LUCAH: A Poor Way To Promote


“For we see so many works of art,
we read so many criticisms —
mostly written by very ignorant persons,
but written in fine pompous language,
in sonorous phraseology which dazzles us –”

~Edouard Lanteri
[quote segment 1 of 3]

 

I’m an idea incubator. Often an idea comes & I go:
Okay, that’s odd. & risky. But wouldn’t it also be interesting to see fleshed out?
This post is one such experiment.

So my partner & I opened a business on 8/2/19.

The concept for LUCAH is an eclectic mashup of fine antiques + one-of-a-kind finds + contemporary art. And by contemporary I mean: made as recently & as now as possible.

We have regular business hours 6 days per week. We keep the shop/gallery clean. We’re congenial & engaging when folks visit. We have a social media presence. We can accept credit card payments. Those are all great business practices.

Probably what is not a best practice: posting crappy pics of the items we carry. But, alas, that’s what I’m fixin’ to do.

Six weeks into this venture, we’ve been surprised at the amount of local art & other recently handmade goods buyers have taken home. That’s interesting to us. We’re feeling our way through this whole process, learning as we go, remaining nimble.

“…that we are every minute
distracted from our own road…”

~Edouard Lanteri
[quote segment 2 of 3]

 

While manning the shop one day last week, I decided to take some photos. Sorta chronicle a sampling of shop things–both new & old–as we’re heading towards a substantial revamp for October. Some of the pics turned out pretty alright. Others are just dang janky.

Can blurry photos with distracting reflections be art in & of themselves? I say: yes. Is there something beautiful, perhaps a deeper capturing of some ethereal aspect of a piece, in unpolished photos of those pieces? Sure, why not. Or maybe it’s just poor lighting, substandard equipment & horrible photography skills. Can’t that be an artistic choice?

Yes, I hear the grandiloquent mumbo-jumbo in those ^ words. I get that it sounds all conceptual-ish. Okay.

 

 

“…and occasionally it becomes impossible
to find ourselves again.”

~Edouard Lanteri
[quote segment 3 of 3]

 

I kinda dig this raw format. It feels like me. It feels now.

If you’re interested in any of these pieces (although 5 pictured items have sold already) let me know. I can send better pics, dimensions, artist’s details, prices, etc. I’m experimental most the time but can even be solidly ~professional~ when I need to.

[EXPERIMENT COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY]

Funky Potboiler Pumpkins


Pumpkins1

Funky Potboiler Pumpkins – Early Stage

Last month I was walking through an art gallery. This sudden thought hit me, or maybe it was more of a gut-punch:

“I’m sick of 2-D art.”

 

Now, that’s a weird thing for a mainly 2-D artist to feel down deep.

I’m not exactly sure where that thought came from. Something about the particularly static 2-D art I was surrounded by at the time? Some sort of flatness in my own life, my own paintings? A need to create pieces that engage with space, art that possesses a tactile quality? Some major shift in my own artistic vision?

Well, I’m still making 2-D art. In fact I’m in my studio daily working towards a solo show that opens October 7th. I’ve got a dozen fresh paintings in various states of completion working toward that end. The disgust I felt in that art gallery moment is gone, but the phrase lingers.

Related: I’m back on the clay.

I took a pause from clay for a couple months while launching a downtown shop with my partner. LUCAH has been open for over a month & is now on auto-pilot. Interestingly, we’ve sold just as much local art as antiques.

So, clay.

Pumpkins2

With 25 lbs of dirt to work with, I decided on a series of Funky Pumpkins. They’re seasonal, easily recognizable as distinct objects, and are decidedly not 2-dimensional. They allow me to play with variations on a single form, all with the shared techniques of wheel-throwing closed forms, altering, refining until they’re smooth, unique & magical.

Are these pumpkins craft or are they art? That’s a conversation I love having with folks. Where is this imaginary demarcation? What makes one thing High-Brow and another Low-Brow? At what point does this line blur so that the arbitrary distinction is rendered moot?

I consider all my creations as Uni-Brow. 

 

Nearly 25 years ago I lived in Killeen, TX. My wife was stationed at Ft. Hood. I was a “Full-Time Artist” & stay-at-home dad. Surrounded by all things military, I of course sought out creative connection. Artists are always around if you look hard enough.

