560. August 15… I’m such a good lover because I practice a lot on my own.” – Woody Allen

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

"Interstate 25" ©RobertRedus 2011

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” – Dr. Seuss

Yesterday I was reading the Tao…the thought for the day was… “Repetition”…it was initially explained around the use of prayer beads and how fundamentally it matters very little what the next bead might be…what matters is it needs to be counted…addressed…experienced….the passage ends with…

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat,  until repetition becomes endurance

the notion of repetition is much more valuable than many might think…especially when it comes to producing art…

often there is a grandiose declaration  beginning something like this…. “I am going to___________”…taking the one declaring this to some lofty pinnacle of instant visual clarity…something that seems so real…attainable…yet often the declaration is just that a declaration….much like a balloon let loose to fly around the room…for a brief moment…gas out…it is over…

if an artist does not hone their skill everyday…how can they expect to grow as an artist…over time…there are the places in that practice where the results are dim and seemingly uneventful…while other times produce breakthrough and insight…it takes the combination of both of these linked and attached to the daily living of the life to ever gain any significant progress…

In life, you don’t know how many beads you’ve counted already, and you don’t know how many more are yet to come.”

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” – Rick Warren

558. August 7…Selling Art…Doesn’t Require Perfect Vision…at least not always….

Art and my thoughts about being an artist, Thoughts from the "Tinman"

Art…Representing Manmade Stuff” ©2011 Robert Redus

“While all deception requires secrecy, all secrecy is not meant to deceive.” – Sissela Bok

I found while taking some photographs yesterday…while waiting for the art supply store to open…so I could purchase some gel medium for a friend who was teaching an encaustic class…that… “Composition”… is one of the integral elements of producing art…(not selling it)…

Composition is defined as: “the act of combining parts or elements to form a whole.”…boy are they not kidding…

it is essential to produce art yet it really can’t be qualified…to be a fighter pilot…you have to have perfect vision…but you don’t have to have perfect vision to fly a plane…so composition is as relative as the question of our existence and…why…

We rely on “Art critics” to dispel any question of composition and the success of a piece of work…granted they like most everyone else are in this for themselves first…then…the rest…matters…fundamentally if a critic aligns themselves with higher priced more recognized art…they too become higher priced and more recognized…and it’s not what they say…it’s the artwork they are saying it about that…matters…

The flip side is…selling art work…has nothing to do with composition…it has to do with selling…it could be vacuums…doughnuts…tractors…air conditioners….or wombats….and what matters is the ability of the sales person to sell the product… a highly recognized gallery in the part of the world I’m from that sells expensive art …their top sales person…readily admits they know nothing about art…and for years sold construction equipment…and was very successful at it…so what then does the art matter…it’s sort of …. “What’s it going to take to get this painting above the couch in your living room” …mentality…that counts…not composition…

I’m really beginning to see this for exactly what it is…and for a long time I will admit I was troubled by it all…and why…I don’t know…it is the way it works…I know nothing about the origin of most everything I buy… and I have to say I don’t really want to know about much of it…I just want what it is I want…and I’d like the story to be an OK story that goes along with it…something I can live with…and that’s really about it…

So selling art and making art…they like anything else are mind sets…if you’re great at making art and terrible at selling it…own it…and find somebody who does what you can’t…and if your art work always leaves you with questions…that nauseating feeling in your stomach….but you could open up a booth selling Ice Cubes in the arctic circle and making $750,000. a year…doing it….it’s all about the calling….and that thing about composition…well who really cares….

Artists are different thinkers …not thinkers like sales people think…artists want the story the immortality of it all to be part of it in the end…the sales people…well they want numbers…$$$ and that’s really it…less attachment…more vacations….

 “Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and desires out of its way and lets it act of it’s own accord.” – John Cage

557. August 4…Reality beat out Intention…soundly today….but it was on the rocks with a twist of lime…an umbrella and a few cherries…

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Aftermath of the ‘Battle of Wits”” ©2011 Robert Redus

“The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

the notion of intention against the backdrop of reality…or vice versa….superimposed or transparent matters little…as the intention has one stab while the reality another….true with people…events….ideas and very much so with producing art…

what intended to be a wonderfully productive day in the studio…did not at all become that reality…rather…a day of questions and answers…reflections…dialogues..inserting…mundane and irrelevant topics in between slices of highly processed white bread to discover that…what I know…I know to be what…I know….. unavoidably a topic of historical dissertation…languish…enlightenment and…silent revelation…no doubt…

yet the unsolicited….still barks at the gate…while the rest of the pack has lost interest and slumbers snuggly in their dens….dreaming again of the chase…and the fall air crisp at the nostril….

so the paint never left the tube today…the solder did not run…..a lengthy way of getting here…from there…and as a painter…it is perfectly alright…to spend this day…pursuing the reality rather than the…intention…and yet

my accomplishments today were…

great….

