Ahoy Matey, and Welcome to REPTIRE, an intermittent ‘ship’s blog’, chronicling the slow rise in the South Easterly skies of Reptire Designs; a studio that designs and crafts always artful, and sometimes useful THINGAMABOBS from old Indian Cucachou, aka ReTired Rubber.

Down Below, Ye shall find a permanent 'flagship post' marking the Maiden Voyage of Reptire Designs.

And below that, in the ‘hull’, can be found more recent posts chronicling the daring new adventures of Reptire Designs, dashed with small bits of whimsy, spotted pickerel, local color, and lizard lore..

In fact, on the right, in pale purple, ye shall find the Captain's Log’s Table of Previous Posts, which ye can peruse by year, month, and title to ye hearts content.

If ye haven't gotchyer sea legs yet, My Pretty, Ye can take a gander at our website at www.reptiredesigns.com, to get a proper Landlubber's Introduction.

Thanks for stopping in, I do hope you enjoy your visit aboard this ship! HARHARHARHAR.......

Sincerely, Travius Von Cohnifus

Captain, Founder, Indentured Servant, Rubber Alligator Wrestlor Extraordinaire a' this here ship.

enter the treadknot

On September 26th, 2006, I launched my tire art/design business, Reptire Designs, with a solo exhibition of my artwork in The Green Gallery at The Scrap Exchange Center for Creative Reuse, in Durham, NC. For many reasons, it was a night that I will always remember, and I am grateful to Laxmi (my girlfriend at the time) and Edie (my mother, still) for dutifully documenting while I shmoozed, so that I may now shmare a taste of the evening with anyone who was not able to attend...

On a cool but lively autumn night-before-Center Fest, a stream of friends and curious strangers trickled (like pebbles through a rain stick) through the forest of odds and ends (that roost at night in The Scrap Exchange), out into the warm light of the back savanna, a scene utterly glopped with bizarre rubbery hybrids. Tentative and curious, the visitors craned their necks, nibbled, pecked, stood back, moved in closer. From the walls, glassy mirror eyes gazed back through black unblinking eyelids, while beneath the visitor's feet, in a steamy drainage cistern, a mortal drama unfolded. Primordial forms, with no eyes at all, sat puckered on stoops. A cascade of glittering steal droplets formed a curtain, to which clung a colony of tiny tire knotlettes.

Vito D., a long-time collabator down from the Asheville area, caressed the warming air with his Strange Little Folk music. I bobbed and I flit, and at an increasing clip-someone must have opened the faucet a bit....for soon I was swooning, I just about lost it! As the evening progressed, to my delight and amazement, 'family' from Durham, Chapel Hill, Pittsboro, Hillsboro, Siler City, Asheville, and Fresno all made it! From the Cohn Clan to the Steudel Clan to the CFS Clan; from the WWC Clan to the Duke Ac Pub Clan to the SAF Clan; from the Bike Shop Clan to the Ninth St. Clan to the Scrap Clan... and every one in between, guys, they were all appearing before my stunned, blinking eyes. While I spun and I splayed, Vito now played-CHURNED- up a torrent of gritty ditties; while a staff volunteer (Brandon's a photographer, I swear) whipped up pitchers of Mango Lassies. And The 'Scrap Exchange girls' worked the door, the counter, and the floor, going "cha-CHING!", cha-CHING!","cha-CHING!".!.

By the end of the night, hundreds of friends, acquaintances and had-been-strangers had poured in, poured over the work, and partaken in, what was for me and my art, a monumental communal feast. And on top of it all, I got to place many of my preemies in hands that I love and trust, and in several instances, hands that fit them like gloves. What a privilage to be able to connect with people this way. Heading into the turbid seas of small business, I can confidently say that if I drown tomorrow, I am at least blessed today with the memory of (as Vito later put it) one authentically good Durham night.

Thanks to all of you who were there; in body and/or spirit.

Reclaimed-wood Builder and Reptire Collector Howard Staab enjoying magwi knot at the Scrap Exchange

Reclaimed-wood Builder and Reptire Collector Howard Staab enjoying magwi knot at the Scrap Exchange
I can't think of anything more rewarding for an artist than to see someone interacting with their artwork. Photo by Laxmi Haynes

Sammy and Dannette contemplate

Sammy and Dannette contemplate
Photograph by Laxmi Haynes

Cascade Colony of Knotlets

Cascade Colony of Knotlets
They would go with your jacket, would they not Claire?

