We make art in strange places and blog about it.

Cushion -Potentialist Fishbowler Post 6


It’s a cushion to have it in mind every moment that this could be art. It’s a soft comfort. You just transfer the energies from life into the visuals of a painting. That’s the job, the alchemy.

Or do artists conjure something from nothing? “Creatio ex nihilio”? The energy combines like spines of blue electricity entwined from nowhere. Or maybe it’s more like dithered rays projecting outward from a light house of inspiration? Energy combines in waves, crests and troughs and interference, this is everything.

Every good story needs conflict, I’m told, but it’s the conflict resolution that makes a story rewarding–high resolution. People mix with people bringing new things to life, new life to things. La tee da.

Witness the magnetism of an artist in the depths of obsession when he’s creating. Look on at the intensity of him like a caged animal. It’s all he’s got. It’s all that matters at the moment. Don’t fight his eye of the tiger.

Habitually making pictures is all I’m here to do. It’s not the only aspect of me but it’s my material keystone. My material existence, my creation, is centered on the reflection of daily existence–and the reflection of the reflections. Personal autobiography is my angle. My life with kitchen sink thrown in. Keep watching the vids.

Here’s the sunset live. 11 minutes is a bit surprising how fast it goes bright.

And this one became a favorite instantly. You have to invest a bit of time to get the goods..

Bowie And Art Outliving Me -Potentialist Post 4


I’ve been doing realistic portraits lately. These new canvases are small, eight by ten inches, 9×11, featuring bright solid colored backgrounds behind the heads. I painted Jean Michel Basquiat on a purple grey canvas. Next after him was Georgia O’Keefe on Red and then Pablo Picasso on orange. For now I’ll stick to the artists but I want to do the Dalai Lama and Noam Chomsky eventually as well.

Realism scrutinizes. Practice makes perfect. With these I’m seeing the progress I’ve made. It’s paying off. Each painting progresses often outside of my control. Colors come together as long as you’re methodical about it. I can feel it when it’s right. The brushstrokes dry on their own time usually over the course of a couple days and in between are periods of sticky paint layering. The behavior of paint as the canvas cures is the variable duty action. Get it while it’s hot.

I’ve worked on this one single skill selfishly my whole life and in doing this for me I hope to accomplished something for everyone. To be a painter is to say “I’ve changed. Once again, I’ve changed. Nothing stays the same. We can evolve.”

Bowie’s death inspired a lot in me and still is as I write this. My awareness of ideas felt piqued by his art. These ideas are of the subject of death and transcendence. The Buddhists say we should practice our own death everyday. For me, each portrait is a meditation and this one took me to interesting places as my important figure of creativity passes on early January of 2016.

My meditations with Mr. Bowie’s work has pierced me deeply on the subject of living my art, I kiss it farewell into the world as something I leave behind to outlive me. My art will endure because the paintings cause desire in their audience. Well, I mean they’re supposed to do that and I hope they do. I didn’t give my life to my art, my art has give new life to me, extended, expanded life. Reciprocation. We need each other as creator and audience. And then there’s reinvention like Mr. Bowie. Tune to the flow.

There are the songs which talk of space travel

the courage to move toward the unbound

elaborate on feeling the loneliness of space

being out there all alone in a tin can.

The untethered one gets lost

but at his own command unattached

Left to one’s own device

we create, we build

we fly


Finding fast motion was a godsend. Here’s 2 videos, quickly.

Post 3 Potentialist-Riding Bukowski Bus & Bowie 1

Riding the bus across town today, I’m going for canvases. A book of Charles Bukowski’s letters to editors accompanies me. The letters are so personal it touches nicely a nerve to see how he was. I’m sitting in the back enjoying the sights and soaking up this man’s mind. I’ll need to pick up a pen before the art store.

It matters who my heroes are. Who is more “every man” than Bukowski? It tells me what’s important to me. I study the photos of the writer seated at a humble desk facing a wall with plaques, he’s in his underwear and with a drink. Scotch was it? Sacrificing for the art is an important concept and we’ve seen plenty of examples of the wrong way to carry out that notion. Bukowski is one of those who died younger than he should have because of the drink and the smoke which were the comfort he allowed himself. Other things like wives and lovers could go to hell but these two, they would never leave him and his typewriter.

