Monday, November 14, 2022

Bridging the Old Ways with contemporary art through Dream Time

One of my favorite memories growing up was when we would all sit down to breakfast and mom would tell us about her dreams the night before. Sometimes they were a bit crazy and my sisters and I would laugh at the silliness of them. Other times she would get this look in her eyes as she would relate a dream that had significance related to a situation going on right then. It was like there was an insight coming through the dream that helped us prepare for what was going on. Once in a while dad would relate one of his dreams and when one of my sisters or I shared a dream, everyone would listen with intent. It was like it didn't matter which one of us shared a dream, they were all treated with the same respect and attention.

Later, in adulthood, I learned that there was a distinction between how Native American culture and society incorporated dreams, visions, and spiritual insights into everyday life, and how other cultures, especially the colonial Europeans, viewed dreams. Growing up the way that I did, I thought everyone integrated dream time into everyday reality the way my family did. I found out that there was a very different understanding about dreams. Even in the arts, with Surrealism, dreams were treated as experiences to be treated as a separate reality or non-reality. The idea that dreams could be integrated into everyday reality as a way to generate a healthy social fabric would be dismissed as a quaint childlike primitivism. I learned that it wasn't appropriate to share my dreams with my classmates in school.

As a sixteen year old junior in high school I was enjoying my physics class. I would go to the library and get books on the topic for extracurricular reading. The book on the General Theory of Relativity by Einstein was one that I read with great interest. At night I would have dreams that ran parallel to the information that I was reading, giving me insights into some conflicts between the details in the theory and how the Universe actually functioned. I would write a paper disputing the Theory based upon these dreams. My high school teacher couldn't understand the material and had to take my paper to his physics professor to verify that I was on track and not spoofing him. I got a 100% on the paper. This was the first time that I used information from dream time in my academic studies.

When I got to college as an advanced physics student, I quickly became disillusioned with my studies. The classes were boring like it was all old information and I wasn't being challenged and between the Vietnam War and the Cold War, I was just another cog in the War Machine slated to become a researcher in the pursuit towards building a better bomb for the military. I switched to art. One of the first classes that I took was pottery. It was there that I was introduced to pit-fired pottery and the work of Mandy Big Meat. I did research, reading every book that I could find on the topic. I quickly discovered that the decorations on the pots came to the potter from dream time. Now I was back in that familiar space where dream time and waking time were integrated in everyday reality.

It was also in pottery that I discovered the Japanese Zen method of decorating pottery by doing the “controlled accident” of splashing slip under-glaze on pot. The visual effect generated a spatial impression that would bridge the gulf between “concrete reality” and the fluid realm of holistic, integrated reality of this natural world I existed in. Over the next few years my pottery would go through a transformation of utilitarian containers to sculptural forms I would refer to as “clouds”. Over the past few decades discoveries in astronomy have helped me to understand where I was going with my work as I was still continuing to explore ideas with pottery and colors that had been limited to the very dry elements of formulas in quantum physics. I could see how the geometric patterns of decoration on the pit-fired pottery of my Cherokee ancestors and other tribal artisans had also been creating visual imagery that referenced the natural world far beyond the Newtonian physics of daily reality the colonial culture was limited to.

As a multi-disciplinary artist, my new found visual tools would start to transfer over to my other work. The dreams would also impact my work, but not in the same direction as found in surrealism. I could create a wide range of visual languages using colors as units of energy similar to a weather map, or harmonic signals of soundings with the understanding that some people could experience crossovers between the senses. In dream time the experiences would include spaces of color and sound. A visual language would develop that would overlap with the use of fractals, computer generated mathematical art. At the core of the work would be a spirit of freedom that would inspire me to push the artwork into an individual expression that reflected my holistic and integrated reality. I felt like I was doing something that wasn't abstract. I came to call it hyper-dynamic realism. I wasn't trying to create the illusion of an apple on a table. I was creating actual photonic experiences.

