I met Death as a young man in Wyoming

grim reaper

I met death when I was a young man. 18 years old and obviously invincible. You’re probably thinking I am about to tell you a story of a near death experience, yes but no… I met death incarnate, the Grim Reaper, Mot, Angel of death, Thanatos, a dullahan, Hel, King Yama, Azreil, or any number of other names given to the one who collects/reaps souls for the crossover. At the time my knowledge of the incarnation of death was very limited to the stereotypical Grim Reaper.

Friday and Saturday nights in this Wyoming town, where I spent my formative years, were spent driving a car around a loop downtown smoking pot and stopping in various parking lots and talking to other hormonal teenagers. The object was always to find out who was having a party and invite ourselves, or if you were a male, find some attractive females to spend some time with. At any rate this was what we did on weekends after we scored a driver’s license. Insert typical weekend night and my friend (I will call him Blue to protect the innocent) and I were cruising around stopping here or there trying to find the ever-elusive raging party. We stopped in a parking lot at one end of the Strip. It was a Small strip mall parking lot who’s owners were kind enough not to run the local teen riff raff off when we were congregating/loitering.

As we sit in the lot shooting the shit, I hear a loud exhaust note, definingly a hot rod. In pulls this Flat black 1971 Plymouth Barracuda with flat black wheels and a Hemi in it. It was the type of car we called a death mobile, today you might hear them described as murdered out. The below image is about as close as I can come to the vehicle. The wheels were different, but this picture is a somewhat less scary but relitively accurate depiction.



It was loud, it sounded nasty, like a rather large snarling Rottweiler sounds nasty, like a mountain lion, menacing but beautiful at the same time.

The Cuda parked. The driver’s door opened and a man exited the vehicle. He was very tall. I would estimate he was perhaps 6’6 and skinny. Wearing dark jeans and a dark wife beater he might have weighed in at 140 or 150 soaking wet. Skeletal would be an apt description of the man, his face was gaunt with sunken cheek bones and black rings around his eyes. This should have given me pause but I really like nice cars, and well, I was young, stupid and nigh-invulnerable.  The Cuda was most definitely a nice car, so being the confident/ignorant teen that I was I approached him and started to ask him about his car, Blue followed me. I asked questions, he answered. He opened the hood and showed me the Hemi and I was a googly eyed fan boy. We spent maybe 10 minutes talking about cars before he looks at Blue and myself and says “you boys want to go for a ride” of course we’re not turning that down.

To this day I am not sure why but both Blue and I got in the back seat of the Cuda. As we pulled out of the parking lot our chauffeur flicked his bick and lit up a joint, passing it back after a couple drags. Blue and I took a few and passed it back. Couple rounds and it was extinguished, Blue and I were seriously lit. Our chauffer then turned around and gave us a frightening, wide, shit eating grin, while saying in a flat tone “could you boys hold those speakers behind you for me?”. There were speaker boxes behind our heads with 6X9 speakers in them on the package tray, not anchored. Blue and I looked at each other and shrugged putting our hands behind us on the speaker boxes. Ozzy Ozborn suicide solution began playing from the tape deck and he proceeded to turn it up to 11…
Our chauffeur hammered the gas and smoke rolled off the back wheels, you could smell the smoking rubber wafting in from the open windows. We were thrown back in our seats with our hands behind our heads trying to make sure the speaker boxes stayed put. After a few seconds I strained my neck to get a look between the front seats at the speedometer, it read 90 mph. 90 mph in a 35 mph zone, in a downtown small town, with plenty of traffic. We came to a near 90 degree turn at 2nd street and he hammered the brakes spun the steering wheel to the left and stomped on the gas, we drifted through the corner with smoke rolling from the wheel wells and the engine sounding like Satans spawn screaming to meet its enemy. With no seatbelts It was everything Blue and I could do to not be bludgeoned to death by each other or the speakers we were attempting to hold behind our heads. It was then that I looked up under the glare of the street light and saw his bare right arm which I hadn’t noticed before. His entire upper arm was a damn near 3D tattoo of the Grim Reaper. At that moment I realized I was in the presence of death, it became frighteningly clear to me that I may not see another sunrise. Death punched it again reaching near 100 mph passing people on the wrong side of the road, laughing loudly like this was the best amusement park ride ever. Death hammered the brakes and drifted around another corner.  I was thrown to the right and caught a glimpse of the ignition and the keys.  I shit you not the key chain had a little Scythe attached to it.  Death laughed a laugh that brought goose bumps to my flesh and continued at impossible speed back the way we came, passing vehicles, middle fingers and blowing horns. We returned the mile or so back to the original parking lot where we had started our journey, Death slowed to a crawl and turned back into the parking lot.  The cammed engine loping like a dragster.  Death pulled over to let Blue and I out of the car. We were breathing hard and speechless. My heart was pounding, my ears were ringing as I stumbled out of the back of the Cuda. I bent down and looked through the passenger side window at Death, I swear his eyes flashed a green yellow color as he said “see ya around boys” he laughed again and slowly drove away.  I spent the next 20 minutes shaking from the adrenalin come down…  I never saw him again.

