My Words

Understanding the World through words

Month: August, 2014

Reflection On Art, Part II

…Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat were revolutionizing the art world by taking their artistic vision and work to the streets. In my mind, their take on artistic exposure was a mixture of bravado and a shrewd perception of what it took to “make it.” In the back of our minds as art students, we knew that the percentages weren’t in our favor in terms of “making it” in the art world. Of course, in retrospect that was a weak point of view, limited to a immature perception of what it meant to be an artist in the first place. Keith and Jean-Michel were nevertheless, gobbled up by the entrenched gallery/museum paradigm in New York. The questions remains, were their “street” efforts ultimately, a sly attempt to land there anyway?

Having been involved with the New York art scene I witnessed artist doing whatever it took to be “noticed”. It seems as if talent, if that could be plausibly measured, did not ensure one’s acceptability in the art world. So, people did “whatever it took” to put their feet in the direct line of viewership.

As a student the politics envolved in this charade was less than appealing made ever so disingenuous when I started interning for a famous installation artist. If you didn’t know, the “made” ( big name, famous) artist in New York hired student artist to paint, sculpt, design and much more. They were savvy orchestrators who put their minions to work on their behalf. Many times taking credit for work they did not produce. Luckily, the lady whom I worked for, and the huge project I helped with; including designing, the naming of the project, and runing to and fro for her, well in the end, she included me in the contributing list of people who helped. However, in New York, that was not the rule but the exception, I got really lucky.

I was in New York on a scholarship and my time there was instrumental, eye opening and exciting. I met hugely talented kids from all over the US and established NY artist who were all trying to make an imprint on the art world. We met with respected curators and art critics in intimate settings. We went to artists lofts and studio spaces, we were being inducted, so to speak into the billion dollar art industry. It was a massive machine that revolved around artistic talent, sound business principles, and schmoozing, lots of schmoozing. In New York everyone had a take, big dreams and a desperate need to find their artistic niche. One thing that I will say is that the community was safe and people looked after each other like a big family, for the most part. I left New York in as much as a hurry as when arrived. I was bound to come back I figured one day, everyone felt the same. New York was the place to go to live ones art life, the culture, the atmosphere and vibe screamed art, I’ll never forget it.

(to be continued…)

Reflection On Art, Part I

Ever since my days as an art student I’ve been grappling with the ideas surrounding the making of art. Mind you, I submitted myself to a genre of art with very purist tendencies, mainly painting. The majority of the professors who taught that discipline were purist in the sense that they practiced and taught painting and eschewed its values and virtues far above all other disciplines found at my school.

As a student, I embraced that strength. I became a neophyte in the art of painting; and I regurgitated its core values in a modernist way, naively. I say naively, because retrospectively I’ve since outgrown that myopic view. I can no longer accept the benighted reality of transcendence in painting, as the ultimate form of artistic expression. In fact, in my senior year at my art school, I was already bucking the system. I was making “constructions”, art out of found objects on traditional wall hanging platforms. I was experimenting with concrete, lead, steal, mesh wire and all sorts of construction grade materials. In a artistic sense, I was finding my way, internally, I was conflicted.

I loved painting and I understood the progressive historical reality of it, yet I was beginning to see its limitations as a stand alone medium. The art world in itself was being questioned by my peers. The bastions of art; the museum, the art galleries, and even the stark white walls found in them were all being questioned. Were these spaces the final resting places for art? Do we want to as artist, perpetuate the inevitable by participating in a predetermined ritual of making art so it can be showcased in these white sepulcher walls? How do we make art that’s not confined to artistic predetermination? How do we make art that is more accessible to the masses? These were some of the heavy questions we were all struggling with.

Then, there was the questions of style, figurative, nonfigurative, one did not mix both. It seemed that purity, a modernist conception, was being pass down at my school heavy handedly. Even though, we were all well aware of the postmodern inroads in art. The fact was that our more staunch tenured professors were still carrying the modernist torch and passing it down to there more treasured students. I was one of them. I was older than most of the students having come in after military service. Consequently, I was one of the more devoted students because I was paying my way through, I wanted to be there and they appreciated that and my maturity.

