Friday, April 22, 2011

Enso Rising In Cyberfunk

Enso Rising With Sidebar And Scroll, 12X16", mxed media on panel, 4/22/11
Yesterday I was showing this piece for the first time to my son, and having quite a fun time enumerating all the stuff in it.  Meanwhile my new follower, mixed media artist Sharmon Davidson, has the most brilliant idea of listing "ingredients"right in the blog.  Perfect!

Ingredients:  red part of a chocolate bar wrapper,  black lace, nylon window screen, white wedding frufru (four layers), Rich Art 'poster' paint, Crayola Washable, acrylic craft paint, un-tinted tint base No. 3, Elmer's glueall, spackling powder, sanded grout, tile mortar, sheer toilet paper (the cheap kind from hell).

Again, you cannot see the really cool thing going on here--some of the areas of glaze are so thick (visually) that you see all the way down to the bottom layers, past the splatter, and the cement, and color strokes, the embedded piece of window screen--and so forth.  Maybe if I showed a detail you could get some sense of it.

Enso Rising With Sidebar And Scroll, detail.

The enso is serious business.  It's part of Japanese calligraphy, and is thought to reflect the complete state of the maker's character.  If so I'm probably sunk for a start.  It carries a lot of mystic Zen vibe, and often is accompanied by that crazy Japanese script and red stamps that are just cool and no one knows why.  I mean people get this stuff tatooed on their necks.  I mean, huh?  I don't know what that's all about.  Anyway, I like ensos, serious or not.  They're like mandalas.  Very mysterious.   In a former life I was a sign painter, made ensos in my sleep.

Never done with enso.  



Sonya Johnson said...

I had never heard of enso before - will have to check that out more!

The painting is very, very cool, and could honestly be the poster child for "mixed media" - just wow, with all those "ingredients"!

You could probably get side work in home construction with your experience using all those building materials ;). Actually, if you told me you built your home, I wouldn't be surprised.

SamArtDog said...

This is a totally delightful post. Funny, creative and zen is a killer combo. Your mention of the crazy-Japanese-script-and-red-stamps thing makes me think you should design a chop for yourself. Wait. Obviously, you've already got one---\///\

P.S. I really like Sharmon's idea of having an ingredient list. Like food labels, the "if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it" rule should keep you in line.

RH Carpenter said...

I am very impressed with your ingredient list and with this painting. The enso really anchors it somehow to keep it from flying off with all those layers and bits and pieces :) Beautiful work!

Franco said...

A textura é ótima
Meus cunprimentos.

Anonymous said...

Ah, a beautiful piece! I wish I could see it in person. That's quite a laundry list of ingredients. I wouldn't last a day in your studio from the sensory overload. (And I mean that in a most respectful way.)

There is so much to connect to in the Japanese culture, it's no wonder we are drawn to it. It has a spiritual flavor and other world symbolism. You don't need a neck tattoo- you make the signs!

Another lovely post. Thank you.

Jane said...

Wow this must have been such fun to paint.. really makes your fantasy and inspiration sparkle. Love it.
Your works are all special...and a very good way.

Wish you a Happy Easter.

AutumnLeaves said...

And here I was thinking that I was looking at a delicious looking old book binding. What layers you have here, Bill! Is your work considered a form of collage? I am sure you've talked about this somewhere in the history of your blog, but as a newcomer, I am so curious!! Do tell!

William Cook said...

Hi Sonia--Enso is a very interesting concept. My friend Eric is a well read student of Buddhism and introduced me to this a few months ago. Of course I was aware of the visual but had no idea of how extensive enso practice was (although I'm not surprised).

I think the sentence in the Wikipedia article I linked to best describes, in effect, what I'm into with this new work. "In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create." I don't count myself a Zen Buddhist, but this artwork comes right out of that mind freedom (or the hunger for it). I'm hoping that shows.

I did not actually build the house, but it's nothing like it was when we moved in 30 years ago--now we have a shower.

William Cook said...