I started using the symbols and elements of tribal imagery. (There is no word for art in the Cherokee language. The closest parallel would be translated to “life”.) I loved the juxtaposition of abstract expressionism and tribal imagery. Over the years this would go through various transformations. At some point I became concerned that these images were the property of the individual that had dreamt them. I didn't want to be appropriating something that didn't belong to me. I prayed about this. One night I had a dream. During the dream I watched as one of these symbols approached me. It floated up with a three dimensional body that kind of resembled jello. It was in color. When it got up to me it related that all the symbols had heard me concerns and had a council. They all agreed that they liked what I was doing with my art and had sent it to tell me that they were their own entities and they chose who used them in their work. They wanted me to know that I had their permission to use any of them in my work. Then I started seeing one symbol after another in front of me like a series of slides, but they were full bodied people of the spirit world. I woke up from that dream a bit awe struck. Since my art work has always been deeply influenced by my experiences during dream time, it is all traditional. There is no time limitations in the spirit world.

Over the past year or so I started a series of paintings using several different media. About fifteen of these were done using acrylic paint on canvas. Two of these are “Eagle Vision” and “Raven Song”. They have been included in a curated show, “Still Here Still Native”, at The Arts Center in Fayetteville NC from October 27 through November 27, 2022. These paintings go perfectly with the theme of the show, demonstrating the continued presence of the indigenous peoples of North America in spite of the attempted genocide and acculturation of us.

Eagle Vision”
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
November 3, 2021

The symbol found in “Eagle Vision” is based upon an image found in “Authentic Native Designs”, published by Dover Press, (1975) on page 35. The footnote states that it is from a vase of the Gulf Coast Group found at Jolly Bay, Florida. In creating this work I wanted to show it a little differently than what it might have appeared like in that dream many years ago. I approached it like I was doing a portrait using techniques and ideas that have developed over the years. My method of painting with acrylic over the past ten years has follow a process where I prime the canvas, then put down a white background. From there I put down three different pigments each session, doing glaze painting where the pigments are thinned down with clear polymer so they are somewhat transparent. Then I will put down a layer of clear polymer. I do this for seven sessions, three different pigments, then a clear layer of polymer. This process gives a three dimensional effect. For this painting I marked in the symbol before I started with the three pigments, then did the symbol in white pigment. After each session of colors I would refresh the symbol so that it developed within the layers so that it showed through from back to front with varying edges to give a visual impression of motion. During the last session I used a mixture of titanium white pigment and iridescent white to make it reflective so that it appeared to glow. This is as close to the visual of what I experienced during the dream as I can get. The “abstract” background around and behind the symbol represents the energy field that I see during many dreams of the spirit world.

Raven Song”

Acrylic on canvas
24 x 18 inches
November 29, 2021

The “Raven Song” I had to approach the painting a little differently. I can't seem to find where this symbol came from so there is no reference footnote on this one. I suspect that the symbol is actually a Thunderbird but if it is from the Northwest, the tribes there reference the Raven as their connection to the Thunder Beings and the sacred clown. Given that this is going to be a symbol in black, the background had to be adjusted a bit. I used blue pigment with iridescent white mixed in to outline parts of the symbol to give it an impression of having electricity associated with it. That's my poetic license in doing this portrait.

One of the things that I've realized in my own spiritual journey of claiming my indigenous heritage is how the efforts of racial genocide, acculturation, and assimilation have functioned over the past 500+ years here on Turtle Island. During tribal times prior to the acculturation process a story teller would be relating a story to the children, especially during the winter months. As the story was being told, the story could point to a pottery vase, basket, or related everyday household object where the image of the topic would be on display. This multi-sensory experience would become the introduction to this spirit being such that the child could began their own dream time journey into that spiritual realm and glean the knowledge and information that would provided. By taking way these objects for scientific study in museums and universities, as well as private collections, and denying the children access to the traditional storytellers, their whole tribal culture of spiritual practice is taken away from them. Over the past few decades sacred objects have been returned to the tribes but there's still a lot more in collections where the tribal people are denied access to them. The storytellers are starting to come back as well. In the digital age there are podcasts where one can here the stories, but this isn't the same as laying on the floor of a traditional lodge with a fire burning, listening to a story. The movie industry is doing what they do best, present altered renditions of our stories for a profit, for themselves. As we reclaim our heritage and tribal spirituality, our own storytellers will become more effective in offering us these resources we need that assist us in our own dream time journeys that are part of tribal life. It is vital that we support the artisans who do their part to provide the visual objects that reference these stories.

Oliver Loveday

November 14, 2022 3 pm EST

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Art Market

 Marketing Art

An essay on the best way to get rid of some really bad art.