Postmodernist artist like Gerhard Richter were blowing up modernist conventions by purposefully painting figurative, nonfigurative art. Secretly, he was my hero, his manipulation and mastery of both styles were unquestionable as a painter. Even so, he did not attack the notions of modernist art space, those white walled tombs, were art had it’s final resting place. To this day, I don’t know if it can be done in that medium?

After graduation my small circle of friends went in different directions. I went to study graduate philosophy and poetry, Kristen went to UCLA for her MFA and David continued his MFA at SFAI. I became a teacher and used my artistic skills to develop a successful children’s line of furniture , besides selling art and having exhibitions. David became a professor at a local college, and Kristen she became one of the leading figures in the LA art scene.

Water Benjamin had a profound influences cerebrally on me. I wrestled internally with his Marxist ideas on art. Our age was the age of artistic reproduction. At the time, we were as a society entering into the internet digital world; where, the lines between authenticity and exclusivity were being blurred. As an artist, I realized that this was a new medium, but did not know how to effectively use it to my advantage. To this day, I’m still trying to figure it out; and personally, I’m conceptualizing these ideas as we speak…

(To be continued…)

Farewell Adieu

Farewell, adieu
You’ve showed me a segment
In your life
Now mine,
Forever stored
My heart.
Like a

Lucky Me | Sonnet

1. When I first saw you I was smitten by your beautiful smile. I said to myself, you will be my wife someday.
2. I remember our first movie together Godzilla, and Chinese fried-rice and how I didn’t want you to go home that evening or ever.
3. Second date, I brought over the movie, Sargent York, we sat together and held hands. We giggled and remembered the line, “I’m going to buy me a piece of bottom-land.”
3. That was an unspoken promise that we’d some day settle down, you and me.
4. By the third date I knew I wanted to marry you, I was madly in love, it was hard for me to breath, so I bought you a gold bracelet and asked you the golden question.
5. You said, yes!
6. And after fifteen years of marriage, I’m still the happiest man alive!
7. Your presence in my apartment was overwhelming, waiting for our December twelve wedding date seemed like a tortured eternity, I’m still tortured every time you leave my side.
8. The soundtrack to Kama Sutra, I’ll always remember the rhythm, I’ll always remember the sweet sweat.
9. Kissing you during my lunch break was pure agony,
I couldn’t let you go, I had separation anxiety every time we parted.
10. I carried a photograph of you holding our son in my pocket, I’d glance at it at work, it gave me a reason to keep on going, making my heart skip a beat.
11. Every time I saw your picture I couldn’t believe how lucky I was and I still feel that inside.
12. Driving past Davenport 125 in our new black car.
13. I’ll always remember Neptune’s damp cave.
14. You’ve made me the luckiest man alive, I never knew how much our love would blossom and how beautiful the fruit of our union would be.

Poem-Water Slide

My dreams lead me to familiar places, areas like a massive water slide made of shiny aluminum troughs with equally shiny canoes.

I’m intimate with the mountain-side the slide is built on, though I couldn’t find it on a map.

The scenery is magnificent overlooking rolling hills, and steep precipices. I try to find the entrance to the slide. I want to take this ride.

I find myself in a pristine cavernous lake where the most luxurious houseboats are kept, enormous stainless-steel kitchens, luscious living-rooms, strolling on crystal-clear glassy water, slowly, enchantedly.

Now, I’m standing at the entrance of the cave made of gigantic granite pillars carved on a mountainside; a cross between Greek and Roman architecture, but different, otherworldly.

I enter, I’m curious, I see art I’ve never seen before on pedestals. I see an emperors bed, grand, massive. From the headboard a giant tree emanates and grows upwards.

I recognize it, I yell out, “this is Odysseus and Penelope’s bed”, come and look at it, I’m giddy, ecstatic to find an ancient treasure I’ve read about, the famous Ithacan bed. No one listens to me, I feel a strong presence.

I run out of the museum and turn the corner, there in front of me is a vision I’ve never seen before, beautiful, angelic, ephemeral—flowing like a soft wind yet still and glowing like a light-blue sparkling sapphire. I turn my eyes it’s too divine, I’m frightened by her indescribable brilliance, her beauty.

She reaches for me. I recognize it’s a safe creature. I speak to her, “I know you’re safe, I see kindness in your eyes.”

She takes me, envelops me and drifts me over to the slide.

