My WORLDS exhibit in Kansas City (14th and Baltimore) will remain installed until November 2nd. After that it will teleport and reopen in San Diego on November 8th (949 W. Hawthorne) for the Kettner night openings!
tall tales / social security
2013, 27”x20” inkjet print
routes / roots
2013, 30”x42” watercolor and acrylic on paper
My earliest memory is looking up at stars with west African coastal streetlamps flying by, while being packed into the backseat with the rest of my parent’s worldly possessions.
On my last journey to Africa, I climbed to the top of a mound (Sakat, 1000 ft) in a line of mounds that demarcated the Kenya/ Uganda border. I remember the villages in the bush resembling the dot paintings on the mud huts. It was like a stick and poke tattoo that both shows the tribe and history while mapping a time, place and people. We are both shaping and shaped by the marks we make and the paths we choose.
paths to unfold what is already known / unyielding gift
2013, 30”x42” acrylic on paper
second helping / home away from home
2013, 27”x20” inkjet print
I remember the wonderful chaos of juggling soup and social intersections when opening my doors to the community for Sunday night dinners. I really remember the peace of the empty house after it was over and my shoes were finally off.
I often think about the joy and terror of being an oversize passenger on my way to a wedding in the high Himalayas. The most beautiful views were not documented due to hanging on to a tire for dear life while loaded with the luggage on top of the truck for a 6 hour cliffhanging trek up to a village near the Bhutanese border. Home is the friction and warmth of sharing life.
I’m in the signature Randy Taylor “super productivity mode” to finish the work for my exhibition in Kansas City and San Diego, move out of my house, build a new portfolio, and finally by the end of the year to traverse the globe and start something new in Berlin.
Its comedic or simply appropriate how my new work is a reflection on Kairos (qualitative time+opportune moments/experiences) and Diaspora (transitional space+indeterminate movements/relocations). I love how these two seem to always go together. They place life’s value outside of the realm of control and yet if we’re paying attention and are prepared for the journey, we can make something beautiful happen within and through the context of the unforeseen.
This year I’ve been using graphite in my sketchbook to be my free zone to play. to not critique. to meditate. to use as an icebreaker with a pretty girl at the coffeeshop. to focus. to question. to try. to pray. to explore. to listen. to release. to be present. to record. to reflect. to create. to remember.
These are some of the images that have accompanied my year and shaped my new work.
Missing the Bandwagon.
It was 4 years ago when I made the “Yeti, I love you” shirts and posters with Ryan Beye and all the rockstars at Bandwagon. I was heading to Nepal without a clue to what the Himalayas would hold for me on my life journey. I had rubbermaid tubs stationed in my more stable friend’s basements (Nathan & Michelle) while what would amount to my worldly possessions were all packed in a backpack. What I remember most about the preparatory time before I left, was the sense of community and encouragement to follow my heart while taking on the responsibility to not let the relationships fall away.
(Ryan Beye fist pump)
"Can we start again
Go back to what it meant back then
Open minds and open hearts
The things that set us apart
Was it more than words
And do they still apply
And do you still believe
Well so do I”
After a very hard few months, Bandwagon reopens in the KC Crossroads tonight at their new location on 19th St. I will be celebrating with them as well as preparing for my own new beginning. Somewhere between couch surfing and camping;
I am going to make art (work),
investigate communities (eat),
and reconnect relationally to the people I love (play).
I will be heading out to the west coast sometime this fall with a backpack of new ideas to share. Maybe I’ll show up on your porch to make art or host a meal for your neighbors or throw a dance party on the roof of your workplace. I’m excited and encouraged to rejoin the bandwagon and follow my heart this coming season. Maybe you’ll join me. Maybe I’ll host you. Probably we’ll surprise each other.
form shadows. (appearance) Its the slow gradients of time and experience that cumulatively shape our particular slice of reality. The closer to the source of illumination, the more we perceive to have depth.
cast shadows. (interference) Its the projection of shape upon another. The instantaneous reference to the direction of illumination in stark contrast with the chasm in between.
foreshadows. (referents) Its the essential personal relationship of subjects connecting through and with the means of objects and vice versa.
