Friday, June 29, 2012

Libor and Phil Shoenfelt at U vystřelenýho oka

Soundtrack to this here blog post…Beachwood Sparks The Tarnished Gold (stream it)…very Neil Youngy, Byrdsy, Bandy, Big Stary. Big thumbs up for that one. Like it a lot.

I went with Libor to see Phil Shoenfelt at U vystřelenýho oka last night. It’s pretty amazing and a unique place. It’s on a dead end side street here in Zizkov. They have music outside. It's cool. liked the music. People were dancing and stuff.

Libor’s an interesting guy. He’s a sculptor. He restores statues and facades of churches around the CR. He has a team of workers and everything. It’s pretty interesting. He also has his own personal sculptures in shows around the city. He has some stuff right now somewhere. I asked him the name of the place and he doesn’t even know. He drew me a map. It’s funny but I guess he’s been doing it a while so he doesn’t think about it too much.

He wanted to know about Nepal because he wants to climb to Everest Base Camp. We got to talking about the trip and I was like, I’d go back, but if I did I would pay a Sherpa this time to carry my bags. Sounds strange maybe. It’s not that different than going somewhere and hiring someone local to help you get around. Sherpas know a ton. I told him how I met a few on the trail and they were interesting dudes. I learned they carry a max of 30 kilos (about 70 pounds) on their backs. My bag was probably 14kg or so, not super heavy but heavy. I even saw a man carrying a man in a chair on his back. I felt dumb passing that dude. One guy told me that carrying bags is one of the higher-paying jobs. He didn’t live anywhere near the Himalaya, so he came from far to work carrying bags.

Libor told me that once back in communist time he traveled with some friends to Bulgaria. They had to carry everything (tent, food, etc.) on their backs since where they went was nothing. They came across a house where they helped a guy cut tobacco. The guy paid them with bottles of alcohol and they all got drunk together. After that the guy offered them a place to stay, and his daughter. Libor said he was like ‘why not?’ I didn’t ask any more about that but that’s funny.

Libor’s a smart guy who knows a lot about materials. Once I was like why should I buy expensive paints? I like using the colors I can get from any store. I should be able to use anything, right? I don’t want to spend a lot of money to make a picture. Then he bought me 4 tubes of oil paint and a few decent brushes for my birthday and I was like, oh, so that’s what the hype’s about. Oil looks better, has more texture, doesn’t fade, etc.

But last night I was asking him about working with glass. He’s made sculptures entirely from glass before but I was curious how you go about making a colorful window, like a church window. I told him there’s an atelier down the street where they make custom glass windows. He said it’s better to go to north bohemia. There’s a factory there near his weekend house. If you bring them a relief, for example, they’ll produce a glass relief for you, which sounds amazing. He says it’s simple and relatively cheap, 3 maybe 4 thousand crowns. I asked him but how do you make the relief tho. What do you use? He said just use polystyrene, but then of course you’d have to cast the polystyrene form in gypsum. Then you bring that gypsum form to the glass makers and they make the relief in glass. Then you gotta get it home though. He laughed about that. And I was like, where to put it. Our apartments already cramped.

I have one painting on glass I made a while ago. Actually there are two, but this one’s the only decent one. It’s heavy as hell. I like paint on glass when the sun shines through the back of it. I like it when you paint on something, on any surface, and the natural light shines through the back of it. I don’t have a full color picture of it with me now because I’m at work. I only have one picture of it and it’s just partial. I shot my girl through it once…

