Protect Your Heart

Once upon a time, back in the twentieth century, I was fortunate enough to meet one of nature’s most gifted artists. Igor Santizo, he was a scrappy teenage spray painter, piecing the city with reckless abandon. In the quarter century I've known Igor, he has reinvented himself more than a few times, each incarnation wiser, more refined. I run into Igor from time to time, he has a way of making me see the sense of things. Today we talked about looking at the world, critically, not critically, how that relates to our perceptions, expectations, status,  art and craft. Igor said, it’s alright to get fired up, to think about all aspects of a situation, to acknowledge that some lines of reasoning lead to dark places. And that it’s ok to go there providing that, “you don’t let it cloud your heart.”

With that in mind I wanted to express some gratitude. Kieth Higgins gave me a solo show at Unit Pitt Gallery this past spring, we published an awesome chapbook and I exhibited the piece pictured above. I had a lot of help, it’s a wall safe, designed to be used as an occasional table. I pulled the safe out of a house that I helped Bruce Turnbull renovate.  I had the safe tapped and refurbished so that it was functional. After a conversation with Colin Johnson, he did the woodwork in ceder. The combination of brutal steel and the delicacy of ceder, is balanced by a chunky design. Shapes inspired by the bent wood storage boxes used by the original Pacific Northwest coast cultures. Inside the safe is a secret. Only two people know the secret. me and Scott Hawthorn. Scott owns this piece and one of the terms of it’s sale was that the contents of the safe would not be revealed until after the property had changed hands. I won’t ever tell you what was in that safe, at this point I honestly couldn’t say, time has a way of changing things, and some things never change.

If you are a young artist, if you are just starting out, look at everything, take influence where you may. Synthesize new ideas, juxtapose old ones, build a culture, build a life. Walk light and dark paths, exercise your demons, go drinking with angels, make wise friends. Stare into your belly button, read some good books, draw a picture every day. Examine the systems which surround you, be critical or not. Stare into the abyss, detail a myriad of subtle darkness’s, think about them, obsess if you must, but never ever let it cloud your heart.

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