Laxmi Resplendent

Laxmi Resplendent

Mavis In The Mist

Mavis In The Mist
Photograph by Laxmi Haynes

Tire Amazement

Tire Amazement
Photograph by Edie Cohn

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When Tires Attack!


In order to get ready for some big shows coming up, which I need to describe SOON!, I have set aside Tire Thursdays to work on Reptire Art. At the pace I am going, it looks I'll need to make the Tire Fridays as well. But that means a lot more other work the other days.

This past Thursday, I got to work on a special project, though indeed it was not preparing for the events I should be preparing for, but instead, an event that comes around every year that I like to participate in, and would like to bring more of my tire art into.
That is the Haw River Festival, which my mother and sister have been involved with for many years, and for which I have been getting more involved with since I've moved out this way, and have been painting faces at for the past 2 years, and plan to again this year.

But here was a special oppurtunity. My girl down at the Haw River Assembaly, Lady Germane James recently gave me a yoohoo that at recent clean up, which I had missed, they had recovered several tires that I might be interested.  I recently approached Germane about a project I have in mind to convert some Haw River tires into planters, as a fundraiser for them. So we thought this 'harvest could be a good dry run.

So the other day, I swung by the old Bynum Bridge, where Lady J had informed me they were waiting, en route to the dump, and packed a few choice blubbery lugs into the back seat, and took them home to meet the parents.

So, of these that I harvested were two good old biased tires, still on the rim, which should be perfect for some 'Haw River Petina Planters', and two biased Truck tires off the rim, oldies but goodies, though each in pretty rough shape. (The bigger of the two actually had its side walls cut out, strange, I wonder why..(fortunately, they hadn't butchered him too bad..)

I decided to start with the smaller of the two, to tie her into a treadknot. Once I had removed her battered side walls, I discovered that the tread width to circumfrence ratio was not quite what it needed to be. So I had make a change in plans, and narrow her width.

The solution I chose was to actually remove one edge of her tread. And to do this, I followed the jagged line of her tread (She is actually an old trailer tire! which I had never yet encountered). This edge treatment a) would help her to become a planter, as one side would then be open, creating the top, and the other closed, creating the bottom. b) additionally, cutting along this jagged line would create a rhythm along that line, that I thought would be interesting....so I went for it, this was to be an experiment.

Along the way, I discovered a few suprises... a the two plies of the tire had seperated in several places, something that I had never encountered before. I don't know what caused this, was it a defect in the tire, or just age, or both? I wonder. So that was strange enough..

But then, I discovered that this dirty old tire, bore another blessing within--- it seemed that, while sitting on what ever river bank it was on, a colony of small black ants had decided this thing was their Super Dome / Omni Plex, and had built their kingdom right between these two seperated plies, which I discovered when they began to pour out of a hole in the tread's face.....in a rage.

Of the various tires I have tied into knots, I could tell that this was to be a unique tying experience...

Well, I'm sorry to say that this was sort of a massacre. I did not mean for it to be, but in the course of me rotating the tire around on the table, and they pouring out onto the surface of the tire, to defend it, many many of them were slain. I only got one bite on the elbow, from a very brave little ant, thank mostly to the cow her gave her hide to make my gloves...

But when it was all said and done, I think the knot came out looking very nice. I think that the scalloped edge gives it a little bit of an ...alligatory feel...what do you think? I think that I would like to plant her with either a spider plant, or even better, some kind of Agave, maybe an Aloe plant...

So this was a pretty satisfying operation. I actually really like the dirty look on her face, it is part of her; her Haw River Patina. So I think that I will leave that on, as part of the sclupture. I think I might call her Agave Knectar Knot. It would be nice to find a way to some how honor the slain ants, that once made her their kingdom, and perhaps still do....Perhaps she will make a good addition/donation to the Haw River Live Auction, which our friend the Revered Gary Phillips will be spinning, a marvel to see in action. An Actioneer.


So next on my list was Big Daddy, or Hercules, as he called himself...
This was one thick tire. I cleaned his edges with my knife, and his flanks (sidewalls) were about an inch deep!

I quickly surmised that he was going to give the same ratio treatment as the last one, and require a similar approach. As I had liked the way the edges looked on the little lady I had warmed up with,
I decided to take a similar approach to this one, and made the bold move to split him straight down the middle, along the jaggedy line stretching down his back, or tread.

