Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Build a Fort. Set It On Fire...

Now that Spikus Aurelius is finished, I worry that once you start writing on the surface of your paintings you can never go back. Of course, when I say "you" I really mean "me." Case in point: for months I had Lawrence's picture sitting on the wall of the studio, waiting to be painted. It wasn't until I thought of calling it Spikus Aurelius that I sprang to action. If you're a painter, be a painter. If you're a painter and a writer, try your best to separate the two.

You might describe how I'm feeling as the Jenny Holtzer Syndrome. I wonder, as clever as some of her work is, how one reacts to the same enigmatic epigrams and gnomic truths after seeing/reading them for the zillionth time. Likewise, the thinking goes, when I start writing all over my paintings, how fast will they get old?

I've got one buzzing around in my head. It's big--maybe seven by nine--featuring the full figure of a black man, mostly nude, with white wings--the Angel of Death, if you will--holding the severed head of George Bush. Leaning against a tree, his torso and legs form an "L" around the left side and bottom of the painting. Prominent in that same area is the bloody head and a bloody sword. I might not depict Bush in a recognizable manner; instead perhaps having the head lodged in a W Hotels shopping bag. The "W" should be enough.

The rest of the painting consists of an interior monologue by the Angel, scrawled on the surface of the canvas, paint straight from the tube, describing how he was hesitant to call a sitting President away (although obviously there's precedent) until God illucidates the sins of George W. Not the least of which being, of course, invoking the name of God while at the same time behaving in the most unChristian of ways.

I'll spare you the details but suffice to say, it's copy-heavy. I see it coming out in the same heavy patois that Big Jim spoke in Huck Finn. (note: patois might not be the right word, though I know it's not terrine) Something like "God tells me he don hol' no truck wif folks dat do bad, bad tings den say He tole 'em to do 'em."

It needs work, but something like that.

And after that? Who knows. I've also got a set of paintings I'm thinking about called Elena's Basquiat(s). Each one features my friend and muse Elena reclined, painted drip style, in "front" of my version of a Jean-Michelle Basquiat. Given that these are typically word-heavy, you can see this could turn into a problem at almost breakneck speed.

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