A Million Ways to Die

For all my work regardless of medium, emotion is my main goal. One way to ensure this happens is fostering a constant evolution.

I received many great responses to my last collage and it is a personal favorite. For my next one, I knew that I wanted to do something as dense but also different.

I limited my color palette which I have done before but this time i went with darker, more somber colors. There is a return to a more outright sense of narrative in this piece too. The last piece was a beautiful scene but not story. To my core I will always be a city boy and now I have created another one to visit in my daydreams.

As with all my collages, there is no digital magic worked. I utilize the old school method of scissors & adhesive applied w/brush to photos which I personally took. (new camera for photo)

“A Million Ways To Die” 11×14  (the lines visible beneath pieces don’t mean anything , they were resting on piece scrap paper w/discarded sketch)

 

20200811_13344520200811_13290820200811_13090720200811_12574220200811_125727Amillionwaystodie

First Her Tears were Purple, Then Blue

I finally had to bite the bullet and get a real camera to photograph my work. This coincides with a greater complexity in my collages. Gone now will be the caveat accompanying images of my work;

“I just used my phone to take the photo, it gives one the gist of the work but not all the dynamics.”

Being a complete luddite, it’s going to take a little bit to become proficient with my camera. The timing of getting it worked out perfectly though as I just completed my most complex work. Ideal thing with which to try out new camera.

As is always the case, the components of the piece are from photos which I personally took. I work no digital magic on the piece, utilizing old school method of scissors & adhesive applied with brush.

I try to alternate between doing my painting and collage. The idea for this one came to me during dinner (the original sketch on back of grocery list pad). I decided to change up my rhythm and do another collage before a painting. Going forward, it will be interesting to see what added vibrancy will be added to my collage as I will be using a far superior camera to photograph my source material.

“First Her Tears Were Purple, Then Blue” 11×17

20200807_10454320200806_12435220200801_133718work in progress

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This Little Piggy

I greatly enjoyed creating my last collage “To the Sea”. I decided to further explore the use of a limited color palette.This piece is a companion piece to my last one in wanting to go by the same “rules”. (limited color palette, utilizing my two main techniques within one piece to equal degrees, smaller sized paper)

As usual I only used photos which I took, my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with a brush. The sort of Maxfield Parish coloring comes from the times of day that I took the photos, all Pre-Raphaelite luminescence playing upon the neighborhood but for a few minutes at a time.

For all my work regardless of medium I prefer a certain amount of density. Especially with my collages, I like the effect of the viewer being able to find new little things with each viewing. An open ended narrative which leads to one’s own personal daydreams.

“This Little Piggy” 11×14

thislittlepiggy

 

 

 

 

Boo-Boo’s Birthday & Other Tales

Currently I am working on a large 22×30 painting. Before & after, i refresh myself by working on my sculptures and collages.  I received so many compliments on my triptych that I decided to continue my challenge/explorations by doing a diptych. I was curious what it would be like to work even smaller, so the two sections of it are 5×9. (smallest so far for me!)

As i continue to refine my technique I have found that I do not go about creating my collages in the same way right across the board. I have a few techniques which I switch back and forth from depending upon the size & images of collage.

Regardless of the size or images I prefer a density of composition & the feeling of an open ended narrative. This allows the viewer to return time and again to the work and find new things, new threads of thought.

My process is old school. I use my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with a brush. There is never any digital magic and I utilize images from photos which I personally took.

“Pinks, Blues & golds. Silhouette sprinkles, the lights all turn to cake. Good or bad everyone is committed to their midnight.” B-Day W.Wolfson

 

“Boo-Boo’s Birthday” 12.5×9 (1st diptych) & “What Do You Need Another Lighter For?” 12×17

firstdiptych1Boobdaywhatdouneedtwoplightersfor

 

 

 

Stretching Forms

I am fairly new to collage. Although I had a small learning curve, I continue to refine my process. Once I feel I have it “perfected” I do not want to ever be mechanically go through the act. To keep things fresh I give myself little challenges, or in lieu of that set out for uncharted (to me) territories.