I have been asked via Facebook Messenger about how one should go about selling art by a young artist in India. First off, I am the last person that anyone should be asking that question. I am terrible at marketing art. I always have been. I always will be. That doesn't mean that I don't know how others have gone about becoming very successful at generating an income, indeed, a huge fortune, at marketing their art during their life time. The first answer is easy. Do what sells. Marketing a lot of art and making a lot of money has absolutely nothing to do with creativity. It is about being a great con artist. Creativity entails a level of honesty. Marketing art and creativity are diametrically opposed activities. That is to say, the best way to make money at doing art is to be as non-creative as possible and still create an object that can be sold. That being said, skip the rest of the essay because I have nothing to say that is going to help an actual artist sell their work.

First off, I am the descendant of an indigenous tribe of people that are commonly referred to as the Cherokee Nation. The cultural and spiritual aspirations of this indigenous tribe were never, are not, concerned with the accumulation of material possessions. One only needed to strive for the basic needs of survival. After that, all other efforts were focused on either objects that were an expression of personal identity or else communal cultural aspirations. Expression of personal identity could be objects that were spiritual objects, like a Sacred Pipe, or ceremonial regalia, like shell gorgets or bead work. One's status within the community and society was never associated with the acquisition of material goods. Creativity was a process and function of spiritual intent. That remains a primary reason for me to do “art” today. The concept of making a living by selling ones work, as in the commercialization of creativity, is one that is imposed from foreign social dynamics. Asking me how to sell art successful and make a living at art is asking me how to function within the “white man's world”. I really don't know and I don't care. The very nature of the process is an act of cultural genocide upon the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (North and South America).

With all that disclaimer business out of the way let's jump in and have some fun exploring how to make money. Again, the less you say with your work, the easier it is going to be to sell it. That is an important aspect of the current art market. During the 1960's a number of artists emerged that sold a lot of art and did very well at saying very little. Studying their marketing strategy is the best way of figuring out how to make the most money in the art world while one is a living artist. The best way to make a lot of money from your art is to die, but that topic should be left for another day. While I am raking the art market through the mud, as only a matter of a passing nod to the reality of how irrelevant it is to creativity and art, I should also mention that I am the opinion that every art instructor and administrator of university fine art departments should be arrested for embezzlement and imprisoned for life. One can teach how to create art. One can not teach creativity, nor does the “Art Academy” do a very good job of teaching art students how to market their art. As one gallery owner put it, becoming a successful artist (ie. Selling a lot of art work, which is the only kind of success that a gallery owner is interested in) is based upon three things. Who you know. Where you show. Who you blow. One would think that this market strategy would be gender inclusive, but I couldn't tell you. I've never aspired to utilize this market strategy. There are a number of examples of artists out there that suggest that this market plan is still viable. If selling a lot of art work is what drives you, then know that marketing art is hard work, but the good thing about it is that you can pray while you are on your knees.

I suppose if one is going to go to a university to study fine art and this person has aspirations of selling their art work and surviving from it, then there is nothing wrong with taking some classes in business management and marketing. The first and most important thing that an aspiring artist should recognize is that art is a business. A business needs to do bookkeeping and spreadsheets. If you can't afford to pay someone else to do this then learn to do it your self. Learn how to do marketing. That's the question here, right? You aren't going to learn about marketing in the same class as the one that teaches you how to use turpentine to thin your oil paint down so it smears around faster and easier and you can get a painting down in two hours, how long most art classes last, or if you get really fast at it, you can get it down to thirty minutes like Bob Ross. Be sure to add some Happy Trees.

In the context of creativity, Bob Ross would be a bad example. He basically did the same landscape painting over and over again, with small variations, with techniques that allowed him to work fast and create work within the time frame of a television show. That was his art. He created an identity of being a good presenter for television. It was a notable effort. He was a combat veteran of the Vietnam War that started painting as part of therapy for PTSD. His chatter throughout his television shows that we all love so much is how one talks one's self away from the edge. He didn't start out with aspirations of selling his paintings. He started out with aspirations of engaging in activities that pushed the rat-a-tat-tat into the background enough so he didn't do self harm or hurt others. His wife realized that there was market potential in putting him in front of a video camera and letting him chatter away while he found some momentary peace. One of the best things any artist can learn from Bob Ross is the importance of getting good turpentine and have lots of paint rags about. Other than that, one should never have any aspirations to replicate his success. You really don't want to go through what he went through in order to get there.

