My grandparents divorced when my father was a teenager. While my grandmother was bitter, Dad felt under-appreciated & Uncle Darryl sulked, I just thought Grandpa was faux-grouchy prankster.
Our days were filled with ice cream trips, tickle fights, playing house–and the eyebrows. He had the craziest eyebrows EVER. He would drag his fingers across his brow bone until they met in the middle. The resulting woolly-worm brows sent me into an endless spiral of giggling.
He re-married the lovely Anna who developed severe rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age. She suffered dozens of surgeries & joint replacements only to lose most of her mobility. He happily waited on her hand & foot. He carried her to & from bed. He cut her food. He colored her hair.
He LOVED her. I loved him.
At 69, Anna left this world too soon. A few months later after a routine hip surgery, he developed staphylococcal meningitis. His body just quit. The piece inspired by this photograph is entitled “Shot from the Hip,” and the show of which it is a part, Do I Know You? opens in July of 2014 at The Balcony Gallery at The Emporium Center in Knoxville, TN.
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My great aunt Mary Magdalene Horton Baker was a hoot. She was divorced young and never re-married or had children of her own. My father, uncle and cousin were HER children, of sorts, but mostly it was ME. She was a leather-tanned wild woman with bleached hair, skin-tight jeans and a bikini top well into her 60s. She was the life of EVERY party, and EVERYONE was invited. I remember the devilish smile and the pooh-poohing of the convention espoused by all the other adults in my life.
So, as a kid in our family, all I really wanted to do was wait until she got off the swing shift to pick me up at midnight in her convertible with the leopard seat covers. We would make our way to her feather painted bedroom & climb into her bed with the red velvet headboard & watch the then, new-fangled “cable TV” & eat cocktail shrimp out of the can.
In July 2005, Maggie B. died of acute respiratory failure due to a 3-year battle with emphysema. She was a social smoker for 60+years but never seemed to have a health concerns. Then at 78 her body just stopped co-operating & said “Enough” despite the fact that she wasn’t done living. I love her so much. This is a pic of her (late-1970s) at approx. 55 years old.
The piece inspired by this photograph is entitled “Bated Breath,” and the show of which it is a part, Do I Know You? opens in July of 2014 at The Balcony Gallery at The Emporium Center in Knoxville, TN.
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I am making progress on the “Do I Know You?” series. I completed the first stage of a piece named Pass the Bottle last night. And, while I can’t share it until closer to the July 4th show opening (at The Balcony Gallery at The Emporium Center in Knoxville, TN), I can show you one of my inspirations.
He was a beautiful child, and as an adult he became the ever-popular sideshow exhibit known as Uncle Darryl. He was a wonderfully and wildly-inappropriate adult influence on me by most measures, and absentee parent to his only child. I thought the world was a much better place with him in it. He helped me successfully make a huge decision at age 13 that probably saved my life.
He physically survived a tour in Vietnam and mentally endured the aftermath of physical injury, PTSD & chemical contaminants with the only tools at his disposal—-a doting mother & many a liquor bottle.
In April of 2006, a heart attack ended the suffering he endured from a decade-long battle with cirrhosis of the liver. He was 56 years old. He betrayed his body after his brain betrayed him. I love & miss him. I SO wish he were here to be a questionable influence on MY child.
The “Do I Know You?” series will feature an image saluting his battle with cirrhosis as well as an image in tribute his struggle with PTSD & the aftermath of Agent Orange.
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CURATED by CultureHall
Thanks to CultureHall.com for the invitation to create a portfolio! (continues below)
Culturehall is a curated online resource for contemporary art where selected artists can share their work with curators, gallerists, collectors and other artists. The community of artists consists primarily of MFA graduates, arts professionals and teaching artists. Membership is available by invitation or application.
I have spent the last few weeks gathering family photos to get a little planning done for DIKY –since most of the hand-drawn patterns are completed. And as I sit and look into the collective face of my family, I find an almost overwhelming responsibility to get it right…
For me. For them.
For the ones I never knew. For the ones that will never know. The key is to not get so bogged down in the responsibility that my ability to work creatively is paralyzed.
