[Realism Now!]  [Perf Art MAIN page]

Greetz inner circle of frentic fanatic "artists" !


   Well, lots of things to say to *ya'll* 
   - if you can either send me Jim & Anna's 
   email or forward this onward also..

   gORAN: at the end of most of my emails are
          the links to my pages.

   maily i use angelfire.com for my many web sites
                             which are usually inter-linked
                             (it's limited but they DO allow
                             all contents, so i can put .html
                             but more importantly .doc (WORD),
                             .mov, .pdf, etc - other "free"
                             providers restrict what you can link
                             to - even though their ads are better
                             behaved (ie, no pop-ups), give you 
                             more memory, etc.

BEGIN MEAT-AND-POTATOES-SECTION - an old programming comment!

This (being a structured e-mail) - i'll show them!!!!
is broken down into the following areas.

  4. PAY AS YOU EXIT; coda.

PLEASE:  Feel free to skip down to the areas of interest, return to 
         then when you have time, are restless, insomniakical, etc.



This guy Mihai Nadin (Dr. Nadin, natch) is one of the 
main clock springs in the whole ATEC conception. What is
it is (and i *still* think it's a pretty cool idea) is to
create "a bridge between the arts and technologies" views
of things. Well that's the official blurb. He's got a LOT
of publications, including a proof (which he mentioned, but
never sent to me) that "PI RANDOM" isn't as random as what
we might call "RANDOM RANDOM" - you know me ant maths!!!
Well, he and a couple of others put that "I've got the 
doctorate and you don't" stuff out there -- pretty well
re-caps my old days in physics: If you *really* are on
the ball, it doesn't matter what degree you got, or where
you got it - I've had some really top notch conversations
about physics with a couple of people who are "world class"
but you'd never know it.  Maybe i'm just being overly
sensitive since i've literally got nothing (i guess i
should just go ahead and do the paper work for my MA
"diploma" and go off and cry to myself -- very melodramatic
here. But you know me: WHATEVER I (you, her over there, etc)
are we are what we are, or as Greg Metz always sez:

     (regardless of where you go, what degree(s) you get).
Of course he's always implying that if you study with (eg,
Zatroosian) then you're sure to find out stuff from him --
just like all of us are "a lot like Don Taylor" or "David
Newman" since we studied with them, and leared *their* way
of LOOKING AT THE WORLD -- hey, isn't that one of those 
things that artists do?????

And finally (in the whining section) an appology before the
fact.  Now, don't get me wrong the profs are all TOP NOTCH
-- best in the field, world class, etc. And all are pretty
decent teachers (ooh, that word again) - but we all know
that working with a genius type isn't all that good if they
can't really connect and then also lay the ego to the side.

Yes, even i have trouble squelching my ego - dad rat the darned thing!


As far as i (and a *lot* of the other artists (art at the
very least "artist types" i mean one of these *supposed* 
artists does welding sculptures, but for all i know he's
not a real artist and purchased them off of e-bay!!!
(enough with the sarcasm)

Anyway most of us view the program as:
             TTTTT   EEEE   CCC   H   H   N   N    OOO     L
               T     E     C      H   H   NN  N   O   O    L
   art  &      T     EEE   C      HHHHH   N N N   O   O    L
               T     E     C      H   H   N  NN   O   O    L
               T     EEEE   CCC   H   H   N   N    OOO     LLLL ... etc
First of all, there are pretty much a set of required courses

     although officially the program only 
     lists TWO required courses - prob the 
     first two that they put together - there
     are so few course (esp at the GRAD level)
     that you end up taking pretty much everything
     that's offered. 

     It would be like if in a BFA
     program they had only ONE art history class,
     one in painting, one in sculupture, and NONE
     in PRINT MAKING or CERAMICS - ie, the "classics".
     -- thus, you end up taking classes over (which
        are spuriously labeled "COURSE XYZ, II" or
     "advanced" -- but, are really just "more of the
     same, with a special project". 

