Man Bartlett

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On Finances, Path, Olympus Pay-to-Play, Collages & Epically Titled Drawings...

Uh, so yesterday was a bit of a doozy. I was up at 6am, spent most of the day in the studio. I uploaded a new lino-cut, “Path" which is available over on my website. I also finished a drawing I’d been working on since April 2010; the rather epically titled and impossible to remember, “the pervasive and unyielding expansion of form and mortality.” That was intense. I’ve done two others that size and they’re emotional beasts at the end. Usually because so much happens during their year+ long creation periods. Then after dropping off my work for the nutureART benefit (and riding into Manhattan to get a cheesesteak from 99 Miles to Philly) I uploaded a bunch of new collages from the last few weeks. As Friday was my last day working over at Tara Donovan studios, I guess I was making up for some lost time. 

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I make the work I want to make. If you look at it from the outside, it might appear schizophrenic. It’s not easy to draw parallels between a drawing of thousands of tiny dots and a collage of ’50s/’60s Americana advertising images. Or between a block print of a maze and a shamanic performance taking place online about where you’re from. I make the work I need to make. Others, if they so desire, can draw connections. This diversity keeps me thriving, and challenged. As opposed to following a single track like a one trick pony. Speaking of which, if I believed in moratoriums I’d call one on yawn-bombing. 

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I’m having a very good year professionally (New York, Houston, Berlin, London FTWs). Yet the threat of breaking under financial burden is very real. It is a daily flirtation. A daily ritual. Where will it come from today? Will I be able to do ______. How am I going to make this work. To be clear, I don’t always ask these questions, I just keep working and hope they’re answered. And they almost always are. AND I recognize I have a choice. I share this because I seek transparency. I seek transparency over the smoke and mirrors that too often rules the art world. And the world world, for that matter. I want you to see me for who I am, in person and online. One and the same… What I have, and what I lack. In character and materiality. If that comes at the cost of the perception you WANT to have of me, so be it. I exist in multiple simultaneous roles at once: artist, human, lover, comedian, pontificator, etc. I am both broke and rich.

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Markets are not the problem. Desire is the problem. 

If I can pay my rent, and eat, there is little more I need. At this particular minute I’m struggling to pay my rent. But that’s totally fine. Experience has taught me that this too shall pass. Keep working. Through it all.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is looking more and more attractive as my options seem more limited. My options are of course infinite, as are yours. And to be clear, I am not of the repressed, oppressed minority. I am still a white dude. I hold a degree. Albeit a BA in theatre, but a degree nonetheless. I am an obnoxiously happy guy. Yet I believe deeply that we should have the ability, and the support, to create the lives that we want to create for ourselves AS we want them to be. As artists, as people.

I digress. Or not. It’s all related.

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I was mailed an Olympus camera yesterday. Apparently I’m 1 in a thousand who was given a “free” camera to take photos with to promote the thing. Total, unashamed pay-to-play marketing campaign. That I agreed to, no less. But that I was specially selected via Tumblr apparently because I’ve been labeled some sort of taste-maker, is kind of funny to me. It’s a nice camera. A DSLR no less. I think I’ll take it down to Wall Street. 


UPDATE:
Oh Universe! You funny! As I was finishing this post I checked the mail at my studio only to find a Klout perk in the form of a $25 Macy’s gift card. I wonder if the protestors need anything from there… Or maybe I’ll get a pair of pants that don’t have a hole in the crotch.

Man Bartlett