My father has always made art, he would stay up late at night and stich, glue, carve, paint all materials like leather, wood, stone, cloth, anything that he that would draw inspiration from. He loves to make food and feed people, making people happy with art and a warm meal is something that he has always had a passion for. Completing an ornate dream catcher or rolling dozens of handmade temales late night so he can literally peddle them to his friends at the local bars the next morning on his bicycle. He has always been like that of a gypsy something that at one point was awakened in me.
I always marveled at his art and never thought that i had the mind for it. Not having any idea that art is subjective and you can go in any direction with it. I thought because i couldn't draw or paint to save my life, or anyone elses, that art just wasn't an option. We would go visit him and he would show me all of the things that his friends would commission him to do. He would answer the door at 8 am shirtless, eating an ice cream cone, watching westerns, sewing a dream catcher and making food for us to eat. The life of an artist.
There were these wooden spears that he would make all out of 1 piece, meaning, the spearhead and the shaft were all one. He had such an eye for natural distressed appearance in his carvings. He would carve and paint them in such a way as to where, from a distance of a few feet, you would swear that the tip was stone. At the time, i was building and remodeling houses in [Los Angeles] and had a very logical interest in how things are built. I asked him if he had ever attempted to make arrowheads out of stone. He said that he did not know how. Weirdly i didn't either, it was so foreign to us that i didn't even know one sentence to describe the process. I instantly started researching how to make arrowheads. Wait, you hit rocks and they break until you get an arrowhead!? I was hooked....
I am obsessive, meaning, i have to know about things, all parts of all things. This is impossible, i understand that, but i have an undying love/lust for the chase. If i find something interesting then i have to find the parameters of where it starts and stops. When i first found out that you could take a rock and intuitively predict how it is going to break before you hit it and that there are videos of people explaining this process, i absorbed every ounce of content available on the internet 30 times over. (not kidding i would fall asleep and wake up to the sound of a youtuber chipping) The cadence of someone breaking stone well was like wind filtering through a pine forest or a winter swell crashing against the pacific coast. Living in the west side of [Los Angeles], amonst the concrete, there was zero local materials to chip and at that point i would have commited suicide for some decent rock for my ghost to hit.
This art is not something you are supposed to learn by yourself. In fact it's not solely an art, nor a trade either. More on that later. Being one of the first things, quite notably, ever done on the face of the earth, rock breaking, is in everyones history. I was awful, i mean really really bad at it. Sometimes i would misconstrue a really bad obsidian cut as a metaphysical attempt on my own life. (second mention of suicide, just to let you know i am aware of it) All i had was my obsessive drive, other than that, i had two left hands. Rock chipping is a blood sport. I was a mess, bleeding everywhere, no glasses, chips in my eyes, hands, legs, ears, nose, and throat. I even, because of bad technique, stuck myself in the ball of my hand with an inch long copper rod from a tool i had made. Yeah. This is not for me, im not right for it, go home, go back to work, waste of time, overthinker second guesser, your just stubborn, you don't have what it takes quit while your behind.
This was something that was passed down generation to generation as a communion between the earth, your personal spirit and the hands of god. Wait, What?
I spent the better part of a decade staring at my hands, traveling around to the lost corners of the southwest, digging rocks and breaking rocks with colorful triple sub culture time forgots. Thousands and thousands of hours communicating with nature alone, no herd think, not reliant on speaking or being entertained. Just me and these rocks, with a world spinning around me. People honking, screaming, traffic and helicopters all of which-eventually-smeared together, a culled fuzzy overcooked oatmeal monotone humm which was downstaged by the birds songs and the now vibrant colors of the lucid daydream nation. I would get into an arrowhead almost 3 hours, thousands of flakes, only to have one flake, coincidentally it's always the last one, snap the piece in half. Throw it, shatter the rest, take a week off while i pouted and doubted. Am i ever going to get through the learning curve...? The stone would say, 'pink' as it would ruin my day dreams. What is this pink? What does pink have to do with anything? My grandfather, a brilliant machinist for Lockheed Martin spoke of this. "I don't like, pink." - Thomas R Holt.
I didn't start improving until i realized something profound, this has nothing to do with arrowheads and knives. Those are bi-products of a greater body of understanding, i mean i am interacting with nature, with the earth. I am trying to take something i haven't earned. This is a communion, an open source dialog. One cannot aquire something expected without first coming to an agreement. Otherwise it is theft and theft is not rewarded in nature.
The philosophy of ancient people adapted through reproductive studies. Without walking the path, we 'assume' we understand.
I have to surrender my expectations of outcome while not letting a rock in my shoe stop me from climbing the mountain. I may never see the outcome, it simply hasn't happened yet and my assumptions act as a hinderance to my growth. My eyes can easily be decieved but my hands and ears do not. Im not making an arrowhead i am taking and using intuition and knowledge of how nature responds to my thoughts emotions and actions, to remove flakes. What you do with what you know. I cannot hear where there is to much noise, internal noise drowns out the sounds of nature not unlike the cop sirens, screeching tires and the sounds of overpowered thumping stereo systems blasting who gives a shit, down 4 sleepless lanes of Centinela Boulevard.
"Coincidence is law unrecognized" - Mark Passio
This is what is being passed down from generation to generation to keep peace, peace of the mind andor the way one acts with all of ones being. The rock is a vehicle to transport this knowledge. Do rocks have and hold power? Only as much as can be taken away. I for one am no longer mineral deficient. Everything that happens is my fault, the ball is now back in my court, if i insert fear and uncertainty, it will reflect. If i use knowledge and understanding, i will own where i stand, i will have standing. i reflect wisdom. How great is that, i get to choose, It is all a reflection of myself. In the wise words of George Carlin, "Garbage in, garbage out."
The more i speak of my philosophy the more i feel like i remember. Like i have done this before, as i can only talk about my experiences with people who have capacity to understand it. Or better said, to have memory of it.
"The brighter the light, the darker the shadow." - Micheal Tsarion
The most painful part of this journey has been realizing that by my own hand, i create, and i destroy. What would be a right of passage without pain both physical and mental?... I build with light or i build with stone. I bring knowledge to the world and build with it or the stone will serve to block the light and i will live in darkness of non-understanding internal an-archony, an embodyment of chaos. Do i want to make an arrowhead? Or do i want to understand nature..... Working towards understanding the voice of nature has allowed me to do whatever i want whenever i want, as long as no theft has occured. (blurry photo intended)
I am happy to say that i no longer live in the hustle bustle although if i have to deal with noise i now know, no matter what, quiet is always a choice. I have even made some nice points... Who knew all i had to do was just get out of my own way.....
Thanks for reading.
The sound always got me, listen to the sound. When there is harmony, things work, and it all has a specific sound. Be quiet, give your eyes a rest, can you hear it..? This is how nature speaks, the vocal chords are all around you....
'meditation in motion'
Such an interesting and informative post I love the background about your dad. I totally enjoyed this post and video. I’m glad to know you and I think your art is amazing And inspiring.Peace and love, Virg 🦋
Thanks Leo !
August 06, 2020