Making muddy drawers

From the David Minter article "Faulkner, Childhood and the Making of The Sound and the Fury" in a 1979 issue of American Literature:

[Quoting Faulkner:] "One day I seemed to shut a door between me and all the publisher's addresses and book lists. I said to myself, Now I can write" – by which he meant that he could write for himself alone.

Almost immediately he felt free. Writing "without any accompanying feeling of drive or effort, or any following feeling of exhaustion or reflief or distaste," he began with no plan at all.

He did not even think of his manuscript as a book. "I was thinking of books, publication, only in...reverse, in saying to myself, I wont have to worry about publishers liking or not liking this at all."

Then he wrote this.


item rodeo

Over at bARTer, J.T. traded my collage for a piece by Mark Dixon (see his blog here). Nice trade, and now my collage will live in Canada!


Gwydion Suilebhan's play Let X opens tonight. here's info. If you're near DC, go see it! It's going to be written about in the Washington Post!


More Kirkland... J.T. compiled a book from his One Word Project (I'm one of the artists in the book). You can but the book here. I'll write more once I get a copy.


Hurricane Katrina drawing #1

City Peeps, 2006

Last fall I did a project where I offered to draw anything for anyone for a $25 donation to a Hurricane Katrina charity. Several people took me up on the offer and we raised over $600. The above is the first drawing which has been delivered so far - I'll post the rest as they get finished and delivered.

The instruction from the donor for this piece was:
...maybe a drawing of a neighborhood with buildings, filled with people, a community, and maybe some of it could be in collage if you have time.



Here's some my birthday loot:

Violet made me 2 cards - one with an assist from her Mom:

and one with help from teachers at school:

Pentel Color Brush pens - I got a black and a grey. Really nice and they don't bleed through my sketchbook pages.

This book is great - Davis would walk around Gloucester drawing and then combine them all back in the studio. I'l post about this book later.

I got a Saul Steinberg book - not this one but I couldn't find an image of the book I got - the catalog for a show at the Whitney with a forward by Harold Rosenberg. I heart Mr. Steinberg.

I got a drawing template - a good small ruler thing to draw with. Fits in my sketchbook.

I also got a pair of jeans. And another book from my Mom. And some cookies. And some candy apples and chocolate strawberries. And some nice emails. And a Carvel ice cream cake, pictured at the top of the post.


I am trying to break your heart

My lovely bride and I saw the magnificent Wilco show here in C'ville last night. I drew while watching the show but the drawings sucked - the above is from before the rocking started. Wilco was great, really great.

Also, today is my birthday, a date I apparently share with thoughtful gallerist and art-blogger Ed Winkleman. Viva Taurus!

And I forgot a few weeks ago to mark the one-year birthday of this blog. Thanks to all the folks who bother to look at this thing. I have a few plans for some things to post, so beware.


Steinberg in ArtNews in 1970

From a 1970 article by John Ashbery:

...Steinberg considers the New Yorker drawings as separate from his other work. He calls them "homework" and "calisthenics" since, "everything has to be understood all at once. I have built a muscle through homework, so that everything else is child's play. So did Seurat, who thought of himself as a scientist. What is great in him is his vision, but technique was his camoflage.

I believe in Eliot's advice to poets: Do something else. Left to your own devices you get fat and start slumming. In the Renaissance artists were workers - builders and constructors had their say, and the artist was part of a team. Since the Impressionists (except for Seurat) art has become no homework.

The New Yorker is my 'political' world. My duty. I am formulating a subversive political message. My other drawings are political only in the sense that I am concerned with autobiography. I mind my own business, talk about myself. When I make a drawing for myself I use only my pleasure."



Hello, cul-de-sac # 35 (sign, sign)
pencil, pen and foam on paper
5.75" x 3.25"

J.T. Kirkland of Thinking About Art has a new project bARTer, where he's trading art starting with one of his prints. I made the first trade with him, swapping the collage above for a great print of his.

You can trade him for the collage if you want and keep the chain going. I hope it goes to a good home!


Item rodeo

Some things of interest:


A good friend and great DC playwright Gwydion Suilebhan has a show up starting next week, Let X. I saw an early version of the play read a while ago and was blown away by how good it is. I STRONGLY encourage you to go if you're in DC - my bride and I are desperately trying to find a way to make it. Here's the info:
A play within a play within yet another play, Let X is part madcap, part thinking cap -- it should keep your sides splitting and your head spinning at the same time... but in a good way!

Directed by Lise Bruneau and starring a fantastic cast -- Marcus Kyd, Kimberly Gilbert, Christoper Marino, Anna Kepe, John Lescault, and Lynn McNutt -- Let X is being produced by the Taffety Punk Theatre Company, who bring an energetic, free-spirited approach to delivering brilliant work.

Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 9 pm. Opening night is April 27, and the show runs till May 7 -- that's only 8 performances, so I strongly suggest you get your tickets sooner rather than later. Admission is $10 at the door, and you can reserve seats by emailing info@taffetypunk.com or calling (202) 261-6612.

Oh, and the Mead Theatre Lab is at 916 G Street NW, across the street from the Martin Luther King, Jr. library, right near the Gallery Place metro stop -- which is definitely how you should travel to the theater, if you can, because parking is virtually impossible to come by in the area...


My excellent pal and star Corcoran art-student (and sometime art-collaborator with me ) Truly Herbert just won the Linda Rosenbaum Memorial scholarship for excellence in painting and drawing at the Corcoran. I'm delighted but not surprised at all.


J.T. Kirkland of Thinking About Art has a new project called bARTer where he's making trades of art, starting with his own. I'll have more tomorrow about this...


UK Art-maestro Craig Atkinson and I have been working on a magical collaborative book. I'll leak more details as time goes on, but this thing is crazy and cool.


In the Shadow of No Towers

The local library had this recent Art Speigelman book on it's shelves. I read some of the collected strips when they originally appeared in newsprint form and I really liked them then - a very personal record of 9/11 mixed with politics. He and his wife went looking for their daughter whose school was right next to the World Trade Center. He uses lots of great cartooning tricks to tell the story, most effectively by scrambling up his story of that day with his more recent political ideas and even characters from old comic strips. He also scrambles up the pages, making them coherent but confusing, which reminds me of watching TV that day.

I wouldn't buy the book though, because it feels padded. There's only 10 strips (granted, they're large scale, but still, only 10), and then the book is filled out wiht pages of old newspaper comic strips which have little or nothing to do with the rest of the book. It feels padded, and though I enjoyed the old strips, they didn't work well with the rest of the book.

PS The cover, adapted from his incredible haunting NYer cover from the week after the attack, is great.


Art in America

My lovely wife gave me a subscription to AiA for Xmas, and I've decided to read every bit of each issue. Usually I dilly-dally and keep magazines around forever - this way I can trash them with a clear conscience.

So I've been slogging through them and so far it's not so bad. The "news" stuff is a little above my station the art world, the auction info means little to me and the main articles are pretty ok.

One thing I am noticing, and I know how often this is mentioned online, is how much crap there is out there, crap that even makes it into the magazines. Over and over, especially in the short reviews at the end, I see what look like junk all puffed up to greatness. One thing deep in my craw is all the hot air around the crap. Apparently, if one mentions, scrawls or off-handedly depicts something, one has "referenced" it, and a whole world of wordy blather can issue forth.

I remember there was an installation here at the UVA museum a few years ago by a famous artist supposedly all about DNA and politics. She had a standard silkscreen reproduction of Darwin on fabric in part of the piece. According to the lengthy brochure justifying the work, that "reference" should have been enough for me to say "ahh, Darwin, evolution, DNA, how insightful, how thoughtful..." Instead it made me think of how corrupt and meaningless the whole thing was (plus Darwin had nothing to d owith DNA). The artist just scrambled up a few "signs" and let the curators write and write on how brilliant it was.

This isn't against intellectual or conceptual work - it's against laziness. This stuff is trivial and weak - its work that stays outside the viewer. It's read, not experienced.

Another thing - if I was a photographer, I'd be pretty pissed about how alot of this kind of stuff uses photography to "document" things with no thought to how it looks - it reduces photography to it's mechanical side, when anyone who has taken a picture knows there's much more involved. It's as if photography is "neutral" because part of it is mechanical, but photography is anything but - it's a distorted way of reperesenting the world, just as distorted as drawing or writing.

Man, I'm really going off here...


Migration Gallery

Brian Mallman, compromise, 48 x 72 in., acrylic, graphite and ink on board

Today I went by the new gallery here in Charlottesville, Migration. They had some nice stuff and Laura, on of the owners was very nice. So now there's a string of good galleries just off the Downtown Mall here.


ADA in April

A couple weeks ago I went ADA in Richmond by and saw:

Matthew Fisher:

Joey Slaughter:

Rachel Hayes:


Things I learned

while home with sick baby and sick me all last week:

Rotavirus is very very bad. You have to give baby lots to drink.

If an adult has an upset stomach, don't eat coffee, Grape-Nuts and ibuprofin within 15 minutes of each other - it will cause a daylong stomach-ache.

J.T. had great posts about his trip to NYC.

So did Martin.

Bad At Sports podcast is about art and artists.

Craig Atkinson has a crazy blog.

Master Cartoonmeister Dan Zettwoch taught me how to silkscreen.

Sketchswap can be fun.



Postcards on Flickr

Originally uploaded by wcraghead.

I'm slowly adding all my postcards (1600+!) onto Flickr - Click the card to see them. I'm starting at the beginning - this one is from 5 years ago.

Email me a mailing address and I'll send you one.

See more here.