Thursday, February 5, 2009

Can You Dig It?!

So, I started this blog to talk about art. Today, I decided it was finally time to get to it. In a section I've entitled "Can You Dig it" (Taken from the movie The Warriors), I'm going to present some art work that I find interesting.

First, I'm going to show some work from Mark Jenkins: Street Installations.

What I like most about street art in general is it's rebellious in-your-face attitude. Another very important aspect is that these people make these works for Art's sake and nothing else. It's probably frustrating knowing that one's work will only last a couple of days or even a couple of hours, but fear and cowardice are more frustrating--I am sure.

I like Mark Jenkins because I have personally seen some of his work around the DC area. His sculptures made from tape are amazing. What I like most is how the sculpture engages its environment. Jenkins acts as if the world is his canvas.

Next, I am going to present a piece from one of my favorite poets, Patrick Rosal.
An Essay On Misri
"A certain gal in this old town
Keeps draggin' my poor heart around
All I see, for me is – misery"
—Harold Arlen

Misri says she is water
which means each morning
I hold some

small portion of her
in my hands Some days
I let her fall through

my fingers and other days
I take her little by little
into my mouth Most of the time

I just close my eyes
and hold her cool skin to my lips
I've heard men say

they would prefer to drown
in Misri It ain't
an easy task—to stroll out

into the salt blue versions of her
without looking back—but
I think men are not

like horses: Even if no one
forces our heads or hearts
We lead ourselves

At the end, he says basically: its hard not to look back when exploring a new frontier--like the sea or a relationship. And as dreadful as the future may be, the direction one takes is one's own personal choice. We've all heard the cliche "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". Rosal says a man leads himself to water meaning the misery he speaks of is self-inflicted. It's almost beautifully masochistic. I like his assimilation of water and the misery of being in love; being head-over-heels and diving right in. Afraid but totally unafraid.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Instant Art: The Cancer of the Digital Age

The absence of craftsmanship in America can be traced back to the industrial revolution. It has been proven that people are willing to buy poorly made products if they are less expensive. Consequently, skilled laborers were put out of business because companies using assembly lines could make similar products more efficiently. Since the mastery of certain labor had been reduced to elementary button-pushing, companies were able to pay workers less and pass the savings down to their consumers.

Hip hop was known for its strong, deep, and empathetic lyrics. Emcees, often confused with rappers, were the poets and prophets of the inner city. However, now, entertainers like Mike Jones and Soulja Boy dominate the industry without any artistry, skill or experience
. I do not know exactly why the common man would subject himself to the horrors of pop music. Sure, it’s much easier to make, but the consumer gets nothing in return for the low production value. Personally, I'll take lyrics over beats and catchy hooks any day. It just seems like people want to be musicians today, not because of their love for the art, but for the quick buck. So, now, we have a pool of music diluted by one-hit-wonders and non-intellectuals talking gibberish. What disgusts me most is when a legitimate artist changes their style to better suit the masses and to better fit into the pop music mold.

With the aid of computers, people have proven time and again that in today's art world, no skill is necessary. T-Pain, Kanye West, and others are able to "sing" with the assistance of a computer. Using Fruityloops and other programs has now replaced the use of musical instruments and even some beat boxes. Even outside of music, we see technically-savvy people produce art on a computer, but in actuality, they cannot draw or paint. This is most evident in photography and graphic design. Every person with a camera thinks they are a photographer. Every person with Photoshop thinks that they are a graphic designer. The truth is: when you let a machine do all of the real work, making a masterpiece is facilitated to simple button-pushing...


Sunday, January 18, 2009

S.B. on Racism

Barack Obama... He is definitely an amazing individual; when was the last time you saw a man inspire the masses in such a way as he has done? The gravity and historic importance of this inauguration has not dawned on me yet. I'm still kind of in disbelief. To think that just a few generations ago, our ancestors were slaves and slave owners and now there is a black man holding the highest position in the free world.

Having lived in DC most of my life and gone to a predominantly white school, I have experienced my fair share of racism. Now that I am older, I have truly recognized the racism that I was subjected to. As a youngster, I was far too aloof to know what was going on, but I guess most things are clearer in retrospect. It was not until I went to school in Rochester when I was flashed by full frontal racism. I'm not sure whether people think it's funny, whether they are trying to be hurtful, or whether they are just plain ignorant, but is there really any excuse or any room for this in our post-millennial America? I'm the type of person who likes to play the devil's advocate. I try to put myself into another man's shoes to really figure out what is going on in his mind. So, I think to myself: why are people still prejudice in 2009? Sure, you can blame it on human nature. It is in fact our nature as humans and animals to 1) compete 2) group ourselves with people who are similar to us. In combination, 1 and 2 could prove to cause animosity among races. In the beginning of human history, I am sure there was a need to discriminate considering the limited resources available and the shallow level of intelligence that the various peoples possessed. However, today, we buy our food at the same grocery stores. For the most part, we send our children to the same schools(although that is a completely separate issue). We all pay the same taxes. So, what is the deal? It's not like it's just white people either. Black people can be just as racist. If there was a word to describe white people that was as racially charged and had as much historical significance as the "N" word, there is no doubt in my mind that the choleric and ignorant would use it.

In Rochester, I was talking to a white friend of mine and he asked me "what's the big deal? where I come from n***** just means someone that's stupid" I responded "....exactly... your taking a word that was used to describe black people and using it negatively. basically your saying that black people are stupid" It shocked me that a kid in college had never put 2 and 2 together. Such bold ignorance... it's more shocking than angering, usually.

Personally, when dealing with people of different races, I have policy of color-blindness. There are rich and poor people of all races. There are intelligent and feeble-minded people of all races. So, why would I risk judging someone at face value(literally) when they could have a lot more to offer me than meets the eye? Today, our cultures don't even really separate us. There are white people who listen to Hip Hop, dress like B-boys, and talk like they're from the south side. Similarly, there are black people who listen to rock music, dress like punks, and sound like surfer dudes.

America is melting pot. In the end, the ingredients have to mix up...
or we've all done a half-ass job.

So, I leave you with this:
Gandhi said be the change you want to see
I say change how you see and it will all be.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Intro

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a 21 year old D.C. native. I love art--specifically photography, graffiti, and poetry. It just so happens that all of those are hobbies of mine. If I had to describe my artistic style, I'd say I'm something like Patrick Rosal meets Trent Parke, add a little Banksy, a sprinkle of A Tribe Called Quest and a smidgen of Weezy F. Baby. You're probably thinking: this kid is either crazy or a genius. Either way it should make for an interesting blog, right?

Now that we've been formally introduced, you're probably wondering what is this all about. if the name doesn't explain it all.

When looking at art, critiquing art, making art--you have to bring your "baggage". By "baggage", I mean perspective. How you relate to something and how it relates to the world around you.
I am the Metaphysical Therapist. I'm no Freud or anything but I hope what I present to you can help you recognize your conscious and unconscious baggage.

That being said, welcome to my baggage blog. Hopefully, you'll be enlightened or least entertained

S.B. (Scythe Butcha)