The Accident…

I once won a Blue Ribbon at the Polk County Fair. At first thought, not a particularly noteworthy accomplishment, but there is a back-story that I believe is worth telling. I grew up in a small town in Western Oregon. Built on the industry of ranchers, farmers, loggers, and those who provide services to them, Oregon was, and still is, primarily a rural economy. Each summer, county fairs from Multnomah in the north to Klamath in the south blanket the state. The town of Independence in Polk County where I attended Middle and High School holds a classic county fair: dusty, noisy, smelly, and filled with…

The Starving Artist — A Short History

The stereotype of ‘the starving artist’ has been around for a long time.  So long, in fact, that it’s reached the level of archetype. ‘The starving artist’ stereotype had its origin in 17th-Century Flanders, when artists literally were starving. It worked its way through the centuries into the Romantic period of the 19th-Century, where it became entrenched as a cultural norm. Finally, the concept migrated to New York City and took up residence within the Abstract Expressionism movement of the 1950’s, where it was celebrated by the Beat poets. Ironically, it has been adopted by many contemporary artists and often goes hand-in-hand with the life of a…