John Walker

All of my favorite painters are turning out to be old British mods. It shouldn’t be so surprising, I guess. I like how he talks honestly about what it’s like to really be an artist trying to work at a deeper level, devoid of jargon and political nonsense.

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God: an Appreciation

I’ve been thinking about God a lot lately. This isn’t such a novel state of affairs. Although a “serious Zen practitioner” now for decades, I was raised Christian; I continue to marvel at the tenaciousness of these roots in my own psyche, and keep considering its influences on the culture I’m inextricably bound to. After another intense, decade-long deep dive into the floral Mahayana Buddhist universe, I just reread the New Testament for the first time in at least 20 years. As you’d expect, it was by turns challenging and comforting, and so familiar I struggle to believe it’s been that long. Continue reading “God: an Appreciation”

Mod Culture: an Appreciation

When I was about 13, a friend loaned me a copy of British band the Jam’s definitive (if hardly best) album, In the City. The lyrics may be hard to take seriously as an adult, but the vibe was happening, and it really started some motors for a certain art-school-bound teenage suburban romantic back in the day. I’d been hearing a lot of punk up to then in friends’ rough split-level basements, sort of pretending to like it: Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers, The Clash, Circle Jerks, the lot. Punk already felt ancient and tired to me in 1982, although I don’t know if I could have articulated that then, much less dared say it for fear of drawing the disdain of my relentlessly snobbish punk-cult friends. Honestly, punk mostly sounded like my dad’s rocknroll from the ’50s, just sped up and played badly – which of course it mostly was. It generally sounds better to me today than it did then, and I wish looking back I could have taken more advantage of it to process some well-deserved anger at my parents. More mosh pits might’ve helped. But I’d been exposed to enough real violence. I didn’t need it snottily foregrounded in my art. In college, I got into more melodically post-punk bands like Husker Du, Minutemen, and Fugazi, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading “Mod Culture: an Appreciation”