Self-replication is the name of the game in the art market, and indeed, the art world. The Art Academy, that exclusive cult we call art education, is all about self-replication. Doing art that imitates your instructor gives them this sense of validation that they are important as an artist, and thus the student is rewarded with good grades. The best art instructors are the best ass kissers, and since that's how they made it in the Academy, they expect the same from their students. I got a lot of C's in the university. I'll explain to you why that is later. Pucker up, buttercup. Getting good grades in art class has nothing to do with creativity. And speaking of, I've done a bit of reading about what creativity is and it is all mystery. The Ancient Greeks associated it with the Muses. Like creativity and inspiration are an outside source and the artist can court the Muse. Actually Ancient Greek literature didn't address painting or fine art back then because this is all basically new activities among humans. Poetry and theater, judicial matters, and government were topics of interest with respect to the Muses. Along with composition, shading, priming the canvas, learning to do lost wax casting sculpture, and so forth, I took a class in aesthetics. It's a great field within the department of philosophy that inspires learned pursuants to come up with cleaver ways of saying that they have no idea what creativity is. The Ancient Greeks put it best. Don't look under the skirt of your Muse. She will get embarrassed and leave. That means; don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out where inspiration comes from. Just know that you either got it or you don't. Those that have it, do it. Those that don't, teach it. I know a person who has aspirations to be a great writer. He is very good with the craft of writing. He lacks a Muse. He has made a good living as a journalist and editor for other writers who were inspired but not as skilled in the craft of writing. I can barely stand to read his own creative efforts. Even his efforts at imitation of other great writers is bad.

The most important thing to keep in mind with respect to great artists becoming successful is that they didn't get there on their own. Learning how to file business reports for tax purposes is a good skill to learn as part of learning to be a professional artist, so when you do generate enough cash flow from your efforts and you can hire someone to do the accounting and bookkeeping, you'll know how to read their reports and know when they are doing a bad job. Willie Nelson trusted his accountant and got ran through the wringer because his accountant was charging him for income taxes but put the money in his own pocket instead of sending it to the IRS. Knowing how to write a hit song and knowing how to read a balance sheet aren't taught in the same class. If making money from your art work is your primary aspiration then the best thing that you can do as an artist is poke your eyes out and make a living as a beggar. You'll make more money.

There is some great art out there and the art market is the number one financial market where a lot of funds are being exchanged without any oversight or regulation. Among the living artists that are selling a lot of art through galleries, if that is the path that interests you, see the marketing plan I pointed out earlier. The meat market is alive and well in the “art world”. Meanwhile, there are a number of artists who have been very successful, success being defined by their bank accounts, without going through the process of the “3 who's”. Well, one of them is where you show, but anyway. There are a number of artists who have made a few million selling their paintings, and prints of their paintings, who never had a show in Paris, London, or New York City. Seascapes have been one of those subjects that sell like hot cakes. It's a bit like Bob Ross with sand and incoming tide. Finding a subject matter that sells easily and doing a lot of them is one way to make money. The conflict with creativity in doing this is a discussion for another day. Like when I was visiting a Native American artist in New Mexico who talked about his struggles to survive and provide for his family from his visionary art, while comparing his life and career to a peer that he had gone to collect with at the Sante Fe Art Institute for Native Americans. That artist did the typical tourist art of landscapes with pueblo scenes and made a few million. He decided to drop out of that market and do his own work. The kind of work that he was inspired to do when he first started in college. After six months of this he killed himself. The Muse of inspiration was gone and all that money and financial security didn't matter. Poke your eyes out. Really.

