Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pedagogical Drawings / Two

[Being in The Here and The Now]

I've been downloading all kinds of found jpgs from the internet.
Yesterday I found one and began playing around with it. (My thanks to Autumn Sunnichsen & Evelyn Dubla.)

I work with Adobe photoshop filters and tools to copy and paste, make collages.

There are tools for rotating the entire image, for adjusting colors and warping and distortions.

I'd like to say of drawings, all drawings -whether with pen or pencil, or a brush -or with ready-mades such as I've used here, each is an expression of a consciousness that is in The Here and The Now. Being an artist and doing a drawing is about this mode of processing.

I cannot work listening to the radio. Doing so is multi-tasking. Some part of me is not focussing on The Here and The Now of my experiencing this.

Even just LOOKING at the image I've started out with requires my fully concentrating, my projecting myself into the picture space, being in this girl's space, her here and my imagining her Now. And she is no mere manniken or model. Not even at the outset.

Not even when I begin improvising my own equivalents, my collages.

'Time present and Time past are perhaps in Time future...' An approximate paraphrasing to T. S. Eliot. In this as a context, my thinking is that the artist must lock into The Now ...stay in that Now if he/she will, by some alchemy, amalgam Time Past with Time Future in the making of his/her Time Now images.

Your comments would be very much appreciate.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Porn : That which Is Not Meant To Be Looked At

"On the crude side of looking at pornography, given that most people find interest in it seeing it as that which is not "meant" to be looked at, I say it is destructive....."

The above statement is a paraphrase, a strand of an ongoing forum discussion at another website.

The argument is right (to my thinking): pornographers do intend being transgressive. They're not presenting 'erotica' which in the hands of writers like The Lazy Geisha, Temptress Butterfly, and Selkie (coincidently, all women) pornographers revel in its dirtiness, its transgressing taboos.

Whether soft or hard porn, it acknowledges the zeitgeist, the general public's aversion, guilt, and anger at depictions of things that are biblically prohibited from being looked at. Sexuality as not being meant to be looked at is what goes to the heart of distinguishing it from being art and literature. They, the pornographers make the distinction as to what the public wants to buy when they are shopping. 'Pornography' and the writers, photographers, and artists in other media know the difference between 'porn' and 'erotica'.

I had once been a journeyman in the genre I called 'pornography'. In the privacy and secrecy of my Long Island studio I consciously embarked on attempting this kind of work. It happened after I'd successfully begun making drawings and comic strips that I believed were no longeer mere learning pieces.

My objective was to do this as an 'honest and authentic' pornographer. That is to make it, acknowledging this was 'for-my-eyes-only' home made pornography, meant to arouse at least my own prurience and my own penis.

This stage of my drawings as porn evolved into something more than porn, around the period when my wife was attending consciousness raising workshops, the great Women's Lib movement. This was in the 1960s, By the 70s and 80s, my porn (still acting in defiance of what I perceived to be the prevailing moralities of the day,evolved into the art of which I found my voice as a book artist and polemicist concerning porn and art as cohabiting the body of work I've produced.

As of this writing, the line being drawn between what is deemed pornographic and erotica is getting very blurry. And it just isn't all about 'intentions' (transgressive) or whether or not the artist is celebrating humans having great sex, or whatever. It is also about who is looking at or looking away, who is fearful for the sake of their souls or their children's evolving values taught in homes, schools, and religious institutions. The Yin and Yang as to this continually is being formed and reformed, changed over the course of time.


Saturday, January 06, 2007


I do not now speak for anyone -as to the what of 'outrage'. Only as to myself. I do not go so far as to think beyond today. There were yesterdays I believed I was The Everyman" but not now. I do not infer a truth for me representative of all humanity. So then to speak of outrage", it is to say I have dissected it out for myself. The roots of my outrage follows vectors spun from forgotten but now resurrected specifics. We all tell singular 'my-life' stories, parsing the vectors (strands) to tell or hide. It contextualizes the point we're trying to get across, the referent for the selfportayal we wish to tell to communicate. What I relate here is about 'outrage.'

I speculate and have speculated as to this in my art, (mistakenly) assuming myself as an Everyman.

I'd forgotten that I did not see myself as an Everyboy. None of those boys on the streets were like me -their mothers did not demand them rollerskate on the sidewalk where no other children played, skated, rode their bicycles (which I was not allowed to have.) finding myself the new kid on the block, the only 'Jewish' kid ... among the gentiles (the goyim) whose mothers welcomed me to their kitchens, served me cookies. And on whose living room furniture I could sit on. One good thing was that I was not forbidden going to their houses. .... at Bernies, in his living room, listen to 'Don Winslow of the Navy' on the radio. (Ah Bernie, where are you today?) Did I seethe with outrage when I was eight or nine. I did, I remember, during my adolescent years!

