early 1994 - closed the New Bohemian Coffee House.
Found that having an open, creative, accepting, loving, nurturing, and fun environment doesn't always mesh with society. That "creative types" often become the objects of fear and ridicule.
10 years later while back in Anacortes I was told, "There has been no time in the history of Anacortes that so many artists were produced as there was during the time of the New Bohemian Coffee House."
Some notables are:
Tired of moving my paintings from studio to studio, I rented storage space and moved all my works into it. 99% of the works done between 1964 to 2005 are in there.
Realized a lot of my paintings aren't scalable.
For example this is me in studio 1990. When the face gets larger than life size it starts to have connotations of being *larger than life* or just becomes absurd.
A way around this is using a more graphic approach.
However, I found that anything representational that becomes larger than it actually is starts to have a kind of *demi-god* status. This is used quite often in the promotion of products and political figures. This is not what I was looking for with my works.
Started thinking about what kind of work can be scaled to any size.
mid 1994 - my last showing in a gallery - "Metropolis Gallery" Seattle.
I was told after the opening, "There's a market here for your work. To start with I'll need 10 pomo packs with slides, photos, your bio and an artist's statement." To this I stated, "I have a small family and have spent *every penny* I have to get this show up. If you think there's a market for my work, why don't *you* put up the money for the promo packs!" to which I was told, "Well Jef, that's just not the way it's done." to which I replied, "Well then, I'm not doing this anymore." I turned and left, leaving all the works at the gallery.
After returning home from Seattle I sat down at the computer, looked at it and thought, "This is it! This is my my studio, my art supplies and the distribution! It's all right here!"
late 1994 - started using the computer and several dial-up Bulletin Board Systems, posting what I did for others to download.
Decided that everything I was to post was to have been created in the computer. I was not going to scan any of my paintings to be posted.
Created landscapes using fractals and Photoshop.
Created psychomorphs in Photoshop.
Found that I had a "marketable skill" for employment from my knowledge of computers. Got hired at Micro AeroDynamics doing the advertising and programming their first flight test software.
early 1995 - the internet
One day Chan (the son of the owner of Micro AeroDynamics) said, "We've been looking at the internet and think it would be something you'd be interested in. So... we got you an account. Here's the login and password!"
Three days later I received a call from Rickio Woods (hadn't heard from him in 10 years) saying he was back in Seattle from L.A. and heard I was doing computer graphics. He asked if I'd be interested in working with him on a website and I said, "Sure!" Went to his apartment and saw a book on a table that said HTML on the cover. I asked, "What's HTML?" After returning home I discovered *View Source*!
Built my first website. It was for Rickio Woods and was called hyperFuzzy.
Worked with Jon Hassell creating his first web presence.
Decided to explore the computer and the internet as mediums unto themselves, discovering what qualities are unique to these mediums.
Created the "technobaroque" style.
Netage uses the internet for the elements of collage and is set in a labyrinth of frames. These are the first works using discovery and exploration as part of the experience. Currently all of the external links collaged into the works are broken. I guess this is part of the net too, no?
While working on hyperFuzzy there was a page (that wasn't public) we used to access the site, it was a hidden version of what one would call the home page. Three days before the launch date we changed the name of that page. Almost immediately I got an e-mail asking where the page had gone. I was shocked! How did he know the page was there? How did he get my e-mail address?
That person was Michael Samyn in Ronse, Belgium and he also had started using the computer with the internet as his medium.
mid 1995 - internet collaboration with Michael Samyn in Belgium called FFF (Fast, Fun & Friendly).
Michael and I started e-mailing each other heavily and one day got onto the touchy topic of "what is art". After a few e-mails Michael said, "Let's stop this talk about what is art while we're still ahead. All I want is an art that's Fast, Fun and Friendly!" I agreed.
After thinking about this for a few days I came up with an idea and called it FFF. I posted a few web-pages and sent Michael an e-mail containing links to these web-pages. The idea being the web-pages were only partially done having links and images pointing to his server that he was to fill in. Then he would do the same for me.
With this part of the contents of a web-page came from my server and part came from his server. A web-page would also have a link pointing to a web-page on the other persons server that didn't exist and would need to be created. Eventually this would create a chaotic labyrinth of pages. The idea was simple and hopefully Fast, Fun & Friendly.
