Oh, the exhilarating, adventurous, spastic joy it must be to be an unmarried 18-25 year old in today’s western world. Everything’s in perfect working order – except the brain – as they skip gleefully through life with a holiday sparkler, blissfully unconcerned that the next step could be into a warehouse full of dynamite.
Today I put the finishing touches on my newest creation, “Fracture”. It’s inspired by my exploration of the Earthquake Trail near Pt. Reyes north of San Francisco. I employed a number of new techniques with this piece. I’m quite pleased with it.
It occurs to me that I know and love a lot of Christians and believers of many faiths. But it is not their faith that attracts me to them, but their essential goodness, kindness and moral character – which I trust is a reflection of their true nature, rather than the result of Biblical indoctrination. Conversely, I know a some fellow atheists who are real dicks – and, from my observation, they come by their weaknesses through means unrelated to their lack of faith. Good and bad characters exist on both ends of the faith spectrum. Let’s champion goodness and love and doing the right thing for each other on its own merits.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how awesome and transformative it would be to have a truly activist Pope. A leader who would cast away the supernatural mythology and use the power and resources of the church to feed, educate, love, heal, educate, feed, fund and embrace education, love, and (have I mentioned education?) reach out to those whom the church has damaged to help restore their lives emotionally, spiritually, and economically. A complete transformation from the world’s largest and most powerful religious institution into a secular non-profit. Won’t happen in my lifetime, but one can hope.
When I was a young boy growing up in northern California, I lived for a time on a small farm where we raised dairy cows, chickens, geese, rabbits, and an abundant crop of garden produce. The father of one of my neighborhood friends raised Italian Honey Bees. My friend and I took turns each year taking care of each other’s family livestock and pets during vacations – my duties extending also to the care of the honey bees. This reciprocation extended to the bees themselves, of course, as it was these same bees that pollinated our fruit and nut trees. Bees fascinated me, and after realizing the occasional sting wasn’t going to kill me, I lost all fear of working amidst the hives. During my short education, Ed Allen taught me the process of smoking the bees, and how to extract and filter the honey from the comb.
When the seed of an idea that eventually became Studio 48 began to germinate three years ago, I was casting about for a medium in which I could display my photos in an original and unconventional way. My materials research eventually led me to beeswax, but I never made the connection to my experience on Allen’s Bee Ranch until later in the creative process – when my old buddy, Mark Allen, visited me at Studio 48 for the first time. Inspired by his visit, he returned home to the family farm to share the story of my art with his parents – who still live on the farm after more than 40 years. They responded by surprising me with a fresh sheet of freshly extracted beeswax from the Allen farm. I was floored by the family’s sweet, symbolic gesture. Many generations of bees have made Allen’s Bee Ranch their home over the past 40 years, and like a delicious sourdough starter passed down through several family generations, this sheet of beeswax will be added to my core blend, thus insuring that a small part of Allen’s Bee Ranch (and my modest contribution to its history) is represented in every finished work of art produced here at Studio 48.