Monday

An Indeterminate Hiatus

Winter
Oil paint on Panel
(approx. 54”x 36”)

Autumn
Oil paint on Panel
(approx. 54”x 36”)
I have been unable to update this blog consistently over the last few months as I have been refocusing my energies away from sketches towards the development of more long-term projects (see most recent paintings above ) and frankly displaying multitudinous sketches of the same thing feels boring to me. So, until such time as I resume daily sketching activities that fit this blog I am suspending it. See you all whenever.

Eric in a Word: Whisternefet
Book of the Day: A Feast for Crows- George R.R. Martin
Song of the Day: Rugla -Amiina
Religious Figure of the Day: Susanoh


Thursday

The Sketchbook Project - 8 (Symmetry)



Preparing to teach Basic Design this fall, I’ve been thinking about symmetry and equilibrium a bit lately, particularly from a system approach. Some systems are stabilized at equilibrium and thrive there- say for instance an atom or molecule. Some systems thrive in a state of flux, of asymmetry, where certain elements are more necessary for the system to continue to exist. And some systems are asymmetrically self maintaining. It’s this third type of system that I am interested in. The classic example is a candle flame- combustion occurs above a threshold temperature, combustion induces convection that brings in fresh oxygen and gets rid of waste. Combustion also melts wax so that it can climb the wick and vaporize more wax to make it available for combustion. But it can only self maintain within specific environmental conditions. How does this relate to creativity, the making of and the viewing of art?

Eric in a Word: quaquaversal

Book of the Day: Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity - Hugh MacLeod

Song of the Day: Sweet Thang- Shuggie Otis

Religious Figure of the Day: Perun

Medium: Masking tape, black tea, graphite on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page

The Sketchbook Project - 7 (Paths not taken)


I’ve been meditating on things planned but never culminated. In particular, I have been looking at the forks in my life where I have chosen one tine over another and wondering how life would be different if I had taken the planned route rather than the new opportunity. I don’t have any regrets, but I am curious about whom that other person could have been. A “for instance” is necessary - I’ll choose a good one. Near the middle of my first semester in art college I made a decision to finish that year and then take a year off to travel to Africa as a freelance photographer working in conflict zones and refuge camps around Liberia and Sierra Leone. But, a certain relationship (my wife) started to emerge and by February I had scrapped the plan. I often wonder who would have emerged from Africa, or if he’d emerge.

Eric in a Word: baragouin
Book of the Day: Labyrinths with Path of Thunder - Christopher Okigbo
Song of the Day: Buzzards of Green Hill - Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade
Religious Figure of the Day: Kinich Ahau
Medium: Hibiscus infusion, black tea, blue ink, black ink on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page

Monday

Sketchbook Project - 6

The black box was rocking along the dusty rutted road, the sun bearing harsh upon the undulating surface of the land - rises covered in razor grass and topped by clumps of twisted bush, with their branches huddled against the sky as if cringing from a lash. The landscape was divided in two by the crushed shell streak of a road stretching in long loops, a river of snow crawling out of the scrub on its way to the sea. Humidity pressed down on the horses and the driver flattening time into a sweltered present, past and future to hard to cut from the thick fabric of atmosphere. Even the flies were grounded under the unusual weight of the cobalt oven. I listened, but no sounds could reach beyond the crunch of the hooves and wheels, except the chitinous vibration of cicadas. In silence born unto this present I came.

Eric in a Word: idolum
Book of the Day: Memories of My Melancholy Whores- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Song of the Day: L'oiseau de bois- Anouar Brahem
Religious Figure of the Day: Asgaya Gigagei
Medium: blue ink, white out, graphite on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page

Wednesday

The Sketchbook Project - 5


Struggling a bit lately with my sketchbook. I just don’t have the drive right now. It’s not a lack of ideas or subjects; in fact my mind is full of visions and concepts, my eye noticing beauty and balance in the everyday. But moving from internal to external has not been a step I’ve been able to take. The glut of ideas and observations, I think, are the cause for this block. Everything is vibrant and interesting; everything has been equalized in its vivacity. I find it hard to actualize without differentiation. In a reversal of my norm, it is easier to continue, and even finish, larger pieces than to capture something in a 30 second sketch. And the sketches I’ve managed to capture have been crap whereas every step I’ve made on more long-term work has been right even when it felt wrong. Thus is the flow of creation.

Eric in a Word: radiogenic
Book of the Day: Art Fundamentals: Theory and Practice
Song of the Day: Walk on Water - Otis Taylor
Religious Figure of the Day: Heitsi-eibib
Medium: permanent black ink, rooibos tea, green tea on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page

Monday

The Sketchbook Project - 4

Under torpid semi-sun profound drafts of humidity reach forth and morning echoes are stilled underneath a quilt of birdsong. I stumble in thoughts clouded by blurred perception as heavy-handed words are dropping like lead from The Shot Tower, sizzling to their destination where they cool in the medium below. It seems the impossible, yet I am reminded, by a refrain, of tactility, of solidity, of necessity: “Everything gonna be alright, yeah everything’s gonna be alright, everything’s gonna be alright”. The solidity of earth on my soles, the pressure of air on my skin consolidate the wisps dispersing in the fog. Grounded, I long for the sun and reach for lightening. I grope. I proceed. I fly a kite full of keys to spark my knuckles to action. Shuffled off, the gossamer ropes of sleep retreat and I begin again, the same as before, in my difference, from a day ago.

Eric in a Word: natable
Book of the Day: The Secret Life of Salvador Dali- Salvador Dali
Song of the Day: Big Man- Threatmantics
Religious Figure of the Day: Kydoimus
Medium: black ink, black tea, and white out on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page

The Sketchbook Project - 3 (Duns Scotus)


I have been contemplating Duns Scotus a bit lately. His Platonistic metaphysical universe is populated by objects made up of individual characteristics dependent on sensory and intellectually apprehendable universalities. In his concept the senses perceive a reality of universals. In other words, any sensed object is not really an individual object as “individual”; instead it is a reality common to all sensible objects of one type (i.e. the sweetness of all sweet things). So, there is no need for an abstractive process of the intellect to move from individual characteristics to constructed universals (i.e. a peach is perceived as that particular individual peach and must be rendered universal as a “sweet thing” in order to be known). When perceiving an object we are thus sensing and recognizing the universals (“sweet thing”, “round thing”, etc.) that combine to create an individual object rather than universalizing individual characteristics to create a category.