I acquired my capacity for stoicism. I'm amazed now, awed by that. To the child, it was unimaginable, no alternative responses to be had. It would incite mother to a horror show of reprisals, seething anger and a trespass never to be forgiven or forgotten, accomplished zilch, nothing. I shed tears to learn not to.

Withal the above, my parents claimed they 'loved' me, and I ought naught but loved them in return. I tried. I tried, but could not make them proud of me at things I loved to do. It had to be what 'they' wanted. And I would never quite bring myself to that. I was an egoist full of egotism, revolting at my winning their approval on their terms.

My father would say, "well, you know your mother, the way she is." Would say this many times during my growing up, -as to this he meant "But what can I do? Mother is the way she is." This was not his fault, but merely fate ... Fate was Millie hen-pecking him. This man wanted no aggravation, just peace and quiet when he came home at night was my role model.

To Millie, it was about 'fault' and 'disappointment' -and I being a burdensome child. About not appreciating what a sacrifice she'd made, what a wonderful woman she was for putting up with me. Marrying my father, being my nurse maid. Enough, said.

I was an embarrassment. My not getting good grades in school, not knowing how and when to keep my mouth shut in company, saying the wrong things, not behaving like 'the devoted son'. Such it was as to who she would have wanted me to be and eventually become: it just didn't get across to dense little me -though It was continually enough drummed into me. For Millie, my destiny was to be her eventual caretaker in her old age. That terrified me. These were the tendrils of what the word 'Outrage' denotes now to me. Few now are my tears. (The ducts dry up.) These many years, outrage has been 'Inrage' ... a playdough in my art molding 'pornography'. The roots (vectors) charged / energized by 'inrage' is my defiance, my art refuting societal taboos.

Such, is the story I tell, the explaining I do to myself of the legacy I experienced: this art I do, the work ('doing me') embodies., at the core my 'inrage' as 'outrage'.

From another perspective, it is out of my disorientation and confusion that my art addresses what I the child presumed was unthinkable to consider. It was with and of the 'obscene' and 'Impermissibility' (I called 'My Pornography as Art') that I rediscover 'Outrage'. Yes, 'the child' was dealt a lousy hand to play Life's game, born to a father who hides my mother from me. keeping secret his divorce and remarrying. He'd replaces my mother with an impostor, a horrible and henpecking woman. I was not a happy child, nor allowed to promulgate any sense of my own sanity.

But, this art I have done and do, is about the mysteries of 'The Obscene', and my cure, my rescue....

To be cont'd.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Art Makes Me

During my 'learning how to draw' years (1960's) my first erotic drawings were done in pencil - and lots of erasing. Worked me to an erection. It was a damned good way to learn.

Drawing is a reinventing of the wheel. I found I let my imagination go, and in the now of full focusing. The human figure was a thing I was touching as I drew. Tactile. In my case it was prurience, curiosity and, yes, the impermissible as to the subject matter I had chosen. It was from these sessions I learned the schemas, built the repertoire that bettered my drawings . From pencil and erasor to pen and no erasing, I rapidly got the knack as to how many lines I had to make and at what stage of the dancing and adding lines to desist, stop. Stopping , I had come to understand would occur either because I was stymied and didn't know where I was, or that some 'muse' or other self tapped me, signalled me in some subliminal way to back off,

It eventually evolved that I filled many storebought black drawing books. I'd put some pages on the copier, print them in black and white. I'd make small editions and play at using 'book art' as a way of exhibiting them.
I sent them out as e-mail art and as book art.

Doing all my drawing and making editions was done in the privacy of my studio. It was not anything I felt comfortable taking to a commercial printing place to do. Those were the days before Kinkos and other such establishments. My images as you see here were too (?) .....

I have since the 1980's accomplished seeing this body of work received and taken seriously as art. *(See below)

What I'm getting at is that the processing of housing these drawings in books, copier printed books, designing these books, first as (Malraux's) 'galleries without walls' influenced not only my evolving as self styled ' pornographer-making-art' but set in place a concurrent symmetry of eventually learning how to become a 'book artist'! Book art entailed more than the book as exhibition space.

The give and take entailed in the assembling a signature (folded sheets of paper printed front and back) had its own esthetic and architecture and symbolism. The work, making drawings, accompanying texts, fabricating one of a kinds and small editions impacted, affected my sense of an identity that transcended the particularities of the processes. (Facture.)

It in fact, raised questions I had not thought or was able to pose. All very daunting and, till recently, unresolved.

The work of those formative middle years fashioned the artist-person posting this blog.
It transpired in the decade, the years of my fifties. I believe that it is 'culminating', this art I do is now allowing me to quite another level of expression and self-identity.
Some collections containing my book art works are:

The Museum of Modern Art, NYC
The Brooklyn Museum, NYC
The New York Public Library Print Collection on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, NYC
The Kinsey Institute on the campus of Indiana State University, Bloomington