I’m on the canoe, looking outwards, riding over the chasm by that familiar mountainside.

I’m taking the ride of my life. I see the heavens twirling like tornados and a display of clouds so colorful they look like fireworks without the bursting noises, incredible atmospheric colors. The beauty of what I saw was overwhelming, unimaginable. I closed my eyes and woke up. I said, “thank you God, thank you!” In my heart I wanted to go back and finish that ride, I closed my eyes and fell back to sleep, no longer able to find that glorious place.

Morning Poem-2

I wake up stiff
morning’s moist
from the raising heat.
On the second-room floor
on the east-side of the house.
The warmth of the day
keeps my bedroom toasty
all night long right onto
the pillows I embrace.

Tishe’a be’Ab Once Again

The sigh of the Inquisition
sways like the winter wind
reaching my inner bones,
Blue ocean opens to forever behind and beyond,
Atlantic Sun warms away the chill of
abandonment and despair.

I sit alone far from you.
Daughter of Zion.
I sit wishing to touch you,
Jerusalem of Gold.
Ancient city,
I am physically distant from you.

My ancestor’s wails echo through
gilded Cordoba streets
here, mingle in my exiled ears.
Over thousands of years,
thousands of miles,
The breaking of my people’s hearts
twice mirrored in mine.

I am the galuth,
racked with pain.
In your footsteps
I tearfully remain.

My dreams longing to reconnect
I follow the path that you
spoke of, my prayers
remind me, sadness
overwhelms me.

I am the galuth.
Reflecting your pain.
Though I dream
to return to you
once again.

Morning Poem

The alarm catches me sleeping.
I roll out of bed,
I’m covered in sweat.
The fan is oscillating
stagnant wind.

My room is muggy.
Summer is almost over
summer’s delayed her
stay in my room.

The house is warm
except the bathroom,
there’s a radio speaking,
carrying on a one-side muffled conversation, alleviating my
temporary loneliness.

I’m anticipating a luke-warm shower
to take-away my stiffness.
I’m wanting to scrub
the nights sweat and
dark dreams off my body.
I want to walkout feeling light again—smelling morning clean.

Digital Memories | Letter To konami

Your video game has brought
endless gaming pleasure
I’ve happily enjoyed playing
“frogger” for so many years.

As far as arcade games go,
the beauty in yours is
seemingly the simplicity of the task.
I remember how frustrating
it was at first when I was
younger and computer
generated arcade games
came rapidly to the fore.
Frustrating in the sense
that, I had to master
joystick and buttons maneuvering
(a tireless learning curb with new technology)
in order to cross the
busy Armageddon
full of cars.

Those menacing colorful cars that
never stopped coming, I weaved
and squirmed around them concerned
that I’d get bludgeoned like
an American tourist in Pomplona
during the running of the bulls.

I got ran over many times trying to get my
little frog to quickly jump past
the inevitable black pavement and
into the moving turtles and logs.

The excitement was tangible,
I hated hearing the
dreaded music come to
a screeching halt whenever I got
smashed. I still cringe and
after innumerable attempts, I got
the swing of things and
was soon jumping over logs
searching for that delicious fly
‘cubbied-up’ in a warm cubicle,
high above the wreckage of it all.

I saw the vision, across the
river into safety. Getting there
was another thing altogether.
Normally, it resulted in my demise.

The magic in those early video games
has not gone away, even though compared
to todays gaming standards, Frogger is
considered a classic. Though,
recently, I’ve rediscovered it
after a long hiatus and a few kids
of my own who now love to game.
Your digitized jumping frog,
quirky MIDI tunes
and death defying leaps
still generates plenty of pleasure,
frustration, and digital memories.

How Was Your Day?

I meander from foreign
words to consonant-less sounds,
and from verbs to
concept-less blurbs.
Things I hide knowing that
a fool is framed within his mental
confidence. Clean and cleared
whitened Bluetooth keyboard,
meticulously shined
by a sticky finger
I can never chide a chive
finely chopped like garlic
fried in virgin Holy land oil;
my friend brought it to me as a gesture of love and goodwill.
Knowing that I pour myself out to guests, eat, eat,
I give you my heart; directed at your stomach,
like a Zionist tunnel, no need for protection
this meal will heal
and bring unity
and endless
Sabbath conversation.