Eva Hesse: "Life doesn’t last; art doesn’t last. It doesn’t matter."
Clifford Geertz: “Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun.”
William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Kristen Throop: "Artists who have moved into the studio space more recently, like Chris Beards and Bill Shelley from Blasted Art Gallery, have put on ambitious and thoughtful shows which stretch the boundaries of Sonoma County’s art scene. They have brought an influx of new people to the neighborhood, and this energy has added to a palpable ambiance of excitement and enthusiasm."
Mary Vaughan: “Blasted Art Gallery here at Backstreet, is a contemporary showroom on its own, led by curators Chris Beards and Bill Shelley. We are lucky to have their fine take on visual thinking in our midst. There is always an interesting gathering of art in their space, not to miss.”
Jasper Johns: "One hopes for something resembling the truth, some sense of life, even of grace, to flicker, at least, in the work."
Claire Messud: "Ours is a bleakly utilitarian era. Every act, it seems, must be overtly purposeful, its value measurable, or else we deem it dispensable, a waste of time."
Donald Trump: "'What you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening."
Who could have possibly known that starting an art gallery would be such a time and money suck?
Lloyd Dobler: "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."
Laurie Anderson: "This is the time, and this is the record of the time."
Homer Simpson: "But that's the great thing about art. Everyone can have their own opinion about why it sucks.”
Another scam arrived in my email inbox:
My name is Darwin Weber from Columbus, Ohio. I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to Me and my wife's anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on some of your works which I found quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit your doing quite an impressive job and you are undoubtedly good at what you do.
With that being said, I would like to purchase some of your works as a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary. It would be of help if you could send some pictures of your piece of works, with their respective prices and sizes, which are ready for immediate (or close to immediate) sales. My budget for this is within the price range of $500 to $5000.
I look forward to reading from you in a view to knowing more about your pieces of inventory. As a matter of importance, I would also like to know if you accept check as a means of payment.
Alice Channer: "The 21st century needs objects that are vulnerable, uncertain, other, alien. To navigate climate change, mass extinctions and extreme and rapid human-made changes in community, society, geology, politics, biology and economy, we need new kinds of of objects. They must be confidently doubtful, awkward as well as elegant, horizontal as well as vertical, soft as well as hard. Objects like these might show us new kinds of embodiment - how to mutate, adapt, change state, survive, prosper."
Hermann Hesse: "Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud."
Karen Wilkin: "Art, although it is about many things, is almost always about other art."
Mary Oliver: "The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave it neither power nor time."
Sir Laurence Olivier: "No matter how well you perform, there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy."
Everyone doesn't get every one.
The last ¼ inch makes all the difference.
Oscar Wilde: "Only shallow people do not judge appearances."
Madeleine L'Engle: "Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it."
Edward R. Tufte: "Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information."
I have sadly re-learned that Pinned is one of the truest works I have made.
John Muir: "When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
Constantin Brancusi: "What is real is not the external form but the essence of things. Starting from this truth it is impossible for anyone to express anything essentially real by imitating its exterior surface."
Carol Harris: “I’d rather make the wrong decision than no decision.”
Banksy: “The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”
Some of our memories are treasured, kept sparkling through repetition and ritual, we use these treasures to explain ourselves to ourselves. All of us, adrift on the Sea of Forgetting called Life, burnished by time and nature, our memories become talismans of who we are. To lose our memories is to disappear into nothingness.
Eugene Delacroix: "We work not only to produce but to give value to time."
Adam McEwen: "As an artist, you've got to reveal yourself, because if you don't, you won't make good work. But you don't want to reveal yourself, because it's horrible."
Magical thinking is the attribution of causal relationships between actions and events which seemingly cannot be justified by reason and observation.
Brand loyalty is for suckers.
Trayce Beards: "Why are they selling this? Just terrible - from the moment of its making."
It's nice to get a mention in the October 2016 issue of napasonomamagazine.com:
"Healdsburg has the most art galleries per capita of any city in Northern California. The Paul Mahder Gallery exhibits the works of international artists and local artists, such as Cynthia Jarvis and Chris Beards, and San Francisco’s Migdalia Valdes’ innovative black-and-white photographs of everyday life."
