Monday, September 28, 2009


So here's where I'm at.

New York has raised a big proverbial middle finger to the Fall season and welcomed Winter into our midst with wide open, down-parka'd, arms. As of yet I still keep my windows open some nights. I like to say it is the cold that makes me sleep better but I'm going to take a moment to revise that statement: It is not the cold that aids in my sleeping, rather it is having cold all around me and the act of huddling, cocoon-like, in my blankets; that warm, safe, protected from the elements around me feeling is what makes me sleep nicely ( much preferred over those muggy nights where I sleep splayed out on top of the covers like I was just dropped from some immense height onto my bed) . Now sleeping is nice, but waking up is the real pain in the ass these days. I don't want to leave warm den of blankets which I've encased myself in. Especially to do work outside in an unheated shop. But eventually I get up and get out of bed... and this month, I've decided, will be exceptionally taxing. My local social network is made up of the migrant workers I play soccer with and they all seem to hibernate when it's cold. All work and no play makes October a productive month. I've decided I'm going to bang out some serious work over the course of these next four weeks. I'm headed out west come November and I hope to be bringing along some of the most vicious and diabolical pieces to date (for a group show in LA), including a tricycle riding demon and an evil little girl amongst others. Also I'm working on a new website due to drop sometime this month. For now I'll unleash a little more dragon.

Cranberry Vanilla Trailmix Crunch and the Pursuit of Happiness

Well today was the Jewish day of Repentance: Yom Kippur. A fast day. No food from 6:30 the night before until 7:30 the night of. Not a tremendous feat but enough to make you really really hungry. I have an inimitable way of always breaking my fast with a ridiculously heavy food and eating it with great fervor, such that I am almost always struck woefully ill immediately following. Nonetheless, fasting in such a way truly makes me appreciate food; my tenacity towards eating, though tonight it is cut short due to self induced over-eager-indulgancy, will commence with renewed zeal tomorrow. Multiple bowls of my favorite Cranberry Vanilla Trailmix Crunch will be consumed. Fasting like this truly brings to light what a joy and a privilege eating actually is. A privilege we modernized humans take highly for granted. I may even go as far to say that the ease to which food is attainable is one of the single most principal reasons for the turmoil which exists within so many minds today. Depression, anxiety, lament, rage, so often directed towards the self or towards others... but why. Well a friend of mine (Michael O. Jones) recently posited that man's plight all started when we developed hands, a brilliant theory which I cannot properly expound upon; the theory I can expound upon is that of our overly accessible food supply. Just think if all day we, like most all other living creatures on this planet, spent our day seeking food. Seeking food that isn't easily attainable (and I don't mean to lessen the struggle of making money and actually buying food), if all day we hunted and gathered I don't think we would have as much time for petty human-condition type problems. All our emotions would be directed pretty much at the outcome of how our search for food panned out and success would be punctuated with glory and happiness.

Okay, I'm definitely over simplifying matters here. I can attest to the fact that my theory has it's share of holes in it, such as ignoring all the advancements in technology and human ingenuity. Granted. But it's all too often that we hear about people without joy in their lives, our friends, our family, and most frequently those glorified celebrities who are plied with drugs and alcohol and usually call it quits at an age much below average. So where's the joy? Where's the love at? What happened to people really appreciating shit? Like "Goddamn, this bowl of cereal tastes good, maybe I shouldn't take all these horse tranquilizers tonight..." It's hard to really take stock of what you have, instead of trying to find what you're missing. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from something that we all take entirely for granted. To take a step back and truly appreciate something. Just think of how great breathing must feel for the recently asphyxiated.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ugolina, Sated.

Ugolina della Gherardesca. Mentioned in Canto's XXXII and XXXIII of Dante's Inferno, while alive he was trapped in a tower with his two sons and grandsons and starved to death and confronted with the pleas of his children to nourish himself with their bodies. As if his pain in life was not enough, Dante subjects him, in his poem, to infinite torture by encasing him in ice up to his neck, shoulder to shoulder with the man who locked him into his prison while he was alive.