Now note well (before i get ranting about all of this)
I think the program IDEA is great, and it's going to
get there -- IF they keep their projected course CLEAR.

Also, there are CLEARLY WAYS to fix all of these problems
and i'm working on a course outline and sort of teachng
guide-lines as well (what audacity!!!! who does he think he is!!!)
But, hey: It ought to be pretty damned clear by now, that
i'm not your "usual" or "ordinary" student. I have those
skills that i have, and i know the ones that i don't have.

Taking to heart "Drity Harry's" dictim:

          A man's always gotta know his limitations.

Anyway the main probs with the program are:

  1) Growing pains. Let's face it, not only is this particular
     program new. But the whole idea is new. From a few googles
     through out the past couple of years, there are only about
     10 or 20 (maybe more - iceberg only 10% visible?) in the
     entire world. 
     It's a great idea, but still no one really knows which
     way the thrusters fire, and so far we've just been 
     skittering about in space using the ATTITUDE ADJUSTERS
     (which are meant for docking, guys!)

     And then since it's a new program, and the ACADEMIC STANDARDS
     are relaxed (gee, i get a real deja vu feeling about having
     written almost this exact paper in the past - and a lot of
     the people in the program prob wonder why i use the name
     "Frank Leeding" instead of my legal name; oddly, enough
     NO ONE challenges a rap/slam artist GNO (Geno) - i don't
     even bother to ask him what his real name is - of course,
     there's ALWAYS (sorry, Thomas) the old HIDDEN PREDJUDICES
     out there:  GNO happens to be black!  Go figure. So, what
     are we going to do with EINEM, FIFTY CENT, ETC???)

     So, part of the problem is admitting that ART CLASSES are
     just as legitimate TECH courses. Well, officially, but i
     sure as Joht! don't see many of their techie types signing
     up for painting, drawing, and def no scupture or design!!
     Looks pretty much "one way street to me".

  2) The courses all sort of "dump you in" to the TOOL that is
     featured. For example, (and we have to quote Mihai here)
     "I don't think that we should give a course which teaches
     you to program." -- pretty much an exact quote. And this
     spills out into all of the systems.

     Part of this goes back to the "techie" view of the whole
     program. Thus, we don't have acourse which teaches you:

         DOOM 3 - the main game-environment engine. Or its 
                  equivalent (Half Life, Real-Life-2, etc). 

         MAYA - the main CHARACTER generator.

         ANIMATION MASTER (or equiv) - the main way to take
                                       the "skelleton" of
                   one of the characters that you've created
                   and get it to move - think "marionette" here.

         MO-CAP - (motion capture) - so, part of this HAS to 
                  be tutorial - the main prof here is Midori
                  from Japan, a v. well established, talented,
                  affable teacher/researcher. Treuly a gem - to
                  bad the student's don't treat her with more
                  respect. Imagine a few techie types in the
                  MAC lab and Chu teaching surrealist drawing.
                  In this case (and i'e noticed in most of my
                  classes) when the prof is talking, most of
                  the class is doing their own thing. The 
                  classes are 99% held in the computer labs
                  so people are logging on, blogging, or whatever.

    So, this "learn the tool" policy (and yes, it's almost like an
    actual PUBLISHED policy) is pretty absurd when WE think about it.
    For example, when i took painting I (yes, even me) i didn't know
    what the hell "gesso" was (I ketp thinking they were saying "Just SO").
    And that's part of the prob - you have ONE class, nothing like
    PAINTING I, II, III, IV. So, everyone one is dumped into the same
    class - same as PRINTMAKING and CERAMICS.  

    Now notice the similarities in the pedagogical / didactical natures of
    the subject matter. That is "pedagogy" - literally how we "walk" down
    a course/trail of knowlege to teach it.  Didactic - literally what we
    CAN teach and HOW we can teach somethig.

