Saturday, February 25, 2012

Disconnect II

"Disconnected II" 2011
Acrylic on Gypsum
Kim Barry

"I paint figures with little or no senses about them- no eyes, ears, noses, mouths. This is a constant and for good reason. We tend not to use them. In Disconnected, the people are running to and from ambiguous places without sensing where they are going and where they have come from; never taking notice to those around them and feeling isolated in their own action.  Before I turned on to real living in the small town of Jacksonville, FL and learned to build a sense of community and true friendships, I was, temporarily trying my hat as one of the figures with a laundry list of non essential material wants and superficial relationships based on getting ahead. It comes down to trust. Trusting yourself enough that you can create a life better then the life sold in the commercial."- 2007? 2008? KB

It's 3am, my beagle, Rory, is snoring louder than most 300lb men with acute sleep apnea, and I have been avoiding having to write this blog regarding this painting for over a week. Above, was my brief quip on the first version of this piece, Disconnect I, written and published in 2007 or 2008. At the time, it felt much more objective. Like I had gained some guru foothold on the mountain of self righteousness by letting go of a few materialistic virtues and thus, feeling above it all for a little while. I was living in utopia. The peace, then clarity that comes only when the basic necessities of life are checked off the to do list while "work" is then, currently defined as making coffee and sitting in a kiddie pool all day thinking up what I shall paint this evening, makes for a nice little pot bellied Buddha of tranquil judgement of everyone in the rat race. I could slow down enough to see how my former corporate comrades were burning out with 25 more years to go. I saw interviews for mutual life venture capitalistic gains instead of naturally developing love stories. I saw people too scared to really stop for moment and notice that someone has crossed their path, just for a moment,  but stopping would screw up their perfect running stride to nowhere and damn if the abs don't look great. But to the one with open, visionary eyes, what an amazing moment to notice. Maybe this is THE moment everything could change for the better because that person noticed the other. Noticing. Taking note of what surrounds you and reaching out because it's worth it. There are no coincidences. Maybe there are consequences, sure. Maybe the other person is blind as a bat running to their next lipo laser, chem peel,  Oprah rerun, bunko party. But my gut says likes attract likes- for the most part. So, chances are it's worth the reach. This is a testament in faith coming from one who's first love was commonly known as, "Wing Ding" and a steady as she goes record since.

Enter Phase II of the Disconnect in us all. 

I have met many people in my travels. I have made some lifer friends. I have made a few enemies, and find the road between the two is a 2" painted yellow line. It's what you say, no it's not what you say, it's how you say it , no it's not how you say it, it's how you texted, emailed, googled, signed, spoke with your eyes........., no,.......... it's........ I don't know!  

What I have come to understand is this. If people want to understand, they will. If they don't, they won't.  There are a lot of people that just don't, won't, and move on to an easier conversation. In my book, it's the norm. I am the first to champion these folks in sympathy.  Sometimes, being in their shoes with me,  is not  unlike  trying to understand a half rate version of Thomas Pynchon while being simultaneously wrapped up in 80 inches of great gams. It's a death throws match for most. I know.  And I, myself,  have usually gone for a side or two or the whole dinner plate of  the wild and crazy guy hanging from the stage, cupping  a bottle of Jim, wearing Woody Allen glasses, owning the crazy eyes, and bordering on comedic genius yet inapropro tourrettes syndrome.  And then I think, they sooooo get me. Ok, my delusion is well documented, noted, and in repair.  Let's get back to generalities.

Maybe people do not want to hear what the other has to say because they want it to work their way and are deathly afraid of listening to a slightly different, though neutral, conversation. Crap. Can't we just have MY conversation??? This is such  threat!  It would be so much easier for me to build something with you.

 I have been telepathically asked, over and over, with friends and lovers to do just that and have gone monk silent for upwards of 2 years at a time.........until crazytown was complete. Then it was my single duty after such due course to be the 20 foot toddler in LegoLand.  Not good.

So, overcompensating is a natural, obnoxious pendulum swing back to the middle and I am avoiding direct hits via you fine people. 

