Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First Day

Today was the first day of the show. I had a pretty good turn out, three paintings sold, and some of my 6th grade students stopped by before baseball practice. It was a great day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

more art

floral portal

I am so honored. The art director at Integral Life decided to use paintings from some of their featured artists for the back of their staff's buisness cards. Can you find the two that are mine? Other artists included in this project are Bo Bartlett, Philip Rubinov Jacobson, Michael Bergt , De Es Schwertberger, and Adam Scott Miller.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Details about the new Show

The Alphabet and Naked Buddha are hidden in this painting. Can you find them?

mt. ishizuchi
there is a great video of this scene to the right. "Rick and Shikoku"

Highschool Yearbook sign. I decided to go all out.

Some of you might notice that this is the fourth painting in the "Omens" series (the other three depict only three birds, an "omen" I saw again and again while studying with the Dalai Lama in India. Four is considered an unlucky number in Japan because it's a pun meaning death. "Shi." The square, like the triangle and circle, is sacred geometry and mandalic/(archetecture of heaven). Two of those birds were actually there that cloudy day (I took their picture). The other two I made up.
How many creatures and patterns can you find in the clouds? I love how our minds, in real life, can see animals and memories in clouds. It's an old pastime and great optical illusion. closure...
All my paintings from this series use photo references, sketches, or actual memories from places around my town on Shikoku (a japanese holy island and pilgrimage sight. people come from all over the world to complete the famous 88 temple pilgrimage circuambulating this island). This places and characters depicted are all real--real lived experiences I've had, while at the same time they're pure make-believe, memories at best, illusions, dreams, made up spaces, empty in the end. (just like our lives?)
That's the crazy thing about attempting realism with painting; from the very beginning it's totally unbelievable--it's just paint on wood! And yet, hopefully, with a little light, shadow, sfumato and magic, the image can trigger certain cues inside the viewer's brain and body, and the art, like a magic trick, can hover ahead of them as a kind of momentarily believable space. Then their state of consciousness can...mingle..with the painting, and some sort of exchange can take place. The dreamy situation depicted below some of you have actually visited. It's down the road from my house, by the river. Right next to that tree is a meditation room (with the secret buddha and mirror) and I swear it's on a special energy vortex or something; I always get into deep meditation very quickly there.
That's you there, embedded inside the dream-scape, quietly wandering over to the other side.
I really like how my old roommate and fellow Kansan Artist Bradford Kessler is playing with the dream theme, but in a far more multi-media trained voice. His stuff blows me away. It's so thought-full, and acts as an artifact from our new, holistic, interpenetrating multidimensional matrix post-postmodern reality. You gotta check his stuff out.

The theme of my painting show this year mom is "Yuugen," 幽玄.We don't really have a word for this in English, so I chose "Subtle Worlds" to be the other theme. The postcard:

Yuugen is a term mostly used to describe a certain aspects of artistic expression and perception. It also has religious (Buddhist) connotations. To give you an idea of what this word can mean in Japanese, the first character "yuu" is used in the word yuurei, 幽霊 which means spirit or ghost. The second character is in the word "genkan," 玄関、which means entryway or opening-space. Together, these two kanji (yuu and gen) describe the subtle feeling of profound meaning we get from certain works of poetry, dance, music, art. It's also an important aspect of wabi-sabi aesthetic. Wabi-sabi (good link) is the Japanese idea of beauty in imperfection, beauty in the old and rotting and transient, beauty in the glaringly true, and its particular to Japan, an outward expression of an inner cultural value and acceptance (the spiritual flavor of the japanese mind appearing in the art). At the beginning of tea ceremony we first bow to and honor the dead tree branch, or cracked flower vase, or wilting flower, all of which are "beautiful" in a wabi-sabi kind of way, and all of which can be powerful symbols (with dreamy meanings and transformative energies) in a yuugen kind of way. Nothing profound is necessary with Yuugen, though. Yuugen is just a subtle feeling of meaning, suggested lightly within, like a distant sound of a ship-horn, or a tiny coincidence, or a long-lost memory suddenly appearing like a ghost in a dream....
That's the Japanese theme of this show. The English theme, Subtle Worlds, I'll let you decide what it means. (although I'll just say that if you could see the series together you'd notice they all contain subtle gradations of color. I love subtle gradations..)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Cove

