Sunday, December 30, 2007

We Did Meet Once

After speaking on the phone with my sister it occurred to me, my faux biography not withstanding, I do actually have a strong confessional streak. This is the streak that gets film stars into deep water. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that some of our best actors successfully maintain a form of privacy in their private lives. I like to think the paparazzi respect them enough to leave them alone. I feel little sympathy for those who do get dragged across the coals by the press. I suspect they have brought the problems on themselves and with a bit more intelligence and imagination could’ve kept the wolves at bay. Pure naivety I know. What do I know?
I was prompted to write this missive by something I did today. I chucked out a lot of old addresses, addresses scribbled on scraps of paper, index cards, torn from mailed envelopes and so on, addresses gathered over a score of years many of which have long since become redundant. I could never quite part with them as if they were charms of a sort that I might eventually put to use. Some were those of people I met briefly, shared a meal with, friends of friends I enjoyed enough to exchange names with but who I never saw again because we were all too busy to cook a meal and invite people over. Others were the names of art directors for magazines who might, if I’d been together enough to make them aware of my existence, have hired me to do an illustration. Their names sitting in a cardboard box in a corner of my studio reminded me of the communications I hadn’t formed. Getting rid of them is a relief. May those I briefly befriended forgive me. Better to be a memory than a scrap of neglected paper. Anyway that is the confessional part. It is a weight off. I briefly considered creating a piece out of all those addresses and calling it “We Did Meet Once”, or creating a really spectacular screen printed limited edition postcard and sending it to all the addresses I had even if I wasn’t sure the person or persons were still at the given address or job. I think it might’ve felt cathartic. As it is I feel a little bit sad.
I’ll go paint.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Blue Letter

picture writing
When it works it works. There is always mystery and surprise. When I draw (be it with a brush or a pencil) I am trying to subvert habits. The habits that persist despite such attempts are doubly compelling. Why does the big weeping man keep coming back? Why are bowls of wild houseplants returning again and again? The answer is not simply that these forms are meaningful (I am not sure the houseplants mean anything!) but they do serve as pauses between flesh and blood, nature versus lumpen form, dead wood versus teddy bear, comma before the big thought, period after the little whisper, silence after too much noise...

Grey Letter

russell christian
Typed drawings coming soon. That said...I must embark on some educated essays in which I attempt to explain the nature of my work/play or write somewhat automatically. I enjoy diving into the stream of conscious but do not expect this to be of much interest to others. How much fun to see others swimming in a freshwater lake when you yourself cannot get there because you're sitting on a fast moving train?
The Grey Letter was created at the same time as the Blue Letter. Working on a few forms all at once lightens the burden of having to wring meaning out of them. Meaning is such a loaded word. Why bother drawing if it means nothing? Equally why impose meaning on an image? I enjoy the tension between saying something intelligent (I am not opposed to this!) and simply bringing into existence. The process is an endless one of creation and destruction-nothing pious about it-all very workaday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Friday, November 9, 2007

Asemic Writing

Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content”.
Illegible, invented, or primal scripts (cave paintings, doodles, children’s drawings, etc.) are all influences upon asemic writing. But instead of being thought of as mimicry of preliterate expression, asemic writing can be considered as a postliterate style of writing that uses all forms of creativity for inspiration.
Some asemic writing has pictograms or ideograms, which suggest a meaning through their shape. Other forms are shapeless and exist as pure conception within the garden of imagination and experience.
Asemic writing has no verbal sense, though it may have clear textual sense. Through its formatting and structure, asemic writing may suggest a type of document and, thereby, suggest a meaning. The form of art is still writing, often calligraphic in form, and either depends on a reader’s sense and knowledge of writing systems for it to make sense, or can be understood through aesthetic intuition.
Asemic writing can also be seen as a relative perception, whereby unknown languages and forgotten scripts provide templates and platforms for new modes of expression.

From Wikipedia with thanks

Friday, August 10, 2007

And more picture writings...

picture writing

More picture writings...


A Series of Picture Writings

...or pictographs, or asemic writing, or pictograms, or petroglyphs or hieroglyphs....

