Month: January 2007

Rain, Rain…. Go Away!

Penquin in the RainYou may or may not know Arkansas has gotten its share of rain this weekend. Supposedly anywhere from six to nine inches across the state. Of course, our poor neighbors like Missouri and Oklahoma got buried in ice. My heart goes out to them.

Anyway, was taking an old computer and a couple of old VCRs down to the recycling center this morning and my trip took me past my favorite golf driving range only a couple of miles from the house. Thought I would share a photo of that particular landscape this morning.

Flooded Golf Range(Golf Driving Range – Click to Enlarge)

Looks like I may need some extra “water balls” if I decide to get the old clubs out and head out to practice any time soon…..

Golf Cart Clip Art

‘A Blast from the Past….

Ginnie from “GoldenDaze-Ginne” had a post on her blog a couple of weeks ago called “Miserable Tykes” mentioning the looks of kids at times when they find themselves on the opposite end of a camera. Got me to thinking about some family photos that have gotten their share of limelight and ridicule in our family circle.

First but not necessarily foremost is one starring yours truly along with his two first cousins of similar ages. You can immediately note that none of us are particularly happy with the situation but I have to be the “real asshole” spoiling this lovely family portrait. But as you can note, my antics do not go unnoticed as revealed by the look of my uncle’s face sitting on the couch glaring at his idiot nephew….

Tarver-Family-Group-Photograph

Next we have the photo used mostly by my mother to harass her sister. My mom is the one center/front and her older sister is the one center/back distinguishable by the large, if not oversized ribbon adorning her lovely head. My mom’s sister hated this photo so my mother had greeting cards made with this grand photo on the front. The two boys on either side are the brothers by the way….one of which is about to be a star in his own right in the next photo….

Tarver Family 02

And last, but certainly not least, is a photo whose appearance at a gathering of fully adult males could get a good man killed. Here we have my macho uncle as he appeared in a childhood photo at around age five or so. How would you like for someone to pull this one out at the Friday night poker game?

Tarver Family 03

They have all passed on now but are hopefully together once again. In fact, if they are able to see this post my ass is grass whenever I get to wherever they are!

A Commentary on Talent….

Computer - 019

With regard to at least one major aspect of my life, I now understand that I probably squandered a major part of my talents…..to whatever degree they existed. At least it would seem so with regard to the real heart and soul of those talents which is the point of this writing. As to music as a first-hand example and to the part music played in my life, I enjoyed playing and entertaining but most of my efforts were directed toward others and what I perceived they liked and wanted to hear. If you possess any measure of real talent, it may unfortunately fall to the wayside through the years in your efforts to peddle your wares and maintain an audience.

Many times in our society those who offer up a personal critique or commentary on some item of interest concerning their fellow human beings, often do so never having walked in the shoes of those who they point their pen toward. Music and performing have always been a part of my life. And now as I walk through the autumn of my life and look back at my footsteps in the sand I am, with reasonable certainty, sure that I did not, for the most part, do it ‘my way’.

But the thoughts I am putting forth here are not at all about me but rather I speak of “talent” in an overall sense. I speak of those who actually possess a “talent” and often want to share their works with the world because their soul has a message to speak. Others who possess a great talent may not choose to share that talent. Much of what is presented to the public and perceived as the expression of talent in our day to day lives is not the least of someone’s talent….unless you consider commercial success in itself representative of a talent. Those that commercialize true talent certainly believe that being able to do that is within itself a talent. But be assured that there is much talent that we never see because there are some who not only possess the talent, but refuse to let it be manipulated and tarnished by commercialism and the like. For the most part we don’t embrace talent in these days and times….we suck the life out of it, if in fact there was any talent there to begin with.

In perhaps a more philosophical sense, true talent is a bit like a bird on the wing….free and wild and in tune with nature. But once a talent is recognized and found pleasing to our own soul, we seem to want to cage it like a bird, which in reality will forever change the true nature of that talent. What means more to you? Seeing some very special bird everyday in a cage full well knowing that it is, in truth, slowly withering away and losing its spirit or…..from time to time being just lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it as it moves within it’s true realm free and wild? The latter is when our hearts truly soar. Yet many a talented individual in our society today will succumb to the fate of a caged bird.