This was one of the fastest, funnest and friendliest things I've ever done! In a couple of weeks we had over 80 web-pages. With these we learned each other's sense of humor, philosophy, fears and imagination. I had never learned so much about someone so fast. Sometimes I'd be laughing out loud at what Michael had come up with!
One of my favorites was a page Michael posted with a model wearing a slinky designer dress. Below her was a link saying, "Would you like to take off my dress?" When you clicked on the link the model's body disappeared leaving just the dress. :)
Yes... this was FFF and it was Fast, Fun & Friendly!
Realized that on the internet *timing* is everything.
Found I really enjoyed the elements of change, surprise and chaos when collaborating on the internet. It's like a visual jam session.
Experimented with a "Natural Media" program called Mattise.
Did portraits of people I knew only because of the internet (and have never met) using images I'd found of them and elements of what they do in the arts.
Put *Karmaright* instead of *Copyright* on my website.
You steal it? That's your problem, not mine.
Stopped using the gold metal effect in my works because of the symbolic connotations of gold.
early 1996 - started THE POSI-WEB - "an exploration of the daily life & thoughts of a global community".
At this time dial-up modems were slow (28.8 kbit/s compared to 700 kbit/s now) and hard drives were expensive ($250 for a 60MB drive). Connections and servers went down on a regular basis.
THE POSI-WEB was to connect people together with two simple pages and no archive. Everyone's first page had links to everyone else's first page thus decentralizing it. There is no central server to go down for us to lose access to THE POSI-WEB and no one person having control over it. You could enter THE POSI-WEB from any of the member's first page.
The second page was about a member's daily life. I had started to meet people from different parts of the world and wanted to see the simple aspects of their daily life. Where they lived, where they shopped, what they looked like, what their families looked like, what the country they lived in looked like and with only a few simple words. That's it. Quick, easy to post and simple.
The problem I found with this was that most of the members were artists and it's difficult for most artists to do something simple. Too much art was being posted and THE POSI-WEB wasn't about art.
Started listening to Future Sound of London, the Orb, Higher Intelligence Agency.
Started painting with other people on the same surface using one rule, "no rules, anything goes".
This taught me a lot about how territorial people are when painting. Few people can actually paint with that one simple rule. They want to protect what they've done. We would jam with "no rules, anything goes" when I played with the band and for musicians it's a much easier thing to do. Musicians learn to enjoy what they're doing and what's being played over what they're doing and to let it go.
Started creating *another garden* at a rental house. After a few hours of tearing up grass, I wiped the sweat from my forehead and wondered, "What am I doing this for? I'll probably never see the fruits of my labor!"
Heard *the voice* say, "Well Jef, if you don't enjoy the process, then don't do it."
Realized I do enjoy *the process*.
mid 1996 - started using FutureSplash.
I liked FutureSplash because of the small size of the plug-in and being vector-based the file sizes were very small. I didn't have a fast computer and my modem with a dial-up was very slow. What was created using FutureSplash loaded into the browser very fast and for the first time you could fill the screen with movement.
I had been working with computers for about 3 years now and had gotten to a point where I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue.
While drifting in a raft in a hot summer day on Lake Erie on Fidalgo Island, I was getting really strong feelings about getting back to something more hands on, more analog, more tangible. Hadn't done much away from a keyboard for some time and was considering a new path.
That evening we went to rent a video and met a man from one of the tankers harbored in the bay. A nice Sicilian man, quick to strike up a conversation. He pointed out "Cinema Paradiso" and said "Rent this one! It's where I come from!" We rented it and drove him out to the docks to return to the ship. Before getting out of the car he handed us $30 and said, "Here, buy a bottle of champagne and enjoy the movie!"
When returning to the house there was an e-mail from Michael. It said,
"If you're willing to move to Belgium, I have a good job here for you!" After thinking about it for a day I sent one back saying, "Send two round trip tickets and we'll see!"
A week later the tickets arrived and we were off to Belgium.
Sometimes the universe has its own plan.
late 1996 - late 1997 worked for Riverland, Belgium.
late 1996 - was hired by Walter De Brouwer the owner of Riverland, a publishing / new media company in Zaventem outside of Brussels.
Lived in central Antwerp.
Never saw *the fruits of my labor* with the garden.
After a year of being on-line with Michael Samyn and Guy Drieghe we finally met face-to-face!
