March 29, 2010

So, if you think I had issues with packing and shipping, you should catch me with packing and moving.

  1. I went to a meeting with some biker friends.
  2. Made two trips to the storage unit.
  3. Organized the storage unit.
  4. Laundry.
  5. Did part one of a repair on a vintage purse my aunt made, and that my mom paid good money for someone to sew together but they did a half-ass job and I felt bad because it was the best they could do and so after a few years, I finally got around to redoing it myself today. And no it wasn't on the todo list, but I was packing away purses, so it was now or never. It's a great purse. I'll post it when I finish the repair. Unbelievably I have no black thread.
  6. Studio. Stacking 'em up and knocking 'em down. De-canvased 3 stretchers today and said goodbye to 3 less than stellar works.
  7. In the process of killing an 11" x 14" painting I keep thinking is done, but is annoying me.
  8. Thinking about stretching a 54" x 43" canvas and making a new larger painting for the show at the Brand library in May. 
  9. I was really inspired by a friend's painting on raw canvas, gorgeous buildup of layers and layers and layers, so I started an 8" x 10" painting on raw canvas with lots of thin layers. It's covered with a solid sheet of thick acrylic now. Not feeling the thinness and lightness of being, I guess.
  10. X'd out a few areas on another painting and brought it inside. I can't wait to paint in a studio with natural light. 
  11. Finally called my mom a 7pm to see if she remembered my birthday. She said she had been trying to call me all day and that the operator told her my number had been disconnected. I think she forgot to dial the area code. I wasn't very good at hiding my sadness. She asked me what was wrong and I just told her I was tired.
  12. Took an iPhone pic of #11. 
And now it's Monday....
I delivered a truckload of boxes to storage. I counted 8-10 boxes of books so far. I still have about 2 bookcases to go. I had more but I'm donating about 3 boxes of books to Goodwill. It just occurred to me that I am very comfortable around books. When I was a kid, my mom was working on her Phd. and also taught at Peabody College and Peabody Demonstration School in Nashville. Conveniently I also attended Peabody from nursery school through 3rd grade. Sometimes mom would stash me in the library on campus if she still had a class to teach after I got out of class. 

Then I scanned the house for detritus. first and second sweep, you know.
Then the studio to work on killing the same painting that did not die yesterday. Maybe I need to step away for a bit. 
Then back to house to finish up this post. 

Oh, and I have chosen to scan a bunch of loose papers with random but pertinent information, instead of painstakingly copying down the info by hand. So that's next. 

March 28, 2010


I used to love birthdays. I still do. My only real gripe this year is that I have to pack and move stuff to storage, and so will not be able to fritter away the day. I'm sure I will go in the studio, but I HAVE to cart stuff off to storage. HAVE TO. Other than that I have no real plans. Yesterday I took the motorcycle out to Eagle Rock to pick up a painting from a show that came down. On the ride, I was kind of gloating to myself about being able to ride my bike to pick up a piece of artwork. Beautiful day in LA. Warm, sunny. Maybe I will sneak in a ride up the coast today. Along with everyone else in Southern California. Maybe not. Maybe I will paint outside. According to a chart I found on the internet, I am 8 in dog years. Fang is around 74 in human years.

Last night I dashed over to see Brit Tolliver's work at Kinkead and ran into a bunch of Tennessee ex-pats. Such a great group of folks.

I'm going to start a large painting. Just one.

March 27, 2010

To make a long story short-

I finally found my car keys in a box of Valerian-Mint tea.

Moving and packing is not my friend.

March 23, 2010

Update: the wall painting day two. Fin.

image: 20" x 16"

oh yeah.

Writing on the wall. Once you read the post, you'll groan at how cliché my post title was.

I don't know why I am compelled to upload work in progress, but I am. I worked on the above painting for a little bit today. Maybe I will work on it again tomorrow, but it was more like an experiment to see how I would handle the physical act of painting directly on the wall, along with with how I would make a painting without any preconceived notions to start with whatsoever. I guess this falls in to a Rules painting. (I will explain what I mean by that later, as well as my rules.)

I knew I would eventually do some wall paintings and when I came across Josh Smith's project at Deitch, something stuck in my head. I've decided to couple the idea of site specific painting with my desire to do "live" painting. The lack of the object, the efficiency of the mark, the expediency of the task at hand, the no-safety net approach to painting- all of these things make painting on the wall perfect for me right now. I'm still working on the small paintings on linen with the o k a y, but not great show title which needs revamping, but live wall painting feels like a meaty deviation. If all goes well, I plan on showing these (those) at the Brand Library and Art Center in May. Any other takers out there?
In other freaky scary news, we signed on the dotted line with a real estate broker today. 180 days or less until I fall out of the homeowning class. [Sigh.] Letting go, letting go.

