January 12, 2015
This week saw an horrific murder of thousands in Nigeria and also the despicable murder of a magazine staff in France. One event generated millions of responses and tons of money being thrown at the French magazine. I think millions got it wrong. And I think it is time for a big change in thinking on this planet.
Afrique (as the French say) is a continent battered and raped for centuries by colonialist powers including France. They left a legacy of poverty and desperation. Even today, Africans are generally looked down and marginalised in French society (this I know from living in Paris) and in other parts of the world, including the US.
A magazine that specialized in depraved “humour” and easy targets was on the edge of bankruptcy and with good cause. Picking on the marginalized and “religion” is a “soft” target for the lazy and insensitive. That magazine deserved, not the event that took place, but to go into bankruptcy. It deserved to be forgotten and was on its way out.
The Africans murdered in Nigeria were mostly women, children and the aged – people that could not outrun the “religious” lunatic fanatics of Boco Haram. They did not deserve this death either.
But why does the French magazine get the attention and money? It seems to me that it is an extension of the disregard and oppression of the people of Afrique – the almost endless attempt to marginalise the “black man” (and here I use the term “black man” to symbolize the people of Africa, not as a “literal” definition).
I say it is time for a change in attitude and values. I think it is time to re-build Africa, not stand by and watch the results of Western colonization and abandonment of this precious people.
Give that village in Nigeria the money and attention it deserves. Build them a secure and safe town, with running water and electricity. Take the money from the racist magazine in Paris and give it to people who deserve it. Take the “solidarity” behind the not-so-funny cartoon rag and give it to the people of Africa. End the racism and the taking advantage of the African people. Stand with Africa.
March 10, 2014
Continuing with the homework assignment from my current CalArts class in “Art History for Artists”. MANRAY & Meret Oppenheim greatly influenced my work. These paintings were published as Art Prints by Verkerke.
Going to a Manray Retrospective at Beaubourg while I was living in Paris changed my life. It was also my introduction to DaDa and I find it is always in my mind!
March 8, 2014
I’m taking an Art History for Artists at CalArts right now…homework assignment is to list things that are part of our personal art history. So I’m working backwards from the my current works:
I have been painting in London since 1970. Art History and cultural appreciation for art and artists seems so much more valued there than in the US (in general). I regularly do gallery tours and on this momentous occasion, I was touring with Swedish Artist Anna Tuhus. We had visited about 6 galleries before we got to the Tate Modern. Most were small galleries or exhibits where the visitors were intensely focused on the work. BUT there at the Tate, with an incrdible Joan Miro exhibit, the visitors – about 60 students – were ALL completely focused on their electronic devices – not one was looking at the exhibit. They had given up true social discourse and observation for virtual reality. Even sketching and shooting around them, they barely noticed our existence. I’m now doing a series of paintings based on this “electronica” disease.
November 12, 2013
The First Annual Rancho Tehama Festival de la Feijoa took place this last week. The week long festival included harvest, processing, food and drink creation, singing and dancing. Feijoa ice cream, feijoa-fizz drinks, feijoa and lime muffins, feijoa paste, feijoa-pomegranate tea, feijoa-pomegranate syrup, feijoa lemon-strawberry muffins, feijoa-pomegranate honey, and plenty of feijoa eating. Sadly, 95% of our crop is now down and processed….but we are already looking forward to next year!
October 9, 2013
Come and pick your own bud farms! Harvest Season in Rancho Marijuana! The smell of bud permeates everywhere in this tiny community – but you need an invitation to “pick your own”, unless you want to do it in the middle of the night. There are over 350 marijuana farms in a two square mile area – almost none of it guarded or protected – not even basic camera surveillance. Generators are going 24/7 to water the crops. Strangers are driving around taking pictures, stealing plants and taking notes from their cars. The local Sheriff (Tehama County) is afraid to even come near this place – where Ana and I live. It is 30 miles out into the back country and though 1500 people live here, there is no form of public transportation. The “1500” people does not include the majority of marijuana growers – they are, for the most part, transient foreign nationals. They constantly break the laws in regards to cultivation, registration, fencing, water transport (it is against the law to move water from one property to another), distribution and sale. And they sometimes get busted – a few months ago one of them got an 18-year sentence for illegal sale – but he was busted outside the Rancho. His crops here went unattended for….wait for it…about half an hour. We live in the middle of this, foolishly growing our own food and planting fruit trees – hardly the stuff to make us rich. But then the growers don’t seem rich either – battered pick-ups and tents or broken down trailers; generators instead of power poles; and they bring in really cheap whores for weekend parties. Not the Glorious life depicted on Miami Vice. This is where we live – our house is surrounded by more than 50 marijuana properties just in a half-mile radius. We smell the weed, the exhaust from generators and our roads have been, in some cases, completely ruined by constant water-truck traffic. We don’t go for walks any more on the ranch because it isn’t safe and we don’t want to “alarm” any grower who might be sleeping in a little tent next to his crop. Some day he might be rich and we’ll want him for a good neighbor. LOL.
August 12, 2013
Part of my series on “Wot’s Going on in a Cat’s Head” Acrylics on hand made paper. Shirley, you don’t expect me to explain what is going on in this cat’s mind. He’s a philosopher.
July 25, 2013
Inspired by a photo of Evelina Galli by photographer Alice Poghosian, and painted as a collaborative effort with Anastasia Nelson. Motivated by current pop culture, this fashionable visitor to the LA Museum of Contemporary Art talks on the phone and sips a coffee while Matisse watches from the background. 30×48 canvas.