Last winter, I had a lot of time — I picked up the fiddle, and I started this series of figures, simple, light gouche washes, and black ink. I liked the way it looks, clearer than painting I’m used to, and the style still pervades some of my work. The paper I still use, Rives BFK paper, is so tactile and comforting (although unforgiving if you need to erase).

yosefThe first piece came about in concert with me picking up the fiddle. I had been reading about the late violinist Josef Hassid, who was a child prodigy in the 1930’s. He only made nine recorded pieces, played for the Queen at 15, and suffered a memory lapse mid-performance. At 18, he underwent a complete mental breakdown, and spent time in and out of the asylum until he died resulting from a lobotomy at the age of 26. Being 26 last winter, I had to make some parables. I was listening to a lot of violin music while drawing this semi-self/josef portrait, Paganini, Bach, Schubert, Andrew Bird, as well as a lot of Handsome Family, hence the blackbird whispering “goodbye”.

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Looking back at artwork, you can start to tell why you made it, because you don’t really know when you are in the act of making it, at least I don’t! This one also is tied to aging. Beyond that, I just like the image, and the “equation of insignificance” I call it.

Life = x/∞

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This became what mark-making can often become, meditation. An exercise in detail, but keeping it simple, keeping my mind occupied and body warm. Music also influenced this work. Listening to the Frames more than humanly possible for the week of painting this.

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