March 22, 2010


Hard work selling stuff for a $1. I don't know what brings out the pissy in me, but when you've reduced a practically brand new $70 Michael Stars dress to a $1 and gently used linens to $1 and someone still wants 50¢ off, it's like, NO, that's $2. Two Dollars. Then they walk away because they didn't get it for $1.50.

Matt and I killed the last hour playing Parcheesi. I won. Twice. I enjoy Abstract strategy games.

Today I'm back on the computer wrapping up an application, accounting, and prep work for upcoming group show. After the yard sale ended, I tackled the studio angling for a more efficient use of space. See Abstract strategy games above. It's really all the same, you know. It kills me, but I'm putting that great find of the wooden cubbies on craigslist. A nine foot piece of furniture is just too large unless I were to have a huge loft. It eats up an entire wall. I may wait until the very last minute just in case, but I removed it from the studio already.

Decided on a real estate broker. Let that fun begin.

Decided that my amazing show title was just o k a y, not great. I sort of suspected this. Theoretically it was a great title, but I had that feeling it was too easy, too pat. I spent quite a bit of time reading a 1947 unabridged dictionary yesterday.

March 18, 2010

LA Freeway System Sucks Life Out of Local Artist.

The 10 is a heinous freeway. I had a meeting in Glendale this morning. It took a little over an hour to get there. Amazingly, I calculated my timing within 5 minutes of accuracy. This minor miscalculation is amazing because Google Maps said it would take me 30 minutes. Or 90 minutes in traffic. Either way it's a total crapshoot. Afterward, I had to run another art-related errand and I'm now back in Culver City waiting to interview real estate agent #2. I teach tonight. By 9:30 this evening, I will have logged 78 miles and approximately 3.5 hours in the car today. Grueling.

March 17, 2010

Mostly Crap, But You Never Know, aka The YARD SALE, aka I'm attempting to be a Minimalist.

I have a picture of when I said goodbye to Nashville and moved up to Chicago. It was taken by my aunt in their driveway as I left town. I have on my paint jeans, a nice knit hat, and a sweater of my dad's. My Chevy Cavalier is packed with art supplies and the bare necessities. My worldly possessions fit into a rooftop cargo box from U-Haul.

I've got a ways to go before packing it up and moving it out, but we're interviewing real estate agents this week. The goal is to do all the minor things to make it look nice and have the house on the market in one month. Most of the furniture and STUFF will have to go into storage, so I might as well be ruthless now. We liked the broker we interviewed today. He thought the house had a good vibe, like a Venice bungalow. Curb appeal.

The studio will be in full swing until the last minute. I am getting rid of some stuff in the studio, like the Gamblin box of powdered gesso you make from scratch. NOT seeing that in my future anytime soon. I guess I had a moment where I thought about doing egg tempera, which I did, mind you, but not for long. Probably around the same 3 seconds I thought about mining my own pigments from the earth's core. If someone wants it, let me know. $18 value. I'll trade for some Abstract Expressionist stamps. For real.

Anyway, it's a crazy house over here. After Sunday, I'll see how much of a minimalist I am. I remember reading about a woman who kept her possessions to something insane like 10 or 20 objects. You know, like- couch, pillow, bed, sheet, dress, bowl, spork, shoes, key etc. I will try.

I'm pleased to report I am still a demi-god in the studio according to a couple of works in progress. The dangerous thing is that I'm not finished with these pieces, so it could be a wash, but the important thing is that all kidding and ego-maniacal thinking aside, I'm excited and engaged with the current paintings. I'd like to say, I wish the rest of my life was so pleasurable and exciting, but that would seem counterproductive to the current work, now wouldn't it. Yes, why yes it would. Welcome to one of life's little puzzles.

March 15, 2010

The good news is that I left the studio last night feeling like a genius.

The bad news is that I haven't walked in there today, so not sure whether that was a good call or not.

I spent most of the day sorting through books and stuff, weeding things out for this weekend's yard sale. I am also this close to completing an online application. This close.

I'm also swearing off marriage ever again. Perhaps that last sentence was TMI. Whatever. Someone asked me if I had any birthday wishes. I replied, "a personal assistant and a time machine."

Today's mood: overcast.

March 14, 2010

Such a beautiful day. I felt guilty for not riding, but not really.

My dad passed away when I was in my 20's. I wasn't much for taking heed back then, but I do remember one piece of his advice. He told me to work hard 6 days a week and always rest on Sunday.

Ok. I snuck in the studio for a bit, but obviously someone was making sure I didn't stay for long.