Truth? The bigger the city, the more disconnect. There are bigger egos, less patience, more ambition, less care, more to prove, less opting to learn, simpler to objectify than to humanize, easier to function in daily routine, harder to pull one out of a could be funk.  Who knows? Maybe it's just me. But I like a place where everyone knows my name cause they know me, not because they Googled me from afar. 

Quick fix? Meet a neighbor. 

And stop checking out your abs.jesus. 

It's now 7am. Bed time.

Big Love to D, R & DR

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Buried Child

"Buried Child" 2007
Acrylic, Ink, Joint Compound, Screws on Gypsum
Kim Barry

Maybe I had it easier as the baby of the family. . .  ok, I had it a lot easier in learning to  do my own thing.  When the real life Flying Nun marries the real life Mickey Rourke, pops out a few spawn, and tries to make a go of it as a family Oral Roberts would envy, there is much more crazy to focus on than the daily adventures of the smallest member.  I liked it that way.

The freedom to experience the world that was, from my & my friends' perspective, a HUGE, twenty city block playground for our taking and, as we grew into teens, the city itself was immeasurably influential. Oh, and we took it by storm.

As an adult, I have reflected more than once on the massive contrast between the breathing room of my own youth versus the restricted realities of many today.  When we are children, the impulses  and instincts we naturally gravitate towards reveal so much more about who we are and will become than any conditioning and social etiquette could ever dictate or, hopefully, override. I was lucky to have the space to figure it out myself a little more than most though not completely unscathed.

I have watched and experienced parents, teachers, television, and societal circles attempt, on various levels, to re-mold and re-create a most self conscious culture striving to fit in before knowing what exactly they are fitting in to with all the best intentions in the world.  The goal being the the action, not the place and position.

Even with having a pretty strong will and direct sense of my desires, the first few years of my adult life was a struggle in living in the moment amongst my comrades of this shared reality. For all my conviction, doubt set in as to how practical dreams were. People around  me were  dropping off daily in to some branded perspective that pushes the real imaginary words of - "safety," "practical," and "social acceptance" AND they wanted everyone to come with them into the Cave of Dull-life.  As it turns out, it never seems to stick for me, though, I did give it my best, neauveau yuppie effort, at one point.

Feeling like the Last Mohican, I was lucky to re-enter the magical kingdom of childhood wanderlust by taking a position as an art director for a camp this past summer.  The complete imagination, natural confidence,  and constant straight forward conversation those children had inspired in me the beauty of life all over again. As I watched and encouraged their instincts, the younger the child, the less of an effect my words  had one way or the other.  They knew they were doing exactly what they needed to do AND they knew it was awesome.  No one had to tell them that. It was like I was surrounded by 30 mini Van Wilders.  I dug it.

As children get older, the results of critical, controlling, and re-directive words visibly take a toll as self consciousness creeps in. Many become unsure of their natural abilities of using their own head and hands. I thought- This is how people, when they reach "that age," ask the question, "What do I do with my life? I don't know!!!! Who is going to tell me who I am and what my purpose is? Friends? Parents? Snooky? Anderson Cooper?  They have forgotten to be themselves and trust it.  Do they know they just unconsciously signed a deal with the devil in order to fit in, gain acceptance from those that think it's needed (eff em. these people are lame. trust me),  and prove how worthy they are of praise, envy, and desire for a McMansion and newly plumped up fish lips?

For all my outward convictions, I was caught up, too. Who isn't? But at some point in your life when your true self can't take it anymore and will fight to get out no matter how many meds, therapists, cool cars, and hot chicks/men you attempt to combat it with, there's the rub. There's the choice. You can choose to change and become the real you at any time. Sure there are consequences. Sometimes big. I lost everything materially that was the product of my Great Fake Pyramid. I lost some people's respect, admiration, and envy for things I had attained that didn't really matter. It is not easy to let go when you are dug in, I know. As for me, it was the singularly best choice I ever made.
But, it doesn't have to be so dramatic. Lesson- leave the children alone. They know a hell of a lot more than adult egos care to handle.

 Avoid the Buried Child Syndrome
You are beautiful as is

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Keep Your Boxes....

The idea of sharing the impulsive moments of my life on this blog, while simultaneously, being understood as a serious artist has seemed an act of self indulgence with a side of professional sabotage. People need boxes. People need to sum you and your work up in speed dating time and then they freeze you, Hans Solo style, into that conceived mold.

