475. January 20th…ahh the… “Mystery” … “the Why” we make art….when pancakes are so much easier…not mention you can eat them….

“Kokuryuu” 2011

“It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion” Charles Driggs

Nakazora…means the space between sky and earth…zenith or emptiness…

in the last 2 days I have ended up in two different studios…talking about art…what we are each doing…where each of us are going and our thoughts about what we do…and how we do it…the conversations have been very interesting…enlightening…and certainly motivating…yesterday I went directly from my friend’s studio and instead of going home…as planned….I opted for an afternoon of taking photographs…ones I’d like to show sometime this year…

some years ago…a friend/mentor/instructor….gave me some advice that even though I nodded my head in aknowledgement…I don’t think I got what he was saying fully…or for that matter at all…he said…to me….”pick your crew…those artists you want to run with and run with them for a while“….the other day while visiting another friend in Madrid…he said something that rang of that same mentality…of painting for a few years…and seeing where you are…seeing what has and is happening…that seemed like pretty good indicator of place…

I question art…and as my friend Neil asks with great… excitment…and conviction….”why the f#@k do we paint?”…I’ve thought about my answer…I don’t think I really care why I paint and I am certainly not deluded into believing it is a “calling“… that if I didn’t…I would cease…or some magical apparatus that guides my life and was given to me out of the ether…I question…why I paint…when I don’t…

every morning…a small flock of sandhill cranes fly over my…house….I can hear them before I can see them…it started out as a frenzy…trying to find my keys…getting my shoes on…getting outdoors to see them for the brief time they are visible in between the tree tops…more often than not…I missed them…and heard their distinctive sound moving away from me…now I just step out the door…all of the prep is done…everything is aligned so I am outside each morning…coffee cup in hand…staring skyward…

at somewhere between sky and earth….

My question to you: WHY DO YOU PRODUCE THE ART YOU DO?…let me know….

“I try to kind of empty my mind and not think about anything. I just play without thinking.” – Ace Frehley







4 thoughts on “475. January 20th…ahh the… “Mystery” … “the Why” we make art….when pancakes are so much easier…not mention you can eat them….

  1. Robert, there is only one reason anybody ever produced art. It is an immortality project.

    Every piece of jewelry you ever created, every painting you ever made, every “thing” your hands and mind ever crafted is a piece of you and only you that will live after you are gone. They are your children and when you are finished with them, like human children, they speak for themselves. Sometimes they make us proud and sometimes they embarrass us. Art is the gift an artist makes to the world, not because he is generous, but, because like all sentient beings… he is selfish and he doesn’t “really” want to die.
    My advice? Accept it and spread it out. It is a mistake to limit to paper, canvas or precious metals something that can and should fill our lives. Everything “should” be art Robert. When it is, time stands still. When we see everything as art we taste immortality. Timelessness is ours for the taking in a pile of dirty dishes or a garden full of weeds.
    You know the secret to washing dishes don’t you Robert?

    On a lighter note, have you ever considered incorporating pancakes IN your art work and thereby having the best of both worlds?


    (That’s a chocolate chip pancake in the lower left hand corner)


  2. Is the immortality project a conscious decision… I can certainly see that in self -portrait and I agree with you that producing art is a method of keeping alive…longer than chronologically.

    I think though a piece of art is always a self portrait, or more so a self portrait in a given time frame without the imagery necessarily being that of a portrait. Every piece we produce from sand castles on the beach to twisting pine needles together is some representation of our portrait…

    So to answer my question is it a conscious decision?….it is, if it is understood that way,

    Everything is art and I think of Wabi Sabi when I see a rust stain on wood, or pebbles in the gutter, or pancake syrup on a plate, or how a head of lettuce is put together, I am intrigued by that level of transience. I can’t say I’ve thought of pancakes in my work although I have thought of many other things and am working on a plan for inclusion, especially in my jewelry. I enjoyed your link…seems my blog hit home that day….

    is there a universal secret to washing dishes? I know my secret to washing dishes…
    I hope it’s warming in your part of the world…


    1. Robert, I don’t think seeking immortality is a conscious decision, I think it is innate. Perhaps it is an innate flaw in us.

      As Otto Rank says in “Art and Artist” (Creative urge and personality development)… “For the artistic individual has lived in art-creation instead of actual life, letting his work live or die on its own account, and has never wholly surrendered himself to life. In place of his own self the artist puts his objectified ego into his work, but though he does not save his subjective mortal ego from death, he yet withdraws himself from real life.” [He goes on to suggest]… “And the creative type who CAN renounce this protection by art and can devote his whole creative force to life and the formation of life will be the first representative of the new human type, and in return for this renunciation will enjoy, in personality-creation and expression, a greater happiness.”

      I take from this that he is talking about a kind of overall “mindfulness” and an expansion, if you will, of art beyond our art “work” into an artfulness of living. That “greater happiness” he speaks of I take to be one and the same as the “enlightenment” our old friend the Buddha was so fond of going on and on about.

      Sorry to say it is still quite cold here.
      Of course there is a “universal” secret to washing dishes. It’s the same as the secret to doing anything else. JUST wash the dishes. DON’T be wondering if you are going to get laid this weekend, have enough cat food or what the weather is going to be tomorrow. Always, it’s back to that mindfulness thing again… The “art” of anything.


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