Article: Captialism and the Blues

REASON: The Bluesman as Entrepreneur

I can see an analogy in the underground arts movements percolating today. The Remodernist artist does not bemoan the obstacles and lack of opportunities faced. Instead with a combination of technology, innovation and drive, the Remodernist artist creates his own opportunities.

Genres: Symbolism

An overview of Symbolist Art

Before I found a contemporary guiding philosophy in Remodernism, I recognized in my work shared concerns with the Symbolist painters of the late 1800s-early 1900s.

The spiritual aspects of light, darkness and color. Acceptance of gods, monsters and the grotesque as worthy explorations for art. A mystical sense of purpose. Deep order. Intense emotions. All these elements continue in my work.

Remodernism as a force of integration of all previous eras of modern art supports my continued explorations.

Artwork: Michele Bledsoe

owl 001

Michele Bledsoe “And Then I Do” acrylic on canvas 12″ x 9″

Michele has painted several portraits of us. This one is inspired by our theme poem, a favorite of Michele’s from childhood: “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear.

Our wedding cake topper was a little ceramic figure of the animals in their beautiful pea green boat.

Influences: Albert Pinkham Ryder

Self taught American visionary

Albert Pinkham Ryder unfortunately did not use sound painting techniques. At the time of their creation his works were described as glowing like jewels, filled with inner light. Most of them now only hint towards their original presence.

Using kerosene and bacon fat as mediums is not advisable. He would glaze over wet paint and then paint back over the glaze. Many of his works have turned black, cracked beyond repair, even slowly slid off their canvas backings.

Hailed as a precursor of modern art, Ryder was one of the few Americans exhibited in the infamous 1913 Armory Show, which introduced new European ideas of art of an incredulous American public.

I was fortunate enough to be exposed to several key Ryder paintings in Washington DC museums while I was growing up. His luminosity haunts my paintings to this day.





Books: Glittering Images by Camille Paglia

A Journey Through Art indeed.

I’m currently working my way through this. It’s a quick read, just a series of short essays, with some good framing commentary that acknowledges the sorry state of our establishment culture.

It’s written with Paglia’s normal mix of brilliance and BS.  Just from scanning through the pictures and knowing what she’s working up to (spoiler: George Lucas is our greatest artist!) I know the later chapters of the book will be hard to swallow. Arranged chronologically, the feeble conceptual stuff comes at the end, and I expect her tainted academic mindset will take over to glorify some crap that fits her sociological agenda.

No matter, at least she is willing to break from the elitist mindset somewhat. It’s a start, a thin end of a wedge we need to hammer home.

Once I have finished the book I’m going to write a full review.


Influences: Henri Rousseau

The works of Henri Rousseau

“…by re-introducing the values of the imaginary into the art of his period, he went beyond one of the needs of his time – and ours.”


A prototype for the Remodernist artist. Rousseau cultivated his own idiosyncratic vision into playful and profound statements on reality.

Michele and I were extremely fortunate to see a Rousseau retrospective in Washington DC. We could get right up close to all the works, see the little details and flaws (you can always tell a painter in a museum. They are the ones looking at the paintings from 3 inches away). The paintings were so simple yet powerful.

Commentary: Political Art

There was a point when I was heavily involved on Facebook, skirmishing with the conformist drones of the art world. When someone posted a call for liberal agenda art, this was my response:

Too much of contemporary art tries to use sociology as a short cut to significance. Propaganda is feeble art no matter what cause it supports. Art is about a deeper experience than a debate about public policies. What makes Guernica powerful is not a specific protest but the universal depiction of the human condition. So what I am going to do is go as deep into my art as possible and be true to my vision. Separate from my art is the discussion of how our cultural elites have created a corrupted and doomed system that I am determined to see dismantled.

Propaganda visual art is preaching to the choir. It lets everybody who already agrees with it feel righteous for a moment without really taking any substantive action. It does not work as outreach-a painting will not persuade anyone to change their opinion on a complex issue. Art is ineffective as a tool of debate, because that is not the level it communicates on. Emphasizing politics has been part of the general decline of the art establishment over the last few decades, where context and theory have taken the place of powerful work that succeeds on its own terms. If someone feels passionate on a cause and pours it into their work, then that may be honest, but if politics is all it’s about, it’s limiting and will be ultimately less successful as art. The easier it is to explain what a piece is about the weaker it is as art, and political art is all about delivering simple messages. There is a lot of work to be done out there, but if people really want to make institutional changes art is not the way to make it happen. It takes other kind of work.