Posts Tagged ‘factory’

Musing About Andy Warhol’s Factory

April 28, 2013
Finishing the Cafe Still LIfe

Finishing the Cafe Still LIfe

Cafe Still Life

Cafe Still Life

I think Kerry Cash is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, luthiers in all of north Texas.  I have taken guitars to him a number of times for him to work on, and noticed that he would easily have more than fifty guitars arranged around the shop, with work tickets, waiting their turn.  My father, a retired auto mechanic, said that was how you could always tell a good and trustworthy independent mechanic with his own shop–if you saw his entire lot filled with vehicles waiting their turn.  People were willing to wait, knowing the mechanic was excellent and honest.

What always surprised me about Kerry, is that he would take my guitar, tell me he had 50-75 guitars in the shop already, and it could be a couple of weeks before I would hear from him.  Yet, I would always get his phone call in two-to-four days.  One day I asked him how he did this, and his response was that, when the guitars stacked deeply as to 50-75, he would dedicate a particular day to “cleaning up” by moving to the top of the list all the “small jobs” that didn’t take long to complete.  By day’s end, he was delighted to have more than twenty guitars leaving the shop.

That is how I feel about the watercolors that have been stacking up the past week-and-a-half.  I’m ready to start cleaning some of them out.  Hence my blue pail and my cafe still-lifes.  On this cafe piece, I’ve been working all over on the table cloth, pushing it more around the perimeter of the composition, extending the pattern in all directions.  I’ve also tweaked the shadows and definitions on the spectacles case.  I think I am very near finishing it as well, and will lay it aside for now.

I have titled this blog entry “Musing About Andy Warhol’s Factory,” because I have loved for over ten years every story I could read about Warhol’s Factory before his 1968 tragedy.  I was always amazed at his output, his energy, and the way he kept so many art projects going at the same time, and kept cranking them out, as though on an assembly line.  Ever since I have set up this garage studio, this Man Cave, I have laughed at it being my Factory, without the parties, the company, the drugs, the rock music, all the craziness with which Warhol kept himself surrounded during those wild years.  My Factory is quiet, especially at night, and even now during this Sunday. And I’m glad to be finishing up some work.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


A Retreat into The Factory

September 23, 2012

The Recollections 54 Factory

Today has demanded a different kind of “energy” from me.  Whereas I have spent several days in retreat in my studio, finishing some original watercolors, today I have worked in a different room on a different task–framing, printing, matting, sleeving, signing and packing inventory for my upcoming festival in St. Louis (Taste of St. Louis).

The tasks haven’t kept me from planning my next series of paintings (“My Town 63050”) or reading Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, or even Steven Watson’s Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties.  I have enjoyed some quiet reading, writing, planning and reflection.  But today was spent, for the most part, bent over tables and workbenches doing the busy tasks demanded from mass production.  Even though Andy Warhol is usually my muse during such endeavors where I often listen to DVD documentaries covering his “Factory” production lifestyle, today I have enjoyed art films such as the motion picture Pollock, along with DVD documentaries featuring Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell.  Though alone, I have felt the companionship of great solitary artists from the past, creative heroes who still inspire me to push on and find new paths.

Pictured here is a stack of prints ready for packing, along with a few originals.  The festival is only a few days away, and over 600 miles.  I’m starting to feel the excitement of this new adventure.

Thanks for reading.

Uh-Oh. Another Warhol in the Making

August 21, 2012

Maxwell House Watercolor in Progress

Good evening from the studio.  As some of you know, I am now neck-deep in back-to-school Inservice meetings (some of them as interesting as watching paint dry).  I am determined that school this year will not derail my blogging.  I had too many excuses for my blog going on semi-hiatus this summer (all of them poor ones).  I will not let this happen again.  This year’s school schedule will not be the black nightmare of last year’s.  I am happy to return to only six classes to teach, all of them subjects I enjoy.

Andy Warhol still resonates with me.  He died at the age where I find myself now (58), and this is sobering.  I have not made the mark yet that I wish to make with my contribution to the artistic enterprise, and perhaps I will not.  But right now, the inclination to explore and experiment is very strong with me, so I am making a concerted effort to explore alternatives while at the same time developing the genre that I have tried to anchor in recent years (and still remain a somewhat-decent school teacher).

I went to the Man Cave and fished out this Maxwell House tin that I purchased a long time ago in an Oklahoma antique store along Route 66.  My earliest “Proustian” childhood memories include the sound of the stove-top percolator gurgling in the pre-dawn, and my sitting in a high chair at the breakfast table, watching my father eat bacon and eggs before leaving for work as a garage mechanic.  I still remember the aromas and the warmth I felt in that safe world.  I don’t believe my parents drank Maxwell House (actually it was 8 O’Clock Bean) but that goofy commercial that made the percolating sounds musical will be stuck with me throughout my life, I confess.

Thanks for reading.  I think this painting has dried enough for me to push it further down the road to completion.  I started it this afternoon as soon as I got home from school, and I hope to have quite a bit more done before retiring to bed later.

Re-Visiting Andy Warhol’s Factory

May 23, 2012

Ghost of Eureka Springs Past

No, this is not a painting of Andy Warhol’s Factory.  This is actually a limited edition giclee that I am bringing out for the first time at this weekend’s art festival at Arlington’s Levitt Pavilion.  My “factory” sentiment kicks in every time I get ready for an art festival.  Andy Warhol regarded himself as a “commercial person” and “a machine,” and named his studio “The Factory.”  It was located on the fifth floor of 231 East 47th Street (a former hat factory), and it served as his “Factory” from 1962-1968.  In that space, he and his associates mass-produced his silk screen prints, cranking them out as if on an assembly line.

My own factory is located in whatever designated room in my home or garage I use to spread out my stuff, and begin matting, shrinkwrapping, printing, pricing and labeling.  I have been doing that every night this week, and will continue to do so until I leave for the festival Friday at noon.  I actually enjoy the process, once I get into the groove.  But so far, this week, I haven’t “grooved”!  I’m usually pretty tired by the time I get home from school all day (the day always starts at 6:00), and this week, I can honestly say that the “muse winds” have not really kicked in.  But–I still have 48 hours, so perhaps something will stir by then.

I do enjoy the business side of art.  I would rather be working on a painting, but this is a nice change of pace.  And I do enjoy meeting people once I’m set up at an art festival (and I like even more selling to the people!).  There will be terrific music at this event, free to the public, with concerts featuring Michael Martin Murphey, Ray Wiley Hubbard and Asleep at the Wheel.  Large crowds are expected, and I’m really looking forward to the event.

The painting posted is the heart of the historic district of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where I will travel in a few weeks to teach a 5-day workshop on plein air painting in watercolor.  I take my students to the historic district and we take our pick of vintage architecture, flower beds, cliffs and any one of the myriad subjects presented to us in the open air.  The experience has been very rewarding, and I am returning for my third consecutive summer.

Well, I guess it’s back to the assembly line.  It’s getting late already.

Thanks for reading.