At last…

Sorry about the delay folks but I’ve had problems with the desktop and it’s 98 win using firefox 2… all so out of date so at last I’m using the laptop with Ubuntu, a Linux thing, and it’s far more up to date firefox browser.
I’ve done the invites, or add artworks, and am finally starting on the actual creation of artworks for eventual sale.
the new add for artnews.
and the one for artzone.
But now dinners ready so I’ll add photos of what I’ve done, as regards real live artworks, tomorrow!

One thing I have tended to notice about my life is that when I intend to do something I initially have a reasonably simplistic view of what I’m trying to acheive. Over time I realise that making that decision to proceed in a particular direction is merely a starting point and that which I learn and cultivate in moving forward has far greater consequence than I first intended.
Case in point is the Art As War. Right now I’m reading a book entitled “Shop class as Soul Craft” by Matthew B. Crawford which is basically a set of arguments, and a discussion around those arguments, about the intrinsic value of DIY, though it might be more appropriate to call it UDIY or understand it and do it yourself… with the intention of being more spiritually and physically aclimatised to your world by the act of understanding and doing the work, in and around physical realities, that adds up to ones ability to survive… well.

To reiterate, shop class is the system of the Northern Americas whereby youth is taught to use tools to make things as well as machines to ease that labour. Its kinda funny but I always had an intuitive need to buy and master tools after an early realisation that without this form of knowledge I would be at a disadvantage in a world full of things I wanted… without the tools required to fix them.. nor an understanding of how things worked.
It seems that this book explains that I am one of the lucky ones. One of those who chose to go upstream and against a current that said knowledge as an abstract commodity, university education, was of greater value than physical skills. One of the lucky ones who is able to see the world through eyes that see the validity of something worth owning by the catalogue of skills that I already have plus those I can entertain aquiring as opposed to those without those skills who can only see through eyes that see all in regard to costs and earning power. But also, and this is where it gets interesting, it seems I’m lucky in so much as this collection of skills, and what they can do for me, ties me into a sense of self that is anchored in a relationship to the physical world that, on one hand, I am master of, and on the other, that I am subservient to… and that this attachment, through interaction, and responsibilities created thereof, allow me a quietness of spirit many in our modern world don’t even know exists… but is the carrot offered by marketeers in every new product that offers freedom from toil.
So back to my original subject which is the Art As War exhibition and it seems that now the room full of handmade objects steeped in mindful significance is not only about the idea that this lifestyle led by artists is akin to that of a nation at war… but is also much deeper now in its discussion about the cause we artists, still in favour of traditional methods of creating art, fight to have understood by those who view our pieces.

That being that in attempting to bring into reality these things previously unseen that we do battle with ourselves. That we fight against the unknown as we try to figure out how these things will be made and how they will look. That we take risks with previously unused materials and make mistakes that could sink all our hopes as we strive for a more thorough understanding of ourselves through our undertakings with the possible full realisation that the thing itself, created, is of no consequence beyond a record of something acheived… and not the thing itself at all but the fact that we did actually bring this thing into being through determination and perservervance.. allied and alloyed to all the other little realisations of self that accumulate when we take the risks involved to follow our decisions to their final ends and the responsibility to self that all this entails.
One of the hardest things I find about this life as an artist is mediocrity is very good at playing dressup. That is to say that I often come across very convincing arguments that favour such a life… responsibilities, commitments etc that I am sometimes almost convinced that what I do is worthless and not worth my time, or anybody elses… but then I realise what the results would be if I gave into these arguments, I remember!, that I don’t want to be sad and self important and have to talk up my skills beyond what they are or always be harping on about the great things I’m going to build as opposed to the real things finished which aren’t so grand but at least I’m doing something.

Actually I’m kinda thinking that I’m getting more flak from around and about because I might actually be acheiving something these days and this upcoming show may actually be the first real flowering of the skills I’ve taken 48 years to acquire. Not that I’ll be reaching a zenith in any way but that it may actually be time to put the oxygen masks on as the air is getting rather thin up here… metaphorically of course.

Hows that for talking up myself without having the goods? Maybe it is intrinsically useful to define how one is going to win the War at the onset of the first battle. Maybe defining greatness prior to it’s creation is part of the equation but at the same time maybe the ability to see the work as the greatest acheivement, not it’s physical reality as a finished article, but the nature of doing and sitting comfortably within a set of skills and an understanding of self, and ones place in an enviroment… within a feedback ring of cause and effect, and being able to ascertain, without neccessarily being personnaly involved in a show of primacy, that bringing ones time in and around oneslf is… the obvious thing to do.

I think one of the primary things about being involved with materials and skills in an artistic way is that one learns what needs to be done… and does it. Adding the concept of time as a fluid medium that can resonate with a sense of vision is part of that. The scale at which it all operates is a measure of our resonsibility to ourselves and those around us.