A friend of mine is really into triptychs, so i decided to give that a try. each section of it was 7×10. I was very pleased with the results. The small book I got as to be able to collage when on the road finally came out of quarantine and  I got to try my hand also at working small. These two collages represent firsts for me. I am very pleased with the results. As with all my collages the images I used are from photos that I personally took. I never work any digital magic on them, merely utilizing old school methods of scissors & adhesive applied with brush. Most of my collages are available as prints on my satchi page.

“Triptych” & “Manual Style #1”

 

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Two More Tales

I think one of the most important challenges facing an artists in any medium is to establish their voice. Fame, power etc is relative and at best a side effect. I want a recognizable voice but to never lapse into mere mannerism. One way to avoid this is to foster constant evolution. This does not mean one has to reject whatever chops or artistic mission they have established. Leaving your comfort zone of established methodology shakes things up and prevents any sort of procedural laziness.

Another important facilitator is venturing out past established influences and inspirations. Music is my main source of inspiration and while i have definite favorite touchstones which I will never abandon, i also constantly explore. A dormant aspect of creating for many artists now is an openness past what they know and like.

With my collages, once I realized how much i liked doing them I started refining my process. Then I tried challenging myself by changing the size. Further dialogues with myself, and I realized I wanted to be able to do them on the road. I figured out how to do that. I do not want my collages to be enjoyed but also with the underlying sense of “seen one, seen them all”. To keep things fresh I continue to change the size, not eliminating any (sizes) from my repertoire. My two new current challenges are to do an intentional linked series “Boplicty # 1-?” and a triptych.

All my collages are made with images of photos I personally took. I use no digital magic, just my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with a brush. I want to give the viewer a sense of an open ended, dense narrative.

“She Said” & “Flacco Arrangement” 11×17 inches

shesaidflaccoarrangement

 

Tan Lines

9×12 watercolor & paper

During having to stay home she took sun baths on her balcony. From there she could see into my studio window, watching me work. Hers was one of many faces who while away the time taking in the mellow rays of the sun, which after an hour or so almost managed to trick the body into thinking everything is all right,  watching me work. when I finished a piece I would turn it towards window so she could see what I had been working on. shyly at first, she started informally modeling.

To me, the real is always beautiful. It facilitates emotions which in turn allow the viewer to return to a work over and over without becoming bored.

The size of my works is intentional. Their size helps bolster the feeling of happening upon a scene from an open ended story. Shelter in place has shown a lot of us that our living space is smaller than we realized. The wall sized pieces so often emphasized make a collector live under the piece and not with it. The larger size and familiarity also eventually creates the effect of a work just becoming first visual static, then merely a wall. My smaller pieces engage the viewer as one is making the choice to look at it rather than having it loom over them.

I also keep in mind the burgeoning collector who is just starting to collect. Large pieces, especially for an apartment dweller can dictate the style of the collection while also limiting the amount which can be displayed. I want my works to be able to be included in a collection as it and the collector’s tastes grow.

Ultimately bigger is not better, there is just more of it.

 

20200516_124023Tanlines

 

 

Two Tales

I have always felt that one must have constant inner dialogues, even about things which are already known or established. Further articulation can give more or new ideas in regards to the thing, a jeweler sculpting a gem of thought.

There seemed to be very little learning curve for my collages but I continued to refine my process while also feeling there is always more to learn. An important thing for all artists in any medium is to leave your comfort zone and put aside established methodology. Having to leave the comfort zone fosters evolution and creates stronger chops.

These two collages are both 11×17. I have switched to a wonderful adhesive which allows the actual collages to last (as opposed to initially when only prints of them could be sold) I still do not use any digital magic, Just scissors, adhesive applied with a paintbrush on photos which I took myself.