    Of course both of these terms have LOTS of "baggage" - both positive
    and negative associated with them.
    In the case of printmaking (or Doom3) the one lab is all we have. We
    don't have a BEGINNNING LAB or an ADVANCED LAB. Notice that this would
    NEVER work in CHEMISTRY. In chemitry 101, the students don't know a
    buchner funnerl (read that as "gallery wrapped" canvas) from a regular 
    funnel (read that as "student grade, stappled on the side" canvas). 

    Thus, you can't just let them start using a $1 MILLION US NMR (nuclear
    magnetic resonance) - essentially a much smaller scale MRI thing that
    they scan your body with in a hospital, but used to scan individual
    molecules with.  So, you "break them in" by teaching them the basics.
    Now "lab-wise" i don't really see much difference here between C/S (tech)
    and CHEM (wet-lab-tech) -- really its all the same in analog PHOTOG as

    Beginning to make sense?  If they had some way to "test out of" CHEM 101/102
    (which (ahem, ego time!) *i* did in college - i'd attended a summer workshop
    in qualittative analysis - read that as advanced printmaking where you learn
    proper professional techniques in handling paper, lab prep, allignment, as 
    well as curatory pracitce. Who knew? i was a science geek and really turned
    on to actually be using Zinc Uranyl Acetate (pronounced like a certain 
    Chess Player's fountains origin) - but it actually HAD URANIUM IN IT!!!!
    -- turns out one of the FEW ways to *chemically* differentiate between 
    SODIUM (Na) and POTASSIUM (K) !!! With a $$$ Mass Spectrometer it's trivial.

    So, the internal structure of courses will HAVE to evolve (i can't see much
    of any other way) -- evolve or die! (as we darwinists say)
 3) TEAMS.  What a horrible joke.  Of course in the gaming world, you have to
            do this all the time. What happens is that you end up with (look
    at the credits at the end of SHREK or FINDING NEMO !) lots of different 
    people with different kinds of talents. No problem. But, of course the
    courses are designed to teach EVERYONE the same skills. So, you're 
    essentially COMPETEE-ING - and then you have to work on TEAMS ??????

    (scene missing) - edited for violence. 

       [director's/editor's cut:`
          First off, you get people working on an MA (like i was/did)
          then on an MFA - still not at all sure what the diff is in
          this program (eg, i can't imagine some one in an MFA in
          photog whose area is planographic printing, having to take
          a course in relief printing (digital re-mastering yes, 
          that makes sense), and then PHD students. So their focuses
          are necessarily different:

             Phd in Art taking the class in Doom 3 doesn't make sense!
             In theory they would have taken that in BFA/MA/MFA right?
             But, what if they wanted to "get a feel" for the aesthetics
             of Doom 3 so that they could see how this fits into their
             dissertation area of "the evolution of realism" and its
             impact before and after the camera.  Makes sense. But, the
             PHD student shouldn't be held to the same standards as
             the MFA (they should be held to the same standards as the
             MA) student. In fact an AUDIT by the PHD student sounds 
             better - but, then enters the $$$$ and DEGREE PLAN and
             TIME LIMITS of the whole university system.  (I can't
             for the life of me imagine one of my prof friends being
             tied to such things that ended up taking 6-1/2 years jsut
             ONE particular area of her PHD work!!!) 

             The "i want this degree" to get a job with PIXAR crowd.
             I'd say that this is 90% of the TECH group. It's the
             same as if you put GRAPHIC DESIGN + FINE ARTS people
             together: Our focus is different. And of course the
             "view from the outside" is: Well, at least the graphic
             arts people are more practical, what they know they can
             use to get a job." -- yeah right: Have any of those nimnils
             even looked at how competitive the graphic arts industry
             And that's not even talking about SKILLS, AESTHETICS, PERSONALITY
             and other focuses.  Sure, i have a pretty lousy colour sense,
             but when it comes to JUXTAPOSITIONS, FLANGES, and EDGES
             i've got it nailed. I still can't figure out R-G-B from a black
             hole - which is easy in R-Y-B !!! But, then sound FX, camera
             CUTS yes!  The idea is that a TEAM is built out of DIFFERENT
             skill sets -- something sadly missing. If i need help with
             sculptural thinks i'm going to ask a sculptor type (3d), colour
             -- hey, i have no prob going over to the painting lab (and this 
             actually happened) and asking HOW DO YOU MAKE ORANGE????

             pride, evny, embarrasement, ignorance, limitations - all part 
             of the mountain that we mistake for a mole-hill.


