TMNK on Being an Artist

We're all walking through a vast forest, a wilding wilderness. None of us know where we'll come out. This strange and bewildering journey is no different for the artist; except he/or she chooses to talk to themselves along the way, purposely leaving tracks, drawing on the walls of discovered caves, leaving, arranging bird seeds for others to interpret or follow.

I believe we're all artists, or rather we're all capable of creating art. Yes, we are all capable of communicating our thoughts, feelings or emotions. The artist simply chooses to do it perhaps more visually, or perhaps abstractly, or with collaged images or sounds. The artist simply believes his or her chosen form of creative communication is important enough to record, to preserve for future generations, to share with an audience. The same could be said for writers, I would think. We all have stories, experiences, dreams, and thoughts. The writer simply chooses to record his or hers, and to believe they are important enough or interesting enough that they should be preserved and shared with, read by the masses.

Throughout history, critics have debated the merit, talent or ability of this artist versus that artist. But the truth be told, none of these intellectual discussions or criticisms, over time, have much to do with defining who is or isn't an artist. Certainly history shows that some were more masterful in one technique over another. And there are some because of their artistic mastery who have been proclaimed great. Yet, the annals of art history are equally filled with those whose creations showed little ability or technique in execution. Random splatters and drips of paint, or the absence thereof, have also been proclaimed as art, and their creators as great artists.

So the challenge is, despite the critics, despite adversity, to continue the search, to explore and define their own creative voice. The artist must find the courage to scribble, sketch, arrange, sculpt and paint, and to believe these creative musings are worthy of sharing with the masses, despite harsh rebuke, or occasional praise.

Today I will continue my exploration. I will continue to walk through the forest, talking to myself, creating art along the way.

Introducing Myself by Valerie (Valry) Drake

I just now read the instructions for writing these blogs. I guess I was supposed to start with an intro telling you about me. Ooops. Okay, so better late than never.

The Story of Valry

Valerie was born in Southern Venezuela and educated in Peru at the prestigious Peruvian National Academy. She received international attention with her Master's Thesis on the Psychology of Arthurian Pigmy Intermarriage Customs. It was shortly after this that she was kidnapped by the Arthurian Pigmy Secrecy League. Valerie was rescued by John and their marriage followed within a matter of weeks. The couple honeymooned on the Island of Yap where Valerie was able to pursue research into the indigenous societies of that culture. Moving to Tennessee she continued her research and dabbled in art while raising her three sons. She is soon going to complete her lifetime research project and will be able to devote all of her attention to art.

The above is totally fictitious.

For the REAL STORY go to

(hmmm... not enough words. I'm supposed to have 300 words. I could add more nonsense to the story. Or I could fill up the bottom here with nonsense. Decisions, decisions. Consternation. Puzzlement. I'm out of words. Too much nonsense is enough.)


Artist Statement by Cheryl Whitestone

(Left: Bicycle Wheel by Marcel Duchamp)I read Mike Rooney's blog entry "I want to be a sell out" and I was gratified with the knowledge that I am not the only one who hears the pseudo-intellectual chatter and refuses to be persuaded to create yet another assemblage of stuff. But I actually like to paint and I am a pretty good painter.
In the 90's I was attending galleries every weekend. The shows were mostly all conceptual art, ho-hum, the upside; there were some interesting people all dressed in black attending (kind of like a funeral, does that mean the art is dead?). The wine and cheese was good, but the shock value had worn off of most of us. My friend Bill who is a writer from NYC was with me one evening when he started to throw out a cocktail napkin into one of the trash cans in the gallery, only to find out it was an art piece selling for $1000's. Ha, that was rich.
I suspected these artists couldn't paint, so they assembled. Yeah, yeah, I know I love to move people too, that's why I write poetry. I have a lot to say that can't be portrayed or said with just a painting or with visual images. Tell me this, why if visual art is visual, does it need five pages posted next to it explaining what it is trying to tell us? I suspect the artist wanted to write a book.
Ok, before I get in trouble, I do like some conceptual art. I thoroughly enjoyed the Marcel Duchamp exhibit held in Minneapolis many years ago, his work throws you off center in a whimsical way. I loved the girl (sorry I can't remember her name). Anyway, she is an artist in New York City and decided to mark, delineate with paint, all the streets and sidewalks that will be underwater when global warming finally melts all the ice. Wow, what a statement, we will really lose some of our favorite cities according to scientists. Will New York City be able to survive as a second Venice? I ponder. This artist did a lot of research for the project, scientific sea levels, math, OMG. Yes, this conceptual art was really shocking to me.
I have ideas too, for conceptual art pieces, large crazy things; like sewing all my canvases together to make a Tee-Pee and then moving into it. What do you think? I guess it depends on where I decide to set up, maybe I could get some much needed publicity, I'll wait until summer though, I'm no fool.

I have an intellectual photographer friend who called my art "Bambi stuff." It was a derogatory remark, but I still paid for his flight back to Spain when he needed money. He didn't consider me a serious artist I guess. I got a little respect from him when I gave him some pillowcases I had created that had life sized photographs of slithering snakes printed on them and told him to use them in his guest room when the guests were no longer wanted. I could have made a fortune on those, especially during the holidays.

I was in a group show in the 90's (of probably 200 artists) that included "Jesus Piss Christ." Our reaction? we thought it was disgusting. I actually had a (pretty) piece in this show. Is this what sent Nancy Reagan over the edge that cut the funding for individual artists grants? Maybe it was Maplethorpes nudes, I can't remember and don't want to do the research. I would like the grant restored though.
I hope I am not starting to sound like Rodney Dangerfield "I get no respect!"

Well here it is, my comment inspired by conceptual art in poetry

Art Climate the F poem

Absolutely facetious farcical falderal figmentations

Of faux fermented fabrications for fools and factions,

Following fastidious fact-finding fallable fug

Fudiciaries who foster flaccid fugacius farceurs

on faradaic fanfares of Flash and Flaw

For fiscal flow and fleece.

c. 1993 Denise Whitestone
*Visiting art galleries prompted this poem
Showing piss Christ, toilets and trash, claiming these as art was frustrating. I on the other hand couldn't make a dime with all the study and work in my craft. I was considering giving paid tours of the dump, which probably would have been very lucrative with these sheep.

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