Every creative person striving towards success is playing a one way laser tag game in the woods with the proverbial Jabba The Hut. Ooooo Jabba liked your last move and (crap!) you are out in the open. Haha! LASERBEAM........ Next thing you know you're making the same work every day as if you've become Phil in Groundhog Day.  But it's safe for investors, safe for fans, safe for everyone who wants to quickly understand you and move on.

Enter dark, emaciated, asexual, brooding artist wearing fedora in the corner with perfectly coordinated awkwardness holding a hipstamatic sign that says-
 "No one understands, you don't understand, I don't understand. I glue kittens to toilet seats. Understand? Don't talk. I sign."


Second Entrance-  angry feminist artist dressed as Bertolt Brecht's costume designer  that shoots paintballs from her crotch onto angry canvases and identifies herself with her pet Honey Badger- her animal spirit. Honey Badger don't give a s###. Powpowpow- oh no,  wait, Honey Badger just got hit with a paintball! It doesn't give a s###, it gets up and wants another.

But expressing yourself on more than just a sure fire marketing platform and NOT having printwork that includes at least ONE celebrity face somewhere? This is a joke, is THIS the joke, wait..... which joke are we talking about exactly?! WHERE"S THE FRIGGING LASER?!?!?!

Who wants to back some chameleon who follows their instincts, not the critics and investors?
I would and only them. Why? David Bowie

 I can't help myself, being myself, whatever part needs expressed for the fitting moment. I have been trapped in what feels like R. Kelly's LA closet this past year with most of my friends, reality comrades, and sounding boards on the other side of the country leaving one lone friend to bear the brunt of my conversation. Presently, she is on life support but it's looking up.

Many a person in my life have lovingly and, sometimes, not so lovingly, indulged themselves in this particular treat of being absolutely real and ridiculous while simultaneously working out the bigger serious issues of the world around us and how we relate to it and each other. I, for one, am up there in the adventures, with the tenacity of a certain Beagle I know with a serious addiction to cat food.  To me, that is real truth, real honesty, real living, real art.

I am not speaking of some unattainable ideal. I repeat the tangible- David Bowie.  I was first introduced to his ideas, music, clothes, & rockstar attitude (see pic below) at four years old by my coolest of cool oldest sister, Karen.  Here is my oldest, dearest friend in the world, Jul, who agrees. 

Be yourself, if it true, in all moments, though the outside may only see a potential multiple personality disorder, that is the true reflection of journey and experience. 
And to those who prefer the cut and dry, stale tried and true, keep your boxes.

To be continued....

In the meantime, enjoy learning more about Honey Badger through the words of Randall.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Conflicted and Compartmentalized

"What Have We Done?"
Acrylic, charcoal, canvas, 1970s iron-ons for Chug-A-Mug Beer on Gypsum 2011
Kim Barry 

So, here I am at the beginning of  2012, my Dragon year (roar.)  —  visualizing my own path through this new experience of LA as a more and less romantic artist during what no one in that little box most people have chosen to live through will name---



We all helped to make a darn good milkshake of an economy for a few years, but the one, two, three people in the universe holding the straws are the big winners. Get it? This is not a difficult concept so why fain shock each time a-----nother story comes out of some dumpy dude who looks like your next door neighbor but , big difference, he owns the rights to the population of India and actually exploits them.  Of course he will and is and does while riding carnival ponies in some Secret Owl Camp in Thailand.

Look the real question is, Why is there ever a conversation on the table about one or a few having mass rights over mass people, money, land, water, air, DNA??? Seriously? To tolerate any part of this conversation is mutiny of anything  human. It's  like resurrecting  Hitler  and giving him a reality show because your ratings suck and it is sure to be a hit. YEAH. You bank that money until the audience really believes his forum and next thing you know, we have little Aryan youth running around reenacting, one of my personal life changing childhood viewing displeasures-"Children of The Corn." And instead of Malachai, they are looking for you, buddy. At that point, all your money is good for is to wipe your  bum bum when you hear the film score suddenly playing in your office. As for me, I am with Linda Hamilton in and under all circumstances. (Yes she is in THAT movie).