“Nice guys finish last, but we get to sleep in.” – Evan Davis

555. July 30… Hey it’s the “last day”… of another month…and what did I learn…or maybe already knew…

Last Day of the Month, Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Peeking” ©2011Robert Redus

“Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.” – Confucius

I’ve opted to return to a topic…I began thinking about how each month passes….while in the month so much is presented to me and I have a choice of either taking it in or not…with time hopefully comes change…better plans…certain things become a bit more clear…and July was no exception

July passed quickly…much of it I don’t remember…seems like a blur…yet in that passing the days set loose a great deal of information…much is priceless…

I enjoyed July…some things were solidified…others released…still others…swept away with no idea of their whereabouts….I came to conclusions…I learned a great deal…here  are some of the many things I learned….

  1. New Mexico is not a great place for me in summer
  2. It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it.
  3. People don’t surprise me a great deal any more.
  4. Truth requires more effort than just saying what is true.
  5. Consistency may seem like a habit…but a lot sure gets done.
  6. You can’t ask for advice and then get pissed off because it’s not the advice you want to hear.
  7. Dental Health is much more important than we may every know
  8. Most people believe their own story…even if nobody else does.
  9. It’s all about how the numbers add up over 12 months.
  10. If you’re _______ with what you are doing and think you are ________….I believe you and I’m happy for you.

again July spread itself like a thick coat of crunchy peanut butter…and what I “learned”…I already knew…I think maybe the immortality has faded…the notion of what matters most is when my cup is filling…it’s with the stuff I want to fill it with…

I have on my the kitchen cabinet my “Manifesto” I wrote 2 years ago….it is more powerful now than ever before…

  • Do not waste any time on the…wrong people…the wrong endeavors…the wrong ideas
  • Go get what I want right now…as it may not be there when I think I’m ready for it
  • Look carefully at what presents itself…do not make the unacceptable…acceptable
  • Whatever I look for…I will find
  • Take time out of each day to smile and…laugh more

“Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible.” – Francis Bacon

 
 
 

554. July 28…Let’s make art…and Money…OK????

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Plugged In” ©2011, Robert Redus

“All my life as an artist I have asked myself: What pushes me continually to make sculpture? I have found the answer. art is an action against death. It is a denial of death.” Jacques Lipchitz

there is a great deal that goes along with being an artist…much more than all of the stuff that separates us as brush holders…paint slingers…rock chippers…image makers and idea builders…we have to have a sense of belief…belief that what we do is as valuable and as important to the world…and maybe only the world around us…as anything else that anyone else does on the planet…

it is funny to think that here in the United States…artists are often viewed as something of a less contributing portion of the population…and though we are the initiators of all of the visual apparatus that stimulate and excite…anger and generate opposition…we do it quietly and behind doors of studios…in relative isolation…we are the geniuses of the machine…

we’ve yet to be acknowledged and readily accepted as these geniuses…but we are…

I’d like to see a shift in the way it’s all done…instead of snarling teeth on the front of jet fighter planes…perhaps the entire plane could be painted like a really loud Hawaiian shirt…and the bombs they drop could be painted like birds…or fish…made from really soft pillows….and be filled with Skittles….or beef jerky…it’s just an idea…

nevertheless…we are the segment that has the ideas that might appear slightly unconventional…perhaps a bit sketchy…maybe even unrealistic…but that too is a particular part of the fiber that makes us…exactly what we are…

without art…there really is nothing…but space filled with a lot of unnecessary noise…and conversation…that is in itself the beauty of art…it makes its own noise…it creates its own visuals…sounds…scents…experiences…events and memories…

defining yourself as an artist is like defining your religion…believe what you want and if it’s working keep believing it…and too defining what your success looks like as an artist…(see defining religion)…

but…

to make a living as an artist requires a  much different mindset…one greatly different than the creation process…if producing art for you is a hobby…then…hobby onward…yet if you use the word “Professional” with the word “Artist” and both are in the same sentence referring to yourself…that makes a different ending…one that you have to think about building….

Things you must know about Art:

1.  Know your level of skill, ability, craft and art thoroughly.
2.  Your artwork does not sell itself.
3.  Artwork that is not shown can not sell.
4.  Your artwork must be critiqued by knowledgeable, honest critique.
5.  Get more education from higher skilled artists.
6.  Your ego doesn’t help make your artwork.
 
