On Friday we took a group of 60 young artists from Paseo Academy on a field trip to Lexington, MO.Â
Why Lex?Â It was the site of a Civil War battle in 1861, and the town is filled with antebellum architecture.Â Many of the old houses are still battle-scarred,Â with evenÂ aÂ cannonball embedded in one of the courthouse columns.Â The professionalÂ artists Brian Slawson and Louie Copt served as mentors, along with the kids’ teachers.
Too few kids, whatever their race, grasp the import of that war, the sacrifices behind it, or the profound impact it had on the nation and, indirectly, their lives.Â By taking these rascals there, teasing them, encouraging them, and subtly teaching the history, I believe they grasped more about the war in one day than they have in all their previous years.Â I also took them down to the MO River, just so they could get a sense of its immenseness and see the valley from a different perspective.
So they spentÂ theirÂ time sketching, photographing, collecting souvenirs, and generally preparing for the gallery show that will follow this trip.Â When will that gig be?Â First week of Dec.Â All in all, one heckuva day.
Installed these pieces today by Mark White, two in front of my space and one in front of The Roasterie.Â Mark’s a charming dude who’s insanely focused on the detail required to make these kinetic pieces spin in perfect balance.Â Here’s a Video of some of hisÂ installations in CO.Â They only need a slight bit of wind to be set in motion.
The pieces are not only very well crafted, but mesmerizing.Â In fact you might say they have a Zen aspect about them–not that I’m enlightened enough to know about that.Â
Recently spent an afternoon at Garmin International.Â One of their designers wants a large, contemporary sculpture for this courtyard area.Â Actually it might result in a few pieces.Â Matt Kirby and I will confer and get back to them.Â The Garmin Story is pretty interesting, considering they only started in ’89.Â I’ve sureÂ never been through development and design shops like the ones I toured there.Â A lot of the people doing the designing are, of course, artists.
Been thinking about buying a couple of their GPSÂ devices for my college-age sons; perhaps that will help ensure that they don’t get lost atÂ some eternal party.
Wet Spring, Oil on Panel, 24 24
20Â new pieces,Â 10 of which have already sold.Â It doesn’t always go that well in advance of an opening, since you typically sell the bulk after opening night, but man it’s nice when it does.Â If you live in the area,Â feel free to dropÂ by.Â If not,Â maybe the next time you pass through.
Undertone, Oil on Panel, 24 x 24
These shots show good old Drew Hine and crew sand-casting several large glass elements in a variety of specific colors.Â What will the piecesÂ be used for?Â Matt Kirby’sÂ 18′ sculpture for the City of OP, the model for which is shown below.Â
This is the sameÂ monumental sculptureÂ I’ve been discussing off and on over the summer, and that will be dedicated in OP next month.Â Â Bringing something like this together is always far more complicated than it appears–which in a sense is what you want.Â I still can’t discuss what it’s about and who it’s in honor of, but all things in due time.
Here also is some video of Drew casting on You Tube.
Saw Elegy with Brown Eyes a couple of weeks back.Â Ben Kingsley without doubt stands alone.Â Will never forget first seeing him in Gandhi.Â He’s just as compelling in this, but in a different way.Â And Dennis Hopper, as always,Â is a hoot.Â Dude’s a fellow Kansan; grew up in Dodge City.Â Penelope Cruz?Â Probably her most mature and best role.Â Suspect this thing will take a lot of awards.
How’s my own gig going in Hollywood?Â Oh, I think we’re getting there.Â But I’ll stay rooted here.
Before my oldest went back to college,Â he, I and one of his friendsÂ passed an evening at our favorite rock gym: Monster Mountain.Â Been climbing there, off and on, since ’97.Â It’s always had a great vibe for me,Â pulsing with great memories.Â
Lately I’ve been tuning myself up to climb Devil’s TowerÂ in WY.Â Now this ain’t no El Capitan, which is strictly for pros.Â But for a novice like me,Â the TowerÂ would be a perfect climb.Â Doubt if there’s time this fall, so likely next spring.Â Been trapped behind this desk long enough.Â I’ve built this bloody gallery up.Â Now other people can run it.Â
In the Red, Oil on Panel, Derrick BreidenthalÂ (Sold)
Two images from Derrick’s upcoming show, 9/19.Â I think these speak aptly enough to the sophistication and skill reflected in his work.
War Zone, Oil on Panel, Derrick BreidenthalÂ
Sold 10 of his pieces last week to a private collector who wanted them for a posh restaurant that he and his wife are opening.Â This means we’ll only have 10 paintings available for purchase at the show, though the sold ones will be hanging also.Â Well, I guess that’s a nice problem to have.Â Will have shots of the restaurant later.
Had a presentation this evening for the OP City Council regarding a large sculpture we’re installing at 103rd and Metcalf.Â By “large” I mean 18′ high.Â We were seeking final approval and got it.Â In fact this piece, which is quiteÂ contemporary, has been unanimously approved every step of the way.Â Expect it to be a big hit.
I dig city government when it functions well.Â We may not all agree about politics or certain philosophies, but we do agree on the fundamental importance of city and stateÂ governments supporting the arts, since if they don’t they’ll stagnate–or worse.Â It’s very cool to see people come together overÂ an accordÂ such as that.
All right, nowÂ for the truth: IÂ didn’t makeÂ the freakingÂ presentation.Â Why?Â An agent in LA asked for a PDF of one of my books, a client in Springfield needs an outline by tomorrow morning, and I haven’t finished preparations for Derrick Breidenthal’s show.Â So yep, I forgot a meeting for the first time in years.Â Pointlessly dashed out the door and over to city hall to find thatÂ OP’s very competentÂ Arts Coordinator, Julie Bilyea, had alreadyÂ made the presentation in my stead.Â Nothing like being proved inessential.Â
Artwork by Shepard Fairey
Sure I watched the speech last week, every minute of it.Â What a relief to have a promising candidate who is literate, with actual vision, andÂ not a blunderingÂ puppet.Â As an added bonus heÂ pronounces the word “nuclear” correctly.Â ItÂ seems that literacy, after an eight-year hiatus,Â may at last return to the Oval Office.Â Perhaps also a balanced budget, fair taxation, and a narrowing of the gap between rich and poor rather than the adverse.Â I do think thatÂ FDR and Truman would be relieved.Â Plenty of time, though, to see how allÂ it shakes out.