Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Next? 

Cleaning out the gallery 

Synergy is when two-plus-two-equals-five, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The author has fifty years accumulation of intellectual and tangible property valued in the art world and, more specifically, the printmaking world. What is next?  

Cleaning out the gallery the best way

Shall we begin? In the 1980s, Norie Sato proposed a funding program to solve the problem of artists’ unsold assets—their works of art which, for lack of a market, were piling up in storage. She said, “Announce that the work would be place on a conveyor leading into a garbage truck, and anyone who wanted to could save the artwork and give it a home, could take it off the conveyor and pay for having it.”

I have thought of this proposal many times, but the organization of the event is daunting, not to mention the desperation of it and the perversion of what the art meant at the outset. Lately, however, two recurring themes concern me:

One, I’m getting along okay, but every time I do something to sell a press or an artwork (the former which is many times over the occurrence of the latter) I see myself depriving a Millennial of a meaningful, remunerative task.

Second, the huge inventory of unsold work is going to be junked if I don’t do something with it soon.

If I am creative and deserving the title of “artist” then I should be able to use these themes in a creative way to move forward—solving two problems at the same time and realizing the benefits of a group-funding event, when two-plus-two-equals-five.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Growth Tip 

Finding your way in difficult times 

A dream, a nightmare, makes him think about his role, or his job, in today’s world in which it appears that crises and gloom besets many Americans and the world’s peoples. What can he do to help? A senior artist is not someone people think of as a leader. 

Arms too weak—a dream analysis 

In a dream I was in a wilderness, but there were trails and a road, a bridge crossing a river. I saw a man in the river, and he swam ashore and I gave him a hand getting out. He said he often went swimming in this river, but it was especially turbulent these days—maybe he shouldn't risk it.
The scene changed, and I was in a queue with many people, and I couldn't find my place in the line; I mistakenly took a place and I was shoved out for having crowded in. then I was again in a wilderness—and now on a mission like a guerrilla task. We had to cross a stream and, on the other side, climb a steep cliff and through a small hole.
There were others behind me, and when I was able to get up to a hole which we had to crawl through and I realized I didn't have the strength to pull myself up. At 72, I could no longer pull my weight in this kind of warfare. The hole was partly blocked by a flat stone, and I was able to push the stone aside and make the passage a little easier for others.
That was the most I could do, however; and even after I made the passage a little larger, I could not lift myself up to go through. As I was blocking the way of the others, they would have to go around. I was stuck. I could not help in the mission. I woke up, thinking, “growth tip.”

Growth tip

In college I took botany as a science requirement. What stuck with me about plant life was that the tip of a stem or branch had the effect of leading the way in the plan for the plant’s growth. After that, whenever I see some greenery that has poked itself through a crack in a sidewalk or a little tree that has broken through stone, I thought about the growth tip.
The growth tip must have a combination of plant-cellular intelligence, strength, fortitude and persistence to manage breaking through. From a seed in soft, moist, accommodating soil, the achievement of easily sending out its first root or stem and sprout in two directions—one toward the sun, the other toward the deeper regions for water and nutrients.
Maybe that’s why I took to the tree as my guide when I was in graduate school and required to state my Master’s Thesis project. The requirement was to help graduate students in art to focus our energy and our minds similarly as to what the students in engineering or science. Trees became my obsession, which was an obvious choice because I had already started on trees as symbols of life itself when I was an undergraduate.

Wake up

I thought about the growth tip the instant I woke up from the nightmare and feeling I can’t pull my weight because my muscles have gone soft, thus useless in guerrilla warfare. But I removed a small obstacle in the pathway. I was of some use, after all. At 72 year of age, are there not things that I possess that will help the young people on a mission we share?
My personal history in art and education suggests that I am a kind of growth tip, having broken through impasses in my work as an artist, designer, and teacher. While I am not a politician or military scientist, my having solved problems that I met in education were good solutions. I continually to offer ideas for better ways to teach, research, practice and give service through the arts to young people in America and all nations.
Times have changed, and the problems I met and solved over fifty years are not necessarily problems that are worth anyone’s time to address now. I seem to be getting nowhere in my ten-year plan for the Seattle Printmaking Center, for example, and maybe it’s a concept not appropriate to the 21st Century.
Yet, I can still be the growth tip and find a tiny hole or a crack in the rocky ceiling of indifference and confusion about the place of art, design and education. What stops me from doing what I hope to do? I have to ask myself this question every morning. There is light out there, somewhere, and, underneath me like a foundation, the enrichment of my past. It is my basis for believing it is possible to save Earth’s human life sustainability through education of the world’s young people.
In corporate language, such a foundation is called the “stock basis.”