Eric in a Word: ingravescent
Book of the Day: Ahab's Wife: Or, The Star-gazer: A Novel - Sena Jeter Naslund
Song of the Day: Song for Jeffrey - Jethro Tull
(crazy prophet style on the Rolling Stones: Rock'n'Roll Circus)
Religious Figure of the Day: Mercury
Medium: graphite, black ink, hibiscus tea, masking tape, and white out on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page

The Sketchbook Project - 2


My questions of religion are not about belief, but worship. My issues are of form, not function or substance. As we grow, we are taught the right and wrong form of worship and we are brought into conformity with beliefs established- it is spoon fed. Are those of us who are not in a position of religious power unable to cut and chew our own food without dogmatic guidelines and childhood hypnosis? Too often we lose the underlying power of religious experience in the trappings of control and become automatons of worship. Religions rarely ask their participants to explore truth outside of proscribed pathways. Is it the fear of false truths? Is it the fear of alternative truths being found? Is it a fear of diluted truth and the dissipation of the community as truths multiply? Or is it the fear of those in power losing their basis for power?


Eric in a Word: uloid
Book of the Day: Einstein's clocks, Poincaré's maps - Peter Galison
Song of the Day: Black Tambourine- Beck
Religious Figure of the Day: Ptah
Medium: white out, tea, graphite, and ink on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page

Thursday

The Sketchbook Project - 1


I have become part of a larger artists’ project, Art House Co-op’s The Sketchbook Project: Library. I received my sketchbook yesterday with the guiding phrase. “Outside of myself” printed in small letters atop a barcode in back. I have decided to incorporate this moniker with my meditation exercises and shift their focus from within to without, recording the outcomes both here and there. This is my first entry:

If today were a man, he would be tall and slim with honey colored hair. Studious eyes would peer from under well maintained eyebrows. He would stand with the slightest of stoops, wear clothes clean but with the slightest rumpling. A smell of lightest lime would accompany his passing and the careful, yet casual, gesturing of his hands as he spoke. Memory of him would fade quick, as sister night rolled in, leaving only the impression of harmless awkwardness in their place

Eric in a Word: hagioscope
Book of the Day: The Doom that Came to Sarnath - H.P. Lovecraft
Song of the Day: Gimme Dat Harp Boy - Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
Religious Figure of the Day: Tlazolteotl
Medium: graphite, white out, and ink on 8.25" x 5" sketchbook page

The mechanism


I was asked about the rules I set for my daily meditations, the genesis of this blog, by someone wanting to start one of their own.
The sketch: Fifteen minutes to use the materials on hand in my immediate vicinity; only that in arms length is usable. One sketch is allowed, what I start, I finish - for better or worse.

The text: Fifteen minutes to capture what is on my mind, but only fifteen minutes are allowed to type it up and make edits. I recently added a 150 word stricture, no more; no less. Once it’s done, it’s done and that text is linked to the sketch from that day. Both fiction and nonfiction allowed.

The connection: The sketch and the text ideally inform each other but are not necessarily directly related. Sometimes it’s illustrative, sometimes symbolic, and sometimes the connection so obscure as to boggle the mind.

Eric in a Word: corvine
Book of the Day: American Heroes - Edmund S. Morgan
Song of the Day: Moanin' - Charles Mingus
Religious Figure of the Day: Coronis
Medium: computer

Wednesday

The unicorn of indecision



It had become a struggle. Like mounting mountains in tea box tennis shoes. There weren’t as many obstacles as paralyzing arrays of opportunities falling about my head. I felt desiccated by decision so I drank four cans of inspiration and dashed away on the unicorn of indecision. My body left behind as I rose aloft. The world below bisected by a spiral golden horn I could see past and decipher the kernels from the nuts. The nuts dense, the kernels lights. One rich, imbued with a meaty flesh; the other golden and delicate readyto burst with potential. And I scream, “You fucking unicorn you just made things worse! Damn horny beast, no wonder you can only get virgins, they’re the only ones gullible enough to fall for this crap. Put me back in my body. Asshole.” In my body once again I choose the black ones, they go with everything.

Eric in a Word: ultrafidian

Book of the Day: Chagall: A Biography - Jackie Wullschläger
Song of the Day: I like Birds... - The Eels
Religious Figure of the Day: Haoma

Medium: ink, tea, and white out on irish breakfast tea box top

Friday

A change is in the air.


I have decided to change this blog going forward a bit. It had begun to feel stale and I had developed a strong ambivalence about it lately. So for a while at least I will no longer feature extended entries on my internal ramblings and external experiences, but rather limit and expand the written portion. From this point on all of my writings will be exactly 150 words, but the content will expand to include fiction as well as nonfiction. I also hope to create a more thematic flow throughout. I encourage anyone reading to comment on the quality of the writing and take occasional guesses at what's fiction and what's not and enjoy the theme. So below is my first entry in the new format (this explanatory text doesn't count):


It was just after two when the goats appeared, emerging from the night fog like four-legged furred devils come to chew my soul. If I had been cruising at more than a walk there would have been a road of bones and skulls to chew. As it was the apparition rattled me disproportionately as their eyes reflected the light and I noticed the horizontal slits narrow in the harsh glare. They stopped, I stopped and we observed the time spent stretched like a reconstructed face - recognizable but alien. What brought us here, together? The ironic hand of higher powers flooding the mundane with mystery? Or merely a chance encounter with Dionysian livestock returning from a midnight bender? I don’t know, but the goats handled it better than me. Five seconds of eternity and they continued into the field disappearing. I restarted and continued- pale, shaky, changed, holier than before.


Eric in a Word: incanous
Book of the Day: The Making of a Philosopher- Colin McGinn
Song of the Day: Woke Up New - The Mountain Goats
Religious Figure of the Day: Juno Caprotina
Medium: ink on irish breakfast tea box top

Wednesday

Friends was a lame show and set unfair expectations

Someone I considered a friend died last week and I had few friends to begin with. In order to ease my way through the emotional turmoil I have been reflecting on the nature of friendship and what a friend is to me. I have a hard time making friends nowadays, yet I make friendly acquaintances much easier than ever. It is bridging the gap from one to the other with which I have difficulty. I have thought a lot about why, but have no specific answer, but rather a host of answers, many of which smack of self-fulfilling pity. And yet, I find myself continually struggling to overcome these barriers despite realizing how shallow they are. I guess that's the reason I am writing this down and posting it to the world (or at least the few people who read the blog), perhaps put it other there publicly will help me find a way around them.

My definition of “friend” may be too narrow- I consider someone a friend when I feel comfortable enough with them to have both deep meaningful conversations as well as the shallow trading of barbs. When I feel I can trust them to accept me as me. When there is a resonance between us that allows some things to go unsaid, some things to never be said and some things that should never be said to be said without fear of a friendship ending.

