CONTEMPORARY COLLAGE 

PART ONE – Higher Education Pre CSUMB

I’ve been painting my whole life. I never doubted I would go to college and there was never a doubt about what I would study. That’s more than many people get. Clarity can be essentially to moving forward with big decisions, but nothing can be that clear. My education was strange and a bit longer than most. In order to make my schedule work and to keep my GPA up I ended up withdrawling out of a few required classes that were flat out unfocused or just too basic. There were also the extra courses I took in biological sciences that I took just to learn from. All of this was what made it take 7 years for me to get my BA, though in reality I probably have taken more away from my major than most who have a basic master’s degree. I suppose I’ve planned on getting my MFA at some point, but until recently I had no obvious sense of what I would want to propose for a MFA project. 

I attended 5 different colleges. Three of them were junior colleges and the last two were California State Universities. When I transferred into the State system I was reluctant to take it very seriously. I was attending Fresno State University and the Art department had some fatal flaws in comparison to its football program. With so many students in a life drawing class that the few minutes I had to get from one class to that class always left me with a broken easle and nowhere to get my perspective on. The other studio class weirdness was that the materials list was less advanced than what the city college had where I had been painting for a couple years. Nevertheless, it was the theory and contemporary art history classes taught by Charles Gaines that made me leave FSU for the newset State University at that time. I learned so much from Mr Gains that I still go back through his readers and find myself recounting things from his classes. The odd part was finding out that he had been given the prestigious position of Dean of Fine Arts at Cal Arts and he stayed on to teach at Fresno State probably for tenure or retirement issues. I also later found out that I had gone to school with his son – I didn’t really know him, but it made things make sense.  What was sad was that at Cal Arts the courses he taught were full in the first ten minutes of registration. He taught these same courses at Fresno State, but the students were by and large opposed to them. Too much thought and emphasis on philosophy and psychology. To me, Charles Gains was giving us the answers to the big secrets in some strange codex of artists and their works. He also extended references to some very intense conceptual framework which for most students probably threatened the nice little bubbles that they had operated in. So in the end it was more of the fact that his two courses in my list of required classes were over with and I felt like there was nothing left but a downhill putter to graduation. One thing I learned was that whatever is new in art is probably where you want to be, so upon hearing that the closest shot to the ocean from where I was had converted the former fort ord into a University that offered 4 majors, art being one of them, I took a chance and went there with my wife who at the time was just transferring to the state system. 

To be continued. 

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SNAKES AND EGGS, INTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATION, CONTEMPORARY COLLAGE

My whole life has been spent putting pencils and paint to surfaces to see what type of representation might manifest. I can’t say why I started doing this, other than I remember my mother oil painting at the repurposed kitchen table, which eventually evolved into folk art painting which was safe enough for me to dabble in. I remember the small plastic bottles of liquid plastic colors – none of them were very hi-chroma, which is a toll art thing and also probably the reason I ended up choosing very highly saturated colors when I started painting on canvas. I painted and painted on canvas, paper, and eventually on all of our table tops and other furniture as the prospect of storing more canvases (painted or not) became daunting. By the time I switched from one California State University to the newest (at the time) Cal State campus at Monterey Bay, I had almost altogether given painting up to the occasional utilitarian activity of painting objects that would be part of assemblage art or combine painting. The one thing that had suggested itself to me very loudly was the emerging capabilities of the Macintosh computer. Nearly everything that is possible on today’s systems was possible in 1997, it just took so much longer and was less forgiving. But that less forgiving part was what made things work very well. With one undo and a twenty minute wait to process any major pixel transformation, you just had to commit to decisions and keep going. It feels strange to use several undo’s on any system for any reason. It’s this experience that taught me how to get the most out of the time allotted. I was kind of pushed into the label of graphic designer by the Institute for Visual & Public Art, which would be both a very good experience as well as an awful one. I am not a designer. Never have been. Designers are highly organized and somewhat detached from what they make. They have to be by the nature of what they are doing…. and fonts? Forget it. I can’t stand to look at endless fonts in indecision. 

PHYSICAL GRAFFITI 2017

A new collection of work is coming down the pipe. Somewhat of a departure from the SNAKES AND EGGS Collage work I’ve been doing, these newer pieces are rooted in the ideas of writing, language, graffiti, and the postmodern practice of using a pre-existing image or material that carries a weight of signification that is altered or alters that which is applyied over it.

these are the first two in the series with many more completed and even more planned after that. Though they remain in a digital state, they were created with the intention to print.

check back or follow to see the new work as it comes out every week

 

PHYSICAL GRAFFITI - California Garter Snake

California Garter Snake

IMG_4777

Metaphysical Algebraic Copyright®

 

One for Monday … and the coming years

Meaning Lesson 101 - Fish and Water

a little subtle in suggestion, perhaps, but no less impactful in its lessons that teach us the meaning of fish.