Saturday, January 9, 2021

Dirty Snow

"Dirty Snow" 32" x 32"

As I write this, I have a glass sliver in my forefinger making it hard to type.  Gritty, hard livin’ type that I am I would usually operate with my #11 knife and be done with it.  However, this one is so deep that that would involve too much invasive probing and gore; plus, I’d probably get an infection.  So please excuse me, but this time, my typos happened for a reason!

If you don’t want to read a lot of blahdeblah, please skip down to the asterisk.

 As is often the case, the figure was imagined and fabricated a while ago.  I wanted to do a puffy coat.  Why?  Do I have to know?  Does the reason need to be a solid, conceptual scaffold on which profundities can be constructed into edifices reaching heavenward towards a theoretical interrogation of all that is assumed culminating in an apotheosis which proposes a new framework on which to model our culture, society, world etc??  Well, I hope not because I honestly just wanted to make a puffy coat on a lark. I mean, puffy coats…they’re funny!  And so very practical.  During the energy crisis of the 1970’s my parents kept the heat down when they weren’t home.  I had a men’s large puffy coat that I wore around the house like a bathrobe.  OK, try to unimagine that please. I swore them off and only wore leather motorcycle jackets, Carhart prole-wear or long black coats when they were for film students not school shooters. Then, about three years ago, I broke down and got one because AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I NEVER WANT TO BE COLD AGAIN!!


I just want you to know I have a history of deep thoughts on puffy coats.


When I have a fully realized glass character, I am faced with a dilemma.  Who is this character? Where are they?  What are they doing?  Should I put them in an interior space? A landscape? And abstract space (a favorite solution of mine)? I can force things to happen; but usually I like things to arise on their own, so I often table it to see what happens. Meaning—if I work on other ideas, boundaries tend to blur and sometimes a solution for a different piece works for this one.  Also, I take a picture of the figure, input to Photoshop and mess around putting the character in different situations.


Puffy coat, go figure, seemed to suggest an outdoor scene in winter. But are we talking day or night?  Country or city?   Without detailing every machination of my imagination (and believe me there were millions of options I considered), I chose a city scene at night. While I may hate being cold, I like winter.  I get weird winter feelings—sort of the opposite of seasonal affective disorder.  I get happier when the sun goes down at 4 and rises after 7 am!  There is something about fading light and bare trees that evokes in me a keening sense of, well, I dunno what but for some reason it always brings me back to a moment in 1983 when I was walking to my apartment on Hope street in Providence Rhode Island.  Was I thinking something special?  I have no recollection.  Was there a sublime sunset? I was walking south,  so no.  But everyone must have these memories, of some time ages ago that we can’t remember but we can recall it very vividly—at least in a visual way.  I worked pretty hard to evoke this keening sense of winter in this piece.


*On my covid walks, I have noticed something that made it into this piece. People, everywhere around me are people walking around with little bags of poop. (Never mind this has a practical aspect regarding dog walking, I literally saw this as an alien on their first visit to earth.  I saw it completely afresh—like “Oh look at the humans with their little bags of poo!”)

I know it sounds amusing, but I truly found it to be a poignant human thing.  For one thing, don’t we all walk around metaphorically speaking with a little bag of sh*t?  Just a small one, one that we seek to dispose of, so others don’t have to step in it.  What a decent thing to do!

But I was afraid it would be seen as a gag.  And yeah, maybe it will be.  But this statement is a small way I can put forward the idea that it might be funny but it also sweet and kind and to memorialize that is a good and appropriate thing to do.

Technical details:  Dirty snow is represented by the side panels.  I call those designs “pongs”.  I looked back and figured out I had not made pongs in ten (!!) years. I used to do them all the time, but I definitely reached a point where if I made another, I was gonna rampage.  So, I asked myself if I really wanted to do this motif…if I had anything new to say.  The answer, as it turns out was yes indeed. 


Dirty snowflake jawns.


 Shout out to Karisa Gregorio who helped with cutting ALL. THESE. HEXAGONS.

I have done a city at night before.  This city sky was done with some acid etching (or to be totally transparent (!) about it, Armor Etch).  Since I don’t usually use that technique, I thought it was worth mentioning.  Another example is the body of the whale in “Beached Whale” (scroll down).

"Landscape with Underpants", also featuring a city skyline at night.

Also, I did the head thrice:


Another version of the face that I rejected.

1st version of face, which I rejected. You know what?  I honestly have no clue why I didn't like it.