(sculpture is slightly unfinished)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Infinite Dijestion

Well I just finished Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace) a couple days ago and I still don't feel like I've full recuperated. The book is so mammoth, simply in size, that I feel like I'm missing an actual physical entity now that it's over. I spent about two months lugging it's child sized girth around with me and I read it to the point where the back cover ended up being used as my bookmark, and now it sits, worn and ragged, on my bookshelf. The books physical presence, however, pales in comparison to the mental footprint it left. The book cultivated such an incredible world; each character, though all seemingly reflective of the author, was so painfully individual and human that I felt I knew them better than I know my own friends and family. Each character was so fraught with emotion and contradiction that, no matter how extreme, they were all likable.... Here I could choose to turn this into something of a book review or synopsis, but right now that seems highly unnecessary. This is not an attempt to persuade people to read Infinite Jest, it may even be the opposite, though I'm quite sure that it was the greatest book I've ever read (I think?). One of the principal ideas streaming through the book is that of Addiction, of dependency, and about coping with a loss of that addiction. The book, for me, had an addictive quality and I found myself unexcited about doing much anything besides laying in bed and reading (especially towards the end). Now I will not say anything of how the book ended, only that the ending left me feeling.... slack, empty...At a loss? It's hard to describe how I felt when the book ended, I wanted to cry and scream and curl up into a little ball and tear the book to pieces and then apologize to it and hold it tape it tenderly back together all in one split second. Now that the slackness of my jaw and the rawness of my being has subsided I'm left with a feeling much like pondering infinity. Something thats both incredibly natural and totally incomprehensible. All these feelings almost have a beauty to them that I would cherish if it weren't for the fact that the Author eventually took his own life or as he would have put it "De-mapped himself". Now I wonder if I can ever forgive him for consuming my mind so absolutely, to leave me poking at the void which his book left smoldering in it's wake, when in the end he himself couldn't stand workings of the very mind I've grown so fond of...

(something of sculpture in response is in the works)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Zac Max on Tucker Max: An Inconvenient Truth

Well, I know the man has a legion of detractors out there and I don't mean to be one of those nay-saying activists, I'm not. I actually think he's quite funny, though I often wish I didn't. When his so called non-fictional prose was posted on a website the guy was mostly-harmless (to use a phrase coined by Douglas Adams), even when it became a book it was no threat to our population. Bear with me on this one. When he was simply a blogger/writer and went around recounting his tales of drunken debauchery, his words only reached as far as those who sought them out. Not everyone loves reading enough to scroll through page after page of blog entry. Though of course he amassed quite a following, because, readerly or not, plenty of people got hooked on his crude humor and probably got sucked into living a little vicariously through him (especially those escaping their bookish lifestyle). Now I'm sure a mid-sized cross section of his followers went out to bars and clubs and tried to emulate (doubtful successfully) his douchbaggy demeanor and super-up-front-with-chicks mentality. And now he's releasing a movie about his exploits.

This is where things begin to spiral out of control a little. Using the in-you-face mass media quality of big screen could have detrimental effects on the, much loved, American bar-scene. Tucker max embodies this sort of ultra-asshole-proto-male. Now allowing proof, that his vulgar witticisms are successful in attracting the opposite sex, to seep out, will be enough to cause great ecological bar scene changes. Mimicry of Tucker's obvert assholishness will reach unprecedented levels. One specifically deplorable traits of Tucker's is his personal vendetta with those who are physically less fortunate. Now replace the scripted wit of Tucker Max with drunken mimicry and overblown boozed up egos and you have some seriously reprehensible behavior. Not to mention that the fervor for his up-comming movie will only be snowballed by the many protestors and activist who think he's simply a sleaze ball. Those people are just fueling the fire. His extremist nature is fed by people who hate him, otherwise who is he gonna say "blow me" to? Tucker Max's humor needs to be taken with more than just a grain of salt; it needs the whole biblical-turned-around-Lot sized pillar. If people don't see through him than we may just be melting the polar ice caps of douchbaggery, and that my friends is the Inconvenient Truth.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

writing for writings sake.

What a strange species we are, us humans. We do such silly things like build really tall buildings and make cars that belch smoke and level mountains and clear forests. Oh to be human. We seem to be constantly digging away at the surface of our planet hoping to find something new that we can use for our own benefit, creating entire governments and societies around these non-replenishable resources that have been stumbled upon in a fortuitous windfall by a lucky few. Golly. I mean no wonder Lottery is so popular. Lottery in tandem with prayer is even more popular.

