free (and worth it) subscription

An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak

Weak XIX


7 May 2023

gratuitous image

No. 4,254 (cartoon)

I’m going through a difficult time.

Since you left the hospital?

No, since I was born.

8 May 2023

All Done

Bruce Eric Kaplan makes excellent one-panel cartoons, and one of his most recent ones was even excellenter than most. The premise was in the title: “Finally, everyone had taken a picture of everything.” (I’m not going to reproduce it here since I don’t want to chat with lawyers from The New Yorker, but it should be easy to find with a modicum of Internet sleuthing.)

That’s a good comic but not quite a joke. The last time I checked, people around the world were making some three million photographs every second; I’d wager it’s probably way more than that now.

As a visual artist, I find that liberating. There’s no reason to make another photograph that conveys the message that a mountain is majestic or a woman is beautiful; it’s all been done before. As Salvador Dali concluded, “The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.”

Right now I’m looking at hundreds of hypodermic needles. I have no idea what I’ll do with them visually, but I’d guess the resulting image won’t look like most of the other photos of dozens of syringes that come to mind.

I don’t worry about originality; that’s just a distraction. Karl Valentin hit the conceptual nail on the head when he wrote, “It’s all been said already, though not yet by me.”

9 May 2023

gratuitous image

Athletics Foam Finger Prosthesis (Diptych)

One day when I was a boy playing on my cousin’s farm we had a little accident: he smashed my index finger with a sledgehammer. After the mishap I glanced at my right hand and saw ketchup and porridge where my finger used to be; it’s one of those country life things.

(For reasons too numerous to mention, that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. That’s not exactly true; buy me a drink and I’ll tell you the seven-minute story that’s too long for a guy with nine fingers to transcribe.)

Anyhoohow, I found an abandoned oversized foam hand on the subway that supporters of the Oakland Athletics baseball club use to point to the scoreboard and call attention to how poorly their team is doing. I photographed my hand with and without it to create Athletics Foam Finger Prosthesis (Diptych).

The prosthesis was not a good fit for me, figuratively or literally. I could explain how my amputated finger reaches places other fingers can’t, but I’m too modest to do so.

10 May 2023

Seven Thousand Dollars for Velveeta Skin

Nikon announced a new camera today. It has some really swell specs as one would expect from a camera that costs four thousand dollars. It also has one feature that I find baffling: “skin softening.”

Let’s see if I have this straight. After spending that much for a camera body, you pop on your super-ultra-megasharp three-thousand-dollar lens to make a portrait, then run the resulting photo through a filter that gives human skin the texture of melted industrial cheese and makes the subject look like a mannequin that’s been sanded, waxed, and polished.

That’s progress!

As James Thurber said, “Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.”

11 May 2023

Aristotelian Logic

There’s no better place to cogitate meditatively and meditate cogitatively than on a white porcelain chair. That’s why all of my friends have a least one.

I was sitting on such a comfy seat this morning when I reflected on Aristotle’s observation, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Using Aristotelian logic, I concluded that savoring my excellence was a great way to start the day.

12 May 2023

Minimizing Minimalism

Imelda didn’t like the recent work I showed her.

“Still milking that minimalist junk?” she asked. “How’s that working out for you?”

“It’s going great!” I replied. “I’m doing less and less of it all the time.”

“Don’t go wagging your oily kimchi elbows at me,” she chided.

Having minimized minimalism, we were on to Dada!

13 May 2023

Every Liar’s Opening Line

I was cycling through the outskirts of Santa Fe when my bike started making an alarming kerthompa-kerchunka sound, so I popped into the first bike shop I could find and asked the mechanic to have a look.

She hoisted it on the stand, spun through the gears a couple of times, sighed, then let out a long, low whistle.

“Look, I’m not going to lie to you,” she began.

“You can stop right there,” I interrupted. “I don’t have any money on me so I’ll have to come back later.”

There won’t be a “later,” since “I’m not going to lie to you” is every liar’s opening line.

14 May 2023

Parallel Universes

Nora’s one of my friends who’s so much smarter than me that she may as well be in a parallel universe. Coincidentally, that’s what we talked about after dinner tonight.

It wasn’t much of a conversation: she spoke in science; I resorted to philosophy. I told her that I neither believed nor disbelieved in the supernatural, extraterrestrial life, or anything for else for which there was no empirical evidence. She tried to explain the proof for parallel universes, but she may as well have been speaking in Chemehuevi.

I gracefully(?) segued to talking about the psychoactive properties of the Sonoran Desert toad after throwing her a bone. I admitted that there may be parallel universes, but that I was most unlikely to run into one in my lifetime.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


Last Weak  |  Index  |  Next Weak
©2023 David Glenn Rinehart

nothing nothing nothing nothing