I hope I actually get to make something with glass at some point. I always thought it would be interesting to use messed up glass, broken maybe, to make a church window. A real window not a fantasy window. I always liked Duchamp’s The Large Glass. We have a messed up window in our apartment block that looks like someone put a golf ball through it. The hole is interesting though it looks a little bit like a sun. You don’t even necessarily need colored glass. Why not just clear glass arranged nicely. That would be interesting. Hope I can do that at some point, but it’s also a question of having space to do that.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my rambling.
Peace y’all.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The thing about the paintings is that there is still something missing from those too. I should be writing or doing something with writing that makes sense. I want to make a book that is real. That has all parts of life in it. All the parts that are beautiful in some way. There are lots of things to do and Prague's a beautiful city but what about all the stuff that's missing. A real connection to art and artists and to other people with ideas and exciting things they'd like to get done. I don't know anyone like that here, but I know they're here. Every big city's got people like that. I have a new idea about some art pieces where there will be writing on the opposite side of a board (the writing faces away and you’re just staring at the back of a board). There will be two arm holes where you'd be able to reach in and feel the lettering on the other side, and you would read it by touch. It’s sort of another step in the tactile direction past the last few pieces I did. The reason for the backwards design is that I always think about the pace and how words get spoken and can change their meaning or give meaning where there normally isn't any depending on the pace you read something at. That's the problem with normal writing on a page. You can't control the pace. You could read it aloud yourself to people but who wants to do that. You can put a bunch of commas, but those don't stand out enough. You can break the writing up down the page so it looks like steps, but I don’t like that. You can put one word on each page, but that's boring and a waste of space. So I think about that a lot. How to play with speed and pace and how to read things in alternate ways. Once I got a dictionary from my Russian friend dmitry and i thought it was pretty amazing because sometimes you'd see an entry and next to that entry in English would be the Russian equivalent, maybe an example sentence in Russian, or something like that. Next to the Russian text was more text in English. I thought that was cool because I didn’t understand the Russian text, but it was interrupting my normal reading, and Cyrillic is a visually beautiful alphabet like Chinese or Japanese. I thought that was sort of cool. here's a sentence that is using writing in another language to slow me down better than a comma might or a period would. A while later I had a piece of writing after that in another book where there's a car accident and the writing switches from normal like this to backwards. 
It's still meant to be read but it's meant to take a bit more time to figure out the words, and then read them back in your head, because there's confusion because there's been an accident. Right now though that's for later. For now I want to make (I’m working on) a book that is a bit more extreme and from the perspective of a little kid in a desert or in Egypt or Morocco somewhere who is doing stuff like going to starbucks and looking at flowers and stuff and his voice talking about all that stuff, along with a lot of pictures and scans of different stuff too. I was thinking before I'll write a story about a kid who grows up in a village and then leaves the village and meets a warrior and goes on an adventure. I was reading a lot of a Hero with a thousand faces at the time. I was thinking I'll just take the Hero Journey skeleton and write a story with this different sort of language. That's not really gonna work though. It doesn’t feel right. I think it should be a boring sort of story in some ways that's just about a kid walking around. Somebody walking around and seeing things and writing about those things he sees and hears. All the writing and pictures are a result of the place, so the pictures and writing are the place and positive things that he loved doing and believes in. I don't know if that's interesting though, and the whole time, if you're me and you like writing and think that you have to keep writing to get to a better place, you're always worrying that something is too far out, too unrelatable. But to me the stories are unrelatable for the most part. I love a story, but I can't write a decent story. I don't have any feeling for character or pacing something and climaxes and all that. Just to write about what I see, and to maybe put that in the mouth of a character, but a very basic character ntl. So that's tough. Trying to make a book that i really like but that i think  people will read. you gotta think about that. you read konrath or any of those author blogs and you know these guys are doing something people might like to read. But a book about a kid where nothing really happens he just goes around spotting stuff and listening to people and he writes about it or about the feeling of it and makes a picture...I don’t know about that.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

pitchfork's review of The future of the left and the bands blog response

Recently I was reading a music review on pitchfork for an album by the future of the left. it was pretty strong against the album and didn’t give it a very high score. I listened to some of it on spinner and it was good. for some reason though I ended up searching more about the album in google and came across this article which lead me to the bands blog, which has a pretty pissed off response from one of the band members about that pitchfork review. It's funny and clever and you feel bad for the band because most people are only gonna read the review and not the blog response from the band defending themselves. I wish in the pitchfork review or at the end of it as an update they linked over to the bands blog so people could read the bands side of things. So after I read the blog I was like, this isn't really fair, I'm reading one person's perspective of an album. Duh I know but I like reading about music. And there's so much music you really can't just listen randomly to everything that's available. So I'm back reading reviews and stuff, but I don’t know. They could do more. Now that I know how pissed the band was, and I know the critic rating makes or breaks albums, I wish the site would do more to show all the conversation happening. Maybe they did on other review sites. I don't know. But this is a time when things are connected and it only gives you credit I think if you acknowledge your opinion is not popular. That's something that's possible to do now, which wasn't possible in print. why aren't they doing that though. I would love it if a site reviewed an album and gave the artist a space to respond. I remember Kanye talking about that in the first 5 minutes of an interview on charlie rose. Goddamn must be frustrating to work on an album and have it dumped on. At least with books it doesn't cost anything to write a book. with music though it takes studio time and money and instruments and playing live and all that just for one guy with a ton of influence to make you or break you.