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I’m pleased to announce the release of Incurable Disorder : The Art of Elizabeth McGrath [Last Gasp], the second full-length monograph of this visionary artist’s works, including dioramas, mixed media paintings and three-dimensional sculptures produced from 2005 to 2012.
Regarding the creative process of the “damaged anthropomorphized animals who would rather bite than be healed,” McGrath explains “The conception of these brainchildren is hard to pinpoint. They stem from the emotional encounters I have with humans, landscapes and objects, and are further shaped by the constant stream of words and images that survive my mind’s filter. Once I have the skeleton of an idea, the rest comes automatically, but staying on task through the many hours it takes to complete one of these works requires a heavy dose of news radio, stories, and audio books. For instance, the chapter titled ‘Altarwise by Owl Light’ started with a Dylan Thomas poem but grew during The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley…”
She continues, “When I see the finished pieces it takes me back to the story or vice-versa, like memories from a vacation.”
As aforementioned, the tome is divided into sections — each paired with a passage from a poem or literary work that functions as a companion piece. The chapters are as follows :
[ accompanied by my poem Dead Letters : Twenty-Six Are in its entirety ]
With Tomorrow’s Scream
[ accompanied by a quote from Redmond King ]
Elizabeth — a.k.a. Liz, a.k.a. “Bloodbath” — McGrath is the only artist whose creations I collect, and without doubt, one of my favorite people on the planet. We met through a mutual friend in 2002, when I was asked to M.C. the Broken Dolls fashion show in January of the following year.
I’ve written about her numerous times between then and now : regarding the release of her first retrospective Everything That Creeps in January of 2006, the premiere of Cecil B Feeder‘s documentary Bloodbath : The Movie, the main subject of which is — yep, you guessed it — in 2011.
I even modeled for CREEP Clothing, Miss McGrath’s collaboration with B.F.F. Winter Rosebudd : a feat which included strutting around Echo Park with an evil-horned creature [the duo’s slaughtered chupacabra stole] draped about my shoulders, the pièce de résistance complete with velvet cloven hooves and a poisoned arrow. And did I love it? Every fantastic click and tick of the clock.
In short, Liz is generous, genuine, a true talent, and a stead-fast friend. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and truly : I’m honored to be part of this chronicle of her creative outpourings.
Oh. And uh, in the event you might have been “skimming”? It’s as simple as this : Incurable Disorder = new book you need in your life. Me? New poem in book. Matter of fact, I’ll save you a click and leave a copy right here, even . . .
As aforementioned, Bethalynne Bajema‘s Black Ibis tarot deck — a veritable companion to the graphic novel of the same name, and act of cartomancy in which I appear as The Hierophant — is available for public consumption.
Cue the cornets, please . . . A fanfare is appropriate!
Moreover, The Black Ibis Tarot — a complete collection of artwork in the deck, accompanied by quotations relevant to each of the Major Arcana — is available in book form.
Among the luminaries Bajema chose to to illustrate her underworld :
I’ve always been fond of artists who bomb urban landscapes, or ‘drop’ their works—even & especially when
the artists continue these guerilla interactions with the public after achieving success [ a subjective term, I
realize: though in this instance, let’s skip the philosophical shit & stick with
a more universal meaning…
namely, that of monetary success &/or a sense of notoriety ]. One example that immediately comes to
mind is Shepard Fairey. Late one night back in 2004, while I was in New York during a promo tour
for the Pills, Thrills, Chills, and Heartache: Adventures in the First Person anthology, I was out,
lurking the East Village, doing a bit of my own sticky-vinyl [Ahem!] ‘beautification.’ Speaking,
you know, theoretically. I tend to aim high when engaging in such endeavors—meant both
literally & metaphorically, Jay Ess Why Kay—so the sound of my palm slapping metal [ the
back-side of a sign ] followed by a louder sound: that of my landing, visibly startled a
man who, incidentally, looked over the shoulder from his own activity: sticker-
plastering a pole. It was Shepard, out in the same 3 A.M.—doing his part to
to spread the message, so to speak—& we shared a chuckle of recognition.
Not because I’m some big-shot artist, obviously, but rather because I was a contributing editor for
Swindle magazine [ R.I.P. ] at the time. & here’s this guy—well, my boss, essentially—
& he’s out…Oh, I’m rambling. [ Besides, YouGetIt anyway, right? You.Get.It ]
London-based artist D*Face lists Fairey among his influences, which—on the tip of phenomenology,
billboard re-appropriation, & the mutual interest in California’s skateboard subculture—could be
considered a ‘given.’ Nonetheless, neither the antics of, nor the artwork produced by, D*Face
is derivative…at least not directly [ or rather: singularly ].
