Archive for December, 2019

The Inner Me

“I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”  – Oscar Wilde

Cue this music up before reading further:

And so here we are at the end of another year…  Tomorrow night’s party scene is still up for grabs, we haven’t booked any seats at any shows, so the what have you is mightily up in the air.  New Year’s Eve…  and standing on the doorstep to another whole DIFF decade.  As my dad would say:  after we figured we’d lived through the war we started watching our step a bit more in detail.

Well I’m not in where the bullets are flying and the bombs are going off, but I’m out here alone, my 3 older brothers are dead, my 3 younger ones missing.  I would have liked to have spent at least an hour with them over the holiday season but none of that came to pass.  Instead I’m alone here in my crib.

322E1828-CE13-47A6-9724-67A843B739F0_1_201_a

Bright eyed and bushy tailed: but a castle aint no home when you’re always in it alone.

5C7D25DA-0640-4C6E-82E7-1ED667C13632_1_201_a

I always wonder where they are: in heaven or in hell.  I’m not a christian like them so I don’t know nothing much about it.  All I know is I joined the resistance when I was age 13 and I’d like to entertain them here at my place, all these years later.

14680AC1-D59D-404C-816C-B5AF65709F2C_1_201_a

They always said I’d likely go far, after we were reintroduced, all of us, in our very early 20’s or late teens, I was only 18 at the time and hadn’t seen any of them since 1969, or was it 1971?  All I know is when I saw them again, I knew I didn’t want to be like them.  I’d been away far too long and after sitting with them, I knew I’d likely never be going back.  Little did I know, at that time, they were all trauma survivors with this thing they call in mod times:  PTSD.  They didn’t get the special jungle training that I got and they didn’t have a Major like I had.

E44E8BEC-453E-4567-B39A-7F0DA94D7E3F_1_201_a

I’ve sat here alone for quite some time, wondering about that shack in the woods, back on the blacker side of the rez, back in the mid to late 60’s.  I know we had a wood stove in there because I remember hauling wood back to the house and I have this vague memory of my mom standing there with an arm load of poplar, cut yes, but not split.  When was my dad planning on doing that?

943FA48B-C208-49AF-A726-59A6D4C0F142_1_201_a

In the past decade I’ve been there myself, on my own paradise on the range: hauling wood, poplar too, but doing it the old fashioned way, bringing it out one load at time, using a wheelbarrow, and getting a pretty decent work out along the way.  Of course the road out of the back woods was a 2% decline back to the house, so it was easy rolling out those 12 cords.

3D9B7B53-E031-4D3E-AAE6-4DA672A09FA4_1_201_a

In mod times, like here and now, I wonder, how warm those rooms could have been at night, back in 68: who was up tending the fire?  If memory serves, the upstairs had 2 little bedrooms with old mattresses that were falling apart and coming undone and who knows what kind of hell went on up there…  I was going to ask my older brother about it.  I came up with the idea in a July, a few days later he fell over dead and took the stories with him. He’s been dead now, has it been 5 years?

4EFC7318-AE19-4CB2-BA2E-6974C96D4DDD_1_201_a

When I was in university ages ago, an old Indian man sat us down and he said you boys have nothing to worry about right now, but if you have the good fortune of getting as old as me, down the road in those days you’ll be visited by many an old memory, things you’d left alone up until now, as an old man.  I silently and invisibly scoffed at the idea, I was only 22 at the time.  Pretty soon an Anishnabe Kwe walked in and she gave us the Sweetgrass teaching.  She was working on a braid and explaining things to us and she looked at me and said:  if you reach the age you’ll find yourself going through some strange times and maybe seeing some strange things, either here or over there.  Once again I, to myself, scoffed at the idea and I remember it well:  It won’t happen to me.  That is what I said, back when I was 22, when I was as terrible as an army poised for battle.