And if you still have more time available to you… look up Susan Sontag… shes a great critical writer.
“In a culture whose already classical dilemma is the hypertrophy of the intellect at the expense of energy and sensual capability, interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.”
from against interpretation… an essay.

Art As War; part 2.

I’ve decided to keep this exhibition to the original three of us. One because it’s easier that way; not having to okay things with Pierre, and two because Pierre’s decided to add it to the calender as a group show so there’ll be lots of room in the future for other artists to have a go.

Had a little trouble with the invite and who is identified with what picture but it’s all sorted now and I’m the one going cross gender and brazenly extreme in the physical attributes department…

Also the Art as War theme has cross fertilised Pierre’s imagination and we’ll be running an associated underground add campaign to state the galleries intentions using some of the pictorial gems found in photography books of war… with the odd twist.

Comin’ up alongsidee this exhibition is a contact I made at Deus Ex Machina to make stuff for retro styled motorcycles; seats, exhausts, etc, leather and steel basically which could be the bread and butter activity I’ve always wanted but it’s hit a snag as the man has gone quiet on the paying me front. I’m not too put out as I still have a Harley Davidson seat I can sell to defray expenses but I really don’t want it to go that way because I really like the work, and the owners directions, so I’ll say, hopefully, it’s just a misunderstanding.

As well as the above, Valerie the dancer and Kristin the story teller, and myself are working up a performance to do at the performing arts centre dance festival in mid october. We had the big talk yesterday at mine with the fire going, which made everyone feel absolutely cosy, and nutted out the general parameters and also figured we might need a little absurd added in so we’re going to approach John Radford to come along.

The idea is to make pods in which each of us defines ourself. Valerie dances in hers, Kristin tells a story in hers and I make noises in mine… and then John adds the absurd as only he can from the confines of his.

It’ll be very post apocalyptic Tibetan meckanikistical vaudeville… and then we’ll all go see the Red Mole tapes at the film archive… we might cal ourselves Blue Badger and the working title is “A title will emerge”

My thoughts on the subject, somewhat defined after sitting through at dance performance at Galatos last night, are that the dancers, by themselves, are too consumed by the dance narrative to see the importance of sound, story, sets and acting elements as a way to hold an audiences attention. Last night Valeries performance, after a slow cumbersome start (though it did help to set the scene) was really quite gratifying to watch as she danced with and made great use of the ambient lighting and well chosen music. I don’t think too many dancers realise how important pacing is, dramatic pause and suchlike, to give our eyes the needed rest and activity they need to find a performance stimulating. This is why the sound is so important in dance but they just don’t, often, see the big picture of performances existing in a world full of so much other stimulus; that they should be acknowledgeing and not fighting the losing battle of high art and culture versus the popular choice.

Dancers may not think they are but they are storytellers regardless of their own motivations, just like musicians and actors, but ther chosen medium, almost exclusively powered by sight, means they must work that much harder to hold our attention and not drop into the shallow pit of riffing to show their prowesses. We don’t care!

Slow and soft against hard and fast, light and dark etc, the dancer fraternity really needs to apply the idea of chiaroscuro to movement and time while also realising that the use of sound joins our eyes to our hearts and this joining will frollick through the emotions if given the cues and opportunities to do so.

The Art of War.

The art of War is a book written in the 6th Century BC that has become a corporate bible.
I am crossing out the “The” and covering the “of” with as and calling an exhibition scheduled for November “Art as War”.

Art as War

The basic concept evolved from my interest in war economies as an efficient use of power, resources and the labour pool while also being umbrella’d under a cause most, if it is to work, believe in. The biggest obvious problem with this idea is the war itself. Everything else that unites a nation and brings forward working together and being open to innovation is a good thing but the destruction and death that underlies the motivation for war, in its classical sense, is the great human tragedies.

But on thinking of ways to directionlise an economy so that the efficiency of war could be attached to a more beneficent cause I realised that most artists, and other people with passions they follow, have what could be called their own little self contained war economies that they live within. The artist has a cause and the art is the propaganda they employ to forward that cause towards ultimate victory. Neccessity being the mother of invention then it is tantamount that the artist innovates under conditions of lack to be able to funnel the required resources to the war effort.

But of course, when the war is won, the fat comes back and lean is no longer mean, so to ensure that the economy of purpose is always in vogue the sense of victory or the reality of winning must be above rewards. Therefore monetary success must just become another tool for the artist to expand effort and not a reward in itself to sustain the status quo.

