Ron insisted that he and Donna move to his camper (at his sister’s house) while we stayed the two nights at his apartment. He thinks of the two of us as a couple little boys getting together once a year to play in his psychedelic sandbox: with slide projections of his paintings onto his paintings, himself, and his models. The cover of post-modern ‘appropriation’ allows me to shamelessly steal his ideas and techniques, and I hung a black cloth over the window to extend the sessions into the daytime. Donna took Cheryl out shopping for the day while the boys got down to business. Previously I had done digital copy pictures of the paintings, and it was (is) still possible to have the files made into 35mm film slides. Ron shoots in a fast/intuitive way, while I work slowly and pedantically– using a tripod, fill-flash, and long exposures. Needless to say, Ron gets superior results– he turns his paintings into expressionistic stained-glass. Two of Ron’s paintings on paintings [©Ronald Mann] projection photos:
Prophet Isaiah Robertson had called to say that he was finished with quite a bit of concrete, stone, and some wood re-painting, and the unusually hot July weather finally cleared on a day I could make the trip. In addition to general views, I’m working on documenting many of the individual symbols and recording his explanations– everything has meaning, there is no pure decoration. During my previous visit in May, Prophet Isaiah’s vivacious wife (I call her “Ms. Gloria”) had spoken to my wife Cheryl on the cell and announced that next time she wanted to send back a homemade pie of Cheryl’s choosing (no doubt as a gesture of sympathy between a pair of unfailingly upbeat, but long-suffering wives). Sure enough, despite the sweltering heat, a few hours after I arrived, Ms. Gloria came out to announce that Cheryl’s peach pie was in preparation, and later, fresh from the oven, Prophet Isaiah carried it out on an extra heat-absorbing plate. (Ms. Gloria’s peach pie is highly recommended, and represents a professional breakthrough for me– there is precedent— from this much loftier perch on the compensation scale, I can now demand food for work) Read more…
A overnight roadtrip to visit James Beoddy, meet and photograph two Lindsay Gallery artists, and see their two-person show at the gallery. Thanks very much to Duff Lindsay for arranging the photo shoots.
I had seen single Morris Jackson drawings twice at the Ohio State Fair (in 2008 and 2011), and was interested to see more of his somewhat bewildered-looking, but whimsical figures make their way through the world Morris has created around them. After seeing my website, Morris ‘warned’ me that he is a pretty normal-looking fellow, living in a pretty conventionally-decorated house, but to me showing a seeming disconnect between the artist/environment and their work is just part of the documentary process. Morris Jackson’s Lindsay Gallery page.
|Morris Jackson conjures up his drawings from a desk in the bedroom. Read more…|
Several of Bill Brady’s new sculptures hanging in his step-mother Kathy’s livingroom.
Bill and I did some video of him working on a new piece in his skylit bus studio, and some copy shots of some early sculptures in the livingroom window:
|“McEnroe” ca 1980’s||(one of the first sculptures) ca 1970’s|
|“Golden Girl” ca 1970’s||“Walking the Dog” ca 1970’s|
Since it opened in August 2011 at the Erie Art Museum, the installation has changed and evolved with the seasons. Willie has given the figures scarves and sweaters for the winter cold, puts change in their pockets so they are not penniless, and for example, has added dried flowers and berries as a new season might provide. He usually stops by for a few visits every week, and has become a sort of gardener to his ever changing and growing installation. Recently, he’s added shelves that display symbolic artifacts from the journey to freedom.
|the new shelf||noose and victim in the lower left corner|
|plantation with barbed-wire perimeter (center left)||slave quarters made from workplace scraps|
|tortoise shell for trade on the journey||Willie in November 2011|
Willie at the Opening in August 2011. Sister Luke and Father John in the background.
January 2012 update:
Through Lee Steadman, director of Erie’s City Center Arts, I was able to make copy photos and scans from 32 of Frank’s notebooks:
Frank lives in a low income apartment building in downtown Erie. We missed seeing him in person before Christmas when Stairways Behavioral Health had their annual art sale, but purchased a 3×4 inch etching of his. It shows “Gretta Groupie,” a recurring character in Frank’s work whom he told me comes from a comic strip in Circus, a 70’s rock and roll magazine. That era seems to have been a formative influence, and Frank has vintage cassette tapes of himself reciting poetry and playing guitar. Music is an animating force for his art-making, and he talks about music playing in his head while he often draws in silence. He also likes to attend outdoor concerts (especially Erie’s annual Blues and Jazz Festival), and draw to the live music. I found an old issue of Circus [July 1970 issue], and here (I hope under “fair use”) is the original Gretta, and our etching purchase from last year (middle row right), and three Grettas from Frank’s notebooks:
|© Circus Magazine/ G Mallard||all other images © Frank Novel|
December 20 update from the Imperial Valley Press:
(from my 2009 visit)
Gratitude to Narrow Larry Harris for sending this link.
|Willie Jordan installation The Passage North 2011
||At the Opening August 2011|
|Preparing for the installation. summer 2011||Planning the installation, April 2011|