At Riverland I met Sergio Soares Ferreira who became a great friend, turning me onto raves, taking me to the studios of intelligent-techno musicians to listen to their latest works, taking me up the stairs of a dark, dingy abandoned building to the studio of (the then illegal) Radio Centraal and being generally a really great friend.
Started 3D modeling using
Built the first websites for Vobis, European Free Trade Administration (EFTA) and British Telecom, Belgium. Made a CD-ROM for Microsoft, Netherlands. Started programming with Object Pascal using Delphi.
Wrote most of the programs I used on a daily basis. Found that if you write a program for work that does 8 hours of work in 4 hours instead of getting half the day off you'll be expected to get 16 hours of work done.
In Antwerp I just happened to live about 4 blocks from the house that Peter Paul Rubens lived in and had his studio. At the end of Hoogstraat (where I lived) is the Cathedral of Our Lady with Rubens paintings in it. Still having some interest in Rubens I now had the chance to study his paintings anytime and up close.
I started to find the Baroque style overbearing in its symbolism and somewhat claustrophobic. Once after spending about an hour in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp my daughter and I felt ill from the symbolism and violence expressed in the paintings. While walking down the street we came upon a daycare center in which the children had painted large human figures on the metal shutters covering the windows. They were painted in the way only a 5 year old can paint. I pointed them out to my daughter and proclaimed, "Now that's art!"
When visting the photographer Phil Franks in Spain, we had gone to the Alhambra. This was my first exposure to Islamic architecture and aesthetics. I was delighted by the airiness of design and lightness in symbolism and between this and the children's paintings...
I was done with the Baroque.
early 1997 - heard Industrial F**kin Strength 2, Disk 2 (gabber) on Radio Centraal.
Lenny Dee mixed the most intense music I've ever heard. Just when I didn't think it could get any more intense, he'd punch it up a notch and this went on for 40 minutes! I just sat there laughing at how intense it was. I have a lot of respect for this piece, even though it's not the kind of thing I can listen to often.
Having been flown back to Anacortes to move out of the rental house (we both got terribly ill with the flu after the house was empty) we arrived back at Zaventem at 7am and went straight to work. It was December, the days were very short and between the jet lag and lack of sunlight my circadian rhythms were totally messed up. One time we fell asleep at 8pm and woke up at 6 thinking that finally we've had a good nights sleep. After turning on the lights to get ready for the day we realized it was 6pm not 6am.
I've always had a free spirit and (being self employed) a relatively free life. Now working 8 to 5, 5 days a week, (sometimes 7) with my circadian rhythms off, I was becoming quite worn down. I remember one morning driving down the freeway (a 45 min. to 2 hour daily commute), watching the rising sun flicker through the trees and thinking, "I feel like a broken horse." I'd never felt this way before and didn't like it. But when you've been broken, you're broken and just have to learn to live with it.
Found that working from 8am to 3am doesn't make you any more money than working from 8am to 5pm. Started trying to leave by 5.
mid 1997 - met with Stephen Miller at the Cyber Theater in Brussels and discussed how wrong this concept was (i.e. the isolation of individuals using "internet portals" in a public/club setting) .
When leaving Riverland, Walter wanted to keep me on and offered me positions in his other companies in Madrid, Australia, Silicon Valley, etc. (he had 10 companies). He also offered to connect me up with a friend of his at the University of the Balearic Islands on the island of Majorca, Spain to possibly teach New Media there.
I'd always liked Walter and his offers were very tempting. However, I told Walter, "No thanks. I'm not sure if I'll continue with computers." I'd seen an ad for a couple needed in the Mediterranean Sea to help sail a Yacht with tourists and thought this is something I'd *really* like to do!
After declining Walter's offer he said, "You should have bought a BMW like the people from MIT did!" To this I replied, "If I had, then the BMW would *own me* and I'd have to work for you!" Walter laughed saying, "Oh Jef... you're just too wise."
After 9 months of living with Grandma and Grandpa and finishing her school year, Naomi moved to Antwerp to live with us and stay the summer.
The *real* reason I declined Walter's offer!
I've often found it interesting that if one loves *shape, color and form* for just being *shape, color and form* that people assume you must be on drugs.
late 1997 - back in Anacortes, created snarg.
snarg - was created to bring together all of the unique qualities I had found relating to the use of computers and the internet as a medium.
These qualities are:
The ability to reach a large audience with little expense and effort.
The ability to give what you do away for relatively free to others.
