"Hunks of Flaming What-Have-You" by Richard F. Yates
Yesterday was a good day. I felt pretty good, I didn't spend the whole day on the couch, and I finished some stuff! (All wins!)
First up, I actually completed another painting. (Trying to get 10 done so I can re-start my Etsy store):
[Untitled, acrylic and paint pen on black stretched canvas. 8 by 10 inches. 2020.]
You can't see it very well in my photo, but the red is metallic, and the white-looking paint pen is actually silver...so...WHOOPS! Still, I'm happy with the finished painting, and my wife was excited enough by it that she wants me to go get more of the black canvases and do a whole series. (I just might do that!)
I worked on two or three other paintings while I was sequestered away in my art room, but didn't really make enough progress to justify sharing more photos of those. (I was also so ensconced in my work that I missed "Grandpa Terry" coming by and dropping off some kokanee salmon that he caught a few days ago!!! He left it in a bag on my porch! Sorry, Terry!!!)
"So what inspired all this work/energy?" you might be asking... (Or you might not, but I'm going to pretend you did.) I went back to a couple of my primary sources of inspiration to start the day. I watched these two films to kick-start my head:
Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001) is a brilliant, funny documentary about the original guerrilla skate team who INVENTED modern skating. The characters in this film are epic (Tony Alva, Stacey Peralta, Jay Adams, Skip Engblom, Jeff Ho...), and the soundtrack is fantastic! (Devo, Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Pretenders, Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy... One of my favorite soundtracks, ever.) It's an inspiring, fascinating film (which was later fictionalized in the movie Lords of Dogtown, which is also worth watching.)
The Cool School is from 2008, and it focuses on the artists who were associated with The Ferus Gallery, a groundbreaking L.A. group who fused pop culture, high and low-brow sensibilities, and personal attitudes into their work, and evetually created a world class art scene, basically from scratch. My favorite quote from the film comes from Billy Al Bengston:
"I have nothing against drama and creating a little bit of stir. Because [if] there's nothing happening, you might as well have some fun! You know?"
I agree. I live in a small logging town, and even though I've lived within ten miles of the spot I was born for my entire life, I've never felt like I fit in here. But I don't want to LEAVE here, either. I'd rather just try to have some fun---BRING SOMETHING ODD TO THE PARTY---and that's what I've tried to do. I've DJed techno/disco nights at the local Longshore hangout (it didn't go that well), I've spun records at an arcade, I've had backyard barbecues where we showed off postal art, made bag puppets, painted (as a group) a giant canvas, and had bands play.
I've made zines, I've sold art on blankets in my front lawn, I've made nonsense films with my kids, I've done live radio with a band calling in and playing a song over my answering machine! We've tried to have a good time!!! (And usually succeeded!)
Lately, I've struggled to get motivated, but watching those two films I mentioned above helped remind me of WHY I do what I do... And here's some MORE of what I do!
We have a grouchy, old (over 14 years old) cat, and she is not too fond of the two new kittens we recently acquired. For a cat, her face is remarkably expressive. Here we see her NOT HAPPY about the kitten trying to sleep near her...
Of course I snapped a few photos of the "event," and did some digital manipulation...
(Gitzy cracks me up!)
Then, inspired by my cat photo fun, I started looking for other textures and shadows to snap...
And then, eventually, I ended up heading into the art room and painting for few hours. Glad I did. Made progress on a few pieces, finished one, AND listened to some great tunes! Yeah... Yesterday was a good day...
---Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)
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