DC8B6CA6-7C36-4725-8517-9DEFB738B321_1_201_a

But here we are, like they said, at that time, the empty nest looming like never before.  And all of the brothers now long gone.  I have no idea where the survivors are, how they’re doing, what is going on south of us.  South of me.  There is no “us” anymore.

6204EE07-96CC-4C21-9BAD-0AEB6494D27B_1_201_a

Me too, chief.  We’re starting to get there!  I see young whippersnappers all the time and I know I am no longer them!  No middle age either!  Nope.  We’re off to another place, if all goes well, with a wee spot of wisdom or a splash of education, maybe we can get through this.  My dad has been gone a long time but I sure do hear his voice these days, telling me what to watch out for, to watch my step, and above all, what to be thankful for.

D34A325D-7AA4-4FB3-A1E4-5C6C9014E7EF_1_201_a

I’m not much of a Christmas person, like I said, I’m not a christian, and I don’t buy into how they sell it: that long ago story from overseas.  It makes for a great cash grab yes, in these mod times, but I’d rather give them the cash than to some corporate who ever and so that is what we do.  I’ve never been one for standing in a line over there at the mall.

A9D4802E-83A5-45F9-98A9-DBF60FE22472_1_201_a

Xmas eve has come and gone.  Xmas day is here and been.  Boxing Day I was in the car, alone, and coming back to here.  And through those days I never heard from any of them.  The survivors I mean.

We haven’t booked any seats at any shows for tomorrow night but I hear it and see it all around:  2020:  The Roaring Twenties!  I guess they are.  And they surely were!  I don’t plan on wandering around these empty rooms on such a night, so if you don’t hear from me between now and then:  Best wishes and I hope you have a happy new year, and I hope this time, 12 months from now, we’ll be sharing a few more stories!

 

At the MET, New York City

After Thursday’s serious meltdown cruise through the Modern and Contemporary Art rooms, the European Paintings 1250 to 1800, and the 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculptures (that’s the room that did it on Thursday…  ) I took the evening off, swam around with a few of the local suds, and pondered the almighty: why? (So dumb!!!)

Fresh as a spring rain, I went back in for a 2nd look, Friday morning and made it to around 3 p.m. before the inevitable happened yet again.

I’ll get to the paintings when we have more time, today we’re bugging out, but I had to share a few of the super heavy 3D items I saw along the way.

47CDD961-CE4C-4DE3-8651-EE36DF86E2CF_1_201_a

Love those shoes:  German bizz, tucked inside a glass case.

C2D155C4-E455-4F45-BC4D-52F5E04B5AB8

Prisoners of war:  Shield, Standing Rock Rez, c. 1885, Joseph No Two Horns, Hunkpapa Lakota/Teton Sioux, 1852-1942.  Also tucked inside a glass case.

A2CFE2FA-78C1-4A82-8BB3-443EF55517E2_1_201_a

Fun boy:  that’s nice work in the lighting department!

04A1A182-6CDF-40EF-A2E5-7211EFC66D49

This one reminded me of the good old days:  summers back home on the shores of Lake Mindemoya, back when I was young and my heart was an open book…  (oh my goodness how I was an exhibitionist back in those days…  )(ha!)

035E6542-D3D6-4F76-9978-4820A3F49CAF_1_201_a

This is the one that did it for me:  Stole the Show!  Winter, Bronze, Jean Antoine Houdon, 1741-1828, French, (Paris), 1787.  This one stopped me in my tracks in the same way Brancusi’s Bird in Space (1923) did.  I walked around this magic for almost an hour.

E02845E8-7F22-4D5A-8A38-5653DB8C8861_1_201_a

I have no words.

A899C823-8FE8-4D34-9E32-1AE7D82ED7EA_1_201_a

Wow.  That is the best I can do for now.

So hey.  I’m being told that it is time to GO!  Time to get back in the limo and hit the open road!  We’re going back by way of Buffalo, hopefully to see what we missed when we rolled into town (it was dark).  Looks like a great day for a drive.  We’ll chat with you at the other end!