& from that mention of art & antics, let us hone our focus on
this bitchen custom-made tombstone:
Not a work to be taken lightly, huh? [ Cue the canned laughter here, kplzthnx ]
Well, the eve of “Going Nowhere Fast”—D*Face’s solo show at the Corey Helford Gallery—
he did a drop at 2728 N. La Cienega Boulevard in Century City.
All 400 pounds.
You’re following me, right? He left this amazing art piece for display, there on the street—knowing full well
that [ hello! Voice of Adult Reason on Line One] it would only be a matter of time until someone
came along, &…[ as far as I’m concerned ] ‘got lucky‘?
As has been cited, he also did two drops the night prior.
★ ☆ ★ Hollywood Boulevard, Walk of Fame ★ ☆ ★
Here’s a shot as the infrastructure of GENIUS is assembled:
at the star of one ‘Charlie Sheen.’
Is that excellent, or is that friggin’ excellent?
The other grave-marker?
This beaut, at the Santa Monica pier:
I can’t help but wonder where they are,
who has them now…
Did any of the individuals who ‘liberated’ the tombstones realize what they were taking?
If not, in what ways do you think their attachment to the objects might change
upon learning they’re worth something more than cool points
among the neighborhood kids?
¤ O R ¤
If so—meaning, if whomever [ allegedly ] happened to find this piece of ‘found’ art is familiar with
the work of D*Face, do you think he/she was all “Jackpot!” about it?
Said another way:
This person wouldn’t technically be stealing, so shouldn’t we expect him or her to come forth?
In this city where it’s not just about Keeping-Up-With-The-Proverbial-Joneses
but rather eclipsing them, the ascent to superstardom [ in theory ] so incandescent…
Doesn’t it seem incongruous for us not to have heard from a single one of these fortuitous beings?
AAAAAAAAAAH, I T ‘S A L L G O T M E J U S T S O
& find it suspect that in all this media coverage,
there’s an irrefutable gap between what journalist Amy Duran [ via Juxtapoz digital, April 9th]
describes having taken place the eve of April 8th, in her statement
“Considering that both the Santa Monica Beach and the Charlie Sheen tombstone had been removed so
quickly I suggest making you[r] way out to see this piece in person before it’s gone.”
I’ve been wrong before, yet still—I’m of the mind that more than one form of the ⟣faux⟢ went on
in this scenario.
Mr. Dean Stockton, a.k.a. D*Face? Seems to me that what he schemed is the opposite
of a ‘drop’…as in: “catch” would be a more appropriate term.
My theory: he used two gravestones, not three, & just “happened” to conveniently bring a writer along
for the ride. The result? Insta-PR, no need to add water. Unless, of course, a person
wanted to scrub clean the carbon stains from the night before…
Apparently, this image was captured while waiting in line for the opening: April 9, 2011
For the sake of clarity, please allow me to reiterate:
What I’ve presented is a theory, based entirely on speculation.
I was not present for any of the aforementioned events; hence,
none of my conjecture should be treated as fact.
However, within the scope of this hypothesis, I’ve gotta say: the name of D*Face’s show
resonates with new meaning, all things considered.
But why wouldn’t it?
The gravestones—testaments to bad behavior, on which “Going Nowhere Fast” was inscribed—went
[ well…] nowhere in this staged guerilla act, the [ theoretical ] Drop-Without-A-Drop.
I mean, when media is the medium an artist chooses to
make A Statement About The Media & A Celebrity-Obsessed Society—
yet that artist is playing the role of a guerilla artist; is “pretending to be” rather than being…
It’s fucking ‘meta': yeah, sure
Yet at the core of it all? Chicanery, being ‘on the grift’?
Is a material-obsessed society really being challenged,
or the challenge really how much monetary gain can be filched from it?
All I have are questions.
But after reading over a hundred blogs with the same regurgitated, rarely & barely re-worded praise
I wonder: Am I the only one?
Whatever your take, D*Face is a fascinating subject about whom
the following additional reading I recommend:
In the premiere release from Little Episodes, an international collaborative art project:
(Click Image Above To Order)
:: information about ::
“Depression, addiction and mental illness are common problems in the modern world, with one in four people likely to experience a mental health problem every year. Established in 2009, Little Episodes is a not-for-profit organization consisting of professional writers, artists, musicians and actors with two prongs to its mission statement. The first, to destigmatize depression, addiction and mental illness, whilst raising awareness and providing empathy. The second is to provide a platform for talented, emerging and established writers/artists to find community and recognition. We combine the two by giving our participating writers and artists the first statement as their theme.”
