Prior to the Pandemic the summary below describes where the influences for my art originated from. This all changed after the Pandemic hit.
Where these esoteric ideas originated from:
Because my artworks are based on ideas from the process of personal incubation – an explanation for the basis could be helpful. The origin in my thinking has always been cored around the economic engine which drove society.
I can’t say really say that there was a thunderclap moment – when the aegis for that thought initially crystalized. But like many of you when Billy Joel (Ex: Allentown) and more importantly for me Bruce Springsteen (almost all of his early music) sang about the de-industrialization of the US economy – the economic premise of that music totally resonated with me.
Almost every nightly newscast in the latter 1970s and early 1980s had stories featuring the shuttering of steel mills and manufacturing plants. But that was just in the background of my mind. Perhaps purely as reinforcement for my thinking. Though I had attended two extremely wealthy school districts in Virginia (Langley HS) and Maryland (Bethesda Chevy-Chase HS) – the guys I hung around with were not the ones who were the vast majority of the upwardly mobile kids who made up 70%+ of the student population.
No, for the majority of my time in high school and middle school I hung around with the kids from the blue-collar families. These kids were essentially ghosts in the hallways and classrooms. Most had zero interest in being there. They lived for the school day to quickly end. They rarely if ever spoke in class. Graduation meant nothing for where they wanted go – usually into a trade and never onto college.
I didn’t just hang around with them during school hours. Since we rarely went to class how could I. I also frequented their homes, saw what they and their families were battling – usually money problems. Sometimes even saw what happened when the enormous financial pressures became overwhelming and exploded. The resources were simply absent when they were needed most. Violence could seemingly erupt from nowhere.
When Bruce Springsteen sang about his neighborhood and the kids who were trapped in the rapidly declining manufacturing economy, the collateral damage, the mayhem which financial desperation had unleashed in their lives – I understood exactly what Springsteen was going on about. What began as nothing more than a feeling would ultimately grow into what can only be described as an obsession. To find the cause why any group becomes pinned into a disadvantaged economic corner.
What I would find:
One of the earliest people to ever use the term economic evolution was an economist Joseph Schumpeter. Schumpeter had read the writings (author covered in next paragraph) which had been smuggled out of the Soviet Union before the author was executed in one of Stalin’s purges. What Schumpeter meant was that the entrepreneurs would not allow for market equilibrium to occur. That their constant development formed what he called “creative destruction.” That for example steam would be superseded by the internal combustion engine. As the two technology cores crossed – as steam declined – that there would be a huge economic impact (read that as an economic depression).
The explanation which fit the facts for Schumpeter and I was what is termed Long Wave Theory. A Russian by the name of Nikolai Kondratieff (aka: Konderatiev) theorized that there were Long Waves or Super Cycles lasting half a century or more driven by technological innovation. The boom and bust cycle caused the economic depressions capitalist societies experienced.
Long Wave Modeling as of this writing remains outside of accepted economic canon for now. Though its acceptance is growing every year. Because technological development is at the core of the model – it is seen as evolutionary. Ironically the computer scientists used the term evolutionary artworks first. They used the term to mean what computers do without instructions from us. Well – of course there are instructions – computers don’t run anywhere without some form of code structure. What was meant – is that systems were evolving to where they could produce artworks without programming or human direction.
What I mean by Evolutionary Artworks:
As I use art to flesh out my own ideas not in reference to a computer system evolving but rather my own evolving understanding of the socioeconomic factors which began during my school years. That thinking has come a very long way in the over 40+ years I have spent looking at the causes and effects. What began as socioeconomic perspective morphed into Long Wave theory driven by techno-economics after a metric ton of research. The artworks have not only evolved from a social perspective but also the artworks themselves as descriptions of what evolves and animates history. Further the palimpsest nature of what I am doing allows the material to now speak as well. Which is not to say that the underlying materials are somehow becoming sentient but rather that I am evolving as an artist in that I allow the materials a voice in the final artwork. The narrative becomes more of collaboration and fuller and richer as result.
Finally, the meaning is not simply that I am evolving my thinking and my artworks but rather that the artworks attempt to articulate the primary driver as to how humanity as a family and a history evolved. In order to do that the various artworks culminated into what I have proposed as a standard model for history. You may either return to my homepage or continue to an overview of the proposed standard model.
My home and studio are in Central Maryland. Triangulated between Baltimore, Frederick and Washington D.C.
That was thinking which lead up and into the early pandemic. The pandemic itself has now totally changed both my art and my thinking – likely forever. If you are interested in where the current art is coming from I will be writing up an artists statement and attaching a link to it here. Artists Statement