Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
I’ve been bike riding pretty much daily from my art studio to the studio of my artist friend Jon Strand in Cork Town, a distance of about three miles one way.
My biking – I’ve been doing about ten to 15 miles every other day for the past few weeks – is in preparation for the annual bikeathon Tour DeTroit this Saturday, the 15th.
Some 4500 bikers are participating. It’s my third tour, this time peddling on a 1982 Schwinn, thin-tire model purchased second hand $150, fully reconditioned, at Third Avenue Hardware.
I did the 30 mile distance last year, including once around Belle Isle, for which I earned a tour T-shirt, plus the smug-ass pleasure that comes of knowing that at my advanced age I can indeed pump my peddles. (Good gay genes.) Jon, by the way, is pumping pedals too.
Whenever I buzz Jon’s studio to announce my arrival, his five-year-old Labrador Retriever, Archie Whitetoe (black coat, one white toe), let’s out a howl when he hears my voice over the intercom. Good dog, Arch!
For the past 1,867 hours Jon, a pointillist painter has been doting away on what he says may well be his masterpiece, “A Chorus of Oracles.” It’s no exaggeration to mention that his painting, measuring 4′ x 6′ consists of nearly two million – yes, two million! – tiny dots, meticulously applied by Rapidograph ink pen.
The painting has five or six layers, with seven shimmering masks of various sizes – one for each oracle – floating above a multihued ocean of undulating wave upon wave. On the horizon a small, silver-orb moon keeps eternal watch. The affect: transcendental.
Jon, who has been creating mythological art since the 1970s (when he was also waiting on tables at Tiffany’s bar) has had two major DIA showings and a hugely successful retrospective exhibit six years ago at the Max Fisher Art/Music Complex.
I tell Jon that dot, dot, dot, doting is a form of mental masturbation, to which he laughs, “There’s no doubt I get off on my art. It’s relaxing. It focuses my mind and senses. More importantly, it’s a spiritual high, somewhat tempered by watching Lucy reruns, Jeopardy, and BBC lectures.”
When visiting Jon I share my own iPhone gallery of art (over 1000 images). Of late I’ve been averaging one new expression every two days. (Interestingly enough, during all the time I spent in bars drinking – about 25 years – I never did a lick of art, until I got sober 30 years ago.) About creativity in general…
A recent article in Scientific American MIND magazine states that it takes about ten years of daily application to your gift – art, music, cooking, bowling, golf, whatever – for the creative process to become second nature. Intuitive. Free flowing into the alpha-mind zone.
“I like to think that our gifts are a legacy of being what Native Americans have long honored as ‘two-spirited’ people. For many being rainbow born has been a blessing meant to be shared with those, shall we say charitably, less creatively sensitive,” muses Jon, adding final dots to oracle seven of his masterpiece, even as he speaks. I nod. Mr. Archie Whitetoe wags in approval.