Valley Oaks and fog at sunrise, Ahwahnee, California 2010

Through spare woods with bowed oak limbs heavy with old man’s beard, and the diffused ray of an afternoon sunbeam shooting from nowhere, he walked his usual path, no trail marked the ground.  Past the cushioned damp deadfall where mushrooms often bloomed after the rain. Past the rock outcropping that big as a bus cut in half, marbled with nearly every hue of the natural world and having a location that could only conceivably have come from falling out of the sky and arranged in rugged upshot forms, thick, girthy towers cut from the minds of genius, tormented architects.  Around the corner was another spread, another grove freckled with granite, softened by the tan dewy grasses matted from the past days’ wind and the hooves of migrant wild animals criss-crossing, who’s following who?  Nevermind.

This tableau hamlet has been in his journey for years, in his family for longer and part of the foundation of the earth before time.  To see it today is only that, myriad realizations through the interplay of light and atmosphere, every day a new place, fresh for the mind.  To breath in one moment and exhale the act of ownership.

This is a part of me, this could be niagra falls in about 50,000 years.

When the place you stand sings in the same rate of motion you are living through, there is only silence and that is what they mean by silence being golden.

It’s important to be alone sometimes to feel like the world is giving you something

Because then it wouldn’t be worth it…
______________________________
What if you shied away from something like art?
The beast with its back arched in your mind, hovering like an alien mothership,
you, unknown of its intentions.

How practical and reasonable that would be?
Like making breakfast because you’re supposed to eat in the morning.

How deformed and malignant are we? How destructive is what
we hold down for so many years in our expansive mind
cause for intellengencia celebre?

It’s only a thought, right? A birth into the deep chasm of unknown relinquishment.
What you may have thought was once yours is only ours now.

Be it as it may, it’s horrendous. Being gutted in front of the choir singing
the line-by-line of our own collective narrative.
You put on the makeup for tonight’s show.

Sitting at a picnic table under a Valley Oak surrounded by gnarled limbs and above, a cloudless night sky, she drank the last gulp of water out of her mason jar.  The two-piece screw-on brass lid layed disjointed on the top of the hewn table, and her eyes were fixed on the man straddling the seat next to her, staring back, albeit with mischief emanating from behind.  He asked her why she loved that mason jar so, what was it that brought such great joy from something so utilitarian?

She explained that the utter simplicity was the touch of genius in the object, that sometimes we find what we’re looking for when we don’t mean to and that is a part of life to be cherished.  They talked about the world being overburdened with excess and over-stimulation and shared solace in their mutual respect for the outdoors and the values nature imparts on us, values that don’t have sets of orders, that same touch of grace she mentioned earlier.

It was hot so they brushed their hair away from their faces and wiggled in their seats a little, that’s what they told each other.  Their hands lit up the air as they spoke and fell by a bare thigh, earlier brushing past a face leaving a trailing breeze for a brief second.  When they finished kissing she looked over at the table to grab her mason jar for the last sip of water and although there was no water a firefly was silently floating inside.  She gently picked up the lid and screwed it on the top of the jar, just for a second she said.  The firefly ignited it’s bottom almost on cue as the lid was sealed and equally on cue, her smile grew with the insect’s momentary flash.  “It’s so perfect” she whispered, “two incredible simple things coming together.”  And he moved his hands and placed them on her thighs, this time firmly, and behind his eyes was a confident understanding, like a sculpture realized from raw stone.

fireflies

My good friend just got back from a month-long trip through the Colorado Trail.  One of the places he stopped was a tiny town called Salida.  He sent me some pictures from a beer-festival he attended there.  By coincidence I have also been to Salida.  I was there with one friend after another friend had left me and my buddy Patrick in Boulder which is another story for another time.

Salida proved to be one of the more memorable experiences of my young life (I was 21.)  This is what I wrote to Mike this morning:

I was in Salida with Patrick and Cat after Kevin Bourque left us in Boulder.  Cat picked us up and got us out to California via Salida, Durango, AZ and Utah.  Cat knew some heads in Salida and maybe even lived there for a while(?)  The heads that she knew were all snowboarders that ripped Monarch in the winter and worked all summer.  One afternoon we went to this party up on the side of mountain where one of Cat’s friend’s had property.

It was barely a road up there and Cat explained to us that the guy who owned the property was named Kenny and he had AIDS.  Kenny got AIDS from an infected blood transfusion when he was young.  The hospital had paid Kenny money for their error and he bought the property on the side of the mountain to live out his days.

There was a fire going, even though it was the middle of the day, and we dug a hole in the ground and packed it with ice and a keg and just hung out.  Kenny was gracious, kind and easy going.  He had his woman, dogs, lots of weed and it was maybe my favorite day of that cross-country road trip.

It was also a constant reminder of how fragile life can be.  There we were with Cat because Kevin had essentially lost a hold on reality and we were kicking it with someone else who was living with a terminal illness, enjoying the afternoon in southern Colorado.  It was a real beauitful day, but there was a stark contrast that I’ll never forget.  We never saw Kenny’s house.  From what I heard it was an A-frame, really cool.  We were all chilling out on this little spot where there were no roads, no buildings, no noise except from the conversations and laughter of the afternoon.

If I had met Kenny at a restaurant or in town somewhere I’m sure he’d still leave an impression on me, but engaging with someone in the natural world, away from the distractions and hype of civilization is a very peaceful way to get to know them.  It is letting a guard down whether you realize it or not, it is a softer version of life.