Point? Short term, self masturbating gains versus long run poo stains of a mass reality that limits our capacity to fully enjoy this experience called LIFE

One thing I find myself repeating in conversation, is this-- "What Happens Above, Happens Below". In Reaganomic terms, which btw, talk about resurrecting what should be dead, think of the concept I am trying to get across as Trickle Down Societal Trends, Trickle Down Societal Values, Trickle Down Mental States, or if you will, Trickle Down My Money on My Mindset.

In these terms, what does it say about our current, upscale, world-running circles of society by looking at a certain mirror of our Trickle Down Society like , oh, I don't know........ The Los Angeles Craigslist- gig section, for one?

As a very resourceful, fairly intelligent, capable person with an aesthetic eye for everything, I figured as I reach for the larger star of my deepest heart's desire, I can surely lock down some basic, fun, creative gigs in order to survive while meeting some great creative minds- it's LA. Right? Ok yes, I actually do have a small tattoo of "NAIVE" on my forehead- eff you very much.

Well, apparently, the vast Craigslist scope of creativity that generates the actual appearance of money includes  the not so adult word of, "Adult." How many blatent, boring, boobie routines, cheap poses, dominatrix, booty shaking scenarios can people really handle? Apparently, it is a bottomless well. I am fully preparing myself to  even see a new trend in certain false prophet, prosperity preaching churches begin advertising "Pole Up for Jesus" commercials.


"Take your pick, Mistress Misty Mooncooch."

"Gee, I don't know, feeling kinda camel today......"

Do these folks reflect on the knowledge that their college graduate darling dears are entering this base mental reality that they have directly and indirectly funded and profited from for generations? It's not just the dirty secret of sex, drugs, and exploitation of all resources and people in Rangoon. Greed over the years has brought it right to everyone's doorstep, right HERE, and we all deal with it or deny with it on a daily basis. It's such a cesspool, no wonder they migrate to SuperSuburbiaThemeparkFantasyLandTown and add gates.

Seems before, during, and after the fervor of Americana created from WWII, a few of America's largest corporations began secretly flirting with overseas child labor, overseas cheap labor, sex trade, and drug carteling while publicly presenting their loyalty to their "Homeland", wearing ducky print pants, and showing the public world their best "Father Knows Best" face. OK, the ducky pants totally rule, but I digress.  A couple of years ago, while I was living another life in StepfordWifeLand, my neighbor, Bonny Doohickey, was using these same tactics for her etsy gift bag line. WTF?????

So, I struggle. I struggle to keep my character at a personal, professional, and human level. I have seemingly had it all but not really, and have had nothing and yet, have had it all. I believe I can combat this Trickle Down Depression by, no matter how hard the choice I have to make, and People, I have had  some doozies, just do the Spike Lee thing.

These last weeks for me have been a rare time of silence from the outside world. I have thrown out enough positive, outreaching opportunity ammo into the universe to light up Morrisey' and Robert Smith's moods to a level worthy of a Richard Simmons Morning Workout. Now, as the dust settles with opportunities of all kinds, I sweep up the crap "creative opportunities" so the real ones will have a place. In the meantime, I have NEVER been able to sit still. So, I read. I reflect. I remember I have this old book from my grandfather's collection-oooooo. yes.

This morning I hit upon a passage that I feel is a good soundboard against the compartmentalized and conflicted value making we create as individuals and, as we come together and interact, create a mass compartmentalized and conflicted society.

Here goes....

"One of the most important functions of religion is to give faith to individuals so that each can believe that, whatever his handicaps, it is possible for him to develop a capacity to serve beyond his seeming capabilities. When people lose this sense of self worth, they tend to slip into the gray human mass out of which collectivist nations are built. Our Lord is quite specific as to the responsibility of each individual to develop his gifts and increase his talents. Lest they should become selfish, He is most specific of all in teachings which stress out duty toward God and our neighbor.  A free society rests upon this delicate balance between individual growth and sacrificial love. No society can be Christian without an equal distribution of both. Personal creativity without love becomes tyranny, love without creativity becomes static."
- Austin Pardue from his book "Create and Make New," First Edition 1952

Let's get it right.