A true artist whether a composer, a writer, a painter, a poet or the like has to deal with the commercialization of their talent if that talent ever gains public recognition. And most of us don’t deal with our talents successfully. Sure, many may end up as millionaires because their talents have been successfully commercialized or exploited but for most there will be a day of reckoning within the confines of their own soul when the majority of them will have to face the fact that they cheated themselves of showing the world who they really were and the true talent therein. Let’s face the cold, hard truth – commercial success is how most of us measure success in general. That is how most of us measure talent. Yet as many of you know, some of the greatest talents to have ever lived never realized a cent from their gifts and some were not even discovered until after their deaths.

In today’s society and culture most talents work hard, very hard, at producing something they hope the public will adore and accept. But the true artist will only strive to satisfy the passion and yearnings of their own heart and soul. It is satisfying that yearning within themselves that is their true goal and bares the purity of their gift. But it seems that once the slightest inkling enters the mind of an artistic person that a living could be gained from their talent, they themselves, from that moment on, put that talent at risk. Once they begin to direct their thoughts and ideas toward a commercialized public, they have in fact compromised their talents to one degree or another.

Does the writer of a novel calculate each paragraph and chapter in an effort to capture their commercial reader or are they following the dictation of their heart and soul as the words begin to flow across the pages? Does a painter calculate each brush stroke in an effort to please his public or even choose their subject to the same degree? Almost all of the music we hear today is totally commercialized to a major extent. It is written and arranged to extrapolate fortunes from the public….not to give us insight into the magic of some writer’s soul as the melody weaves its way across the pages of a manuscript.

So much we will all miss because of this. So much will many of the artists discard who possess a wealth of talent miss because of these things. And many with true talents will never step forward and let us share in their gifts because they already understand that this is how it is and they refuse to compromise the origin of their talent….which is indeed their heart and soul.

It is all very, very personal and for those who possess a true talent, we are so fortunate that they may choose to share it with us to fulfill us and make our lives richer. It is their true talents that inspire us as individuals to test our own boundaries and talents – helping us to be more than we thought we could be. Don’t measure true talent by the number of albums we are told they sold, or the number of books we are told they sold, or the fact that they are number one by some measure this week. Don’t measure talent by the price someone paid for their paintings. Measure their talent by the amount of heart and soul wrapped around their offerings to you and I and then all of us will benefit from the experience.

Look under rocks and turn over logs….there lies the true talent that inspires our lives and makes this life worth living.

This one’s for you Andy… wherever you are!

A few months ago I had, at best, only heard of Andy Warhol from time to time and even at that, it seemed to always be with regard to some rather strange or alien form of so-called art being aired in some matter of media. And then this past July Cowtown Pattie of Texas Trifles published a post which addressed a few unbelievable, if not outrageous, prices being paid for some particular pieces of art. Nothing however that I had not been exposed to before, with the exception of one item in particular. A rather simple drawing/painting of a Campbells soup can which had been rendered on paper as all but destroyed. It sold for almost a measly 11.8 million dollars at an auction held by Christie’s in New York City. And the artist….? Well it was the infamous, if not notorious by some opinions, Andy Warhol.

And what of the piece of art that all the fuss is about….here you go!

Warhol Pepper Pot Soup(Selling Price – $11,776,000)

Very quickly….here are a couple of links regarding the auction and subsequent sale that will bring you up to speed on this matter if you have any interest.

Art Auction Catalogue Excerpts: “Christie’s Contemporary Art Auction of May 9, 2006”

Bloomburg Cultural News and Commentary: “Eli Broad Buys Warhol ‘Soup Can’ in 143 Million Christie’s Auction”

Continuing…..it took at least a few days for me to render myself to a reasonable conscious state after dealing with the shock of such a price….for such a piece of art. But the more I kept looking at this apparently ridiculous artistic impression, the more and more intrigued I became. And then I began reading and researching more and more on the life and times of Mr. Warhol. After all….he was the cause of this agony I was putting myself through.

It was during this research and subsequent self-imposed contemplative thinking that I began to have deep concern as to why Andy chose the Campbells soup can as his subject. I mean if I were going to pick some innocent can to paint why not the infamous “SPAM can”. Nothing has taken such abuse over the years as has the American delicacy of Spam. But then as I proceeded through the educational process of getting to know more about Andy I found that his endeavors were actually directed toward something he was endeared to in a sense. He actually really liked Campbells soup and often ate it for lunch as a child. He did many varying renditions of this favorite subject of his.

