We make art in strange places and blog about it.

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.

The Quest to Expand “Conscious Filmmaker”® Entertainment


Incredibly cool!

Originally posted on the "conscious filmmaker"®:

Anyone who has read my blog knows that I define a true Conscious Filmmaker® as an artist with the aware intent to create productions imbued with an enlightened purpose. Such media includes motion pictures and television programming that motivate, persuade, and/or provoke transformative thinking that enriches an audience and encourages the conscious evolution of society.

An enriched and evolved society is one in which loving kindness and compassion are the norm, and practiced both individually and culturally, while guiding all legal, civic and governmental structure and policy. It is one that’s inclusive, kind, respectful and tolerant of all people, regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, faith tradition, social class, economic status, spiritual belief or non-belief.

Some Conscious Filmmakers can be said to be “awakened” and committed to a higher purpose. They sense themselves “called” to work towards manifesting an enriched, evolved society locally, nationally and internationally.  In the awakened Conscious Filmmaker this stems…

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Toy Soldier

When I was little I looked forward to joining the military. I did drawings of guys in military uniforms and huddled up like they were taking a break from battle. I would do these drawings of battles, bullets flying and people dying. Sometimes the media would be there in the drawings, with their vans and with cameras. I always drew but drawing never proved anything.

I remember learning the word valor; it was in the title of some war movie that I saw with my family at the drive-in. It was your usual battle film where the men were proving themselves, coming of age violently.

A man becomes a man once he’s transcended the rights of passage and war seemed the appropriate means through which to do so.

Thank God I outgrew that desire; I never joined the military. At some point in high school I saw that this was not me. My dad endured Vietnam. He was courageous–a medic and he sustained injury, earning him a Purple Heart. He never pushed me toward the military, himself, but way back then I saw what kind of man he became after the war and I wanted to live up to his example. I know he was happy that I never followed that path.

Today he’s so much more than one of those guys always talking about their adventures abroad, killing foreign people. “Support our troops” the bumper stickers read, but I do. I do support the troops by desiring to end humanity’s forceful nature and ending the use of war between our tribes. I have this understanding that the human race will never unite and work as one human team until there is an enemy for us to align against.

Yes, I’m talking about forces of alien intruders. I have no strong belief in alien lifeforms but then again, it’s very logical that there are others out there besides humanity.

This is tribalism and we are tuned in to the tribal mentality. An ancient philosopher once said that man has two basic drives, the desire to stand out and the desire to belong. Isn’t it just like mankind to have such contrasting motives?

Chad Sorg finds fertile ground to grow art in Goldfield

Mar. 2, 2013, article by Geralda Miller, Reno Journal Gazette

Moving a year and a half ago to a rural town four hours south of Reno was a good decision for artist Chad Sorg.

Sorg moved to Goldfield to help “plant” vehicles in the ground and paint them. Forty cars and two buses now make up the International Car Forest of the Last Church.

But while living in this town of approximately 200 people in a rusty trailer with wood paneling and a wood stove, he’s shifted from painting abstracts to realism and has been writing incessantly for his blog.

“I hadn’t invested serious time painting realism in oils for years, and the quiet life in Goldfield has allowed me to slow down and study my craft,” Sorg said. “Solitude for an artist is of utmost importance. I have made very good use of that solitude. I’ve been studying books on writing technique and I’ve taken up poetry as well.”

Life in Goldfield

A snapshot of what he’s been painting and writing is on display in an exhibit titled “All Your Bus Are Belong to Us: Oil Paintings and Writings From the Car Forest” in the Erik Lauritzen Gallery at Truckee Meadows Community College. In the narrow, second-floor hallway, Sorg’s landscapes, portraits and buildings hang with several blog entries — all highlighting life in Goldfield.

Besides an artist statement and title, most visual art exhibits allow the viewer to devise the narrative, but Candace Nicol, interim art galleries curator, said she liked the idea of including Sorg’s writings about his experiences.

“I like his stream of consciousness,” she said. “Most visual artists are not good at writing, and he’s good at both.”

The college has several of Sorg’s pieces in its permanent art collection — all of his abstract art.