Hi Sam-- Cool. Had to look up chop. You sure could call that a chop ( \\///\ ). I always liked that kind of architecty W, and the M is just that upside down. The slashes and back slashes indicate someone with too much time on his hands. You're right--it's now a chop. Thanks for the new word--and the dietary rule of thumb. We should all pay attention to that--this particular painting would be a bit gritty.

HI Rhonda--That is an astute observation! That is exactly why I did that. Without it the the painting was completely pointless. It just needed something to latch onto, and the enso just sort of came to mind. The instant I thought of it, twas the perfect solution. A lot of the paintings in this series are way too fragmented to show still. In the last post I mentioned being polite. To offer a viewer a focal point reflects manners. Otherwise the artist reflects self absorption, and who wants to look at that. Those kind of paintings end up mud pies--yukko.

Hi Franco--I do love working in these rich luscious textures--it's just fun. No need to elaborate there--it's just me having a blast. Thanks for commenting. Really great hearing from you!

Hi PAMO--Neat comment! Wouldn't that be hoot! A few days could definitely be whiled away down here. I've actually been thinking that about everyone in this greater group of bloggers. We should "call a meetin", as my old buddy used to say. Pick a city and everyone show up for a Kegger. Man would that be great--impossible, alas, but great. We could all finally meet Hallie, and hear Maggie's accent, and Ralph's, and Caroline's (and they could hear ours). Celeste could model that baseball cap, we could lure Kathy out of the hinterland, and bring Casey on board (I'm still trying to get a boat ride out of Katherine). And who could forget Egmont and the Art Dog and Andrew and Mita the Wiccan?
Wouldn't it be grand? It would have to be more like a conference. Wow. Susan's surf girls would be plenty of floor show for the whole day! And I could finally give Jane a squeeze--and LW, Rhonda and Deb! Jumbotron links to London Paris Rome Sydney and Rio might be a must. We could invite dealers and all bring a dozen paintings or so. OK forget the dealers. Let them press their cold noses against the window panes looking in as we form the Conga lines and eat cake. What a day. I haven't even scratched the surface of all the fantastic artists I would just love to meet. In other matters if I ever got a tattoo it would be a simple Popeye anchor on my right forearm. Been wanting one since I was 6.
Seriously, thanks so much for checking in.

Hi Jane--Thanks for your thoughtful comments, I'm so happy you're enjoying these efforts.
May you have a blessed and happy Easter as well!--such a wonderful tradition!

Hi Autumn--Thanks for asking, and aren't those old book bindings seriously cool? Anyway, I think collage or montage might possibly fit, but since the use of mounted materials is incidental, and do not survive as themselves--they generally add to an overall texture, and since the other materials are wet substances like paint, I would classify these as Mixed Media--all materials wonderfully compatible, but mixed. I don't remember talking about this specific adventure in materials much, but then I've only been blogging for 4 months. Thanks for your comment! Best regards.

m.gaudreau said...

Hey Bill. It is cool to see your experimental journey.

William Cook said...

Wow thanks for stopping by, Mike. It was like a minor earthquake around here for a few days. Now it's getting a little more contemplative. It's all been very exciting, and there is nothing driving it other than the sheer joy of the raw process. Best regards.

hw (hallie) farber said...

I'm late to the comments--out-of-town guests. This is my second visit; after lots of looking and comment reading, I'll just say I'm surprised your enso is closed.

Somehow, I'm reminded of a seance. Instead of the table rising, the enso rises.

Beautiful piece.

I'd have to bring a laptop to the conference because your terms send me to "Wiki" often. Otherwise, I'd have to stand and say "I have no idea what yall are talking about."

Sharmon Davidson said...

The enso, the mandala, the seed- all one and the same, my friend! Very nice piece, and I'm glad to find there's a use for cheap toilet paper.

Anonymous said...

Bill- You have officially made the best response comment I've ever seen! And yes, that would be so cool to call a meetin'. Maybe some day.