I’ve had a forced sabbatical from painting and facilitating festivals this past month. I’m good at filling my life to the brim. Self generated stress cycles disconnect me from the community that I’m ironically trying to support. Wouldn’t you know that this is the perfect time for a little brown spider to bite my chest. My body, my manic activities and idealism came to a grinding halt this month, while leaving me to discover much of my sense of value in the fragility of life and relationships.
Nothing reminds me of what has been left unsaid/undone more than the weightlifting weezy sound of anaphylactic shock at 3 in the morning. Fighting myself for life, my swollen bronchioles make it feel like I’m drowning in the heavy air. I’ve got right now to learn how to cry but not the breath to cry out. This is not rest. This is not Sabbath. This is justice and the pain of honest reflection. Emptiness is a double edged sword that opens the fullest of schedules.
Making room for time.
With myself deflated, contemplating my compulsive carpe diem free jazz behavior, the universe has made it more than evident that a good rest is essential for a good rhythm. I’m really good at proclaiming goals, projects, and new ideas but I’ve had to stop. At least long enough to be present to my location and the relationships most proximate. I’m hoping health is in the cards for the near future and I know that its not simply going to fall into my lap, my community, and my culture. On that note, I’m going to take a nap now and retreat for a little while into the shadows. See you on the other side.
Marina Abramovic meets Ulay
“Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again. at her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing it and this is what happened.”
“En los años 70, Marina Abramovic mantuvo una intensa historia de amor con Ulay. Pasaron 5 años viviendo en una furgoneta realizando toda clase de performances. En 1988, cuando su relación ya no daba para más, decidieron recorrer la Gran Muralla China, empezando cada uno de un lado, para encontrarse en el medio, abrazarse y no volver a verse nunca más. En 2010 el MoMa de Nueva York dedicó una retrospectiva a su obra. Dentro de la misma, Marina compartía un minuto en silencio con cada extraño que se sentaba frente a ella. Ulay llegó sin que ella lo supiera, y esto fue lo que pasó”
(Source: carlosbaila, via mattfractionblog)
I get frustrated with the title artist. I dont even want to make paintings…at least the objects. (I really hate selling myself) I imagine shaking all of my work and making it disappear like an etch-a-sketch.
But I love painting. Like singing and making love, its expressive, transcendant and life making. Like exploring, its an adventure and search to find the gems of the journey. Like truth, it informs the present and reminds us to stay humble, or try again, or simply to encourage our continued learning, growing, and transforming. I love the process of becoming. of participating.
I love sharing. My life is a disasterous gift. To myself and to anyone who would receive it. I want to witlessly give it all away. I really love people. For all of the messes we make relationally, ecologically, morally and otherwise…. our story is still a diverse and unfolding mystery. I long to be more human. to see through many eyes. walk in many shoes. taste, feel, and know beyond my own limitations. I love exploring our mysteries.
I love playing. Letting go of fear is life giving. I am not a calculator, yet taking risks still must be tempered by wisdom. There is a place where the blank canvas is not a daunting task but the muse herself. She beckons us out of our heads to create with our hearts & establish, in the long run, a new kind of being.
I love the draw of love and hope for the marks I make( and the ones we make together) to find a way into and through this mystery.
Tears turn crystalline in the cold.
Soft and silent, they recollect on the ground.
Water, still sacred to the body, takes a new form.
Peace, my dear friend.
My stomach is in knots. I’m packed and leaving for Africa. The advent season always gets me meditating on Mary. Making room where there seems to be no room. Giving birth to new life is a “stretch”, a social risk, and is far from easy. What better icon of transformation is an unmarried homeless pregnant refugee woman that is about to give birth to the king! Wonderfully scandalous in all the right ways.
What will this next day hold? My body shakes with anticipation.
Next month I will be travelling to a place on Earth that has been the home of humans for all of human history. I will walk in the great rift valley of western Kenya amongst the Pokot people. Continuing a project(and relationship) fostered by my friends at BNIM and my community at Jacob’s Well, myself and a few others will be helping with the building of a school in Asilong near the border of Uganda.