The ability to publish anything, without another person's permission.
The ability to use music, video and animation in a work.
The ability to create an environment of exploration for others.
The ability to create an ever changing environment, never repeating itself.
The ability to create *real* emotions in people - love/hate/laughter/joy/fear.
The ability to have a work be temporary, disappearing forever on a whim.
The ability to have interaction and to confuse.
The ability to be dynamic, to change, to be updated when needed. (like this bio)
Created:"more questions for a formula world"
Chris Terrell started hosting snarg on his servers for free and still does.
Neil Berg became tech-support for server issues and still is.
Received an e-mail from Jon Hassell asking if he could use one of my images on the web for a CD. The next day it was printed and released as a special edition of one thousand for the performance of BLUESCREEN 2 at the MANCA Festival in Nice, France.
I was amazed at how quickly it all happened. This type of thing would have been unheard of 3 years earlier.
early 1998 - was invited back to Belgium to be a Guest Professor at HISK, the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium in the new media department.
Spent a few days with Dr. Hugo and quite liked him and his paintings.
Met Peter De Cupere, a student and an extraordinary young artist.
He was using our relationship to smell and molds in his works. I'll never forget what he did in the dark bricked basement at HISK. There were 10 tables, each having 100 petri dishes. Each table had a theme: Candy, meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. with each petri dish having in them different bits of each theme. After a month, fantastic molds grew from each dish. I leaned over one that had long thin black fibers growing from it and said, "Wow... this is interesting?!" Peter immediately pulled me back saying, "This is the meat table! I don't know what that is... It might be dangerous!"
Back in Peter's studio he pointed to the seat on a bicycle and said, "Smell that!" I looked at it and thought, "oh my god...". It had the fullest, most aromatic smell of roses one could imagine. Peter really appealed to the artist / mad scientist in me.
late 1998 - became one of the founding members of HELL.com.
Logo design for HELL.com Headquarters - East Coast
A maze with no path to the center.
I received an e-mail inviting me to become a member of HELL.com. It didn't appeal to me at all and I sent back an e-mail saying, "Why would I want to do that?" The return e-mail stated that this was an invitation being sent to the top net.artists in the world to join together and collaborate on works.
In the e-mail was also the 10 commandments of HELL. These commandments were things like, never tell anyone where the server is, never divulge what's being worked on, you must submit one work that will never be seen in the outside, etc... those commandments to me were like, "yeah... whatever".
The commandments that appealed to me were, no works relating to hate, pornography, child pornography or racism . Knowing that Michael had become a member I thought, "I can live with that." so I joined... and we collaborated.
early 1999 -
Montreal International Center for Contemporary Art
Spotlight on a Web Site article about snarg.
Heard Michael was flying to San Francisco for the Webby Awards. I would've liked to have seen him again but didn't have the money. To surprise Michael (and as a gift to me) Ken Aronson flew me down to SF. I'll never forget the look on Michael's face when I walked up to him in the restaurant.
Before the Webby Awards we met up with Joan and Dirk of jodi at a coffee house. Dirk was telling me about how he wanted to make some works for Sony's Playstation but was having difficulty with Sony. I said, "If you win the Webby Award tonight shouldn't that help you with Sony?" Dirk replied, "I hope we don't win it. Once what you do gets recognition as "art", you've got maybe 5 years before they become tired of you."
Well... they won the Webby Award.
The first time I saw any of jodi's work was about three years before this. I came upon the first page of their site. I didn't think much of it at first, but for some reason I viewed the source code and found this.
The page viewed by the public was totally different than what would be viewed by a person who would look at the source code. I thought it was absolutely brilliant.
The internet was a "new frontier" and we thought of ourselves as the rebels in that frontier. There were heated discussions and battles going on in Rhizome over the implications of this frontier and its relationship to art. All of us had a strong distrust of the institutions and our new found freedom was intoxicating.
For the first time we felt we could tell the institutions, "We don't need YOU!" We viewed what the museums displayed and "the big box" they were displayed in as boring and elitist, with galleries being not much different. We were now reaching more people in one day than they were in one month!
While in San Francisco, Michael and I were invited to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to meet with David Ross. We walked up to the doors and paused for a few moments. Turning to Michael I said, "Do you really want to go in?" he said "No." We walked over to a park, sat and talked for an hour then walked 45 minutes through the Meat District and on to meet our friends.
