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.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for describing your artistic journey and how you have developed stylistically. We must continue to strive to learn and grow at any age.

October 30, 2006 at 7:59 PM  
Blogger Norman said...

Thanks for posting.

The older I get the more I'm 'coming out'. (:-)

November 1, 2006 at 9:51 AM  

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