i don’t know much about football, but i know what i like

last week, i became a colin kaepernick fan. before last week, i’m pretty sure i didn’t know who he was. then he sat down during the national anthem at a football game (actually, he did similar at all the 49rs preseason games, the game against the packers was the one where a reporter noticed him and asked him about what he was doing). and then, as most everyone probably knows by now, the internet was engulfed by a shit storm of boiling, self-righteous outrage directed at kaepernick and his blatant disregard for everything decent and upright in america.

hateful memes found their way onto my FB feed, each with its requisite contrail of spittle-flecked commentary spewed forth by blustering, spleen-venting keyboard hammerers who seemed to take a sort of perverse pleasure in being offended by what they alleged to be kaepernick’s lack of patriotism, lack of talent on the field, lack of personal exposure to oppression (because he’s a rich, privileged, mixed-race athlete raised by white parents so what would he know about it, how dare he), naivete, thoughtlessness, disrespect, etc. reading that stuff makes me really tired, but i confess, i often can’t help myself.

i inched away from the meme-ranting and started reading actual articles and blogs with actual words and sentences, but a lot of them haven’t been much better. Prejudice and racism don’t look any less pernicious, even when they’re dressed up with fancy writing and ostensibly reasoned arguments. Luckily, I finally started to tap into the wealth of support that Kaepernick has received, and as a result i have, over the past week, read a lot of fantastic work by thoughtful, sensitive people who’ve brought – in addition to support for kaepernick and his decision to protest – nuance, perspective and humour to the discussion.

man oh man, i feel like i haven’t done anything for a week except read about colin kaepernick (i have done other stuff, my next post is going to be a wee painting i made of a grumpy owl), and i’m exhausted. for 24 hours i’ve been trying to figure out how to articulate my feelings about kaepernick, his protest and the reactions to it. about a half an hour ago i finally figured out a good place to start.

i don’t support kaepernick because of his bravery or patriotism. i don’t support him because of the first amendment. i don’t support him because his protest has allowed legions of braying racist hotheads make themselves look like assholes in print (although i’d be lying if i didn’t admit to deriving a wee bit of pleasure from that part of it). i support colin kaepernick because i agree with him. i agree with him that systemic racism and the oppression of black people and police brutality are serious problems in america that are not yet being adequately confronted, discussed and dealt with. i hope that he continues his efforts. i hope that more athletes join him. this week i can add eric reid and jeremy lane and nate boyer to the list of american football players i can actually name, and i hope that in the coming weeks that list’ll grow. frankly, i hope the 49rs front office will call the santa clara police dept’s bluff about threatening to pull their officers off the game detail. and this may be one too far, but i also hope that segment of the american population that continues to center this discussion on ridiculous assertions of kaepernick’s lack of patriotism etc., will come to its senses and join in the real discussion of how we as a society do the hard work needed to get past all the bullshit and be right with each other.

what’s going on

over the past week, i’ve read far too much ‘ryan lochte olympic scandal’ coverage, and far too much ‘marina abramovic insults the entire agoriginal and torres strait islander community’ coverage, but at least it means my consumption of ‘oh my god donald trump’ coverage has gone down, proving there’s always a silver lining. i intend to write at more length about lochte and abramovic (probably not in the same oiece, but who knows?), so if you’re bored of those subjects, be sure and avoid me (or the virtual me, anyway). i’ve repeatedly broken one of the cardinal rules of the internet this past week – don’t read the comments. but i’ve put my hand on that hot plate again and again recently, and boy has it been depressing.

anyway, heres some stuff:

rebekah raymond’s piece about marina abramovic in catalogue magazine.

steph harmon, also on abramovic in the guardian. in the article, harmon speaks to Yindjibarndi artist Katie West, whose profile, also in the guardian, is worth a read.

an article in mashable uk led me to those others, so thanks mashable.

found some delicious pottery…

and while hanging out with the lovely and talented phil magee, threw a pot at Flameworks, thanks christina for all your help. now i’ve conceived roughly 14 projects that involve making a lot of pots. so, there’s that.