The second worse thing that can happen to an artist who is talented and inspired, after they don't poke their eyes out, is to become famous. Fame kills creativity. Fame demands stability and stability means that you avoid innovation and self-replicate yourself, over and over, until you croak. Defining success is a tricky business. It isn't about cash flow and market value, obviously, unless you fancy yourself a cross-disciplinary artist/porn star. To be a successful artist you have to complete the next work of art. Given all the forces at play to squelch creativity, functioning in a creative manner and getting work done is a success. That's the reality of creativity. There's a bit of a gap between a successful artist who is still doing art ten years after they get out of college as opposed to the market concept of successful. Being an artist is a tough reality. There is no fast track to success like one might find in other career choices. It's a lot of hard work and being at the right place at the right time, shaking a lot of hands at art openings, and marketing. Marketing is basically story telling. You have to have a good rap. Go hang out with street artists who have easels set up painting while they have a display of their work behind them. Listen to them talk to potential customers. They know how to hustle. They can't sell paintings for thousands of dollars on the street so they do a lot of work fast and sell it cheap, fast. Listen to their rap. This is the blue print for your market strategy. Patrons love a good story to go with their acquisition from a living artist. If you don't have a story ready for every painting, you won't sell art. Selling art face to face, whether to studio visitors, at street markets and art fairs, or in galleries, is the most satisfying way to make a living. That doesn't mean you don't pursue gallery representation. The trade off is that they take a big chunk of sale but you sell more work that way. You derive more income by having a gallery sell ten paintings than you do by selling one painting directly to a patron. Learning to navigate through the gallery scene is a whole other class that you won't learn from a college professor. You have to beat the pavement and get out there. Go to gallery openings. Eat the free food. Go easy on the free wine if you indulge. Patrons love watching an artist make a fool of themselves after they get drunk at a gallery opening. That's one of the reasons they go to openings. They love to watch you fall all over yourself. That doesn't sell art. Yours or the other artist.

The most important goal of marketing strategy is learning how to develop a patron base. That's marketing 101. You need patrons. You will need to start out small. Small means paintings that you can carry under your arm. Small means a lot of drawings. Early on in your career you will be selling a lot of sketches and drawings. Be careful and don't sell the ones you need for studies of major paintings when you can afford to do one and have the patronage to support the effort. Do a lot of small drawings and paintings. Sell them at a price that keeps them moving. Don't undersell them below their value but don't expect to win the lottery at it either. The best way to price your work is to go to art fairs and galleries and see what the market is supporting. It breaks down into several categories. The medium, the size, the actual work, your age, and whether you had to get down on your knees to make the sale. Pricing art is complicated. Sometimes you sell more art if you double the price because the patrons are going to brag about how important the work is and they never brag about how cheap it was. Understand that about your patrons. They are supporting you. Not looking for bargains. It's a strange market and the psychology of it all is very different from selling refrigerators.

Keep in mind that moral support from family, friends, and peers is not the same as developing a patron base. Your mother may have some great ideas that she wants you to paint but she isn't going to buy those paintings. A few drawings here and there are okay, but having a fan base is not the same as a patron base. All those other artists that click the “like” button on your social media page aren't going to buy your work. A thousand “like” clicks won't buy a gallon of milk. Enjoy the moral support but don't confuse this to be a marketing strategy for one minute. Patrons have their checkbooks out and are writing in them. Some of my best patrons have never clicked the “like” button one time.

I'm a slut when it comes to marketing my art. For the right price I will do anything. You want an oil painting of your dog? $20,000.00 up front and the balance as per the contract and I'll start first thing tomorrow. I may be a slut but I'm not a cheap whore when it comes to my art. Art is serious business. Commissions are a great way to earn a living as an artist. Learn what a good contract looks like and use them. Handshakes work sometimes but the bigger the price tag, the greater the need for good paperwork. People love to con artists out of their work for some reason. We are supposed to be stupid when it comes to business matters and we live up to that reputation in so many way. I love the story of an artist who was commissioned to paint a mural in a famous actor's home. The price was agreed to with a handshake. There was a basic understanding of what was wanted. The artist was provided a small living space in the residence so he could live there and work. He got meals provided. As he started to work the concept changed. Changes had to be made to the mural. What was supposed to be a month long project was going on for six months and the patron's teenage daughter was having an affair with the artist as well. It was getting complicated. Finally the artist packed up one day and left. He never got paid. What sounded like a great situation to start with turned into a nightmare. Maybe he even got sued for breech of contract for not completing the project. Paper work covers all that. That is one example of how artists have been ripped off for not doing good legal paper work. Successful artists do commissions and that includes good contracts that make sure they get fairly compensated at the end of the deal.