Things you must know about being a Professional artist:
 
  1. Understand and get, “Art is Business” and money is a normal function of business.
  2. Learn everything you can about marketing. 
  3. Became an expert at sales.
  4. Develop an “elevator” conversation about your work (about 30 seconds).
  5. Learn to accept criticism and rejection for what it is. 
  6. Network and align yourself with other artists/business people who have similar goals.
  7. Have postcards, business cards, portfolios of your work available all of the time. 
  8. Develop a “Gallery Fit” list. And send out portfolios to the Galleries that fit. 
  9. Show your work as often as possible. 
  10. And if anyone of these you cannot or will not do, prepare to find and pay someone who can and will.

“In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.” – Miguel de Cervantes


 

553. July 26…(INTENTION’s Story)…..Today I’d like a _____________ and hopefully we can __________ early so I can go home and__________ with a__________

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Times were Wasted”, ©2011 Robert Redus

“Innocence: I am only stepping on your face because it lies in my path.” – Mason Cooley

I had aquariums for many years….I used them as a way of calming myself down after I’d spent an entire day…living in the greater frenzy than the normal frenzy of my life…I’d go home…walk into the living room and immediately sit on the floor…and stare…endlessly into a 110 gallon lit-up world of complete fantasy…

I’d named most all of the fish I liked…there was… “Big Ed”…. “Great White”…. “Smooch”…then a group of Blood Tetras all named… “The Boys”… I could see they lived in a very predictable world…some were inclined to live on the “Top” of the water…while others lived “Mid-level”…then there were those that were the true “Bottom Feeders”…each was unique in that they had a specific nature that was equal to that of their placement in the water…they looked like where they lived….

I look at people and wonder what they… “look”… like…I like to make up stories and dialogue…that might go with their lips moving in the car next to me…the great thing is I’ll never know…and my story is the only one I know…and the likelihood of it being true…is not very likely…unless they are raging angry or dripping with passion…and still my story may get close….but never accurate…

the word intention means… “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.”… the origin of the word is… from the Latin word “Intendere”…. in- “toward” + tendere “to stretch”…

when we make something we have a reason for making it…as well as an intention…might be the intention is minimal…or over the top…also might be the intention is subdued…or very obvious…but any way intention comes about…it is difficult if not impossible to develop something artistically without intention….

a painting has a life of it’s own…infused with the artists ideas…and a long dance has ensued to get from point “A” to point “B-Z”…yet in that time the external shell of the intention may have changed many times over…but it’s hard to eliminate the “Original” intention…the one that decided you’d be swimming only on the bottom with this painting…sure there’ve been a few swims to the top…but where is where you decided to be…

that being said…once that painting gets some wall space…and your story hangs along with it…does what you want to say communicate through the work?…if it does…some part of the success of the work has been reached…if it does not…the story has a number of blank spaces that anyone can and will fill in with what feels good to them….their truth about what they see as your truth….and it’s going to match…not necessarily what you want but rather what they want…

it is important to know what you want to say in your work…. that thread seems to remain a constant in the future works…until it does not…but until that happens…it’s a good idea to make your story where it doesn’t scream and it doesn’t whisper…it just makes people want to get close enough to ask…

what part of the aquarium are you living in….these days….

“Everything that is strong in me has gone into my art work.” – Robert Crumb

552.July 24… “The power to do good is also the power to do harm.” M.F….

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Negative Space”, © 2011 Robert Redus

“In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.” – Patti Smith

Pete Townsend did a song titled “Face to Face”…basically the lyrics are a repetitive bunch of rhymes…that remind me of a commercial for traveling to some amusement park in the Bahamas…with the model looking wife…well behaved…kids…who are never going to need braces…and are so well adjusted…they could be adults by 12….

over all I think of Pete Townsend as a brilliant writer…who has a great deal to say and do… I mean c’mon…the guy smashed up some incredible guitars on stage…gotta love it…in the song…is a line of lyrics…that I really like…

 “The danger’s hidden on the cul-de-sac trails.
From wiser men who have been through it all
And the ghosts of failures
spray-canned up on the Wall.”

