Archive for June, 2008

This thing in the mirror

I have been thinking today about self-portraits – mainly because I was trying to take a photograph of myself for a bio which was rather unsuccessful. I don’t think I’d like what I saw no matter what and the camera shows all those little things that the eye/brain connection can blank out. I think when you look at yourself intently it also can bring around the clash of the inner and outer worlds. Personally in my head I will forever look 20, but the truth is, that page has long since been turned. It is indeed a case of “This Thing in the Mirror

Also I got news of someone flying up from Christchurch to see the Rita Angus exhibiton that opens at Te Papa this coming weekend (now that is an opening I’d love the opportunity to go to). Rita of course was a master self-portraitess and I think we get a glimmer of her inner world in these works.

Oddly the self-portraits I love are of/by women – Frida Khalo, A Lois White, Jacquey Fahey for example. Perhaps women are overly judgemental of themselves? I like to think of it as a form of self analysis which makes the pictures all the more intriguing.


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A Poem

I was rummaging though my things looking for something today and in side an old choclate box (how clichéd!) I came upon a yellowed bit of note paper with a poem on it given to me by an American friend probably 15 years ago. I did not find what I set out to, but I found what I was looking for.

Like You

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky-blue
landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh through eyes
that have known the buds of tears.

I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
little things,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.

Roque Dalton

El Salvadoran poet, murdered 1975

I believe this is a photograph of Neruda and Dalton (correct me if I am wrong)

EDIT: This is not Neruda, but Miguel Angel Asturias, guatemalan writer and Nobel Prize winner.

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The Audubon Notebook

Let me tell you a story. In October last year I ventured out to the Annual Lions booksale in my area. I had a $10 budget and I think I did really well. I am always on the lookout for…the quirky. In my browsings I picked up “The Audubon Notebook: An Illustrated Journal with Space for Notes” that was filled with handwritten ‘poetry’ scribed in fountain pen. I could not resist. It also had a pink flamingo on the cover which I have a special penchant for. I had a quick flick through and then put it on my bookshelf where it remained until a few weeks ago.

So recently I got the book out and unstuck the first couple of pages and I found the following inscription “The Way of Life, according to LaoTze. Translated by Walter Bynner. Lyrebird Press” – well doh! and wow!. It appeared just at the right time as well.

I have a liking for botanical/natural images although I squirm a bit at Audubon (maybe because they are so widely reproduced). However it all came together in this little book. The final page reads “To love a person is to/ let them Be and and allow/ the Tao to take care of/ them. Non interference”.


“existence is beyond the power of words”

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It really has been an odd few weeks (months?) and to have sudden realisation and clarity can be a bit of a shock to the system. Wake up call even…

Today I have been on the receiving end of “a bad review”. I have been doing a writing course to fill in some time and the marker on my latest efforts has bought me back to earth with a bit of a crash. Not a bad crash, but a great lesson on reviewing and being reviewed and thankfully not cutting in a CK Stead kind of way. However I shall in future try not to be so flippant in my opinions here now that I partially understand the effect!

Also another sharp reminder of how small NZ is generally and hence the art world village here came today when in my internet art searches I came across a ‘new’ artist doing interesting stuff and then found they had a very personal (if once removed) connection to me. It was quite startling and because of the connection I can’t quite bring myself to “showcase” the work here. Life is so complex! It reminds me of a hospital administrator who once said “it would all run so much smoother if there were no patients”.

Enough of my day of personal revelations. How about “we need more happy art” as a discussion topic? Don’t you find a lot of art is very serious, stark and angst ridden? Full of deep half-hidden meanings and symbolism and dark thoughts and concepts? Then when something with a bit of humour arises, it’s dismissed as flippant or lightweight? So what about this then (from an artist)

Art that makes you HAPPY. Not just art with deep meaning. If it brings you joy when you walk in the door, brings you a smile when you’re down, I’ve made something so much more meaningful. I’ve given you something to bring you life! We can’t be serious all the time. We cannot bear the weight of the world on our shoulders 24/7.”

Lastly this art (design/fashion statement) should NOT make me happy – but it does…

Who Killed Bambi?”

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