Archive for June, 2009

Explaining Art Part Deux

In my last post I expressed some views on explanation and art.

So should all art critics close up shop and become baristas? Would the art world be better for it? I can’t claim to know.

However, I do know that we should definitely keep the art writers, because without them there would be no art books.

I recently returned to the local park that has two huge graffiti-covered water tanks and there were a few new sprays up. Graffiti interests me as a non-explainable art form. I like that they might or might not be words. Also the art is the message, with a spray can as the media.

The Tanks

The Tanks

Here there are no juries, no gallery owners, no CEO’s, no price tags, no thought police. It’s a kind of artistic freedom that only exists in places like this.

I took a dozen or so photos of the tank graffiti and chose one to use as a tank background upon which to do my “grafitti” using Corel Painter.  I sprayed the tank a solid color first, then copied a bunch of rivet heads, keeping the tank feel.  The I began to paint in the symbols using a style derived from one of the sprayheads.  The central figure/ word/ symbol, could be Inglis, could be anything.   Needs no explanation.  You might see an armored figure on a vehicle there but that was not intended.  The title of this bit of art is “I Can’t Explain #4” 

I Can't Explain

I Can't Explain

I would enjoy doing an “applecore ” rain with a plain background on a huge wall somewhere…like the animation on my opening page…..…but wait. How to do it without ruining the urban landscape? Projection graffiti may be the answer and the new wave. Here is my painting entitled “Homage to Rene Magritte” which may need a lot of complex explanation in order for you to understand my thought processes when I created it……..

The “I” in Inglis as applecore was a logo I developed in the 60’s as a pop culture thing. Over the years I’ve reflected on what the self (the “I”) really is, both in a spiritual and psychological way. Dogen, the famous Japanese Zen master said: “To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.” So seeing into the illusory nature of the ego could be symbolized by a disappearing apple, reducing itself to a core of….? In one of Magritte’s paintings we see a rain of bowler hatted men in an urban landscape. He also was fond of large apples in incongruous places. So in my image there is a rain of diminishing golden applecores, set in front of a background of golden herons. The heron here, represents eternity or the timeless realm.

Therefore an apt “explanation” of this art would be: “The perception of ego/ self as a process which must be transcended in order for real freedom to manifest.”  And you thought it was merely decorative. 

Homage to Rene Magritte

Homage to Rene Magritte

You can find an archival quality limited edition print of this painting at

Thanx for visiting.


Explaining Art?

“The painting is not a depiction of the title, nor is the title a description of the painting.” -Rene Magritte
“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.”
– Pablo Picasso
“Education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of prejudices.” – Laurence J. Peter

Immortal Bridge Mt WuTai, China

Immortal Bridge Mt WuTai, China


Is the title of this photo important? Yes because most will want to know where this place is, a sacred Buddhist mountain in China. But…………

Explaining Art ?

Why should any artist have to explain his art to a visience? Visuance? (visual audience)

Are explanations of art relevant? Important? What, if any, value do they truly have?

Take a long, slow look at the works of the great Zen painter Niten, better known as Musashi Myamoto, one of the greatest of Japanese swordsmen. His “Shrike on a Reed” is in my humble opinion, one of the greatest pieces of art in the world. It is simplicity itself, yet it speaks to all so elegantly. Without ……….words. You can see this painting at but please remember to come back!! Come Back!!!! (Mandrake gestures hypnotically)

Some say some of my paintings are Psychedelic. Is that bad? It is supposedly passé, but trust me, psychedelic art has not gone away. Take a look at the work of Alex Grey (???) or the lettering of Roger Dean.

What was I on when I painted these mandala things? Mostly nothing. And to some degree, literally no-thing, as it is always good for me to get out of the way of my painting process, and, as much as possible, try to let conceptual though pass through the empty/ full capacity that is mind.

My abstracts speak for themselves. The geometric mandalas are works that were, to some degree, self-created. Portraits do not need labels, unless they are of a historical nature. When I did my High Def digital show at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center in February ’09, there was no explanatory text or titles for the paintings.
I could take some time and explain how I do some of my work, but that would be of interest to only a select few nerds.  Although there are a lot of peeps out there who are getting really good with Corel Painter so explanations are getting interesting on that level. Also I don’t want to give away all my secrets.

So what does this have to do with myartistego? Well, as near as I can figure out Musashi sought no praise for his work, yet all of his work immediately became collectors items. I am not at either of those points in my spotted career as an artist .  So praise is ok, folks.

So anyway here is a photo of my favorite mountain in North America…..taken on a recent trip to the Cascade Mountains in Washington, USA.


Mt Shuksan, near Mt Baker, Washington, USA
Mt Shuksan, near Mt Baker, Washington, USA


Next is the black granite & steel 50’ sign in front of US Federal Courthouse, Seattle, WA.      AutoCAD design and drawings by myself.

US Federal Courthouse sign, Seattle, WA

US Federal Courthouse sign, Seattle, WA


In the early part of the century I worked as a tech-mech CAD designer, then got my first graphic pen with the Corel Painter Classic add-on and made the leap to artistic and graphic digital media.

That was such a revelation, creating with pure light. Eat your heart out, you artists who work in oils and claim to be “painting with light” !Here is an early paining of a pluot with Corel Painter…..had a lot of fun doing this one, getting the translucent quality of the fruit just right….. actually painting with light.  Tip of the hat to Rene Magritte.  As always, thanx for visiting myartistego and be sure to visit my gallery at

A Pluot #4

A Pluot #4