With the artist brand hanging over my head, I often feel like I am slipping through the cracks of my own community, but the more I take responsibility for my creative occupation and hold on to the cultural fringes, the more my residence in the cracks bridges the divide. There are surprises that each world view takes for granted that within the context of relationship help to broaden and nourish the shared cultural horizon. As an artist I recognize my true calling is that of an astronaut, exploring the vastness of the unknown while shedding new light on my own limited view.
Many of you know about my obsession with the origins of culture and civilization through all my ranting, riffing, and exploration of different theories for everything. I am going to Africa with an open heart, mind, and spirit to see what can be found… and found out, built… and built upon, lived… and lived out. I will probably be making art, studying language, learning dances and songs, making sure walls are square, exploring strange foods, and fostering new dimensions of relationship between my Kansas City community and the community in Asilong.
I have recently been reminded of how well supported my art and life have been over the past 10+ years in Kansas City(&Los Angeles, New York, Kathmandu, and Bangalore). I could not be me without you.
If you don’t own one of my paintings, but would like to have one, I have plenty to share and want to make that happen. There are 20 paintings from my Passages
show that need homes and I would gladly take donations or work out a minimal payment plan.(each is 400.00) Obviously the immediate funds would go towards this trip but your real payment is opening your home to host a part of me. Your involvement, sentiment, and relationship are my strength and embody my faith and encourage me through this season and the seasons to come.
I will be gathering written greetings, photos, and other media to bring with me to Asilong from you over the next 3 weeks. Thanks for you just being you and allowing me to be me.
With loads of unexpected love, joy, and peace.
Traditions often hinge on transitions.
It only takes a hint of cold to spark the fall color change. Even now the “flyover country” ignites with unforeseen beauty as curiosity shrouds the midwestern secrets of tradition, culture, and season.
In the midwest, if you don’t like the weather, just wait. Change is in the air and you can generally feel it. I started this weekend at the art openings in the Crossroads of Kansas City. (Sam Billen’s album release/James Barrr’s modified found paintings) The 50 degree drop called for an upgrade to apex insulated gloves for my bike ride downtown and into the weekends adventures.
Some of my comrades at BNIM took over 4 of 7 lanes of Grand Ave to temporarily add bike lanes, public art, trees, and usable public space to help re-imagine the urban landscape(betterblockkc)
At the same time, in the Stockyard district, the world series of BBQ was taking place at the American Royal. It was a sea of smokers, RVs, and culinary delight!
In response to the smoked meat clouds hovering over the city, I prepared a vegan chili that I call “Jackie Chan” (and made tacos) before heading towards Chilifest in Lupus, MO.
2 cans green Jackfruit.
1 small white or red onion.
2 cloves of garlic
4 thai chilis
2 red fresnos
1 cup of sweet corn
2 tablespoons of cumin
1 tablespoon of chili powder
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 cup of black beans
1 cup of Mexican chili beans
Saute the Jackfruit with the onions, garlic, and peppers. Add the cumin, chili powder, and brown sugar and caramelize the mixture before adding the rest of the ingredients. Add water, salt, tomato paste, srirache, to taste and desired proportion.
Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Prepare to be kicked in the face and then the ace.
The Kansas City carpool train to Lupus almost exceeded its population!
At the dead end of a forgotten highway on the Missouri River, the Lupus Chili festival reappears at the cusp of autumn each year to inspire with the tastes and sounds of Americana. Camping during the first frost transforms the cookfire into campfire, friends into family, and nature into home. Rural people watching balanced with homemade habanero wine and the temptation to get lost on the Katy trail/Lewis&Clark trail make this place magical (with a twist of mischievous).
After passing my limit on the homemade pie, I retreated to the fire for poetic ghost stories, s’mores with ghirardelli chocolate squares, and a quickened test drive of a new tent(NFace Pheonix2- singlewall awesomeness).
Camping by the river can certainly make for “chilly” mornings but offers an exchange of super comfortable decomposing bamboo (similar to pine needle duff) to sleep on while leaving very little footprint. The morning dew in its crystalline form gave a crunch to my march to see a spectacular sunrise and the ghostly evaporating river. I sat on a log and contemplated the summer now gone with the full anticipation of the season to come.
Gravity is spacetime’s flawed attempt to recreate the past.