Monday, April 28, 2008

two new pieces, finished

all finished up, methinks.
click on images for a larger view.

© matt pulford
oil on canvas
36 x 36 inches

here's a detail:

© matt pulford
chloe (Detail)
oil on canvas
36 x 36 inches

and then, the print for the traveling show by illinois state university print alum. i mentioned this project here a month or so back.

© matt pulford
dust of your dust, brother and mother (sandburg)
intalgio print
paper size: 18 x 14 inches image size: 8 x 5 inches

details of print:
blend roll, line etching, aquatint
1/9 through 9/9

GC5 + The Pogues

some time ago, maybe 7 years or so back, my friend jason gave me a cassette tape (yup) of a band called the GC5. they're definitely in that vein of working-class, street / oi! punk rock, and i don't own a lot of that stuff but i loved it when i got it. i really wore out the tape. a few years after that, i had the privilege of seeing them, along with the Hudson Falcons, live in chicago at the Fireside. fun fun fun. so, here you go - the GC5 and "White Flag."

So let me put up the white flag, let me surrender
Don't you fucking kick me when I'm down
You're so abusive, I'm so reclusive
I'm already beaten to the ground

you can't tell from that video, but the singers actually both have amazing voices. one of them even went on to be in a Pogues cover band. awesome. and hell... speaking of The Pogues, try to watch this and not want to go to your neighborhood pub for a beer:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cy Twombly

if you frequent this blog, you know i sporadically insert posts that do nothing more than feature the artwork of friends of mine whose work i respect. but you may forget that back when i posted about Mark Rothko , i mentioned that i would also occasionally post major-league "heavy hitting" artists, or as i also called them, "personal gut-punchers," meaning prominent artists throughout history that evoke a strong, visceral admiration inside me.

it's time for one of those. i'm not going to go on and on about any history, critiques, the myriad of ways he's influenced an awful lot of my friends and myself, the people who think this man is a crock of shit, or anything else, i'm just going to post some images this time. as always, click on images for a larger view.

Cy Twombly. love him.

Cy Twombly
Wilder Shores of Love
oil, crayon, pencil on plywood
about 55" x 47"

Cy Twombly
several panels from 50 Days at Ilium (10 canvases meant to be taken in as one whole)

Cy Twombly
crayon, house paint on paper
about 28" x 40"

Cy Twombly
the artist poses in front of Say Goodby, Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor

Monday, April 14, 2008

Meeting David Wilson

MSNBC premiered the independent documentary film Meeting David Wilson this past Friday, and it was phenomenal. If you haven't heard about the film, it follows one young black man from New Jersey - David Wilson - to meet a middle-aged white man in North Carolina - David Wilson. See, the elder David's ancestors once owned the younger David's ancestors, as slaves on a tobacco plantation.

the meeting and subsequent conversation between the two men is extremely engaging. questions about the past, forgiveness, anger, and reparations are asked and answered honestly and respectfully. during the day spent together, the two become friends, and as i understand it, that bond is still strong after the making of the film. the piece ends with the flashing of a Martin Luther King quote on the screen:

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

The Here's the trailer:

Throughout the main focus of the film, a deeper, overarching question is asked by the younger, black David Wilson. it is, "What is wrong with black people?"

MSNBC hosted an extremely touching roundtable discussion, that lasted 3 hours, after the airing of the film. on the panel were normal faces like one of my faves - Dr Michael Eric Dyson - but also some people I had not yet heard of.

very, very good.
please, check out the trailer.