I have attempted a similar treatment of much smaller motorcycle tires, but I really had never tried anything of this size. Even the motor cycle tire I had recently tried had giver me a world of trouble.
But some how, I felt like I had the upper hand on this beast.....perhaps because I had just warmed up with the other.

This was kind of grueling, and I only got a third of the way through, becuase trying to tear  and hack through that thick tread rubber was really wearing on my writsts, and they are an asset that I need to protect.

But the result I found very interesting, and worth repeating some day.
Visually, the 'cracked' tire had its own appeal, and I got some good 'Andrew Goldsworthy-worthy' shots'
OK, maybe not worthy, pretty fricken cool for a tire, right?


White box cowering under desk

After Storm Thunder

Coming to Life in Primordial Stew

He Got Me!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tyrius Triumphant!

Tyrius looking suspiciously post-coital...
one can only wonder what kind of wild night this guy had...
Here's another real purdy one...

Hung-over tire worm in tree
Yes, quite a night it was for us all...
Quite a night.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

NEWS FLASH: Tyrius The Tire Worm is Sprung and AT LARGE! Witness says Gustavo Ocoro was Driver!

Its happened. What we all feared....

As I was mopping up the front of the old Belk building, which Mr. and Mrs. Grimes have graciously lent us for the Farm to Fork Dinner, I heard a wracket of RATTLING. I looked across the street just in time to see the doors of 223 (where Tyrius is held captive in his lair of tire imprisonment) FLUNG WIDE OPEN! And who should gallop out, but that reviled blackened beast himself, snorting and puffing and drooling his hideous slime all over the pavement. Ohhhh, it was disgusting. And the Stench!
With his 50-long-butt still stuck in the door, he peered his frothy snout hastily about, up the sidewalk... and then back down again.... as though he were waiting for something..

   Just then, a hulking Muscle Truck with a 20-foot-long Trailer came screeching around the corner of Chatham Avenue, and ground to a halt in front of him. With out missing a beat, Tyrius sort of bunched himself up, and LURCHED up at the bed of the trailer, flinging himself onto it, and using his slobbering nose as some kind of anchor, hoisted the rest of himself up onto this bed, giving a final double slap of his tail "THUDTHUD" at which the driver spead off down Chatham Avenue, through town, with Tyrius hanging off the back.

Where was he going? No one knows. His trainer, Travis, the Tire Tamer, is stricken with Grief.
"I thought he was happy" sobbed the bereft Gussonologist.

But Travis warns, he might not have gone far. "Tyrius will come back, I'm sure of it. An apple does not fall far from the tree, nor will a 160 lb tire-worm crawl far from his Papa." posited Cohn, philosophically.
"He's probably just getting a little antsy, cause you know, its Spring Time."
Explains Cohn:
"This is the time of year when an eft Tire Worm grows restless. He probably just wants to sow his oats around a little. He is actually probably out searching for a mate, a beautiful Tire Worm Lady to call his own. Sadly for Tyrius, what the poor little fellow doesn't know, is that he is the only Tire Worm in Known Existance. He would have to search the world over for his Love, and might still never find her. And you can't just chop him in half, and have him mate with himself- we tried that, and it didn't work. BUT, for that very reason, if you encounter Tyrius at Large, out on the town, you should use every precaution. A 50 foot Tire Worm in heat, well, its not a pretty site."

To make matters worse, say Authorities, this Friday night is supposedly a 'Worm Moon', which probably accounts for why Tyrius has gone berzerk in the first place. This raises the Worm Alert to a Code Pink.

If you encounter Tyrius, rolling around in leaves, smelling like Old Spice, contact his Trainer IMMEDIATLY. Do NOT attempt to apprehend him yourself. This is a job for a professional.
He does like doughnuts though..

A Compatriot of 'La Vita Vanna'

These two old codgers from Maine came and visited my Studio this week ;)

The Codger on the Left was visiting the Codger on the Right, who asked if he could show him my artwork   (R Codger is an Antiques dealer, so he knows what he's looking at ;)
Come to find out, Left Codger, visiting from Maine has been living in his van for the past ......36 YEARS!!!!
Yow! My Hero!

I'll have to wax poetic about their visit another time, but needless to say we had a great time sharing experiences and tricks of the trade, its amazing how much we had learned in common. I had to get his autograph when I heard that, will post once I get it scanned.