“Edging Her Bet” & “Threesome”

 

edgingherbetsThreesome

Erratum: I am fairly new to the blogging world. A few observations which may help others out.:

Everyone is blogging for different reasons, some just for fun others with professional aspirations. If you are doing it as more than a way to constructively kill time, spring for the add free version. You could be writing or showing the most inspired content and then in the middle of your efforts is a toe fungus or travel ad. If you were going to job interview you would wear your best outfit to show your seriousness, same idea.

Regardless of why one is blogging, it comes down to wanting to be seen/heard and connect with an audience. If you fire off several posts a day, unless you are H.L Mencken, it is too much. Most people are following AT LEAST a few hundred others. This means you are faced with constantly checking your phone as someone will always be posting or if you set your preferences to receive weekly updates you suddenly have one day (at least) a week with hundreds of emails. It becomes akin to having several televisions on at same time, a sort of babel. There is no way you will be connecting w/as many people as you would like as posts get lost in the stream of non stop deluge of content. At some point the pervading wisdom was “shoot enough bullets into the air you will hit something” Maybe at very start of everyone being on social media but not now. Less but better crafted posts will ultimately do more for you than machine gun approach which as the number of people on e follows grows, becomes too much.

 

Hamachi & Suntory

I am not a fan of musicals. However it will never cease to make me laugh at how everyone spontaneously breaks into song & dance. I understand this is the gist and nature of a musical but it always seems to pleasantly jarring, especially if you are watching one of the classic Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly ones for first time.

For a novice, what makes it strange is that it is one part movie, then singing and dancing, then they all go back into whatever the scene was.

Two Pals walking along the Seine:

How was your date last night?

Well, let me tell you pal

Then they start singing down the street being joined in synchronized dance by traffic cop, flower vendor, newspaper vendor and couple who happened to be passing by and one waiter in his black and whit,e bottle opener chain looping from waist to pocket.

All these characters drop behind two lead characters, into a synchronized formation while the two friends dance and sing. The music stops, then everyone reverts back to what they had been doing in this street tableau.

So…are you going to see her again?

I keep busy and productive. When i let my mind wander, I try keep it if not positive, then at least interesting. When the world can move on from the main thing on our minds being the Pandemic, once I know everyone is safe and receiving any help needed, what then?

I softly laugh to myself, once everything is taken care of, I will be as if in a musical, making my way through the city stopping multiple times for sushi and drinks, singing a song about it.

This is one of my larger pieces 17×17 graphite & paper.

 

hamachonehamachtwohamachthreehamachfourHanachianssuntori

 

 

Cyckenine (for Vassilis G)

Just back from being on the road. This is very much not my typical thing but I do believe stretching oneself and my comfort zone not only fosters evolution but also ads to chops.  I was very pleased with the results.

Text & images Wayne Wolfson Feb, 2020

 

Cyckenine (for Vassilis G)

Wayne H.W Wolfson

Part One: Brian #259-L

It was Wednesday, so Wesley would most likely come in. He made his money doing things which he refused to recognize as criminal. The discretion required of his work carried over into his comportment, never had anything been said that could be viewed as an attempt at fronting. Although it was not part of Brian’s programming, after a decade working the bar with only the odd day or two offline for update patches to be installed, he had formulated the opinion that those with power do not feel the need to broadcast it. Nor did they feel the need to call attention to themselves by playing up the mystery angle. On the rare occasion when Brian had witnessed him not freeze out a lady in her attempt to flirt, Brian had heard him say, when asked something personal:

“I would rather talk about things that I am into instead of myself, that’s boring.”

He would then divert the stream of the conversation to a book or opera that Brian would later search the data banks for information on when things slowed down.

Once in a while, in would wander some of the well-heeled younger crowd curious to experience the novelty of people working side by side with Andys. As exotic as it sounded, the reality was Solomon and his vest with its ongoing battle to contain his paunch and Brian sliding drinks which did not have all the bad stuff removed from it, across the pitted zinc bar. Rarely were there any repeat visits.

For those in the know, it was not the staff but their discretion and of course the collection of pre-war Irish whiskies that was the draw.