In peace.

 

 

Walking 5th Ave, New York City

What a day: started at Time Square via the subway and the info lady over there replied: the Met?  Oh my goodness that’s 40 blocks from here, you’ll never make it!  But I checked the over head on Google and it was reported at a measly 2 miles away.  That aint nothin!  So I started out, wearing my HBC CANADA hoodie, advertising.

EB6674BB-8F4F-41A2-9712-0B82D55600C4_1_201_a

Heavy duty Charles Scribner’s and Sons on 5th and East 48th: I thought about the wild writer characters who walked in and out that joint, in days of old.

E472B3B8-E3D6-4F55-B57C-4AC7D979E845_1_201_a

Super heavy duty spook house on 5th and East 50th, St. Pat’s big house and there were people using it!

B477A886-089A-4397-AFFF-97C1ACFD8A37_1_201_a

The Peninsula, swank crib on 5th and West 55th: you need 4 dollar signs in your wallet to walk rightly into that lobby.

E9E73F2B-2E8C-47D7-ABAC-76BE441930AC_1_201_a

Ah yes…  The Met.  Last time I walked up those steps: April 1985.  It was art school, year one, many moons ago and with every step climbed yesterday, I said: Chi Miigwetch.  Nice to see you again.

11930BC1-FB10-4812-AE7B-8FB6A982E6E7_1_201_a

In the great hall, just inside the entrance:  BOOM!  There is a brand new, just installed on Monday night, Kent Monkman actual!  Wow!

98BD790A-D51E-414C-801F-06BB28A1D920_1_201_a

There is the other one, freshly installed on Monday night, December 16th, great hall, the Met, NYC.  Wow.  Kent Monkman went the distance with those ones!

And so: I paid my 25 bucks and walked in.  The gal at the counter was super helpful, I asked:  where are the Pollocks?

62B337F5-99A4-4542-901E-ED01104AC190_1_201_a

There she is:  Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), 1950.  Seems like I crossed an ocean of time to see this.  I saw it as a 19 year old dumb ass, had no idea what I was looking at.  Thank the almighty I got back yesterday, not as a snot nosed boy art student but as a man whose seen a lot of action and been a bit or two.  Whew!  What an hour.

I walked through some of my fave rooms and saw big time art (painting) history, the work that went straight to my core back in high school, and stayed there!  In no particular order: Franz Kline, Amedeo Modigliani, Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, Salvador Dali, Yves Tanguy, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Honore Daumier, Jules Breton, Joseph Mallord William Turner…  And not just one piece from each artist, they had several of them lined up, a magical tour, a feast for the senses, and eventually an over load!

There came a point in the afternoon where my brain really did experience a meltdown.  And I don’t mean a wave of something overcoming me, I mean an actual brain turning to grey, molasses like goo and oozing out of my ears kind of meltdown.  The eyes have seen enough!  The brain, the poor fuckin thing, is on over load, maximum capacity, burning red hot!  STOP!!!  Pull over!!!

I scrambled for an exit, semi wondering if I’d gone completely wimpy, soft and gooey, and wondered too if anyone else had experienced such a thing and saw this:

6FBB3785-1422-4B40-97B5-954C782DFB9E_1_201_a

That aint no installation chief!  That aint no set up shot either.  That’s an actual human being, a woman, sitting there with her head up against the wall:  cooling the frontal lobe!  Either that or the marbles have come undone and she’s waiting for the boys in white to haul her off to the funny farm!

I could relate.  I was in meltdown mode myself.  I needed a four fingers drink or some fresh air or both!  And I was lost in there, lost in that maze of big rooms filled with big pictures, scrambling towards an exit.