I did time in New Orleans part 3

The next day was the Zulu parade. The Zulu parade is an amazing parade, but it runs through some pretty income challenged areas of New Orleans. We parked on the outskirts of a sketchy neighborhood and began our mile or so walk to the parade route. I remember lots of people along the walk on the stoops of their shotgun dwellings dressed in huge native head dresses and other amazing ceremonial costumes. That was the cool part, the uncool part happened next.

As we are walking down the sidewalk we notice in the distance someone lying in the middle of the sidewalk. He was white and he was definitely passed out in the wrong hood… He was not wearing a shirt or shoes. As we neared the poor soul who had ingested entirely too much alcohol I noticed two black dudes making their way toward him. They started yelling at him “get the fuck up, you don’t belong here motherfucker”. We just calmly walk past them, no problem right… No cause I’m stupid. I am the one with the camera hanging around my neck so of course I turn around to see if it has escalated. Of course, it escalated. Each of the black dudes had one of Mr. shit faced legs and were dragging him down the sidewalk. As I said before I am rather intelligence challenged so I shot a couple of pics of Sir plastered shirtless bare back being ground into hamburger with the two lovely human beings dragging him. I made eye contact with one of them and at that moment I was pretty sure I was going to have to buy a new camera shortly, because the one I was holding was going to smash in someone’s skull to defend myself when they come at me.

Eye contact lasted several distressing seconds, then thanks to whatever guardians I possess the two left the man alone and walked away and my camera remained intact. The remainder of the walk to the Zulu parade commenced without further incident. The parade itself was spectacular with the most amazing music and dancing imagined.

We left the Zulu parade and headed back to the CAN house where the party never seemed to stop. More alcohol fueled merry making continued with two tabs of LSD at around 8 pm, to be honest with you the rest of the night was kind of a blur, I have flashes of memory but nothing concrete except for the field trip to Bourbon St. Bourbon St. was packed, wall to wall people. Smelling of cigarettes and vomit, it really didn’t appeal to me in my heightened state of awareness. I couldn’t even find the energy to go into any bar as the packed crowds, the noise and the smells just made me want to run far far away. I sat on a curb on the corner of Bourbon and Orleans and watched people for an hour or two. The remainder of the night was spent back at the party at the CAN house. Sleep was hopeless, so I didn’t even attempt it.

The birds started chirping around 5 or 6 am and the party was winding down for the day time rest period. Around 7 am Peter comes in and says, “hey man you want to head out to St. Louis Cemetery or Metairie and have a look around.” Sure, I said, and we gathered the girls, and my camera and piled into the Celica for the field trip. I walked around the back of the car and placed my ruck sack in the trunk and glanced at the bumper sticker on the back of the car. The bumper sticker simply stated, “mean people suck” Little did I know this phrase would play a role in my future.