Friday, April 11, 2008


the opening sequence to Wilco's 2002 documentary, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

the first time i lived away from home was when i left the nest, post-community college, in january of 1996. i headed downstate, to illinois state university in order to learn more about fine art and art history. my time down there was certainly like most people's. i had been the transferring junior that lived in the dorms one semester; i had late night study benders; i had binge drinking sessions; i had fallen in love; ate, drank, and slept art; and smashed televisions in the middle of busy streets. but aside from all that maturing, fucking up, and re-maturing, i had actually graduated with a good degree in a solid art program, earned my way into a full time position at a reputable contemporary university art space, and gone to grad school for free. but for some reason, i decided to not tempt some seeming "complacency" and to move on.

in may of 2002, i decided it was time to leave the comforts of bloomington-normal. i had met a girl — a fellow artist — in a far-off part of the country and become smitten, and it turned out she lived in a chicago suburb. after casually dating for quite a while, she decided she was moving to chicago proper — a place that i had a strong aversion to my whole life. so, what did i do? i packed up and followed her. and of course, it quickly fizzled out, for good reasons. so, in the summer of 2002, i was 26, and all by myself in a city of 3 million people, surrounded by a suburban area of another 6 or 7 million. and it was unlike anything i've ever experienced.

it's unbelievably difficult to describe what 5 years with chicago did to me. it's funny, but as i watch the opening sequence to I Am Trying To Break Your Heart — as Jeff Tweedy nervously yet comfortably drives around town — it strikes a chord within me. it illustrates the paradox that my chicago experience proved to be. it brings back a flood of memories, and i'm wrought by tinges of sadness, regret, pride, anger, and joy, all balled up into one overwhelming feeling.

i'm sitting here, as i write, thinking about that time, and an immense number of memories are coming to mind. my first friends that i met at the adler planetarium — the first time going out with people for a social drink. figuring out public transportation by myself. driving through some bad parts of the south side to go see a girl i had a crush on. punching buses and cabs as i rode my bike. being the first-hand witness to an awful car crash on Lower Wacker, and helping out the folks, eventually receiving mail from one victim - a sweet woman who wanted to say thanks. walking along the lakefront and watching strangers' dogs play for hours near Addison or Belmont at that dog park. all these memories in my mind have this little nuanced "flavor" to them - this hint of a common thread, and as pathetic as it might sound, i think that thread is loneliness.

the first year i lived in chicago, i had a $565 studio apartment that literally had no bedroom. the only interior wall was a tiny one that separated my toilet and shower from the rest of the tiny space. i slept right next to my couch, television, and bikes; i painted on my tiny kitchen floor. i recall that first summer, when i worked at a day camp teaching art. i spoke to no one, knew no one, except for these children who i taught art to. very strange. i recall getting home from work at night, and the smells of summer, as i walked around my neighborhood, glancing into windows with lights on, wondering what went on in the world of other folks. it was all so incredibly... strange, what i went through that first year. i recall the liquor store one block away at ashland & montrose, and buying a lot of beer that i'd drink by myself while painting on that kitchen floor. then perhaps, if a weekend, a bike ride at 2 or 3 in the morning, south towards belmont, to see the fellow punk rockers, in some vain hope i'd meet a friend, or a girl.

i don't mean this to sound so damn maudlin, because that is not my intention at all. but... it was a really fucked up, lonely time in my life. and oddly enough, as friends started moving to the city, and as the neighborhoods became more and more familiar, i don't think i ever lost that feeling of being overwhelmed by chicago... the concrete, the hordes of people, the lack of caring for your fellow human being, the dirt and grime, the concrete. everywhere, the concrete.

i could (and may, as time goes by with this blog) write an awful lot of anecdotal stories about my 5 years in the big city. but i suppose the feelings that i wanted to get across tonight, in this journal-ish post, are that aside from how strong of a yearning i had to get out of there, i have to say i'd never change one damn thing about my 5 years in chicago.

it's funny how the visuals and music in that snippet of video above bring back all those memories so perfectly.


i spent a lot of time listening to Low during my self-sequestered, pensive, college art-making years.

Low, from Duluth MN. (long, dark winters... can you tell?)
Point of Disgust

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Black Ass.

Shellac of North America:
drummer Todd Trainer – witty interlude during the 25th anniversary get together for Touch & Go Records.

Shellac of North America:
(live) Steve Albini deals with a heckler. then, My Black Ass

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Crinn video

i mentioned seeing The Crinn live a few weeks back, a couple posts down. the band now has a video up on youtube. it's pretty typical for music of this genre - conceptually kind of silly - but i want to post it to show how amazing the band is musically to me. my favorite parts of this particular song are the last 30 seconds or so.