Hat Trick   (2015Mar01)


Sunday, March 01, 2015                                  3:50 PM

I almost had it on the twenty-seventh, last week—blogging and/or posting an original poem, an original drawing, and an original piano music video—but I had trouble trying to scan my drawing with the three-way printer/scan/faxer, which led to me destroying the internet connection to the router, which led to me crawling back into bed and watching TV for hours. By the time I’d created an illustrated-poem graphic, I just didn’t have the juice to sit down at the piano. So, just a poem and a drawing—though I shouldn’t complain—they were both well-received.

Today, I made sure I sat down for a quick keyboard recital, before I started working on all the technical stuff. Typing up a poem; sketching out a picture; tickling the ivories a bit—not that big a deal. But then try scanning, photo-shopping, text formatting, file-transferring, audio-editing, video-editing, and uploading it all—there’s where the hard work comes in.

Anyway, to content—to call today’s offering a mixed-bag is an understatement. Firstly—I was lying in bed last night and looked over at the t-shirt that I’d used to block the power-LED on the TV (otherwise the bright blue light is right in my eyes as I try to go to sleep). It looked just like the head of a cow or a moose—some sort of beast’s head. So I grabbed my trusty sketch-pad and drew what I saw. As you can see from the side-by-side comparison of a photo of the t-shirt and my drawing, the t-shirt still looks more like an animal’s head than my drawing does. (Hey, I never said I was Rembrandt).

20150301XD-OrigDrawing_Bovine_AND_TShirt

Secondly, I was hand-rolling my cigarettes this morning when the phrase ‘there’s nothing to it but to do it’ came into my head and started re-arranging itself. Pretty soon I had a whole stanza in my head and I had to rush through my tobacco-rolling to get to the keyboard—by which time my head had come up with a second stanza but was in danger of dumping the whole thing out of short-term memory. When I think of a poem, I literally have to run to the keyboard to type it in before it fades away—that’s how leaky my short-term memory is. Most of my essays, half-written in my head before I get to the computer, and my better improvs, singing in my head while I rush to set up the camera by the piano, are all the same story.

Interesting ideas come and go out of memory like flitting shadows—the trick is to get to a working medium in time for the good ones, while not exhausting myself by trying to capture every stray idea that blows through town. As you may have noticed, I’m not one of those planner-type artists—I don’t write voluminous novels, room-filling frescoes, or complete musical compositions. I just try to chase after the scraps of ideas that stumble into my broken brain, and catch them with my shaky fingers. The large-scale mind-palace that allows long-term project-planning (and once made me a sick programmer) is now just a memory. And, like all my memories, a vague one.

Back to content—so the poem happened to end with “I think I hit a fairy with my car.” Dramatic? Yes, but unsatisfying. So I wrote some more verse in front of the first-draft, some more verse after, and ended up with a politically themed poem, which was not my intention. Still, when writing, especially poetry, sometimes you tell it, sometimes it tells you. It’s hard enough to write a poem without trying to make it walk a straight line, too.

20150301XD-OrigDrawing_GOPFairy(2)_wPoem

And, thirdly, I have a brief musical interlude for today—a cover of the old classic, “That’s My Desire”, in which I do my best Vic Damone impression, and a squirrelly, little improv, for your delectation, dear reader/listener/viewer. I hope at least one of these hot messes provides someone with a moment’s pleasure today.

 

 

Finally, I’m adding my recent drawings to look at, which I finally got scans of, thanks to sneaker-net (my son repaired the internet connection, but the printer still isn’t ‘sharing’ like it’s supposed to). Here they are (click on the images to see them full-sized):

20150301XD-OrigDrawing_BovineTShirt(3)

 

20150301XD-OrigDrawing_GOPFairy(2)

20150227XD-HumltyIsFatal(SCAN)

Drawings on Request


Saturday, November 09, 2013             7:15 PM

_*+*_X P E R _*+*_ D U N N _*+*_*+*_X P E R _*+*_ D U N N _*+*__*+*_X P E R _*+*_ D U N N _*+*_*+*_X P E R _*+*_

Start of commercial announcement:

Artistic Drawings on Request – 15 Bucks Each

 

(No Payment until Fully Satisfied – Free Gift with Purchase)

The world-renowned artiste, Xper. Dunn,

is open to all comers

 

Your drawing may be something specifically commissioned—

-OR

You may say, “Surprise me.” –in which case a suitable drawing will be committed at the draughtsman’s discretion.

 

Either way, it’s still only $15—

Don’t miss this limited time offer !

email now: xperdunn@optonline.net

 

{And tell your friends.}

:End of commercial announcement

_*+*_X P E R _*+*_ D U N N _*+*_*+*_X P E R _*+*_ D U N N _*+*__*+*_X P E R _*+*_ D U N N _*+*_*+*_X P E R _*+*_

The above is a potential posting to generate revenue.

I liked ‘five bucks each’ because that was my first sidewalk art festival price, back when I was fourteen, in Bedford Hills, 1970. But it presents a conundrum –packing and shipping are gonna run me darn near $5—and that’s only domestic—my international friends may be loss-leaders—no, not may, they’ll definitely go over $5. So I should make it $10—that way I’d end up with about five bucks net apiece.

So, now my whole idea is screwed—if I have to charge over five bucks, the question becomes, ‘What are my drawings worth to the average consumer?’ the answer to which is, ‘Nothing, if not sentiment or curiosity’—which begs the question, ‘How would ten bucks, paid by a FB friend, be any different from pan-handling?’ Having reached that cul-de-sac, I’m forced to ask myself if I really believe my drawings are worth money?