Met for the first time other members/friends from HELL.com - RedSmoke, Superbad and o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o. Also sat in a restaurant with Michael and waited for Auriea Harvey (Entropy8) to show up. This was the first time they had met face-to-face and this was he beginning of Entropy8Zuper.
Built a Direct X Browser for the members of HELL.com called h2Oh.
mid 1999 - snarg stats showing 14,000 sessions a day and the e-mails are rolling in.
A session is a unique IP address with hits being the number of elements downloaded by that address during a session. The number of hits snarg received was way beyond the number of sessions. Often receiving 200,000+ hits a day.
By this time there were around 60 members in HELL.com of which 25 were quite active on projects. The first public project "surface" had been launched. Michael and Auriea were getting ready to launch "skinonskinonskin"and "HL2" was on the drawing board.
For the record, I was very much against (and quite embarrassed by) HELL.com's response to the 0100101110101101.ORG downloading of "surface". I thought what they did was actually quite brilliant.
snarg was getting linked to by many University Media Departments and was shown at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). I received an e-mail from a friend in London saying, "I was at a company party last night on the roof of a downtown building, they were projecting snarg on the screens!" The forums were abuzz.
Started receiving 200 - 300 e-mails a day of which around 100 usually needed answering. At this rate taking even 3 days off resulted in 200 - 300 e-mails needing a reply.
One day I checked my e-mail and the in-box had received over 5,000
e-mails in one day. After looking at the headers, I realized someone had used my e-mail address as the return address to spam a porn site. Most of the e-mails were bounced back to me by servers as spam, however some of them were sent to me by very unhappy and angry people. I apologized to as many of the people as I could and tried to explain what had happened.
Along with the e-mail, I was working on a new version of snarg, HL2 for HELL.com and building e-commerce websites for a living.
This was all starting to become too much...
my snarg bio - e-mailed to people when I was asked for a bio.
The snarg bio was the first piece done using code instead of the linear placement of elements within frames, as is done with animation. The head, arms, legs and body objects all have code producing random variables in relationship to the object next to it creating the movement seen. It never repeats in exactly the same way like animation will, giving it more of a living quality.
late 1999 - in response to an increasingly negative element I was getting from the web (game forums in particular) I created snarg's anti-game.
When the *thing* loads into your browser it has a life, in that it has to eat a certain amount and has a limited amount of strength.
These attributes are different every time it's loaded. When you mouse-over it, it tries to protect itself and if you're aggressive
enough (by clicking on it) you will
If you kill it, you will not enter snarg.
If you sit and watch until it's eaten what it needs to eat, snarg will open.
late 1999 - took Tai Chi Chuan classes and read the Tao Te Ching.
snarg's requiem for net.art
snarg was published in 72 - dpi by gestalten.
For years I'd felt like an outsider. Nobody I knew did what I did or thought the way I did. Many artists I'd met often had very strong opinions on who was an artist and who wasn't. Even though we were good friends, I never would have introduced them to each other. They would have hated each other.
Started to think of my art as a flag on a long pole, held high to see if there was anyone out there I could easily relate to.
One day Gael said, "You know Jef, I think you're quite lonely. I've noticed you really perk-up when you're around other people." At first I denied this, thinking of all the reasons I had *not* to be in the outside world. After awhile I started to realize she was right.
Wrote a program that generated patterns for snarg.
early 2000 - one morning I couldn't get up out of bed. After a few hours, I was able to get up but when I sat at the computer, I couldn't concentrate and had no focus. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't type a single sentence. For two years I'd spent 16-20 hours a day creating on the computer, twice missing complete summers staying inside working on projects.
The universe now said, "Ok... your done. Enough is enough." It took two months before I started to have any focus. I could tell that all of this was coming to an end.
2000 - met Galen Garwood. One of the very few painters I could talk to regarding anything relating to art and he understood.
late 2000 - rubbed lily stamens on paper, put this into a frame and watched the brilliant yellow slowly fade. In a month it became little islands of yellow.
Placed a video camera out the 3rd story window of my studio and pointed it to the windows of the building across from it. Laid down on the floor and watched "reality TV" on the monitor.
early 2001 - started reading everything I could get my hands on about Zen Buddhism.