An anchor tattoo sounds good. I've recently been connecting to the old style tattoos- they have a lot of charm. Right now, I'm having my cartoon characters inked on my arm... hopefully to be a full sleeve in some months time. I've only the first one now... so a ways to go.
Problem is, once you get your first tattoo, the addiction takes over and your body becomes a canvas.
So don't do it Bill, don't do it! It would consume too much artistic energy. On the other hand, you could come up with some crazy cool designs.

L.W.Roth, said...

I'm liking these pieces made from this and that. They are inspirational to this person who digs texture and construction and hands into goop. Also this Enso thing. I was glad to learn they're on a par with mandalas--no need to investigate my enso images; I've done it. Your list of materials though tells me why you might have difficulty getting out into the woods to pick daffodils: lots of stuff between you and your door. You're using it well.

William Cook said...

Hallie--Um. Ignorance. I plead ignorance. I haven't got a clue what a closed enso indicates. The old man I studied sign writing with used to close his O's so perfectly in one stroke you could measure them. I preferred the more casual semi closed O (lack of experience actually). Now I'm the old man, and my elegant signwriting has progressed to ensos. Is my left brain going to fall off or something. I know, get on the wiki. Wiki knows all. As for "rising", I was going to call it "The Enso Set". As a Baltimore boy, that was a bit too west coasty. Just kidding. Seriously, would that conference not be a righteous riot?

Hi Sharmon--Very cool point to savor--the revelatory potential of the enso and mandala in spiritual and psychological matters, correlating perfectly with the physical potential of a seed. That observation seems very solid. I meant to mention on your site that I really enjoyed seeing your mandalas. Your practiced use of the ancient motif becomes very expressive and fresh in the sense of legibility. Very nice pieces!

Hi again PAMO--That response started out innocently enough, but it started snowballing, and I just went with it. I was planning on addressing your wonderful point about the Japanese culture, but that got buried in all the foolishness. So, Yay Japan, and Popeye please--,just the Popeye.

Hi Linda--Thanks. Great to hear from you as usual. I' am really getting a kick out of making these pieces with "this and that" materials, and avoiding the conventional art stuff. I broke into my kids old art box and augmented it a little at the local Michaels. I wanted you to explore Sharmon Davidson's blog in light of your recent readings on the mandala and related subjects. You're going to really like her brief articles and descriptions--especially her analysis of color further down the blog page. And her artwork seems to reflect a lot of what you've been talking about. Have fun, and thanks for commenting. .

Casey Klahn said...

ensō on. Very pleasing.

William Cook said...

How did you do that? I'm impressed. Good one. Is it a special character somewhere? Youda man! Thanks for commenting, best regards, Bill

L.W.Roth, said...

You were right Bill I loved Sharmon's approach. I'm getting there. It's just taking some time to shake off the cob webs. Work picking up might just have a positive effect. With less time to think, one just does and one wishes. That's always been pleasurable and satisfying.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Holy cow! Your ingredients list makes me want to re-think the Goodwill bag I have in the garage. Enso intrigues. My mind, like the silver ball in a pachinko machine, wants to bounce between Johnny Cash singing "Will this Circle Be Unbroken" and Shel Siverstein "The Missing Piece Meets the Big O."

Such is the stuff of art. Gotta love it!

William Cook said...

Hi Linda--Yup. Just turn the old machine on and let it do what it does--no thinking--it's probably so pleasurable because that's closer to our natural state of consciousness.

Hi Katherine--It's all fair game. Especially from the Goodwill bag of the mind. I like pachinko machine, but before I get the silver ball effect I need to bone up on Shel Silverstein"s song. Thanks for checking in!

Celeste Bergin said...

ahhhhhh impressive, both the result and the ingredients. I like knowing the adds to the overall experience. This would look good anywhere. I can see it in a conference room...where important decisions must be made.

Anonymous said...

Diggin' the vibe man. The ENSO never ends....the end is just the beginning again....
And those red stamps (signatures of Zen Masters or Artist of work)