 I can only surmise he means…it’s been done before…take a look around…no point in taking too much time building something that looks like a wheel….

if you keep up with the art world…you’ll see the institution is on shaky ground…the pillars of the asylum…(the galleries)…have lost a great deal of footing and for good reason…the exclusive nature of the gallery has omitted and eliminated much of the population…statistics show that 1-5% of Americans have been in an art gallery…the frightening part is not really that number…but the 95-99 % who have not…I can think of no other saleable entity that is designed exclusively for the population… with so little exposure to the same public…and when exposed…it is out of reach to most by….price…and certainly by the nature of exclusivity developed and maintained by galleries…

artists are makers of a products that illustrate the present condition and state of the world…we can travel most anywhere with little fear of reprisal because…in some weird way we are also “visual truth tellers”…we are not a threat…nor do we have an agenda that involves guns…food…politics…pillage…power…or anything that compromises the state of the world…we are story tellers…might be our story intertwined in the other stories…but nevertheless…story tellers…

when we have a good story…and someone else knows it….they want to be the guy in charge of “Helping” us…”Get that story out there”….and they are going to do it to a small select group of people and only take 50% of the story…or the cash…until the story either wilts…or they have a their story they would like us to tell…but in our words….

as artists we sell our product wholesale…in other words…less 50%…

wholesale is defined as: “The sale of goods in large quantities, as for resale by a retailer.”

so volume = reason for less %….and unfortunately…12 paintings per year does not = volume….it is difficult to sell at wholesale when production is at a minimum…as is price…the demand for the product is barely visible…and to increase the demand requires greater exposure of the product in the ideal places…oh and…time and money….and lots of it….

I think that has been the flaw in the system of selling art…and based on supply and demand…the economic model that concludes “the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers (at current price) will equal the quantity supplied by producers (at current price), resulting in an economic equilibrium of price and quantity.”…and of the 4 basic laws of supply and demand…what both galleries and artists want is numero uno:

If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, then it leads to higher equilibrium price and quantity.”

become a very successful artist when you’re living…die one day…and S&D rule # 4 takes over…”If supply decreases and demand remains unchanged, then it leads to higher price and lower quantity.”….and everybody’s happy….but you…and at that point who really cares…right?…certainly not you….

and the other flaw…most galleries and artists are not in this…”Together”…sort of a treasure hunt with two separate maps….to the same treasure…

all that being said…it is still a wonderful time to be an artist…our opportunities have increased…the ability to guide and direct our work has never been better….we just have to look for…ghosts of failure…spray-canned up on the wall…

“Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it’s addressed to someone else.” – Ivern Ball

551. July 22…They’re called… “Sketch books”….for a reason…I know…I know…

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Points Unknown” ©2011 Robert Redus

“Belief like any other moving body follows the path of least resistance.” – Samuel Butler

I recently began planning paintings…you know drawing thumbnail sketches to get my idea… “out there”…so that I could revisit it at some later date…by no means does planning a painting …mean anything much more than a string around my finger…long enough to get the idea then abandon the reminder…for the next reminder…

planning paintings has never really made sense to me…nor has it been very important…not because the idea has to be so spontaneous and something gets lost in the plan…but frankly I just haven’t done much of it so the reason to do it doesn’t sit high up there on my “Things to do before I start a painting” list…but I think I want to start planning paintings a little more…

I have many sketch books…pages filled front and back…exclamation marks and circled the ideas I thought were stellar…the ones that stood above the rest…the ones that were in my mind the “difference makers”….

I once saw an exhibition at the Palace of Fine Arts…it was nothing but sketch books from many different well known artists…the one that really moved me…was one of Henry Moore’s sketch books…it was a well planned thoroughly calculated art work in itself…everything was written like that of an architects hand… the drawings were well thought out and I could easily see what Mr. Moore had to do to build the piece of work…he in essence had planned the project…and what it was going to take to execute it….I left there thinking that his method built in some level of ease in the process of creating the beautiful sculpture that he did…

as artists we have a multitude of ideas that clutter the space…and in the midst of the frenzy…the ideas can drift out of reach…out of sight…and often out of mind…some days when I sit and think about my ideas…I might only get pieces of them…and try as I may…am missing some key element of the idea that makes me exclaim out loud… “What was I thinking about’….because without that one key element….I see myself standing there with paint in my hand…kind of like I’m playing Pictionary….

writing the ideas down can be confusing as well…especially if there is no sound explanation along with it…as it’s a drawing of some lines and an exclamation mark with a circle around it and dated sometime in 2009…so lately I’ve decide the time to remember it far outweighs the “Hurry” I pretend to be in most of the time…and now I’m really being careful about putting down my ideas and putting them down so they make sense and will make sense 3 years from now….maybe careful is the wrong word…accurate fits better…so I know clearly what it is I’m looking at…what it is supposed to be…and I can get out of the “bigger than a bread box”…thinking…and wipe the WTF look off of my face instantly….

it’s important in some way to know what we want to produce…how we want to build it…and have a general idea of what it looks like on paper and in the gray matter…the word “Recollect”….originates from the Latin word “Recollectus” which means to “Collect again”…..

and this year I’m turning 55…I’d rather look at a sketch book to Reollectus….than to rely exclusively on my ability to Recollectus…if you know what I mean….