I love the idea of putting my art work on the side of a coffee mug. Some artists don't like that. Prints, reproductions, T-shirts, mouse pads, sell it all. I love creating bumper stickers. There have been a lot of artists who have made more money from reproductions of their work then they have sales of original work. One way to generate an income from your work is to find a market for reproductions. Getting your art work on an album cover is a great way to market your art. Do a contract. Make sure your name and website appear on the cover. That's the difference between a slut and a cheap whore. Don't give your art away for any reason when it comes to multiples. If they make money off your work, you should be making money also. Learn what copyright laws mean and use them.

/When I was 20 years old it was suggested that I seek out a relationship with a 50 year old heiress. It was a serious suggestion. The only artists that get out of art school and go straight to full time making art either have wealthy parents or a wealthy benefactor (with benefits). The rest of us wash dishes, wait tables, work construction, or find other jobs that drain our energies and sap our creative urges until all those tubes of oil paint stashed under the bed have dried out by the time that we are thirty years old. That's the nature of the profession. A successful artist is one who is still doing art at the age of thirty. It is a hard life and tough reality. On the other hand, being an artist who is still plugging away at sixty eight in spite of the lack of fame and fortune, there are many reasons to hang in there and keep going. Like I alluded to at the start of the essay, I'm doing art for spiritual reasons. I want to do art that elevates everyone's awareness, whatever that means. Welcome to the spirit world of indigenous cosplay. One minute I might be talking about subatomic physics and interstellar space. The next minute I might be talking about Grandmother Spider and the Star Nations. It's all the same thing. Just different names. I have a very definite reason for being an artist. I like money. I don't have issues with selling art or making money. I consider my work to be of value and anticipate deriving financial compensation for my work when it goes to live with someone else. But money and financial success doesn't define me or serve as a value judgment about how good my art is. In order to derive the best experience out of the creative process, resolving those questions of identity and spirituality are going to be very important. Your mother or spouse may not agree with your motivations. That's part of the challenge of being an artist. Get used to it. Success is signing a completed work. Do a lot of work. Small stuff that gets the creative juices going but also don't be a purist to the level you refuse to do stuff that is easy to sell early on. Flowers sell easy. You want to make money with your art. Paint flowers. I could have said that and skipped all this other stuff about blow jobs and poking out your eyes. To those artists still reading this, do art because it is the motivation and inspiration that the Universe has provided. It is a sacred trust between humanity and the Universe. We go into the Great Unknown and come back with inspiration to do something that has never been done before. That sense of childlike wonder that comes from this process is beyond material and financial measure. To everyone else still reading that are curious about how the artist goes about marketing, it's an easy mix of overlapping models of counter-espionage, political science, insider trading, and drug trafficking. We just provide the product. Love.

Oliver Loveday © August 15, 2021 1:40pm EDT

Friday, December 25, 2020

Yellow Buffalo Survival Tape #5

This "Yellow Buffalo Survival Tape" starts out with a song on the big drum. "Song For Homeless People" I didn't relieze that it was 6 minutes long but it's a prayer and besides I got to practice my warble during the song so hang in there. This isn't a video for short attention span. Then I do a 20 minute "kitchen talk" about some of the issues and processes of the sacred healing work and the challenges during these times. I finish the video off with a clip using video of watercolor paintings in progress, running paint looks cool, and the song, "Voices: A Desert Song" from 2012, which originally appeared as a video on YouTube nine years ago. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2020




Sumi ink and gold ink on rice paper

13 x 9.5 inches | 33 x 24 cm

February 14, 2013

Stratosphere Vibrations

In the punch drunk mudra of cloud reality

Rambling across the sky like a poet

Drifting down narrow passages

To far away places

Without the memory of Cold Mountain

To save us from emptiness

As the air oscillates between vibrant

And windy gusts of icy fog

And we are here for the first time

And the last time


Oliver Loveday © October 18, 2013 3:20pm EDT

Saturday, October 17, 2020

“Cloud Bones”

“Cloud Bones”

Sumi ink and gold ink on rice paper

13 x 9.5 inches | 33 x 24 cm

February 6, 2013

I am becoming

I am awake

I have awakened

This and personal

This and personality also

Person and reality combined

I am awake

I am becoming

Variables in the realm of possibility

I arrive in the manner of transition

I become something new to myself

I become someone new from within

Reality remains the same | every changing

I become

I am becoming

I am reintegrated now

Oliver Loveday © February 9, 2013 6:20 pm EST


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Saturn Moments

 “Saturn Moments”