New pic of David and Margot. I can't wait to see them again!!!

other news:
God, I am a total wreck after watching the academy award winner for best documentary The Cove; I”ve been waiting years for this movie, having been an activist back home, and now I tearfully remember the many reasons why I stopped eating fish. My god, I had forgotten. I had forgotten and fallen in love with wasabi and raw tuna.

Conclusion: We have to give the ocean a break! If we don't, the ocean will die and we will loose the fish forever. That’s the story that makes sense. And it’s in our own fish-eating interest to cut back. Setting aside the ethics behind giving rights to other sentient beings, in the spirit of imperialism and selfishness we should cut back on our meat to ensure its existence in our future. After looking at it evenly and thoughtfully, I can see why that’s the rational thing to do,

But people addicted don't act rationally when they are threatened, do they. Addicted to money, power, drugs, or meat, most people don't think about it. They just try to get it while they can because they know it won’t last. This may be a “pre-rational” initial reaction, but it’s natural.

I like to think that one person not eating any meat counts as two or three people cutting back. That’s great power.

And then, there is the terrifying truth that dolphins are indeed sentient, they have a neo-cortex implying they can think. They show signs of kindness, creativity, and are almost unanimously agreed upon to be playful in nature. The ones in Taiji must, in their last moments, like Jacob in Lost, hope they are wrong about us.

Thank god the film makes it very clear that the creepy Japanese fishermen in the film are not “the Japanese.” They interview people who live outside Taiji and predictably nobody knows about it. I’ve tested that here in Niihama and its true; nearly nobody knows. In the movie they are shocked that it goes on. “We Japanese like dolphins, We don't think dolphins are food.”

God, the terrified city hall worker and father with two sons, five and seven, who says if they put the contaminated dolphin meat in the lunches the kids will have to eat it. He stares into space, says nothing else...

The movie surprisingly ends on a good note; light, wondrous hope... My tears of sadness flowed seamlessly into tears of joy, which allowed them to safely increase in power—a very strange and new experience (I don't cry often).

The music could have been better, but it was good enough to not impede on the erupting emotions (so much music in films just dams it up for me...it’s awful).

I often speak of film in High Praise for being, in many important ways, the greatest works of art ever, or should I say the ones with the most power. Not just monetarily...films have the power to move the viewer to tears. On occasion dance can do it, acting can, music can, and a painting can but only to very sensitive people. food can, sex can, but its rare. Not even death can always move us to tears. Film, on the other hand, if done well, can take us away into dream land and cause us to weep uncontrollably. We loose power, lose it, and flow open in new ways. No doubt it’s because they use so many other forms of art to capture the senses, Truth and Writing for the mind, composition for the eyes, sound and music for the ears, acting or directing for the body, goodness for the heart, everything is captivated with film. The art is coming at us from every angle.

This isn’t just “Art as Entertainment,” but also “Art as Mirror” reflecting cultural views and values, and “Art as Creator”, actually co-creating new views, and thus new worlds. It’s “Art as Helper” helping usher in a new, more free, more full, more healthy, more good, more true, and more beautiful world.

Will this film also exemplify Art as Healing or Art as Medicine? I hope so.

I can see why it won the Oscar.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Bobby Mcferrin, New Paintings, and the Poster

moon point
reflected light
I've become obsessivly fascinated with how tiny puddles in the ground can magically reflect the vast sky and myriad of beings within it. Now that's a Great trick! I painted a bunch of crows in this painting. How many can you find?

Mt. Ishizuchi (unfinished)


Poster for the upcoming Butoh collaboration "Soul". This year, the famous sitarist and Swami Atasa will be playing with us. Unbelievable.

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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