Friday, March 6, 2015


Years before I bought a cow, went to seminary and hired prostitutes for performance art projects, I did little pen and ink drawings. I grew up in a world of Christmas cards and Mad magazines. Snowy landscapes and tumble down barns were all around me. In the summer, mechanics still worked on cars under big maple trees, in the backyard and Norman Rockwell hadn't yet been rolled over by 60's cynicism. With my limited draftsmanship and stilted line, I tried my damnedest to copy anything from an old family photo, to an Al Capp cartoon, to a tropical cruise menu- all in india ink.  My mom loved them. But as my work matured I left the medium behind, preferring to dive headlong into the abyss, much to mom's dismay. "Why don't you draw in pen and ink anymore?" she would whine. I would just smile. As any artist with a mom knows......moms don't know shit when it comes to art.

    This past Monday, nursing a bad back and leg, trying to keep the cats from killing each other, while Shewho was in London, rubbing elbows with the real art world, installing Leon Golub at The Serpentine and going to Stone Henge with Hans Haacke, I dug though her shit and found some old dried up ink and paper. As the cats looked on in perplexed curiosity, I ripped the paper in small rectangles and set about returning to my roots.
   I had returned to drawing a few years back, fucking around with paint and pencil, but I bet it had been 50 years since I dipped a pen in an ink well. Damn that felt good. Before I knew it, I'd cranked out a dozen little gems. Then another twenty were laid out on the table. I was on a roll. I only had black, red and a little dusty blue ink. But this was enough. The limited pallet worked. A couple of photos and uploads later and they were on my fb wall. This seems to be the only wall available to me these days, so I try to make the most of  it. My pathological need for audience seems to be partially satiated by daily postings. Little groupings of three went up. And, just like my mom, people seemed to respond positively.
   I'm not one of those people with thousands of "friends", so if I get ten or so "likes" I'm ecstatic. Pathetic or not, this is just the way it is. The ease with which one can do a little drawing and show it to the world, receiving a small degree of approval cannot be overestimated. In lieu of representation, a market, or any venue with which to get this work out there, I'll happily keep posting it on fb and love every "like". Mom's been gone a few years now. I miss her desperately. But somehow I think there must be wifi in heaven and she's smiling a self-satisfied smile, elbowing my old man, as he peruses the Wall Street Journal (that magically appears every morning in his hands). "Look at Michael's new drawings dear. I always told him he should go back to pen and ink." Maybe she's right.


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