Wednesday, August 14, 2013


 My old man was always known as Dick "Ostie" Osterhout. Being the eldest male in my family, I took on the moniker of Ostie very young in life. My nephews Brian and Isaac also carry the nickname. Back in the seventies when pop culture started putting letters and images on everything, the Old Man decided it would be cool to put "Ostie" on hats, t-shirts and whatever else the local mall outlet could emblazon. Most of us thought it was pretty lame, and were embarrassed to wear the goofy stuff in public. But, then, as the years went by, it seemed sort of sweet to rock the Ostie wear. I gave a bunch of mine to Teehoo, who had her yearbook photo taken wearing the Ostie frock. All of the sudden it was cool to be an Ostie.
  About 20 years ago I dropped the "e" from my nickname and had Osti tattooed on my right shoulder. I had no real reason for dropping the "e". I just thought it looked better. Going back even farther, in the mid-seventies I began to imbue my rather minimal conceptual work with theological themes and significance. Not growing up religious in anyway, I thought the "God" stuff had been overlooked by the modernists. Why not scratch out a little fresh ground? It felt comfortable, so I continued on this path. Art academia has appropriated the word "practice" from Drs. and lawyers, in order to convince parents that all the money they are spending to keep the kid in school is actually worth it. It's outrageously transparent. But, not to be out of step with the youth- my "practice" has always included religion.
   Like the Green Man and now the Lion of Judah, I'm learning more and more about the Osti. Recently  brother Duke was up in Canada, wearing his Ostie t-shirt when a waiter came over to his table and asked why he was wearing this common offensive curse word on his shirt? Duke was clueless. Years ago a French friend had informed me of the French Canadian meaning of Osti (or Ostie). Turns out that our family nickname means "host", as in the body of Christ. This is crazy enough. But the real clincher is the use of the word amongst the Canucks as a cuss word. Like I said I never was (and still am not) religious. I use religion in my work. I see belief as a stumbling block to enlightenment. If you believe (even in NOT believing) you are narrowing your scope and denying another's point of view. Where's that gonna get you? As far as I'm concerned we are all Ostis. Welcome to the family.


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