Some very Righteous Dudes, was an honor to have them over. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

RITES OF SPRING in Downtown Siler City

This coming Friday evening, is very special Friday evening. Why because, not only is it the 3rd Friday of the month, the Friday when we all pour out of the woodwork around here, in downtown Siler City.
It is also a very special 3rd Friday, for several reasons.

Well for one, this 3rd Friday will be held in conjunction with another event, which is the Chatham Creative Economy Summit, which will be held officially on Saturday, the 19th, the day after our Dionysian fet.
The organizer's of the summit have deftly incoporated Siler City's relatively new 3rd Friday tradition, as both a before party, and also perhaps as a example of the force of 'Creative Economy' component of urban revitalization. For some reason the word 'bolstered' comes to mind....bolstered pillow?...

Anyways, So we are really doing it up this 3rd Friday!
We downtown merchants have been meeting, and organizing how we can really make this one count. I NEEDS to count, not only because we are being used as a bolstered pillow showcase of Creative Economonomy, but Also, because we NEED it for our selves, for our own team spirit!
Last 3rd Friday (feb) we had near perfect weather (for February no less!) but an abysmal turnout.
So WE  ARE  RAMPING  IT  UP. In the good faith of spring, and all that it brings.

From a 'farm to fork' Supper prepared by the farmers Market, to a Holistic Pet Medicine showcase at Paperbacks Plus, to a Mardi Gras Party, 1st year anniversary Celebration with the Inclusive Arts Innitiative, people are throwing down, and pulling out all of the stops.

Many of  the galleries will actually be showing spring related themed shows.
Reptire Designs myself, will be showing sneak peaks of a few Spring/garden related bodies of work.

Here is a silly news release that I sent Chana, who will put in on the Chatham chatlist, that gives some idea of what I have in store.... (we'll see what kind of trouble this one get's me in...).
(Fabled Spiritual Visions 'beer pong party' joke was a bust, Chatham News took me at face value, can't blame them)


      This Third Friday, in honor of the Rites of Spring, Reptire Designs will be letting visitors peek their heads into the tire nursery, where several Springy bodies of work are peeking their own sproingy little heads out.

Among these might be just the slightest tendril of the germinating seed of a budding body of tire artwork, Tire Botanics… But don’t tell anybody; someday, its gonna be Big, and Bouncy.

Thereabouts, you might also find the cocoons of a few Insectires.

Speaking of...
NEWS ALERT, Tyrius the Giant Tire Worm is reported to have escaped his shackles (I knew shackling a worm was a dumb idea), and is reportedly at large, on a RAMPAGE through Downtown Siler City!
If you see Tyrius hiding out downtown Friday night, maybe munching on some leaves or food scraps, do not attempt to apprehend him, as I am not certain that he is a vegetarian. However, information leading to his recapture will earn you an autographed old tire.

So, that's the plan. I'll let you know how it goes.

I also had the privilage to design the poster for this weekend's activities.
You can read about it on the Speyedr Graphics blog, by clicking on the poster image below:

Though the deadlines were tight, it was a real pleasure to contract with Joan Underwood, of the Courtyard Cafe, who commissioned me (for a modest barter), on behalf of the 'Yellow Flag Committee' to design this poster for this ceremoneous event, and the larger Creative Summit.

I've never more acutely felt the fervor of The Spring, on so many different levels of importance.

Artists Statement and Bio for 2011 NC Artist's Exhibition

I wanted to share the Biography and Statement that I prepared for the 2011 North Carolina Artists Exhibition, as I feel that to a certain extent, it marks a place in time for Reptire Designs and I . Hopefully, it will serve as something of a place holder for this Chronicle of Reptire's developement.


            Travis Cohn was born and raised in Durham, NC. While his Portrait Artist Mother bequeathed to him his first love of drawing forms in Nature, this practice had always had a secret (shadow) twin tendency towards creating art from found objects. Recently, in 2002, he day-lit this passion, and married his love of the line with his love for the found; bound, as it were, within the ring of The Tire. And there he has remained ever since, devoted to exploring what possibility can found within this symbolic vessel, the bastard child of the Transportation Industry.