I am a very private person – This blog aside, I don’t generally offer personal opinions or information about myself. If asked I will answer any question honestly and often in too much detail, but offering is something I always hesitate to do. I probably expect too much effort.

I have a very diverse set of interests – This is great when making acquaintances and meeting people, but when developing deeper relationships it often becomes a barrier for me. My problem is not the diversity so much as my natural penchant for making obscure and strange connections between extremely diverse things. It all feeds into a personal perception that people don’t understand me or just think I am odd. So I am left with a feeling that I am just a joke to those I want to know better.

I am completely awkward about initiating “hanging out” - I am sure this has its root in deeper self-esteem issues (see above answer). My first assumption is that people have better things to do than grab a beer with me or just hang out.

Time – I don’t have a lot of it and neither does anyone else. I guess this means I’ve “grown up”, oh bother. Just grabbing a beer more often than not involves dueling PDAs and at least one reschedule. It is hard to make friends when you always feel under the gun. And having both parties prioritize getting together seems much rarer in this urban setting despite the greater variety of activities to partake of.


Eric in a Word: absquatulate
Book of the Day: Regarding the Pain of Others- Susan Sontag
Song of the Day: Blackbirds - Erin Mckeown
Religious Figure of the Day: Saint Moses the Black
Medium: graphite, ink and white out on manilla envelope

Friday

Mujō



Over the last few days in my contemplations I have revisited one of my pet philosophical/religious concepts, mujō meaning “transience” or “mutability”. In looking at my surroundings I find almost everybody obsessed with permanence. They are searching for something permanent, striving to make something permanent, or assuming that things are permanent. All in the face of insanely rapid change that marks our culture in American. We are constantly looking for something better while simultaneously believing in or assuming the permanence of things that are not within our current focus.

In my opinion this is best exemplified in how we treat ourselves. We are in constantly striving to maintain a youthful physical appearance and deny our ages to paraphrase the commercials. We deny our mortality and tend to shove our elderly relatives into assisted living homes where they are someone else’s problem and we don’t have to be reminded of our mortality. In fact, we have a tendency to recreate many of the symptoms of old age as diseases or conditions and then try to cure them or provide means to hide them from others. We strive to maintain a permanent self-image of who we were as an 18 – 30 year old and we attempt to project that to others. On an even deeper level, we assume a permanent self. We are who we are. The core of who we are was developed at a young age and all experiences merely add to that core being.

On the other hand, we are a culture of redemption. We love those who have fallen but repented and have become better people for it. Visiting a psychologist often involves determining why you act in certain way, whether it is due to past experiences, false assumptions, or combination and then “reprogram” ourselves to overcome those behaviors. As the so-called “baby boomer” generation has aged we also see the older portion of our population reinventing themselves, usually upon retirement. Former doctors become poets; sedentary accountants become world travelers, etc. Yet still we approach each of these changes as permanent.

I lost my point some time ago, but if I were to revision it now, I would say we place too much emphasis on permanence. We try so hard to lock things in place that we become static in our struggle. I don’t mean just “go with the flow”, nor am I advocating for my own personal belief that “individuals” are more a string of constantly changing interdependent factors than a permanent self. What I am saying is that when you approach life realize that it is by its very nature impermanent and fleeting. Change is in essence neither good nor bad, it just is.

Eric in a Word: mansuetude
Book of the Day: Under the Banner of Heaven - Jon Krakauer
Song of the Day: American Face Dust- Black Moth Super Rainbow
Religious Figure of the Day: Lauma
Medium: graphite on business card

Wednesday

Elizabeth Gilbert, Tom Waits, and the daemon


I was watching Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk “A new way to think about creativity” via the New Art blog early this morning and I was fascinated by her resurrection of the concept of creative inspiration coming at least partly from an external source. In particular the story she told about Tom Waits was entertaining and enlightening. The gist of the story is that Tom Waits was driving when he was inspired by a snippet of music that started in his head. This triggered stress and angst over the possibility of losing the inspiration since he couldn’t stop and write it down. In response, he looked to the sky and exclaimed something like, “Hey, can’t you see I’m driving here. Can’t you wait for a more appropriate time? If not, just give it to someone else and stop torturing me.”

The funny and enlightening thing is that this is exactly type of situation I’m usually in when I get inspired. More often than not I lose it before I can get to where it can be captured. Studio time is often spent trying to remember and recapture the fleeting moments. It is a frustrating and often futile effort. However, just occasionally, the daemon appears and I wrestle the devil out of me and capture it in my materials (I think my song of the day captures the feel of it quite well). It is not an easy flowing for me. It is an intense, focused, and physical expulsion. It’s like fighting to catch that itch in the middle of your back. Hard to reach but it is damn satisfying when you finally scratch it.

Eric in a Word: skirr
Book of the Day: Aesthetics and Ethics - Jerrold Levinson
Song of the Day: Keep the Devil Down - North Mississippi Allstars
Religious Figure of the Day: Garmr
Medium: graphite, masking tape, white out and ink on paper

Tuesday

An explanation, or what seminal means to me


At the end of my last entry I used the phrase “How much harder is it to create that one seminal piece of work, that one incredible song, that one thing that changes the way people view the world?” Well, someone called me on it and asked what I meant by seminal? Was I striving to create a masterpiece? Something that would change the course of art history? Or did I mean something more personal and less grandiose?

I would be lying to say I wasn’t hoping for the grandiose, world altering work, but that has to start with the personal. When I enter the studio all thoughts of the larger world cease, it’s just me and my medium of choice. When I work to please an external audience it always ends in failure. So when I pick up my instruments of creation I attempt to operate solely out of my vision and my experience for me and me alone.

So, where do I land on the “seminal” question? I would say I am always striving for something personal and grandiose. I want every creation to mark a break from my past, it should a self-defining piece that leads me into new territory, something to jump off from and break from as I move on to another work. I am not always successful, in fact I am rarely successful, but that is part of it. I get more out of the process than the finished product. It’s the problems and puzzles of the work that keep me engaged, not an ability to churn out polished, refined work that everyone loves.

Eric in a Word: hapaxanthous
Book of the Day: Against Interpretation- Susan Sontag
Song of the Day: Sexual Healing- The Hot 8 Brass Band
Religious Figure of the Day:Bedawang Nala

Medium: graphite, green tea, black tea, and rooibos on card stock

Monday

Art is hard


I am stuck, bogged down, blocked; you name it, I’m in it. I can’t seem to complete anything beyond a sketch. It’s not that I don’t have ideas; it’s more that once I begin to implement the intent slips away and degrades. I’ve painted over, destroyed, or hidden more than 90% of my work the last few years. It’s as if I’ve lost my voice and can’t find it. I don’t bring this up for pity or as an attempt to jumpstart my output. It is part of the creative process and that's what I want to talk about.