I got involved with the Killeen Civic Arts Guild. They had a co-op gallery nestled in your standard American mall-gone-downhill. One Saturday while working my gallery shift with another artist, she said something that still resonates with me after all these years.

No, it wasn’t: “I’m sick of 2-D art.”

Her name was Ramona Newell Batchelor. She’d been mentored by a guy who made highly detailed technical drawings for NASA or some such. Her realistic art showed a precision. The image that sticks out is a pencil-drawn cowboy on a horse. Both animal and rider twisting in motion. Bodies taut. Dust swirling around hooves. Lasso curling in space around the cowboy.

We chatted about art. About making a living at it. About the tension between manifesting the passion inside us wanting to be freed, versus what might actually sell.

Her mentor, the one who maybe worked for NASA, once told her something. Years later, she told me. I’ve passed this idea on many times to many artists.

“There are the things I have to create. The things that come from here.” And she pressed her fist into her chest, over her heart. She held it there for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 whole silent seconds. “Those are the things I must make.”

She dropped her hand. The intensity in her eyes faded a little, but her sincerity remained the same. “Then there are potboilers.”

I can still feel the confusion on my face.

Ramona Newell Batchelor smiled. “There are your passion projects, yes, always. But then there are other things you can make. Works that people can easily buy. Works that make enough money to keep the pot boiling. Little things that earn the electric & water payments so you can keep boiling potatoes and eat, so you can buy more art supplies.”

“The potboilers allow you to keep making your true art.”

 

So these are my funky potboiler pumpkins. They’re pleasurable enough to make. I’m excited to see what glaze colors & surface decorations I come up with to make them truly funky. [Hopefully I don’t go so funky as to make them un-potboilerable.]

Early interest at this stage tells me these pumpkins might just help me keep the pot boiling. But I’m in no way convinced that they are craft at all. In fact, they feel as true as any other art I’ve ever made – 2-D or otherwise.

 

p.s. I searched for Ramona Newell Batchelor online. I sent her a message out of the blue letting her know how much that single day ~25 years ago still means to me. Check out some of her art here: Ramona Newell Batchelor Art

 

 

 

Art: Live Figure Drawing 1 of 4


Figure Drawing 20190711 02

“Snoozing Nude w/ Tattoos”

Last week I took my first ever Live Figure Drawing class. Well, it wasn’t so much a class as a session. The model was there, artists were there, and we sketched away without instruction.

Going into this experience at the Mansfield Art Center, I had somewhat of an idea of what to expect. A nude person. Charcoal. Fast sketches.

Beforehand, I asked for input & tips from others who had either taken a live drawing class or modeled for one. Some quoted tidbits:

  • “I love doing live figure drawing!! My advice is to just let go. They change up the times for each pose. Sometimes you might only get 1 minute to sketch. Sometimes 20. It’s incredible brain training.” ~Andrea Wittmer
  • “Naked people make me nervous. Probably post-tramatic-commune-living-disorder.” ~Tim Gorka
  • “Loosen up with quick 20 second sketches done with something unerasable like a Sharpie, go for capturing gesture with long lines first, then horizontal lines for shoulders and hips (capture how the angles look, the way the weight is carried) avoid a quest for likeness perfection in the beginning. As you get more comfortable with the process and executing the basics quickly you can build on more detail as time allows. Life drawing was my favorite in art school.” ~Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
  • “I modeled for 10 plus years and rather enjoyed it. I was always amazed at what was created.” ~Bryan Gladden
  • “Life drawing really helped me in understanding anatomy. Body parts are larger than I thought. Like heads, the shoulders, torso, feet. And men are more challenging. As for the nudity, the first time was a little adjustment, but then it was no biggie. I’d try charcoals to start with because they can be wonderfully goof-proof and make great shadows. And have fun! Now I want to go.” ~Anniston Jory

So the model posed. I sketched. The 2 hours went by quickly. I ended up with maybe 7 sheets of varying sized paper with 1 – 12 figures slapped all over them.

Figure Drawing 20190711 08

“The Elbows Have It”

Afterwords, a few of us did an informal show-and-tell of what we created. The model peeked over our shoulders. For one piece, I added green & blue pastel to match her real-life hair. She loved that one.

I signed it, snapped the pic below, and gave it to her. It was the first time she’d ever received one of the sketches from any of her modeling.

Life Figure Gift

“Chilly Nude”

Once home, I looked back through my work from the evening. Some parts of some sketches were pretty okay for an initial attempt. Other parts were downright horrible, off, screaming with their bad proportions, lack of model likeness, room for improvement. But that’s why I need the sessions.

