“There is nothing more provocative than minding your own business.”
― William S. Burroughs, The Place of Dead Roads
“Sergeant Spearman, you are positively glutinous with self-approbation. You might as well speak out.”
—-Alfred Hitchcock, Frenzy
For several years now, each February or so, I have travelled down to the Kettle Art Gallery in Deep Ellum for their For the Love of Kettle affair. This is a “competitive shopping event” where two hundred or so works of art, all 8×11, are displayed on the walls. About three hundred people are unleashed through the opening doors at once and grab the paintings they want. If you desire something by a particular artist, you have to be quick, decisive, and efficient. I wrote about it three years ago – you can read about it here.
One of the artists that I have always wanted to get at the show was Richard Ross. He is a very well-known local artist, with a distinctive personal style. His murals are found on walls in Deep Ellum and other spots.
In the years past, I was always too late to get a Ross, even though he usually donated a handful of works to the show. I always wait in line for an hour before the opening (I’m usually fifth in line or so) but I get overexcited and confused and fail to grab the good work fast (it’s OK, everything at the show is cool – I probably should buy something at random). His stuff always sells immediately and I took too much time (around thirty seconds) making up my mind. By the time I made it to the table with my list of numbers his were gone. This year I was extra quick and decisive – at my turn only two of his three were purchased. So I bought his Tethered to an Upside Down Giant.
Now, months later, I saw that the Kettle Arts Gallery was having a show, Hireath, of paintings by Richard Ross and Jessie Sierra Hernandez. The opening was on Thursday night, which is really tough for me. I’m exhausted at the end of each work day, but I try to do what I can – life is too short. I finished up at work and caught the DART train downtown. I fortified myself with a cold wheat beer at Braindead Brewing and walked across Main Street to Kettle Art.
The show was positively glutinous. Kettle Art is such a crackerjack place.
I talked to Richard Ross for a minute, he said the characters in his painting are “Keyholes” – I suppose that is a term that can represent a limited view into their souls.
From the Internet: The “keyhole” figures represent the locked inner conscience we have in our public appearance. Basically the “keyhole” says that there’s more inside than just the facade, and it’s protected. Some of these figures will appear two faced to show more complexity in the character.
I shuffled around the gallery several times, ogling the art. I am usually good with my lifelong poverty, except when I’m visiting art galleries. I have this fantasy where I strut around with a big douchebag expression on my face braying, “I’ll take this… and this… and this.” Alas, it is not to be.
In addition to the paintings in his familiar style he also had some interesting early works and some smaller paintings.
The little ones were really nice – the ink lines gave them a strong graphical emphasis.
But what I really liked was a series of 12 medium-sized artworks, arranged in a grid. These were framed by random smears of painted color – precious views into a hidden world or a different dimension. They shared the strong lines of the small works, but the extra bit of size allowed them additional layers of complexity. Each one told a little bizarre story. Actually each one tells hundreds of little stories – different for every person that sees them.
Does this make sense? I’m afraid you’ll have to go down there and see for yourself (the show is open until September 17). I wished I could slide out the cash and buy the lot of those mediums – display them on my humble wall like they were at the gallery.
I didn’t stay long – it had been a long day and I was fading fast. It was a short walk through the dark to the train station and the ride back home.
“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
—-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence
Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight.
Some are Born to sweet delight,
Some are Born to Endless Night.
—-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence
“I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!”
― Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems
Mural by Travis Haas
Part of the 42 Murals Project
“She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her… I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her…”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
“Oh it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder. Oh, it was wonder of wonders.”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
When looking at street art – murals especially – there is a thin line between art and graffiti and advertisement.
But it’s still cool – first, because it is cool. Second, because it is actually painted by the leader of the group, Scott Tucker, and he is a second generation professional mural painter, as well as a musician.
It doesn’t get an better than that… now does it my droogs.