Artisan – Post 58 – I’m A Mean Old Man

Artisan by Dan Joyce

©2016

Post 58

I’m A Mean Old Man

Art58

Filled out paperwork

At the doctor’s office

Today

Under age, I wrote 50

And I realized

How much of my life is gone

No puppies to play with

No ball games with dad

I Don’t like kittens

Or long walk in the sand

Not me

I’m a mean old man

Just give me some soda

A cheap cigar

And leave me alone

In my old folks home

Your games and small chatter

I really can’t stand

Not me!

I’m a mean old man

Don’t play hip hop music

Or drink until dawn

Don’t have any big parties

Or leave the lights on

I’m nobody’s friend

And nobody’s fan

Not me!

I’m a mean old man

Yes there were days

When luck came my way

Fortune and romance

Then lost to pure chance

I don’t need love

Or any companions

Not me!

I’m a mean old man

 

I’m A Mean Old Man from Dan Joyce on Vimeo.

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Artisan – Post 57 – About Abstract Art

Artisan by Dan Joyce

©2016

Post 57

About Abstract Art

Art57

Recently, I entered into a debate with a younger artist from a popular local coffeehouse/gallery regarding her talent, or should I say, lack of talent. Not intending to insult her, I told her that her compositions of portraiture where somewhat cubist. She in turn became very angry saying she was a realistic artist and nothing about her work was abstract. Further, she claimed great detail in her art using a magnifying glass guider her and made the audacious comment that anyone can do abstract art. After accusing me of scribbling my subjects instead of taking great time to do something flawed like her work, I said to her, “At least I scribble with correct proportions.” This brings me to the most important rule of good art. Do what you’re trying to do!

What is wrong with viewpoints of modern art? People just don’t know what they’re talking about and make ignorant claims about what is often the artist’s hard work. Yes, anyone can throw paint on a canvas, but then try to sell it, try to convince people it is good art. Abstract art, like music, has rules the artist usually follows to make the painting more pleasing. What is the color composition? Is there a sense of depth in the perspective or overlapping shapes? Is it simple or did the artist take time to make something complex? Saying anyone can make successful abstract art is like letting a monkey pound a piano and calling it music. To paraphrase my mother, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, then don’t speak at all.

True she exhibited great detail in her portraits claiming she even used a magnifying glass, but her initial sketch and measurements were so grotesquely misplaced her figures literally looked deformed. It’s like building a beautiful house with a foundation that is going to fall apart.

That leads me to my biggest point regarding all arts. When looking at a work, always ask this question, did the artist accomplish what he or she was obviously trying to do? An abstract artist may seem to do this with greater ease, but a trained artist can create a realistic image by what they have learned and therefore find it easier to create and sell a work of art that more people will understand.

There is a medium point between abstract and representational art that artists love to walk on. The impressionists, the fauvists and the surrealists have introduced us to this place of being years ago. Sometimes, I like to get out my old college skills and draw something photorealistic, sometimes I just want to express an emotion in a complex non-representational piece. Usually, like LeRoy Neiman or Vincent Van Gogh, I like to explore a line in between. But skill and talent are always developed by the discipline of working at it everyday.

Which leads me to my most important claim on this subject. Strict definitions of art inhibit creativity. Loose definitions say art is anything. True, no one in the main population really thinks Damien Hirst is doing anyone a great favor placing a formaldehyde shark in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But I argue that he is. First look at what you think art is. Michelangelo? Da Vinci? Lucian Freud? Ok, I can agree. Now sit down and try to do this! Obviously most will fail. Our false beliefs on art have told us that it’s a magical gift from God that people just grab a paint brush and start doing. I would say no! Art is for everybody! If you can’t do Da Vinci, do what you can do! Local schools are selling representational art classes and calling it “Classical Realism.” I as a former student of art history would like to ask what the hell “Classical Realism” is? Is it Renaissance? Mannerism? Baroque? It can’t be Roman or Greek classism, because no such paintings have survived through the wear and tear of history. All they are really doing is teaching kids a closed minded view of the art world that has nothing to do with the historical progress of art at all.

I have been able to draw and paint many extremely realistic images throughout my career, but chose today to try something different, something that is more myself in my art. It took me years to develop as a realistic artist and even more as an expressionist. Talent not only allows one to do what they love doing, but do what they are trying to do with a sense of ease. That takes practice and discipline, for me, for Nancy Kerrigan, for Jenny Saville, for Harry Connick Jr., etc… for about anyone who wants succeed at their craft. To leave you with a comment a former girlfriend made, “I’d give up everything just to paint realistically!”