Then the unthinkable happened:

1C6ED1F5-297B-4667-9C20-FDA01EA79C44_1_201_a

Like the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey, I came across THIS!!!  I stood there, gawking, mouth breathing, I could almost hear that rumbling choir from the movie soundtrack rolling up on me as I walked around it, numb, knuckle dragging.  Something from childhood started to smoulder, a memory, an image, something not yet worked through, slowly started smoking…

I ran like hell, straight out of the Met, going north bound on 5th, steaming!

7D0DA28A-A8FF-482A-81E4-CBCFA240B4DE_1_201_a

Flew past this place, didn’t even stop!  Kept right on going back into the Upper East Side, into the shadows down along 1st and 92nd…

We’re going back in there today, hopefully with a refreshed mind, the marbles securely stowed, the shoes laced up tight.

When I get back to the swanky 9th, I’ll post a few photos of the super heavy duty that we crossed paths with along the way.

More to come.

 

Upper East Side, New York City

225BE472-47F5-4D45-B4C2-81B31F83301E_1_201_a

Woke up in the Upper East Side, NYC, this morning, came downstairs and saw this.

CB17B817-7075-41F8-983F-ABEA80314B3F_1_201_a

After the drive:  Toronto to NYC via Buffalo, and after the car was parked, we hit the streets and it wasn’t a block from here when we saw this!  ha!  (of course i don’t give a damn about politics here, back home or anywhere for that matter.  as an Indian living under the big boot Indian Act:  we’re used to dealing with mice, going on 150 years now, or more.)

37FD6CE3-8F43-4FBC-BCAF-B523A6ED320E_1_201_a

The Drunken Munkey looked good to us!  And it was quite alright, “Indian” menu, local beers, a table for two, but a third glass of, would have settled the issue.

So I’m back in town specifically to see some Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko paintings.  It’s been 34 years since I last walked through the front doors at the Met.  Last time, I was just like that drunken monkey:  in body, mind, spirit.  Last time I had no idea what I was looking at.  This time we’re going in with a bit of an education and I hope to enjoy the pictures uninterrupted.

While we’re here we’re going to see that Kent Monkman thing happening tonight at the Met.  I hope to visit the Guggenheim tomorrow.

Temperature at 6 a.m., minus 8.  Sun in the forecast.  Big suits in the lobby, short haired or bald, big fat guts sticking out pushing their ties to a 45, all of them wanting a kiss and a hug from a blond, also in a suit, out they all go, in a New York minute.  CNN with the big headline flashing:  Trump impeached.  Christmas music piped in.  Day 2 on the road.

 

The Dream at the End of the World

IMG_9483

Opening pages of Found Poetry Book 4: The Dream at the End of the World.  I loved that title and to boot: printed way back in 1991, the paper is quality stuff that can handle the sharpie markers, highlighters and thinly spread dollar store acrylic paint.  I keep saying “thinly spread” as no matter how good the paper quality is in these old books, if you layer on gobs of acrylic, bad things are going to happen to your book project.  I’ve seen it happen with a few participants and yes it can get messy fast.  And that’s when the tears start…

IMG_9484

Remember: this is meant to be a long term art making project.  As you can see I started this one way back on September 4, 019.  Here we are at December 15th and I have 3 pages to go!  The opening “found poem”, is 2 pages of love…

IMG_9485

Found poems…  Love this stuff!  As I said to participants:  what literary surprises are waiting for us with every page?

IMG_9486

The End of Art School, found poem No. 3, is an 8 page beauty that goes like this:

in a dream, rising up through the tranquil sleep of a warm May evening, left in its wake a delicious sense of peace, of afternoon sunlight, the dream terrain, i felt the thrill of recognition, was offering, up to him again.  

his life was out of control, sidetracked by untidy passions, impulsive missteps, messy obsessions…

daring was in his art, and his ambition seemed limitless, he was an accomplished poet as well as a musician, still, he was beginning to feel like a hired hand, and he was weary of focusing his energy on works that were not his own.

