I’ve done these off and on for a long time. This one is probably 20 years old. A friend of mine found a big bag of family photographs sitting out on the sidewalk one day. Some of them dated back to the 1930’s in eastern Europe. They showed women posing in bathing suits at a beach and men with fedoras looking straight at the camera.
This is one of those photos. I’ve wondered many times what would make someone throw out this extensive collection. The only story that makes sense is that whoever had them was the last of the family and no one was left to want them. Well, I did.
Like everyone else I know, I’ve been listening to David Bowie all week and thinking about him a lot.
One thing I always admired him for is that he did so much work with other musicians and that the wholes they created were greater than the sum of the parts.
He didn’t just find “Bowie types” to work with and co-opt them. The collaborations were all clearly contributed to equally by both parties. Some of his partners: Brian Eno, Iggy Pop, Freddie Mercury, Mick Ronson, Tony Visconti, Lou Reed, Robert Fripp, Trent Reznor and John Lennon (that one I didn’t know about! They wrote “Fame.”)
I want more collaboration in my life and especially in my art this year. David is my inspiration.
I’ve been making what I call dioramas (for lack of a better word) in small boxes recently. The first ones were in big boxes and were part of a piece called What I See When I Close My Eyes.
I have two currently on view at Art Thou Gallery in Berkeley. Here’s one of them.
Now I’m messing around with the miniature figures again, in even smaller scenes. I also painted them differently, just to see what it looks like. Painting them all black or all white gives them a more iconic presence. When I paint in clothing details, they seem more individual. That gives the scene a different flavor.
Here the backdrop is a photo I took in Central Park years ago with my old Palm Pilot. I like the watercolor effect. I’m thinking of finding public spots I can tuck my scenes into, so people will just come upon them. Now I’ll fiddle with what kind of container to put them in.
I created these poetry collage elements for a show. I set them out on a table and then provided a “canvas” of black velvet for people to create their own assemblages.
It can be an exercise in forced associations, or a dada type collage combining the randomness of the images and the text.
I’m working on a new diorama. I made these furniture mock-ups to experiment with the light.
I wanted to use white paper drinking straws for the legs but they are hard to find, as it turns out. So just ignore those weird blue stripes.
On Friday night, Andy made me write this poem. I’d told him that I wanted to start writing poems on demand and he said, write one now. Um, okay. He gave me a topic and then went off to pick a lock while I wrote. Then he made me stand up in the living room and read it aloud. What a great boyfriend, no?
Lobsters Live Forever
Lobsters are black
gliding on the bottom
of the ocean
What do they see in the murk?
As years go by they grow
longer and fatter and blacker
They cease to glide and instead
stomp slowly across the ocean
they bang their claws, usually
one side harder than the other,
to create a rhythm
that gets louder every year, a rhythm
that affects tides
Even the ocean
only has room for a certain
number of giant
When they are large enough to reach the pole, north
or south, they converge and
the clashing of claws begins,
shakes the ice
causes fear and trembling in
the undersea world
In their battle they
surge upwards and finally, at last
for the first time,
break the surface
The glittering ice
surrounds them and cracks
the black shells into
beautiful shards to
checkerboard the snow.