Sumi ink and gold ink on rice paper

13 x 9.5 inches | 33 x 24 cm

February 2, 2013

Whiter Sky

Ages of vintage aging marring infinity

Silence roars in like a butterfly

Stepping across the abyss into nothing

The sky is greener when it is dry

Lacking the shoulder of charcoal memory

I etch into another plastic reality

Frozen in stipulations of indecision

The sky is bluer when it is free

Lurking in the corridor of forgotten dust

Raking the garden in the snow

Knowing space without temporal chains

The sky is whiter above the airborne crow

Oliver Loveday © February 2, 2013 6:30 pm EST

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Bull Run Field Report 2020

O Si Yo

Identity and ego are not the same thing. A healthy ego is a function of survival. Beyond that it becomes pride and vanity which are unhealthy traits. Humility is an aspect of a healthy ego coupled with a clear identity. A person who is gifted with the ability to have insights; visions, is more effective in fulfilling this role in society when they have a functional identity and humility. As such, a person who serves in this role isn’t going to be an aggressive person. People who function in the role of a visionary aren’t going to argue with you about their vision. They will just shut up and follow the merits of their insight. Like if they get a premonition about a forest fire and no one listens to this insight. “No one knows the future.” A vision isn’t carved in stone when related to the future but it should be considered as an insight of some merit. That’s one of the roles of our Elders. This current society devalues our visionaries and Elders who would evaluate the merits of an insight. This will be changing soon. Love.

October 3, 2020 1:57pm

As I sit here on this Thursday evening, October 8, 2020, and reflect on this years Bull Run there are a number of things that need to be talked about. It's been four days since the Run. I was told many years ago to hold off talking about ceremony for four days and I understand why now a little better than I did when this was related to me. There is post-ceremonial depression that comes with the crash of having been in ceremony and that feeling that comes with it. There was a lot of resistance that was coming through before this year's Run. There is always a lot of resistance to ceremony, both individually from the person participating in ceremony, and the outside forces that don't want it to happen. That is because ceremony changes things and there is always resistance to change. That was especially true this year in the middle of a global pandemic, COVID-19. There was a question as to whether I should even host the Run this year but three people chose to brave the risks and attended the Run, so it happened with more than just me. A big thank you to Maggie Loveday, John “Caterpillar” Kasiah, and Andy “the half baker” Weatherly for participating in the Run this year. When I did the spirit plate offering for breakfast after the Run I related in that prayer how grateful I was to be doing this ceremony with people that I enjoyed doing ceremony with.

This was a very important aspect of this year's Run because there have been many times when I was doing the Run with people that I didn't enjoy doing ceremony with. I was in a learning curve and trying to be tolerant but I'm not functioning at that level any more. I'm still learning a lot about ceremony and will continue  to do so for the rest of my life. It is important to note that my tolerance level has gone way down though. Even so, I am a lot nicer than many of the medicine men that I've met over the years. We get old and have pains that become a distraction. Pain changes one's personality and I've been riding out a lot of physical pain these past few years. The topic about how I'm a grouchy old man now came up during the proceedings on Saturday night. One thing that I'll say about that is that from my personal experience I found that most medicine men were a lot less grouchy when they found out that I was willing to help out with chores and make their life easier when I was around. The protocol is that a traditional host has to make folks feel at home and that gets taken advantage of a lot. I'm guilty of taking on a lot of the work before ceremony over the years and that isn't going to happen any more. If people are under the impression that they can show up for ceremony after all the work is done and enjoy the fruits of the labor they are in for a big shock. Sometimes a person has a good reason to show up at the last minute, as happened this year, but that same person has showed up many times in the past and helped out, so that is understandable.