We drove away from the house and I was still kind of high from the LSD and not quite as acutely aware as I would like. Driving was kind of like a dream till the moment we were on St Charles ave and I decided that for some reason it would be ok for me to make a left turn into the medium between lanes on a red light. Not entirely sure why I thought that was OK. The police behind me had other ideas about that.

The cherries came on behind me and a little shit ran down my leg… Just stay cool man, I thought. I have an innate ability to stay cool and everything probably would have been ok if I hadn’t had a bag of weed sticking out of my front shirt pocket. I honestly had no idea it was even there. The officer looks in the window and says, “sir could you please step out of the car” “Um yes sir”? I get out of the car and he immediately reached into my front shirt pocket and grabs the baggie of cannabis and proceeds to ask, “what is this”. “I believe you know what that is sir” “Please turn around and place your hands behind your back” Next thing I know the nice officer is kindly holding my head as he stuffs me in the back of the cruiser, God knows they don’t want me to hit my head on the roof as I find my way into his nice patrol car. Next thing I know I am on my way to my free tour of the New Orleans municipal jail.

Evidently the officers were unsure if they should take me to jail or not, so they made a stop at a local cop bar to ask their commanding officer what he thought they should do. I was wondering if maybe they were going to find a cozy alley and beat my ass and leave me there. Might have been preferable to the grand tour of the Jail. The commanding officer said to just take me in. We drove away from the po po watering hole and not far down the road the officer turned to me and asked if I thought he was mean, to which I replied, “no I think you fucking suck”. A block later we came upon a stop light, the officer driving slows and just runs right through the light. I screamed “are you fucking serious right now!!! Is that not what you just pulled me over for you hypocritical steaming piece of yak dung!” We got to the jail and I was processed, you know the drill, picture, fingerprints, the whole shooting match.

To be continued:

I did time in New Orleans part 2

CFA0FC80-B491-45B0-8B65-F02A2ADB7347We ended part 1 with the following exerpt of our run in with the carhart brothers in Stinking Creek TN

I proceed to inquire of the 3 large men dressed in Carhart insulated coveralls if they could perhaps change a tire and replace 2 studs on our wheel.  They look at each other, then back at me, then at Pete and the girls, the 6 seconds of silence were seriously starting to un-nerve me, then one of them says “Yea, I think we can do that.


Part 2:

Two of the three Carhart brothers proceeded to jack up the car and began to do whatever work needed to be done. Jen, Lee, Pete and myself decided to see if indeed we would become puppy chow for the Rottweilers.  It was then that I noticed a smell that had escaped my notice till just then.  The smell of frying meat.  As I assessed the possible source of said meat frying smell, sniffing in each direction, my attention finally came back to the wood stove.  On the wood stove sat a frying pan, and in that frying pan was rather thick cut Deer bologna being fried.   The third Carhart brother was manning the frying pan. A realization slowly filtered down into my brain and eventually to my consciousness, the dogs were standing there waiting for some bologna from the brothers Carhart.  This was considerably better than them eating us.

The brothers Carhart finished up the job in about ½ an hour. We paid them, I honestly don’t remember how much but it wasn’t ridiculous though.  One severely bent rim and 2 broken studs later we were back on the road.  The remainder of the trip was fortunately uneventful.  We arrived in the Big Easy late, around 4am.  Our NOLA destination was a place known by the acronym CAN.  CAN would be the Cannabis Action Network, a group of Cannabis activists located in New Orleans.  All of us at one time or another had been, too one level or another a Hemp activist so we all know most of the people that lived at the CAN house and had been invited to come stay there for Mardi Gras.  It’s around 4:30 A.M.  We get out of the car and can immediately hear the music inside the house and see 10 or 12 people through the kitchen window.  Pete and I and the girls walk through the back door to find our Kiwi friend Kevin Aplin with two Schlitz malt liquor tall boys.  “Welcome to New Orleans boys, the party has begun!”  Kevin hands the two tall boys to Pete and I as I think to myself “it Appears to me the party has been going for quite some time, everyone I see and meet is well into a rather prodigious state of inebriation. Not much in the way of sleep that night.

