Studies in Abstract Expressionism
I think these images came out of the recent chaos and turmoil of several home plumbing emergencies. :)
There are many more to see in the abstract portfolio under "works'.
"There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong."
—H.L. Mencken, journalist
I quite playing music with Stone Company after a 3 year long run. It's a bit of long story, but the short of it is that life is too short to only play someone else's music...So this last month was the first time in several years I have been bandless: no gigs on the horizon, no rehearsals, no recording schedules, etc. I'm still helping Dan finish his album, but other than that it's really nice to clean the musical slate and just focus on the pile of my own compositions that's been building up over the last several years.
"Stars & Stones", 2020
The above part of this drawing is based on some geometrical figures that interest me as well as a configuration of stars that I'm always searching for when I look up at the night sky...
If you look at the relationship between Sirius, Canis Major, the Belt of Orion, Aldabaran, Taurus and the Pleiades you'll see they're in a nearly perfect line. I find a lot of meaning in the relationships of those stars and constellations. The line suggests a narrative and the mythological meanings of the stars and figures suggest the archetypal story of the hero's journey...
The cairn in the lower half of the drawing is based on the one outside our home in Kanab. When I was at Southern Oregon University, the Native American Studies professor told us about the "visioning stations" found at the tops of many of the mountains in the Siskiyou range. A visioning station is a cairn on top of a mountain where young Native Americans would pray concerning their futures. Typically the crowning rocks on the top of each cairn would point to nearby sacred mountains. Thus, a sort of constallation of visioning stations was formed across the Siskiyou range...
This image is about the connections we seek and the connections we make in life and how they hold us together; especially during times when chaotic forces try to separate us and tear us apart.
I thought this would be a great image to share on a site like Society6. They are currently selling these prints for 40% off the regular price: https://society6.com/joshuabaird
Equal Justice Under Law
“The words ‘EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation...We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
—James Mattis, Marine general, former Secretary of Defense
The Key To Freedom
"Stone Company" Album Release
I play in a "groove oriented acoustic roots trio" called Stone Company. We just released our first album on all music streaming platforms. You can learn more at www.stonecompanymusic.com
Jon Stone, the lead vocalist came up with the idea of a banjo shaped balloon. I imagined a bunch of pirates in banjo shaped balloons attacking the deserts of Southern Utah and came up with the album art you see above.
Contour Drawing Of A Shoe
A quick drawing lesson for the kiddos (and everyone else) stuck at home...Choose a familiar object from around your house. Stage it in an interesting way that makes it easy to identify. Try drawing the edges of it with only lines. Imagine an ant is crawling along the edges of the object; follow the trail of the ant on your paper with the tip of your pencil. Draw the edges of the big shapes, the small shapes and the details. Make the silhouette or outline the darkest or thickest line of all...Post your drawing in the comments if you're feeling up to it.
STONE COMPANY KICKSTARTER
I'm in a trio called Stone Company. We launched an album right as the Covid Shutdown was starting...our time could not have been worse, but we still got a pretty good response from our fans and supporters. This video was taken from scratch footage I shot while we were making the film. I didn't think I'd every use the footage, but it came in handy for this project.
Here's a small segment from a stage show I coproduced with Russell and Lyndsey Wulfenstein. Danny Monnett is our star guitar player on telecaster and pedal steel.
Real vs Fake
“The problem is people are being hated when they are real, and are being loved when they are fake”
In 2019 I was hired to direct this film of a dance choregoraphed by my Alissa Schirtzinger Baird. The film was screened at a Creative Arts Academy Benefit Concert in December 2019.
When Art Is Prophetic
"Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public"
—R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, 1969 internal memo
"The Treachery of Images" ("Ceci n'est pas une pipe" is French for "This is not a pipe.")
—Rene Magritte, 1929 painting
What We Seek...
“While a common reaction to seeing a thing of beauty is to want to buy it, our real desire may be not so much to own what we find beautiful as to lay permanent claim to the inner qualities it embodies.
Owning such an object may help us realise our ambition of absorbing the virtues to which it alludes, but we ought not to presume that those virtues will automatically or effortlessly begin to rub off on us through tenure. Endeavouring to purchase something we think beautiful may in fact be the most unimaginative way of dealing with the longing it excites in us, just as trying to sleep with someone may be the bluntest response to a feeling of love.