The Builder

The Builder

Tim Inrim was convinced humankind was well on its way to self-termination and was responding as any might in his situation — by living on credit. If he needed something he bought it regardless of his financial situation because franky his situation was so dire it was laughable. Banks kept sending him new credit card offers which he gratefully received. They didn’t seem too concerned and they, well they were the experts. His credit was good. He always paid the minimum on time. He had built for himself a wondrous temple to debt. He considered himself an architect of the Virtual. In the surfaces and walls of his being were reflected his responsible handling of materials. He liked the cracked and pitted nature of his brickwork and would lovingly carress the twilight mood of his own irresponsibility. The thing was he was a saint of sorts. He deeply pittied those of his friends whose credit was poor and made up for it by inviting them in to his carefully maintained home, a home entirely built of plastic and feeding them until their stomachs were full.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Albion's Rug

Albion Rug’s solution to his hair problem was quite unique. The hair wasn’t coming back anymore. He’d resigned himself to the fact. But he refused to go the polishing route. One day seeding his garden he was struck by inspiration. Surely the soil of the scalp was as rich in nutrients as any. He could grow plain old grass or perhaps even flowers. He’d add miracle grow if necessary—why not? It couldn’t, after all, be any worse than some of the products he’d already tried. And so he proceeded to grow a garden on his head. These days a certain peace has descended on Albion. He exudes that quietude that comes to those with happy green fingers and some of his old bald friends have begun to tentatively knock on his door as they seek his sage advice.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Happy Kidnapper

On the stadium lawn beside the big tip tree (it is near an infamous toxic dump), looking from the reporters’ box, you can see a shoe lying on the grass beside those fresh white stripes. It has been a week and the owner, whom I know, refuses to return for it. “A gift” he said when interviewed from a secret location. He is such a fraud. “Leave it there. Better even bury it—make the soil strong.” The minister for the transition has separated himself from the events of the past week with a lie. To be fair he was probably just embarrassed. The game had not gone his way. When the hummers drove onto the track beeping their horns and the ball men started waving their flags things had begun to disintegrate. Parcelby had handed the minister a package of papers to sign just as number 8 kicked the signpost with a left hook leaving the opposing team all agape and the minister, having missed whatever it was that caused the crowd to cheer, threw the stack of documents in his underling’s face and stalked off to the bathroom. Nothing else was going to happen for a while. Play wouldn’t resume until number 8 gave the thumbs up and he was notorious for milking his little moments in the sunshine until the heat had all gone and a chill was in the air. So anyway it was doubtful he’d miss anything. The minister, who does have a name, Nigel, didn’t even think to beckon to his security he was so irritated and stalked off leaving his bodyguard at their cards. Minding a low level minister was tedious and sure they got paid but not enough to not relax once in a while. In the bathroom one of the drivers was waiting. He was a big man and had been quite prepared to take on an army but as it happened didn’t have to even raise his voice. Taking the minister’s arm he lead him out to one of the hummers and gently but firmly pushed him in. They’d do one more circuit and then be on their way. The brazenness of the whole thing—but then that was what they were famous for. Once they’d kidnapped a famous singer naked. The three of them had been naked and the singer had laughed and so had been taken off his guard. They always got in the papers and on this day they’d tossed one shoe into the middle of the playing area, released a plume of confetti and then had exited, their boom box expelling the sounds of Pavarotti at a volume even the frenzied crowd could not drown out. I saw it all but found it hard to fully digest at the time. The big screen even showed a close up of the minister’s sad little face as he peered out of the window a gag in his mouth and a tear on his cheek—a tear for everyone to see—an enormous ten-inch tear. His kidnapper smiled and waved at the cameras. Dressed in a fine pin stripe he was the essence of dignity and hard to dislike and his demands were undeniably reasonable. Even stadium security was disinclined to stop the hummer as it slowly drove out. The guard at the main gate even waved cheerily. The evening news put the item at the latter end of its programming.
“Peter Morgan has done it again!” the news announcer began. Smilingly he went on to describe the famous kidnapper’s latest antics. “Demanding a modest million he has declared this day to be a new national holiday and tells people to look out for a big fat check in the mail very soon! In further news an escaped hamster was deemed responsible for the five-car pile up on Chipham High this morning. The young owner ran out into the heavy morning traffic waving his blankie just as an ambulance was speeding through lights to get to another accident scene. Both owner and hamster were said to be thriving.”

