Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Artifact-Talesof an Antiquarian-Ship of fools
El Barco De Tontos-or Ship of fools-like Death and the Maiden-followed a very European tradition in Art. From Bosch to Durer-there are examples littered throughout art history. It also had its origins in the satirical medieval German poem (Das Narrenschiff) warning against over 100 vices and follies, which later became the basis for a tarot of the same name.
For myself-in the fall of 2006-folly was something that I felt my artistic career path had fallen victim to. Continually stiffed by a series of bad licensing deals, the diminishing returns and production line mentality of selling on Ebay and the alienation of what I considered was the cultural vacuousness of living in California for the first year, I felt I'd reached a nadir creatively and integrally.
In truth, I despised everything I had painted over the previous five years, which seemed bogged down by the flotsum and jetsum of symbolic embellishment, ultimately trying to imbue the cultural trends of a certain Hot Topic audience with some depth of meaning.
So, ever one for the posturing of melodrama, I proclaimed that El Barco De' Tontos would be my final ever piece,and that on the eve of my 40th Birthday, it was time to give up the lifelong dream of being an artist and disapear into the anonymity of a faceless institution. I had probably read Bukowski too much, because, that was exactly what I did, taking a mundane day job at a post office box in La Jolla-one of the most vacuous places in southern California.
As my swansong, I was sending a representative cast of my own familiar characters-clowns,grim reapers, demons pirates and lepers-helmed by a harlot muse, into the endless horizon of an inevitable vanishing point.
It would be six months before I would paint again,and not until I had relinquished an audience,contractual obligations or any expectations of myself.