Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Taming the muse

Muse this as we ride the ancient skies like a herd of buffalo across the dusty breeze of seven incarnate thieves between here and eternity and back again back again as the water’s fine water’s thrown many of us have said and it’s the pilgrims again into the night into the bleeding night as we ride like wild horses into the night and this is how they say it but I don’t believe it is true that the Muse is a woman and you entice her to give you her gifts of inspiration so you can achieve greatness in poetry song and dance but I don’t believe it is true because it sounds like a romantic relationship between a lover and a suitor and she’s no whore selling her wares but I can’t see beyond the shroud of imagination so it all sounds like some male-dominated bullshit to me like what happens when a woman wants to become a great dancer and seeks the help of a muse is the Muse and the dancer lesbians in this movie and maybe so maybe this is the way it is but I don’t think so I don’t think so I have a different feel about it but that’s not where this is all going as this is about the death of art of creativity of failed attempts to tame the muse in the midnight in the midnight as we wonder into the fields at night and pretend to not notice the wildness that surrounds us and each culture has a story about the origin of creativity and all the cultures and all the stories are correct and a true and accurate account of how we got to be so crazy and used this crazy wisdom to transform our lives into something new and different and it is very unwise to diss another culture even if I don’t think that my understanding of the information I have at hand is true because all I have to do is consider the story of the Muses in ancient Greek history and remember that those stories got handed down through a lot of translators and there’s the rub that someone establishes that this poet or that playwright is the greatest of his peers from Ancient Greece but we don’t know if that’s the way that they felt about it because we don’t have a lot of critical reviews of poetry or plays to go by all we have are the few works that have survived over time and we have no idea of what didn’t survive so it seems really stupid to me to assign greatness to that which we do have and the fact of the matter might be that the greatness is only in the ability of that work to survive because it was so bad by their standards that it got tucked away and never accessed again and that’s how it survived but God forbid that anyone suggest that there be anything greater than what has already been established as greatness and so we have this idea of a muse and we have this idea of creativity or we could go with another culture and say that spider woman brings us the songs poems dances bead work baskets weaving knitting and so forth but after a while the point isn’t about who brings what but the start of it all and the wildness and sense of freedom with the relationship with this source of creativity and we dance and sing to the new energy brought forth by the lyre poem body movement ancient or fresh off the press and over time the artist starts to cater to the tastes of the patrons like the soothsayer who tells the King what he wants to hear to save his own neck and who could blame him really but the artist starts trying to tame the muse to feed the wealthy what they want to hear see feel to reassure them that they have the power to delegate what the muse offers to humanity and as the muse starts to see the desecration of creativity the muse starts to seek a new co-conspirator in the work of creativity and after a while the artist dries up with new ideas and starts to recycle the previous work as an affirmation of the power of the wealthy to dictate creativity and thus the Muse is never tamed but rather moves on to new artists willing to ride the wild horse across the night sky like a night mare of untamed unbridled raging into the wind and storm and beauty and insanity and it is said that the Muse will drive a man mad or even a woman because we’ve already established that there is no gender preference in creativity but the challenge always is to ride and never be thrown off in the darkness of the next wave of fresh ideas and the real scope of it all is the challenge of the artist to never try to tame the muse and damn the rich old farts that sit around looking down at the rest of us like their shit don’t stink and give them the power to destroy a great ride like the muse is an untamed horse riding across the night sky I said that already and the proclamation underneath all of this was that once a friend told me that I would be a great writer but I needed to clean up my writing just a little bit and if I would let him edit my work then he would show me how to achieve that greatness and I ignored his offer because the truth is that it is easy to go back and correct the mistakes like spelling errors and sometimes it is okay to rephrase something this way or that but the fact of the matter is that a lot of times this is the way that it came to me and I’m not going to mess up a great relationship just to please the anal retentive word wizards that don’t have much to say but say it with good craft and are jealous of those that gained the favor of a muse and write like there is no tomorrow damn the torpedoes and full steam ahead into the midnight and I leave this to reader to decide with a few quick examples but nay that isn’t the answer it takes all of it the full breath and scope of it really to decide but here’s a good place to start with a few examples of poetry and art and ride like fury into that good night amen a-ho!

Oliver Loveday © February 22, 2012 5:45pm EST

Meat Dreams

This is a long stream of dreams
They collide with my
Broken prism of reality.
The dreams of sex,
            Sadist, homosexuals,
            Fauns, and beautiful virgins,
            (worn-out whores)
Tools of the trade
Pornography without flesh

The Meat of the Soul
The truth of God’s visions
I am pure.
The dreams are my heaven.
A glassy malfunction
Of creativity while standing
In the hollow glaze of
The crystal sun.

Oliver Loveday © July 1975

(The above poem was written on newsprint in ink.)

Floating Past

The clouds are empty beside me
Cold Mountain is the opening to nothing
When I take the next step, I anticipate falling through

Oliver Loveday © 2012.02.18.2:00am EST

Sketch from February 1976
3 works in progress, February 22, 2012
A close-up of an index card being prepared for mail art, February 22, 2012

Another close-up of one of the index cards for mail art, February 22, 2012

A work in progress, on calligraphy paper, of ink and yellow ocher watercolor, February 22, 2012

 For more information on my art work, poetry, and writings, as well as links to my music and videos, visit my website, Loveday Studio.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

POV: Six works in progress

It is lost, most of it, due to the lack of interest. “Lack of Interest” and by that I mean, in a manner of civility, that most would prefer that it had never happened, but in that it did happen, they are contented to see it dissipate into the dust of bygone history as if it never happened. But it did happen and I didn’t go away with the “it” of this dilemma. If that exposes an element of denial on their part, that is the risk I take in remaining present and vocal in the spirit of creativity.

