Monday, November 24, 2014

James Joyce ...

A look we like ...

James Joyce was blind - how come I never knew that?

Well he wasn't exactly blind - but he had cataracts and glaucoma and wore an eye patch - he was just nearly blind.

Actually, I seem to remember knowing all about Joyce but I forgot.

I think I'll do that - wear an eye patch, that is.

Cool photo of JJ, huh?

Contrary to popular opinion, he remained Catholic as well.  He also drank heavily.  So many writers drank heavily.  I think Joyce was depressed too.  Undoubtedly.

Anyway.  I can't wait for eye surgery.

I wonder if I'll become a better painter?

I haven't painted in months.

I was reading some art blogs.  The authors were reflecting on art.  Talking about art.  I hate reading about art.

I don't think I'm an artist.  I paint.  I just paint.

I'm not anything.

I can't talk about stuff.  I don't know how to talk about art.

When I began to paint I painted icons.  I painted icons because I couldn't afford a real one back then.

Painting icons.

The person who paints icons paints after a prototype.  I suppose one could say he copies an original - a prototype.

Native American Santeros did likewise.  They copied religious art, lithographs, introduced by missionaries from Mexico and Spain.

Coptic/Ethiopian iconographers copied images of the icon of Our Lady at St. Mary Major, used by the Jesuits in the 17th century.

I really learned how to paint in a similar way - I used the work of others as a sort of road map - I depended upon close study of ancient works and technique, following ever brush stroke.  The work of others, as well as photography became reference points in the execution of the work.

When I moved on from religious art - to paint more profane images - images reflecting my experience, documenting personal observation - I worked in much the same way as primitive artists.   Many years ago I abandoned serious iconography because Orthodox Christians told me non-Orthodox cannot really make icons.  Catholic iconographers used to tell me icons were not really icons unless they were painted along strict canonical disciplines.  I disagree but moved on, abandoning the practice.

Nevertheless, I only knew religious art, and I could only 'speak' that visual language.  I made my paintings like icons and retablos.   Always afraid to show them, I soon was encouraged when I discovered Botero and Khalo, whose works reflected their cultural experience.  Many of Kahlo's works look like retablo and ex voto paintings - telling a story.  When I discovered her, I suddenly felt I had a place ...

I suppose my work is a sort of pastiche.  I read about pastiche on a friend's blog...  and that helped me understand that what I thought was my 'art' was not.  At best it was a collage of borrowed images, an assemblage, though painted, my work is completely derivative and unoriginal.

I've communicated nothing.  I belong nowhere.

A blind painter.  A blind man leading the blind.

Nothing to see here.