But, the faces… I cannot escape the faces.
I am not Buddhist but have a love of the idea of the Buddhist princess Tara. Within Tibetan Buddhism, Tārā is regarded as a Bodhisattva of compassion and action. Tara has 21 primary emanations, each of which performs different activities such as giving, diligence, the difficult, peace, patience and so forth.
Legend has it that she was urged to try to be reborn as a male, but she rejected that notion opting to pursue complete enlightenment as a woman. And if you read the Praise of 21 Taras, you’ll understand how she became the inspiration for this little known work Pieces of Me: Ayra Tara (2007). Aesthetically, this piece was a failure for me. But, I never re-edited this piece because I came to realize that I didn’t make it to show. It was and is personal.
A dual reminder that we are equipped to conquer all…
but all in due time.
A couple of weeks ago, I published both the original and the final of Gluttony: The World’s Fattest Woman from the Psychomachia series. And I appreciate the feedback I received. Several people have asked if there were MORE gluttony images. There are. In fact, I finished the Gluttony piece last in the series because I just kept trying and then changing my mind.
The image at left was the second attempt–just after the circus tent piece. If you look closely, you’ll note an apple tattoo on the right hip. I thought it would be a subtle Adam & Eve reference providing the religious tie-in to the seven deadly sins. But, the longer I looked at it, the more subtle it seem to become.
So, I went back to the proverbial, read ubiquitous, drawing board–enter the ACTUAL apple. In a humorous nod to stock photography, I added a heart-shaped bite mark in the apple. I liked this piece for about 5 minutes. I trudged through other versions that were never edited, or even saved.
Sometimes I remind myself that while taking pretty pictures would be easier, I would never be at peace with a pretty picture.
I would never sleep
with all the ugly images
tumbling around in my head.
As much as I love the physical process of transferring images to canvas, the guts of my work happen as a part of DIGITAL collage. Since the actual quality of the photograph isn’t my first concern, the photo shoots are all about capturing the content. So, once again, the REAL STUFF happens in the collage process. When I tripped across the Call below, I thought maybe I should mix it up occasionally and do a little hands-on collage work. I wonder if it would alter the way I approach digital collage. Hmmm…
This piece (above left), dubbed My Fair Lady, is one of a collection of found-object assemblage/collage pieces completed years ago at the request of a retail store in Gatlinburg. This show (below) is a free entry and an all-hung exhibit. Sounds like a no-risk opportunity. Check it out, maybe this one will work for you too…
CALL for ENTRIES:
Mail Art/Collage Art
ELIGIBILITY: All artists
MEDIA: Collage & Assemblage Art (newspaper, ribbons, papers, artwork, texts, photographs & other objects on paper/canvas) –per the call.
DEADLINE: September 10, 2014
ENTRY FEE: None
Interested? Read the Call at AAAD!
My intent is to offer my point of view with a nod to the humorous. I can’t help my Southern passive-aggressive upbringing. I was taught that lessons are easier learned if you wrap them in fluff that makes them easier to swallow. And…
It would seem that I will never be able to shake the notion.
But, I HAVE noticed a change. The first image is Gluttony: World’s Fattest Woman, as it hung when Psychomachia opened. The image below, was my first attempt (that has since been destroyed).
This circus tent version that I started with certainly had a great sense of humor, but I didn’t love it. This piece was a turning point for me. it was missing a religious reference, and THAT is what forced me to make a second attempt. But as I began trying to re-conceive this piece, I realized that the real problem was that it was simply too obvious.
I’m not good at subtle,
(except by Southern standards)
but I’m getting better…
I get a surprising number of requests for prints even each of my pieces is a monoprint. I understand that not everyone has several feet of wall space for surrealist, pop-art portrait with a less than subtle political message. So, for my next show (Do I Know You? opening in July of 2014), I intend to sell a handful of paper prints for a charitable cause.
In the meantime, you might not realize it, but a small number of 4″ x 4″ prints on gallery-wrapped canvas DO exist of the Psychomachia Show. You can own one today by going to the the Facebook store of The Haggus Society.