Reconstruction, Inc.

Ashes connects the dots perfectly.

What is amazing is that most liberals and democrats and republicans(dormant) still don't understand this. They are still in some state of "shock" that this administration wouldn't send enough troops, wouldn't have an exit strategy, wouldn't arm the troops they did send, would ignore osama bin laden altogether, would cover up every report of terror on the rise... and on and on... all the way back to: would turn their heads before the towers fell and ignore the warnings. All the way back to: would do anything they could to steal an election.

I guess people just don't understand yet. They can't imagine a world where you weren't trying to win the war you were fighting. It just goes against all reasoning, right? But...

Problem fixers need problems. When your business is Reconstruction, you need destruction. What's the best way to get all the destruction you want? Take over the biggest military force the world has ever known and use it to your liking. All you need then is the tiniest bit of public support (around 30%) easily obtained with one terrorist attack, a buttload of fear and a media outlet to spread it. And ta-da... Reconstruction, Inc.

They won't win this war, but they are not losing. Their goal is neither, and losing is for the rest of us. Let me be as clear as possible here. This administration is not trying to win anything.

Bush has said this war will not end on his watch (perhaps the only time he hasn't lied). Any cleanup will have to be done on the next administration's watch. And by then, Bush and all his cronies will be long gone like the Grinch on Christmas morning (except that we won't start singing and they won't have any change of heart). The recent bills being signed are all dedicated to covering their tracks. Pardons all around, boys...

And no... it's not just "over there". The news says a wall is suddenly imperative between mexico and the US. So they will build one. Levees were once needed in New Orleans, and Bush cut the funding just before the last levee (the one that broke) was finished. Just like 9-11, reports warned about the possible damage a hurricane could inflict. But they ignored those too. And now, as soon as all those pesky poor black people give up, Reconstruction, Inc. can start building the New Orleans they have planned, oil rigs and casinos abound. And then there's the threat of global warming... lots of unfortunate accidents that will need attending to...

As long as there is a threat, there is money to be made (irrespective of the legitimacy of said threat).



in tact in ruins

everything in tact/everything in ruins
oil and ink on canvas. 5x5'

This is the painting i just finished. The next in the "color by numbers" series i have been working with. First parts are here and here.

Some of what i was starting to think about can be read here too. The color by numbers part of the painting i took from the New York Times front page of Bush giving the first issues of the "Medal of Freedom" to George Tenet (the head of the CIA who helped forge the intelligence to go to war with Iraq), General Tommy Franks (who engineered the invasion and take over of Iraq) and Paul Bremer (CEO of the occupation of Iraq). So basically we have... the king, the liar, the pirate and the thief.

What I am seeing now is that, while it is important to have works that have so much going on, there is also room to have short stories to go with the novels. I tend to make each painting the painting that says it all... the big one. Whereas in this painting i can see now that i could just work with phrases rather than complete paragraphs. As seen in the detail photos below, each one of these could be its own painting, perhaps less verbose and more poetic in the end. (I have been thinking about this for awhile now, but it is so funny how the mind works. My initial thoughts were to just make the paintings smaller, but then i try to fill the small ones too!)

I would much rather leave room for the viewer/participant to enter and find a relationship to the work. Having space to breathe and be. This has been particularly tricky with the color by numbers because there is already so much line involved. This is why I am thinking about taking just fragments of the cbn image to start with. I knew this one would lean more toward the chaotic and obstructive, but felt that might work more to the concept, giving more of a sense of awkwardness and unsteadiness as well.

I wanted to include some detail images here too, as the small version of this painting really doesn't do it justice at all. These portions are giving me my new ideas on future possibilities.




Some people I meet, i just want to keep in a room somewhere so that i can visit them whenever i want. My favorites... my heroes and my inspriration.

I had just stepped off the plane in Edinburgh in 1999, the first time I met Alero Olympio. I had never been there, but i was going to stay for two months on a painting commission just before a residency in Italy. She had come to pick me up.

I had asked her before hand, "How will i know you when i get there?"

To which she replied, "You will... trust me."

And sure enough as i looked around the crowded baggage claim, i knew it was her. A black dot in a sea of white, with the biggest smile i had ever seen. We knew each other instantly.

Alero Olympio, a name just worthy enough for a face and a presence so seraphic. Eyes that knew everything about you from the moment you met. Some sense of joy just spilling from her. Beaming as if she knew all the secrets, and it was all going to be okay.

Alero came from Ghana to Scotland, an architect and a true artist. She made what she called "eco-mansions", or large housing projects that utilized the the local materials, in a way that was environmentally safe and efficient. She found a way to make her own bricks in Ghana without firing them, using a hydraulic press, and worked on making houses that were completely solar powered. And in many of her works she found a way to use dicarded materials, such as the leftover black cores from trees used to mill paper. All of this, spoken of with a passion.

Alero fought cancer for 6 years. When i met her she was recovering from the radiation treatment of a large tumor in her womb. A friend of mine the year earlier had dowsed her house with two copper rods to discover that she might be having some complications. She found the tumor soon after. The doctors inserted two rods into her and plugged her in to a machine that sent the radiation straight into the tumor for long periods of time, coming in to check on her wearing space suits for protection. And she survived.

I went off to the residency soon after where i painted a portrait of her from my head, her story and her being inspiring me. It would be one of the most important paintings i have ever done, painting in a new way ... realizing a new way of being in myself. In the painting she is holding two rods, to represent the dowsing/radiation rods, and she is standing between the cores of her discarded trees. She is backlit, casting her shadow back on to me, allowing me and inviting me to see my own shadow in her. She opens the door to a new place.

On my recent trip to the UK that i spoke of earlier, i stopped with my Uncle (who had introduced us) to say hi. I was very upset as we approached the house. The soft blue-green door said "healing" to me and comforted me slightly. No one answered. We left a note and went home to the US. Two days ago her partner sent us an email saying that Alero had passed away this past year.

I'm so sad and angry and hurt and i know its going to be okay but it's not right now. A light in my world has gone out and all i can do is tell the rest of the world about her, my way of holding on and letting go. I want to love everyone i meet to the fullest, and i want to stay in my house and not meet anyone. All the politicians i see on TV right now, i want to yell at them and tell them that i have figured out that there are people in this world that are worth 1000 of them, and no matter how many countries they bomb, or cities they flood, or towers they crash into they will never ever have what my friend had. Ever.

crying ... breathing...

Look how beautiful my friend was. Hear her words in this interview. That's all i want to say.

Well, that and.... good bye, Alero. You will always be in my room of favorite people.