disturbing, nihilistic, quietly bizarre…

its perpetual distraction.  as summer approached, the power of his stories, the dream had shown him the way.

flirtatious, seductive, she staged mad crushes, they had become favourites among the creative elite, they were famous among the famous.

his only refuge was his imagination, he invented his own planet, “I was always trying to get away.”

found his freedom, possessed of a diffident charm, and sensible in summer, thrillingly remote, was vital and clamorous, the ancient native, life burst through the seams, wonderfully excessive, costume balls, expeditions and martinis, cleanliness and efficiency.

steady, hot, with a moon that is like a sun when it is full, a madhouse: the piano in their isolated house was wildly out of tune…

trance dancing-all of it was part of the pageantry, Sahara, the sky had a life of its own, baptism of solitude, silent country, sensation of existing in the midst of something that is absolute: the absolute has no price.

mystical undercurrents ran deep, a man transforming, the supple nature of reality, on the other side of the looking glass, alienness intoxicating, insupportable jealousy, I shall be away. 

pursued the exotic, self indulgent, he kept up his creative momentum, he transported himself, an untamed twenty year old, the two began to spin fantasies.

a protagonist in his novel, restless souls who wanted to explore life outside, purpose and spirit, it was a mystery, She laughed: “You KNOW I don’t want you to go.”

a close friend of both, i dimly remember my own face and not yours, how psychosomatic can you get?

IMG_9487

Of course there is room for drawing: “Fancy Shawl Dancer, who IS Mother Earth”,  sharpie marker, thinly spread dollar store acrylic.

IMG_9488

And room too, for experimenting with the draw and the subject of the draw:  black ball point pen with sharpie marker on acrylic paint.  Maybe there is an opportunity to create a new series of pictures from the sketches in these pages.

IMG_9490

Some days are tougher than others…  Sharpie marker on acrylic paint.

IMG_9492

“True Love: age 22, (I knew her name)”, Found poem, a 12 page extravaganza!

IMG_9494

Once into it, these sketches can be pretty telling…  (life on the road…  )

IMG_9496

And of course there is room for fun stuff!  The end page of a wildly sexual poem, from the Road Taken!

IMG_9498

Ah yes: room to explore, room to create, and maybe a new series of paintings in the development stages…

IMG_9500

Heavy duty and ultra supra TELLING!  Wow.  This drawing is from the last of the pages in the book, 384 pages of found poems, drawings, journals, love stories, memory brambles lane, black circles under blood shot eyes, spinning out in a parking lot, from soup to nuts, insanity before xmas in the city.

Yes the found poetry book project is a work in progress and an exciting exercise for the creative soul.  On Monday I’ll be back in the goodwill on the snoop, looking for another interesting title with high quality paper.

XCDJ8459

Power Bird, acrylic on canvas, 18×24 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Made fresh this past week and using a new brand of acrylic paint!  The last of my Stevenson Professional Acrylic, and I mean the last, we’re down to the bottom of the barrels, I’m pretty sure we only have a half dozen paintings remaining in those paint barrels.  Very sad for me as Stevenson was my brand since all the way back in art school.

HOQC2267

Power Birds, acrylic on canvas, 24×36 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Originally it was a black and white but with this new brand of paint in the house, it’s time to explore and see what she can do.

Just ten days before Xmas and…  yikes: another year will be in the books.

 

Painting experiment No. 3

4F3C3ACA-6284-4C47-B876-CD0D74A5446A

Sharpie Markers, 91% isopropyl alcohol and gravity, 8×10″, on canvas board.  Bird painted in acrylic.  Private collection.  We made this up last Thursday with a new art instructor in the house!  Very cool.  Not sure though how long something like this is going to last…  For now though it looks cool and for the beginner artist: a fun way to open the door.