The next day we spent admiring the various parades around NOLA. That evening I made my way to Bourbon St.  Never want to do that again at Mardi Gras.  The smell of vomit was strong on the air and the crowds were virtually un navigable.  The party again lasted till sunrise and beyond.

The next day was the Zulu parade. The Zulu parade is an amazing parade, but it runs through some pretty income challenged areas of New Orleans.  We parked on the outskirts of a sketchy neighborhood and began our mile or so walk to the parade route.  I remember lots of people along the walk on the stoops of their shotgun dwellings dressed in huge native head dresses and other amazing ceremonial costumes.  That was the cool part, the uncool part happened next.

As we are walking down the sidewalk we notice in the distance someone lying in the middle of the sidewalk.  He was white and he was definingly passed out in the wrong hood…  He was not wearing a shirt or shoes.  As we neared the poor soul who had ingested entirely too much alcohol I noticed two black dudes making their way toward him.  They started yelling at him “get the fuck up, you don’t belong here motherfucker”.  We just calmly walk past them, no problem right…  No cause I’m stupid.  I am the one with the camera hanging around my neck so of course I turn around to see if it has escalated.  Of course, it has escalated.  Each of the black dudes had one of Mr. sauced legs and were dragging him down the sidewalk.  As I said before I am rather stupid so I shot a couple of pics of Mr. sauced back being ground into hamburger by the cheese grader sidewalk, with the two lovely human beings dragging him.  I made eye contact with one of them and at that moment I was pretty sure I was going to have to buy a new camera shortly, because the one I was holding was going to smash in someone’s skull to defend myself when they come at me.

Too be continued…


I did time in New Orleans part 1

dancerSo there is this show in New Orleans.  It’s known as the No Dead Artists  show in the Big Easy.  unfortunately I missed the deadline this year, but I plan on making a go of it next year.  A couple of things have put the Big Easy on my brain, having missed this show and having had the great fortune to see not only Trombone Shorty (at least one of the top 2, if not number 1, musicians on my infinite list of musicians I love) but also Preservation Jazz Band, Galactic, and New Breed Brass Band all at the same venue in Cincinnati a month ago or so.  One of the best shows I have ever seen, and that is saying a lot.  Anyway those things have NOLA on my mind.  So I will tell you the story of the last time I was in the Big Easy.

Let me set the stage…  1992, Mardi Gras.  So as most of you are aware Mardi Gras happens in February.  I’m in Kentucky in Feburary 1992, Lexington to be exact.  It’s like a Wednesday and we are leaving early the next morning.  Lo and behold the Gods of winter thought it would be funny if they threw an ice storm party that night.  Ya real funny ya all, real damn funny!  When we woke up in the morning there was no power and nearly an inch of ice covering everything.  All our cars are frozen to the pavement, the caravan party of 12-15 of us stood outside looking at the ice like WTF watching the blue flashes from transformers exploding around the city…  I just said “someone get the bourbon lets roll”  Little ice wasn’t about to stop us from making our way to the fabled Marti Gras, Christ I was 22 and invincible… or at least nigh invulnerable.   Myself, Pete, Lee and my not yet wife Jen hop in her Toyota Celica and start the slow trek out of Lexington.  Of course I am the idiot stuck driving Jen’s little 5 speed.  Even with growing up in Wyoming and experiencing some nasty, nasty, nasty winter weather, I am here to tell you ice is not your friend.  White knuckle, sphincter puckering, slow as shit ride out-of-town.  It was pretty nasty for about the first 2 hours then the ice lifted and we were treated to dry pavement and grey skies, thank you baby Jesus!