            In 2004, after several years of purposeful play, determined to find an eloquent way to let used tire rubber express it own beautility to the world, Cohn conceived of the treadknot. An enigmatic form of folded flubber (primordial, single-celled basketry, if you will) 7 years later, it still stands as a vexing sherpa, shuttling varied luggage of interpretations. In it, the artist finds a symbol of man, in an endless struggle with the self, and subsequently, a symbol of regeneration. From a larger perspective, in its familiarity with the Internationally recognized symbol of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, the treadknot form could also be boldly posited as an article of iconography within the contemporary Art-From-Reclaimed-Materials Movement. To learn more of about the treadknot; it’s creation; and the treadknotics of its interpretations, you can visit a page devoted to it on the Reptire website at www.reptiredesigns.com.
            For The Future, Cohn is planning to take these tires on the road. He envisions a series of place-based art installations, which will explore the Geography, Geology Ecology, and Human History of North Carolina, and its Environs (of the 0-8 legged variety). Where to start? Where else, but at the top of the hill?!..

            In The Meantime, Travis Cohn feels highly honored and excited to be included in this special showing of North Carolina Artists.

Never leave 'er, Beaver.

I don't know how this relates to Reptire Designs....but Fuggit!

This past sunny Sunday morning, I was driving up Highway 87, on my way to band practice at Bruce and Sue Saunders' house, off Lutterlow Rd. when I saw this great big heap of brown fur to the right of the road. Now that is fairly common around here, probably everywhere where there are lots of woods, with occaisonal roads, sadly.
  What was unussual, was that this lump of fur had great big monsterous flat tail sticking out.
To be completely honest with you, my first reaction was, "is that a Platypus?!!!" Of course, I quickly discerned that, no it was much more likely a beaver (as of course, these are in plentiful supply in these parts, and their distant cousin the platypus, lives, well, on the other side of the globe).

Still,  of all of the poor slain animals I have encountered over the years (and I do pay attention), never once in my 30+ years have I seen a beaver.

What's more, I thought that I saw this lump of fur move....

So I turned around and pulled over.

What I found kind of blew me away...

It was a beaver all right, but this was one Big Mother...I would say just shy of a yard long from nose to tail tip. I'm not sure where she had been struck. She seemed to be completely intact. But she was bleeding from her mouth and nose a little.
When I layed my hand on here back, she was Very warm to the touch...steamy, I think she must have just been hit.
Her feet... we're just incredible..I've never seen anything like it really. They were webbed, like a duck's, but with soft fur on the tops....
With these great mittens of hers, I pulled her off the pavement, and tried to figure out what to do...
What TO do? Another car pulled off, and in sympathy, tried to help me answer this question.
Not really much to do. The beaver seemed pretty clearly gone, though so recently so.
I thought to call my friend Sarah Haggerty, who works for Piedmont Wildlife, and left a message with my friend Josh Zaslow, looking for her number.
  After the woman left, a rumaged around in my trunk, for a plastic bag or something. And lo and behold, I found the big plastic tarp I use for a camping ground cloth.
So this I brought over to the old girl, and slid her on to it.
I then grabbed both ends, hoisted her up, and lowered her onto the canvas tarp I keep in my back seat for hauling tires..,and OFF I went to band practice....!

Well, it just so happens that Bruce and Sue's neighbor is my friend, Perrin Heartway, a skilled local vetrinarian!..
  So I dropped by, and asked his new son, Cedar, "where's your Papa?" and Cedar pointed there! (after I'd found him). So Perrin agreed to take a look at him, out of his own curiosity, which is really why I wanted to show it to him.
Perrin was able to sex it though, and also observed that the beaver's leg had been broken.
Bruce called Mr. Honeycutt,  a local Taxidermist, who gave me some good advice about preserving this creatures qualities, for the sake of education. He agreed that, while he had too many beaver's already to put it too much use, that a beaver is a marvelous creature, and an educational resource not to be wasted!

So, I was pretty much left to my own to find a way to cool this body down with in the next 2 hours....
I happened to know that there at Blue Heron Farm, they have a meat freezer where they keep their delinquint cows, so I went running across the farm field, to ask Ray or Hannah about this. On the way, I ran into Jean, who was excited to the beaver, as I thought she might be.
When I got to Ray's and described the strange thing I had found, he was indeed curious.
I then mentioned that we had about 2 hours to cool this thing down or loose it forever, could we use the meat freezor, if there was space.
To this Ray responded, that they had just filled the freezor with a (presumably delinguent) pig.
But, instead, he said, bless his odd ball heart, lets see what kind of room we have in the freezer here in the house.. and he went to rearranging the tator tots and bacon, or what ever he had, clearing a shelf/tomb of the perfect proportions for out gainly friend.
So we conviened around the big beaver, and spent some quality time with her. Murray came too, and Soren, and Ray's daughter. We held her in our arms, cradled her like a baby, passed her around a little.
Its funny,  along with her smell, a very woody, resinous, musty odor, a part of her rubbed off on all of us, and as I knew that would happen, I carried a part of her into our band practice, where I got royally drunk, on both the case of NewCastles I had brought, and her beaver perfume.
There was a toast to a lovely Lady of the Lake...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Reptire Rolls into State Capital for 2011 NC ARTISTS EXHIBITION