878D52E4-D399-4AB3-BE81-9735A24F86BD

Introduction to the Woodland School of Art with drawing exercise:  your instructor:  Mark Seabrook, B.A., B.Ed., and woodland style enthusiast!  One of the fun things we get to do is make art presentations and my fave is the Intro to, which includes a 50 minute drawing exercise where everyone gets a turn at drawing the Moose!

FB275813-8791-45B8-8A30-A47C2C7298AE

Chalk on board, 48×72 inches, twinravens style moose in the Woodland School of Art style, made famous by the great Norval Morrisseau way back in 1962!  We have a fun time with this class and it works wonders no matter where we go!

1E089424-0AFB-48BE-A5A3-94D6C2020094

Found Poetry, Book 4, Sharpie marker and black ball point pen on thinly spread dollar store acrylic, on 1991 issue paper.  The book title is:  The Dream at the End of the World.  Love the title, don’t care about the book!  The paper is quality and I’ve been fussing with this little art and writing project since just after Labour Day.  Book 4…  should be ready by Xmas.  The fun thing about this one is there is a brand new bundle of very interesting drawing scattered throughout, interesting in a way that might lead to a new series of paintings.

99566CFF-3D6C-4A12-A0AE-D91AAEB1A59F

Ball point pen, 90 pound paper, sketch book, from 1995.  That would be Treasure Island in Lake Mindemoya, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, in the back ground.  And up front of course is the traditional dancer without his bustle.  Hey we are working a colouring book for the advanced: we’re way beyond keeping it within the black lines on this one.  It IS in the works.  This is going to be one of the pages!

The art journey and artist life continues!

Spoken Poetry

Performed by writer and arranger:  Mark Seabrook.

Many thanks for that email and so here is a selection, as requested:  Poetry.  By yours truly.  What we have here though is “Found Poems”:  we take a hard cover novel from the goodwill, we pick a title that we are attracted to, never minding what the book is about, and we use the “black out” technique, covering the words that mean nothing to us, leaving behind what does mean something.

The book I selected from the shelves at the goodwill:  Every Living Thing.  That title meant something to me.  Copyright way back in 1992, by James Harriot.  We picked it not only for the title but for the quality of the paper within the book:  we’re turning those pages into artwork as well, and art work needs good paper.  So be selective when you’re creating one of these fun Found Poetry books.  Find a title that means something to you and find one made with quality paper.  342 pages takes time: I started book 1 on October 16, 2018 and finished it on November 25, 2018.  We’re working on book 4.  But here are some selections from book one:  Every Living Thing.  Spoken Poetry performed by anishnabe artist and writer:  Mark Seabrook.

Oops!  My bad!  This one is from:  Infinite Riches, published in 1998 by Phoenix House, author Ben Okii.  Saved from the rubbish heap by yours truly and turned into a one of a kind book of poems and art!  (These can become heavy duty journals along the way!  This is book 2, created December 20, 2018 to May 9, 2019.  So be careful!)

Classic love stories, from the road taken…

Classic love stories…

Classic love adventures…

More classic love adventures…

Some of these, you may have to sign into your youtube account.

img_6350

Artwork from the pages of:  Every Living Thing.  Sharpie marker on dollar store acrylic paint spread thinly.  Sometimes there is no poetry to be found!  In which case turn the page or pages into visual arts!

IMG_6458

Yes…  it can become very telling.  Artwork and poetry, in book 2:  Infinite Riches.

PVHT5434

Ball point pen on acrylic paint spread thinly.  Woodland School style artwork by Anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.

IMG_6062

Kooky.  Sharpie marker on acrylic paint spread thinly.  (Not sure where I was on November 9, 2018, but judging by this: going down memory lane…  )

And so there it is!  Spoken Poetry, written and performed by yours truly.  Art work, drawings and so on, created by yours truly.  It is an art and writing adventure!  Let me know what you think!  Drop me a line anytime.

IMG_7436

One for the road:  don’t forget to add a little colour to those art pages!  Dollar store acrylic paint with sharpie markers.