Monday, May 31, 2010

Sea Shell As Spiral Galaxy...

A sea snail shell found this morning in Cardiff. As WIlliam Blake said, "...the universe in a grain of sand..."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Icons

There are all kinds of sacrifice. Some are things we do to help the greater good. Others are things we must give up and move beyond in order to find a way back home. While we should honor things of value in our lives we should also try to realize when they need to offered up as totems that no longer serve us.

Expressionism and Kafka

SO, I'm always struck by the 1920's - 1930's German Expressionists. The nightmarish, interior as exterior landscapes are fertile grounds for contemplation. To my eye this is best represented by the films and woodcuts of the era. Movies such as "The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari", "Metropolis" and "M" are filled with the intense shadows, exaggerated features and disorienting angles so indicative of Expressionism. The stark and high contrast woodblock prints are almost an emblem of the style. The desire to give staging to the inner world and its conflicts is what I try to pull out to use in my drawings. The piece above is called "The Jury". It's a response to that Kafka notion we all experience at one time or another of being persecuted. Judged as it were by an unthinking and deeply unsettling branch of some omnipresent bureaucracy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Too much news lately...

Everybody's talkin' 'bout this-ism, that-ism....

Bits and Pieces

Sometimes when it's all too much I find it best to retreat within and re-connect with my rainbow and star powers!
This is my vision of Captain Beefheart in full flight-out in the desert shaking bones at the full moon!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Icons and Offerings

I'm really attracted to religious art. Everything from the stained glass windows in Europe's cathedrals to Voudon altars in Haiti. The aspiration, longing and in particular sacrifice is emblematic of our shared humanity. Maybe what hits me most is the desire for transcendence. We are these Earth-bound beings with spirits that long to take to the sky. That feeling might not always be possible to obtain but through art we can get there every time.

New Ways

A few new drawings. Trying to find new ways of depicting bodies. The bottom one is where I'm trying to head.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Long Book

I've been reading about insects lately. I know a lot of people have a bad reaction when they see any type of bug but me personally, I love them! They are EVERYWHERE! They are our constant companions. In good times we can celebrate their beauty. We can wonder at their profound ability to survive and thrive. In bad times we can eat them.
This is specifically an image of The Buddha and the reaction of his aesthetic companions when he had forsaken their ways. That being said it could be the image of anyone when they discover new and difficult truths. They are viewed with suspicion and fear. However if the vision is true and remains eventually the scoffers and nea-sayers come to understand.
This has been an overriding feeling lately...I listen to the NPR news on the way to work in the mornings and while maybe I shouldn't I like to know a touch of what is blowing in the wind. For the past several years it seems we've been in a steady slide towards a zero-sum, endgame situation of intractable opposites. There are mounting pressures from all sides; economic, racial, environmental, you name it...It feels oppressive at times. This is a drawing off my mind trying to push out a little space amongst this soul-crush and breathe...maybe even think. I never used to think that was too much to ask but these days it's almost expecting a miracle. Hopefully something will give and people can find a touch of common ground but I'm not holding my breath mind you!

The elemental female, the war-monger's fall-out and the prophet of peace.

Friday, May 7, 2010


So the best stuff is almost always old. It's the stuff that's all patinated and lived on and almost used up but not quite. Life has left its' mark on it and although it has been perhaps discarded when you look at it JUST SO, it shows you something. I can't tell you what that something is. It'll be different for'll just have to trust me on that.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Henry Miller and The Layers of The Real

The bottom is my take on Henry Miller. Last year I finally got down to actually reading him. What I found there blew my mind. I mean there is the sex of course. But what really got me were the deep 2-3 page long descriptions of things. Long passages about his childhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with wondrously intense details of the river water at night. The layers of the real I guess you could call it. Henry Miller gives you what is there and what is thought and what is felt and what moves in Heaven all at once in glorious words, words, words. It's a deepness that understandable drives many away. I've visited the place he lived in at Big Sur many times and no matter what I can always catch a hit off of what he was about there. That cabin with his art and the ocean and a few artists hanging around...I wish I was there right now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Our first group of shiitake mushrooms! These beauties grew on a sawdust patch inoculated with mycelium. The top picture is my favorite. A whole fungal world awaits!

Magick in the streets wherever you look

In my daily peregrinations from here to there I'm constantly struck by the visionary banquet that surrounds us. One need only tune in their dial so to speak and random collections of debris and detritus will unfold before your eyes. The street is full of Magick. Watch for the signs. Watch the skies!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Swami's Garden of Earthly and Celestial Delights

More bodies than faces in this batch! The top however is my attempt at a portrait of Robert Johnson. I first became aware of his music in the early 80's via The Rolling Stones. At first it was hard for me to really "hear" his music. It sounded so skeletal and muddy. His odd, nasally voice would grumble and then slip into falsetto in ways that my ears just weren't accustomed to. A few listens in however and I started to get it. The haunting and lonely lyrics. The skittering runs up and down the guitar neck. The hissing sound of the record actually being recorded...It all added up to a mysterious and haunting beauty. From opaque and impenetrable towards something more akin to a ghost reaching out of the past I was finally getting a glimpse of the power of Robert Johnson. The bottom drawing is my interpretation of Pere Ubu from the play UBU ROI. Along with "Waiting For Godot", "Ubu" is one of my favorites. In this age where celebrities and politicians become instant Kings and Queens of the media, Alfred Jarry's play makes more and more sense!

The image on the bottom is one that comes up in my drawings frequently. When I was in college I used to wander the stacks of the library with my trusty Walkman on blasting everything from Screaming Jay Hawkins to John Coltrane to Bauhaus. I'd usually end up in the art section and spend hours peeking through books. Inevitably I'd settle down with either an African or Native American (in particular the North and South West tribes) art book and get thoroughly engrossed. One similarity I noticed between these two VERY different groups of people were these masks that had as a top piece an enormously long antennae-like piece. In the Hopi piece the ends were assembled in wild zig-zags and cross shapes. In the African masks the effect was that of a body reaching into the sky. Both were powerful images. They seemed to my eye to be methods of attuning or dialing in to the sky. They projected outwardly that universal desire of our Earth-bound humanity to lift off skyward. Whatever the true meaning of these pieces are didn't really matter to me. They held an internal dream-logic that has filtered down to being a reoccurring totem in my drawings.