FILE UNDER: yeah this site is comin’ at ya, straight from the heart of an artist . . . sorry dude.
(if you want it all to be about – you.)
. . . I guess I’ve been seeing a lot of drawing that reminds me of my own . . .
plus the fact that so much of it was based on my study of Japan’s cultural history . . . there and back.
through the looking glass . . . whatever. Japan, oh yeah.
I dunno maybe it was because there was so much witchcraft and goblins, not to mention introspective women.
that I found so much relevance. the Edo Period woodblocks also are what got me into a lot of comic world art.
step up, decades.
to the recent RIRKRIT TIRAVANIJA show – ‘FEAR EATS THE SOUL’ – which had no drawings – go figure. of course this made me want to slap up mine – next to the those 10 ft. high letters. just as big and black, just as much a part of that white box gallery breakdown as those gorgeous gangly hand-wrought line drawing spray paint letters. FEAR.
it woulda been a totally – presentient – homage to Japan . . . or what.
scary presentient and obviously way ahead of its time – cause it had no chance of ever happening, except in my dreams. funny how: in your dreams dude, is a kind of fuck-off get-lost, write-off, isn’t it.
BUT: then I just realized – oh yeah, one of those drawings had actually made onto a gallery wall in NYC . . . and coincidence. coincidence. it was a wall that Gavin Brown also oversaw – as well. though, of course I had to put it there, myself. and it was kinda like walking thru fire. FEAR EATS THE SOUL, even then.
back up just about 2 decades.
the Lower East Side – Rivington School – when it really was. in the late 80s, early 90s.
it was DAN ASHER who told me GAVIN BROWN was doing something radical at his gallery time-share of 303 – back when it was on Greene St. in Soho. (and what a break-up that must have been. Lisa Spellman and Gavin Brown, the daggers still hang from the clouds – it was before my time as a gallery observer proper, so I can’t really tell you anymore than what is the obvious.)
anyway: it was radical – an open gallery – anybody could go put something up on the walls. like street art – except gallery art, breaking down the white box. so I went with my stencil, and put this black line Sharpie drawing up on the wall – about 2 ft. high. It was 1992, and the show was called: ‘Writing on the Wall’ – maybe the first time writing was referenced to art – on walls – not sure. but could be. it was an early use of stencil – for sure. never saw it used before – but it seemed the only recourse to transferring my drawing – without projecting it.
NANCY SMITH, ink sketch – for stencil. ‘WRITING ON THE WALL’, CURATED BY GAVIN BROWN.
303 GALLERY, SOHO. 1992.
actual image 2 ft. high. black marker. directly on wall.
underneath it I wrote in script: ‘torn by the desire to paint’ . . . as in forever torn by the creative force – from ever being capable of being normal. oh yeah. that’s me. in a nutshell . . .
I had Theo with me – he was a toddler in a stroller. I remember being struck by fear – when I went in to put it up. I may as well have been tagging the Empire State building. no one else was there except Gavin and he said: what do you want ? and gave me the evil eye. big time. the walls were mostly empty – word of the show hadn’t hit the street, yet.
I dunno why, but there is something eternally dorky bout me – and outsiderish that I just can’t seem to shake . . . unlike some people who land beautiful and fit in . . . but are inwardly insecure and anxious. I landed completely fearless and secure in my vision – but for some completely baffling reason, this manifests a dorky exterior. don’t ask me why. and Gavin would not cut me any slack.
people tell me that’s just how he plays the game – but I’m not so sure.
I have seen him pour on the charm when he wants to. I guess they have to ration it . . . so as not to burn out ?
at any rate. completely terrified, under my breath, I’m: fuck you – it’s an open call. I’m putting up my ‘writing’, and I did. caught between a rock and a hard place. as ever. caught between vision and acceptance. caught between powerful inner forces and no outward acceptance. but mostly caught between absolute awe for his having had the idea and abject humilation that I didn’t make even – the ‘open’ – cut. what a loser.
tell me about being driven by the desire to paint, again. say what ?
may as well face a firing squad.
and he never a said another word to me. even when I came to the opening a week or so, later . . .
I entered just when someone, I guess one of his best buds – shot off a BB Gun, or was it a paint gun – were there such things back then, full of red paint. I felt one with the red blast. oh yeah.
but when the show went down, there was only one image that had not been scribbled over with other people’s shit – once word spread – that it was open – it got busted wide open. and that was mine.
end of story. funny how it’s so true what they say: no matter how much things change, they remain the same.
in my notes from the time, I see I wrote a quote from RICKI LEE JONES – something like: “but I know that the world you make – inside your head, is the one you see – all around you . . . ”
once a loser, always a loser . . . but pretty scary – right on, or what. just nobody knows it.
guess that’s why – I was born to ‘blog’.
otherwise I’d just be another Kiki Smith, Elizabeth Peyton. you name it.
I, Nancy Smith – giving new meaning to the term: late bloomer. loser.
indie all the way. when I die I’ll be up there with my soul bro, Mark Enger, laughing down at ya’ll – for missing the boat-ride of your lifetime, or what.
or, maybe this is the boat-ride. the web-taxi. the writing on the wall-less lawless web aka the ‘social’ media – the hive, the wall-less gallery up in the sky . . . existing solely on air waves – powered by an aggregate populist brain wave. yet which archives, for ev-ah !! a tribute contrarianism – if I ever did see one.
yin yang. the energy of opposing forces at the heart of it all, since the beginning.
the beauty of binary patterns. reproduction code.
hey. but I can follow a web ‘thread’ or what. love how that unknown, unmarked silence – just opens up like a ship’s hull – slicing through a water.
as long as the motherlode server system is up . . . and running.
DEDICATED TO: JAPAN, APRIL 2011 – NOW OFFICIALLY CLASSIFIED AS A No. 7 – THE MAX – NUCLEAR CATASTROPHE, oh, yeah / may be I should call that drawing, after the fact: what the hell . . . just happened.
SAY WHAT ? TORN BY THE DESIRE TO PAINT, . . . what about – to live !!