“He left Reno, went down to an isolated area and started painting realism,” Nicol said. “I think that he’s coming into a genre that is more narrative in form that also relates to his writing. I think a lot of his earlier work with the resin was exploring the medium, not telling the story he wanted to tell. I think it was good that he left the city.”

Blog artist

Nicol calls Sorg a blog artist.

“I think that is more his art form,” she said.

The name of his blog is “Fishbowler,” which the Urban Dictionary defines as someone “who does a pointless task in pursuit of a fruitless goal.” Sorg defines fishbowling as someone living without money.

On October 5, 2011, in the Goldfield Journal No. 16, he wrote “Somewhere Inflatable?” Here’s an excerpt:

“Collect moments. Start doing it now if you haven’t been already. It’s easy for an artist to look back at himself from a certain time period. He’s left his record. It’s all right there in the paint dabs, pixels, syllables, video snippets. They’re mementos; past lives, past loves, future wishes … Fishbowling … It’s a way of life that I’ve been exploring for 5 years. I stay in a new location and see how it affects my artwork. How do my surroundings mark my vision? It’s a kind of experiment on myself. Maybe art always is that. Sometimes this life is very social, some times it’s not. Maybe I’ve always been a kind of wandering artist — I don’t even know why I said maybe. I’ve always felt well suited in that way because I could live anywhere. My art is the same; it’s all over the place. It can come from anywhere. Somewhere inflatable?”

Sorg used to install art across the state around 2005 for the Nevada Arts Council. It was one of those drives that he met Mark Rippie, who was creating the car forest.

“He invited me to move there and work on it with him,” Sorg said. “He needed an artist. I started painting some cars with spray paint back then and finally the opportunity came up for me to move there.”

After doubling the number of vehicles that were in the forest, Sorg said he and Rippie ended their friendship about six months ago, and he’s no longer helping Rippie. For a short stint, he also was president of the Goldfield Chamber of Commerce.

“They feared me and my burner-type friends,” he said. “But more key is that Mark Rippie happens to be a very unpopular guy. So, yeah, I was an outsider there aligned with a local outsider. I don’t blame the town’s people for not trusting me, since I was associated with that guy.”

He considers it a lesson learned.

“I had this big dream to attract artists to Goldfield, to experience the solitude and simplicity of the place and use this place for such,” he said. “I had imagined myself a monk, but really, I’m a pretty sociable guy. I get sidetracked and I want to be involved and I want to feel important and I want to be liked, but in the end, I’m going to realize the best thing I could do for the world is to simply make art. I bit off too much, which is my usual pattern.”

Return to Reno

Sorg’s fishbowling days are coming to an end.

“I feel that I learned, and shared, all that I could, living that transient lifestyle performance,” he said.

Sorg, who in 2007 was one of six artists that started Nada Dada, a collaboration of artists who show their work in Reno motels, said he’s moving back to Reno.

“I intend to be living back in Reno by the time Nada Dada rolls around again in June this year,” he said. “It feels like it might be time for me to settle down and just be a normal American. Maybe at some point I’d be able to own a home in Goldfield as a getaway, an artist retreat, but to be honest, I miss Reno and the voluptuous amount of creative activity there.”

article by Geralda Miller, Reno Journal Gazette, Mar. 2, 2013

I Am Earth (a poem)

I am Earth and you say that you love me
I am the trees with my leaves
I am the river immense and sustaining
and my clouds are cascade from above

We walk together, you and I, but these days this is rare
You might hide in your boxes and block out the stars
and the view from my belly goes blank

We can get back together, you and I
You’ll see that I never left
You can’t save me?
Well I can save you
if you’ll only learn to trust.

