2004: the year in spirit and imagery


This began with a vague notion leaning toward a painting of a mid fifties R&B joint . Never got the groove and finally decided to make it a painting of this campaign year. The highway sign was scanned off a Zippo bought at a Dylan show.(painted during March) The upper portion is from a photograph by a friend. Paul Knebel. (painted last fall) It took a while to find an image that would tie these disparate images. An appropriately ghastly vision appeared on the front page. Turned bottom up,the image of a grotesque ballet dancer is evident. A BIG DANCE indeed.
April 15th:The Dancer will be the major element of this painting. It is a universal image of horror.It will be a challenge to bring out the color inherent in this photo. I hope to create a literal translation of this nightmare. This may take a few months. The Big Dance and Highway 61 portion are already painted. The Arabic on the sign says United States. I was going to use the abbreviation US but I found that abbreviations are not used in that language. I went to several Arabic sites to get help with the translations. Interestingly, I stopped getting any spam for three weeks. No Viagra, no dick enlargers, no hot stocks, and no unsolicited mail of any kind arrived. The DOHS is the best spam filter ever! Finally, I asked the guy at the Quickie Mart and he obliged. With the three elements in place, I think a photo from one of the Mars Rovers will be an appropriate landscape. There may appear an image that will insist on inclusion, but I think the simplicity of the painting as described will suffice.
April 26: I have begun with an attempt at the original color and it is crap. I must take the single edged razor to this slop. I will do the exposed bones in a natural color , add some of that weird red from the sign where blood is indicated, and the rest may resemble the trumpet player. Blue, maybe
May 25th; work is progressing slowly. There are images in the public ether that demand inclusion. First I must finish the dancer.
August14. This may be a candidate for the Museum of Bad Art.
Sept.15 The Dancer has become Christ in tights. Mr. Gibson's orgy of sado-masochism has inspired the Christ of Fallujah. Scourged, burned, hung from a bridge, and wearing a crown of shredded scalp,Christ has appeared. He is nearly finished. The next element will be a drawing of a stop sign by cartoonist, Karl Kleese .
I had thought to finish this by Dia de Los Muertos (Election Day), but there may be more to this year than November.
November 3-The Dancer is finished.
November 24- It begins to feel like a homemade roadside religious warning once found along the ditchbanks of the south and now found on the walls of the House of Blues. As if on cue, the clear channel billboards featuring a picture of the president and the phrase "OUR LEADER" appears. There may be something in it for this painting. The highway signs arrayed in the DOHS specified spectrum seem to work well. What is yellow in the newly posted copy is blank space. This was scanned in two parts to give you an idea of where this is going.
December 26- 2004 ,the year comes to a close. I have heard from trusted critics that the traffic signs trivialize the painting. This may be so. .
March 3-After much contemplation and procrastination, the Martian landscape is complete. All that remains is to paint the sky. I hope to finish, shoot the painting and have large prints made that can be used as posters (like those seen below) at the coming demonstration in Miami to celebrate the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. This new painting is my best work. The painting is "The Rapture" and will complete the New America Triptych.

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