I never really have. They’ve always seemed both more and less than any price—something I did for people, as a favor or a gift. But I want to build some kind of mental scaffolding that will make the drawings seem worth the effort, outside of my own ambitions (which I long ago fulfilled—as anyone who has found happiness in life can say) thus I’m left with the problem of how much would be a seeming pittance for my hoped-for customers and still pay its own freight, as it were.

Ten dollars is the best figure from that point of view—but there’s a funny thing you learn in advertising—if you only charge a fraction of what the thing usually sells for, no one will buy it because they’ll assume it’s no good! This actually happened to me once, when I created a marketing-demographic-by-zip-code program for back-end analysis (go ahead, make your jokes). At the time, inferior programs from specialty companies went for $15,000 to $30,000 a pop. We offered ours at $500 and no one bought it. We persuaded a client to do parallel mailings, to match us against the two top alternative products—and the results showed that our product worked better. And even with that proof included in our sales pitch to clients, they still stayed away in droves. We raised the price to $5,000 and people started buying it—sweardagod.

So, now the question becomes, ‘If I’m asking ten bucks for a decent work of art, aren’t I kind of guaranteeing that only the pitying will buy it?’ I mean, where’s my sense of self-worth? I almost have to ask more than ten bucks, or I’d be insulting myself, in public, for no good reason. So what, twenty, twenty-five?

Yeah, but then it’s no longer a pittance. If I still had a steady hand, I’d offer to do portraits—but I found likenesses difficult enough when I was in full health—trying to do them now would most likely result in a caricature—and few people appreciate having to pay to be insulted.

Which reminds me—I need to somehow say that I don’t do requests in the specific sense, only in subject matter—again, I’d need better physical self-control to realize someone else’s visions on paper. But I can do landscapes, or a picture from tales or myths, general stuff—the more general the better. And heck, why commission a picture when it’s something you can already see in your mind, anyhow?

So, that settles that, ten bucks it is. I’m not going to be pushed around by control freaks who want me to draw their pictures instead of mine. Wow, I’m starting to remember why I stopped drawing—it’s not the work so much as the worry. Better make it $15.

Okay, my fellow bloggers and bloggettes, any comments, criticisms, suggestions, warnings—all are gratefully welcomed—please help me design a nice little poster for me to post. Some sample drawings are included below for your perusal.

Monkeys On The Bed:

Snowmen Finger Puppets:

Bird In Sky:

The Magic Kite-Tail:

Pumpkin Carving:

Tree-Dragon:

Nightmare:

Flower:

Rhino-Forte:

The Day The Planets Came Home:

 

 

Artwork for Annual Pig Roast (2013Jul27)


Long ago, in a decade far, far away, my friend Randy owned a big spread up in the Vermont hills–a beautiful idyll with meadows and wood-trails and ponds and streams. Randy made his own pond (and stocked it) but still, he had a pond. On one visit, I designed and built a footbridge over his stream–my one and only engineering project.

rough sketch 1 for Directions Map

I was already losing focus, losing fine motor control in my drawings, and suffering from chronic fatigue, etc. So I would make short visits up there to build bridges and draw flyers, but then I went home and only heard about the huge galas that followed my visits. Randy described one gathering where my footbridge was the access to all the big tents and lean-tos. The bridge was such a big hit that someone eventually drove a car over it. To their surprise, the bridge was unfazed by an automobiles weight. Soon they were all driving back and forth over the bridge–until some wiseguy decided to ‘push the envelope’ and drive a big pick-up across. My bridge was fazed, and no one would ever again build a usable bridge over that stream.

rough sketch 2 for Directions Map

The Annual Pig Roasts were huge affairs. The police citations from previous fests were nailed up on a wall of honor–no party ever got cited less than three times. It was a three-day event–people would caravan in with huge RVs, tent cities, and a host of less-easily described people and living quarters. But the only way to get all those people together was to send out invitations–which was where I came in. The first flyer had a sort of ‘last supper’ drawing of a bunch of cartoon pigs seated at a long table, drinking and eating–the best drawing of all but, unfortunately, one for which I have lost all the art and flyers.

The next year, I would be unable to draw as well, and Randy had to settle for two pigs toasting with beer mugs. The year after that, Randy had to settle for re-using the same art, and just updating the words. This was one of the hardest periods for me–I was becoming a shell of my former self and still believed that I just wasn’t getting enough rest–and it hurt me to have to say ‘no’ when people asked me to draw–they couldn’t understand that my ability had simply dried up and blown away, and neither could I.

If you’ve never drawn a map of directions to a party, be advised that it isn’t as easy as it looks–fortunately (from my POV at that time) a map done properly once need never be drawn again.

final drawing for Directions Map:

There were early sessions between Randy and I as he explained what he wanted the picture to look like…

early sketch 1 ‘party pig’

…and I drew rough sketches to see if we were talking about the same thing.

After fixing upon the figures, we then discussed the ‘scene’:

rough sketch – left-side ‘toasting pig’:

rough sketch – left-side ‘toasting pig’:

toasting pigs

final art

Randy was very kind, always offering to put me and Claire and kids in his House (which he designed and built himself!–the only permanent structure with utilities and running water). Alas, we were raising young kids and I was falling apart inside, so we never did get to see the roasts. (I had been to the very first one, but had spent the two days in bed, sick and exhausted.) Still, they were wonders of the art of hospitality and it’s a shame Randy doesn’t live there any more.

randy’s Invite & Thank You:

Randy has been writing poetry lately, under the URL cloudfactor5.wordpress, and very good poetry, IMHO. You can judge for yourselves at:   cloudfactor5

more art to come…..