So many of us want to speak for others but that’s not going to get us to the finish line is it? Riding the bus today has me on the subject of collective action and how does a project get carried out? How do humans do big and good things? The like-minded unite, right? People come together in agreement. Perhaps their agreement is centered on something rejected–something their group dislikes–but their aim is to achieve something. The concerted effort is what reins in the change sought after. Some individuality must be sacrificed for the collective and that is a voluntary action. It’s an agreement entered into.

Is this a gift? Is it altruism to enter into this agreement with a group to collectively enact something? Is there personal gain expected from the agreement? If it makes you happy to help the under-served, then this happiness is a fair outcome. It’s a harmonious goal. This is compassion. Win/wins do happen in life.

The only way to make myself a bigger person is to let go of more ‘self’. Debts and balances can’t overshadow what’s right. “You owe me” is not a mindset cohesive to healthy inter-dependence. Healthy co-existence depends upon a sane level of true compassion and compassion is not keeping track.

So often we see a power battle ensue while objectivity evaporates from existence. It’s a subject important in politics, love, and life. All interactions happen in relation to compassion. Some have no compassion at all.

Even Bukowski’s compassion comes through in these letters of his. Most of them are in regard to rejection letters he’d gotten but you can see that literary imagination and courage light him up and he expects these to light others up as well as he accepts his fate, continually. Such is his craft. It’s his gift to the world. Bukowski sacrificed himself, in ways, to his art. I’m grateful.

At the very end of that one you see my just start to paint Bowie, that was the night I learned of his death and started painting.
The next one is painting Bowie but sped up. It’s so much better in fast motion. There will be a part 2 of that theme.

Here’s the previous post, Part 2:

Post 2 Potentialist-Brick Building

Potentialist Workshop & Gallery is a brick building on 2nd Street in Reno with big picture windows framing 2 front doors. It’s in a very old neighborhood sprinkled with Victorians in various states of maintenance. Fairly forgotten by the regentrification crowd. There’s still rawness in this neighborhood. There’s a walled in daycare right across the street, nice looking, plus mechanic shops and next door are glass workers in their shop. The hospital, Renown, dominates our view from the backyard. The homes right next door feature dirt yard squats filled with young families and tough dogs. We have nice parking off the busy street.

There’s a gallery, workshop with 10 or so studio spaces, and a 40 seat theater. Art all over the place. It’s a fully functional place with a large number of people coming and going here, most are creators of some kind. The gallery and workshop brings lively energy. Many people stop in. Characters, the lot. I like everybody who comes here. Their eyes are open to what this place is and that makes for a nice vibe between us. People are curious here and it’s an unusual place to be in for most. It’s exciting to see where artists create and I’m proud to be one. Playing gallery maiden puts me right in the middle of it all. I meet everyone.

Environment is everything. The informing characteristics from brick plate glass to overcast afternoons and neighborhood bars shade every brushstroke. Every car crash at the 7-11 and altercation in front of the Launderland boils into aromatic broth for my reflections and the art will always be unique to my experience. I hold to the energizing ideas in this very real life.

We create something new together by our combinations and outside of the gallery even. They’re not even thinking about things like art, perhaps, but our paths cross like rocket exhaust trails. Even if it’s not collaboration between us we might influence each other just by being. We live at the same moment in time. I tied my red and grey scarf around my pony tail yesterday, hanging off my head slanted. That might have given somebody something to chuckle over. I made something for them instead of nothing.

Autobiography brings honesty and plainness. In what other form would I narrate? ..or not narrate. Most of my videos have been without words. They’re open to interpretation but it’s mostly just the way it was. The pacing is all about frequency.. the output, but online attention must be maintained. Viewers must be entertained. Editing must happen quickly. Post frequency, you see.

So the week after I took down my show in the gallery I was painting Tesla to the point of being finished and then on to a couple small abstract landscapes. It was cold, hovered over the heater and we’d play music in the studio while the improv people practiced in the theater. Pan and Kelsey had their little baby at Christmas by the way. Axiom is a little handsome guy. His facial expressions are pronounced. He will rule his own art empire some day.

Here’s Post 3 from Potentialist Workshop in Reno, plus Bowie Portrait video Part 1:

Fishbowling Potentialist Post 1

In the studio none of the thoughts should seep in through the window seals but they do and with a whistling draft and rustling frames. Through the mist of grey snow showers outside my window I stare toward the new hospital tower’s neon. Renown. Yellow hazy city glows over night. Helicopters take off from the rooftop 3 times a day or more and I kinda’ like the sound. I haven’t lived downtown in awhile. Years. Memories of places I’ve been since then. Scene 1.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 5.21.09 PM.png

I’m in my couch tent of my studio space which is made from a theater curtain, heavy black and an aluminum U shaped ladder. The space heater warms just me in this draped enclosure over me. This workshop building stays pretty cold at night–drafty. The back door is just beyond my curtain. Last night was the first significantly warmer night for a couple weeks. These 12 section windows leak alot of cold but they let glorious light in.