      Bottom line: Teams only work well, when they've worked well in the past.


  Breiefly, since "we artists" (what a phrase) - i actually don't use that
  phrase (and def not the way it was *apparently* used in the response from
  Mihai. I usually just say 'we' - it's actually something that i got out of
  a writing course that i took:

     1) Don't talk down to your audience. Assume they are pretty much
        like you. If you use an obscure technical term, then go ahead
        and define it. If it's something that over half of your  intended
        audeience should know don't be-little them by definig it.
        If you use a terms in an unusual way, use double quotes marks
        about it and then *briefly* indicate how you are using it
        differerntly from common practice.

     2) You don't have to use "sophisticated words" or references to sound
        more important or like you *really* know what you are talking about.
        This happens most often when you need to talk about some simple idea
        in a complex or unusal manner. For example, if you are talking about
        children's building blocks and you want to discuss how they are used
        then you may have to discuss the fact that they are often coloured
        in partciular ways. All of the arches are red, the long pieces are
        white, the cubes are blue, etc. The edges are all rounded off so
        that they are safe to handle. Just get on with it, and then tie
        it in with what you want to say. "What this means, is that the
        constructs can't be really geometric. You cant' bring the sharp
        points of two squares together the way that you cn in geometry
        and have them share a single vertex point - they touch at the
        edges of a small curve; giving them a "softer" contact dynamic.
        And the colour scheme can create contrasts that detract from
        the pure geometry of the design. Many times, it would be better
        to create 'customised' blocks all the same colour."

     3) When expressing something, describe it as you would to an
        intellegent 12-year old. Big words and obscure phrases more often
        than not just get in the way of clear discourse.

   Then there is the point that we all know about and try to ignore:

       Like there is some CERTIFICATION PROCESS we go through to
       become artists.

   What really happens is this:  We start painting (sculpting, drawing, etc) and
   at first we sheepishly say "well, yes i paint" or "i dabble" or "i find it
   relaxing".  And then (sooner or later if we continue long enough) we find
   that *somehow* we have BECOME an artist. A degree can't make you an artist,
   selling your stuff is not guarantee either. What ever it is that we artists
   are it just sort of happens. And then we still feel a bit sheepish, but we
   know that what-ever the transforming moment was it has happened, and CAN'T be
   un-done. We see an idea in our mind, we mull it over (or not) and then we
   pick up a brush (again, i'm using a paint brush for a pen/pencil, burnisher,
   clay loop, etc) and begin. It's really a wonder and a very odd one at that.
   And yet (like levitation) we somehow find ourselves just doing it. 

   And then comes the "outside world" - with all of its WESTERN TRADTIION and
   even worse its AMERICA IS NUMBER ONE weights and measures and scales.

   So, as a potter friend said about the whole "is it art or is it craft" junk
   (the equivalent to "a real artist has shows and sells paintings" or "you can
   tell real art - it looks like it took a long time and it looks like what it's
   suppoed to be", etc).

       "You know, i'm so busy doing art, 
        that i really don't have time 
        to enter into your discussion.
        Have a nice day."

   (i added the flipant last line - but we all think it: Why not say it.)

   And the bottom line is this (these):

   1) Artists have to do what artists have to do (or as i put it in the
      words of one of our greatest philosophers 

               "I yam, what i yam, and that's all that i yam"
                      -- Popey the Sailor

     "An artisk's gotta do whatsk an artistk's gotta do".

     If we don't then who will?

   2) Fuck the success shit.  

      Van Gogh sold 2 paintings, he was fired from his day job 
      (The prestidgeous Guptal Gallery in Paris) when they found
      out what kind of art he did.  