I would rather drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.
Iain Pears: "People cannot tell the truth about themselves, for they do not know it."
George W. Bush: "I'm just a sensitive artist these days, not a government official, but I would say that education of the arts is very important."
Christine Smallwood: "We all learn to live with our memories, even if the way we live is by forgetting them."
Grant Petersen: "There's a tendency to trust mechanisms you can't see more than those you can, because when you see how something works, you see also the potential for failure. . . If you're mechanically adept you might be more attracted to something you can figure out and fix, but more people aren't that than are."
Catherine Breese Davis: "After a time, all losses are the same. One more thing lost is one thing less to lose; and we go stripped at last the way we came."
Might does not make right. The end does not justify the means.
Bitchalicious blog post by Rebecca with my work Parenthesis.
Sean Harris: "Shit adds up."
Jason Torchinsky: "If there’s one thing that the Internet has truly revolutionized, it’s humanity’s collective ability to generate outrage."
Charles Bukowski: "Find what you love and let it kill you."
CJK Papadopoulos: "Your work is taking too much out of you...you're too thin.....keep working!!!!”
Golpalott's Third Law: "The antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components."
Anish Kapoor: "Art is a process of experimentation where certain things arrive and you try to follow them. In the end, one has to trust the work does its own thing."
Lou Barlow: "Memories are made of razor blades even if they're good."
A cambist is an expert on exchange rates. Dissimilar items are valued and balanced against each other.
An adaptogen is a substance that helps people adjust to changes in their physical and psychological environment.
A theriac is an ancient medicinal compound against poisons.
Harley Poe: "After awhile getting high in the bathroom gets old."
The past haunts us - the stories we tell ourselves haunt us.
Michael Pollan: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
Lea Delaria: "Never point at anything beige and call it cool."
A neighbor offered me helpful advice for making art that is meaningful. She suggested the redwoods, bears, salmon, and garden scenes.
personal perception of self vs. public presentation of self
Steven B. Miller (d. 2015): "I'll just stop home on my way to the skilled nursing facility to have a cocktail and a cigarette. I'll perk right up!"
All time exists at all times. I take comfort from this.
Ken Carbone: "Just let it go, baby."
I begin with a notion - an idea. I continue defining it until it cannot be anything other than itself.
If you can stick the landing, then you've pulled it off.
Proverb from the medieval Levent (Persian, Hebrew and Turkey) c.1200AD: "This too, shall pass."
Shoes make the outfit. Duh.
There are only memories of memories - polished by time - like driftwood of the mind.
Science has proposed this: Each time you remember a memory, it is refiled as a new memory. Over time, errors accrue, which results in memories that aren't as 'true' as believed, or possibly never happened. When I visited a childhood home, I found it on the wrong side of the street. It was one of those moments when I suspect I've somehow clicked over into the next parallel universe. This time everything was exactly the same, except this particular house, my house, was on the other side of the street, The wrong side.
Harj Vetharanayan: "The story of our lives is usually long over before we die, and we spend our twilight years warming our hands on the embers of memory."
Earl Nightingale: "We become what we think about."
Pogonophobia. Uh-huh, that's right.
The Bell-Shaped Curve is a portrait of the most commonly observed herd animal: Human.
Trayce Beards: "Hey genius, you've got something in your teeth."
Shared laughter is one of the best things.
Do not be the craftsman who boasts of ten years of experience - when it is only the first year repeated ten times.
Just because something is labeled, advertised, and sold as "food" doesn't mean you should eat it.
Holly Black: "Let me tell you something about unicorns - they're faeries and faeries aren't to be trusted."
Carol Harris: "You think you're so cool."
Do you think of me when you hear Siouxsie & the Banshees?
Brian Hopkinson: "Be a Banshee Forever."
Dathan Auerbach: "Truth to tell, at any point in our lives we've forgotten more than we know about our own history. The world moves on, and so do we, and what was once important fades away."
Notice to Unreliable Narrators: I will pick up my things and walk away without a glance back.
Harlan Ellison: "Now begin in the middle, and later learn the beginning; the end will take care of itself."