At the curb I’ve been chopping away at the ice in the gutter many afternoons. It tends to solidify to little icebergs and I jump at the chance to break them up like Thor when I get a warm day. Today my work is done, there’s nothing left to clear from the curb. I took care of it. The neighbors, I wonder if they’ve even noticed their gutter is a little clearer. I can’t help myself. Walking up and down this sidewalk every day it has become my trail so I try to make it better. Why not.

Reno streets might feel lifeless but I know its only the cold. Other lifeforms are hopping the curbs with me but we cross paths, often without a nod to each other on the foot commute, just moving. Under the neon, beside the river, occasional awkward exchange. The snow drifts on mountain ridges think it’s all funny, the human drama. What is lonely to an aspen weighted by snow?

I had an art show here, up until January 4th. It was called Small Talk because the genres were from abstractions to portraiture and I wanted them to jive small talk. I put out a strangely large number of videos of me sweeping the gallery for some reason. I was just starting to stream this time around.

I’ve fishbowled like 12 times now. I like to share some edited videos to touch base with folks, let them see my environment. Not much need to explain if it’s all in visuals.

My Show is Tomorrow Night

Thursday night from 7 onward I’ll be at the Potentialist gallery greeting people and talking about my work with them and hopefully no politics. I’m going to strap a rubber band reminder on to sting my wrist so no conversation takes me away from the greatness it is to make art work.

I am so proud of this work I’ve been making mostly because it has been nothing but a joy. The world needs joy. My skills have been advancing and I hope it just makes people feel good to look these over.

See you there.

Go look at images of the artwork and stuff here:

Small Talk, My Solo Exhibition, Dec. 17th, Potentialist Gallery, Reno

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 8.47.42 PMScenic vistas, sunny abstracts, famous faces, and detailed figures in meditation inhabit Chad Sorg’s paintings, ranging from the very real to the entirely abstract. Gratitude with reverence for the luxury of life is the subject of Sorg’s art.

The twenty five paintings in this show are not political–this ain’t Facebook–and they’re not about idealism in any way such as it is with much contemporary art. Art should raise vibrations in its viewers and Sorg’s motive for Small Talk is just that simple–to raise the vibes.

There’s no substitute for experience. Talking about the sunset never properly conveyed the experience. Sorg’s challenge is to generate experience.

These are paintings to look at, what Marcel Duchamp called ocular art–devoid of clever intellectual concepts. This work is about living small, not trying to be important, just painting a little better each day.

Portraits and landscapes elicit judgment. If it’s wrong it’s pretty clear. The car forest paintings recall another time in Sorg’s life and the abstracts are beyond intellect, summoning only a fleeting moment of emotion through color relation. Sorg skill matures.

Journalism is a matter of relaying an experience, leaving a record, but viewing a painting should be the experience in and of itself. There’s information and then there’s experience. A painting functions, ultimately, as an experience. It’s not a record, it’s an experience.

What’s beyond speech? Art. Small talk is about seeing what’s beyond the words. If he can get them to look, then good. Sorg feels honored to see individuals standing silently in front of his paintings. It’s a sweet way to connect with others.

Moby Goes to the International Car Forest of the Last Church

I say it over and over again but the Car Forest is like this ongoing goldmine for me. I search the internets and every time I find new blog posts about the place!

Ronnie’s Car from MobyGoes blog.

Moby Goes

May, 2014–Goldfield, Nevada

Mohawk Mine, Goldfield, NV. 1900-1905. Mohawk Mine, Goldfield, NV. 1900-1905.

Goldfield, Nevada, is an old mining town and the county seat of Esmeralda County. Gold was discovered here in 1902. By 1904 there were 20,000 people living in Goldfield, and the district had produced $2,300,000 in gold ore.

The boom didn’t last long. The 1910 US Census showed 4,838 people living in Goldfield.

The 2000 Census counted 440.

You can drive through town in a few short minutes, as we did several times on our way to Death Valley.

We blew through Goldfield without noticing the main attraction that lies just outside of town: The International Car Forest of the Last Church.

Part art, part whacky–the Car Forest was created by Michael “Mark” Rippie and Chad Sorg. It’s a collection of old cars, planted and painted, in the desert.