photo of matt in a hat at a potter's wheel

here’s a good unpicking of debord’s ‘society of the spectacle’

and some thoughts on zombie urbanism.

what else?

made photos of waves

monday waves 22

and before i forget, new galleries…

mostly recent (2015/16) paintings on panel

a series of paintings i made when i was in seattle in 2012

and a new look drawing page

that’ll do nicely…thanks for watching.

green plastic man in a woodland landscape

how life is strange

collage with the reagans and cabbage patch kids

a long time ago, in the 80s, i made zines and xerox comics with a rotating band of co-conspirators. it started in high school with pamphlets of bad poetry about ronald reagan and nuclear destruction, as anything good from that time period did, of course.

while living with my three best friends in a chaotic environment known colloquially as the ‘pig vomit deth haus’, we took to cutting up coupon inserts from the newspapers and rearranging the pieces into collages of absurdist/dada consumer goods, when we weren’t drinking, smoking, playing very unstructured noise rock or pretending to study. thus, the Coupon Book, perhaps my finest zine moment, was born. There were three issues, and we handed them out to friends, sold them in record shops, and sent them to people in the post who sent us money or their own zines in trade. But above all else, our handiwork made us laugh hysterically.

another friend, a gifted cartoonist (he was once mugged for a case of beer as he was on his way to a party at our house), who turned into an ambient electronic composer (and still draws beautifully), introduced me to a publication called factsheet five, which was a sort of massive review of independent press magazines and zines and other self-published ephemera. i sent issues 1 and 2 of the Coupon Book to factsheet five, wherein they were favourably reviewed, which was exciting, and as a result, many people sent me requests for the Coupon Books accompanied often by quarters stuck with tape to pieces of card.

i made other zines, and made drawings and paintings and wrote slightly less bad poetry about subjects that weren’t ronald reagan. my co-conspirators formed bands and built glass-blowing studios and moved to georgia and did other stuff.

now, after all that, here’s how life is strange. i recently found out that mike gunderloy, the publisher of factsheet five, donated a portion of the huge archive of zines he accumulated while publishing the magazine, to the new york state library, where it is now housed in manuscripts and special collections. it’s apparently one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. imagine my surprise when i went to the new york state library webpage and did a database search and found an entry for issues 1 and 2 of the Coupon Book (click the link, then type in ‘the coupon book’ and you should get to the entry). on the catalog record, it’s listed as ‘a humorous collection of mock coupons’, and the topical subject is listed as ‘wit and humour’, all of which entertains me greatly.

i love that my goofy zines are part of that collection, that i can look myself up on the new york state library website. it’s a quiet, almost anonymous thing, but a thing nonetheless, the sort of thing that makes me think, ‘how did that happen? we were just cutting up newspapers to have a laugh.’ it also means that at least one artistic activity i engaged in has become part, even if only a tiny part, of a history that’s bigger than me, which is rewarding and humbling. and strange.

I’ll finish up with another page, and when i can find the masters (probably in a box in the roof), i’ll scan a few more pages in and make another post.)

collage with big lips

 

 

i like bleak and unpleasant, i’m just not very good at it

to help with this post, i’m listening to sonic youth.

i’ve been trolling (or trawling, i suppose), through virtual acres of images in poorly structured (by me), filing systems on the laptop and the hard drive, trying to find relevant work with which to populate this website. there’s too much. there’re also piles of poorly organised (also by me), real drawings and paintings, some of which have corresponding photos, some of which have never been photographed and some of which have changed three times since they were last photographed. it’s unnerving. it makes me think about vomit. about wanting to vomit because it seems like getting organised is an insurmountable task. or, in a more symbolic way, the vomiting up of all this expression, everything that’s come out in all the brushstrokes and gestures and marks and glued together bits of paper. and that makes me think about bleakness and unpleasantness and gothic discomfort, for some reason. i like bleak and unpleasant, i’m just not very good at it. a lot of my work seems to be, on the surface…almost funny, or funny in an oddly detached sort of way, or sometimes placid and calm, or sometimes frantic and busy. but bleak? not so much. but i did find this. so, maybe there’s hope.

ink drawing of sick stick figures