Entries From Ron's Diary - Regarding His Feelings On Art.
During the four or five years preceding his death Ron and I had a number of conversations about art. However recalling them and attempting to put them on paper in my words, would surely diminish the depth and dilute the intensity of his passion for art. Fortunately he recorded some of his thoughts about art. Scattered throughout his note books and diary are isolated entries in which Ron's feelings about, commitment to, and love of art may be felt in each line of each paragraph. [--Ron's Brother]
Saturday, 16 January 1993 [8:30PM].
Goddamn ! Gotta stop, been at it all day - a fucking creative blast - too much going. Actually its been going practically every day since last November. During the holidays I worked till one ar two in the morning just about everyday. Its not manic [ I am in control ] but it won't stop, it just keeps coming. A goddamn cornicopia of images: one line suggests another; one color another and on and etc. Like writing a poem: line after line after line not knowing when to finish. I read this late last night from the Emerson essays, no shit, dig this: ". . . The virtue of art lies in detachment, in sequestering one object from the embarrassing variety, until one thing comes out from the connections of things, there can be enjoyment, contemplation, but no thought. Our happiness and unhappiness are unproductive." Goddamn, that's where its at: Desireless and detachment my friends - desireless and detachment, no hankering. Just let it alone and let IT work. Shit, I'm crazed right now, have to stop, its getting out of my hands, my eyes are beginning to see things . . . [too much to do and I don't have to do all this in one weekend] . . . stop it, goddammit ! But, the art still flows, it won't stop, you can't turn it off, its crazy, like influences: as if historical and contemporary artists aren't enough there's nature itself ! No, that's it, I'm stopping it right now - for tonight !
Monday, 25 January 1993 [7:15AM]
One more shot here, buddy, then we'll get our ass in artistic gear - this baby's from Robert Motherwell [ new book reviewed in yesterday's paper ] . I believe it defines my bullshit:
"To find or invent "objects" [ which are, more strickly speaking, relational structures ] whose felt quality satisfies the passions, that for me is the activity of the arts, which does not cease even in sleep. No wonder the artist is constantly placing and displacing, relating and rupturing relations. His task is to find a complex of qualities whose feeling is just right - veering toward the unknown and chaos, yet ordered and related in order to be apprehended." [ Ron's note - Stephen Hawking: Chaos and Entropy, a connection between the two ]. ". . . one of my chief gifts is for the collage [and that] collage is the twentieth century's greatest creative innovation [Motherwell]."
Friday, 5 January 1993.
Go to Graphic Arts Workshop tomorrow and work on match books. How's this for a title to that series: Metamorphosis? Yes, I'll start with empty pack then one with a few matches left, watercolor some and ink-up a few and one plain, white embossment which would be the beginning of the M / book landscape series. That's the plan anyway.
Thursday, 11 January 1993.
Goddamn, all day printing [ at Graphic Arts Workshop ] - son of a bitch - what have I been doing for the last 25 years? Fuck'n the dog, shit for brains. Thanks.
26 January 1993.
The following is an excerpt from a letter written by Ron and addressed to Rick Rodrigues, CCSF, dated 26 January '93.
. . . I may have used the adjective 'mutability' in defining my work or "style" but, after reading the Motherwell statement and working these past months with monotyping I feel that what is really occuring with me and my work, as it has in the past, is more aptly put, a metamorphic process. As he said, ". . . veering toward the unknown and chaos." I find this is what is taking place with me - that is in my work. Chaos, a serious act of entropy that pushes one into solutions to correct the destruction, thereby continuing the ever ongoing act of creation! I feel that the plastic arts have a great deal in common with poetry, that is to say: one word suggests another and that one line leads to another and, in art, one color leads to another, one shape suggests another, etc. That, nonetheless, is how I feel that my work progresses. The subject matter for me may be wildly disparate, found objects for instance [either mental or natural], the battle for me is to arrange these elements into a viable and understandable statement. I do feel, however, that my understanding of the statement may not be what others may or may not see in it - I care not. One, after all, must take a stand [style?] somewhere along that asethetic road and live by it.
