How Dare You Poop On Your Dog Walk!

How Dare You Poop On Your Dog Walk!

Like every apartment dwelling dog owner on planet earth, we walk our dogs four times a day because the alternative is unthinkable. Nobody wants to live in a toilet. Tons of trekking about is the byproduct of having dogs in a city. It’s a non-negotiable activity. So, being surprised or upset by poop is not reasonable. But I was surprised and upset, so there you are. Here’s what happened.

For the past 6 years I’ve been using this time to make art, mostly photos, some video. You can see it all on Instagram. Yesterday we are bopping along, and I see some pill bugs on the pavement. While that’s a pretty common bug, I don’t actually come across them very often. A few years back I made a video where the bugs were the eyes. They start out rolled up and then unfurl and walk away, changing the shape of the face. It’s fun. I wanted to do it again.

So, I collect three bugs, two for starring roles and an understudy in case I drop one. I now need to acquire a stick to become the mouth and something to be a nose. Let me make my physical situation crystal clear. I am holding two dog leashes in one hand. I am holding three pill bugs in another. They are on the move. I keep trying to push them back into my hand and they keep hurrying off towards my fingers and wrist, so I clamp my fingers into a fist. That’s both hands in use. I only have two. I also need to find a stick. Feather decides now is when she wants to poop. It’s not a reasonable response but I feel so angry. I take it personally. If it was holding anything else, I could just throw it in my bag. But I can’t do that with living creatures. And I don’t want to detain them any longer than necessary. I do respect them.

I wait for Feather to finish and somehow collect the poop while holding the squirming bugs and manage to tie the bag off. Now I need to carry that as well until we can find a trash can. So, leashes and poop bag in one hand, bugs in the other. Despite it all I am still scanning every bush for dark sticks.

I know all the dark stick trees and bushes and I am not seeing any. You probably don’t think about this, but most sticks have a kind of medium tone and so does pavement. Since you need contrast, dark is best. I’m scanning around like crazy for a trash can and a dark stick and I am agitated. All the bins are put away and all the sticks are blond. I’m fuming.

Story of my life. Nothing at all is abnormal or wrong but I’ve concocted a scenario to feel stress anyway. It’s almost like I enjoy feeling stress. Hmmm….

OMG! Mulch! Mulch is on the dark side and you can usually find a narrow bit to function as a stick or more accurately a mouth shaped “line” I set the poop bag down and grab a few pieces. Then we finally locate a bin and now I only need to scout a good piece of pavement.

It comes out great! You can see the video on my Instagram (latest post), including finding the bugs. I don’t include the poop bag. You’re welcome. I did consider it.

Despite wanting to feel good every second of every minute, I like my process. I like the randomness. I like the obstacles. They guarantee a novelty that intellect cannot provide.

What Difference Does It Make?

What Difference Does It Make?

What Difference Does It Make? Does your mind ever ask you this? 

Do you look down at your art and hear this phrase ping ponging through the corridors of thought? 

Poor little piece of art, are you really asking it to solve the world’s problems in order to justify its existence?

Are you asking it to solve all of your problems to justify its existence?

That is not what it is for!

What a heavy load to put on a humble impulse. 

Would you ask an egg to support a skyscraper?

The Difference is this: did you jump off a balcony? Did you break all your plates? Did you ruin a friendship? No? That’s the difference. Life is hard and art is necessary to make it bearable.

A little pleasure, a little hope, a little alchemy to transform the ugly to beauty.

An outcome does not have to be concrete and permanent. It can merely be the lack of defeat.

She Cannot Make

She Cannot Make

Because I do this process so often, make faces out the stuff I see while walking the dogs, I’m always ruminating over where “art” comes from? I make the faces quite fast, acting on impulse to see what will happen. Outside of the impulse, there are no premeditated ideas. The faces are so surprising to me. Even after all this time, they continue to be new and mysterious. I am convinced it’s because I am “drawing” with my animal senses and not with my intellect.

My intellect wants to convince me this is wrong, that what I am doing can’t possibly be intelligent (meaning good?) if she is not involved. She’s pretty convincing and I sort of believe her except the evidence supports a different conclusion. I am so used to thinking that intellect is intelligence. But there is a nonverbal intelligence at play here. I think that is really why I do this, to interact with this nonverbal form of intelligence. To see if I can get better at using it. To learn from it. 

I don’t think I would want that form of intelligence to balance my check book but that’s not the point. I am not trying to get better at this so I can submit all our concerns over to sensory perception. But for art making, I can’t help but wonder if intellect can only use what intellect already knows. She’s good at analysis but not good as life force. She can’t make things come into being. She can only evaluate, categorize, critique, imitate and replicate. But she cannot make.

Faces from the first four years (2015-2019)

I have two new additions to this website, Video and Gallery. You can access them on the top menu.