Monday, October 10, 2011


   I've spent the weekend trying to explain my work to a photojournalist, as part of THE EDDIE ADAMS WORKSHOP. Eddie Adams was a Vietnam era photojournalist. His best known shot is of the South Vietnamese General blowing the brains out of a suspected Viet Cong in the town square. It's right up there with the crying, napalmed, naked little girl, running from the My Lai Massacre, as far as iconic shots of horror go. I've done this a couple of times now. Back in '06 I did the same thing- allowed a photog to shadow me for a couple of days. That time it was Michael Christopher Brown doing the query and shoot. Since then he's been in Libya, was wounded covering the revolution and got his iPhone shot in Nat Geo. The boy's going places.
   This time I have a very pleasant, rather studious young man asking the questions and clicking the button. We hang out on the deck as my nose turns red in the sun and I try to explain 30 years of art in soundbites and digestible parable. I can see he's not getting it. I talk about the use of different names and other artists as material, while explaining how carpentry on my girlfriend's house can actually be construed as sculpture and held outside of the banal. Blank stare. Somehow we get through the afternoon. When he shows me a shot of my face I see just how red my nose has gotten and suggest we go inside. I look like Bukowski on a bad day.
   The next day I suggest we go turkey hunting. I know I can escape behind the leafy mask and hide the alkie blood vessels popping off my snozzola. We trudge through the morning dew up behind Ralph's. It's a picture perfect morning. Fog hangs in nestled Japanese print nooks. I try to give him the The Fredrich painting panorama, seen on all those Nietzche paperbacks, as i stand stoicly cradling the 12 ga.. I don't know if he caught it. Then I took him back to his motel, shake hands and are done. We never saw a bird.
   Hanging with these young photojournalists and trying to explain who I am to them in 2 days is an interesting process for me. It helps me see me through their eyes. I explained the Kristan Kohl work- a dead German artist who keeps producing. The Richard Mauwra work- simple sculptural "combines" and cranky letters to the Editor. The MO David work- art criticism and art dealing. The Gary Ray work- garbage off the street that looks like art, onto which I sign Gary Ray (an actor friend of mine). And finally the Tobias Yves Zintel work- a German artist friend whose name I purchased in order to do and show a group of billboards. There I said it. The TYZ work is all mine. No wonder the kid's confused.

On Sunday Shewho and I drove up to Phonecia to visit our friends for a Yom Kippur dinner. All the roads over the mountain are still closed due to damage from last month's floods. It took us three hours and plenty of back tracking to get there. But just as we pulled out of Stone Ridge I looked out in a field and spotted what I thought was a bowhunter's bear target. Then it moved. I told Shewho to pull over. Out in that field, just off the wood line stood two of the most enormous black bears I'd ever seen. I first spotted the back one, who was huge, only to catch sight of the lead bear going into the woods. It dwarfed the first bear. Wow! That was worth the trip. Timing is everything.      


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