I loved the stories! Stories like the old farmer.
mid 2001 - snarg performs at the
Festival Internacional de Benicassim, Benicassim, Spain
25 web.art-ists from around the world were flown to Spain. Stayed in an old monastery, built a 3 story scaffolding tower, filled it with media equipment and had a multi-media jam session for 3 days.
A couple of my favorite memories...
Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time singing, "swimming in the sea with d2b... swimming in the sea with d2b..." while swimming in the sea with d2b.
Swimming in the pool next to the monastery and having Fakeshop say, "It's like we're all a bunch of superheros. So snarg, what's your superpower!?"
late 2001 - several months ago I had met Ed Cain and highly admired him and his paintings. Tragically he took his own life on September 11, 2001 after the towers went down in New York.
I was angry, grabbed a pencil, quickly made a squiggly line on some paper, looked up and said, "Ed! That was a selfish thing to do! See! You can't do this!" Immediately I got this warm feeling through my body and heard, "Now you understand."
This had an enormous impact on me. I became acutely aware of the movement of my hand and the joy that it brings. I could feel Ed with me smiling, it felt good.
Started using as a medium anything that would make a mark (make-up, felt-tip pens, raw pigments, latex house paint, etc.) on anything that would support it (free old books, paper towels, cardboard, used plywood, old jeans, used coffee filters, etc.).
Started to think that other than going into the forest, taking off my clothes and giving my fate to "the universe", that there is noway to make a living without changing something from what it naturally is to something else. That to just love and accept life and things for what they are, will not make one a living.
Realized I don't have what it takes to go into the forest and hand my fate over to "the universe". Started feeling like a failure, a failure for not being spiritually strong enough to take such a leap of faith.
Started to wonder how much life was taken by planting just one garden? How many plants died? How many insects died? How many billions of bacteria were crushed?
All... so I could plant what *I wanted*.
Started to wonder how much life was taken by turning on a single light bulb? How many fish in a river died? How much life was taken in the making of a dam, in the making of the infrastructure to get the light bulb and electricity to me?
All... so I could see what *I wanted*, when *I wanted*.
What about the clothes I wear?
Started to have deep spiritual conflicts and a growing guilt from my actions, no matter how minor they were. Started to have a conflict between the love of my family and the guilt felt from the damage done by the actions needed to support them.
Even though there was great creativity, comradery and friendship between the members in HELL.com and all of the members I'd met were really good people and easy to get along with, I started to realize the negative connotations of the word HELL was too great to overcome.
Tried using a membership model for snarg. Members paid $25 a year to view the latest works with these works not being posted to the public. A member received a login and password that could only be used once at a time. If someone else logged-in with the same login and password the current person using it would be bumped off and would have to log back in. This protected a membership (and me) from multiple people using it.
The problem I found with this was when you ask for money for something, people expect to get more from you.
Like being able to post their works on the site, tech-support for when it doesn't work on other computers and
immediate answers from e-mails sent.
Ah... yes... more e-mail.
Anyway... this lasted for about 2 months before I discontinued using the membership model. It was probably the worst idea I'd had for snarg.
Started realizing that when using ideas as the basis for your work, you're only as good as your last idea. That nothing done on the computer can come directly from your heart as it can with painting or playing an instrument.
early 2002 - snarg installation at the Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City.
Proposals for the installation sent via e-mail:
I told the museum I wanted to have Dale Chihuly create the snarg forms out of glass and have computer generated snarg life projected on translucent panels, all hanging from the ceiling.
They replied, "Sorry jef, that's not within our budget."
I replied, "Ok then, we won't use Chihuly. I'll have the snarg forms made from vinyl and blow them up with helium."
They didn't go for that either. I didn't think they would but was hoping they'd get a good laugh out of it. :)
Started having deep conflicts concerning the resources needed to fly.
Heard *the voice* say, "You've read about zen long enough and will receive nothing more of value from reading, time to practice."
Started "the meditations".
I thought, "ok... how does one meditate?" Remembered what I'd read, sat on the floor in the Lotus position, palms up and started breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, slow and deep, saying "in... out... in... out." Within 30 seconds all I could think of was the pain in my hips. This wasn't working.
I moved up to the couch, sat in a comfortable position with palms up and started breathing again. This time I said, "ok... I'm here, I'm open, I'm relaxed. Universe... teach me what I need to know."
In about 20 minutes, it all started...
I'm not going to write about what happened during the next two weeks. It's simply beyond words and words have a tendency to cheapen the experience. The only thing I will say is, I discovered the importance of being in the NOW and that absolutely everything loves you, existing to help you become a compassionate, loving being.
