Wednesday, July 26, 2017

fun is a dog

This summer has been busy.

Probably sounds lame coming from a person who is "off" for summer break.  Especially if you're one of the people who has seen pics from our summer adventures on Instagram.  It looks like the McAbees are always having fun and always going somewhere.

The truth of it is that we are always having fun.  Just not always going somewhere.  We are just mastering the fine art of having fun no matter what we are doing.

Fun is important.  It's always been important to me.  That also may sound lame.  You're thinking that fun is important to everyone.  But that's not the truth.  The truth is, while everyone may enjoy some fun from time to time, not everyone makes it an important priority in their lives.  

You see, fun is not a cat.  Fun is a dog.

Cats act spontaneously and seemingly without reason.  They jump up and run into the next room for no apparent reason.  They visit you, purr, rub against your calf and then slash you with a claw.  You call them, they ignore you.  You put out food and they go live with the neighbors for 6 months.  Fun doesn't live like this.

Fun is a dog.  It eagerly walks up to you with a sniff to see if it's welcome.  If you pet it, scratch it's ears, you have a friend for life.  Give it a crumb of bread and it will never forget where you live.  It will walk with you any distance, it will come when you call and when you sleep, it will lie at your feet to guard you from harm.  

People who understand this truth make room in their lives for fun.  They welcome it, plan for it and expect it each day.  These people walk with a smile in their soul and they brighten the days of those they encounter.  

This idea of fun has been important to me for many years.  Back in grad school I tried to write an artist statement that described the role of fun in my work.  My mentor was having none of it as the idea of having to read a thesis on the topic of "fun" must have seemed dreadful to him.  I get that.  And he was right, I was not ready to address it then.  I did not have the proper experience in life to bring it to paper.  Maybe I'm getting close now.  

I was reminded of this last night.  We took Blue and Violet to the opening night of the Broadway version of "Finding Neverland" at the Peace Center.  It was their first time either of them had been to a "real" theater or a "real" play.  As soon as the curtain went up Violet was on the edge of her seat, in a literal manner, thrilled beyond words.  Blue loved it too, despite the fact that he and I were both surprised to realize it was a musical filled with 20 something songs.  (I was picturing the movie, which is one of my all time favorites and the word "broadway" didn't really register with me...I'm an idiot sometimes.)  Anyway, after 3 hours in a seat, well after the time they're usually in their PJs, they were both stoked about the play.  At final curtain we walked out with hundreds of other people, mostly adults and while the kids were both excitedly talking about all the cool stuff they just saw, I noticed the adults were all smiling as they exited the building.  Strangers made eye contact, smiled and some even said how great they thought it was.  Such a change from how they entered the building earlier.  I know because I was watching them.  I don't get out much in the summer, so I observe when I can.  

Of course, this should have been the most obvious observation after seeing a play that dealt directly with the issue of fun and play.  The story follows J.M. Barrie and how he came to create the story for Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up and never forgets how to play.  So maybe I'm just slow on the uptake but as one white haired old man smiled at me I said to myself, "This is what art should do for people."

I've said for many years now that my first goal with my artwork is to make people smile.  I do realize how elementary this will sound to an art critic or even a gallery owner.  They, of course, have other things to consider and I get that.  I see artists of many different backgrounds and skill levels get publicity, grants and fellowships because the make work that deals with current social issues.  I'll admit it's tempting to make a drawing or sculpture based on racism in the New South, inequality in healthcare or the distribution of wealth in America.  I may not know when I'm paying to see a musical, but at least I'm smart enough to know not to try to make art that doesn't come from an honest place.  

I will argue that fun is just as important of a topic as any of those.  Maybe it doesn't have the shock value of other concepts.  Maybe it's harder to get an entertainment reporter to come do a story on it.  But watch the faces of the viewers when they leave the reception.  Are they smiling?  Are they laughing?  Are families holding hands and talking about how they interpret what they saw?  Because that's what I'm aiming for.  Not that I have a choice really.  If it's what I believe in, it's what I have to do.  I suppose there are worse calls.

I know people who have that demon cat.  They are proud of their "eccentric" cat.  He'll scratch them and put dead birds on their pillow and live his entire life in a higher caste than his owners.  Those people are successful and elegantly cool and they say they love that cat.

I'll just be over here with my three dogs, all of us smiling.  We'll put on our "good Vans" to go to the play and hit the snack section of a QT gas station on the way home, laughing about the window falling off the set and the real dog sniffing the butt of the fake dog on stage.  

Smiling is good.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

SUMMER STUDIO SALE !!!!! *UPDATED for online shopping

It's time for the Summer Studio Sale.  The one day of the year you can come to my house without fear of being shot at!

Saturday, July 22 you'll be able to tour my small drawing and sculpture studios and purchase super cool artwork at super affordable prices.  Here's what you need to know:

The location.
Set your GPS to 6815 Hwy 49 Laurens, SC 29360.  

The date and time.
July 22, 10am to 5pm

The goods.
Drawings, sculptures, and wearable art will be available from me.  The best ceramic work from Sandy Singletary will be here.  Cool, new folk art will be available from my friend Leroy Perkins.  This year I'll also have a limited number of "The Book Of Butts" and "The Book Of Skulls" paperback books and special studio sale tshirts available for purchase.  Seriously, we'll have all the stuff you can't live without here.