What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.”
—Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
Roo Arcus & Stranded Tourists
Stranded Tourists had the opportunity to back CMAA award finalist, Roo Arcus during Western Legends this Fall. This show wasn't just our first show with Roo, it was also our first acquaintance and first rehearsal. We were all impressed by him. Here's more information about him from his website: https://www.rooarcus.com/about.html
"Golden-guitar finalist Roo Arcus is as real as they come. He sings the way he lives, honest, true and country. He’s a cowboy, a storyteller, a songwriter and one heck of a recording artist. This Australian cattleman, who to this day works the family farm, oozes authenticity and is true to his country roots.
The 2016 CMAA Award Finalist for ‘Male Artist of the Year’ and ‘Toyota Heritage Song of the Year’, Arcus has more than earned his stripes in Australia and is now taking on the world stage, splitting his time between Southern NSW and the Country Music heartland of the Southern United States.
Arcus has now released 3 albums resulting in a string of radio hits, awards and nominations. Drawn to the road, he has toured and played most the major festivals in Australia and has twice been an official CMA showcase artist in Nashville. His resilience, hard work, honesty and pride in his music, has earnt the respect of industry and his ever-growing loyal fan base.
Turning the focus to the future, Arcus is set to release his fourth studio album in late 2019, recorded on ‘Music Row’ at SonyTree Studios, Nashville. The lead single lifted from the record – entitled ‘Tumbleweed’- will be released in July and will no doubt re-enforce his place in the hearts of fans and peers alike.
Few do it like Roo. He represents that illusive blend of old-world cowboy coupled with refined international touring artist. His music has worldwide appeal, as does his warm and gentlemanly but strong nature.
Roo is testament to a man who knows who he is and who’s not afraid to blaze his own trail. Such grit and tenacity come from a lifetime of walking the road less travelled. "
My grandfather Mac Lyman died at the age of 36 and I never met him. My Aunt Ruth, Mac's sister, was my closest connection to him. They used to sing at different hole-in-the-wall joints around Brian Head and Parowan. Aunt Ruth sang cowboy songs, told semi raunchy cowboy jokes, yodelled and painted with oils. She ran off with a cowboy at the age of 16 and later, because of her connections to Southwestern cowboy culture, learned "The Sierry Petes AKA Knot in the Devil's Tail" directly from Gail Gardner. I think she actually lived with her husband on his ranch for a while. She was proud to know all the original lyrics to the song, not the bastardized Michael Martin Murphey version. I once asker her what songs she liked to sing, and she replied "Country Western". I asked if she played songs by people like Hank Williams. She looked me straight in the eye and said emphatically: "No. I play Country Western" as if to say even Hank Williams was no match for Gail Gardner.
She was dying of cancer in this video and passed away a few months after this brief two song serenade. For all I know, it was the last time she played guitar and sang for anyone.
Happy 100 Pete!
"At some point, Pete Seeger decided he’d be a walking, singing reminder of all of America’s history. He’d be a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends. He would have the audacity and the courage to sing in the voice of the people, and despite Pete’s somewhat benign, grandfatherly appearance, he is a creature of a stubborn, defiant and nasty optimism. Inside him he carries a steely toughness that belies that grandfatherly facade and it won’t let him take a step back from the things he believes in. At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country’s illusions about itself. Pete Seeger still sings all the verses all the time, and he reminds us of our immense failures as well as shining a light toward our better angels and the horizon where the country we’ve imagined and hold dear we hope awaits us." —Bruce Springsteen
Connecting The Past And The Present
"If you are any part an artist with a desire to help steer a civilization that seems to have got away from us...then you don't choose between the past and the present; you try to find the connections, you try to make one serve the other...recognizing at least parts of ourselves in the literature and history the past has left us, and find ways of bringing some of the historic self reliance and heroic virtues back into our world...which in its way is more dangerous than Comanche country every was."
WOMEN WHO PLAY WITH FIRE
This short film trailer is a collaboration with my friend Mike McTeer. We teamed up one day while and Cathie McCormick and Bonnie Dunn were firing their Raku ceramic-ware to document their process, honor their creativity and highlight their ongoing annual collaborative exhibition called "Women Who Play With Fire". The full length film will be screened in August of 2020.