In charting the long haul is, for me, not impssible but highly improbable for the very reason I stated above: metamorphosis. I can't help but see new and varied prints hidden in each one that I'm presently working on and that is the great thrill for me, the surprises that occur and the discoveries that lie around the corner. Yet, in the final analysis, when seen as a canon, all of the work has [I hope] a continuity and in some strange way they all hold together which reminds me of a statement with which I will end this minor credo. It's from Ralph Waldo Emerson's thoughts on fine art, to wit:
". . . what astonished and fascinated me in the first work astonished me in the second work also: that excellence of all things is one." . . . . .
Thursday, 2 February 1993.
Godamn Fyoog, Just gotta tell ya, after working on those funny little match book monotypes for the past hour my spirits have rocketed
back into the vanishing ozone layer - thank God for art - all else is jack shit !
Thursday, 9 February 1993.
Goddam ! That's it . . . the embossment of the slide container. Listen, reduce the Salome [new title - changed from "The Dancer"] to about 50%, sol / transfer, then take negative stamp and outline her, use some pastels - just a little color and let 'er rip . . . goddam "abstract art !" I've invented "obtuse art". HA!
Thursday, l8 February 1993.
Whether my art is viable-mediocre-dull-naive-nascent-boring or static it is still the finest anti-depressent I have, though it is not free but I don't have any idea how much it costs - perhaps my life or is it 'soul?' God, did I say that, . . . 'soul', fuck, I must be depressed. No, not after a day at printing. It was good, really, it was. Two records rolled-up in Thalo blue that'll knock your socks off or, anyones, I think. They do mine and I'm prejudiced too. Going back for more this afternoon - yes. Ah Christ ! Ah life ! Ah fuck !
Saturday, 20 February 1993.
No rain ! No sun ! A smoke ! I should stop this Lord - but, what the fuck - let's have just one, just like the other one. Okay ? Okay. God, that is good. Son of a bitch ! A cigarette and a cup of coffee - if one could keep it at that ? But that's impossible. Well buddy, I'm looking at our work from yesterday's critique [ Rick gathered me aside to compliment me ]. " Oh, big man, big man . . . . "Just like the old days in college - can work on my own , but this time I'll be going to the work shop instead of a bar. God, fire water, women, and tobacco, who could stop it? It's a damn good thing I was never into guns, Jesus ! Our shit looks good, Fyoog. The 'Salome' dancer series looks great, especially the ghost roll-ups. New Title: 'The Metamorphosis of Salome.' Like that? "It's all right." Fuck you. No, really, they'll slowly change completely from the mono / type to xerox sol / transfer. Yes, that should do it. From the old to the new, he-he! Musn't forget 'Les Trois Graces' and do some mono / type drawings from Kling's figure drawing class - on some tone paper - Stonehedge? I believe its gray, prefer a brown like wrapping paper, though. You know, like Degas but not completely done over in pastel, just highlights, that sort of shit. I can do it, really, I can. "Then do it!" All right - later for you, daddy-o!
--------------, August 1995.
As usual , I find myself struggling to put into words, that is to say, in a poetic sense, my personal esthete and how it is manifested through my art. The phrases, form and function, order out of chaos, chiaroscuro and perspective roil in my brain and when I begin to set them upon paper I find that lines, shapes and colors, forms and fantaisies have already filled the pages.
However, I believe I can simply state my intentions that have just begun to solidify within the last few years. My thoughts have returned [ could it be age?] to the past, and archetypal and mythical time and have endeavored to present them into a metaphorical present useing contemporary, recognizable objects as symbol for those metaphysical universals that continue to appear in the myth, legend and, to be sure, modern religions. Since this is my situation I believe that I have a long journey ahead of me though I am more than pleased to proceed with it.
Yet, we come back to nothing more than these puny words trying to explain the unexplicable. Nevertheless I console my illiterate self with the words of Edgar Degas, to wit: "Beauty is a mystery. Among people who understand, words are not necessary." You say humph, he, ha, and everything has been said.