But before I digress too far into semantics and make a treatise of this little set of notes, without mentioning that such a need to be expansive underpins the motivations of the conceptualisation at hand… but I have mentioned it anyways, I think that the notion of treating the art of making art, in our modern world, is indeed an act of war by many artists against the enemy that is the state of things. We artists often lie at the edge of change calling forth the multitudes to see the possibilities for life that we envisage. We are calling to charge the multudes who just want to stay warm and not too wet in the protective ditches that lie on the fronts of progress. We seek to rush accross the no mans land between what is accepted and what could be and push our flag into that new land and call it ours!

To do this, to be brave and unheeding of the comforts we could have, we require less, and make better use thereof, and hone our skills so that our work amongst the craters of the possible will push forward the lot of all those behind.

Good Golly, I can’t help myself. What was supposed to be a factual discussion on the merits of the artistic in the way that much of it is created has become a call to arms. I’ve already strayed towards my own propaganda when I really should be desseminating on economies of scale and the reasoning behind motivational fronts in support of those economies. But all in all, this is what I seek in this concept of “Art as War”. To discuss and argue the mindset of the type of artist who comes to art as a tool to make their feelings about liife understood, the passionate ones who seek to win over the buyers to a way that goes deeper than the motivation to have a bigger and better shiny thing.

Though, of course, it can always be argued, that the artists actually create newer and bigger shiny things, that they push the edges, are the edge dwellers of any note, that widen the conceptual possibilities of modernity while going through the process of learning that it’s the doing of the thing and the power to venture into unknown territory are of far greater consequence than the finished articles. But this too is about the question of innovation and its dialectic within the world vision of any singular artist and applies to the concept as a adjunct.

So if you allow yourself to take the time to view the military uniform as both totemic item and utilitarian article, totemic item to define status and enlist motivation towards a goal and the question of efficient utility of available materials, the application to a singular artist with regards style, content and support skills is an obvious connection between the idea of war on a macro national scale being also the definition of an artist, singular or within a group, on the micro scale.
Bombs Away!

Workshop stuff

I kinda got a little lost there for a while. After the exhibition, making sales and then spending money I kinda lost touch with my self. Simply put is that after an exhibition is in the gallery my whole place is usually a complete mess… Common sense would tell me that going in and tidying up everything might be a good idea but with money in pocket it’s always alot more fun to just gad about and follow the eyes to things that glitter and gleam. That common sense would work well, also, because in going into the workspaces and tidying everything up one would get a much more practical notion of where monies should be spent.

But I didn’t do that and in spreading myself thing in the place of consuming as pleasure I lost sight of my core confidence in my abilities and became more open to what I thought others might want… and thats always a losing battle. So after a week or two getting back into masonary, and doing a little shifting about to be able to do this, I realised a tidy up was the real order of the day, or days… actually what I needed to do and as soon as I got started the world of what to do’s and how to’s, as advocated by others, just started dropping away and I realised how important what I was doing was for me.

Masonary fevers

I’ve been back into masonary again, especially soft stone sculpture, and dying to have some cash so I can get some fibreglass and start making molds of the stuff. It’s just too arty doing one offs and I don’t really like the idea of carting them around to markets on the off chance people will like what I do… but trade me might work.

Anyways, before getting the molds together and the materials to do the soft stone stuff, which incidentally is equall parts NO 1 sand, vermiculite (available at Nuplex in Penrose) and cement, I’ve been doing a little 3/1 sand/cement wall building to warm up to the masonary stuff.
This is the raised area just outside the main door to the garage and it’s been unfinished for years.
wally? This is the wall down the side of it which I’d planned to do in bottles but I’ve changed my mind and want it opening into the area I now use to do the soft stone sculpture.
working up to post!
This is the corner where I’m going up to create a post on which a deck from the shed will project out. No steel in it because the weight bearing will be compressive only though the post on the other end will be tied into the foundations with concrete… but it’ll be freestanding without buttresses so it’ll need the steel.
But then whats most important is what I do for money, though it’d be really great turning up at places and doing the above, and I suppose that’ll happen in time once I get a few of the below sold off. Thsi is my first one after a few years doin’ other stuff, though I did do one or two during last years Manukau At Festival.
And these I did today. The block on the left will have a cast made so I can make a bunch of them for round the front on the patio.
Jim and Fred?
I really want to do casting and have a mosaic of shapes that can be put together in a myriad of ways. And heres another of one of the above. I do particularly like like this one and I think I really am startin’ to develop a style!
That'd be Fred again?
Oh well, possibly two more tomorrow if I can get up early enough!

For the Radio Stuff!