I’m not sure what Kenny’s situation is today but I imagine wherever he is, he is at peace.

salida, co

I defintely try not to hype clothing purchases tooo much, it’s just not my style, however, this t-shirt is genius.  The good folks at Collapse Design, based in the UK, are selling these for a fair price, shipped to the states and all.

The documentary about Helvetica made a big impression on me and this t-shirt is a playful way of looking at the steady impact of one of, if not the greatest font of all time.  I wish wordpress would let me post in a different font because this post would be so much of a better homage to me appreciation.  Check the site, it’s a good one.

sdhbwr

They sat on the front porch of the weathered victorian house, it’s paint cracked and bubbled revealing the grey bleached wood underneath.  They sat in silence soaking in the vast golden hay field in front of them, and the epic Pacific seascape behind the house.  The silence was relentless, so they continued to sit, all but statuesque from its empiric sensation.  In the field a handful of cows meandered among the dry grasses, their heads hung, feeding.  He thought to himself how he could pick up all those cows in his one hand from where he was sitting.

There was no wind that afternoon, to a fault.  The sun baked their brows and when they did move, it was to wipe away the mild perspiration that formed as they sat on the slatted front porch steps.  Compelled, he reached out and took her hand and stared discerningly at her face with a look of being driven towards her.  He asked her “what is it?”  And she said “it’s this handsome gentle heat, it makes me flush.”

Held this year in the great state of Alaska.  I think this guy above has one of the finest, but that’s a matter of personal preference.  More pictures can be seen here.

Gustave Courbet has  been one of my favorite artists since I began reading about him in high school AP art history.  I had a teacher, Michael Milan, who had a particularly demented view of how to teach young adults.  Looking back, Milan was kind of the originator of shock and awe.  He was no doubt gay, extremely cosmopolitan and most likely came from old money, the kind of money that allows you to not give a fuck about anything, including the health of your teeth.  Milan taught English, studio art and art history and there was a group of 4 or 5 of us that found him completely hilarious, mostly on Monday when he would flamboyantly talk about the weekend cocktail parties he had attended and how most of us in the room would have absolutely no idea how to function even on the most basic level in the elevated cultural settings of these aforementioned events.

This was ironic because he was teaching kids that were all interested in the same intellectual and cultural spheres that he was, nonetheless, he ruled in the classroom not by example, but by blunt mockery and elitism.  Like I said, he came form old money.  Where Milan excelled was conveying his own passion for certain writers and artists and sometimes it was more of a show to listen to Milan than make fun of him, to his face, which we no doubt did and mostly took it as far as we could before Milan got bored or called us immature and newt rapscallions .

Courbet was a favorite of Milan’s.  I remember the first time I witnessed L’Origine Du Monde, seen below:

This is not an easy piece of art to have come up on the screen when you are 17 and in mixed company.  It was absolutely shocking and perverse and one of the most in-your-face pieces of cultural conundrum I had ever been faced with.  The title is straight-forward enough (The Origin of the World) however, loaded with dense innuendo and contrast.  Courbet was part of the Realist movement in painting.  This is the depiction of everyday scenarios that did not emphasize style over stark representation, with a leaning towards the sordid and sometime ugly moments in our lives.

This blended perfectly with Milan’s style of teaching, he felt it was more important to challenge and show us the underside of our existences rather than encourage whenever possible and remind kids that they are all special stars in the sky.  The more we are coaxed into following a healthy, acceptable path of doing things, the more complacent we become in our thoughts and actions, ceding any notion of living of a life of true liberty.  While recently doing some reading about Courbet I came across this very anarchistic approach to how he lived:

“…in our so very civilized society it is necessary for me to live the life of a savage. I must be free even of governments. The people have my sympathies, I must address myself to them directly.”

No doubt Courbet partied like a rock star when it came to expressing his inner torrent of anger with institutionalized systems of thought and systems of rule.  As head of all Paris museums during the Paris Commune rule, Courbet lead the charge for the destruction of the Vendome Column.  This ultimately led to Courbet being run out of Paris and living in exile in Switzerland.  Whereas this may seem a troubled move, a man who is free in his heart and mind, is never the prisoner of any institution.  The quote of Courbet’s that inspired me to write this goes, “I am fifty years old and I have always lived in freedom; let me end my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: ‘He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any régime except the régime of liberty.”

One of my great goals in life is to maintain a position where I can create freely and feel great satisfaction with my productions, a lover and fierce savage to the people around me, who I value and respect so much.

There’s nothing like getting involved in an intense conversation and you and your fellow conversator get to the point where words do you no good.  Frances Bacon or art school deadbeat-do-nothing-wrap-myself-in-foil-and-spend-all-daddy’s-money-calling-it-art,  we have all faced a moment, usually in a bar, where pen meets napkin and outside of the context of the conversation come some of the most baffling, nonsensical pieces of work since Chris Angel.

From here on out I plan to document these pieces of the body politic creative juices.  Some will be from my own interactions, but I think the real fun will come when people, you people, you silly, retarded little monkeys, send me napkins from your own conversations ad I can analyze, judge and posit what I feel the drawings represent.

I snagged this beaut last night will catching up with a friend, you be the judge and let me know what you think.  Evidence A, below:

bar napkin 1

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