Sunday, December 11, 2011

Good Things


What is that I hear going bump in the night? Is it a ghostie, ghoulie or horror beyond all understanding? Is it one of the dogs desperately needing to go out? Is it the Long Suffering banging into the dresser on the way back from dealing with the dogs? Is it the kids, trying to cheat Christmas morning into coming early?

Could be any of these things, we all learned, way back shortly after the dinosaurs were wiped out by the meteor, good things come to he who waits.

Never helped me a bit, I want what I want when I want it and that would be now.

Except that just doesn’t happen when you get involved with the Arts.

Have you been cheating into the living room trying to make that Christmas morning when all of your art gets accepted by the most prestigious show and you win ribbons and cash and get your name in the paper, or are you quietly paying your dues?

That’s the trick you know. It’s not that hard work won’t pay off, quiet the contrary, if you don’t work hard that Christmas morning will never come, its just that hard work alone won’t do the trick.

I do? I suppose you’re right it does sound a bit like a Sunday morning sermon, be patient and wait and you will be rewarded in the next life. But damnit I want my reward now.

And you’ll get just about as far with the jury as you would with the preacher by taking that attitude. See that’s the way the art world works, you find what you enjoy, you study, work at your craft and when you are good enough you start competing and build up your resume and then…not a single thing happens.

What do you do, besides tear your hair, scream, cry and reach for the bottle of Ole Irish Paint Thinner.

No, you start all over again.

I may have mentioned this before, but I come from Dallas. Now Dallas isn’t really part of Texas, no matter what you may have seen on that program with Larry Hagman. No, it is a City State in the old, original fashion like Athens or Sparta. It has no natural resources, no railhead, no ranches, no oil wells, yes, I know that’s not what Larry Hagman said.

Okay it does have a Petroleum Club, high up on the 23rd floor of the Bryan Tower, but it isn’t full of crusty, rusty oil men, it is chock full of bankers. That’s what Dallas has a lot of, bankers, before the Condo scandal of the nineties all of them were home owned. Now they’re just part of the Big City Bank Bunch like everywhere else. But don’t let that fool ya, Dallas is still all about money.

You can find the largest collection of Rodin sculptures in the United States on public display a half block away from one of the largest collections of Asian art in the world just around the corner from the Dallas Museum of Art where you will find one of the best collections of pre-Columbian art, or if you are feeling in need of retail therapy go out to Northpark center, which is definitely NOT a mall and check out the rotating collection of art from the Nasher collections.

What you won’t find is an art show. Not a juried show, nor a themed show nor a show to benefit the lost city of Atlantis. In Dallas if it don’t make money for someone it don’t get to happen.

Now that never bothered me while I was living in Dallas, because the one thing I wanted growing up in the shadow of Big D was to get in there and roll up my sleeves and try it on with the Big Boys.

But you can’t do art if there isn’t any place to show it. Oh there were youth shows and college shows, but that’s for people who haven’t joined the workforce yet and can afford to squander their time on frivolous things.

If you had an artistic leaning and lived in Dallas you had to find a way to get it to work. I did a lot of things, I took photographs, ran a theater company and wrote for anyone who would pay me and very occasionally I entered a national contest.

I didn’t have the resources I have today so I just didn’t know about them. I’m gonna say something terrible so take the kids and the women out of the room, this was before the Internet.

Yeah, hard to believe, take it from me, I find it amazing we lived before the Internet and cell phones.

And I worked nights for the Po-lice as we say in Texican so that I could have my days free to hustle jobs. Mostly I tried to haul my carcass out of bed. You’d be surprised at how working midnight till dawn takes the ambition right out of you.

Then I moved here.

How things changed. I grew up in a town not much larger than Coos Bay. Grand Prairie was surrounded by bigger better places, Dallas on the east and Arlington on the west, Cedar Hill to the south and Irving to the north and not a single art show in sight.

We had two theaters, the Uptown where your mother would let you go and the Wings where only old men in overcoats went and they showed those films that dads talked about but never admitted having seen.

Moving to a town with an art museum was like hitting the Lotto. Good things do come to those who wait.

But I still had to pay my dues. Back in Texas artful photography is a picture without a cow, Ford F150 or staples in the middle. Monte Rogers would be treated like he had just stepped off Mount Olympus. Come to think of it he’s so good he may just have done that.

I had to relearn what makes a winning picture and find a place for myself I the art community.

Fortunately, there are a lot of people in Coos Bay/North Bend willing to welcome and shelter a lost Texan. And they let you play in their reindeer games if you ask nice.

So the next time you don’t get juried in don’t plot the prolonged and horrible death of the jury, just shrug and pick up your tools and go back to work. Your waiting will bring those good things and in the time in-between you can have a pretty jolly ole time.


  1. My Mystical Photography The word photography comes from two ancient Greek words: photo, for "light," and graph, for "drawing." "Drawing with light" is a way of describing photography. When a photograph is made, light or some other form of radiant energy, such as X rays, is used to record a picture of an object or scene on a light-sensitive surface.

  2. Sandy, my apology for taking so long to find and get back to you. Your site is magical. Hope you continue to check in and see what is happening on the Ole Trawler.