I told her, “I did!”

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Artisan – Post 56 – Life In L.A.

Artisan by Dan Joyce

©2016

Post 56

Life In L.A.

Art56

I’m writing from Los Angeles in a donut shop today. The theme of the big city seems to be anonymity. It’s easy to get lost in a crowd here, but maybe that’s better. Having been raised in the suburbs of Orange County, I’m used to knowing people everywhere I go, but the city is much different. For example, if I were living in L.A. and I spend the day going to the grocery store, the laundromat and the coffeehouse, chances are I wouldn’t see any of the same people. However, if I spent the day going to these places in Fullerton, I would not only run into a lot of the same people, but everyone would know my business from gossip and other intrusive talk. That can be bothersome.

Celebrities like the city because they can walk these streets casually and unrecognized. Whereas, in the suburbs, they are constantly bothered. But there is a darker aspect to these two worlds. The streets of L.A. are smothered with impoverished minorities, while only miles away, the higher income Orange County is predominantly white. White picket fences keep minorities out. I can recall running away as an adolescent for a few days shocked and surprised to see that. This is due to long history of discrimination in housing and employment. We aren’t all racist, but sometimes the rules and practices of our communities are. I lived here in the city four years of my life and saw first hand how sheltered I really was. While Los Angeles is a wonderful place to live, work and have fun, it is a sad demographic of how discriminating our country really is. But at least here I can find solace in solitude and donuts are still only a dollar.

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Artisan – Post 55 – Cruz And Conservative Criticism

Artisan by Dan Joyce

©2016

Post 55

Cruz And Conservative Criticism

Art55

When debating American rights and freedoms, conservatives are usually aggressively defensive coming up with the same arguments and attacking statements to defend our free country. The typical claim, “America, love it or leave it!” is still heard strongly today and is used to invoke unnecessary fear into anyone who opposes that extremist political agenda. It often sounds like this, “well if you don’t like this country so much you would want to change something about it, then why don’t you go to another country where they don’t have any freedoms?” Now, they’re obviously not talking about Denmark, Sweden or Belgium where a different more liberal economy is working well and people exercise sometimes even more freedoms than our grand old constitution. No, they are talking about a third world or Arab country that is totalitarian, against personal rights and often economically bankrupt, because in their narrow minds, that is the only choice.

Another is the veteran’s argument. I fought for freedoms that allow jerks like you to criticize our country. Well, it doesn’t sound too much like he wanted us to have those freedoms in the first place. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be so upset when we exercise them. Don’t get me wrong! I support our troops and what they have historically done for our country. I also support our police forces. I just seriously question the pathology of any individual who voluntarily signs up for a profession, which may involve killing people. Veterans thank you for fighting for our freedoms, but when you come back home, please let us keep them! Also, the only amendment in the bill of rights these conservative crackpots ever place any importance on is the 2nd amendment right to own a gun. So we are assured that if we do disagree with them about keeping our other rights or even want to change anything about the system in our favor, we can always keep in mind that they are armed and dangerous. This is all in the name of a loving God.

Which comes to my final point. Being a Christian political party, since when did the Wall Street tycoons of the Republican Party become allowed to buy the Christian religion? There are multitudes of contradictions between the bible and the teachings of Christ and what they call the moral Republican Party platform. Economically speaking, Christ simply wasn’t a supply side economist. He talked about things like healing the sick and feeding the poor, whereas these would cost Republican redeemers too much money! Their solution to poverty always sound the same, “If they try hard enough anyone can be rich and have money, because I do!” And when it came to taxes, he said to pay them, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar! Give to God what belongs to God!” I guess that one just is too old-fashioned for the cronies that don’t want to catch up to the times on gay marriage. It is no doubt why the conservatives and Republicans are facing a disastrous Armageddon in the future of their party. Well, we liberals spent many a year fighting in protests and at the polls for them to be such ingrates.

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Artisan – Post 54 – Brutes And Bullies

Artisan by Dan Joyce

©2016

Post 54

Brutes And Bullies

Art54

I don’t get why people support bullying online and discourage people from trying to stop it. Their argument is always the same, “If we don’t allow kids to be bullied, they won’t learn to deal with it in life and all our kids will be wearing pink shirts.” That’s ridiculous! As if not getting beat up everyday is going to turn them gay!

I dealt with a lot of bullying in school and as an adult. There are many ways to bully a person physically, intellectually and socially. It is a terrible and traumatic thing to have to endure. Psychologists are now defining a new kind of bullying not with kids. “Adult bullying” occurs commonly in the workplace and in social groups like churches, gyms and commonly in 12 step groups. I get that some people come from harsh backgrounds were beaten or emotionally abused badly, but that doesn’t have to carry on to to them picking on everyone they deal with.

