Archive for March, 2016

Blank Books, Filled

March 31, 2016

SOME OF MY BLUES (cover and spine)

I’ve always worked with hardbound blank books.  I must have at least fifty of them.  Some of them are full, or nearly so.  Others are in progress or else well underway.

Some of them are small, while others are large.

The 1961 book The Five Worlds of Our Lives has the first twenty or thirty pages of a real book in it, then it goes blank.  That’s all the better for me.  I drew, made collages and wrote on the printed part and then moved on to the blank part.  This was one of my first blank book projects.

You can click on this to enlarge it.

From a small book.  You can click on this to enlarge it.  Drawing, for Max Ernst, April 1985.

Sometimes I paint the covers.  These books are full of drawings, musings, quotations, poetry, daily journals and other work.  They’re profusely illustrated.

There’s an everything book and a nothing book.  There are several Trouble Books.  There are a series of books which explore Surrealism. One includes explorations of women’s history and feminism.  Another investigates African-American and African history and concerns.

Some are interactive.  In 2006. I did three Game Books for a Game Show at the CAID Gallery in Detroit.  Visitors were invited to write and draw in three different books.  Each book had a hand painted cover and a set of game rules.

I used to carry around a guest book and encouraged friends and strangers to draw in it.  We did some collaborative drawings in it as well.

Most of these books are “all over the place.”  I need to write an index or summary of them.  I’ll do that one of these days.

When I fail to write in these books, it all ends up on hundreds of little scraps of paper. That’s another story.

This is the cover of a book on Surrealism. It was stolen from me and eventually returned.

This is the cover of a book on Surrealism. It was stolen from me and eventually returned.

These books are a sort of research laboratory.  I use them as a space to do some of my work.  Most of them are portable.  I’ve spent hours copying out passages from rare books at various libraries.  I do my drawings in them,  on the fly.

I dig for obscure quotations and for rare information.  I write a lot of my own words down as well.

They’re a sort of personal playground and a space for adventure.

Another drawing from a small hardbound book.

Another drawing from a small hardbound book.

The book that went blank after 64 pages (an error or was it a sample copy?):

The 2006 Game Show exhibit at CAID:

The Artist and the World

March 1, 2016

Riot Act (March 2007) and 8 by 8 inches

Just what is this reality that they keep going on about?

This broken world seems to be a dream.  We are born, we live and we die.  It’s the same for all of those we know and those we love. Is that reality?

The truth seems to be more complicated.  Some of us enter into a delirious and transcendent state.  Sometimes we inch our way into it. It’s a surprise when we actually end up there.

Sometimes we fight our way into it.  The paths are lined with casualties and sacrifices.  It’s a triumph when we actually end up there.

We live, looking out through a passionate veil of magic forces, of dream dust.

Will art ever ignite and explode, changing life forever, once and for all?

Am I a cartoon?  A phantom?  No, I’m yet another human being. I’m yet another true artist.

And this is yet another moment of my life.

Leap Year’s Day; February 29th, 2016