Maybe there is a set composition to every human. Within us there are certain criteria we need to fulfill in one way or another. We need something to do, to actively do, every one of us needs some sort of daily objective, even if the objects goal is to sit around and do nothing, thats the drive. Than we all have our various cravings, food, drink, sleep, sex, love, power, substance, whatever. Most of which we tend to in moderation, each one filling in a necessary node of our existence. But beyond fulfilling these things in moderation we need a single focal point. One of those things to be picked out of the hat ( insert here some sort of long winded nature vs nurture argument on how we derive our focus, as opposed to my more sweeping randomness theory) and really go at that one thing or combination of things. We need that central focus to drive us, even if that focus is the aforementioned nothingness; everyone must have something to push towards. I think we are all subject to our own ebbs and flows as well, that everyone pulses to some sort of rhythm, some more jarringly rapid than others. Some people pulsate every hour in some sort of strange rhythmic bipolarity and others may have seasonal swings and shifts some have both; all have something. No one is static.
I'm not sure what I'm getting at or, probably more correctly, if I want to use this blog as the sounding board for arriving wherever I may arrive...

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I think as an aspiring artist it's ones job to kind of overproduce everything. Not to just shoot for par. Let people expect something moderately cool or interesting and then give them something that makes them do one of those double-takes or mouth-agape-with-awe faces. But I also have to strike a balance; to subsist off my art is to create within my means and still give people more than what they expected. Well I've recently been commissioned to sculpt a Dragon, maybe something like seven feet tall or so with a nice expansive wing-span and I'm being paid... well lets not discuss monetary issues, lets just say I've gone well beyond the call of duty (thats what I'm really trying to get at here). The sculpture is getting out of hand. I mean I can no longer lift even the head (pictured her in a stage much lighter than it's current, more fleshed out, manifestation), or rather I shouldn't lift the head and I did already much to the dismay of my shoulders which have this weird electric tingling sensations shooting through them. So now I have this giant dragon in my small shop and it's taking up all my work space, so I can't really work on other projects in the mean time and the body is so fuckin' heavy I can't move it around, the head needs two people to get it off the ground, I still have light fixtures to install (the eyes light up and it will project a red light out from it's mouth. Also I know nothing about wiring and electricity), I have spikes to adorn, two large wings to fabricate and on top of all that I'm going to have to cut it into pieces and re-assemble it on location. Oh boy.
more pictures coming soon.

Monday, September 07, 2009

T' each his own.

I've had my head filled by the words and thoughts of so many others. Specifically those who have been given the roll of packing it with information they deemed  Academically Necessary (regardless of whether I agreed with them or not). Who are these multiple ushers that have been loading me with their personalized brands of wisdoms? why Teachers of course. So I'm taking this time to bid them one last a'due and reflect back on my academic career.

Elementary school: An 11 year stint consisting of four hours of Jewish studies in the morning and four hours of standard all-american curriculum in the afternoon. A strange statistic that all the girls in my grade would turn out to become extremely orthodox and all the boys completely secular which really always makes me wonder what they were teaching those girls. 
One teacher of note: 
Rabbi Litt (Hebrew studies 4th - 8th grade) - a short, musically gifted violinist, with a terrible caffein addiction and occasionally off-the-handle stern policies.  The man would drink something like thirteen cups of Coffee a day and pace back and forth across the room, write something with a violent rapid motion on the board, go back to pacing and then scratch is his back, intensely, on the corner of a wall. Recess was awaited anxiously by pretty much everyone. 

Highschool: I was none too excited when I entered into the backwater clutches of Liberty High. I weighed in at maybe 90 pounds and stood about 4'9 upon inception. It took me a little while to adjust but eventually I would grow (I'm now 5'8 or so) to amass a large group of close friends and form what some might construe as meaningful  relationships with many of the teachers there

"Big" Ernie Feasel (10th grade history/government) - A very large, globe-like, individual with a heart warming laugh and welcoming smile and a very cynical, carefree manner. He enforced a strict Free-Speech policy in his class-room which made his class interesting, unsettling, argumentative and occasionally dangerous.