The system is WHACK! If someone is unfairly intimidated physically, emotionally or even sexually, that should in any circumstance be stopped. But we as a society are lead to believe that abuse is not a bad thing. That instead it makes us better people. Offices of psychologists and therapists are filled with people unable to cope or deal with such trauma.

So what is the solution? My father always told me to stand up for myself and fight back! The problem was that whether or not I lost the fight, I was in a deeper mess. Some smaller kids had bigger friends and I would have to fight them. If I lost the fight, I would have to submit to even harsher bullying. Eventually, I became like an outlaw gunslinger fighting every kid in school that wanted trouble. It all ended in a hospital room one day with a broken nose. That was when I took up drinking. I don’t know if I drank because I wanted the bullies to think I was cool, if drinking helped me to cope with the bullying or if the alcohol just made a really effective painkiller!

I tried my best in life not to be bullied, but somehow I’ve never found the right solution or really found it useful in any way. Even when I fought back, I only ended up in more trouble, because the school would only blame me for being in the fight or being harmed to begin with. To this day, I’ve never figured out how I could walk across a high school campus, get beat up and end up in detention. But hey! At least I never had to wear a pink shirt!

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Artisan – Post 53 – Lindsay And Leonardo

Artisan by Dan Joyce

©2016

Post 53

Lindsay And Leonardo

Art53

Today I saw Lindsay, a homeless woman I was accused of taking advantage of for an art book, The Crazy Communist. She was, as usual, happy to see me and at the market with Cory another homeless friend of ours. I haven’t been able to afford oil paint, but I give them cigarettes and what money I have, as I have for years, so that someday I can paint beautiful portraits of them. Not to sound angry, but it was a low shot to think I would use this impoverished couple for ill advantage. I bought Lindsay a cappuccino coffee, but Cory was upset and he didn’t want one himself. Instead, he said some things about his emotional state that worried me. I told him he would always be cared for by a lot of people and try not to do anything drastic. It’s hard times for many people, especially those of us with sensitive emotions. Tomorrow I will be going to a mental health clinic for an outpatient program I have voluntarily signed up for. There I will see more of my friends. Many will be doing much better. As a fine artist, I have worked with and studied the Fullerton homeless population for nearly 15 years. I try not to brag about the friends I’ve made in the homeless community, but I would never take advantage of them for my own artistic or political gain. It is really hurtful that someone would say something like that. I hope the artists will take it for what it is.

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Artisan – Post 52 – Fullerton’s Finest

Artisan by Dan Joyce

©2016

Post 52

Fullerton’s Finest

Art52

There is a lot of talk online and elsewhere about the danger of bad cops killing innocent people. Many, like myself, are made to be afraid of the police department, especially those of us suffering mental illness. While it is true that a few of our police unfairly killed a schizophrenic man, this does in no way represent the attitude and policy of our local cops. Instead, throughout my history as a sufferer, they have been less threatening and more helpful.

Treating manic-depression can often be like dealing with diabetes. We have to maintain steady amounts of medications, not to many not too little. Caffeine, stress factors and social interaction with a positive support system also have to be watched closely. When, by chance, it is difficult to maintain proper treatments, episodes can occur and can be quite harmful to the health and even to the life of the individual.

Few people know this, but one practice that psychologists and law enforcement suggest, is that if the episode is that severe where it can be classified an emergency, we are instructed to call 911. While some police feel it is trivial to help the mentally ill, many of Fullerton’s police realize how difficult and serious a situation can be. Often, they have come to evaluate me, talk to me and do whatever they can to help. Many Fullerton policemen know me, not as a criminal, but as someone seeking help they have assisted in providing. If hospitalization is necessary, as so commonly it is when making such a call, Fullerton police put me in their squad cars and personally drive me to the facility when no one else will. They talk to me about my life and my problems, and wait until a doctor or nurse can assure them, and myself, that treatment will be provided. This is a far cry from the cops who killed Kelly Thomas. Instead, most of them have told me that they actually feel good about being of service to such citizens in our community. Maybe, such practice prevents a more dangerous call. Some of them see me around town, talk to me, ask me how I’m doing and congratulate me on successes in my personal recovery. It is hard to explain to the average population what a psychological crash can be like or what harm can be done from it, sometimes leading to suicide. But I really believe, that under such circumstances when our Fullerton police department shows up and helps me out, they may often be saving my life and helping me attain a better one.

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