In the article, she characterized contemporary Sonoma County art as ". . . landscapes and grapes . . ." I laughed out loud.
Andy Warhol: "In order to have a good time you don’t have to actually look good; you just have to think that you do."
Blonde Redhead: Misery is a Butterfly
paper & glue: torn strips of 3M brand shipping paper & Titebond II woodglue
Napoleon Dynamite: "It took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip. It's probably the best drawing I've ever done."
I miss the Quicksilver Mine Co. art gallery.
Lana Del Ray: "I've got that summertime / summertime sadness / s-s-summertime sadness"
I am inspired by uncertainty and ambiguity.
Homer Simpson: "I've always had an interest in art, dating back to my schoolgirl days when I painted portrait after portrait of Ringo Starr."
Symptom: Fatigue / Diagnosis: Fatigue
Alan Guth discussing the Multiverse: ". . . anything that can happen will happen; in fact, it will happen an infinite number of times."
Are you really trying to tell me that Purple is a Neutral?
Karl Lagerfeld: "Trendy is the last stage before tacky."
Paul Budwiser: "Everybody liked Warren."
Is there anything filthier than carpet?
Thom Yorke: "cause this is fucked up, fucked up"
Robin Beards: "Leave while the party is good."
Michael Schwager: "It really fills the space."
Justin Bieber: “This is not a gimmick. I’m not—I’m not—this is not a gimmick. I’m an artist, and I should be taken seriously.”
Warren Chverchko: "You dance like a girl."
It comes down to what are you trying to say? And, are you saying it?
How can I use sticks & stones to make her laugh again?
Susanna Clarke: "There was a rustle of nine silk gowns, the slight click of door, a final exhalation of perfume, and suddenly there were no princesses at all."
Sometimes it is kinder to say nothing than to say why.
Horace Walpole: “The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.”
Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Annie Dillard: "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
Renee Adams: "Funny how painting gets so much attention when sculpture takes so much more time and skill."
Let go was juried and accepted into the 2012 Cloverdale Sculpture Exhibit and I was pleased. Unfortunately, the city had issues regarding safety and stability
(Quote: ". . . concerned for the potential for the piece to tip, especially given its height and attractiveness for climbing.") and attaching it to the ground was not an option and their proposed remedy was not possible at the time. With regret, on both sides, I withdrew my work from further consideration.
William Gibson: "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with assholes."
I'm not particularly interested in duplicating what already exists.
Something not fully made is fragile. It exists in the same state as Schrodinger's cat - there and not there simultaneously. Many times even my lovely wife does not see the work until it is nearly finished. I have found that someone else's perspective on a work-in-progress can affect my ability to see the work.
The work is a by-product of the struggle to be more than one actually is.
When I was a beginning art student, I once said to an instructor that "I wasn't feeling creative" and was waiting for inspiration. Her response was that it didn't matter how I felt, what I needed to do was get to work and be creative. I didn't understand that at the time, but I do now. It is not easy.
Titles work for me as the most basic guide, something to check the work against, to be sure I am on a good path. I use a working title in the beginning as a way of not fully committing to the idea, of allowing for change to come into the process. A title is usually part of the conception of a work, or one is suggested during the making. It is a guide for both the maker and viewer. The few times I have forced a particular title onto a sculpture have been unsatisfying. Every time I see the mis-titled work I feel the untruth of it.
Some work is over-explained and is tiresome. Some work over-explains itself and is boring. Some work is incomprehensible and is infuriating. Well, maybe not "infuriating", that does seem a little overly dramatic.
Finishing Let go and the first full assembly: Seeing it in its entirety for the first time was so familiar, yet so strikingly different in an indefinable way - like seeing someone after a long absence. It was like everything in the universe crystallized and was held in place for a moment. I could feel the crystals. The gesture is nice. There is a tension to the composition. The balance is sweet. It says everything I wanted to say, but not how I thought I would say it.
The physical residue of a mental need to create.
Lee Segall: "A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.
Leonardo da Vinci: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Charles Bennet described quantum information as being ". . . like the information of a dream - we can't show it to others, and when we try to describe it we change the memory of it."
I want to do more than accumulate multiples into stacks.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: "Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a voice; then darkness again and a silence."