Creators- artists, musicians, inventors, etc.- don’t just sit back, pull something out of the air, and slap something successful together. We have to work at it. Every spark of insight or intuition has a foundation in experience and hard work. You can’t recognize a good idea unless you have a library full of bad ones to compare it to. It can take years of work, stops and starts, frustration and even abandonment to find your voice and find your work. Since I’m on a de Kooning kick lately, I’ll use him as an example. After the completion of his master painting Excavation (1950) de Kooning worked and reworked, erased and planned, struggled and railed against, abandoned and restarted his next piece, Woman I, for almost three years before he was able to complete it. That’s three years on basically one painting. The Beatles went from an average, some would even say crappy, little garage band from Liverpool to, well, The Beatles by playing thousands upon thousands of hours in Hamburg, Germany and anywhere else that would give them a stage.

My point? Creativity and art are fucking work and it’s not always fun. To throw in a sports metaphor, if you get a hit in baseball one out of every three at bats you can be a Hall of Famer. How much harder is it to create that one seminal piece of work, that one incredible song, that one thing that changes the way people view the world? I don’t know, but I guess I’ll keep picking up my brushes, sharpening my chisels, and sketching until I find out.
Eric in a Word: cachinnation
Book of the Day: Darwin's Worms- Adam Phillips
Song of the Day: They Made Frogs Smoke 'Til They Exploded- Múm
Religious Figure of the Day: Þjazi
Medium: graphite and black tea on qaud-ruled notebook paper

Aesthetics and Ethics


May 6


May 7


A driving force in my artistic and intellectual development has been the intersection of aesthetics and ethics. These are two aspects of so-called “value theory” that have been intimately linked philosophically for centuries, although in my experience the past few decades have been dominated by writings on either ethics or aesthetics with only lip service paid to the connection between the two. As an artist I am particularly interested in the common assumptions and issues in both ethics an aesthetics as well as ethical issues in art making and aesthetics. I am constantly asking myself and examining the answers to questions around these areas:

Is there objectivity in ethics and art? If so, what form does it take? If so, how do you reconcile the apparent differences in ethics, art styles, and forms? Are there moral and aesthetics truths? What is the relationship between aesthetic value and value in general? Is aesthetic value a part of a larger value paradigm or a more fundamental anchor value? Can or should art have moral value? If so, how is it related to the assessment of art? Can you have morally abhorrent art that is at the same time aesthetically excellent? Are there limits to what can or should be appreciated aesthetically? Are there limits on what can or should be approached or attempted artistically? Are there moral obligations for artists? Are there moral obligations for viewers of art? If so, how are they related?

I don’t at present have any hard and fast answers to any of these questions. In fact, I think asking the questions are probably more important than answering them. Where I fall in my answers at any given time determines my artistic and moral experiences in that given moment. To blatantly steal from Emerson, I express my art and ethical standing in actions as hard as cannonballs even though they contradict everything I expressed the moment before.

Eric in a Word: oblatrate
Book of the Day: The Spartans - Paul Cartledge
Song of the Day: Odin's Raven Magic - Sigur Ros and Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson
Religious Figure of the Day: Shabbetai Tzevi
Medium:
graphite and green tea on qaud-ruled notebook paper (May 6)
charcoal pencil, graphite, and coffee on business card (May 7)



Tuesday

de Kooning and me


It has been a while since I last posted, obviously. Over the intervening time I’ve been engaged in some self-reflection- no surprise here, either. Anyway, I’ve been reading a book on de Kooning that has surprised me in a good way. I was expecting to read this book at a steady clip, like I read most nonfiction books. However, as I transitioned into the chapters on de Kooning’s life in New York during the 1930’s I began to slow down. I found his efforts to develop his style, his love of ambiguity, and his attempts to meld his more traditional training with a need to rebel against it and thirst for modernism eerily resonant with the internal push and pull of my own artistic ambitions. But most of all, I was struck by his struggle with how he defined himself.

He began his art career as a commercial artist, a craftsman-artist similar in spirit to the Bauhaus, which he defined as very distinct from a fine artist. He seems to have defined himself as a first a commercial artist, doing decorative painting, etc. to make a living and then following his desire to paint in a modernist style on the side, almost as a hobby. It wasn’t until he met and befriended Arshile Gorky that he really began to believe in his ability to be a fine arts painter. And it wasn’t until the opportunity to work under the Federal Art Project (FAP) that he took the final step and attempted to devote himself to fine art painting full time. An interesting note, he was actually making pretty decent money working on contract as a decorative artist during the early years of the Depression and gave that job up in order to qualify for the FAP in the later Depression despite being offered twice his current salary to stay.

I have been struggling with a similar self-definition dilemma. Since I became serious about art – 18 years ago – I have always defined myself as something else first and artist second. That initial/primary label has changed continually over the years, but artist has always remained secondary. I have as of yet not met my own Gorky nor have I looked for or stumbled across an FAP-like opportunity. I have a feeling my reticence to define myself as an artist has similar foundation as de Kooning- a mix of social signals that define “artist” as a devalued thing and my lack of confidence in my own skills. I wonder if I can ever overcome this psychological block. All I know is that until I do I am limiting my ability to make art and the power of the art I create. I will continue to wander from style to style, subject to subject, and probably place to place always feeling a bit disjointed and awkward in my own skin.

Eric in a Word: vagile
Book of the Day: Salt - Mark Kurlansky
Song of the Day: Ghost of a Shark - Tom McRae
Religious Figure of the Day: Erecura

Medium: black tea & ink on business card (study after Daumier)

RIP Harry Kalas


Yesterday another icon from my childhood passed away. The great Harry Kalas, the golden-throated voice of the Phillies. He and Richie Ashburn ushered me through untold years of Phillies baseball, frustration and incredible memories. Harry was the voice that brought Michael Jack Schmidt home and his delivery made Mickey Morandini a household name in the Philly region. He was the sound of baseball for me every bit as much the crack of the bat and thwock of a leather glove. I always imagined him as the imaginary narrator of my successes and the voice of my baseball dreams- “There it is! Outta here! Homerun Eric Giles!” Baseball just won't be the same without him.

Harry, you will be missed.






