Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cuts from the Killing Floor

You might be wondering--what’s going on here—in terms of the artwork? This might help. I’ve been showing you work from two very distinct periods. I started the blog with some of Scot’s last work. He was very protective of this stuff. This work is something else. Personal. Anyone who ever saw it, loved it, and encouraged Scot to somehow show it, but he never did. He made his last great body of work a personal healing statement.

In 1992, our son was born. Scot had just gotten his Master’s of Interdisciplinary Art from San Francisco State University. Scot came into that department at the same time as Francis Ford Coppola’s brother came in as the new Chair of the Creative Arts Department. I think if you’ll check that out, you find that was an exciting time for SF State.

OK, so from the moment James was born, Scot’s work was transformed. In graduate school, he'd spent years on a series of sepia etchings. You’ll see these etchings before we are through, but in a word, they were—darker. Elegant. If the little etchings we were doing for the art fairs were $40 bills, these were $10,000 bills, but—darker.

When our kid was born, Scot was reborn. Everything inside him that was innocent and sweet--sprang forth. He was all about color and simplicity and connection with the brightness of being made eternal--via parenthood. We'd started doing the art fairs around the same time James was born. There was this window of time during the 1990's when people were sunny--pushing their strollers along art fair row. We all connected out there in this really sweet undertaking.

AD (After Diagnosis 9-03), Scot adopted this last style. It was full of all that he was experiencing--right down to the brains and acupuncture needles--his mood harkening back to the $10,000 bill sepia etchings--but fundamentally transformed by the depth of that innocence and sweetness. Today’s piece is a ballpoint pen drawing, done on typing paper (imported as a PDF). As I told you before, he did these drawings by the ream. I don't think this drawing ever got a color digital treatment.

Musical notes - a la Basement Collaboration - on this track we hear the rock and roll demeanor of Mike Stiglitz (lead vocals and guitar), previously mentioned on the blog (Got Me So Blind 2/09). I once had the chance to talk to Graham Nash on the phone. At the time, I was director of the Northern California field office of The Christic Institute. I’ll let you Google that to save time. Graham Nash and all of Crosby, Stills and Nash and Young, were supporters of the Institute. One day I picked up the phone, and there was Graham Nash. What a kick! Mike’s voice reminds me of Graham’s, and he looks a little like him too. This is a striped down track, but so pure. For the record, the BC is doing their back-up thing: Jerry Farnsworth on guitar, Kenny Wright on drums and Scot Halpin on bass.


tim mcfate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim mcfate said...

sorry i had some spelling issues:
this drawing reminds me of some of scots first works. after high school scot stayed in muscatine for the first year. he had been completely energized by skip , his art teacher, and had started doing these large airbrush paintings of sort of bulbous clown people. he also started doing drawings in the same style. when i look back i see the influence of skip more and more. at the time it was hard to think of scot or myself being influenced by anyone because we were so enamored with ourselves and this journey that presented itself to us but later in our lives, seeing scots huge library of art books i saw how curious and thirsty he was for the work of others and how it energized his palette.
it was the late summer of 1973 when we arrived in berkley with a 62 vw bug. we were there to hawk our portfolios. mine was fairly pitiful , looking back , but scot had these new drawings. they weren't political but they were topical enough that folks could read into them a worldliness that made them seem important. we went to the bay guardian office and showed them to the staff there. that day they gave scot a job illustrating a story for the paper. i dont know if that story could still happen today. the point is that scot pursued that style for the rest of his life. it became him and i would say is one of the strongest and most recognizable styles in the art world. i think, and it is only my opinion, right there with picasso.

Robin Halpin Young said...

Tim, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I agree. Thank you for all the detail and all the stories I can't tell.