By this time, and I can not under any reason of logic tell you why, I had been totally captivated by this whole thing. It began to remind me of that scene from “As Good As It Gets” where Jack Nicholson’s gay neighbor has returned from the hospital from his injuries suffered in his apartment robbery and Jack has to return the little dog whom he had been forced to watch after and at one point he hated and now he is totally in love with. As he sits at his piano and softly plays the keys tears begin to swell in his eyes from the loss of his little canine friend and he utters those famous words with a subdued grimace among the tears….”I don’t even like dogs”!

Holy soup cans Batman….I had been transformed and could actually relate to this form of art and the paintings and drawings of Andy Warhol. In fact, thoughts began to race through my mind that if I were indeed a wealthy man, would I have actually tried to out bid the billionaire who actually purchased this painting. Seriously, I am now thinking I might have given it a go.

I had become determined to somehow put forth a rendition now of a Spam Can by the fire within started by Mr. Warhol. But I can not paint but wait….I do have some measure of abilities when it comes to creating artistic graphics. But first I need a reasonably good camera to supply a base for my project. I do want to do justice to my inspiration. And as many of you know, I did purchase a new camera. What you had no way of knowing was the specific reason behind that decision. Yes, I know this is perhaps the point where you think I am expecting you to chuckle perhaps and then me tell you I was only joking but I kid you not. The primary reason behind the purchase of the camera was to do the Spam Can. Actually, it is now going to be a “Spam Can Series” but that will all come later as my project proceeds.

In between other photographic endeavors that I have previously subjected my visitors to, I have been totally obsessed to a degree with my new passion. And yes, passion would adequately describe my feelings. First, I wanted to try and capture my impression of Andy’s favorite subject so the following is my completed impression of my Campbells soup can I have simply titled “The Chicken Noodle Doodle”.

Chicken Noodle Doodle(Click to Enlarge)

(Click to Enlarge)Secondly, I wanted to do a soup can impression that I would hope would in some manner please the artistic nature of Mr. Warhol. This one is titled “My Andy Warhol Tribute”.

An Andy Warhol Tribute(Click to Enlarge)

And then of course there comes the infamous ‘Spam Can’ impression. So below is the first in what I hope is an extended series of Spam cans. This one is simply titled “The Spam Can”.

The Spam Can(Click to Enlarge)

I have continued to expand my realm of interest and applications to include cars and houses. The photo below shows some completed prints ready to pack, crate and ship to New York City at a moments notification should Christie’s ever call. That is assuming that you think I continue to jest. As to the seriousness of all this….I leave it to you to decide.

Processed & Enlarged PhotographsClick to Enlarge)

There you have it. There is a new passion in my life – for better or worse. So for my frequent visitors, your greatest fear should be that if I disappear from my blog for days on end that I have embarked on yet another project which in the end will probably return to these pages to punish you for your daring to return for a visit.

Some final words in closing…..I wrote Cowtown Pattie a personal email informing her last week that I was about to use her name in vain on my blog but one of the things I said to her with regard to the subject matter that I would like to share is the following:

“I suppose this may all sound a bit strange but we never know what affect, either directly or indirectly, little unassuming things we do or say on our blogs may inspire in others. In the end I surely won’t be seeing any of my artistic endeavors being offered at Christies but my life has been more fulfilled, enjoyable and fun since then for whatever reason.”

So Pattie… Thank you for your inspirational posts on your blog. And if and when I have my first show and sell my first Spam Can print for some large sum of money which is surely inevitable, please know that I do not forget those like yourself who have been so inspirational in my life. Immediately after said sale and auction I will be sending you and your entire family free tickets to “Six Flags Over Texas”. That’s right….you can believe it! I don’t kid about things like this. Especially if my “Spam Can” sells for $11.8 million.

For more links and information on Andy Warhol check out the following if interested:

Wikipedia: “Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans”

With regard to the following links the associated audio is very insightful biographically speaking….

National Public Radio: “Warhol Signed Soup Can – Art or Memento?”

National Public Radio: “I Bought Andy Warhol”

National Public Radio: “A Warhol Retrospective”

National Public Radio: “Illustrator and Writer James Warhola”