Oct 7, 2013

drawing memory (nostalgia)

My parents met in the late 1950s when they were sixteen and started having children around twenty-four.  According to my mom, during this time they mostly wanted to  dance. I have some of my father's 45s and they all have "Dunn" written on them because he didn't want his records getting mixed up with other people's records at house parties.   

This image of him leaning back with a cigarette is actually from a photograph taken in a nightclub, probably at the Plantation Inn in West Memphis, AR.  For this drawing I took him out of the club and placed him in a setting  that I imagined to be my parent's first apartment, with him hanging out with their friends, spinning records, and taking a smoke break from dancing.

This is me as a child, although proportionately I drew myself as older.  I'm lying on a gurney having anesthesia administered through a gas mask while I watched my worried and helpless father pacing on the other side of a window. I felt pure panic and was crying really hard - it's my first memory.
I was born totally crossed-eyed with my eyes fixed straight down the middle.  By the time I was four I had four operations. I recently told my mom this first memory and she said, "You were always so good through those operations.  You hardly cried or seemed in any pain.  I guess your Dad didn't tell me  about this because he didn't want me to know that you were having such a hard time."
Our summer vacations were weeklong camping trips to area lakes like Sardis and Pickwick.   We'd usually go with several families so there were lots of kids running around.  I would swim hard all day and by evening I'd be exhausted.   Nothing felt better than lounging around after dinner in my mom's lap  (or dad's) with my head nestled in her chest and her arms wrapped around me, hearing the muffled adult conversation and laughter. 

Soon after we arrived home from these trips my dad would hose out the sand from our red VW van.  

Aug 6, 2013

Being a 'regional artist' I have a certain amount of responsibility to make work that is relevant to the greater art world.  Just because I'm making art in the provinces doesn't mean I do it in a vacuum.  I would say that many Memphis artists take themselves seriously in this way. 
We just don't take ourselves TOO seriously.
This is what I made for the Super-Epic Memphis Unicorn Magical Exhibition Show

Now it lives out in the carport next to Mr. Owl.

Jul 27, 2013


Last night I was sitting at a stop light with my windows rolled down jammin’ out  when a car full of teenage boys pulled up next to me right around the five minute mark of this song.
The young gentleman in the passenger seat leans out of his window and says,

“Ma'am, excuse me, ma'am." 
“That song you're listening to is really good!  Who is it?”  
I tell him and then at the next light we meet again but this time he’s typing into his phone.
“OK, it’s Sinnerman by Nina Simone, right?  That song would make a great sample!”
Then the driver leans forward and says,
“I know who she is. My niece is named after her.” 
With a big smile I say,

"Yeah, she's has really stood the test of time.”