2/ A Game Changer
As far back as 2003 I was ruminating on a novel and started doing research. After a brief run at doing audio walking tours for San Francisco's Financial District, I then returned to the novel--sort of. I still hadn't convinced myself that I was able to pull the novel thing off. So I dove into my other passion: art. I took an intensive class on etchings at Crown Point Press and was smitten with the whole mechanics and process of printmaking. Definitely a game changer. From there I took up a residency for several years at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley.
From the beginning, I used my experiences working in East Asia as inspiration (see my blog of 9-28-16), particularly ancient icons and artifacts. One of my all-time favorite museums is the National Museum of Taiwan in Taipei. The collection was an eye-opener. it encompasses 8,000 years of the history of Chinese art from the Neolithic age to the modern. Speaking of Neolithic, I have incorporated bits of this period's imagery into my etchings.
In my piece, "Neolithic I" (above right) I've included some ancient letters (said to be the beginning of Chinese script), from pottery found in Banpo near Xi’an China and dating to 5,000 B.C., along with a frenzied field of cosmic-like forms, all of which portray the forces and energy of cultural transformation at work since the Neolithic period in China.
In another, "Neolithic III" (above left) I used other ancient iconic forms: the large reddish disk form (upper left) is an artifact from 3,000 to 2,000 B.C. called a “bi” or large disc (18 centimeters in diameter) made of jade and found in the tombs at Fanshan China. The bucolic peasant farming scenes, suggest a simple agrarian lifestyle that involves a more contemporary craft: that of the soil and the fields.
As you can see, my interest in the art and culture of East Asia runs deep. You can get a bigger feel for my overall spectrum of artwork here.