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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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20 November 2021

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No. 8,958 (cartoon)

I’m trapped.

Death is liberating.

21 November 2021

The Zebra Question

Are zebras black critters with white stripes or white jungle hosses with black stripes?

“Now hold on there just a cotton-pickin’ minute there cowboy,” I hear someone say. “Are you talking about your plains zebra (Equus quagga née Equus burchellii), your Grévy’s zebra (Equus grevyi), or your basic mountain zebra (Equus zebra)?

The person who said that was one of my fictitious characters here, so I won’t reply. Even better, I shan’t dilly-dally or shilly-shally, and shall punctually answer the question without padding or procrastination.

Zebras are black with white stripes.

22 November 2021

Two-Dimensional Dogs Are Best

Nell told me she made the big mistake of telling some guy she met on the way over here that he had a handsome dog. I thought that was polite small talk, but once again no good deed goes unpunished.

He asked her to ignore the mutt, told her she ain’t seen nothin’ yet, then proceeded to show her video after video of the dog doing stupid tricks. She only escaped by feigning a bladder emergency.

I wasn’t surprised that the stranger she met found the idealized idea of having a dog preferable to following a drooling, defecating beast around the park. After all, illusions are often preferable to realities.

23 November 2021

The Only Audience That Matters

“What’s the difference between one person and a million liking your work?” That’s the question Tracy asked when we were talking about how some people—not either of us, of course—were fixated on audience and popularity.

One difference is money, but only if someone is trying to monetize her or his work. But since art is art and monetizing art is business, that’s irrelevant to me. Larger audiences might also provide ego gratification, but making art to assuage insecurities isn’t art, it’s therapy, and schlocky therapy at that.

John Cage knew art was art: I’ve always liked one of his observations. “Whenever I’ve found that what I’m doing has become pleasing, even to one person, I have redoubled my efforts to find the next step.”

I’m the only audience that matters for my work. I say this both jokingly and seriously: being a legend in my own mind has served me well.

24 November 2021

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Golden Gate Bridge Suspension Cables (Triptych)

I rarely see something worth photographing while traveling; that made last Friday a rare day. I was cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge when I saw that some Christo wannabes had wrapped parts of the guard rail in shiny white plastic. Since they did all the hard work, all I had to do was pull out my serious camera and photograph the cables suspending the bridge above the bay.

Another rarity: I was tempted to show these in color. Imogen talked me out of it when she pointed out that the bright cables look like red licorice. (I thought that was funny since the official color of the bridge is “international orange.” I know I’m a chromophobe, but it sure looks bright rusty red to me.)

I thought that this was a rare case of, “first idea best thought.” If Golden Gate Bridge Suspension Cables (Triptych) looks like black licorice to anyone that’s not my problem.

25 November 2021

Thanksgiving Bounty

Ah, it’s Thanksgiving, the day when we celebrate those wonderful days long ago when the Native Americans and the English colonizers feasted together in peace and gave thanks for their common bounty.

Nah, I was just pulling your leg: the bounty was for the Indians’ scalps.

Massachusetts Bay lieutenant governor Spencer Phips ordered, “his Majesty’s Subjects of this Province to Embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing, and Destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians.” Bounty hunters not only got paid well in cash for the men, women, and children they killed, they also got their land. I wonder if places like Shirley, Massachusetts, and Westbrook, Maine have human scalps on their city seals?

Those dark days are past, and today Americans kill minorities with no financial support from the government.

[Insert pithy conclusion here.]


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©2021 David Glenn Rinehart

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