Monday, July 25, 2011

Dusty Business, Setting It Aside

To heck with painting and drawing. Everyone's taking pictures anyway. To heck with it. I feel like that part of my life is shutting down, and there's dust over it all. and I've done it since i was a little kid, but suddenly, it loses its shine. Well, there's lots of personal issues entertwined with all of this, but the reality is, the equipment gathers dust, and i get older, and i dont know if i really want to do it anymore. There's enough of it, and sure I like to do it, and probably will again, but suddenly I get swept up in the idea that it's like a dead language and is plainly very low on the totem pole. And its a hobby, and not vital. Not that it has had any impact in 50 years. What's vital, obviously, is music. A great painter, someone that's not just echoing the past, that's hard to find, because there's no market there, its not vital. But music is vital, and photography, it speaks more directly, is massively available, its like vital corpuscles, flowing through it all and charging ipods and fueling the economy, and crossing boundaries, and touching deep down where people actually care about things. But who cares about painting? Painting is like cholesterol, caking up here and there where a vein takes a turn, but not contributing to life and culture. I, like lots of people good at this, was born in the wrong century.

What do people who paint do when painting? They listen to music.

That's not really a bummer, its just the way it is, or how i see it. Great modern painters? Name one? Name one! Your favorite? An Impressionist, a Spanish 19th century realist, or an Abstract Expressionist from the last century ("modern art"). I can't think of anyone living who I'd want to know more about right now. A few, maybe, but not many.

And in my life, its been vital, the thing that i thought there was some vital link to, something in some odd way would make sense one day, and it would all come together. Instead, its like knowing how o make chain mail. In a cave. My favorite artist might be C arson Ellis, illustrator for the Decemberist's covers. That's too much info, but it is striking, that all great painters are dead. The rest are trying to do what was already done. What's with that?

I bought an accordion and all its black keys stuck. So i pulled it all apart. And laid it out on my painting table. And each night cleaned a few keys of grit from the 1960's. And put it back together. And it sounds good. And that was like art, something as vital, something that fired my mind, engaged my time, and in the end, a product. If I could play the thing, that would be great, but that's going to mean PRACTICING.

Tomorrow I play bass for a small band in a barbecue joint in town. Its not my bass, or my amp. I do own the cord though.