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Words you need to know—Oblique

o·blique (-blk, -blk)
a. Having a slanting or sloping direction, course, or position; inclined.
b. Mathematics Designating geometric lines or planes that are neither parallel nor perpendicular.
2. Botany Having sides of unequal length or form: an oblique leaf.
3. Anatomy Situated in a slanting position; not transverse or longitudinal: oblique muscles or ligaments.
a. Indirect or evasive: oblique political maneuvers.
b. Devious, misleading, or dishonest: gave oblique answers to the questions.
5. Not direct in descent; collateral.
6. Grammar Designating any noun case except the nominative or the vocative.
1. An oblique thing, such as a line, direction, or muscle.
2. Nautical The act of changing course by less than 90°.

Word Definition-tangental

tan·gen·tial (tn-jnshl) also tan·gen·tal (-jntl)
1. Of, relating to, or moving along or in the direction of a tangent.
2. Merely touching or slightly connected.
3. Only superficially relevant; divergent: a tangential remark



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Interview with a Dead Artist


Q: Whilst living did it ever occur to you that you might be wasting your time?
A: Yes. It struck me that a lot of time was on my hands. I scrubbed and scrubbed and that didn’t help but then I discovered oils. They’re impossible to get off! I think I found the very impossibility of that comforting. It somehow freed me up.
Q: Your paintings, beadwork and unpublished essays concerning all the insects that have never been named remain unread and/or unseen. How does that sit with you?
A: Really well! The thing is I never intended to make money doing these things because clearly I would be immediately compromised by The Man. I’d met him once and he made me shiver so uncontrollably I knew any further dealings with him would only kill me albeit slowly and not that painfully. Still, I made a choice and have stuck with it.
Q: Havn’t you come close to selling work in the past?
A: Yes but I saw my mistake before the private buyer even stepped through my door. He was a clever one. He’d expressed a willingness to buy a piece of my beadwork, sight unseen—did you ever hear of such a thing. Then again I suppose he had no choice…
Q:Yes, I gather one art critic found your work to be “unknowable” because seeing it in your opinion was “tantamount to picking it to pieces and taking the bits to the town dump!”
A; Well it is isn’t it? Think about it. You spend hours constructing a world that is unique and unusual and then the moment someone sees it it has in effect doubled! It is now in his head to!
Q: Your death was staged for public consumption. Given your resistance to all consumerism, in any of its forms…what got into you?
A: I suppose it was a last gasp. I was broke and had not realized the full implications of what that meant until I found myself starving to death. I had, according to the doctor who signed my death certificate, been eating myself and was beyond repair. That was when I decided to end my life by earning one penny.
I signed off on the rights to the filming of my last gasp with a local TV station managed by a friend in exchange for one penny. I still have it. I never spent it—the only penny I ever earned. Took it to the grave with me.
Q: You left no Will. Your works were all removed from the bedsit where you were living by a company that specialized in estate clearance. Nothing you made survives and yet you are a household name. The Modern’s most popular show last year was yours, attracting thousands. How do you explain that?
A: I don’t.



Does it Have to be Big?


Friday, July 20, 2007

No Article! (An Automatically generated Response to The Big Engine)

When I first saw it I wasn't sure I believed it, a statement in 'puter gold, stating, unequivocably, that I had failed to supply a much anticipated article on my chosen subject. Being as I was the only person who could throw light on the topic at hand it was, the statement suggested, up to me to clear things up. "Step out from under that shadow of yours, turn that hesitant walk into a stride, that sidelong glance into a powerful, unblinking, unnerving gaze, freak me out! Do you want to be found or not? Are you doing this for anybody other than yourself? You need to let the people know what this is all about." In all sincerity I could not say. I could not answer the questions head on. I was scared of butting heads with the eternal. So I set about attempting to do so in my usual, oblique way. I threw out thoughts about the weather, shared a startling dream I'd had that morning in which my son ran out in front of an oncoming vehicle in pursuit of a frog one dusky evening. In effect I avoided showing up. The devil's pixie who'd been bugging me with his advice gave up for the time being and walked away.
"Fine! If you have nothing to say...fine!" he said as he slipped through the curtain of my virtual bedroom.

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Doing Lines

Asemic writing