      For almost 20 years the ONLY place you could see a van Gogh
      or a Ceszane, etc was in the back storage room of Pere Tanguy's
      art supplied shop. He would often give art supplies to artists.

      Gorky was often accused of "just" copying Picasso or Miro.
      The thing is that they were COPY-ING a technique, a movement.
      Just becaus Miro became the most widely known example of
      bi-morphism doesn't mean he created it. Even ART PROGRAMS on TV/CABLE
      get it wrong:  Picasso didn't invent collage. It's been there as
      "flower arrangements", "place settings", "family scrap books", "quilts",
      etc, etc, etc. It turns out that at almost at the same intsant in
      totally different cieites Picasso and Braque "discovered" - tap-ed into
      the "truth network" of ideas and started doing collage. It only serves
      the "neat little package" idea of "art" in the public eye to say shit 
      like that.  That's part of what we have to do.

      The gratest achievement of Alessandra Comini isn't her art, or her
      teaching - but the fact that she "dug up" Egon Shiiele - and without
      her book "portraits" (that is mistook for "poets" with my eyesight)
      i would never have probably known of his work. Saved my soul, it did.

              We are all Gorky - that's the tragedy.

              We are all Picasso - that's the absurdity

              We are all Cassatt - that's the sadness.

      And we are all doomed to be Egon unless we change the way that the
      world - or at least those that *can* be saved - look at art.

      What ever that is.


              and other 


          (fill this space in)

     What ever that is.


  coda:  Well, that's pretty much it for this time.

         I'm tired.

         I stumble off my horse and prop my lance
           against the door so that the trolls who
           track me can not get in without waking.

         I feel as if Mihai has dealt me a death blow,
           and yet when (undressed and standing in 
           front of the broken mirror in my underwear
           looking at my broken, old body)

           i can't find the wound.

  Good night for now,
  Frank Xihote, the foolish old knight errant.         

(and then these words come to me - i found them by accident
 looking for another book in a library)


While we must conclude that by the formal and scientific definition of shaman the artist shares only indistinctly some of the characteristics, we are struck many similarities. The shaman selflessly undertakes to bear much of the responsibility of keeping the community in good health. Similarly, we take it upon ourselves to carry on the tradition of art through the ages, with little real hope of reward. Alternatively, the shaman is well integrated into their community entirely. But the artist is rarely so well integrated into any society or even with themselves. Indeed as Bayles and Rolland put it:

       Do artists have anything in common with 
       each other? Like any good question, that 
       one quickly generated a flurry of relatives:

         How do artists become artists?
         How do artists learn to work on their work?
         How can I make work that will satisfy me?
      It's an odd cluster -- not arcane enough, 
      perhaps to interest scholars, but too elusive 
      to attract pop psychologists. Perhaps, that's 
      just as well. We live in a world where the
      ready-made observations about art making are 
      typically useless, frequently fatalistic.
      How do you describe the (reader to place words 
      here) that changes when craft swells into art?

     Artists come together in the clear knowledge 
     That when all is said and done, they will return 
     to their studio and practice their art alone. 

     That simple truth may be the deepest bond we share.
     The message across time from the painted bison and
     the carved ivory seal speaks not of the differences
     between the makers of that art and ourselves, but
     the similarities. Today those similarities lay
     hidden beneath urban complexity - audience, critics,
     economics, trivia - in a self-conscious world. Only
     in those moments when we are truly working on our
      own work do we recover the fundamental connection we
      share with all makers of art. The rest may be
      necessary, but it's not art.

      Your job is to draw a line from your life to you your
      art that is straight and clear. [Bayles & Orland]

When all is said and done, the half-truth that we tell ourselves that we are shaman sustains us and allows us to go into our studios (alone), and pick up the brush.


Bayles, David and Orland, Ted (1983). Art and Fear. Capra. Santa     
        Barbara, California.

Bierhorst, John. (). The Mythology of Mexico and Central

---------- (1987). The Naked Bear: Folktales of the
           Iroquois. The William Morrow Company. New York.