CJK Papadopoulos: "Each piece is a prototype."
Eleanor Roosevelt: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
It pleases me to think of my work as magick spells. All the ingredients need to be added - some obscure, some common - some found, some made. The incantations must be correctly spoken. The timing should be right. Everything comes together to become more than the sum of its parts.
Edward Lorenz: "Very small changes in a system can have very large and unexpected consequences."
Thomas Edison: "To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."
Martin Puryear: "Although idea and form are ultimately paramount in my work, so too are chance, accident, and rawness."
Gustav Mahler: "If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music."
Maya Angelou: "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."
Alexander Liberman: "All art is solitary and the studio is a torture area."
Please stop using Comic Sans and Papyrus fonts.
Paul Klee: "Art does not reproduce the visible; it makes things visible."
Poe Ballantine: "I know very little about most things and less than nothing about the rest."
Pattern & Repetition. Multiples.
The fractured narrative of Mark Z. Danielewski's book, House of Leaves. influenced my sculpture The First Harry Potter Book. Dante's The Divine Comedy, also Sandow Birk and Marcus Sanders's Dante's Inferno, inspired the sculpture Hell.
My dog's greatest tragedy is his lack of hands.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed by too-numerous choices. Sometimes the best option is "none of the above". Unless it's toothpaste and then I must decide. The myriad flavors, colors, sensations, gels, pastes, sizes, tubes or pumps leave me swirly and breathless. I try to make it a happy-consumer-game, but it's not a fun game.
Margaret Atwood: "Farewell is the song Time sings."
Jeffrey Zeldman: "Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design; it’s decoration.”
Kate Moss: "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."
I may spend my entire life without ever becoming rich or famous. I will work hard with no outwardly benefit or guarantee of future rewards. I will strive to do my best even if the accolades do not appear. I am my own harshest critic. I have no regrets and, if offered, would make the same decision again.
A nice landscape painting is just that. I'm tired of nice landscape paintings. Give me a landscape painting that howls.
Douglas Coupland: "Chew the bitter towelette of truth."
Alice Walker: "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men."
Elizabeth Aston: "It is all very well, when the pen flows, but then there are the dark days when imagination deserts one, and it is an effort to put anything down on paper. That little you have achieved stares at you at the end of the day, and you know the next morning you will have to scrape it down and start again."
William Shakespeare: "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."
Charlotte Bronte: "Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation."
Willem de Kooning: "Even an abstract form has to have a likeness."
Anish Kapoor: "What one does in the studio is to pose a series of problems to oneself. I've got to look for some deeper meaning, for some reason for this thing to be in the world. There's enough stuff in the world."
The art form of the twenty-first century is marketing.
I find things. I make things that look found. I alter found things to look made. I combine these things to make new things.
Change is the only constant.
The major purpose of memory is to predict the future.
I wish I had asked Paige J. or Lisa C. to a school dance.
Secret Lick: Dripping with water after a shower, my lovely wife would allow our small dog to enthusiastically lick her wet ankles as she toweled herself dry. The dog learned that this "fun" treat was not to be shared with me. The distinction regarding post-shower licking was clear and defined: Mom: yes. Dad: no.
Ready to shower I'd step over the tub. Just as my weight shifted into it and I'm picking up my other foot, our small dog would dash into the bathroom and give my naked ankle a quick lick. Then she'd turn and scamper away before I could react. She wouldn't do this very often. Time would pass and I'd forget until she'd do it again.
She knew it was a game and she was winning. A small act of willful subversion. I respected her for it. A small wrench in the machine. A small secret. It is the essence of her behavior which is being celebrated: make your own fun.
My own Secret Licks include the name "Hugh Jass" on my S______ club card. And while at S______, perhaps some of the avocado's "Ripe - Ready to Eat" stickers are transferred to packages of meat. Or the pleasure I might take in stamping DUPLICATE - NOT NEGOTIABLE on the back of our paper currency (in order to increase confidence in our government). There are other examples, but someone wise told me never write down anything I didn't want to see in court.
The Secret Lick stickers are a small reminder to subvert the norm, to question authority, to go out and make your own fun.
William Blake: "Everything possible to be believ'd is an image of truth."
