In Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, the (ahem) text, for my recent painting (last post) Vonnegut talks of Tralfamadore another planet where time is viewed panoramically by the Tralfamadorians.
After posting about my painting “Slaughterhouse Chives” some friends said they’d like to see my view of Tralfamadore. So here, below, are several views of my artist book titled “Clancy’s View Of Tralfamadore * a homage to Kurt Vonnegut and other intervals of time”.
Including, (wink) a panoramic photo of the inside contents of my book. The book is 7 inches tall and 4.5 in wide when closed. It opens to span 36 inches. I made this book with ink and gouache on handmade paper.
In my artwork generally I think about time a lot, about the importance of the present moment, how we create – or curate – our present moments to our good or ill or something between. I think of how books are time capsules, messages from another era, another geographic region, another lived duration.
One of my favorite quotes is from a book called A Sideways Look At Time by Jay Griffiths the quote goes “The French philosopher Henri Bergeson, who greatly influenced Proust, understood the sublime importance of the present moment “time is creation or it is nothing at all” and lived durations are not simply intervals but are the very stuff of reality.”
I put that quote as a long-running phrase across the entire 36 inch accordion format that makes up “Clancy’s View Of Tralfamadore…” Around that phrase I’ve included references to the intervals of lived durations, Vonnegut (of course) and other authors I’ve read recently who’ve passed on to the eternal library in the sky. Also included are meaningful time intervals related to flowers/plants and soup. Each duration mentioned is an important part of this interval I’m living in. (For example; I’m aware that without flowers we wouldn’t have vegetables and other soup ingredients, or paper or…)
And for any extra amusement in it here’s a video of “Clancy’s View Of Tralfamador * a homage to Kurt Vonnegut and other intervals of time”
Thank you for sharing this present moment with me.
My last post featured my sketchbook pages and those sketches added to my reading in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut were combined in my mind becoming this fine art piece I’ve titled “Slaughterhouse Chives”
If you saw my last post you may recognize the man’s gesture from my “loosey” sketchbook studies.
I combined the man’s gesture with my soup thoughts, a recipe I cooked this week (and posted on my Instagram page) from my kitchen sketchbook. Then I read around in both Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut.
The Vonnegut title, with its focus on time (and other things) fit best with the thoughts I’d noted in my sketchbooks. (And my thoughts about current absurd American politics.) Reading the Vonnegut book helped me pull together all of my thoughts. Then I did a preliminary drawing, tweaked the drawing over a few days, transfered it to a board and painted.
Here’s some closeup details of sections within my painting:
There now. As Kurt Vonnegut says so often “And So It Goes”.
Kurt Vonnegut once said “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted” and I’ve taken those words to heart. I even have Vonnegut’s statement pinned to the wall above my art studio work table. I believe that my creative out-put is not about me. Art-making is not some self-indulgent ego-trip on my part. It’s about the kind of world we are creating together; me and all my friends, pre-friends and strangers. We are all in this together.
Which is why, even after all these years of being a professional artist, I still have mixed feelings when I see PR stuff with my name prominently as the “featured artist”. On the one hand a one-person fine art exhibit is a culmination of at least a years worth of daily work on my part – so I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. Yet at the same time I’m very aware that while it may be my name on the marquee, so to speak, there’s a whole host of people behind me, believing in my artwork, working hard to make the event successful; the gallery owner, the gallery director, the interns and assistants in the gallery to name the obvious ones. When the opening reception (as it is for my October exhibit) is also a 3 course dinner with wine pairings – there is also the restaurant (Daily in the Pearl!), the chef, the winery (Hip Chicks Do Wine!) – all working hard too. And I didn’t mention the art supply stores in my beloved Pacific Northwest that provide materials for me to work with… or my spouse, friends, neighbors…. I’ve so many people to be grateful for that I’m not sure the Internet has enough bandwidth to hold my entire list.
So let it suffice to say that while my name may be the most prominent in the PR materials being circulated currently – like this email flyer (below) that the Caplan Art Designs gallery sent out – as well as all the other stuff on Facebook and Twitter etc. This whole exhibit is really about an overall aesthetic experience we’re creating together; my artwork is just the focal point. Still I have endeavored to use the time of my gallery owners, friends, supporters and strangers as respectfully as I know how… and now I’m riding the PR train, doing my best to support my supporters efforts, prepping for the next stop; the night of the opening. And all the while remembering; It’s not about me, it’s not about me, it’s not about me… choo chooo!!!!
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This photo shows what I see when I enter my art studio. It smells like freshly sharpened pencils, new paper, ink and archival glue. I feel a deep to-the-bone happiness here. On the wall above my stand-up desk (pictured) I have a quote: “One must care about a world one will never see.” – Bertrand Russell. Here in the photo is the place where I do my caring.
I work on average 8 hours a day making art of one sort or another. When it’s finished my art goes to galleries or publishers and from there it goes to the lobby of an organization or to a private client’s home or it is reproduced in a magazine or book. Rarely do I get to see firsthand where my art ends up. I’m lucky if I hear from a gallery owner that the client was happy. I’m lucky if the editor sounds excited about the artwork I’ve done for them. I am really lucky if someone sends me a photo of my art in their home (I value those highly)!
This means that I am stimulated to get-to-my-studio-and-work by my imagination; I imagine that the people in the hospital get some comfort when they see my art on the wall, I imagine that the people who have my art in their home come home from a hard day and smile when they see my artwork, I imagine that people in the presence of my art feel at least a little of the happiness I felt as I created that art.
I get just enough feedback from my gallery owners and from clients to know that my imagination is fairly accurate. And it helps me to imagine more exactly in the future because I’ll call to mind specific people who have said kind things in the past – and I’ll create something new with them in mind even if they never see it. So this is a picture of my studio where I do my caring about the world. I have another quote on the same wall: “Art is love made visible.”
My coffee cup (see photo) needs refilling… there, now back to work!