I did this deal with the guys at Revel Cafe in K Rd whereby I get the old radio stuff, donated by (can’t remember his name at this moment) Radio Spares around the corner, that was in the toilet if I replace it with a small sculpture. I wasn’t getting around to it, only remembering once I was in the vicinity of Revel, so I dropped off P4HF saying I’d leave this one in the meantime to encourage me doing another. The boss got wind of it and thought he was getting P4Hf, which is interesting to think he would think someone so beneficent (which I’m not), so I emailed him the real story and in light of that, and to get P4HF back asap, I did this this morning.
For the Kids we build!
It’s called “For the Kids we build!” and it’s got the baby head inside the alluminium pot with Buzz Lightyear above the looking in hole and this basically means the babies are brought into a technological world.
The bit at the top is two sheep and a monkey wearing clothes sitting on a pineapple podium which is about our harnessing nature for our own ends and basically just being monkeys with clothes on. The small amount of hope thats within this statement is that the monkey, leaning down towards those watching, is that he can’t help but be in a position to hear the sheep murmuring about freedoms.

So from today on in it’ll be in the toilet at Revel Cafe in K Rd.

The Trade Me Sales!

So here we go. Looking around this site will give you more info on the Warm Glow light, in other posts, and the P4HF sculpture. The candleabras are recent kinda’ metal sketches for another big chair I’m doin’ which were encouraged by seeing, out of the blue (at Verushka’s place), a candleabra I’d made way back in the nineties. It was after I’d made them that I’d realised they were sketches for the chair to come. Never thought of the concept of sketching in metal but candleabras are an interesting way to do it.
No1 head
No1 feet
So this is the No1 candleabra and hearkens back to the one I made in the 90’s with the very organic styling in the torchwork.
No2 detail 1
No2 detail2
This ones a little closer to work I’ve been doing lately with some of the old torchwork, as in heating and bending in situ, plus the way I’ve become more linear in the design aspects.
No3 detail1
No3 detail2
And this one is possibly somewhere where I’ll go with the design of the chair with a significant kinda linear design thing then some rough textural work using a fine blade in the grinder to do cuts in the body.
All these works are well protected against rust with a coating of an American product called Penetrol which seems to be mainly boiled linseed oil with some anti rust added in.
Warm Glow
WG detail1
wg detail2
Sturdily made and put together with various allen head bolts tapped into the body. On/off switch and uses small 25W bulbs in normal bayonet fittings.
P4HF front
P4HF side
P4HF back
P4HF bottom
P4HF top
This is Peace for his Fiancee (P4HF) and is a very deep work indeed.

Back into Welding.

Moneys just about gone after the show so I’m out in the lean to putting stuff together. I also went to a thing at the Wine Cellar last Tues and took my old friend Verushka along and picked her up at the old council apartments on Symonds, at the top of Wellesley?, but while I was there I saw a candle holder that I’d made way back in the 90’s and that she’d, Verushka, had been given by a friend and Verushka took it as it reminded her of my stuff… because it was!

So I’m thinking I might also do a bevy of little things to take along to Lin’s or Shenna’s stalls at Titirangi next week and for maybe the Elliot St market on Sundays, which is only $35.00 for the day.

But today, Monday I’m going to build another musical instrument, two woks welded together, with strings, three, in nylon, but yesterday and on saturday I started this.
tied up!
Bent two lengths of 19mm ERW and then suspended them from the roof to get them in the space I wanted them then bent up a base and positioned that from the floor. It can be quite tricky figuring out how to get started with this kinda stuff and I think I’ll do it this way again. This is the first time I’ve suspended stuff from above.
Then yesterday I welded in some 12mm ERW to hold the three bends together and then welded in some legs.
Next step is the laborious task of welding all the joins completely and now it’s done, and after a today of making an instrument for sound, I’l be welding in all the stuff to make it strong and hopefully look neat as well. Most of the decoration I do isn’t there just to be decorative but serves the purpose of holding things together.
Looks kinda kooky at the mo’ but I do have a plan… well as much as I ever have plans… more like hopes, that what I envisage kinda sketchily ends up resolving itself as I go through the process of having ideas about specific areas and following them through and “hoping” that the finished product has an overall consistency.

I’ve also got to build a spaceship this week for Sheena (Titirangi on Sunday) but I’m sure I’ll wait until Saturday to do it but I’ll have it in the back of my mind all week and I really do find that letting you head do the work, in the shady shadows of the backgrounds, is the best way to work, then when you physically put something together you don’t have to stop and figure out what you’re doing at each step ’cause your brains already done it all and it’s all completely obvious.

The Weta is done!

Big Weta!
So after a few days painting on and off but mostly on, time between to let the paint dry off somewhat, the Weta is done. I like it!

I’ve now done qite a few bugs, mostly on traffic control boxes, and I think I’d like to do more. I started in on this way back in the nineties, the idea of doing bugs, when I had a brilliant book on beatles but I lent it to Felix, to add photos to a headless chickens album… and it never came back, but it did get the idea in my head.