March 13, 2010

And where are my manners?

In all my sulking about studio space, I forgot to mention that fellow artist and blogger, Nancy Baker, aka Rebel Belle, who is in town for Mery Lynn McCorkle's exhibition at Jancar, and Mery Lynn stopped by the studio yesterday for a brief visit and a peek at my new work. It was nice to visit with both of them. It's crazy how small and overlapping the art world is. I probably talked way too much about the work. I get kind of obsessive talky sometimes.

Sisyphean to do list:

I suppose after about 5.5 years of blogging, it might be obvious that I tend to write when I'm feel like I have a million other things to do. Like now.

Here's today's Sisyphean to do list:
1. emails thanking people who responded to my call for finding affordable studio space in Nashville.
After scouring Craig's list, I surmised that studio space in Nashville was something I would need to find on the black market, so I sent out a few emails.
I had high hopes yesterday when I thought there was a good chance I could have a dog-friendly studio space in exchange for some nominal fees and community service work, but it was not to be. I try to be one of those people who thinks that when something does not work out, it means something even more fabulous is out there. Of course, more fabulous is probably not going to be cheaper and considering the circumstances, I was shooting for cheaper until I could fit the rest of the puzzle together. I also thought it might be good to work in a building with other artists for a change. I'm a hermit. I like working by myself, and Fang and I have had it good. But when I moved to Los Angeles, my first 3 studios were in buildings with other artists. I still keep in touch with a few of them. It's also how I started getting involved.
2. Post Office. Need to mail my piece for the Incognito benefit.
3. Complete my application for an exhibition I'm applying for in Nashville.
4. Finish my accounting
5. Play with Fang.
6. PAINT. It's too late to wish for a residency, a pot of gold, a fairy godmother, a magic lantern or any of the other things that would run the rest of my life while I work in the studio today, but hope springs eternal.
7. Yard sale. Next weekend. Saturday. All those pocket warmers, eraser heads, electronic sports gadgets and some clothes I could not live without, along with just about anything else is up for grabs, including art. I don't really have time to do etsy or ebay, right now, so I'm thinking I might do a super sales blog, but making current work is superseding that right now.
8. Packing up books and stuff I can live without for a few months. The housing market is good right now. It might behoove us to put it on the market sooner than later.
9. I need to shoot the new work.
10. Housekeeping. ROTFL.
11. Fill in the blank.
12. Tonight I'll be making one of my rare appearances to a friend's opening at Jancar Gallery. Double bonus because I know both the artists and it will be a great show:
DAVID McDONALD - "Tiny Histories, 2005-2010"
13. There's a panel discussion at the Eagle Rock Cultural Center in conjunction with a group show I'm in.
14. Way behind on seeing other people's art, but next week. Promise.
15. Try and not be annoyed that some people think my last name is Addison. I'll reserve another post for the troublesome name issue and why I prefer to be called Maryaddison as opposed to Mary, but not today. Some people get it, some people don't. Five syllables seems to tax people. If they only knew it was three.
16. Something else I can't think of right now, but is probably on my desk mocking me.

March 08, 2010

But wait

It's no secret that I occasionally change the orientation of my paintings as I work on them and sometimes even after I finish them. Some people who should know better, have mistakenly assumed that I do this because it "looks" better compositionally, as though I give a flying f about what the composition looks like. No gentle observer, I do this because I like double understandings and the mystery of discovering that which I have not discovered. Just now, in this inversion, I believe I have also discovered a title. I've also been a long-time admirer of Baselitz.

Inversion enabled Baselitz to bridge the gulf between the figurative tradition, stopped in its tracks by the Nazis and abstraction that came to dominate art by the 1950s. Baselitz describes his method:
The object expresses nothing at all. Painting is not a means to an end. On the contrary, painting is autonomous. And I said to myself: if this is the case, then I must take everything which has been an object of painting – landscape, the portrait, and the nude, for example – and paint it upside-down. That is the best way to liberate representation from content.
The hierarchy which has located the sky at the top and the earth at the bottom is, in any case, only a convention. We have got used to it, but we don’t have to believe in it. The only thing that interests me is the question of how I can carry on painting pictures.

[Michael Auping. Detlev Gretenkort (ed). Georg Baselitz: Paintings, 1962–2001. Milan: Alberico Cetti Serbelloni Editore, 2002: 16–18. 20]

Not saying this inversion will stay, but I've noticed in this last series, I have 3 paintings so far that I have inverted. And it's making my show title all the more apropos.

Show (Title) Time

iPhone studio shot of 2 paintings yet to be titled.
You may remember these from this post.
I had a good day in the studio today. It was one of those days where things go click and I didn't feel like I only had five minutes to live, so I could focus on one or two paintings, which I did. They still need a little more work. Details, details.

