“becomes stronger than the steel”

Q: So I’ll have you start by describing yourself physically and emotionally.

(pause) ha ha makes face.

A: ha, yes I made a face. Emotionally, emotionally I am not doing too well these days. All this old age and pain, B.S. y’know, and loneliness, after my wife died I’ve been very much alone. when she was alive, a lot of the friends that we had just slid away because she was sick for so long, so we became increasingly isolated and financial stuff made us move from [Name of City] to [Name of City] which was a crush socially and intellectually and aesthetically, which I still haven’t recovered from but I can’t afford to go back to anywhere that I can find. So emotionally I’m pretty isolated and pretty unhappy. I have three serious diseases all at the same time, I’m a diabetic, I have C.O.P.D. and now Myasthenia Gravis which probably means I’m not going to be healthy enough to move around or do much of anything in the next few years, and that makes me very sad because of all of the stuff that I still want to do. Right now I’ve got nobody to do them with so… there’s a wonderful river down there and I very much want to get down and do some kayaking, some fishing, but I just can’t do it anymore. Other than that what is there, cowtipping?

Q: Tell me your earliest memory.

A: I must have been, I’m guessing about the age, but I’m guessing about 2 or 3. I was born on a farm in [State], this is during the second world war, and my dad had worked for the Department of Agriculture in [a city far away] so he would commute there every day. So he rented a house in a little town about halfway in between, and it was a kind of U-shaped house with a backyard that kind of sloped down right in the middle of the U. I remember that yard sloping down, there were some trees back there, and we had part of the house, there was no place for anybody to live in those days during the war, so we had a little apartment on one side, and then there was somebody living on the middle end of the U and someone living on the other side. One of the tenants in there had a goose and I remember the goose chasing me around the house, I was terrified. But I remember that the goose was white, and I swear to God I have a vision of me from a distance, y’know I can see myself, my memory says I can see myself, couldn’t have but that’s the way I remember it, and I was also wearing white. So here was this poor little boy being chased around by this great big goose, and that’s my earliest memory. And that damn goose has been after me my whole life.

Q: What is one thing that you’ve done in your life that you are really proud of?

A: Well there was this red-headed girl named Molly… no. ha ha ha
I got a chance, white by accident to secure a commission for a piece of sculpture. I guess it was back in the early eighties and it all went through very nicely and I made lots of money on it. It was a big thing, nine and half feet tall, made of corten steel, a big nice thing and it’s been exhibited at a site specific thing ever since and that was a kind of triumph for me because I had kind of flunked myself out of education by stupidity, it wasn’t like I got in trouble, it’s just that everybody in the world was looking for jobs and teaching art in those days and I screwed mine up because I had a toehold somewhere and suddenly I let it go. This is both being proud of that piece of sculpture which I really am, or was I’ll tell you in a minute why,… and there were people who had gone the other way and were still slugging away in jobs they hated, and it was really liberating. The reason it wasn’t is that I never did follow-up on it, I never got another commission. But, y’know, it was really nice. I was working as a graphic designer at the time and I had been doing all of that crap that commercial artists do. I’d done all of that stuff for them and the CEO was a fan of fine arts and he really knew what he was talking about, good guy. He offered me the opportunity to present an offer and I did and he liked it and we did it and it took less than six months and we got this great big thing headed to manufacture up in Oakland, had it shipped down, and they just blew it at the other end, they didn’t make anything out of it, no press releases, no photographers, no nothing, it was a major piece and they were doing it go engrandize [sic.] the clinic. That was the whole point, the whole reason that businesses buy art, y’know to make themselves look good. Since then they tore down the building that was behind the sculpture and just left the sculpture sitting out there in the middle of nowhere, which is kinda nice, you can see it better. Do you know about corten steel? It’s an engineered material, that has… I don’t know what all it has in it but it’s an alloy of steel and when it rusts, the rust that it forms, the oxide, becomes stronger than the steel itself and it stops rusting so it just lasts forever. so you never have to paint it, leave it alone, it will be here right through the next ice age. Well these fools down there painted it, painted the sculpture, hired some auto shop somewhere to sand blast it and paint it. Well now it doesn’t look like corten steel anymore it looks like copper, they painted it with copper, it looks like the southern California highway. It just looks like rust to them so they didn’t like it. that’s where most of that corten steel ends up is in the desert because it turns really wonderful colors. And the final color, when it’s finally cooked up somewhere out in the Mohabi somewhere after many years, it gets almost black and just a kind of beautiful semi-gloss, this thin thin sheet of metal, big curves in public spaces. So I was really proud of that, not so proud of it anymore. But I thought I did good.

Q: if you could say one thing, anonymously to a large group of people what would you say?

A: Dump Trump.

Q: Dump Trump?

A: Dump Trump. That man scares the hell out of me, don’t know why we’re doing that.

But something other than short-term political…
he could be long-term political that’s what’s wrong with him.

but, uh.
I don’t know. I really enjoy my time alone, which is probably from when I was an only child. I chose a profession that you go into a room by yourself and do your thing. So I do have a certain antisocial theme in my life. You still get lonely, it’s still nice to have people because you still get lonely even though it’s what you’ve chosen to do with your life. Actually, I think the world has treated me pretty good, I’m sorry to be old and lumpy now but y’know it’s a better alternative than other things. I think things went alright.


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