On a dreary Sunday, March 6th, (after a late night of drawing caricatures at a Mardi Gras party, and I must admit, some customary debauchery) I got myself, a little more bleary eyed than I'd have liked,  over to Mahler Gallery of The Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, in our State Capital of Raleigh, NC.

I was there to attend the reception of the 2011 North Carolina Artists Exhibition, hosted every year, by the Raleigh Fine Arts Society. I had decided to submit a work of RepTire art, Leviathan, into the show, and the Juror, Peter Nisbet, Cheif Curator for the Ackland Museum of Art, in Chapel Hill, NC, had appearently discerned that it would make a good addition into the show!

Needless to say, this was a considerable honor for me and my RepTire Artwork to be included in this showing of some of our famously very artistic State's current 'Fine Artists'.

Here I will attempt  to sharing some photos, footage, and fixin'' from this memorable event!

When I arrived, I found myself shuttled in by finely dressed high society women who said "Oh you must be one of our artists" which I wasn't sure how to take. How did they know my socks were wet because my shoe soles had leaked in the rain water? Was it that obvious? I'm mostly kidding, 'poor me', I was actually pretty smug that they had picked me out.

So anyways, I got ushered to a table for my name tag, and then into a giant darkly lit performance hall. On the stage were three chairs, a giant screen, and up front, a grandiose floral arrangment. This was stage from which our Juror, Mr. Nisbet would be delivering his 'Lecture' about his choices for inclusion in the Exhibition.

This was exciting! I felt like a kid on a field trip to the planetarium!

'AF Shot' of a cosmic Chandelier in the 'Atrium' Entrance of the PECPA
So I sat myself down in a VERY comfortable cushioned seat, to take in the show!

First, we got a word from our hosts, the Raleigh Fine Arts Society, and I have to report that I was both a little shocked and somewhat pleasently suprised by what I had heard. You see, truth be known, I have to own up to a long held prejudice against the city of Raleigh. I think if it as a little bit shooshy, and extravagant, with out a whole lot really hearty value or true good taste. Kind of like really expensive high end raman noodles, compared to a good minestroni, which I would liken my native Durham too.

And to be honest, before meeting these people, I had sort of lumped the Raliegh Fine Arts Society in that catagory (though I was actually not familiar with this organization, prior to getting the RFQ fort the show). So I was quite intrigued when the Chair of this organization shared with us the audience, her apology to 3 of the Artists, whose work would soon be removed, on account of the Nudity shown in them!
  The Raleigh Fine Arts Society then CONDEMNED this "act of cencorship"! Right ON!

Finally, it was the turn of our Juror, to tell his story.

Mr. Nisbet is an English fellow, and it seems is freshly new to NC, coming from the Harvard Museum of Art. There he was "the Dailmler-Benz Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum (a branch it seems, where) he was was responsible for a collection of 39,000 works of central and northern European art ranging from the Middle Ages to the present and played a leading role in the reconceptualization and revitalization of the museum, leading to its relocation in 1991." (from the 'Meet Our Juror' section of the program).

So no doubt, having seen a whole heck of a lot of nudity in art, through out his ages, and The ages, no doubt, I'm sure Mr. Nisbet was a little bit amused and intrigued himself, to learn of this demand from the Progress Energy Center to remove a few paltry displays of flesh. (In fact Nancy Kenna, the Chair shared with me towards the end of the reception that Mr. Nisbet had taken it upon himself to go chew them out personally!!!)

What proceeded was a somewhat sad story of this Jurors somewhat harrowing plight, flash-lit by flourishes of wit. He spoke of long evenings spent with a record 550 submissions, trying to winnow out almost 9 out of every 10 of these, a task I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. To top it off, he also shared the tale of a dejected feeling Artist, who hadn't made the cut, guilt tripping him on his answering machine, telling him that his repeated rejections to these shows make him want to give up.
Mr Nisbet replied that such experiences made him want to give up too!