As I do, I started thinking: “Hmmm… what if I push these ‘throwaway’ sketches a bit further? Develop them into finished pieces? Add to the composition with acrylic?”

So that’s what I did. I further challenged myself to make these pieces feel current but also like they could’ve been created in the 1960’s or 100 years ago. Kind of a non-vintage vintage feel. For my palette, I chose muted colors that would help convey this.

Three of these reworkings are now signed & framed.

Figure Drawing 20190711 03

“The Body Is A Boat”

This was session 1 of 4. I’m hoping to see personal progress by the end. After each session, I’m gonna work at least one of the sketches into a “finished” piece.

And, I reckon, soon I’ll be able to offer input/tips for another artist giving Live Figure Drawing a shot for the first time. My first tip: just go for it.

 

Art: Blank Encyclopedias


Blank Encyclopedias - Blank

This poor, neglected site. I tell ya what.

I’ve had a lot going on. Been making tons of art, writing & submitting too much (apparently) unpublishable poetry. Basically I’ve been enjoying an extended period of experimental creation. Plus my partner & I are opening a store. <— [Much more to come on that last one later.]

I think we all make this plans, resolutions-of-sorts. Like, I’m gonna do this, commit to this, and this time I’m gonna follow through on every bit of it. And, well, occasionally that works out.

So one of those things I’m gonna do, is post my art more regularly. I mean, I make plenty of it. Might as well chronicle, throw it out there, get my creations seen by a few eyes other than my own.  It feels like maybe I’ve made this plan before…?

Well, I’m making good on it in this very moment anyway.

Blank Encyclopedias - A-Z

This series is titled Blank Encyclopedias.

The concept is that they’re a set of encyclopedias, templates, that need to be filled. Writing, sketching, collage, etc. Stick to entries that begin with the letter on the cover? Or select one based on the first initial of your name and just go hog-wild with the content. Whatever. They’re blank until someone fills them.

The artwork is acrylic on canvas-covered blank journals/sketchbooks with unlined paper.

Process-wise, I gave myself permission to just go freeform with the imagery, no planning. This is me playing with hand lettering & typography, directly applying stark-white acrylic to the black covers, making bold marks. I then added neon washes for color.

I decided to make these Blank Encyclopedias 2-sided. So if the A is flipped over on a short edge, the Z is upright. The same with the B and Y. And so on. [I’ve filled a few of my personal journals like this: writing on only one side of the page, flipping the journal over & then writing on the back.]

Yes, these are for sale. Once 7 are paid for, my costs will be covered.
Art sure ain’t gonna make me rich. Yes, I’ll ship them to your front door.

Small Blank Encyclopedia – 4″ x 6″ – $10
Large Blank Encyclopedia – 5.5″ x 8.5″ – $15

I’m thinking these might be perfect for jotting down this plans. Shoot, some those might even come to pass.

 

Poetry – Recent Publications


20161213_125927

Rusty Manhole Cover at a Nearby College

I won’t even tell you how many rejections I’ve received for my poetry.
But, see, I keep writing, learning & submitting.

Every now & then a lit journal sees what I think I see in my poems.
A couple of my accepted pieces have gone live in the last month.
[There’s even an audio version of me reading one.]

Check ’em out:

Graveyard Shifted No 20190108 published in River, River

Brown Silk published in Toe Good

& should you be so inclined, you can pick up a print copy of Flying South #4
which includes my poem, Grandmama’s Ghost Stories.

I’ve been a little resistant to putting pieces on here. That counts as “publication” to some journals, so I can’t submit them. But I’ve got a lot of backlogged pieces. I’m ever-so-slowly leaning towards posting some poems right here on my own site.

I’d love to check out your poetry, too. Got a link? Drop it in the comments.

 

 

Awe Movement Quiz No 20190525


The awe of:
1. Who each of us is or may be
2. What any material can do
3. When life makes sense
4. Where balance collides w/ itself
5. Why sound & color ignite
6. How change even happens
7. If curiosity

Awe Movement boundless expands.
We question, imagine, unravel.
We learn love by trying.

Art. Music. Writing.
Wandering, doing, being.
Sift, sort, combine.

Q1: What is pure & true if not awe?
Q2: Is stillness also movement?
Q3: Have you ever wondered?