It's may be a bit early (6 months) but I'm on my way to nailing the show title. To be fair, I believe I have nailed it, but since my moment of brilliant insight was less than 48 hours ago, I will sit with it. (I'm so excited, I can barely keep it to myself, but I will until it's time for the press release.) For the time being, I will say the title was inspired by a book I own called, Parlor Amusements and Social Etiquette, published around 1865. I will also tell you that I googled my rough draft title, discovered a subdivision of my original concept and read about it on Wikipedia. This led me to a link on YouTube, where I watched a video, twice. For all the sudden aha-ness of the title, it seems like it's always been the title. It doesn't feel forced. It's fun to ponder, and I'm not embarrassed about it. I will also tell you that John Ruskin is alive and well in the work, but I felt it too easy to borrow from him again, even though my set of Modern Painters is a bible to me.

(It just occurred to me that my mind works like a Rube Goldberg Machine.)

I am a terribly, terribly intuitive individual. I applied for the Pollock-Krasner grant last year and knew that it would take a little bit of time to hear back from them, but lately, I had been watching the mailbox a little harder than usual. Finally, I figured what the hell, I'll start on next year's application, and so I did. Today, right after finishing the rough draft of my cover letter, I checked my mailbox and opened my first rejection letter from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. I say "first," because unbeknownst to me, some people have applied 5, 10, or more times before being awarded a grant. Forge on, I say. Unfortunately, one has to wait a year from rejection to apply again.

March 06, 2010

No, wait, Yesterday was

I will be in a four-person exhibit in less than a couple of months. The exhibit will be held at the arts center of an established public library, here in the uber progressive state of California. (Some sarcasm implied).

It's quite a large space and I thought I might show some of my works on paper installations that have not been shown here in the Golden State, one of which is, "I am Optimistic about the Future."

I am going to veer off for a moment to remind everyone not to judge a book by it's cover. I like to think of my work as the troubled teen who everyone thinks is a slow learner, only to find out he's building crazy science projects in the basement. Yes, I suppose I think of my work as masculine sometimes, but we'll save that for later.

My point being, is that one of my large installations contains a banner which reads, Today was f*cked, but tomorrow tomorrow is another day, sans asterisk. On the surface, it's rather fun looking and contains the more causal components of my studio practice, such as small drawings, notes, charts, small paintings, a near-dead laptop battery, a defunct paintbrush and other ineffectual ephemera.

Turns out the library is worried that because it is a public library, city officials might become upset at the use of my language.

I feel very strongly about censorship. I was around during the NEA Four hoopla. I'm not advocating we become a potty-mouth society just for the sake of breaking down social mores, but I'd guess that at least 50% of the population has heard or used the word, "f*cked" in casual conversation as a stand in for when things go south, as in SNAFU. When I was initially told they thought it would be best if I didn't show the work, with the explanation that as a public library they didn't want to draw the attention of city government lest the janitor or another easily offended individual find it offensive, I was taken aback. I figured at best, they could put up a sign warning that the content may be objectionable to people who've never cursed. (The fact that the banner hangs upside down calls into question whether an upside down word is actually a word at all, or whether it is simply a graphic element that can be decoded by literate individuals.) I'm just sayin'. If we're dealing with bureaucracy...

In response, I was asked to write a detailed statement essentially justifying the merit of the piece by pointing out the political implications of some of the elements in the piece- such as the flowchart showing the Department of Homeland Security's chain of command. Why pointing out that today was f*cked, due to issues perhaps bigger than my laptop's dead battery or a defunct paintbrush, and aligning that with say, the DHS and the War on Afghanistan would get me any closer to exhibiting this artwork, I do not know. I wrote the statement and am now waiting for their response. I suggested they show it with the little sign warning viewers that it may be offensive, [eyes rolling] or that it could be displayed so it was more difficult to see the word, f*cked. It's embarrassingly ridiculous, yet it's not. It's insulting to know that more "offensive" graphic, or politically charged works can be shown, but that my banner might cause trouble.

March 03, 2010


Ongoing event on Facebook: Facebook Group (Day)Job
(Day)Job--the very name is a qualifier--implying that it isn’t one’s “job” per se--though, in the case of many (most?) cultural producers, it may be the only income generating job. (Day)Job is a photo-archive of cultural producers and their “dayjobs,” self-posted using the social networking reach of Facebook. Artists Tara Fracalossi and Thomas Lail ask: How do we define ourselves? How do we want to be defined? What’s your (Day)Job? Join the Facebook Group (Day)Job and post your photographic answer.