Thursday, July 24, 2008


Cardarius is one of my favorite students of all time and a unique boy with a unique vision. He responds to art and the art-making process in a way that any artist would envy - forthright, bold, and with a very clever sense of humor. The guy just couldn't get enough of the Summer class and he was dismayed to see it come to an end.

Cardarius was the last kid left on the last day. I invited he and his little sister to hang out for as long as they wanted. I had plenty of other things they could get in to. I showed them how to trace one another on large paper then color in the outline with markers, crayons, and colored pencils. Then I remembered I had boxes of sidewalk chalk so we grabbed them and dashed outside. Within minutes, portals to other dimensions opened up in this Alabama sidewalk.

Little sister drew the loveliest flowers, whimsical and rich.

But that Cardarius is the brother from another planet.


Carlos is my main man in York. He scares the bejesus out of everyone with his look and his glare. But Carlos is the king of cool. He's a self-made man of barely 30 who owns several properties, a media distribution company, a clothing line, and the only gym in town. I spend several hours a week there in Carlos' torture chamber. It's cool. He has me boxing again. Also shows me some jujitsu and kung fu moves. The guy is quick but I will knock him out one day.

Andrea Lomanto and I won a seed grant from the Jim Henson Foundation. I'm putting together a team to develop a multi-media theater work based on the theme of Avatars; the Avatar in mythology and the avatar in computer gaming. The funds have been used largely for materials but they also facilitated the gathering of the key collaborators here in Alabama, namely Andrea from New York and playwright, Alice Tuan from Los Angeles.

We spent well over a week hammering out the idea, trying to give it reason and form. Alice played a huge role in helping us structure it, introducing important considerations in the theater making process, working up dialogue and notes to work from as we go forward. Our goal was not to create a finished product in the time we had but to begin a working process to carry us forward.

Exploring our relationship as visual collaborators, Andrea and I decided to try to create an image from scratch together. With music as a guiding force, we imagined a rolling river, a flood, flotsam, a sky full of buzzards, and a man.

We didn't expect to finish this image in the week we had. The goal was to get something started that can continue to evolve after we've parted.

We fought and bit and scratched each other the whole time but I think we finally came to a decent symbiosis. Andrea left for New York on Thursday. Alice is sticking around another week to do her own retreat and check out Alabama life, which, I think, is rubbing off on her.



I don't smoke and Alice only rarely but you can still smoke cigarettes in restaurants in Mississippi. So we had a cigarette at Red Lobster in Meridian because, Yes, We Can.