Founded in the U.K., Little Episodes also curates ‘Late Night Episodes,’ a recurring event featuring spoken word, performance, music and visual art. Late Night Episodes is held at the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre (London) on the last Saturday of every month.
Though your MySpace page tells us “all we need to know,” Mia—your photography exposes a vulnerable intensity. The beauty inherent is that which remains unspoken: those subtle nuances, the vocabulary of the heart that extends beyond logic & its parameters. It’s none of what a viewer “need[s] to know,” yet it’s everything.
The ability to send the blood rushing—to thaw hearts as impenetrable and cold as marble—through a glacial striptease?
This is what it is to cast spells: not of the premeditated chanting from a back-room magick book, none of the hackneyed “add this herb; follow these directions; do it THIS WAY, no THIS WAY, no THIS WAY.” There is no guide book for psyche-penetration, no recipe by which one can be taught how to affect the human condition effectively.
It just it what it is: a medium that for some, is a camera lens; for others, a paint brush & a canvas stretched to its limits; others still, a pen hungry for pages on which it can conduct, gather all the energy from the soil on which we stand to mustering up the truth tucked deep inside us, an honesty of whom we really are versus how we present ourselves or what others perceive us to be—and it’s in the marrowbones, the core of our beings.
And what it is?
Something raw and real and imperfect. Something greater than I can assign nomenclature—let alone fully comprehend. It’s a force that travels through us yet belongs not to us; it’s those “accidents” that happen when we don’t set out To Create but seem to create themselves for us all the same…those inexplicable pieces of perfection for which we somehow feel we weren’t responsible, or perhaps can’t pinpoint with specificity. Can’t name a technique or place in this space, a state of being I won’t pretend to understand though have heard referred to as La Duende, the spirit of evocation, a state of possession : vox popula. Vox populi—a sense of I can’t tell you ‘How I Did It’ when it feels as if I wasn’t even at the wheel
what we see, what we discover is credited as ‘ours,’ what we feel equal parts distant from as well as intimately involved—it’s when our limbs jangle and that four-chambered metronome pounds against our sternum, and the eyes and voices and fingertips of others respond, pounding sentences out in a quicksilver frenzy. It’s when an image you took has the power to peel back the ribs of a stranger, or near-stranger, or incite the syllables and consonants that come rushing out at 1:31 a.m. to be ‘strange’ enough, strange enough;
It’s when all the odds are stacked against your viewer, yet he throws every ounce of his being down along with his better judgment. All bets are off in moments like these, in a moment like this, when your brow is furrowed & mouth hangs open in disbelief and the little voice nestled in your skull asserts “This is insane!” in a whisper, the words scalpels…
And yeah: insane it is. Would you opt for the blandular instead, the khaki-clad with lips pursed for air kisses and ass kissing? Would you rather have the safe-yet-soggy response that’s the verbal equivalent of a microwave pizza box lining? Because in three minutes I may splash faucet water on my face, feel the shock as I regain physicality and shrug off this rant of a reaction. In three minutes I may very well glance back with a deep-throated laugh and ask myself “Seriously, What. The. Fuck?”
But three minutes is a long time. Don’t believe me? Set your alarm; then hold your breath.
What the fuck? Seriously: because I live for this madness, I live for the spine-snap urgency to bound down the staircase and haunt my neighborhood streets—Micheltorena, Sunset Blvd., Alvarado—to dig my fingernails into the raw evening, to tear down the sky and polish the stars. I live. I live for.
I live for these unforeseen moments of inspiration in which I feel alive alive alive…
They’re how I know I exist: the flames lapping at the backside of my corneas like the backlash of a furnace blast. The sensory overload. The feral fervor. I live for this severity that destroys any sense of severity, no matter if when or how much I feel it siphoning the life force out of me.
While you may not be poisoned with the same ‘unnamed ‘which wears me down to an angry frazzle, I’m drawn to some irrational spirit of artistry I intuit is chambertombed to you, to your need to search and to see and to leave something lasting, some body of work that no longer has to be searched for, as it’s already found; as it’s already found you; it’s found you,
found it’s you.
with the aural fixation / visual manipulations of
the artwork of — and special appearance by — Joshua Petker
as well as portrayals by Dirk Mai and Julia Romanenko.