A financial security blanket

Link to 'A financial security blanket' by Brian Rushton PhillipsI came across a unique press release today for a new art project by Brian Rushton Phillips. According to the release, Brian is a "casualty" of the 2008 economic crisis. In response, this unemployed conceptual artist used his remaining cash to comment on the downturn.

Using 208 $1 dollar bills, Brian stitched them together to form a makeshift security blanket. According to the artist:

"The fragility of the blanket conjures an oxymoronic image, consistent with the current state of global unemployment, homelessness and financial insecurity."
I, for one, got a kick out of first, the effort. But even more, having the chuztpah to create his own press release announcing the pre-release of the project on his web site. Mad props Brian, I hope thinks turn up.

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On Good Friday, I sat down and painted some with the kids. We mostly used tempura, but the youngest wanted to try watercolors. I had been having an image in my head of Christ carry the cross, and had already made two unsuccessful attempts before. This watercolor probably comes closest:

4" x 6" water color, "Jesus carrying the cross"


Swimming against the current

In what may turn out to be the definitive "how to tell when you've finished" rule of thumb, this piece, as originally intended meant to contain some more depth. I was copying a graphic I say in the newspaper, but it sort of took off on another direction. I worked on this for a few weeks, off and on, and when I was done putting in the scales, I sort of put it aside.

So maybe I'll know when I'm finished with something by whenever I stop working on it. If I move on, and never go back to a piece, well, "taaaa-daaaa," it's finished. That's probably a pretty weak cop-out, but doesn't that really get to the crux of the biscuit? If a piece isn't done, it'll call out for more attention. When it no longer holds my interest, well then it must be done, no?

So check it out, "Swimming against the current"
8.5 x 11 110 lb white index, sharpie, and pigment ink


Blind in the silence

Tell me why Lord!
Why must I only
live this one life?
I am surrounded by choices.
Choices which require me
to be someone else.
Within the confines of this life
I am bursting to explode.
The walls squeeze in upon me.
They force to examine my choices
with each fleeting fantasy.

Life, an endless stream of decisions
which define you, trap you, imprison you.
Enslaved, we are prisoners of our own choosing.
Abadan all hope, there is no escape.
Only more decisions.
Some will tear down old bars;
others only replace them.
Shiny new ones,
that are free from the blood stains
we deposit by smashing our heads
into the cages we've built around ourselves.

When did it get so lonely in here?
I'm held here in this solitary confinement
of my own choosing.
And yet, I'm not willing to risk escape.
For there is only pain.
It is definite if I try to escape,
but it is unavoidable if I make no choice

Yet, I wonder! How did I get so lonely?
I'm surrounded by love,
and offer my own
as frequently as possible.
But love is like the oil
which helps the lantern burn bright;
we must frequently replenish it
or love's shine will die down
and become dark.

As a friend once told me,
we each must struggle
with our own humanity.
My struggle revolves around
the silence which engulfs me.
Blessed beyond most,
my loved ones leave me
in solitude.

With feelings and passions overflowing,
I turn to these words
to catch my emotions.
They are like the storm drains which
protect the city from flooding.
As the storms within my mind
fill up my sewers,
these words catch the deluge of
questions, doubts, and delusions
and carry them away to spill
into the ocean of creation.

For if these pages did not eagerly accept
these words, my life would be swamped.
The flood waters of my torment
would destroy everything I hold dear.

In these waters, I search for solutions.
I search for patterns, symmetry and balance.
I over analyze the theories
which swirl within my head.
Then when I stumble upon moments
of clarity, I turn to share them,
but no one is there.
Simply a blank page staring up at me,
and no matter how eloquent I can explain
my conclusions, I never receive solace.

Is this it, my Lord?
Am I sentenced to remain
within this one life?
Am I condemned to suffer
through this tornado of confusion,
so that I have to sift through
the debris which floats
through my mind?
And when I'm ready
to collapse from the search,
is the silence
meant to lead me to You?
If it were only that easy
to know, beyond
only a sense of belief,
it might make it
only slightly more hopeful
to endure the quiet.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Fraochsidhe

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Hitting the books

[Fade in college dorm room from 1981. The incense is thick to cover the herb stench and there's black light posters on the wall. A young student studying photojournalism and art makes a fateful decision]

"Man this whole photojournalism shit sucks."

"Can you imagine being stoned and drunk at 2:00 am and getting a call to go out and shoot some pix of some losers house burning down or some stupid shit like that?"

His equally stoned and drunk room mate exclaims, "Yeah, no shit!. That would suck!"

"That's it man, I'm changing my degree. I've heard that there's going to be a lot of jobs in computer science. I think I'll try that." And with that inebriated decision, his life diverts upon a tangent into a new reality.

[Fast forward nearly thirty years into a new life, in a different land, and a world run afoul of greed, consumerism, and selfishness. Our life long student isn't as young as before, but he's hungry to revert his life back to his original reality. It won't be easy. His life is way more complicated and he has precious little free time.]

"Well this week, I've really placed my aim square in the middle of my new target. I'm recommitting myself to limit my reading and viewing habits to only those that support my development as artist, author, cartoonist, and publisher."

"While I can't actually afford the time or money necessary to go back to school. So, I'll have to teach myself. As luck would have it I've been slowly collecting books that I think will teach me the things I need to know. All told, at my current pace, there's probably two years of study in front of me. I can't wait! As a bonus, this week I also found a diamond hidden within the book shelves of my community library."

"I found "Design and Form - The Basic Course at the Bauhaus" by Johannes Itten. As a study guide it's awesome. I read through the first section "Light-Dark" and I've already got quite a lot of "homework" to do. Of course, all of this means, that I'm in "always be drawing mode," which is exactly where I need to be."

So here's my first two light-dark, finished assignments:

"Dad in Korea"

"A la 'Barbers Tree'"