Okay. Here’s what happened: Fifteen years ago I had a dream. There was no mountain top involved, just me hanging out with Pablo Picasso in his studio. At one point in our conversation, Pablo lifted his cup of coffee to his lips, sipped quietly, and then said, “Art is a leap into the dark.” When I awoke, I thought to myself, that’s cool. I must have read that quote somewhere, though I didn’t know where. It ended up being used in my artist’s statement on my website – attributed, of course, to Picasso. I liked it so much, in fact, I even drew it on the wall and floor of my studio.
Jump ahead ten years. I receive an email from a university student who was writing her thesis on Pablo Picasso. She had come across the quote on my website and wanted to use it, but she had not found the quote listed anywhere else, and she needed to know my source. Evidently, it had not turned up in any online searches or in any of the printed material she had read on Picasso.
Hmmm. Had I put words into the virtual mouth of Pablo? And if that were the case, was not the quote actually by me? So, I began my own online research and, sure enough, the only appearance of the quote was on my website and in two quote databases, both of which listed my website as the source. On the strength of the sort of overwhelming evidence in favor of my inadvertent authorship via dream script, I began taking credit for the wise words.
Jump ahead another five years. A Google search this evening turned up many listings of the quote, mostly attributed to Picasso, but there were a few attributed to me. What to do? Do I surrender authorship to the more famous of the two of us? Do I continue to claim authorship based on the dream and the seeming evidence that it first appeared in my artist’s statement? Or do I share authorship with a nod to the generally accepted notion that “great minds think alike”?
Hmmm. I guess until I get that letter from Paloma’s attorney, I’ll keeping saying, “Art is a leap into the dark.” – Yow!
Yes. Betsy Alexander, musician, composer, visual artist, collector, teacher, gardener – and my wife – has her very own website. It’s called Betsy’s Wonderful Things and can be found at, of all places, http://betsyswonderfulthings.com
Every day is an adventure if you open yourself to it. And that day we were both open to it. So, as we walked down Walnut Street in Philadelphia, we found ourselves drawn to the activity and, subsequently, the art of one Damian DeGiosio as he sat cross-legged on the sidewalk, a series of tiny paintings displayed around him on pieces of cardboard. But it was not the cardboard he was painting on. It was matchbooks. Each one had been carved, cut, painted, drawn upon, and collaged – cityscapes and landscapes, mostly. And in each, the matches, themselves, figured prominently in the composition. We were fascinated by the tiny worlds he’d created from something that usually gets used and then tossed away. Of course, we just had to bring a few of them home. Here they are. You can read more about and from him at the URL below the last image.
A make-over for the door to my studio. I was going through some of my stash in the basement when I came upon a couple of old painted canvases from maybe 25-30 years ago, and it struck me that sections of them would look good on the outside of the door to my studio. Box cutter in hand, I went to work cuttting out a couple of smaller rectangular pieces from the larger stretched canvases. Then I grabbed a bucket of matte medium, a large brush and a roller and went to work gluing the sections to the door. What fun! This is a work in progress and next I’ll be painting the abstract shapes freely drawn with a broad-tipped sharpie around the edges. Who knows what else I may add before I proclaim it finished. Never fear. I’ll keep you posted.
Many years ago, while at brunch with friends, I uttered the line that was to become representative of my peculiar sense of humour: “If I had meditated as often as I have masturbated, I’d have become enlightened by now.” No doubt, this line will be the first one spoken in my eulogy many, many years from now. But until then, I will wear it proudly as my newest t-shirt design now available from redbubble.com. And you can too! Check it out HERE.
The Artist Standing Motionless
I never expected to be the one. All my life it has been someone else called upon to stand motionless. Mind you, I had no trouble doing it. It was actually quite easy. In fact, I still have the nagging feeling that even if I had not been called to this task, I would have ended up standing motionless somewhere else. There would have been no image captured, and certainly there would have been no media coverage, but I would have stood. And I would have known.
Bleeding-heart liberal, and proud of it! The giant corporations won’t be satisfied till they “own” all the water. So, if my being against that makes me a bleeding-heart liberal, then so be it! Cut open the chest of a consevative, and you’ll find a ticker tape.
Rebellion and revolutionary thought and action is what moves the human race forward. If kids growing up didn’t question their parent’s ideals and attitudes and methods, and feel that they could do it better, we’d still be in the Stone Age.