By Chef Steel
For this month's issue of Buns on Mars, I am so grateful to Beautiful Princess for inviting me back to contribute. However, I'd like to detour from cooking for a moment to tell you about my other passion, and that is art making.
I lived in a sea coast village in the south of France during most of my childhood, before moving on to the Academie in Paris much later. The village economy was generated by the small industries of oyster bed farming, foie gras, and the summer tourists, otherwise just a sleepy village in the winter. A very simple life.
My time as a boy was spent helping Grandpa-pa feed the geese, and other barn chores or else cooking. But all my free time was occupied with Art. I collected any stereogram I could lay my hands on (I included one in this issue), and I read anything about my favorite artists. Paul Cezanne - his watercolors, the visual puns hidden in his still lifes, the plasticity of his forms. Francis Picabia - his humorous machine imagery, the irony of his "transparencies", and the later nudes. And Marcel Duchamp's oeuvre, which has already been so overly criticized to the point where nothing should be added here.
As a boy, I loved to copy and trace over american cartoons (Krazy Kat, etc.) and make funny drawings just to laugh at them. These would be weird and funny monsters. Also, I'd paint with watercolors Grecian pools with surrounding gardens and fountains (or how I imagined them). I'd also amuse myself by making action sculpture that paralleled my love for Calder's mobiles and J. Tinguely's junkyard work. For example: I'd use fireworks and sparklers to propel anything I could find, tie kite string across the road at night and wait for a car to come along to snap it. I'd scoop the glistening black tar out of the cracks in the road and form it into perfect basic shapes. "Adam's leaf" was my first titled piece, which was to fold up a large leaf, tear the corner, and unfold it to reveal a hole in the middle of the leaf. I loved to arrange piles of stones, sticks, for no reason other than ritual or its visual pleasure. I'd accumulate dime store objects, spinning toys, naughty nude 3-d post cards, small perfume vials, etc., and store them in cigar boxes. All these objects would eventually be exhibited in my "gallery" which was a special, altar-like, shelf on my bedroom wall.
I find to this day that I still have this special space. There is a shelf in my living room where I place all my fireworks - you know - the flowering pagoda, goldfish, the tank, etc. Also, I keep wooden cigar boxes to store all the fluxus, semi-significant objects, and discarded toys from my children. These objects function as a visual or sculptural resource and journal. They have meaning, and they remind me of things in a way that is a lot different than a photograph. They are part of an experience that they are connected to. I am able to transform and connect them within another context at a later time. For example, I have used spoons, sparklers, eye lenses, thermometers, in my assemblages and collages. These become part of my art, because I use them to layer a work with meaning that is often poetic or ironic, or whatever the piece is intended to be. And they hang in my living room or given away to other artists and friends. Who knows Cheri, I may give you one, if you stick around.
Well, luv ones, unfortunately, we have little space for a cooking recipe this month, but I hope this gives you a ground or recipe for making your own art work. Remember, when looking at artist's work avoid coffee table survey books, but rather find an artist you like, and look at every work that has been done from a variety of sources. Art takes a large investment of time. dedication, and love.