---------  (). The Sacred Path: Spells, Prayers, and Power 
           Songs of the American Indians.

Choay, Francoise. (nd). "Jackson Pollock" in Dictionary of Modern 
       Painting. French Academic Press (trade reprints; nd). London.

Clarke, Arthur C. (1980). The Fountains of Paradise.
        Ballentine Books. New York.

Freeland, Cynthia. (2002). But is it art? Oxford University Press.

Gardner, Helen. (1970; 5th ed) Art Through the Ages.
         Harcourt-Brace. New York.

Langer, Susanne K. (1957, 3rd Ed.) Philosophy in a New Key 
        - A Study in the Symbolism Reason, Rite, and Art.
        Harvard Press. Cambridge (Massachusetts).

Matossian, Nouritza. (1998). Black Angel – The Life of Arshile Gorky. 
           Chatto & Windus. London.

Nehru, Sri Jawaharlal Nehru. (1962). Address to Ceylon 
       Association for the Advancement of Science, Colombo 
       Sri Lanka. As quoted in [Clarke, P. iv].

Roberts, J. M. (1992). History of The World.
         Oxford University Press. Oxford, England.


Armstrong, Robert Plant (1981). The Powers of Presence: Consciousness, 
           Myth, and Affecting Presence. Philadelphia. University of 
           Pennsylvania Press.

Deflem, Mathieu. 1991. “Ritual, Anti-Structure, and Religion: 
        A Discussion of Victor Turner’s Processual Symbolic 
        Analysis.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 
        30(1):1-25.  [web-ref]

Eliade, Mircea. Myths, Dreams, and Mysteries. 1957. Trans. Philip 

Feldman, Edmund Burke (1996). Varieties of visual experience.

Grimes, Ronald L. (1996) Readings in Ritual Studies. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Lessa & Vogt. (1970) Entry: “Shaman” in Man, Myth & Magic: An 
              Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural. Vol. 19. 
              Richard Cavendish, ed. New York: Marshall Cavendish.

Parezo, Nancy J. (ca 1983) Navajo SandPainting: From religious act to commercial Art. Tuscon, Ariz. University of Arizona Press.

Rappaport, Roy A. [Grimes: Pp.427-440] The Obvious Aspects of Ritual. Grimes: OpCit.

Saint_, Toni (2001). "Liminality and Altered States of Mind in Cyberspace"
        "toni.sant@nyu.edu".  [web-ref]

Smith, Johnathon Z. [Grimes, P.478-481].The Bare Facts of Ritual. Grimes: OpCit.

Silvester, Mary Nicole. (2006). The Artist as Shaman: Madness, Shapechanging, 
           and Art in Terri Windling's The Wood Wife.
           Downloaded on Nov. 21, 2006 from   

Staniszewski, Mary Anne (1975). Believing Is Seeing: Creating the 
              Culture of Art. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall 

Turner, Victor W. (1967) Symbols in Ndembu Ritual. Grimes: OpCit, 
        Pp. 520-529.

Turner, Victor (1969). "Liminality and Communitas" in The Ritual   
               Process. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Van Gennep, A. (1960). The Rites of Passage. Chicago, Ill: The University of Chicago Press.

||  night, all.
||   Frank.  The artist *still* known as "The" Richard T.
||                                        the poet 't'
||                        and of course:  jim


==== Frank's signature signature,

Frank R.H. Leeding; "Leeding" - pronounced like the mineral Pb.

When any idea is banned, no one is safe.

Sheesh, the internet is such a wonderful thing: 

        You can surf along at Two Hundred Thousand 
        MegaPixels per hour -- but to where??

Check out my web site:  http://www.angelfire.com/art3/fleeding

Also:  http://www.myspace.com/frankleeding (almost daily blog)

vids:  http://www.youtube.com/frankleeding

most recent weirdness:  http://www.angelfire.com/planet/iconosphere-zix/index.html


NOTE: No fractals, ducks, or iconospheres were harmed in the making of this work. Peace to all, frank.