Friday, March 28

Oh My Dears! So Motel-Room-Decor..

Show-opening. Gallery-party. A corner-coven of sniggering women.

One waggles her fingers at the walls and smirks, "This art? Oh My-Dears! It's all so, so… motel room, n'est pas?"

•••  •••  •••

Look… Here's how swanky art transforms a tacky motel room into a classy palace… um… right? See how the work's chosen to be precisely the correct size and hue? How it matches the designer bed spreads?

Sense how proudly important motel executives display their latest acquistion to a distinguished art authority… explaining how they've selected the work to balance the haute-style of the room's decor... it's spacious and high-fashion furnishings… while achieving the very latest in all-the-rage chic? 

Pictures bought by the palette, square foot, and square meaning. But… but… it sells. There are lots of motel room walls that create the biggest part of today's market for… for… Well, what?

Here's the challenge… To break into this lucrative high-demand space, how to give your images both mood-ectomies, and thought-ectomies? How to sink into a subliminal compliment to bedcovers and wall paint? 

You'd think that'd be easy, huh? But no. Too many artists still insist upon pursuing meaning, personality, idiosyncrasy, even… feeling.

The secret to the craft of motel room success is this… Make your work pretty and cheap. Hell, combine the two… make your work pretty cheap. You cannot be too pretty or too cheap. Follow that advice and you too will find important hotel executives bringing your work to the attention of people who'd otherwise not notice it. But remember, it will sell to those key purchasing agents who buy soap, towels, toothpaste and pillows precisely because no one will notice it!

Here, just copy unsigned work like this, and you can't miss…

Okay, guess you get the point. I hate it when my work ends up like this. Uh-huh, they are very high craft. But they look like wallpaper designs. Everything I tried failed to bring out the theme of isolation or alienation I'd hope this project would invoke. Each enhancement made them prettier and less a story or even a feeling. Leaving me with… "Oh My-Dears! It's all so, so… motel room, n'est pas?"

I should have just trashed 'em, but it's hard to toss a lot of hours of work. Sooooo… this is what blogs are for, huh? Whining? Dead-ends are… are… Sigh…. On the bright side, I can crank this stuff out like sausage and what it won't bring in mark-up, well supermarkets make it on volume, why not me?

Sunday, March 16

The Poster Post

Hmmm…. Got to wondering if I could get the attention of a gallery. Which means getting something that would get the attention of a gallery. SOMETHING? SOMETHINGS? Wuddizit that grabs attention? Hmmmm…. I've had shows. They're a LOT of work. Last time I printed and framed over a hundred images. A friend generously had three different  books of my images printed. He actually layer them out… they looked terrific. Hundreds of people showed up. It filled six rooms on two floors. Very cool, yet… 

As you can see on the right there, I've cadged some awards and had a bunch of images published. The result? VERY GOOD QUESTION. See, this isn't my day job. It's where I go to escape day jobs, markets, clients, life, and other people's tensions. Which means, well, it means I'm kind of uninterested in the hard work it takes to become a successful artist. 

It's been a handful of years since my last show and I've grown, created a ton of additional work while wandering into new wonderings. In the past I've asked if you can be a poet, a clarinetist, a composer, or a novelist… if you never have an audience. Hell I don't even market this blog-site the way I did some years back. In fact, it's self indulgence, huh? Once it attracted a few hundred visitors a week. Then I let it whither, went away for months. Last time I looked there were maybe a couple dozen folks who wandered in.

To keep these things going you need to generate a lot of smart copy, and then grow and nurture links,  visit everyone else - become a community guy. Fact is I do visit dozens of sites a week hunting new ideas and… wonderings. But to actively interact grabs hunks of time and that cranks up the opportunity cost thing. I'd rather grow the images that all of the influences trigger.. 

Still, it'd be cool to have a gallery or museum hang some of my newer stuff for a while and get some flesh and blood people to react face-to-face. Nice, but improbable. Marketing's work. It's what I did for years for some very big companies. Images are an escape from that. So...

1. Here's a Lancaster City poster

2. Here's a people poster

3. Here's another people poster

4. Here's an urban poster

Maybe I should get a half thousand of these printed up - mail them to galleries/museums and nail 'em to telephone poles? Maybe I should pour some Irish over ice, push back my leather chair… and watch TV? 

Saturday, March 8

Best or Better or ????

Since 1273, followers of the legendary spiritual poet and philosopher Rumi have whirled in Konya, Turkey as a form of remembering God. This isn't dance in the sense we understand it anymore than preaching is acting.

Now for the problem. When they strip away layers of oils from works of the great masters they discover… Well… Works of the great masters. Frequently the final layer's a version. Is it better than the others? Hmmmmm… What's better mean?

Here's what I wanted to do with this dervish…

But here's what I'm ABLE to do with this dervish…

I'm too old. Fixed in a mindset. Within my own constructed artsy culture… There's plenty of room for experiment but there are also walls. Young artists in particular lack those walls. It takes no risk on their part to do stuff that I can do but in my case it takes bravery. I guess it's because I know that for me it means breaking rules. Those that my friends respect. Okay… I like that first image. Hell, it's good, captures the dervish trance-like whirl and the color of both his mind and the moment. 
But that second image is explosive. Way over processed… Way beyond a representation. It doesn't just pop… it explodes. 

Fact is though that today we don't have to paint over. We can do many versions, each as powerful as the other. None is the last… the final… But one must be better? Right? 

What makes any image, better

Monday, March 3

Ghost Bussers

“It’ll be her last time,” Grandpa smiled, wiping some barn specks from the old bus.

“It’ll be like that first time,” Granny looked impish and wrapped an arm around her husband’s. “We’ll sleep in her. Remember Honey?”

“Don’t remember the sleeping,” he laughed turning his daughter’s face pink. “What I recall…”

Daddy! The kids…” The young mother squeaked, but her children were clambering inside the thing grand-dad’d gotten to run after weeks of banging, re-tiring, and cleaning each rickety inch. 

Months later… way… way… down an ancient roadway deep among the fairy chimneys its motor still puttering, the bus turned up. It’s been years since then yet they say that when the moon’s right, there’re noises back there: An old motor popping, a woman’s giggles, and the faintest laughter of a happy old man.

• • • •

The rickety bus? Found it at the weirdly intriguing South Of The Border just into South Carolina on I-95. Those ancient fairy chimneys are a five image pano grabbed in Cappadocia central to  Turkey in an enchanted land, oh… and one magical summer evening that sky hung over Las Vegas. The bus was captured by my old Canon 40D, the sky in an even older Canon 20D, the fairy chimneys by my Canon 7D. But each was focused through a trusty Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6). Post processing was done of these blendings in PS4 with help from Topaz Adjust, Perfect Photo Suite 6, and of course AlienSkin's Exposure 5. 

The story of the _Ghost Bussers_ though… That wafted full-form from memories of VWs, back dirt country roads, and giggling happy friends.