It was Wednesday, so he would be in. Brian liked seeing him, although he was unsure of where from within him this idea of enjoyment had come from. Regardless of who served him, he said hello or good evening but without any of the smirking irony of those who bothered to talk to a replicant outside of expressing their desires.

Part Two: Trudy

She was dangerous in the way that a person who wanted desperately to be loved could be. It was Wednesday and he was back in town. Initially, she had been sad upon the realization that a big part of her early appeal to him was that she was too self-centered, too damaged, to ask him any questions about what he did. This was not a defect as, true her interest in him smacked of a type of teen morality, only being concerned with in how it directly affected her agenda, but weren’t his own actions a manly variation on this? Did he ask what she did when he was not around? The closest they had ever come to that type of talk was when early on twice, he lectured her on the importance of unwavering discretion.

An unnerving thing, he was the one who had called her to get together. Planning for the worst, she smeared extra lipstick across her face. So much for the distraction of the holidays she thought to herself. Her hand, as always moved from left to right.

Part Three: Wesley

The blood could only speak to him if he was in direct contact with it. Years of experience had taught him to only dip his fingertips in it. As he crouched, the two corporate men behind him were bent so far forward to watch that at any moment he expected to feel their mid-career formed paunches on his shoulders.

The one on his left coughed, receiving an annoyed look from his partner for having caused a possible disruption.

Who knew how long such things take, it felt like forever but time was a language that we all thought ourselves fluent in even while using the wrong words.

“All right” he said standing up.

The handkerchief he had previously asked the senior man to hold onto was handed back to him, the colonel’s initials in faded blue stitching now barely visible.  He clenched his hand.

“Some people just need killing. Even the best scanner ops will not find anything which contradicts the official reports, tell the board that they are all set.”

The senior man discretely coughed so that Wesley held back, the two of them now alone in the tiny basement room.

“The boss said you always do a good job, made some near on joke about thoroughbreds needing to be taken care of, you know what he is like, wanted me to give you this if you were able to wrap things up quickly.”

Wesley took the black plastic card with its embossed diamond from the hand extending towards him. He recognized the insignia. Although he had never aspired to it, Heliogabalus, a members only ultra-exclusive club, where the skin jobs were said to be so good that one could not tell the difference between them and the real thing. Like a predatory beast, the streets were constricting most average citizens, starving them just enough so that they could not fight back but not enough as to kill them since they were still cheaper labor for some jobs than andys. Membership was more than most people, even the rarity of someone who still took pride in their job, would make over the course of several years.

The card was pocketed with a mumbled thanks. The senior man was envious but also a little disappointed at Wesley’s lack of outward display of enthusiasm.

They took the stairs, Wesley in the rear so that the senior man’s slow ascent meant that he had to keep bumping his shins as to not collide into him. A final handshake. The senior man fretted, should he say something?

“Uh, thanks again, great job.”

Wesley tilted his head in a sort of bow so that his face was gone, eclipsed except for very bottom of his chin by the brim of his hat.

 

As soon as he saw the card, Wesley felt the start of a disappointment which, if he could not beat back would color the entire rest of his night and possibly even tomorrow morning. The gift of the club pass was not a no-strings-attached reward, he had been in the game too long to think that. Of course, he could go and have a good time but inevitably he would while there bump into someone that the boss wanted a read on. It was not one of his gifts, but Wesley could already hear the conversation after going in for the requested meeting: “So, how was the club my boy? Enjoy it? Good, good, you deserve it..”

There would be a pause as he considered which was better to refer to Wesley to his face as, a thoroughbred or good producer?

“Yes, well have to keep our top producers happy, say I heard you ran into “…” while there…so, what’s your take on them? I know it’s just a casual read but with your skill even that is of value.”

 

Part Four: Date Night

Wherever we were to meet, she always had herself dropped off down the street. I think this was her clumsy attempt to see who dropped me off or how I arrived. Again, the disappointment for her as it was the same car service I had been using for years.