One of the things that needs to be pointed out again is that the Bull Run is a young person's ceremony. It is time to pass the torch on to a young man to facilitate in the Bull Run and function as the leader in order for this ceremony and vision to continue. I've put in a lot of time and energy into making this ceremony accessible to young people from the beginning, so it isn't my fault that this hasn't happened yet. I keep praying that someone will have a good dream that will show them the merits of serving the people in this manner. Perhaps this will happen. I'm not one to go out and recruit people so if it happens before my time is up, great! I will say that during the past few days after the Run I have been sitting in the dark riding out the post-ceremonial depression and seeing that there are a few young men that could be serving in this role who have been part of the Run since they were teenagers. If they are getting the calling and don't step up, they might not be with us very long. It is sad to say this but that is what I've been seeing. Pray for them. It isn't over yet. The insight is that the young people will be coming around soon and that paragraph at the top of the report is for them especially.

I've been somewhat casual in some regards over the past four years and five Runs. Basically I've been doing the bare minimum in order to honor the vision. That is okay. What could be done to honor the vision goes way beyond what has been done thus far. But it is time to tighten it back up, no matter where the next Run is held. This came through this year because I forgot my smart phone with a camera on it this year. I'll confess that one of the reasons I was taking photographs and posting them to social media starting in 2016 was two fold. One, I wanted to let some folks know that I was going to continue to honor the Bull Run vision from where I was right now as a call out to everyone who had taking part in the Run in the past that they could be honoring the vision from where ever they were. That call to action became very important this year with the pandemic and social distancing. The second reason was to announce to those who sought to stop this ceremony that their best efforts had failed. They know that now. Ha! But that phone. I had walked the route a few weeks ago and knew that a tree had fallen over the space where we had planted our sticks last year. As I walked over to see if it was still possible to plant my stick there, Maggie said, “There's a Little People trail over here.” She said it twice. So I diverted from my course of action and went to where she was standing. Little People trails are barely visible if you know what to look for. Maggie has been walking along Little People trails since she could walk. So we took the Little People's trail and followed it to a good place to plant our sticks. I kept suggesting that Maggie take a photograph of a tree root that was very “Little People” but somehow that never happened. And when it was realized that this never happened no one went back. The Little People are willing to help us out with the continuation of the Run because of this. That means no more photographs during the Run. No more casual conversations during the Run. It's time to get back to normal during the Run. That is the most important message coming from this year's Run.

A few minutes after we had planted our sticks we heard a kitten talking it's distress call. Maggie went looking for it. I had to abandon the search and keep moving because I started having dizzy spells. I get dizzy spells. I've had MRI's and blood work and all that and there doesn't appear to be a reason for the dizzy spells. I figure they are being projecting upon me from outside forces. If so they'll go away. After we (the men) had been back at the apartment a few minutes and wondering if we should start cooking or wait on Maggie, I called her. She had the kitten and would be back to the apartment in a few minutes. When she walked in and I looked at that kitten I knew immediately what it was doing here. The Bull Run is a healing ceremony and it was part of the healing. The Cherokee Boogie Man Dance used a “two face” mask. The Boogie Man Dance was a ceremony to ward off the Boogie Man. The Boogie Man was believed to be what stole the breath of the infants. SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Of all the things that I have done in this life time, I would have to say that the most incredible one was to bring Maggie back from SIDS when she was 16 months old. This happen in the afternoon after the Run in 1994. We had gone to a friend's house to rest for a few hours before going out to eat. I started hearing Maggie cry out in my sleep. It took a minute to wake up. She was already blue. I sat her up and started rubbing her and singing a medicine song. It took a few minutes before she took a breath and came back. Whew! The teachings tell how an infant isn't attached so strong to their body until they are around two years old. They can cut out and go back if they don't dig the scene. I totally get that. I've apologized many times to Maggie for things being so hard this life time. That kitten showed up to tell me it was okay. I don't know if I should pass on how to respond to SIDS to those young people that are ready to learn how to become medicine men and women. It's a heavy responsibility to mess with someone's karma like that. Part of me says to let them go back and try again next time. And stop being so negative around infants. Dig it!

John stuck around for an hour or so after Andy and Maggie left and we smoked the Bull Run Pipe. At the end of the Pipe Ceremony I popped the pipe against my right palm to knock the ashes out. When I closed my hand and opened it back up the ashes formed something on my palm. Sometimes I see a buffalo or a bird. It is always a sign being given. This time it was I  M. Capital letters. I double space M. Both John and I read it to say “I AM”. I am here. I am real. I am present and accounted for. All the above. That means something. Now I've told you. Love

Oliver Loveday October 8, 2020 9:07pm