Sunday, October 29, 2006

Making Art with Porn

I've been exploring blogs on the internet and came across an image that I liked and downloaded. What you see here is one of the permutations I made with it The original was a photograph of a beautiful young woman smiling seductively and nakedly displaying her charms.

I work with Adobe Photoshop tools and filters. This is the kind of art I've been doing for some years now. It is a matter of taking a page out of Marcel DuChamp's book, that is using found materials, 'readymades' he called them. Only I go a bit further with it in that I use these to assemble and build something new, something that was not there when I began.

I include 3 versions of a photograph my friend Bruce Blanchette had taken of me on a New York City subway platform

Not one of them is the actual photo taken of me. Each is my 'expression' of it, my visual variation. It is a jazz-like improv, made with a lingo I've learned. Each (jpg) is a 'find,' a performance, ... playing this software; 'Adobe Photoshop' becomes my guitar.

From time to time I will be posting more of this kind of work I do.

I am hoping to exhibit 'sets' of my drawings. some I call 'My Pornography as Art,' 'My Art As Pornography' And 'My Drawings About Drawing.' It is enabling myself to paint (sort of) on what I like to believe is a 'cyberspace canvas.'

Saturday, October 21, 2006

About Drawing / Making Drawings about Drawing

I would say of the drawing you see here that it is 'a drawing about drawing'.

It is one of several, of a series, the motif being about how I can compose panels with a single line, a continuous line, a line of changing directions, a closed looping line.

It is also about rendering the interiors and exteriors, shapes and fields, panels as in comic strips, a set of panels with one continuous picture field. It contains figurative images, schematic, improvised, representational. I draw as though to visualize figures in a picture field, actualize images that infer/symbolize gender, identity and lust and sexual acts -all inferences,ciphers, tea leaves to be read.

I've been doing this for decades.

I love drawing. And I continue doing it nearly every daily. In my late twenties when I began making these, I thought of them as 'my learning pieces', tried (just as Van Gogh did) to reinvent drawing, myself, and ways of illustrating the whimsies of my imagination. I fancied it would help to make these exercises more enjoyable by experiencing the drawing as a kind of tactile reaching out, touching the naked flesh.Of being a voyeur witnessing sex. It blew my mind.

There are many ways to draw. My way was to improvise, draw without erasures or corrections. Working in complete isolation, as I did I favored pure imagination, I sought no live models or even books or photographs to copy from. My anatomy was made up, imagined. It took decades to evolve the schemas, the lingo of lines I serendipitously discovered to make my drawings readable.It took decades for my drawings to achieve that 'this is a Shapiro drawing' look.

In retrospect, looking back across those years, I see now I was this sleepwalker -this poet artist led as Dante had been by a muse, a docent, a mentor, dybbuk or shadow ,,,led toward this wayh of making Art... (Facture.) I liked believing I was this American Rousseau, this naif, this innocent, self taught, modern artist. And... I didn't really want to believe anyh crap about that this was 'sinful'..... Just Gilbert and Sullivan 'innocent merriment', sung to a lively tune as in the Mikado... Ha, ha. Just my making 'a home made pornography for my eyes only'.

In the process, I was reconfiguring what I was meaning by that word 'PORNOGRAPHY'. What it really meant to ME. My images and scenarios redefined its meaning. It was tested and verified by the tingling, the going hard of my cock. Drawing heightened my sensation of space, of color, of touching. Drawing was a tactile experience. It stirred my juices, heightened, brightened, awakened me as nothing else could or did. It honed by ability to focus and become centred, immersed in the Now.

The sole determinant was its BEING BOTH art and porn. (Something wsupposedly an impossibility!) I found its 'authenticity' in what it did for me physically and psychologically -in what I did: having all these lovely drawings in my collection -so many that did not go pallid or boring or apall over time!

The story I would tell myself during those years was that this work was more than just about 'learning how to draw'.

My formative years were between the 1960's and 1970's, I was in my late 40's, on into my 50s. In this compartmentalized life I led, I had become this artist pornographer. But today, I am the archivist, the annotator of that artist and the drawings he'd made. Unlike the drawing above, the best of them were about the experience of lust, of prurience, of defiance of those authorities, censors and estheticians, of the stereotypes and taboos as to what was and was not 'permissible', 'responsible'
socially acceptable'.

Even now, at this time, my books are not submitted to annuals, group exhibitions where children might somehow see them. I cannot expect public libraries, community centers, galleries, to show my art. Nor do I to certain friends, members of my family or to some (most of) my neighbors.

My drawings, (are ciphers) address what are what I know are the darkest of the fears that goverrn us here in America: it enciphers who we think we are, who we believe we become when we act out sexuality. I have become too aware of my own double bind, (I call it that) being trapped, cut off from the zeitgeist.being so alone (compartmentalized) hoping to discover myself (like Christopher Columbus) in this work. Alone in my saying 'NO! I am a solitary, in my blattance, in my naked 'flashing' of my powerlessness, my blindness as to what it seems is a long hidden deprivation of my own identity, one I dared never find -not (anyway) here in this land of the philistines!

More of this later.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

About Gender as to Sex and Identity

It is a month gone by since my last posting. I've been at work retrieving vintage books of the past dozen or more years that I'd like to post and feature on my web site . The underlying motif and most persistent is what I've come to grasp and understand about gender as to sex and identity.

My voyage has been one in which I sought my Who's I had been, sorted through them (known, unknown and others unexpected): Who's I scarce recognized as having to do with me at all. The tools for my doing so -and the ways I employed them addressed my 'cluelessness'. (A sort of selective amnesia.) Such as I have found is part and parcel of what most of us do in a lifetime of living the unexamined life.

Being an artist was to attempt examining my life. Not that it was my main intension. My art was about pornography and sex. And provided me very basic essentials for accomplishing more than I set forth to do. It was a kind of pornography, custom-made, to meet my especial artistic purposes, my curiosity and my prurience. The motifs, as far as I could tell were to indulge in the taboo, the impermissible and the obscene. Yet these very motifs provided me with the sum substance for finding my Who's! I was not looking for them here, was not seeking to find, identify, examine, or obtain the sense of empathy and insights that actually occurred.

My work awakened me to there being a metaphysics I was engaging -this work was a redefining and a denoting, a glossary (as yet to be alphabetized) of the most common and most ordinary stereotypes we share as to notions about sex and gender as to the Who's we are and become in a lifetime.

The work I've engaged in all centered and obsessed on denoting 'Gender', what we mean by being 'male-masculine,' 'female-femanine' what as to gender and our sense of who we are/become when we have sex. What we permit and and we do not, is impermissible and unacceptable. And even as to my right to query, examine and to express this.

I have done so in the drawings and the narratives I've made. And throughout the process grew aware of, saw patterns, redundancies, units of repetition:


.... I did so, positing that my cock (my very own) was my 'divining' rod authenticating what I was endeavoring to achieve.

I imagined it as an infallible arbiter as to what was and was not 'true', 'real', and 'authentic'... also as to singularly the Who's I may be - become, could be - become, choose or reject being - becoming. -Or utterly, totally deny ....etc.!

Ah, yes, there be, Horatio, more genders than I dreamed of!

To be continued.