Things were uneventful till we got to Stinking Creek TN.  There was an unavoidable pot hole in the interstate that had to have been at least 5-7 inches deep and 2 foot wide.  I bet you’re wondering if I hit it…  Your conclusion should be drawn from the word unavoidable.  Blew the tire out, bent the rim, completely derailed our asses.  After I regained control of the Celica, checked my pants for shit and pulled to the side of the road, I sat there in the driver’s seat at the side of the road, imagining Yoda on my shoulder quietly saying into my ear ” left you on the side of the road for dead, it did”.  Pete and I being manly men got out of the car and prepared to replace the destroyed rim and tire with the spare.  No worries right?  This would be the part where if I had the wisdom that I have earned over my lifetime at that time, I would have thought twice about continuing the trip to NOLA.  Two major YOU SHALL NOT PASS!! moments, but again I am 22 and nigh invulnerable, so no worries I got this.  Anyway back to changing the tire.  Got the jack out and put the tire iron on the lug and started to turn, SNAP! broken wheel stud.  “its alright I say we can live with 4 till this trip is over”  Put the tire iron on the second lug…  wait for it, wait for it, SNAP! broke a second fucking stud.  Well if anything I am tenacious, so a new solution was needed.  I had Pete stay with the girls and I started walking toward the next exit to see what help I might find.  This is where things start to get just a little strange.  So this Black Lab and this Pomeranian show up out of nowhere as I near the exit after a 2 mile walk.  They are chasing each other around and the Lab is trying his damnedest to mount the Pomeranian.  The Pom is letting him for a minute then running away.  That is when I notice they are both males, I laugh, look at them and say go for it boys… and just keep walking.

I find a run down more than slightly creepy gas station at the exit and am thinking, hmm this could get Texas Chainsaw massacreish.  Whatever I’m a badass I got this.  So I walk in and just to break the ice I say “hey you guys know that Lab and Pomeranian running around here!  The gentleman behind the counter looks at me and says with a southern drawl “yea that there’s the strange couple.”  Strange indeed I think to myself.  Hmm I say, “is there an auto repair garage anywhere near here?”  The gentleman proceeded to tell me of the local garage and gives me directions and an address.  I ask if I could borrow his phone to call AAA for a tow.  He was cool and let me use the stations phone.   I proceed to call AAA and give them all the pertinent info.  I quickly thank him and tell him to say hey to the strange couple for me as I walk out the door and back toward my broken machine.  As I arrive back to the Celica I relate my tale to the rest of the crew and they get a good laugh at me.   AAA finally arrives fairly quickly, the walk took up a good 1/2 hour so I had that going for me.  I give them the address of where we want to go and the 4 of us pile into his truck after he hooks up the Celica.  Pete and I each have a nice looking female on our laps as we pull into what apparently passes for a auto repair facility in the middle of nowhere Stinking Creek Tennesee.  Its a barn, I shit you not. and in the middle of February, we walk into this slightly creepy barn and the first thing I notice is the 3 rather large Rottweiler’s staring at us like a meal.  The second thing I quickly notice is that there is no heat except what is coming from the wood stove in the corner where all the dogs are now standing looking at us like a meal.  My thoughts…  You got to be fucking kidding me…

I proceed to inquire of the 3 large men dressed in Carhart insulated coveralls if they could perhaps change a tire and replace 2 studs on our wheel.  They look at each other, then back at me, then at Pete and the girls, the 6 seconds of silence are starting to un-nerve me, then one of them says “Yea, I think we can do that.

To be continued…



The Price Of Acceptance

Been pondering the consequences of acceptance.  In an artist’s case this usually means your work is accepted to a juried show or you are given a solo show or your work is written about or featured in a magazine, etc.  On the surface it’s great, I mean it gives your work legitimacy, right?… Like super, I’m not the only one who thinks my art is worth a shit. We all strive for acceptance from others for our own self-esteem, or to help us feel like we belong I guess, but I also think there are some weird psychological consequences from acceptance as well.

What I mean is once you start succeeding in any given field sometimes, at least for me it adds to my insecurity. The feeling of being fraudulent. The feeling that I’m really not a very good artist or I steal too much from other people’s work, or why did they accept that, it’s total shit… etc.  Or in case of my day job, I’m not really qualified to do this and I suck, why would you ask me to take on this responsibility when I will just fail.