Harry Kalas (1936 -2009)

Eric in a Word: physiurgic

Book of the Day: Theory of the Earth - James Hutton

Song of the Day: Yellow Fever - Fela Kuti

Religious Figure of the Day: Eshmun

Medium: Graphite on card stock

Wednesday

Civilization writ large

I’ve been thinking a lot about human history on the macro scale lately. Usually I tend towards a holistic contextualized view of history (i.e. every event and person is the product of and acts within the context of their time), but occasionally I like to mentally step outside of time and take a broader view. The danger in this approach is a tendency to see patterns where there are none or create hypothetical rules where none apply. That being said, there is something that resonates throughout human history for me. It is the constant push and pull between individual wants and collective cohesion.

At some point in our collective past, maybe at the dawn of what we consider “human”, maybe before, maybe after it became apparent that the species had a better chance of survival if it worked together rather than individually. In order for this to occur individual wants and desires had to be redirected or subsumed by rules both conscious and unconscious. I would argue that the history of human civilizations is really the history of this struggle. Each society/ civilization throughout history has had its own way of dealing with it, built on the past, adapted to the present situation, emphasizing one thing over another, etc… in continuous and ever changing movement.

In my opinion the two main “things” that humanity has tried to control or direct throughout history are violence and sexual desire – in other words the means of survival and reproduction. The ironic thing is that we are in actuality using a social unit as a tool to redirect and channel the means of survival and reproduction in order to ensure our survival and ability to reproduce. Marriage, war, money, industry, art, etc…are all tools in a society’s toolbox with the overarching goal of preserving our ability to survive and reproduce through channeling our tendencies to use socially destructive means to achieve these self-same goals. In order to do away with one of these tools, war for instance, we would need to have another to replace it that would serve the same purpose with the same efficacy or endanger our civilization/ civilization writ large.

Eric in a Word: clepe
Book of the Day: The Spell of the Sensuous - David Abram
Song of the Day: Cold Water - Tom Waits
Religious Figure of the Day: Saa
Medium: Rooibos,ink, white out, and graphite on business card

My presence of mind is absent


I was not going to post this initially. It struck me as simultaneously banal and too personal. But I realized that in order to be honest to my personal intentions with this blog, to increase my ability to communicate clearly and openly. One of the reasons I felt it necessary to post it was the topic, how I experience the world. It’s on a topic that’s difficult for me to adequately communicate, mainly because of the inherent bias of the English language towards the visual.

I am feeling really, physically uncomfortable today, as if I am not me. It’s that feeling most people would describe as “not comfortable in my own body”. For me, at least, it’s not quite like this. I am unusually aware, consciously at least, of my physical reactions to input from my visual, auditory, and olfactory senses. Almost as if all my senses are routed through the part of my brain that analyzes my sense of touch. For example, when I see something visually beautiful, like the sun setting behind the Rockies, I simultaneous see the scene and feel the raising of gooseflesh, my hair prickling, various muscles relaxing and tightening in response. The scene physically hits me. And it’s like this with 90% of my daily experiences, not just the particularly stunning ones. Now, in my understanding, most people have similar reactions, it just registers on a sub-conscious level except under special circumstances.

On days like this, I am at best discombobulated. I can’t fully rely on my physical reaction to give me an accurate representation of what’s happening and have to do more conscious analysis of what’s going on. It slows my reaction time and reduces my mental capacity. Not only that, it just feels weird. The world is a bit alien and my interaction is just a hair out of sync. I end up feeling alienated and disconnected. So, if you run into me today, do not be disturbed by the palpable aura of absent mindedness I’m sure surrounds me.

Eric in a Word: desiderate
Book of the Day: Candide- Voltaire
Song of the Day: Longest Days- John Mellencamp
Religious Figure of the Day: Kumari Devi
Medium: Rooibos and graphite on business card

Friday

Warhol

Last Friday I was asked by a colleague at work my feelings on Andy Warhol. I am not a big fan and said so. But when asked to elaborate I danced around ideas about his impact on art and even the personal impression he made on me during interviews. Something about the conversation struck me as not complete and over the weekend I poked and prodded it. I really engaged in Warhol, re-watched a couple of documentaries (Andy Warhol’s Factory People and Andy Warhol: The Complete Picture), really took a look at the length and breadth of his artwork online, and thought about the context in which he was making art. It was a decidedly aggravating process. I just don’t like him, but now I have a better idea why.

It seems, at least to me, that visual art (at least European-American visual art) up to Warhol and the “pop artists” included something more than the mere reflection of our everyday existence. Whether it was the medieval Pre-Raphaelites critique of mechanized society and longing for a reconnection with the natural world, the Impressionists democratization of light, space and social status, or the soul searching existentialism of the Abstract Expressionists, artists were striving to change, examine, and understand the world around them. Art was a striving for something and a catalyst of change. Warhol’s art is not that.

Warhol’s art was a reflection of popular culture and is now a reflected nostalgia for a particular period in time. It was not striving for deeper understanding. It cruises along the surface of American culture from the 60’s through the 80’s. He held up popular images primarily generated out of the consumerist attitudes that have dominated American life since World War II. The Campbell’s soup can, Marylyn Monroe, Elvis, Mickey Mouse were all consumer products that he repurposed. But to what end?

Was he criticizing popular culture? There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of it, he painted/ printed what he liked.

Was he glorifying it? Perhaps, in some cases definitely.

Was he using it to further his own fame? Maybe not in the beginning, but definitely as he went forward.

The fact is, he refused to tell us anything about his purpose, hiding behind an artistic pretension while breaking down the barriers between high art and art of the everyday. In the process he fully submerged art in consumerism. And his ability to make it look cool to do so has made it tough to make art that strives for something more and have it taken seriously. And this is what I don’t like about Warhol, I feel like he has undermined the “moral” power of art and replaced it with the power of the free market. In doing so he has contributed to a shift in the primary art question from “what does it mean” to “how much is it worth”.

Eric in a Word: effodient
Book of the Day: The Philosophy of History - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Song of the Day: Music is Ruling My World - Kutiman feat. Funk'N'stein and Karolina

Religious Figure of the Day: Qetesh
Sketch medium: graphite over tea spill on graph paper (approx. 3.5" x 4.75")

Tuesday

Illusion and the appearance of things


I’m just going to jump into my thoughts today before I lose the clarity in which they have struck me, although I must admit I do not know where they are going:

Existence can be defined as a being in a certain state, the existence of multiple beings is another aspect of this same state. Also, the nonexistence of a being(s) is an aspect of this certain state. The coming into existence of a being is merely the shifting from one aspect to another. While this makes sense to me theoretically, how “real” is this certain state? What are the implications of this concept?

