The Dream at the End of the World

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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…

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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…

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

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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?

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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

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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.

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

 

SUN INFINITY MOON Book Review

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Mark Seabrook is multifaceted with a tremendously creative spirit and a flair for storytelling, using the musical, visual and literary arts to carry forward his unique “voice”.  

SUN INFINITY MOON is the latest literary offering from Mark and is a collection of anecdotal accounts – years in the making – as told through an Anishnabe character named Sun, whom, along with all the others who make an appearance in this book is reportedly fictitious, existing, as Mark states in the foreword “wholly within the author’s imagination”…  ”Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locals [sic] is entirely coincidental.”

For readers who may be familiar with Mark Seabrook’s life and works, the coincidental resemblances are pronounced and one finds it impossible to refrain from attempting to deduce what is real and what is imagined.  Perhaps that is precisely the way Mark intends it to be?

We begin with:  We found a pile of human bones on the floor of the tree house.  A pretty great opening line for book of stories!  There was no order to the way they were piled, it was all abstract expressionism, Jackson Pollock style […] It was that fuckin’ skull, upright, jaw missing, top teeth gnarling on the coarse floor boards, frontal and parietal blaring like a pair of brand new stripper shoes mailed in from L.A., that caught my attention.  At some point in time that was someone’s think tank.  Someone’s whole of everything was up there, everything they could imagine and cherish, childhood memories, first love, the nightmares, were stowed and secure in that brain case, which was now bone dry, on a floor.  Empty.  The maggots had cleaned house and run off.”  Mark’s phrasing and descriptors all throughout the book are marvellously evocative whether they are conveying Anishnabe angst or reflecting on non-native practices.

And there is A LOT of Anishnabe angst.  And anger.  And revengeful ravings.  Amidst the playful dark humour and erotic tales there is an unmistakable undercurrent of humans behaving badly.  Such non-edifying things I have trained myself to avoid – but as Mark is a friend and I was proud he had followed through on his goal of publishing this book, I thought it was important to give it a read and gain some understanding.  

Mark had a compelling desire to convey a “sick and disgusting story” (his words, private correspondence) without an editor’s assistance, for fear that any editing would perhaps make the stories less “his” and risk becoming adulterated by the influence of non-native manipulation.  Such close protectionism causes the book to suffer, however, and I understand a second printing is in the works, with some essential grammatical improvements that should not conflict with the telling of these tales.

Nevertheless, for all it’s disjointed recapitulations and errors, SUN INFINITY MOON is actually rich with layers of meaning, above and beyond the unpleasant disrespect the characters (both native and non-native) show for each other, for non-human creatures and for the environment.  The deepest layer Mark Seabrook crafts for readers is that a great wrong has been done to Anishnabe youth with lingering, festering wounds that continue to hinder mental wellness and self-actualization.  That dark layer of meaning is the type of wrong that occurs in all cultures, worldwide, and to this reviewer signals a psychological malfunction present within the human species itself.  It is a darkness that when illuminated by awareness, inspiration and inner discipline can be channeled into human constructs that ennoble, enrich and transform, allowing each of us to better discover our inherent talent and live up to our full potential.

If the intention of this book was to amuse and entertain while unveiling a host of deleterious behaviours and events, intermingling sweet memories with frightful ones, it has achieved that end.  It may have been cathartic for Mark Seabrook to write such a series of tales…future works will reflect that or not.  Within Mark’s character “Moon”, we see it is possible to develop awareness…perhaps in a future literary exploration, Mark can expand upon that and use his creative storytelling techniques to help humans transcend the species-wide affliction of destructive behaviours.  That would be a book I would be glad to recommend!

L.  Manitoulin Island

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Page 15, from “May 11, 1996”, SUN.  Sun Infinity Moon, by Mark Seabrook.

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Back cover:  Sun Infinity Moon, by Anishnabe artist and author: Mark Seabrook.

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Missing In Action, painted face masks, acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.

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Missing In Action, on display in Ottawa, 2014.

