"There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong."
—H.L. Mencken, journalist
“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
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.
“The problem is people are being hated when they are real, and are being loved when they are fake”
"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
"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."
HANDS-ON-LEARNING IS THE BEST!: Kanab Nativity Restoration from Joshua Baird on Vimeo.
A group of Kanab High School students help restore a community nativity set. The set was purchased by funds raised by Kanab citizens over 33 years ago. The set will be on display through the month of December on the lawn of the LDS church on Highway 89, a few blocks South of Highway 89A/89B junction.
"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself,
I am large, I contain multitudes." -Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
The Nvorczk series is one of the most puzzling in the history of American Art. It appears to be the work of a Russian expressionist named Nvorczk when in reality the artist responsible for these images was America's own Maynard Dixon.
MAYNARD DIXON (1875-1947)
Maynard Dixon is one of the Southwest's most celebrated artists. His career overlapped many significant developments in the history of modern art. Many qualities of these modern movements show through in his work as it evolved over the course of his career.
Dixon painted around 60 of these mysterious images between 1917 and 1934, but never showed them to anyone. Susan Bingham, cofounder of the Thunderbird Foundation and friend of Dixon's widow, Edith Hamblin, says, "The abstract paintings Dixon produced with the signature Nvorczk were never meant to see the light of day. They were an expression of a time when Dixon was experiencing depression and difficult personal times, the reason he never signed his own name. After Edith Hamlin Dixon's death these pieces were discovered and offered in the public marketplace through a family member."
Dixon is famous for his tranquil paintings of the people and landscape of the American Southwest. This series flies in direct contrast to Dixon's familiar style and subject matter; it shows just how complex the man really was. Below are paintings more typical of Dixon's style.
To learn about the Nvorczk series go to nvorczk.com
Maynard Dixon Country, an annual gathering of artists, collectors, community, and friends who love art and the world of Maynard Dixon, will be held August 21-23 2015. Go to thunderbirdfoundation.org for more information.
I got to ride along as the art instructor on this San Juan river trip with Kanab High school students. Every teen should have the opportunity to go on a trip like this without it breaking their parent's bank account. Students were so engaged, observant and attentive. They were much more inclined to take an interest in subjects like botany, poetry, watercolor and conservation in this environment than they would ever be in a classroom.
Video was an essential component to the Kanab Skatepark compaign we initiated in around 2011. I learned alot while making these videos. They were essential to the compaign's eventual success.
The film below is just a simple explanation of what K-Town Plaza might look like within the confines of the 100x100 ft property boundaries the city was willing to donate to the project. This was before cell phones were used to capture and share video. I mounted an old canon camera to a stop animation mount to make this video.
I had some students throw this video together in an effort to get as many students involved as possible in the project. We burned this video to DVD and sent it out to businesses to raise money.
This animation was curcial in helping people visualize how the plaza might look. We later pitched the idea to the city council to remove the redundant street on the East side of the property. They initially rejected the idea, but only a few months later, we noticed it's removal. We're super glad they got on board with that idea and embraced the idea of connecting the Plaza concept with Jacob Hamblin Park to the East.
Virtual Tour of K-Town Plaza from Joshua Baird on Vimeo.
According to ARC (American Ramp Company) K-Town Plaza is the first skatepark they know of to incorporate a pump track around its perimeter. No one knew what a "pump track" was at the time so I made this video to demonstrate the idea.
K-Town Plaza Update: What's A Pump Track? from Joshua Baird on Vimeo.
I didn't make this film, it was made by Alon Karpman. It does a great job of showing the construction process. Lots of great shots here...
I'm not totally sure who made the video below, but I think it was a former student of mine, Jake Clayson. It shows what the skatepark looks like today. Every time I drive by I see kids all over it. The folks on the committee and I couldn't be happier with the final results. We could not have make this happen without the support of local families, business and politicians.
Kris Kuksi is one of my new favorites, not only for his mind boggling work, but for his diversity of interests. He's really hit it with these assemblages, they're like nothing I've ever seen before. But he has other diverse interests that show he refuses to put himself in a box. They range from colorful paintings of see-through cows to photorealistic paintings of flowers. I love that these images are all by the same artist. Click to see more of Kris's work.
Another early film. I think this one was made on a DSLR before I understood the relationship between f/stops and depth of field...
3 Paintings by Mark Rothko
3 Paintings by Richard Diebenkorn
3 Paintings by Georgia O'keeffe
Understanding an artist's style is key to understanding the history of the art world, but it can also be a very misleading practice. Just when you thought you had pinned down the notable styles of the most important artists in your art history class in high school or college. Think again.
Here's a new perspective on style: Consider the careers and work of some of the most important painters in the last century: Georgia O'Keeffe, Richard Deibenkorn, Willem De Kooning, Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Maynard Dixon, Claude Monet, Alexander Calder, Piet Mondrian, and Robert Motherwell. There are many others, but these artists are great examples of individuals whose work evolved dramatically over time. In their minds, consistency was another word for creative stagnation. These artists are important because of their unceasing pursuit of a creative vision. They valued artistic freedom over commercial success.
Can you imagine if Vincent VanGoh painted sunflowers his whole life? Or if Claude Monet never got past his charicatures? Granted, in retrospect, these artists had common threads unifying most if not all of their artistic labors. But those threads of style were never contrived; nor were they planned. They were never based on a specific motif or brush stroke. Their style was always a natural consequence of their artistic journey, of being true to themselves and living in the moment.
Like the tracks of a coyote zigzagging around patches of sage and juniper. Style should never be the trail that you follow, but the tracks you leave behind.
The images below show how three of the greatest painters explored the coninuum of representation. On the left are representational paintings, on the right are abstract paintings, in the middle are pieces that cross between the two ends of the continuum. In some cases the abstract works are non-objective, meaning no subject other than color, line, shape, etc.