Ed Helbig ( 11th grade history)- More or less uninteresting in every respect.  I never paid much attention to the class or the homework but I generally made up for it with high test scores. At the end of the year I inexplicably had a 59 for my final term average and I was unable to contact him (he'd been fired) and he wouldn't return my calls. Finally I reached him mid summer using a different phone number only to have him call me a "Weasel" and that I "Brought the whole class down" and then he hung up the phone. Never really understood that one.

Mr. Trizinsky (11th and 12th grade english) - A veritable madman and my personal favorite. A big white bearded man who hobbled around the hallways with a suitcase in hand wearing big square glasses and some sort of woodland-patterned wool sweater. He would grade his students with grades like F++++++++, he would squirt the class with water and kick the garbage can relentlessly. His main mode of communication was non-verbal grunts and slow angry hand gestures. I always thought of him as large polar bear who somehow stumbled into an english classroom and wasn't quite sure what he was doing there. 

College: I don't recall learning that much in college, though I sure had a good time (see post below). There were a few teachers though, who I will not soon forget.

Carol Bankerd (design 1) - I don't think I understood one word this woman said. Most of it had to do with the "juxtaposition!" of "curvilinear!" and "orthogonal!" and every sentence was punctuated the words "Right Yes!". The women struck me as out of her mind and the class made me nauseous.. or maybe that was the night before.

John J. Rais (Master Class - Metal) - a visiting artist in his mid thirties who taught blacksmithing. John would go out to dinner with us after every almost every class and tell us stories of his delinquent teen years (fuckin' great stories). John remains a good friend and is one of the finest artists I know.

Phil Listengart (Bronze Casting, et al.) - No words could possibly do justice in describing how fantastic of a teacher Phil Listengart actually is. The man teems with knowledge, which he imbues passionately into the minds of his devoted students. I worked directly under Phil as one of his assistants and would regularly stay in the shop until three or four in the morning preparing molds and mold materials for his bronze casting class.  Anything phil said, goes.

There were many other teachers that I've had, who I've really liked, but they just weren't crazy enough to make the grade. To those I give an emphatic B+ just as they usually gave me.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

No more teachers, though drastically more books.

So it is that time of year where summer is waning and everyone is ruminating about how quickly our north-eastern sector will dive into the depths of it's frigid winter. We all muse about how deplorable it is, but we all endure... somehow. This will be the first year whence my safety net is pulled out from beneath me. No more school. Period. Somehow I've never really felt the safety of that net though... I knew it was always technically there, but it never really felt all that net-like to me, I always felt I was pretty deep into the game (real-life) already. For me school was just one big football huddle before the actual action started (the summer being full contact). It was the comfort of camaraderie that made School worth while to me (not so really what I was being taught there), the vast social network that could easily be turned into a metaphor for that thing the Emperor Penguins do in the Antarctic where they slowly shift to the middle, taking turns bearing the brunt of the load (I'm not going to actually come up with the metaphor, but I know it's there somewhere). So this all seems like a big change, right? I'm 22 and say 20 of those years were spent with more than half of my time on loan to a cast of different characters* in various different academic establishments. And now, just ... not. 

I went back to Purchase today to sort out some ever-present financial issues and install a sculpture, that chapter of my life is officially closed. No more college . See normally, I'd be all frenzied to do what college kids tend to do when the new school year starts; celebrate with lots and lots of cheap beer; Whilst hungover I would vacantly attend my classes and as the hangover finally subsides I would squeeze in some generous video game playing just before it was time to start drinking again. Ah Purchase college. All the parties that are exactly the same, all the kids whose futures are in Williamsburg, all the strung out dancers and identity crisis-ing actors. I waved goodbye to all that today, and I realized: I got a lot of fuckin time on my hands now. Books! I can actually read again! And make some big sculptures without feeling like I'm neglecting certain social and alcohol related obligations! ... I mean shit, I don't even want to drink anymore.... Ya know, I'm really lookin forward to this coming fall.  (winter still sucks)


holy shit....

I just remember how fantastic sleeping is! 

*blog entry about the many interesting/excellent/crazy teachers whom i've had in my extensive school-life, coming soon.