He notes in his Juror's Statement that "Towards the end of many hours, he is interested to note how he found the sculpture submissions to be the most extravagant, the paintings to be the tamest, the photographs to be the most elegant, and the mixed media works to be (appropriately) the most resistant to generalization."
 And his speech craftily reflected this.
 He began with the photographs, and had some really interesting things to say about some I thought, pretty tame work. One wonderful example was that of a photograph of a tourist gazing up the skirt of a giant statue of a woman.
Finding something far beyond the limited one liner scope of the photograph, he found in the photo, or rather, in his selection of the photo, a biting commentary on the gawking/spectacle nature of photography!!! Alright Man! I was starting to like this guy really quickly!

 Then he went through the paintings, and I have to admit, I was sort of feeling for him.
He made one observation that many of the pieces were simply pretty, but that they didn't venture beyond this prettiness (even some of the mixed media work). He asked, after all that Painting has been through in the last jarring century, turning its entire world upside down, over and over, can a painter really submit something as banal as a photorealistic scene?

Well, its not for me to say, but he was there, then, and he said it! (Like probably any artist who loves to draw, I actually do have a place in my heart for the devotion to place scenic paintings, particularly urban scenes).
Anyways, I was kinda feeling for this guy. I mean 500 tame paingings?..poor fellow.

However, it took me a while to catch on, but eventually, I realized what was going on. It seemed that this guy was no fool in making his presentation, and it seems he had saved his favorites for last (and I have to admit, I agreed with his tastes).

As we drew towards the end, some really fresh 2D art began to emerge on the screen before us.

And then, to kick off the sculpture, he pulled up an image of who else, but that big black lug of knotted, folded tire, Leviathan!
(I video recorded what he said, and am going to ask his permission to share it here)
 This learned man had some very nice things to say about this sculpture!

"The sculpture that I start with is, I think, a rather fine piece of work that picks up on the history of 20th-Century Geometric Abstraction, and the Utopian notion of mathematical forms and mathematical formulae, one can       an ideal form of art, that somehow represents an ideal world, here translated into a very beautiful tire, that wraps around itself, in some emblem of eternity. But of course, as we know, tires will rot out at some point, and wear out. A great melding, I think, of Minimalist ideas, Abstraction, and modern materials. I like that piece a lot."

You know, aside from being flattered by his reaction to me piece, it was also nice to know that I had given this guy something to 'tickle his fancy' a little. I'm glad you liked in Peter, I was hoping that you would!

From the there we poured out into the adjoining Mahler Gallery (the auditorium we were in is where the NC Symphony regularly performs, among others!

For food, not the lox that I had been hoping to lap up!!!
Nope, just oreo cookies, with their asses dipped in chocolate (taking after our Lady James)
Now That's just what I would expect from the Raleigh Fine Arts Society- a little Guilding the Lily ;)
(Too bad Raleigh hadn't 'dipped it's ass in chocolate' before P-funk arrived, and George Clinton decreed once and for all "Raleigh ain't got not soul." He tried).

Folks I met:

I had the distinct pleasure to  run into one of my Favorite famiies of Durham folk over there in Rally, Linda Belans, an old teacher of mine at CFS!, her lovely daughter Lisa Sobsey, with whom I coincidantaly studied at the SF Art Institute! and her warmly savage husband, Scott Howell, who was showing his stirring Photograph in the show!

Missing from the that photo was Father Figure (to much of Durham, I am so sure!) Jim Lee, Bamboo Turtle Artist, Of Many Varied Talents, and Influences. I caught up with him eventually, and shared with him that there's a certain artwork of his that I am after.

After the reception, I headed out with a few choice accomplices, for a photographic expedition of the space. Here's some of what we came up with...

This is the original front of the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. I can't remember how old it is, but appearently a couple 100 I think...it was once used as the governer's offices, or mansion of something, I guess kind of like the North Carolina White House, I don't know. Anyways, in an innovative architectual renovation, this original face to what is now a huge Auditorium, is now housed with in this giant glass Atrium.  The grand columns you see in the front of the building today, are actually a facade, a relpica of the original colomns, now housed with in. Now thats a front porch!

The Balistrade

Vamping in Action!

SPIRITUAL VISIONS EXHIBITION: 3rd and Final Pilgrimage to VA for SV.