The prices.
There will be some cool free things at the door for all visitors while they last.  There will be art priced from $5 up to the hundreds.  There's no gallery commission here so this is as cheap as you'll ever see it.  

The payment.
We take cash from everyone.  Checks from family and friends.  We can also accept Paypal payment to

The foods.
Georgie is planning to set you up with complementary snacks and drinks worthy of the drive.  I'm talking sweets and drinks and all sorts of great goodies.  

The giveaway.
Everyone who attends will be entered to win an ink on wood drawing.  Everyone who makes a purchase gets entered a second time.

The internet.
If you cant make the drive, you may make internet purchases beginning at 11am on July 22.  Shoppers who show up will have an hour head start on the good stuff, so please text , email or call me to be sure the item you want is still available.  You must pay by Paypal at the time of the purchase.  Paypal payment can be made by using the "send money" option, not "goods and services" to or you can email me and we can send you an invoice by email with Paypal link for payment.  Please add the shipping cost to the price when you pay.  If you don't pay shipping, arrange to pick up your item.  (Shop online below as updated photos appear.  I'll update this post with photos and prices in the coming days.)

The truth.
If you've never made it to the sale in person, you need to come.  There will be tons more than just drawings and sculptures available.  Steel mugs, flowers, keychains, jewelry, yard art and even art made by my kids will be here.  There will be things that you never knew existed but you can't live another day without.  We are 45 mins from Columbia, 45 mins from Greenwood, 30 mins from Greenville and 30 mins from Spartanburg.

Come on, you know you've always wanted to come to Laurens.  Here's your chance.  Let me know if you have any questions.

*Shipping will vary based on size and weight.  If you need your purchases shipped, please contact me by text or email before purchasing.

Online shopping begins at 11:00am, Saturday, July 22.  Some of the items below may be sold on site by then.  It's best to shop in person but if you have questions, let me know.  

First, a batch of animal paintings by my alter ego Leroy Perkins.  These are all approximately 16"x30", paint on wood panel, ready to hang.  $30 each

Next a couple of 6"x6" ink on wood drawings.  $30 each.

Some yard art from Leroy Perkins... 2 crosses, $30 each.

Several circle flowers, various colors, $30 each.

New ring flowers in various types and colors, $30 each

Leroy metal cut out farm animals on wood backgrounds, all in the 20"-24" range, ready to hang, $40 each.

Steel pitcher/vases, 12" tall, $30 each

Steel mugs in various sizes and designs (3", 4" skinny, 4" regular) around 17 available, $15 each.

New plate drawings!  OK for food, not OK for dishwasher....

 Jolly Rabbit, 11" $30

 Mad Bird, 11" $30

 His and Hers underwear mug (two sided), $15

 Moose Man mug, $15

 Fancy Skull Teacup/saucer, $20

 Whale Teacup/Saucer, $20

 Spotted Whale, 11" $30

 Revolver, 8" $20

 Octopus, 8" $20

 Little dog, big dog, 8" $20

Sock Bird, 8" $20

 Unicow, 8" $20

 Sneaker Bird, 8" $20

 Stacked Animals, 8" $20

Winged Deer Skull, 8" $20

 Pendants/charms.  Ink on paper under resin, $5 each

Keychains.  Ink on paper under resin, $5 each

 Joe Kwon and Chloe, 12"x12, ink on wood with poly coating, $50

 "I Don't Like You Because You're Right", ink on wood with poly, 6"x6", $25 | "YUM PIG", ink on wood, 6x6, $25

 Buttdrawings!  ink on wood, 4"x4", framed or mounted, $20 each

 ink on wood, 8"x8", $30 each

 non-butts, ink on wood, "Skull" and "Red", 8"x8" $40 each | "Two Headed Bird", "Pancakes", "Banana", 6"x6", $25

 "Beer Belly Beach Guy", 4"x6", $20 | "Patrick", "7"x7", $30 | "Face Down", 6"x10", $40

 Beach Butts, 6"x6", $25 each

 Mixed Media Skull, 16" tall, $40

 Mixed Media Skull, 16" tall, $40

 Mixed Media Skull, 16" tall, $40

 Mixed Media Skull, 16" tall, $40

Ink on wood portraits, 12"x12 poly coated, Sugar Bear, Honey Boo Boo, John Candy and Langhorne Slim, $50 each.

Two books of art are available in limited quantities.  "The Book Of Skulls" and "The Book Of Butts", paperback, 6"x6" and filled with drawings, $20 each

 There are just a few shirts leftover from last year's sale.  In white I have three XL shirts left.  In green I have three L and one XL left.  These are $10 each.

This year's shirts are even more awesome and they are only $15 each.  

 Turtle Guy, 8"x8", $40
Fish, 8"x10", $40
Coffee Angel, 7.5"x10", $40
Dog Angel, 10"x10" $50
Cow Angel, 10"x10" $50
Snake Guy, 8"x8", $40

 Weird Bird, 6"x10", $40
Green Dog, 6"x10", $40
Red Snake, Blue Snake, Green Snake, $25 each

Green Antlered Hooligan, steel, 5" tall, $50