#Selfie 1: Right then. Leafs and St Louis Blues are skating like mad 2.5 feet above my head, with a soundtrack announcer who could clearly like the Leafs to tie it up & stay in the game. 2nd period, 13 minutes to go. Blues just scored I’m writing in a local bar so I can get some distance from the #Selfie project that so dominates my studio. I’m having a very good time digging in to define with paint, music and written language what it is about selfies that I find so abrasive. It’s difficult to admit to intolerance, but I do. I admit it with the caveat that I GET it: if I’m intolerant, I’d better damn well be prepared to dig in and articulate exactly WHY I so resist and revile the selfie. By producing and publishing my own. Ow. As an artist I believe I am required to identify and explore my own intolerances. To work with what is abrasive and uncomfortable. One of the St. Louis Blue’s players is pounding the hell out of a Toronto player. I couldn’t be less interested. This is not the same as intolerance. Many indigenous peoples have felt, when faced with the cameras of apparently benign foreigners (some Mayans still refuse to have their image copied and used by anyone), that a photo contains part of the soul of the person photographed. Mississipi artist James W. Bailey believes this too, and addresses his internal conflict this way: I hold a religious belief, probably inherited from my paternal Mississippi grandmother, who was 1/4 Choctaw Indian, and who was extremely distrustful of photography, that photography, more than any other art form, has the ability to capture a living element of life, a flashpoint of the soul if you will. … When such photographic images are taken, the only thing the photographer can do to make the universe right with what he or she has done is to place the photograph, which I believe to be a living organism, into a context of positive growth…. The great photographers, whether they know it or not, are photographers who have taken stolen elements of life and have placed those living substances into a context where the photographically captured life force has been encouraged toward positive growth. Are we as careful with our own images of ourselves as he is on our behalf? So in I go, straight to the coarse sandpaper. My rules so far are these: 1. I work with and publish only images I take by myself of myself. 2. I publish each one first on social media before I use it in painting, writing or song. 3. I include whatever the response is in the work that develops. Including zero response. 4. I ask everyone I know what they think of the selfies phenomenon. 5. Be unfailingly honest and up front about whatever vulnerability I feel throughout the whole process. Show opens in June, in Owen Sound. It will include performance art, music, and a small hand-made book which will document the process of building it. I’m also booking it into a tour – through galleries, highschools, colleges & universities, museums & clubs. I’ll keep you posted. hmmm.