(I need to state here that "being in the NOW" is quite different than "living for the moment".)
Found that everything has a soul and should be loved equally. Including the paints, supplies and materials I use to create art.
I usually walk and carry a back-pack for daily groceries, goods, etc...
In our society the automobile unfortunately is a necessary tool on occasion. Because of all the damage done in the creation of a car, damage done by the use of a car, loss of life in the acquisition of resources and damage created by the resources used...
I started putting my hand on the dash and saying, "Thank you." after driving. I figured it's the least I could do for such a sacrifice and its usefulness. A "Thank you." to all the people who gave of their time, their time away from loved ones to mine, design, engineer, manufacture and maintain this tool. A tool that I sometimes need to visit loved ones and to move more than I am able to carry. "Thank you!"
Started to say "Thank you!" to everything.
Galen Garwood moves to Chiang Mai, Thailand giving me a huge amount of his art supplies.
Started to notice that the artists I'd met who were doing works
"the Galleries" would accept had become bitter, stressed out and were always angry about something. Realized my own path had been heading in this direction and decided to redefine why I was doing, what I was doing.
Began thinking of painting as *part of the whole picture* rather than
*the whole picture*, started to think of painting as an experience rather than an art object.
Decided to do a one month show at the Tyler Street Coffee House in Port Townsend, WA. Looking at what was usually hung there, I decided to hang a show of anti-art and stir up the locals concept of what art is and what a painting should be. All of the somewhat large paintings (3'X8') were done in 3 days using old dark green army canvas, old latex house paint (found in abundance from garages) and using a straw broom for a brush. They were hung from the walls like tapestries with their curling frayed edges.
The reaction was immediate. The owners of the coffee house hated them. The next day after the show was hung I was sitting next to an acquaintance and said, "I started painting again!" He responded, "Really? I hope it's better than this shit! This looks like a first grader did it!" I pointed out that the first grader must have a very long arm and a lot of strength!
He replied, "mmm... I guess you're right, I didn't think of that." I told him these are my paintings, he was shocked (and very apologetic). It's interesting when an artist does something that doesn't fit into (or goes against) what people think that artist can do and should be doing.
Anyway... the show did stay up for the month and people either loved it or hated it. A bonus for me was I ended up meeting every artist and individual from Port Townsend I would have wanted to meet.
Gael and I split up.
My daughter gets married and moves to London, England.
late 2002 - made a dump run with a van load of paintings. It was an interesting experience to see the paintings in the bottom of the pit at the transfer station.
studio 2002 - the ultra-minimal environment
Started pressing plants between glass and foam core with clip frames and hanging them on the wall to watch what would happen over time.
A couple of favorites were...
An enormous Rhubarb leaf with Rose peddles evenly spaced over the leaf. As time passed the cells of the Rhubarb leaf burst creating moisture between the glass and the foam core. Because of the moisture it started to grow a black mold and in the end the Rhubarb leaf turned a deep velvety black with the Rose peddles fading to a translucent beige.
A long vertical piece of glass and Rose peddles evenly spaced from top to bottom. Over time the peddles dried, changing color and sliding down through the glass and foam core creating different compositions and patterns.
I asked Chris Terrell to *give* me one of his digital cameras he doesn't use anymore. He asked, "Why would I do that?", I replied "Because I'll show you things you've never seen before!" With a smile he said, "ok", and gave me a blue 1.3 mega-pixel Kodak point-and-shoot. My first Digital Camera.
Started going on *foto strolls*.
During a *foto stroll* you don't go out looking for "the photo" to take. You go out and open up to what's around you and what's happening. There are wonderful images everywhere if you're open enough to see them. When you go out looking for "the photo" it's like having blinders on and you will miss many wonderful things.
The thing to do is to open up and let the image come to you. This is a fantastic way to connect with your surroundings. I highly recommend going on *foto strolls*.
After talking with Jessica about my past and the artists I'd known she asked, "So, why aren't you gay?" I said, "Don't know. I just never thought about being with men in that way."
snarg projected on the outside wall of studio 2002
NOTE: The date on the images are wrong, this was not in 2000.
The room on the left with the light on is the studio.
Bret Lunsford donated the sound system (seen in the windows) used to project sounds outside while snarg went through its thing.