The world's largest (and only?) junk car forest. The world’s largest (and only?) junk car forest.

The name of the place…

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Painting To Show

I’m a painter, an artist. With painting I can share something spectacular and beyond all cynicism. I think wanting to make something that stirs emotion in people, making them proud to be human is an achievement. We are a complex animal. I want to inspire a feeling of giving thanks. Getting beyond cynicism we might agree that it’s great to be alive.

I’ve worked on this one single skill selfishly my whole life and in doing this for me I hope to accomplished something for everyone. To be a painter is to say “I’ve changed. Once again, I’ve changed. Nothing stays the same. We can evolve.”

Inducing inspiration is a technique for me, not magic. Listening to my heart is important and that is the technique–planning for the impulsive. I’m lucky to have enough freedom in my life to allow for that flowing.

I’ve been painting alot these days. It’s been a fairly non-stop train. It works when I look at it as just a job–my 9 to 5. Even when I paint until 2 AM, it’s just a job and I’m devoted to it. The ironic thing is that raw inspiration is best when balanced by years of discipline.

I have a solo show coming up so that drives me. In my mind’s eye I’m envisioning the exhibition space constantly. The big picture helps me with each small picture. How will it ‘feel’ to be at this art show? I’m creating an environment.

Last night I finished two skulls painted with expressionistic color. They are mostly blue and peach with some red. I’m aware that I must move away from brain and closer to the heart (but not the Rush song). What makes me feel? This is the important question in any art. The abstracts feel much different than the realistic portraits.

For me, as a thinker, it feels like a big challenge to focus on ‘feeling’ instead of ‘thinking’ but maybe that’s just me psyching myself out. I was thinking of calling my art show “I’ve Been Busy” but now I’m thinking “What’s Wrong With Beautiful?”

Skull Painting Number 1

Skull Painting Number 1

Studio, Oct. 2015

Picasso in Studio, Oct. 2015

Working Abstract

Working Abstract

Studio, Oct. 2015

Studio, Oct. 2015

Studio, Oct. 2015

Studio, Oct. 2015

Leadership Lessons Learned From NadaDada

The only leadership worth following is the kind of leadership that works to empower all involved. In 2007 six artists called The (dis)Organizers were meeting to bring this vision to life. Artists showing in motel rooms is a simple concept but it needed to be totally inclusive–and loud. How could this thing run itself?

The problem with organizations is that the organization and who that might consist of becomes the only focus and the original intent–the purpose–gets lost.
It was suggested we give ourselves titles. Jeff Johnson was self-christened our Noble Instigator and someone suggested my title should be Ringleader. Leader sounds so hierarchical. I decided Ignoble Wringmaster was appropriate because I wring action out of artists. A bit of absurdity perhaps. But to be art administrators was never our goal.

Enabling others is still the best way to promote the self. Artists are the original self-promoters. Artists can lead themselves. Helping artists learn to promote themselves was the core of what we’d accomplish.

People might think that leadership is about giving it your all, it’s not. You give your all anyway. Leadership is about how you deal with mediocre results. Failure cannot break our stride. I had experience with the role of coaxing artists to run together. I ran an art gallery. Bleulion was my baby for a few years and I found that it’s like asking for a miracle to expect everyone to be on the same page. There is always hand holding. The job is to realize what the individuals need and then facilitate that so they can do their best but they must find their own motivation and commitment.

Leadership is inspiring them to fight through the fear. So often we find people setting limits for themselves. NadaDada each year has trouble getting artists to get their room and make it happen because of uncertainty. Fight fear boldly.

Leadership is not about how much wisdom we’ve gained but about how much ignorance we’ve lived through. There must be some allowance for failure in order to gain the knowledge of what doesn’t work. We find our proper roles. All kinds of leaders exist. There are the team players and there are the auteurs. There are the web design guys and the social media gurus and there are the party host princesses. Let them lead doing what they love!

Competition is healthy between peers. A couple decades ago car lots across the nation figured out that they should not stand apart, but rather stand next door as neighbors. Auto Malls started springing up everywhere. It became a collaborative competition in one locale for the sake of the audience. NadaDada uses this same formula by filling motel rooms with artists. Art shows next to other art shows.

Anarchy is a difficult kind of populism but it succeeds as populist in the truest sense because everyone gains from their own efforts. Like the camps at Burning Man, we call ours a “do-ocracy”. Meritocracy is an organization based on ability and accomplishment. What other kind is there? for info.


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