Why do we as humans feel this way? I have no idea why, honestly. I have been fortunate to have done some relatively strenuous searching for meaning and spirituality in my life and that has been helpful in keeping me grounded. I still have the same insecurities, the same self-fraudulent feelings but I am better able to step back away from myself and say to myself that is just the insecurity and self-loathing talking, don’t listen to those monsters. Or as Dory would say “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

The whole reason I am on my current artistic path and striving toward greatness is because of a series of setbacks in my day job. I have a great job working for Lexus motor manufacturing in Georgetown Kentucky. We build the the Lexus ES350 and I work in quality assurance. I didn’t have setbacks because my skill set is lacking, or because my personality is not people friendly, or my soft skills are lacking, quite the opposite in fact. I am high level in all those things. I had setbacks because I am a very poor interviewer. Seems stupid right, but moving up in any company has so much to do with interviewing and so little to do with skills… But I ramble on… 3 or 4 bad interviews for various promotions and I went into reflection mode. I decided that I might be on the wrong path and that it was time I quit giving so much of my energy to a place that didn’t really seem to accept me. So, I bet on myself and am going ALL IN… It took a long time for me to reach this place, partly because I was never encouraged by anyone, not my wife, not my friends, not my children, not other artists. They really didn’t have time for that. I never could quite figure it out because I would look at my work and say fuck man this shit is fantastic, why am I not putting this out there more. Then insecurity would rear its ugly head and I would slink back down again and feel like Ah man that is garbage that is why there is no encouragement. Truth be told I did receive encouragement from my Mother and Father but they kind of have to do that so I couldn’t trust that. I did receive encouragement from Gordon Gildersleeve, a sculptor I deeply respect in Lexington. He was the one that made me think I need to do something with this talent. For that I am grateful.  It took a minute but I am All in.

The following images will be featured in an international art and culture magazine based in the U.K


Chi Town

This piece will be featured in an international exhibition of abstract photography at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins Co.

tiger eye


Got rejected by a show in Cincinnati today.  Not really sure why but I guess all things considered it really doesn’t matter all that much.  Why are artists rejected?  Well I think the answer usually lies with the jury.  There was something that just didn’t resonate with them about the artists work.  Or perhaps it is something else.  It’s kinda hard to know if feedback or criticism is unavailable.

Anytime you are rejected it makes you wonder why.  Why was my work not good enough, what was it that didn’t resonate.  All the voices in my head say, fuck my work is shit, I’m shit, fuck I should just quit.  But if you are worth your salt the voices in your head say…  Whatever… I know who I am, my work is excellent, the problem lies with the jury, which is perhaps ego bullshit as well…

Unless you are lucky enough to receive some criticism regarding your work, you will be in the dark as to why your work was rejected.  I’m sure many artists reject criticism of their work.  It is difficult to hear criticism because it nearly always brings up feelings of inadequacy, my work isn’t good enough so I must not be good enough.  I have always felt that great artists take any criticism given and use it as energy to make their work better.  Maybe we just have a chip on our shoulder and feel like fuck them, I promise I’m gonna show them! I am great, my work is great, they’re just clueless.  Just cause this jury didn’t like it doesn’t mean shit…  Or maybe we let ego evaporate and look at what criticism is given with open eyes and actually look at our work from another persons perspective and figure out how to use it for bettering of our work.

In the case of this particular rejection of my work I was not fortunate enough to receive any critique, so that just leaves me to ponder why, why, why.  I am very confident in who I am as an artist and confident in the uniqueness and strength of my work, so I just sit here with the voices in my head and wonder is there a personal reason I was rejected?  I will likely never know unless someone has the balls to tell me.  Trust me when I say I respect people who have the balls to confront me on a personal level, I can’t improve, grow and mature if I don’t have truth to work with.  This particular show I had mixed feelings about from the start so as far as I am concerned rejection was probably the correct outcome, I just wish I had a little criticism to help me improve.

In the end I guess maybe it wasn’t my best work.  Over the past month I have made some really great work (in my opinion… here is a grain of salt for you) and when I sent the submission to the show in Cinci it was recent work but not as strong as the art I have made since that submission.  All things considered it really doesn’t matter a great deal.  My dog, my cat, and I think possibly my wife and children love me and anything else is just a bonus.