I made no move to meet her halfway but merely offered up a soft wave as I allowed her to come to me. She was walking extra slow whether to annoy me as a bite-back or because she was on something. Reaching into my pocket for a smoke my fingertip brushed the edge of the card.

Even my rewards and leisure seemed enmeshed to the job. Would I ever be free? Did I even want to be? I had money in the bank, it was boredom that I abstractly found myself worrying about on the occasions that I found myself contemplating getting out.

There had been no artifice in this work-reward and I still found myself trying to fight down an increasing annoyance. Trudy’s slow-motion pace was not helping.

Finally, she stood before me, people walking by us turned their heads to take in as much of the scene as possible. She did a little twirl as I held one of her hands above her head. The blue dress I had gotten her one Christmas, information that I was glad to have remembered, since there was a very good chance that later on she would try to spring a trap by asking me if I liked it.

With her in that dress, I knew that the night may still have two more dances to offer up. One with which to seduce, the other to say goodbye.

“Done with work?”

I let her have her hand back, she kissed me. Her kisses always made me feel like a soldier cut off from a cause, all that remained was trained brutality.

“What now?”

“Go to Solomon’s?”

She crinkled her nose.

“No, I am hungry. Let’s eat.”

“We can do that but later I still have to swing by there and pick up my messages, you can not complain that you are too tired.”

She pouted.

I would see how dinner went and if it was all smooth sailing then maybe I would bring her with me to Heliogabalus. Just as it had not been for me, I was not rewarding her but thinking strategically as she would serve as a buffer with anyone that I ran into.

We headed towards I Vitelloni. I do not know why the boss being disingenuous was so getting on my nerves tonight. I tried shaking it off, telling myself it was merely residual taint from the bad blood.

We were given one of the good tables, nestled in an alcove towards the back. Not because any money had changed hands with the Maitre’d but on account of having seen the look in our eyes and wanting as little to have to interact with us as possible.

My reverie was broken by her question:

“What?”

“It is always sexy watching you drink champagne.”

However, I knew that beauty was always a brief reprieve, like seeing an undulating field of flowers on the way to an execution.

The food was good and, in his relief, that no scene had broken out at our table we were given little cordials of cognac to warm us before our departing.

I decided I would bring Trudy with me. Why this inspiration came into my head, I have no idea.

The building managed to be imposing but also sort of camouflaged by the rest of the city’s vertical sweep. I touched the card to the scanner by the door, nodded to three burly men in black blazers who looked up at me from a kidney shaped desk before crossing the lobby to the elevator where I had to repeat the process.

There were no floor buttons to push, just a flat screen that the card was once again flashed to be read by a green light. Trudy had not said anything which was fine too. Had she been if not here, then someplace like this of perhaps a lower grade? Probably.

The doors slid open. An ante chamber all in white marble with a podium. Two beautiful women bookended the podium behind which stood a balding man in a tuxedo with gold rim glasses perched at the end of his nose. The women were both naked except for a thigh length piece of sheer white silk which still afforded a view of all their charms.

I gave the man my card, a puff of nano steam with all the electronic keys was spritzed in my face. I moved aside for Trudy to step up, the women continued to smile, I noticed that there was a pattern to them, goosebumps, erect nipples, smile, eye contact, blush response.

The man behind the podium cleared his throat.

“This card is for one.”

Trudy intuitively knew to move aside. I met the man’s gaze and slowly took off my calf skin gloves. The man looked at my hands.

“Yes, well this comes from a long-standing client. I am sure we can make an exception, the single card probably an oversite anyways.”

He cleared his throat again as he raised the atomizer even with Trudy’s face.

The place was cavernous, it was lit so that nothing was ever in direct light. There was a central bar surrounded by cushioned conversation pits, an older man with sharp features in a white vest with pointed fronts worked the bar.