To probe the latter question first, it suggests the presence of a wholeness or oneness radically different than our observed “reality” of differentiation. In other words, my culture (European-American) views “reality” as constituted of a myriad distinct elements. The statements relegate beings to a more minor role in existence. The core of reality is the state which is fundamentally singular with aspects dependent upon angle from which it is interpreted.
The problem with expressing this idea, is that English (and Indo- European languages in general) are by nature multitudinous. This is not surprising as language both reflects and informs how we experience “reality”. Yet the confines of this language structure, both in its organizing and explanatory principles, forces discussions of holistic “reality” into a discussion of a “model of reality” rather than a discussion of “reality”.

On the other hand, it has become increasingly clear over the last 100 yrs that our senses do not necessarily reveal the entirety of “reality” – just pick up a book on quantum physics. To further touch on quantum physics, at least briefly, let’s consider something easily observable, like a mountain, from a multitudinous stance. At first glance, a mountain appears to be an object (being) “full” in and of itself. Yet as we look closer the mountain is actually a conglomeration of countless diverse parts- stones, trees, roots, pebbles, dust, water, etc. Take a single stone from that mountain, it also appears “full” in and of itself, yet when viewed closely it is mad of smaller particles (atoms), and when they are viewed closely they are mostly vacuum, merely the space between electrons, protons, etc. within quantum physics there is a concept called “nonseparability” that in essence suggests that the all of these observable “objects” are not distinct objects at all, but rather exist only in as much that they are entangled with the state of the whole Universe.

But why, if everything is in essence entangled in a singular state, do we experience things multitudinously? My instinct, and I think there may even be a theory that lays this out in detail, is that it is so far beyond our abilities to perceive it in its full complexity. It is a limitation of our senses and mental capabilities. In other words, how we experience “reality” is too dependent upon our physical limitations for us to perceive anything beyond. Even the tools we make to expand our limitations must translate “reality” back into the confines of our limitations. I would also posit that if we did experience something outside our limitations, we would not know how to communicate it with any clarity to ourselves, and certainly not others. We would be forced to make the experience fit within our built in limitations and thus negate all that did not fit within those confines.

I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the religious studies point of view. Buddhists and various other mystics throughout history have been tackling this conundrum for years, within the confines of their belief systems, of course. They have their own methods of communicating and defining the disparity and techniques to break free from physical limitations and directly experience "wholeness" and/or "nothingness".
My final thought, why are we so focused on "breaking through" to ultimate "reality"? Why not revel in the inherent mystery of reality instead?
Eric in a Word: sockdolager
Book of the Day: Soul Made Flesh - Carl Zimmer
Song of the Day: I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman - The White Stripes
Religious Figure of the Day: Sekhmet
Sketch medium: graphite, rooibos, white out, and blue marker on card stock

Friday

You get the ankles and I'll get the wrists


Over the last couple of days I have had an interesting email correspondence with a good friend of mine that touched on a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately- the apathetic approach of students (in a college setting) to their work. He teaches religious studies at a research intensive school and has come to believe that classes in religion at the school are “service” courses, meaning they serve as an elective, but have little or no bearing on their actual education. I have gotten a very similar vibe regarding my Drawing class, at least for about half the class.

I don’t mean to badmouth my students or his, the way our culture (both academically and beyond) is set up their response and approach is to be expected. You are encouraged to specialize and reserve all of your energy and time for that specialty. Courses outside that particular area have become almost vestigial. They are remnants of the archaic ideal of a “well-rounded individual”, an ideal that conflicts with the current role of “specialized individual” we are encouraged to play.

I have never fit into that role. My interests are too diverse and frankly so are my talents. In fact, I would go so far as to say that my strongest natural talent is to see and understand connections and patterns in disparate areas. In other words, if I had a super power it would be consilience.

What does this have to do with our students? Well, to quote my friend, regarding the degradation of written assignments, the problem

rests with a pedagogy that requires students to write in a style or genre (the argumentative essay) to which they are mostly 'tone' deaf and, moreover, will likely never reproduce outside of the university essay. I think this kinda makes the task rote for many and results in a lot of contrived or forced writing.

It is the same with our courses. Our particular fields, the academic study of religion and art, are probably as divergent for them as possible. Religious studies is by nature a practice in consilience and art-making tends to require using a different part of the brain than most other disciplines. They are not in essence straight forward, but instead require the repetition of two seemingly opposing steps – the expansion of focus followed by laser-like focus upon a singular idea, then the expansion of focus to look for other like patterns, then the bringing into sharp focus again, then the expansion….In other words, they expect a fastball and are thrown a curveball. It’s no wonder most students swing and miss.

Eric in a Word: favonian

Book of the Day: Adams vs. Jefferson - John Ferling

Song of the Day: Rock Box - Run D.M.C.

Religious Figure of the Day: Saint Roch

Sketch medium: graphite, ink, and white-out on card stock

Thursday

Feeling a bit idealistic


I think a lot about what art can mean, what art should mean to those who create it and those who participate in it, and what art is to the culture it is made in. I constantly find myself returning to ideas I first encountered when reading John Ruskin’s works as a 20 year old. Through my eyes, Ruskin believes art (for creator and viewer) should be an event. It should lead you to a place outside of the mundane, profane world in which we live and to a place both sacred and more real. For Ruskin, and myself, art have a full and organic relationship – art is a means of connecting to the natural world, our place in it, and through it to that which is sacred.

For Ruskin, art is a barometer of the health of culture from which it derives, the greater the power of the art to connect you with your place in the natural world and the sublime the healthier the culture. Living in England during the industrial revolution, Ruskin was appalled by the mechanization of the culture and especially the people within his society. He stagnation and decay of art in his time period as a symptom of the decay of civilization and the modern factory, with its mechanized production and division of labor, as an almost insurmountable barrier between the worker and his work, preventing a genuine relationship, destroying any spiritual element and alienating the producer from the product of his hands. The products of such a system were stillborn, lacking the vital spark of true craft, reflecting the difference between a craftsman and machine. Workers had devolved from free craftsman to slaves of a mechanized society, denied individuality and severed from their full potential to create.

Outside of the implicit criticism of American society, what does this mean to me as an artist? I think artists have an obligation to create living art. Something that transports the participant/viewer from the insanity of our hyper-mechanized reality to a place where we can reconnect. Art should not be the mechanized churning of something that will sell. It should not be created as an act to shock, in the pursuit of something new for newness sake, or for the selfish promotion of ones career.

Art should create a resonance between its participant/viewers and the world they live in, the world they strive for, and their fellow creatures. It should motivate us to be better, to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, and to reject that which prevents these ideals.

