to perpetuate this madness. As a lowly painter I have become a higher human being than anyone who would allow a world to collect this much death power. There is a time to become arrogant in love and nurturing. I have arrived. I have more love for mankind than all nuclear nations combined.

And all I had to do was paint an imaginary green wolf.

Some Paintings This Week

basquiat2

“Mr. Maezawa, The Ghost of Basquiat Says That Sniffing America Like an Ass Isn’t Going to Get You Satori” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″

 scottbeach
“Listening to ‘Let It Bleed’ Real Loud to Take a Swipe at What Unchecked Repetition Has Done to the Youth of My Friend” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″
Manbridge
“One Man Standing on a Bridge and Two Birds Laughing at Him” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″
japan
“Mr. Maezawa, Like Basquiat, I Sped Up This Painting to Help History Record Your Disgustingness” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 13 x 20
fingerlakeswine
“Hey Fingerlakes, My Congressman Deals Mostly With the Serpent of Sickness and Death. How ’Bout Yours?” 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36″

 Heroin
“I Listened to ‘Heroin’ by Lou Reed Over and Over While Painting an Old Memory” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 22 a 14″

 Universe
“I Am the Universe Resounding With the Joyful Cry, ‘I Am!’” 2017. Acrylic on wood panel, 11 x 14″

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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