Maybe I will try again next year, but that is 365 long days away so…

Here is what was submitted.  Jury it and give me a critique…

Chi TownRosemary Postdont know what I named thismelphone

The Lodge 42 and drunkin Kanji

So just to start out…   I was  time sucking on Facebook today and my friend Yancy Martinez posted the following that made me laugh so I thought I should share.

  1. A corn dog is just a meat Twinkie
  2. Vodka mixes well with everything… except decisions.

Speaking of Vodka and decisions… I got drunk one time, Vodka and Cranberry times lots.  I decided it would be a good idea to get a tattoo.  I have a strong connection with Asian culture due to many many years of martial arts training.  That said the logical drunkin choice for a tattoo was some Kanji.  While the various martial arts I have studied the most and the longest are Japanese (Ninjitsu, Aikido) I have also studied Tai Chi and shaolin kung fu some as well.  So Chinese kanji seemed like an ok fit.  So I decided on this.


I thought it was an excellent choice since friendship is so important for a healthy life.

I don’t have a lot of close friends because family and work seems to take up a lot of my time, I honestly have only one really close friend, Rubey san. Rubey San and I go back nearly 30 years to the time as a young man I set out to make my way in the world and moved from Gillette Wyoming to big ol Lexington Kentucky.  Anyway Mr. Rubey is the owner of the Lodge42.  The lodge42 is the man cave dwelling in his backyard where we play darts and have philosophical discussions, laughs and bourbon cocktails among other things.  I imagine you might be wondering what the hell is 42?  Well that would obviously be the answer to life the universe and everything… There is usally at least 2 artists present having drinks, cracking jokes and playing darts on any given Saturday night.  The company is always top notch and the Lodge itself is eclectic to say the least.  I have taken 12 million great, quirky, pop art photos at the lodge over the years and am so grateful to my favorite host Rubey san.  Mike and I have trained in martial arts together off and on for many years and inevitably end up with bo staves in hand doing Kata or a fire staff spinning fire.  Here is an image of mike with a mask on, ala Ralph Eugene Meatyard.  Oh and notice the wizard with the fire is charming a snake in the upper left hand corner.  Not sure how the snake got there but I’m all in for magic

fire spinning

Who by the way has an amazing retrospective about to go off at the University of Kentucky art museum (Sep 8th)  including a shitload of un published work of his.  I can’t wait to see that show! 99 pieces of mostly unpublished work from his family.  WoW!


Signing off for now, check out #thelodge42 on Instagram or #thelodgelexington.


Happy Endings…


How didily do neighbor… So I was just tooling around today, up to no good, and I noticed something that got me to thinking.  Yes you are correct thinking is a very dangerous thing, critical thinking is even worse, I implore you don’t go down that road, before you know it the Government will be listening to you through Alexa or your Iphone.

So anyhoo I was at my local neighborhood Kroger grocery store and I noticed as I was leaving there was a massage parlor in the strip mall across the street. Those of us of a certain age remember those, what we termed Oriental massage parlors.  You know the ones, the ones that the term happy ending originated from.  EVERYONE loves a happy ending…  But I digress.  The reason it made me think of happy endings is that there is another new “Oriental” massage parlor down the block from my house, which seems odd to me since I haven’t seen these types of businesses for some years, now I have seen 2 pop up in 2 weeks.  Then it hit me.  FOSTA…  FOSTA was the bill that Congress passed to combat sex trafficking.  It shut down sites like Craigslist personals and backpage.  The intention being that if traffickers had nowhere to show their wares how could they exploit the humans that they have choosen to sex traffic.

That in turn made me wonder how sex workers are finding clients. I’m not talking about slaves, but the sex workers that do what they do by choice to make a living and survive in this world.  What are they doing to find clients, how do they advertise now?  How do they screen potential clients?  Did FOSTA make a difference in the amount of sex trafficking in the United States, or did it just push by choice sex workers out onto the streets and deeper into the dark web?  What tools do by choice sex workers have to screen their potential clients now?