I recently made my final trek up to Hermitage Museum & Gardens, in Norfolk, to retrieve my 3 'pilgrims' from the Spiritual Visions Exhibition.

I had planned to wait a bit, and plan a meeting with the staff a month or so down the line.
But with Leviathan called to duty, it looked like I had to hasten my plans for my journey.
So on a Friday afternoon, I set sail, whipped my way up and across to Norfolk, with only dwindling light at my heals.

My plan B camp site which eventually became my plan A

Night drawing down its shade
"Go quick and seek a place to lay your head, for when your neck will soon be weary of carrying it."

So, I scouted out a plan B camping spot, and then set out for downtown, hoping I might find myself a plan A, a risky venture.

So I docked myself in front of what (besides Hermitage to a certain extent) has become the closest I have to home base in Norfolk. Also, the closest I have found to 'Funky' in Norfolk, no doubt, it serves this same function to other kindered souls here. 

My favorite building block in Norfolk, shown here in the light of day
A lovely passage, where art meets life
Home of Yorgo's Bagelry
and this wooden furniture refinishing shop with kniving marketing approach.

Here found I myself upstairs at the Belmont, seated at a bar with 3 young lasses, who said:

"Hold on a second,  let me get this straight. You're an artist, and you're here in Norfolk alone, and you're here drinking at the Belmont for the first time, and next you're about to go salsa dancing at the Mambo Room?"

To which the best I could reply was:
"ya'll comin'?"

For off I had to boogie, to The Boogie, at the

where there I proceeded to dance the night off, and my ass away (making nefarious passes at various lasses, of all manner of shapes and sizes).

Sleep that night was seldom. I am remiss to report that I wound up camping in the plan B of my plan B, not at all where I had hoped to B. But, in the morning, I was able to open my eyes and C, as you can here C.

And glad was I, for I soon found myself back up and at 'em, eating breakfast at a dear Diner named Doumar's.

The Rapture: The Ecstatic Tilework Of The Men's Bathroom Floor
 of Doumar's BarBQ, in Norfolk, VA


There, while drinking coffee and chewing an egg sandwich, I was blessed to witness the owner, Mr. Doumar himself, come in, put down his coat, and pick up his tools, setting up the WORLD'S FIRST ICECREAM CONE MAKER.
Yes, that's right, Mr. Doumar's Uncle Doumar, I believe, was the INVENTOR OF THE ICE CREAM CONE!!!

What a privalage to watch a pioneer craftsman laying out his station in the morning light, 
for a Cameo of the Cone!

I promised Mr. Doumar a painting, hold me to it, will ya?

Then, I was off to my twin appointments at Hermitage Museum & Gardens, to
A) Pick up our trio of Pilgrams, from the Spiritual Visions Exhibition
Leviathan, waiting on his stoop, to be returned home to NC,
and delivered the 2011 NC Artists Exhibition
2) To meet with Hermitage Museums's Public Programs Director Melissa Ball, and Photographer Ed Pollard, to discuss our plans the the upcoming Reclamation Exhibition!!!......

I had a really good time hanging out with these two, and hashing out ideas, and spent a very both relaxing and energizing day afterwards at Hermitage, sketching a few choice artworks from their permanent collection.

Also was able to track down Truly, whom I am hoping to collaborate on a limited edition product line for Hermitage. Its funny, I thought that I had missed her that weekend, she was off, so had pretty well given up. But I was able to convince the staff to let me go in and sketch the permanent collection (though I think that area was closed.
   As I crept down the darkened hall, to visit one quite powerful, very old piece...
who did I find but Truly, with pale skin, and eyes all lit up. My god, she scared the CRAP out of me. It was the first time in my life, I truly thought for a second I might be attacked by a vampire ; no joke!
 So anyways, Truly didn't drain my arteries and tuck me behind an old sofa, and we got to discuss business alittle, in those darkened halls.

Darkness was drawing down again, and so I had to split, hit the road, in hopes of getting back for my buddy, Joey Howell's awesome Galactic Art Opening (well worth it!).

Before I hit the road, I revisited a spot I had found the night before.

I stumbled upon this bizarre scene of a metal scrap yard, across the tracks, behind a fence behind a parking lot.

You can find alot of things when you are looking for a good place to sleep (besides, that is, a good place to sleep).


Bookmark / Placeholder- A few weeks ago, my good friend Gmoney took me to see a favorite band of hers from NY.
It was a memorable experience, and I'll try and follow up.