Eric in a Word: unasinous

Book of the Day: The Ancestor's Tale - Richard Dawkins
Song of the Day: Undertaker Blues - Rosa Henderson and the Kansas City Five

Religious Figure of the Day: Juturna

Sketch medium: graphite and incidental ink on card stock stained with black tea and honey

Existential art

Recently, i.e. today, I have once again visited a conundrum that has plagued me since the beginning of my artistic awakening- how do you represent experience in the more static forms of sculpture, painting, or drawing? My thoughts seem to travel two interrelated and similar tracks on this and both raise more questions than answers.

My first thought process:
I am trying to replicate, or at least accurately express, an experience through participating in the experience of creating which will then be interpreted through the experience of viewing the creation. This strikes me as similar to translating from one language to another so it can be read in a third. It seems that anything that may survive from the actual experience into the creation of the work is undermined by the shift into the more passive context of observation from that of participation or creation. In effect, what the observer sees relates more to their own individual past experiences than to any experience I may have been trying to capture.

The second line:
I blame this train of thought on reading freakin’ Jean-Paul Sartre and Virginia Woolf in high school - Watch what seeds you plant in fertile soil. They are both preoccupied with aesthetics, in particular when dealing with “lived” experience and the difference between imagination, creativity and perception. This thought process is based in a wider philosophical context wherein the world and our actions in it are interdependent, meaning that everything is dependent on others things in such a complex way that everything becomes subject to unseen effects and is not logically necessary- in other words, anything is possible depending… We make sense of experience in a discursive manner rather than an intuitive one, but this is a fragile way of operating as it depends upon the way we simplify and symbolize the complexity in order to function. When the natural complexity of life rears its head, or we look too hard at our symbols, our previous understanding can be cast adrift. How does this relate to my issue? Well, if we are unable to wholly experience anything, we are definitely going to experience problems expressing the fullness of an experience to someone who will not be able to fully experience our translation of the experience.

Look, I’m not sure what any of this means, but it has in the past driven me to create art that is more about creating a space where the observer/participant is encouraged to create their own “lived” experience of that space with minimal cues from me as to what that should be. This has often resulted in the bringing together of objects (made and found) and arranging them in such a way that they separate the space between them from that which is without. The participant in creating the interactions between the objects in effect creates a new work each time they shift their perception. The objects are not works alone or in a group, but only in their relationship to each other and the participant.

Maybe, today’s rumination is leading me back to this work and away from my one-off drawings, paintings, and sculptures.


Eric in a Word: lochetic
Book of the Day: Lives of the Artists - Giorgio Vasari
Song of the Day: Qué Onda Guero - Beck
Religious Figure of the Day: Teshub
Sketch medium: graphite on business card stained with black tea

Tuesday

To show or not to show?



Well, my head has begun to clear as the weather has started making the turn towards spring these past few days. With that, I have come to a greater clarity about my hesitation to enter the "gallery game". I want to state here, at the beginning, that I have nothing against nor do I feel superior to artists who make a living selling their work or performing their craft. Far from it. I think an artist should be able to live and work and concentrate fully on their art work. What I have a problem with is the incessant need to place price tags on individual work, or groups of works, thereby changing a piece of art into just another commodity to buy and sell. In the end, I think this cheapens the work of the artists by forcing an easily definable box around that which is not easily definable. It obfuscates and distracts those experiencing the work from the full impact and message of the work. In a bad analogy, it is like the use of thick black borders and capital letters used to express Surgeon General’s warnings, they overpower and thus obscure the true message.

This is my sole reason for no longer selling my work or continuing to pursue shows in “for profit” galleries. Although I am sure this will come off as both condescending and naïve, I find the commodification of my work seeps into the making of my work and undermines all my efforts. It leads to passionless work and half-baked concepts watered down by an effort to please rather than an effort to express in actions as hard as cannonballs. But, I do not want to hide my work away, either. Something better than the competitive and commodified artistic pursuit inherent in the gallery process that currently dominates how most artists display their work needs to be devised. I have come up with only a couple of options to this standard system, neither of which will lead to a “career” as an artist or allow me to live by my artwork alone:

1) Show my work in nonprofit or educational galleries only, like Tower Hill School where shows are matched with a guest artist lecture to the students.

2) Spread my art through gifting.

The first option is where I am once again heading. I like the fact that I can not only share my artistic expression with others, but do so in such a way that avoids the effects of trying to fit into a trend or sell my work. It also has the added bonus of usually allowing me to use my artwork as an avenue towards teaching about art, a growing passion of mine since I began teaching at the College of Southern Maryland. This is a heady mix indeed and one that I plan on imbibing more often.

The second option is what I have been doing since I began making art. It allows me to literally give a part of myself to others in my life. Not only am I sharing my art, but I am hopefully creating closer ties with those around me. And though this smacks of rampant idealism, it is particularly powerful to me the act of using my art to connect myself to others as a primary goal rather than as secondary to setting myself apart from other artists.

Eric in a Word: satisdiction

Book of the Day: The Enchiridion by Epictetus, tr Elizabeth Carter

Song of the Day: Baharim - Balkan Beat Box

Religious Figure of the Day: Nyx

Sketch medium: graphite and glue on Stride gum pack top (3.25" x 2")

Monday

Where is my head?


I have let this blog run fallow for almost two weeks now in the hopes that my brain would once again jump into life. That has failed to happen. I have spent the last few weeks mostly muddled and rampantly busy when not sitting jury duty, yet not a twitch of that mental acuity and spark that usually runs like a demented hamster on a wheel in my brain. It is disconcerting to say the least. I am used to fending off thoughts and observations, often four at a time, in order to focus on what I am working on. Now I am grasping in pea soup fog to function. I have struggled to even do my daily sketches, much less undertake more ambitious projects, or even crack my sketchbook otherwise. I am trying to approach this slow-down as a natural rest period brought on by February weather and the stress of life, but I am beginning to worry as I sit here staring blankly. Perhaps when the panic comes it will bring friends and I can get back to work.


Eric in a Word: kedge
Book of the Day: The Great Influenza - John M. Barry
Song of the Day: Wish I was in Heaven Sitting Down - R.L. Burnside
Religious Figure of the Day: Ereshkigal
Sketch medium: graphite on paper

Tuesday

I have a head


I have been quite fuzzy headed the last few weeks & I’m having trouble focusing or remembering things. The strangest thing is that despite my struggles to function with anything even resembling my normal capacity, when my mind does wander it wanders to thoughts of analytic philosophy (mostly about the relationship between linguistic meaning, logic, and reality- think Wittgenstein & Ayers) with a heavy dose visual imagery from the conceptual artists of the 1960s who used the ideas as fodder for their work.