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Killed In Action, painted face mask and acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.  (On display in Ottawa, 2014)

Art Battle Tonight!

hey i was called up for tonight’s Art Battle here in Ottawa!  for those of you not in the know:  they give you a 16×20 inch canvas, acrylic paint, an easel and 20 minutes!  all you have to do as the artist is bring your own brushes and your own ideas!  i’ll tell you right now they have some pretty decent painters signing into this show, folks who can get it done fab style within those 20 measly minutes.  i am not one of them!  i can get it done in 20 but have never made it out of the first round.  maybe tonight is my night!

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that’s me back in April, thinking i had a great idea but nope!  (truth is: no matter how big the house i always come down with a serious case of the butterflies…   complete with shaking hands…  )

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that’s way back in 016, the Halloween version and big time NO GO to the 2nd round.

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in Ottawa on Friday night!

and that’s way back in 015, on my first visit to the AB, with NO DICE!

at any rate, it is a fun time, fun to be in with those other artists, and fun to be in the show!  we’re in a new venue this time, 250 City Centre, which is not downtown.  how it got the title of City Centre when its way out in the middle of nowhere is beyond me.

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Big Bucks = Happiness.  Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  maybe tonight i should stick with the basics.

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Indian Residential School, Hell on Earth.  Sketch.  Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Artist Collection.  or maybe i should attempt a “statement”.

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Stacey from Malibu, sharpie marker on 8.5×11 paper.  Artist collection.  one thing is for sure there is no time to call up Stace for advice on what to paint and what to wear.  i know what she would say though about what to wear:  You have one life to live, don’t put it off to tomorrow.

i’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Woodland School style by twinravens

here is my version of the Anishnaabe Woodland School of art, founded by the great Norval Morrisseau, and introduced to the art world in Toronto, way back in September 1962.  what a great artist journey/adventure Norval M. went on after that!  all the way to the National Gallery of Canada in 2006/07.  i’m a long way from having my work in the N.G.C.!  but here is my version anyway:

A Self Portrait on November 30th by Mark Seabrook

Self Portrait on November 30th, acrylic on canvas, 30×40 inches.  Private collection.

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Feeding the Wolf, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches.  Private collection.

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Anishnabe at Full Moon, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  Artist collection.

Bear Clan with White Raven

Bear Clan, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  Artist collection.

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Water Spirit, Homage to Norval M., acrylic on canvas, 24×36 inches.  Private collection.  (the paint wasn’t even dry when that one went out the door!)

Moose Nahmiwan

Moose Nahmiwan, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches. Painted on the Range in March 2015

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Indian Residential School Survivor, acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches.  Available for purchase.

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Anishnabe Woodland Nights, acrylic on canvas board, 16×20 inches.  Private collection.

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Power Bird, acrylic on canvas, 22×28 inches, getting ready to ship out.  Private collection.

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Me, standing next to a Norval Morrisseau acrylic on canvas at the National Gallery of Canada.  A lot of us anishnaabe boys who are painters owe a salute to the great Norval M. and his high and mighty work.

Landscapes, twinravens style

As per requested, thank you for that email, here are a few of the landscapes paintings from the past few years:

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twinravens on the range, winter, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Artist collection.

Tehkummah Winds on September 2

Tehkummah scenes, late August, acrylic on canvas board, 10×12 inches.  Artist collection.

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Red Wing Blackbirds on the open range

Acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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Tehkummah scenes, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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sketch, 7×9 inches on canvas board

Tehkummah scenes, winter.  Private collection.

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Tehkummah scenes, winter, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches.  Private collection.

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Before the Blue Moon, 6 of 9

Acrylic on canvas board, 9×12 inches.  Private collection.

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twinravens on the range, 10×20 inches on canvas board

Private collection.

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Tehkummah Scenes, acrylic on canvas board, 7×9 inches

Private collection.

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A selection of 7×9’s beautifully framed by a private collector.

So there are a few of the pieces from the past few years, inspired by the open range back home in Tehkummah, inspired too by the great Jackson Pollock!

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The Range, back home in Tehkummah, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, on a fine and wonderful summer morning: in peace and in paradise!

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Home sweet home!  That’s crib on the range, Tehkummah, Manitoulin Island.

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Home sweet home on an August evening, many moons ago:  no noise pollution, no light pollution!  What a place to call home!

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Oh yes we can’t forget this one!  Acrylic, 7×9 inches on canvas board.  Artist collection.

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The Artist, at the lake, Unionville, Ontario.  A November afternoon…