Thursday, July 29, 2010

Confirmation Bias: Koans

Another Etsy print utilizing "children's" art tools consists of MechaGodzilla getting a girlfriend as the readers of "The Inquirer" keep an eye on the relationship.   It’s amazing to see how quickly ideas, archetypes, songs; well culture has morphed in the past century.  I suppose we (the royal human we) have always acclimated quickly.  I don't have as large a grasp on language as I wish I did, but am still enthralled with shared cultural words.  Most times being used in mixed language sentences they lose a . . . je ne sais quoi.  And yes, we do have to thank the French for the feminine blonde, while the rest of the English language is neutered. Like spoken English I've been interested in appropriating for a few reasons.  It creates a dialogue with the past along with paying tribute it.  Building upon ideas of the past is how we've advanced to the technological/digital age.   I enjoy seeing things morph, figuring out (or at least creating my own theories) how they connect to the next gestation and adding to it.  It is an instant personal gratification becoming part of something larger than myself.   If it wasn't for a personal enjoyment I may even associate it with the loss of self.  What is that anyway?  "Is it alive, does it writhe? Can it survive under the sun?" The closest thing I equate to a gnostic experience is losing myself to the act of painting and becoming lucid to the fact that I'm awake and dreaming.

   A question was asked of a Zen master,  "What is the meaning of the ancestral teacher's (i.e., Bodhidharma's) coming from the west?" The master answered, "The cypress tree in front of the hall."  But this is about transformations of ideas, traditions, and art.  Knowing what has been is a good clue of what is and will be and like any good lie should be studied.  The variations, the small differences are what have become interesting.  How many times are you going to watch the same movie?  I bet it was based on a play that was performed over two thousand years ago.  There is some funny stuff in transitions for those of us caught in the middle.  In a way, it’s like being aware of puberty, being in it, past it, and aware of it from the other gender's view all at the same time - and the whole time daises that grow from our ancestor's corpses towards the sun, bending in the wind laugh along.  Oh, wait . . . we embalm and encase our dead like they are pharaohs.  No wonder we have movies like "Night of the Living Dead".   No, that doesn't make sense enough . . . let’s go with Brandon Frasier’s "The Mummy" as reference instead, using a shot of  Brock from "The Venture Bros."  fighting a mummy, even though "Night . . ." is much cooooler.

 My third wish is there to be no more 1970-1990 horror movie remakes.  We're supposed to change things, make them better damn it.  I mean look what happened with Gojira.  Someone transformed two Japanese words (and the Japanese do love to abbreviate/transform their words) for gorilla and whale and made up Gojira.  Then it’s misinterpreted to Godzilla for the U.S. release.  That is a radical name, and besides who would have wanted to go see a movie about a gorilla whale? It was something new [(ish) I'm not forgetting "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" or earlier stories dating back to St. George].  And then there was the 1998 U.S. Godzilla release promoted by Taco Bell.  Hell, Taco Bell started out as a hot dog stand.   What was my point with this? Ah yes . . . The Child Ballad Show.  Having expressed the need to recognize the importance of "tradition" I think it’s fair to impose one's own will upon its impending change.  The streets don't change but maybe their name . . .  The only fear/sin against tradition is the same for history: forgetting it.  Maybe forgetting should be replaced with "not learning".   To do either would be missing a hold on it.   "Is it numb?  Does it glow, will it shine? Does it leave a trail of slime?"  The most important thing to do with tradition is to play with it.  Game the sh*t out of it.  Most of the time all its doing is pointing out that you’re alive.
 Speaking of transformations. . . I'm happy to be sharing wall space with Bart Lynch (image above) in September.  In the past I've had the chance to visit him in the studio and its mind boggling how he works.  To see these seemingly spontaneous calligraphic marks converge into an overall composition consisting of stories within stories within stories is something to behold.  I highly recommend viewing his work when you get the chance.  That's at least one thing that I'm doing at the Child Ballad Show in Baltimore.  I just finished the painting for the show, and believe me I played the sh*t out of it.   To answer  some of you all's first questions reading this, "No, when making the print I was not consciously thinking about "Bambi meets Godzilla".  Someone pointed that out to me the other day and I almost threw up in my mouth because I had forgotten about it.  I'm more optimistic and think the relationship in my print will turn out better."   Have I learned anything?

Don't forget the 5th law: A Discordian is prohibited from believing what he reads.
If you are having trouble with that, consult your pineal gland.

Time to get back in the studio.

Jiun, a Shingon master, was a well-known Sanskrit scholar of the Tokugawa era. When he was young he used to deliver lectures to his brother students.
His mother heard about this and wrote him a letter:
"Son, I do not think you became a devotee of the Buddha because you desired to turn into a walking dictionary for others. There is no end to information and commentation, glory and honor. I wish you would stop this lecture business. Shut yourself up in a little temple in a remote part of the mountain. Devote your time to meditation and in this way attain true realization."

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