For instance, Bruce Nauman’s “A rose has no teeth” cast a phrase from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations in lead and nailed to a tree in a garden. Wittgenstein uses this phrase as an example of an obviously true statement whose meaning is nonetheless obscure. Joseph Kosuth produced a series of enlargements of philosophically meaningful definitions (e.g. Art as Idea as Idea.) Kosuth, in particular, intimately connects conceptual art and analytic philosophy by arguing that conceptual artworks are analytic propositions. They express and challenge definitions of art. They are in effect and actuality tautological – they are statements of propositional logic that hold for all the truth values of their atomic propositions – they are what they are and what they say they are.

What I find interesting in the assumption of the written word and philosophical underpinnings of this particular strain of conceptual art is that both Nauman and Kosuth have in affect translated one visual medium (writing) to another visual medium (lead, photograph, etc…) I am still at a loss as to whether changing the context, from the container of philosophy to art, they are still expressing the same idea on a smaller scale? What I mean by this is that the philosophical writings of Ayers and Wittgenstein examine how we, humans, interact with “reality” writ large, whereas Nauman and Kosuth seem to be examining the idea of “art”, a potentially smaller fragment of “reality”. Or, are they expressing the same ideas in a different context, but since that context is part of the whole, they are still dealing with our relationship to reality at large? Are they using tautological works to show how art creates what the definition of art is? Or are they using art as a language to show how language creates and informs reality?


Eric in a Word: abstersive
Book of the Day:Gargantua and Pantagruel - Francois Rabelais
Song of the Day: Those Damn Blue Collar Tweekers- Primus
Religious Figure of the Day: Saint Eric of Sweden
Sketch medium: garphite on paper

Monday

Revisiting an old flame


I revisited an old love of mine this weekend and without realizing it rekindled a flame from what I thought was only smoldering ash. I partook of the beautiful weather here on Sunday by setting up my easel and exhuming my oil paints from a decade’s long slumber.

The last time I had set eyes on my arsenal of petroleum based medium was almost ten years ago. Our long standing affair had just dissolved in repeated bouts of coughing up blood and the other hallmarks of intense exposure to turpentine fumes (apparently my studio at school was not ventilated enough for the amount of fumes that semester). So, with no better space to paint and a doctor’s suggestion I take 10-12 months away from my love, I bid adieu for what I thought would be a short hiatus in which I could explore different media.

As often happens with extended absences, someone changes and you drift apart. I went on to pursue other interests not directly related to painting living in spaces not conducive to working at the large scale I was used to and allow my relationship to wither on the vine. Or, so I thought. Yesterday, with space to paint, ventilation to spare, and a new passion for small scale work, I rediscovered my oils. And as in all requited love, it has flared up with a passion. I have spent the time since yesterday constantly thinking about painting again. Reminiscing about the good times; thinking about new projects; reveling in the feel, smell, and joy I rediscovered yesterday afternoon. And, unless I once again come to resemble a brush toting Doc Holliday, I aim to keep this relationship alive.

Eric in a Word: tenebrific
Book of the Day: A World Lit Only by Fire - William Manchester
Song of the Day: Careful what you wish for - Raine Maida
Religious Figure of the Day: Śakra
Sketch medium: graphite on bristol board

A week in a day


Monday Tuesday

Wednesday Thursday

Friday

As I am limping through the last day of this week, exhausted and burnt, I realized I hadn't posted my daily sketches at all. So in a burst of energy, I decided to share all five today. Enjoy if you will.

Eric in a Word: resistentialism

Book of the Day: Mayflower- Nathaniel Philbrick
Song of the Day: The Four Beauties - Chinese Yueju Opera

Religious Figure of the Day: Lan Caihe
Sketch medium: Monday- graphite on greentea soaked paper
Tuesday- drawn on photoshop
Wednesday- graphite on greentea stained paper
Thursday- graphite on paper
Friday - charcoal pencil on coffee stained paper

Friday

Why post with no comments?

I don’t have much to write today, I am exhausted and worn. I will, however, like to address a question asked of me previously: How do you continue posting when no one comments on your blog?

This is a pretty simple answer for me. I don’t maintain this blog for anyone but myself. I invite others to share it, comment on it, enjoy it, make fun of it, or whatever. But, this blog is more a record for me both tracking and keeping me in line with my daily meditations. It is merely the public part of a process designed to strengthen my own art work and my comfort level in sharing myself with others.

Opening a dialogue with others or establishing an e-reputation, things I think most bloggers are attempting, are merely by-products when or if they occur. Now don’t get me wrong, I love comments. There is a sort of validation there. But, I will continue with the blog until it is no longer useful regardless.

Eric in a Word: scheissenbedauern

Book of the Day: Citizen Soldiers- Stephen Ambrose

Song of the Day: Warm Beer, Cold Women - Tom Waits

Religious Figure of the Day: Pazuzu

Sketch medium: graphite on business card (2" x 3.5"), re-colored via Photoshop.

Thursday

Cop-out post


So I did this 25 Random Things about Me thingy on Facebook and thought it would make a passable cop-out post since I don't have anything fresh to say today to accompany my sketch.

1. I don’t actually try to be weird, quite the opposite really. You should hear/read some of the things I filter out.

2. I have never owned a monkey, a diaper, or a monkey in a diaper.

3. I don’t like potato chips, in general.

4. I am actually a smidge under 6’2”

5. I have actually performed the Heimlich on a chipmunk.

6. I have long held the belief that I would probably taste good blackened and seared with a nice Merlot- then again, what doesn’t?

7. I have only had two nicknames that stuck for any period of time: tripod and sleeper.

8. Every night small animals sit on me.

9. I often wear pants.

10. I have a hard time remembering names, even my own.

11. I am a world-class loomer, but I struggle with hovering and loitering.

12. I have actually drawn my way out of a paper bag- it’s all about pencil pressure.

13. I have never passed a polygraph by telling the truth.

14. I really like chapulines tacos.

15. I don’t believe in putting my friends in some sort of hierarchy.

16. The sense of humor I rarely share is pitch black and would make the devil flinch.

17. I tend to do things I shouldn’t be able to do and forget to do things I need to do.

18. This is not my first rodeo.

19. I love vulcanology.

20. I don’t like people in general only in specific.

21. I have two Master’s degrees – Religious Studies and International Policy.

22. I specialized in death rituals and then transitional justice issues related to genocide for my Master’s degrees.

23. I could be a vegetarian if it weren’t for bacon.

24. I read up to 6 books at a time and tend to finish 1 a day.

25. I don’t have a favorite color, but I’m not a fan of yellow.

Eric in a Word: plenilune
Book of the Day: The Sacred and The Profane- Mircea Eliade
Song of the Day: Seven Deadly Sins- Flogging Molly
Religious Figure of the Day: Leucothea
Sketch medium: charcoal on bristol board.