Marcel Duchamp: "As soon as we start putting our thoughts into words and sentences everything gets distorted, language is just no damn good-I use it because I have to, but I don't put any trust in it. We never understand each other."
Here is the simplest explanation of E=mc2 I have ever come across and still don't understand: space is time equals matter is energy.
Richard Tuttle: "To make something which looks like itself is, therefore, the problem, the solution."
CJK Papadopoulos: "The difference between drawing and sculpture is dimension."
Can you prove that everything didn't just pop into existence five minutes ago?
California's poet laureate Al Young on art: "It is only very young and inexperienced cultures that don't understand that art and culture are the most important byproducts of any society, you're not remembered for your armies or your navies. You're remembered for your music and for your stories. For your literature. For your dance. For your film. For your painting. For your great art. That is what ennobles a society."
Marcel Duchamp: "The creative act is not performed by the artists alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act."
J. Pavel: "A machine was the organizing principle among it's parts."
A dialogue is established between the media and my intention. The work is evidence of the conversation.
I explore a slow, more basic technology, with roots in the foundation of an industrial society. Gears, levers, wheels, and physical linkages helped shape this type of society. A high-tech revolution of another time and place. Whether or not this society has actually existed is not important. The creation of objects that react and interact with unfamiliar situations allow me to explore the possibilities of what could exist.
"Art can be a very isolating profession. You spend a lot of time in your own mind."
Mechanically engineered botanicals.
Carl Jung: "People cannot stand too much reality."
I hear people describe my work as "whimsical" quite often. I don't really see it, but I believe it is there.
"Failure to vote is the mark of a satisfied citizen."
By covering an object with paper and glue and then creating a surface, I say this is what it is now.
Quality vs. Quantity
An implied function or purpose.
I think of my surfaces as 'history'. The surface is complete when the history feels believable. The surface takes about as much time as the physical making of the component.
Demo-mode: engineering jargon for the malfunction of a device that has repeatedly worked well for you but ceases to operate when you attempt to demonstrate it's capabilities.
Gravity is what object-based work struggles against. How a work engages the floor, or wall, interests me. The technical and conceptual resolution of stance.
Anxiety is a powerful motivational force.
A grove of trees is engaged in a battle for light and nutrients. Shade is a WMD.
A word, a phrase, the collision of two images and the suspected results.
I never claimed to be a photographer.
"The abstract work removes itself from the world by tearing away the envelope of resemblance to reveal in the most subjective manner the essence of a thing. Relieved from an obligation to reproduce the things of this world, or tediously to question the nature of representation itself, such an art is free to be introspective, addressing itself to matters of the spirit."
'"Whittling is whittling," he says definitively. "I don't even like the term art. Most people who call themselves artists are weirdos. I don't want to be considered a weirdo."'
A particle or a wave, but not both, and probably neither.
I prefer craftsmanship to be invisible, not call attention to itself. For me, it is not about how it is made, but rather what is made. My work is well-made.
Its not about the materials, but what the materials can do.
Does time flow? Why can we remember the past but not the future? If time does flow, does it flow at a steady rate? My subjective experience says no.
Magdalena Abakanowicz: "At the beginning of every creative process is mystery, the inexplicable...one of the strongest motives of our time is the search for explanation, the need to explain everything away. Explanation is one of the means to tame the mystery of art. Talking about mystery has become indecent. Many people consider it pure mystification or a lack of intelligence. They want to identify mystery with a problem. And a problem is something which can be reduced to details susceptable to explanation. Mystery cannot be reduced to details. It is a whole which embraces us."
The insidious marketing of corporate trends and celebrity gossip seems to eclipse all else. We are bombarded by shrill messages that promote the latest pop-culture fad as something important to our lives; the huckstering of the mass-media intent on promoting dissatisfaction and uncertainty. Our consumer culture shames us into fighting the visible signs of time, of the decay that belies our experience. We are indoctrinated to value the appearance of youth, of newness, at the expense of being confident in or about our bodies, or even our possessions. We are repeatedly told to believe 'new' is 'better' simply because it is new.
Einstein: "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science"
www.chrisbeards.com has been online since 2004.