It isn’t just about the Industrial Culture in the Nuclear Age, but it is about that also. The impact of “The Bomb” resonated through humanity after the war. As a young man venturing into the world of art in 1971, the photographs of David Smith (sculptor) working in his studio on the farm at Bolton’s Landing in upstate New York, with drawing paper on the floor and ink or home-made egg tempera brushed onto the paper opened a new window into creativity. The drawings would become sketches for welded metal sculptures, or flow into the endless stream of new work being produced in the 1950’s as artists around the world seemed to go into hyper-drive in an effort to produce as much work as quickly as possible, because it could all be gone in a flash as the race to produce more nuclear warheads moved steadily forward as well. There was no time to carve stone any more. Creating works through the new tools of the trade made it possible to create more works, almost as fast as the drawings themselves happened. The rush to produce became an obsession. The photographs and films of Jackson Pollack doing “drip art” at the same time in an out building (or outside the old shed) on a small farm on Long Island became another example of how to work. Combined with an interest in pottery and thus, Japanese pottery, raku, and Zen Buddhism, and the styles of decoration from which all of this merged in some <rewind> fashion back into the whispers of history, gave me impetus to take up a brush and make marks on clay, paper, or canvas without touching the brush to the surface. This became my new handwriting by the time I was 20 years old.

Later I read that Jackson Pollack had observed the ritual sand paintings of the Navajo as a small child and that was a major influence on his effort to recreate something he experienced of that time and place. To reference that as a matter of importance in the early interest in his work became a bit of small print in the general consensus of this new and radical departure from the norm. Similar references of inspiration fall to the wayside in other approaches to creativity, as if humanity was “inventing” a new form of art in this Industrial Culture. Most of the work was well steeped in specific elements of ancient history if one took the time to notice. But popular culture isn’t about noticing the details. So it is easy to ignore the details of this work, the history that has been intentionally destroyed by a detached society in an effort to make like it never happened, as I stay true to the vision and keep working anyway.

I live in “public housing” rent free today. I moved here ten months ago following a period of time when I was “homeless”. Five years ago I went through foreclosure and lost the home and property I had spent many years working to have as a place for my family to live and work and host guests who had benefited greatly from that time I was there, we were there, but in the end, after a nasty divorce around the spouse’s drug addiction and the failure of a supposed-patron who had signed a contractual commitment to buy $100,000.00 worth of art over a two year period of time as part of the mortgage contract with the lender, reneged on that contract, stating that he was a Christian and I was a Cherokee Indian, and as such, he could not morally excuse himself for continuing to honor his commitment to buy art. I’ll call him Kevin C. for the same of identification. Kevin had visited the studio many times over the previous year following the divorce and my return to the property after having been falsely accused of assault and forced off the property through usage of character assassination and a court system that favors the voice of a woman over that of a man in matters of domestic violence, even if she was the one who was guilty, but never mind any of that. No one else seemed to mind, so why should we make that a sticking point today? Kevin would look at some work and admire it and ask how much. Rather than go check my price list I would name a price well below what I had it listed for on my data base, because I knew he didn’t have that much money at the moment, but since he had a large holding of real estate on the market that would allow him to buy work in the future at the pre-established price, I didn’t worry so much about it at the time. He was happy to get the work he admired and I needed what little funds he could shake loose at the time. Later I realized that he had a gambling problem and I consider that to be as much a factor in why he backed out on the contract as anything, but he gave a reason and I’m the fool that takes a liar at his word for some reason.

So I don’t have any of those works on hand to support the fact that I’ve been doing this for a while. What got sold or given away is out there, but stacks and stacks of work went into storage in 2007 and have never been seen since. I don’t know if they exist or not. I approached my sister about contacting other family members a year earlier before the foreclosure, and she related to me that none of my family cared about me. Their silence in this matter speaks for itself. I exist in a vacuum in this environment and yet the will to continue to create drives me forward. From a small stipend I have purchased some paper, oil pastel, ink, and brushes, and am able to produce art again in this makeshift studio. I make marks on the paper with oil pastel to give a pre-existing composition that my ink marks follow in creating a new work. Six pieces of paper laid together on the grass on the lawn behind the apartment, with the digital video recorder a friend gave me a few months ago held in one hand while I apply the ink with a brush or two in the other. No one comes to see the event or hold the camera. No one comes to see the work. Only one or two people have stopped by in the past six months to see the work previous to this work. I exist in a vacuum, and yet I have this sense that it isn’t the nature of humanity as a whole but of those around me that generate this vacuum, so I work and document and write and inform a greater community of this effort, like an SOS signal out there that I am being held hostage by a repressive and genocidal people who seem to hold an air of disinterest in the matter, like it is only a matter of time before they starve me out and then the matter is resolved. In time they will win because time is on their side.

Oliver Loveday February 1, 2012

A close-up of one of the works in progress

POV: Six work of art in progress (the video on You Tube)

These works will be added to a new page, "Ink 4", on my web site off the "Works on paper" page soon.