Skin jobs wandered around naked, slowly floated above the room and down mosaic tiled halls on nearly invisible wires. The main hall branched off into high ceilinged salons. In one, men and women sat and talked, glasses of wine in hand as two naked women in bird masks fought on the floor in an increasing tempo of violence. Another looked more plebian with a DJ booth and people dancing to bad house music. Everyone was in varying state of undress. A few women were beautiful but also looked slightly drunk. I wondered if they were skin jobs too as for some people taking advantage of a loss of control was a kink.

There was almost every body type conceivable to be seen and had. One polite man held a door open for us. He seemed to have zero body fat, with genitalia so oversized that no man born of woman could ever measure up. For a second I understood one of the mindsets of people who come to places like this. After one has indulged in everything else, you need to seek out new taboo; things not organically occurring in erotic daydreams. To see someone utilizing what was so casually swinging around off of the doorman would be so strange that its uniqueness would serve to create even if only momentarily, a sort of heat. Surprisingly though, I did not get the feeling that the people who were obviously regulars to the establishment gave any thought as to where they could go once all of this became overly familiar.

Trudy’s shoes were bothering her, she pointed over towards a bordello style fainting couch, telling me that she had to sit down for a moment. I told her that I would go get us some drinks.

Approaching one of the smaller bars that was curved to mirror the alcove it was in, my communic-phone went off. The number was that of the unlisted one the boss sometimes used. Discretely, I looked at the screen for a moment. No text, just the picture of a man with an ingratiating smile trying hard to pretend to be unawares of the camera eye.

The very same man was at the bar. He gave a little start as he glanced to his right and noticed me. He snapped his fingers and said:

“Wesley, from….”

I nodded. As well trained as he was, only an expert would notice, the corners of his mouth did an involuntary quiver for what he knew would look suspicious if he tried to avoid. I took a glove off and offered my hand to shake. Of course, he was untrustworthy. The board had already known this. I was just the hammer, here so that later during negotiations, there could be no objections. Their expert had told them what he was so if he wanted in this was their percentage demand.

We exchanged a few pleasantries. Now that he was caught, he could relax, might as well enjoy himself. I ordered two whiskies Tai-Pan style.

“Well, I will let you get back to it.”

He nodded and was so relieved to be able to slip away that he almost forgot who I was and went to shake my hand again in farewell. Watching him disappear down the hall, I fought back the curiosity to see which salon he chose to lose himself in.

Trudy was laying back on the couch, one hand was inside her dress lazily caressing her breast. Rubbing her feet was a skin job elvish in its androgyny. It said hello to me and I returned greeting. It continued rubbing her feet, moving its torso forward and back as if rowing, through an unbuttoned blouse showing two smallish breasts but also a visible if unimpressive erection. I handed her a drink and we clinked our glasses. She moved a little so I could sit down too.

“These hands are heaven. Have you tried one of these? Probably not, you are always working, and this is a new model, I think the idea was taken from a folk tale or something. Would it be wild if we had it join us? Would that be a lark?”

I did not like talking right in front of it as if it were not there, but it would also be considered absurd were we to private conference about what Trudy wanted to do.

“If you want to try it have at it, I am good though, I assure you no hard feelings on my part. I still have to swing by Solomon’s too.”

“Wait” she said.

She sat up gathering her shoes in one hand. She leaned forward and they started kissing. Her cheeks turned beet red.

“Ok, I’m ready.”

As we were crossing the floor, I told her;

“You could have stayed if you wanted to, do whatever, I do not care.”

We stopped. She looked up at me.

“You wouldn’t be sore?”

“No.”

She kissed my cheek and I saw her quickly walk back to where we had just left.  In unison the girls by podium wished me a good night, their entwined voices a birdsong.

I found my way to Solomon’s. It was the slow time of night and I relished the peace.

Brian set me up with a drink.

“Tai-Pan style?” I asked and we both laughed.

A few hours later I saw Trudy getting out of a cab. At some point she had put more lipstick on. For anyone else it would look too much but with the crazy look on her face it worked. She staggered down the street, her head lolling from side to side fever dream like.

finis

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