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Omphaloskepsis Blog

Magical Reality: When Life Imitates Art.

Feb 10, 2014


Last month I shipped Nail Gun Accident to a patron near San Francisco. Today I spoke with the framer, answered some questions for her, after which she told me an extraordinary story about a man she had read about. The story she told recounted what happened. This man was working on his roof with his son. His son's nailgun got jammed. Feeling impatient with his son he was less cautious then usual and set about unjamming the gun while it was still powered and pointed towards himself. The gun unjammed, firing a nail into his heart. He knew he was in trouble. He knew not to dislodge the nail or else he would die quicker. So, he did what any sane man would do. He pulled out his pack of cigarettes so he could enjoy his last smoke while waiting for the ambulance. They revived him several times and evenually saved his life. The framer told me she got her story from Readers Digest. I couldn't find it there, I did find this, however. Could be the same man.


A friend of mine, and patron, recently sent me a link to an article he read. He couldn't help think of my paintings when he read it. It was about a man who climbed into a wood chipper to unjam the machinery. His co-worker didn't realize he was in the chipper when he turned it back on.

Axe Accident

I went to visit an art critic in the north east. He's a great supporter of my work, and I was going to be on the east coast with my family, so we scheduled in some time by the ocean and a couple of nights with him and his family on the lake. We had some conference calls set up to discuss a museum exhibit in South America which ultimately did not pan out. On the way to our hotel room on the beach that first night, we ran into a traffic detour. It seems a man had been stabbed in the back at the local hot dog stand. He was on the ground under a blanket and in a pool of blood.

A need so great and deep it can never be swallowed

A couple of days later we were safely ensconced at his family lakeside home happily making plans and preparing for our meeting when he got a call from his son's camp. His son had been facedown and not breathing in the camp pool earlier in the day. They don't know how long he had been like that but they revived him and thought him to be fine. My friend rushed his son to the emergency room and spent the night.


I participated in a painting Biennial in Ecuador where Shotgun Accident won 3rd prize and was acquired by the museum. Upon my arrival one of the particpants took me aside to tell me about the walk he went on late at night just prior to the exhibit opening but after the works had been selected. It was dark, and he tripped over something, only to discover it was a body that had met ill fate.


I started painting the water series in 2008 in New York. While I painted the first painting, taped to my wall in the family room, there was a leak in the ceiling of one of the upstairs bedrooms. I repaired the leak. Before the painting was complete, the laundry room flooded, destroying the 200 year old plaster ceiling in the living room. Being handy, I spent a good deal of time and neck strain fixing this myself (and doing quite a nice job of it, I must say).


I began a new water painting. A very ambitious painting. I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never. 6 feet by 8 feet. One morning I rose early to the sound of rain in the middle of winter. It was loud, slapping rain. This was curious, as I looked outisde and saw no precipitation except for the foot of snow that was already on the ground. As I made my way to the family room I could see where it was raining, inside the house. The entire ceiliing of the family room seemed to be like a storm cloud pouring down rain onto the wide plank hardwood floors. The gutters had backed up outside this room and ice dams had formed. The heat in the house was causing the ice to melt into the house.


The third water painting, Its all roar and cry and suck and snap, didn't reach completion until we moved to Seattle. We were sidetracked by our well head, which was buried, breaking, and flooding the basement. We had an artesian well, the water just gushed if we didn't use it, and it gushed right into the basement.


I moved into a fabulous art studio in Seattle and resumed my water paintings. As I was readying to leave for the day I heard a suspicious dripping sound. Upon investigation, I found water dripping onto my artwork laid out on the floor in the back of my studio. It was coming from the apartment above. I caught it right away and saved all the art.


On one of my early First Thursday Open Studios nights in Seattle, a soul walked glowing through my door. He was made of light, so bright I was unable to make out/recall facial features. As he passed by me I could see the threads in his clothes. I had never seen anything so fine before (or since), the cloth and the stitching were more exquisite than anything I could ever imagine.

Tags: philosophy
Category: Creativity
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