These are all questions that jumped into my head as I saw the Future home of the happy ending. Would sex workers in Massage parlors be safer then on the street, or are message parlors the new hotbeds of the sex trafficking industry?  Not sure but something to ponder.  I think FOSTA  made by choice sex work a whole lot less safe.  I have never been with a sex worker but I would rather they be safe then in harms way.

First Blog 8/27/2018

So here we go. Started a blog to just free form thought explore…
Little bit about myself. I am Eric Spangler, ETS for short. I live in Lexington Kentucky and make art. Mostly photography but from time to time I get a wild hair up my ass and do something ceramic or a drawing or painting, or mixed media. My photography is not typical, in fact I would call it unique. I’m not out in the world trying to get photos of amazing landscapes, or beautiful portraits of people or animals. I use my camera like a paintbrush, I capture what I think of as pure art. I go out into the world each day, not looking to make art but finding it anyway. Everyday objects can become art… Ask me how… If you have seen my work you know what I am talking about. My images come from everyday travels. The grocery store, the gas station, my bedroom, the wine bottle that we drank last night. You name it I can take a slice of it, arrange it in some form of interesting composition and bingo… ART. I love what I like to call Pop Art, or my version of it at least. Iconic characters or just oddball characters or odd little images that are goofy but cool, like this one, titled “Abracadabra”


I grew up loving Art and studied all the masters.  Art history was one of my favorite subjects and I like to think I learned something from my hero’s of art.   I once wrote this paper for an art history course in college.  I wasn’t really into writing a cold boring fact laced piece about art and artists, how fucking boring…  Not today Satan.  So instead I wrote this creative writing piece about a college aged boy who is walking down a road.  The road is county road 1872.  Before he realizes what is happening he has been transported though time to 1872 France where the first person he runs into is Claude Monet.  An interesting conversation ensues and they talk about Claude’s ideas regarding art and the creation of art.  The boy walks on to the next street which is road 1935 where he is transported to 1935 and runs into Pablo Picaso and has drinks with the artist and a similar conversation about Pablo’s artistic style of the time etc.  This goes on several more times with several other Masters.  All in all it was a great piece of writing that I dearly wish I still had a copy of.

I love abstract art. I love to see things in abstracts, the organic faces and objects that just happen to show up in abstract art.  I love abstract impressionism and expressionism both, although I find it hard to use the painterly nature of either movement in photography sometimes due to not having enough recognizable facets in the piece, and it is difficult to control the level of blur for any given object.

This past weekend I went to an EPIC concert at Riverbend music center in Cincinnati Ohio. It was New Orleans comes to Cinci.  New Breed Brass Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Galactic, and Trombone Shorty.  I made some really great art before, during and after the show, and danced and danced and danced and danced.  It was so hard to stay in the small area between the chair in front of me the person to the left and to the right of me.  I’m a big dancer.  When I say big dancer I mean I take up a lot of space, I can tear it up when the music hits my soul in that way where you really feel it down deep.  I grew up as young adolescent 11-15 years of age spending time at my grandparents house in the summers.  They lived in a poor working class neighborhood of Denver called Globeville or near there anyway.  I was the only white kid in the neighborhood.  Respect is always earned and in a place like that in order to make friends and gain their respect I had few options.  I could beat the shit out of a bigger kid, I could be super good at sports, namely basketball…  which I sucked at, or I could do something completely different but very popular at the time.  That was break dancing…  Its funny to look back at it now and think how I made friends in that hood.  I was a badass break dancer at the time, I could do it all.  The guys you would see street performing in NY…  Yea I could be in any of their crews.  Instant respect.   I danced everyday from the age of 11 to 16. Learning crazy acrobatic moves, from windmills with and without hands to these insane sideways flips and spins, to headspins, into windmills back into headspins.  So yea that is how I didn’t get beat up in the hood…  LAUGHS!!  I still have some fairly badass dance moves for an old timing man.  The Trombone Shorty show had me working it…

More later as I have time to write.