There is no mistake in believing that our lives—those of my wife and mine—depend on an educated, trained and cooperating population of young people, for it is the wages that they will earn if they are qualified to get salaried jobs that will, through our Social Security, Medicare and Pension systems, sustain us. Therefore it is incumbent on all “growth-tippers” to mobilize the wisdom to know how to edit and apply our years of experience in our domains-of-expertise.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Killing off the young - 

An old-timer’s disease 

He takes the word “disease” and reads it as “dis-ease,” or lack of ease, of discomfort, of a feeling that with every little task he executes in his handwork as an entrepreneur, he is killing off the employment prospects of a younger generation of artists.


Someone said that the word disease really means dis-ease, a lack of ease, a feeling of discomfort and pain. I don’t know if that’s etymologically correct, but it fits the feeling that I get when I see before me a variety of routine tasks that bring me financial and creative satisfaction.
For example, I must complete the packaging of two WeeWoodie Rembrandt Presses and mail them to buyer in Seattle and Saudi Arabia. Also I must pack a Galleon Press to send to Carolina, and a Mini Etching Press for a buyer in Taiwan.
Almost anyone from the younger generations could do this, and be paid from the proceeds of these sales—the gross amount of which is $3,950, and a net of about $1,750. This pencils out to about 40% net income, which I will portion out to pay down my debts and reinvest in new projects.
The dis-ease comes from the feeling in my head that any one of the tasks I will undertake, from the miniscule to the heavy lifting, could be done by a younger person with some training and education. Therein lies the rub—there is no plan for training and education in my scheme.
There is a wish—the teacher’s wish which I have had since I was a boy; I always wanted to be a teacher.

The curse 

I am cursed with a genetically and conditioned view that I can take care of the immediate tasks to satisfy buyers of presses well enough to get me by without training someone else to do them. This is complicated further by the fact that I can’t guarantee that my training of someone younger (or older) will get them the rewards they need immediately and also be sustainable for a long term.
For example, I lack two pieces of plastic material to complete the contents of the to WeeWoodie Rembrandt presses—one for Seattle and for Saudi Arabia. I plan to walk downtown and find this plastic material—maybe at Bed, Bath & Beyond. How can someone else do it?
To get the attention of a younger person, explain the need, show them the purpose of the plastic, discuss alternatives if that material can’t be found at BB&B, etc. and also give them the money to purchase it—all this is overwhelming to me, distracting and unnecessary since I think I can do it all myself in less time.
Plus, I get in a walk, which is necessary to maintain my health—needed to keep in going for the next ten years for my next ten-year plan. My father was beset by the same disorder—practically do the job for his workers in the process of training them because he was a stickler for doing the job right.

To do list 

My dilemma list goes on as I think about what needs to be done: make boxes and get packing material for the Galleon, fill out postage forms for mailing to Saudi Arabia, also Seattle and Carolina, etc. Certain enclosures that go with the Galleon and the Mini Etching Press need to be checked and updated—a task I can do in an hour but which would take many hours of instructions to a younger person.
Writing my to-do list gives me a vague, aching pain because, not only is it a long list and somewhat boring because I’ve done it so many times, it is painful because I know I am killing off a job opportunity for some younger person by doing it all myself.
Lately I have been telling people that, as a pensioner and drawing social security, I need to hone a two-edged sword to ensure mine and my wife’s long-term security as we get older. How will my pension continue if American industries suffer from poor labor force? How will our Social Security system sustain if young people are not trained and educated and cannot hold down jobs?

Solutions and cures for the disease

I think the solution is a factory school of printmaking arts.
How do I begin?
Have I already begun?

Is anyone reading this?