Tuesday, March 31, 2015




This quote is from Shewho. I know. She seems like the last one to say such a thing. This classic gem was uttered in response to my ragging her about her growing dependency on marijuana edibles. What i call dependency she calls bullshit. Recently i have been ordering up a couple of laced energy bars and little pies along with my monthly eye medicine. Although Shewho doesn't smoke, I'd hate to come between her and her edibles. Enthusiasm is putting it mildly.
   Unlike Shewho, I do have my addictions.  They go way beyond enthusiasm, right over to dependency. I gotta have my beer. I gotta have my pot. I gotta hunt deer and turkey. I gotta make art and obviously i gotta blab all about it. I know a lot of workaholics. But that's one addiction I seem to have in check.  Oh, and I gotta have my facebook. Pick your poisons, I say.
   HWS has been silent of late. I had my reasons. The bad leg got better, only to be replaced by a debilitating bummer of a depression, along with a hot run of prolific production. You'd think the ability to crank out work would release me from the head disease, but that's not always the way it works. In fact, puking out a couple of hundred drawings, with no show venue, only seemed to make it worse.  That's why i stopped writing the blog.  My face turned to stone. My eyes had that 1000 yard gaze. Even the cats knew better than to get close. I figured nobody needed to hear me bellyache.
    Shewho came back from London only to be greeted by my sourpuss. While she was away I'd hunkered down at WSSP, working and watching HULU. Now that she was home I knew I had to get out of the house (at least during the day), for both our sakes. So began my routine of driving back the shack in Glen Wild, starting a fire on the porch, taking a crap in the freezing cold outhouse, and working all day there. For drinking water I tapped my maple tree and rigged a plastic bottle under the spout. I'd draw little drawings, photograph them and immediately put them up on facebook. It was the 17th meets the 21st Century and I felt like shit. Back to addiction.
    For some reason all i have to do is sign up for social media and I'm instantly hooked. After leaving facebook for about a year (for the same reason), after deer season was done in Dec., i went back on. At first it was cool. But it didn't take long before i was plastering posts and expecting responses. It was as insidious as it always was. I couldn't check my email without hitting "f". And I couldn't check myself. I could not refrain from putting up work incessantly. If I didn't have a "like" or a "comment" in the upper right, soon after a posting, I felt dejected. If I did.....I never had enough. Why am I so susceptible to these needy, negative emotions? I have no clue. I didn't have enough "friends". I wasn't clever enough in my "comments". And obviously my work wasn't good enough to garner the proper amount of attention. I was spiraling out of control. Then about 2 weeks ago I quit.

  Maybe it was the maple water, or the promise of Spring, Shewho being back, or my leg feeling better, but slowly the fog lifted. Nothing had really changed. The reasons I had for being depressed were still there in all their "stump the experts" glory. All, except for one. I was no longer on facebook. And now that 14 days has passed they promise to delete my page. I was proud of myself. I'd done it again, cold turkey. Sure I'll lose those readers too lazy to put HWS on their favorites list, relying on fb to tell them when I write something new, but wtf. To those of you that are my loyal little HWS family, on fb or not, I'm back. I feel better. Opening day for turkey in one month. As I write this it's snowing like a motherfucker. Shewho's in Venice and I'm back at the shack. Hopefully my enthusiasm with prevail. Don't worry darlin', I haven't touched that energy bar in the freezer. xx

Friday, March 13, 2015




I'm old school. Even when I was a young punk I held fast to the romantic version of art and the long suffering artist. It was a relatively solitary pursuit, pursued by putting in time. You didn't have to have a big studio, or even make anything for that matter. But what you did have to do was sit your ass down and think about the next piece. And that piece could take any form: painting, drawing, sculpture, action, video, film, song, or if one was lucky enough, a new approach. Then, through word of mouth, you inform the world that you are an artist. It's a slow process. It can take decades.
   Everything gets in the way of this. You gotta pay the rent, eat, drink, woo women, buy drugs, etc. That means if you are not selling work, you have to work. So it goes. The work continues (art and otherwise) sporadically. Now, the other way of being an artist is to come out of some hot MFA program at BugFuck U. and hit the ground running with big shows, big sales and get a big name instantly. It happens. Then you have a long career ahead of you (that goes well or not).  Bingo! You're an artist. But there's a third way. And that's where The Bjork comes in. Bjork may not be a household name, but she's pretty famous. She was all over MTV in the 90's with her quirky songs and wore that silly swan dress at some awards show. You know the one? Well, The Bjork has a major retrospective  at MOMA. That's the Museum of Modern Art. The one in NY. Didn't know she was an artist? Well, neither did most of the rest of the world.
   Facebook mavens like Kenny Schachter and Walter Robinson are all up in arms over The Bjork getting a MOMA prime spot. And rightfully so. I'm fucking flabbergasted as well. And to me it's personal. Here I am nursing my little passion, all on my own, willing to take any kinda crumbs that may fall from the banquet table . And then there's The Bjork. She was married to Mathew Barney. Now I'm no big fan of his either, but hell, at least he's a big successful artist, not a pop star. Now, I'm not delusional. I can't compete with anybody anymore.  I know that. I've been melting into a little stagnant puddle for some time now. Soon I'll be only the memory of the stain. Unless I live to 150, forget my MOMA retrospective.
   Now maybe if I went and saw The Bjork Show I would change my mind. But there's no way I'm gonna plop down $20 to go to MOMA for anybody. And maybe that's the bigger problem. The public has to be lured. And I'm sure The Bjork's packing 'em in. Celebrity that can be re-packaged as art is there for the taking by any curator or museum board that is willing to take the chance. Critics are hollow voices in the wasteland. No one gives a shit if The Bjork is bashed by the critics. The bottom line is ticket sales. There's a wiff of PT Barnum and Madame Tussaude in it all. And a certain sacrilege in her inhabiting this MOMA sacred space. But when all's said and done, it really isn't my church anymore (if it ever was). I'll never see The Bjork at MOMA. It's already old news. And she'll never see my 3 days in Brooklyn in June. Lets call it even.    

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.