“Knowing the rules and remembering the rules are two completely different things.” – Simon Travaglia

550. July 19… “A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.”…

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Friday Night” ©2011 Robert Redus

“I say I’m a million percent. That is better than a hundred percent! ” – Macho Man Randy Savage

this morning I read an article on “Conditioning” and “Calling”…fundamentally what we’ve been taught about who we are -vs- who we really are…and how when presented with the “Y” in our road…how to navigate that “Y”…with the least amount of stress…anxiety and greatest amount of positive forward moving results….

I think as artists we continually stand at these intersections…contemplating direction…what we are…where we are going…the work…what it is doing and where it may be going as well…it is sort of a silent twin…just nods…regardless of the direction….and is going to go…without choice…or regard to the outcome…

much of what we are as artists…is directly related to what shape we were squeezed into…or the molds we were pressed into…or the responses we developed…based on some action at us…towards us…about us…near us…on us…after all… art is nothing more than a self portrait of the artist…we just get better at hiding in the imagery or landscape…or color…or steel…

I’m finding the more work I do the more I have a grip on certain aspects of the painting…while other parts really need to be left to what and how they are going to develop…that’s not to say I really do believe when the lights go out stuff happens…and the painting is altered in the morning…and I’m blaming the Keebler elves…I just know that the work is going to eventually become what I have directed it to be…and some of what happens…I haven’t thought of yet…and might not until a few seconds before it does…

painting has become more of an adventure…and less of a process…that was the most recent… “Y”…in the road that I encountered…one read “Adventure”…the other…“Process”…I opted left…for “adventure”…

my feelings on the “adventure” mode of painting…are much different than the “process” mode…Adventure has rules…just less of them…there is greater risk…yet greater risk dictates greater rewards…which in turn…can change everything…adventure has unknown variables…which certainly challenge the good old boy process thinking…basically doing more of what I don’t know how to do…or am uncertain of doing expands my ability and offers me many more options than those I already know….

As artists we can each certainly identify what we do and the frequency of doing it…defining our rules for producing art can open the possibilities for defying those same rules…in essence by knowing what we do…we can change what we do….

My challenge to you is identify and define your rules for whatever it is you produce…take one day…or maybe one hour and break all of those rules…see what happens…make the process into the adventure of art…you just might find yourself doing something you never thought you would….

countdown for November 18th, 2011 Show, “The Space in Between”

294 paintings of 800….506 remaining

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louise Stevenson

549. July 17… “In art there are only fast or slow developments”….

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Natural Born Killers” ©2011 Robert Redus

“To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.” – Unknown

today is starting out to be one that will clearly go down in the books…for me…I am working on a solo show for November of my daily small paintings …and after a few hundred paintings…I’ve found the process of painting small has really accentuated the “Thumbnail” mentality in me…granted the size I am currently painting differs from true thumbnails for many reasons…but the key word here is “Small”…

lately I’ve felt as though I’m cheating on my paintings…the ones sitting in my studio…by exploring other methods of painting…and finding out I’m really enjoying these more than what I’ve done over the last 10 years…so I guess it’s time to talk…see what future we have…if any…I already know the answer…and I don’t want t start the conversation with “it’s not you”…

but I do think the comfort of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing has also…kept me a little safer than I like being…I think it is the nature of artists…to look at anything and see where it fits and if it does how can they translate it to something visual…and incorporate it into the work…

”new” is relative in the same sentence with “art”…as the general consensus is there is nothing new in art…it has already been done…much like the head of copyright department for the government in 1869… suggested the Copyright offices be closed because as far as he knew…everything that was going to be invented had already been invented…

there is something about perfecting the craft…honing it to a point that requires sometimes a lifetime…then there is the evolution of that craft that if left alone worked constantly…religiously without end result thinking will assuredly change direction…and change often…recognizing that happens offers the opportunity to expand and depart from what was to what can be…

I admit this has been somewhat confusing as…I was very content doing what I was doing…knowing fundamentally what to expect and what not to expect…and now…there is something not really new…I’ll call it evolved…

There are three things I can attribute this evolution too…. 1. painting as I have for the past 10 years 2. painting everyday and 3. John Cage….

My painting mentor always told me…put the best painting up on the wall and look at it constantly…that’s the bar….when a painting comes along that is better than the bar…replace it with the better one…make this the process of determination….

I’m putting up the new one…today….

“It’s useless to play lullabies for those who cannot sleep.” – John Cage