Slide Show - Images (mostly) from The Illustrated History of Painting


Sunday, July 4, 2010

"I'd Buy Me a Brand New 'Peter' & Drive 'Til the Money Runs Out"

Two Posts in twice as many days. Why so expansive? Well, I've finally gotten started on a new body of work. So, like a drunk on his first drink, I'm feeling generous and philosophical.

Don't worry it won't last.

The post heading? You're wanting an explanation?

It's the punchline from an old long-haul trucker's insider-joke. Goes something like this -

Long-Haul Truck Driver to Another:

"What would I do if I won the lottery? Why I'd buy me a brand new 'Peter' (nickname for Peterbilt - the Rolls Royce of truck tractors) and drive 'til the money runs out."

What's this gag have to do with painters and painting, artists and art? By way of explanation I've included two photographs - one is an image of a tastefully appointed Peterbilt and the other is an image of my newest (and equally pristine) studio.

Both images perfectly incarnate the required infrastructure of imagined bliss. One, a trucker's wet dream, the other a painter's daytime reverie.

Both objects (studio/truck) are instruments imagined to have the inherant potential to engender professional bliss. Professional trucker, professional painter.

The joke contains the sub-textual information that trucking is a money losing proposition and the paradoxical declaration that despite that fact long-haul driving will be pursued until it can't be.

Long-practicing artists understand that art making - with its required space, materials and time - is, more often than not - measured over the long-haul - a money losing proposition. Artists have been known to pursue their practice until they can't.

Nothing romantic about the joke, trucking, or art-making. Plenty of paradox, aggravation and probable joy in both occupations.

Starting out as a young artist my imaginings about fame & money (I'm hardly embarrassed for having entertained callow ideation of that sort) ran not to standard-issue luxuries but to the kind of studio I'd be able to afford and where (somewhere physically beautiful, of course) it would be sited.

I still run financially lean - but, thanks to a wonderfully generous mate, who built me my latest home and studio at $5,000. over his cost, I've got my brand new 'Peter' and I'm gonna' drive 'til the money runs out................