–Chad Sorg

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

“Slow Tourist” and “Cold Springs Valley” -2 New Poems

Slow Tourist

In a scrambling world

in the busy

they scurry blinded to the peace

to the stillness

We can be slow tourists

every day past our morning coffee

beside the delivery truck idling

beyond the unread emails

There’s a thick volume beside me

on my park bench

Robinson Jeffers the cover

of which features his image bathed in sunlight

though black & white

he ponders like me but he gazing out to sea

Jeffers was a tourist

slow where he lived

You feel that in his words

so proud his vocabulary

his land provincial perhaps

but his sea

by Chad Sorg


Cold Springs Valley

Complex lines divide this ridgeline from skyline

where dirt paths climb behind

and the rabbit brush has faded

its Spanish yellow blooming

which the bees do miss

and which had an early fall climax

and the sagebrush is always

a delight as it defines

the high desert floor

such a clear groundling

distinct shrubs so there’s always

an easy path

which ever direction chosen

all worth pursuing

the sunlight rakes askance

long down the fence face

and shading as it dips

most of our mountain

in chocolate

Energized rocky outcroppings

stand out orange against the coming evening

and the wind leaves painted

flesh tone wispy strings

against the pale blue dome

and the dogs in neighboring neighborhoods

echo a mindless clambering clamor

multiplying in varied pitch arrayed and disarranged

all this signaled the end of this day

in Cold Springs valley

Nevada USA

by Chad Sorg


Huron And Potomac (a short story)

Potomac had finally decided he was done with labels; he was done being a Buddhist, long done being a Christian and he was done being a Libertarian. “None of these are synonyms for Potomac, so I’m Potomac only.”
His friend Huron overheard him. “Lemme guess, you’re thinking about the label thing again, aren’t you?”
“Yes” replied Potomac.

Huron had been texting but had slipped his phone back in his pocket. He had a good way of giving people his full attention when needed. The two had been friends for a long time and he was able to see that Potomac had serious concerns going on. “Well you know what I think about Libertarians..” said Huron.

“Huron, I wouldn’t say I know what you think, but I know you’re not fond of them. Democratic Socialism is pretty cool too but I’m not that label either, buddy.” leveled Potomac. His tone of voice raised at the end to let Huron know there was resolution in his words but the friendly tones around ‘Democratic Socialism’ had given way to the cliff hanger, the minor key of “but”.
But Huron wasn’t hearing this–not really. He wasn’t hearing the absence of labels, the presence of the void in Potomac’s choice and he wasn’t getting the vibes of equanimity.

Politics and religion thrive in the same way that a AA battery thrives, plus & minus: duality. For every action, a reaction.
As a devout Buddhist, Huron inhabited the glory of patriotism in his religious & political devotion. It wasn’t about anger or even dislike for another religion or political group but Huron had found a jewel in the practice of his faith thru particular systems. He was proud.

After a moment of relaxed silence Huron made his ah-haa exclamation “I’ve noticed lately that it seems like you’ve changed your position.”
“If you mean online, I wouldn’t say I’ve changed position, but in conversation I now hold no position so I’m there to defend nothing.” volleyed Potomac.

Huron considered this distinction deeply for a moment. The two friends had always respected each other greatly, so words were brief and to the point, though what did it for him was Huron’s visualization of Potomac floating away as he spoke. Potomac’s body drifted upward leaving only the sound of his words behind for Huron to relish. It was at this point, like the blazing flash of a giant yellow street sign, all six feet across with words in flat black “STOP AHEAD”, FWAPP! His forehead trembled as he toothed his lip gingerly.

“Potomac, I guess it’s just that I can hear you now.”

El Cortez


This is damn interesting. The famed and iconic El Cortez, which gave NadaDada its first host location for our show.. is being sold. I’m featured on the page here! hahaha. (that’s the funny part)

Originally posted on REreno:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen Steve Siegel was interviewed after his purchase of the Truckee River Lane Building, he stated that it would not be his last Reno purchase.  He went on to buy the Virginian Hotel Casino, and was at least in negotiations on the Nugget Courtyard Motel adjacent to the Nugget in Sparks.  Is the HISTORIC El Cortez Hotel on 2nd Street his next target?  My sources say yes.

The El Cortez is one of my favorite buildings in Reno.  The marquee along 2nd Street definitely has to go, but the Art Deco detailing is amazingly intact and some of it is visible in the Noble Pie space.  I don’t know how much of the old Trocadero Night club is still intact, but it was THE place to be in the day. (cool view of the lobby HERE)

elcortez trocadero

More recently, the El Cortez has been the centerpiece of the NadaDada artist’s…

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Skybox Painting, My Newest From the Ranch (photos & journaling)



I lumber from bed

in my wild orange box cabin

five days moving forward

each moment toward commencement morning

making my waking here fruitful.

This one, the sky box,

will eventually house the workers

whose spaceships touch down here,

buses don’t run out here

to Iveson Ranch

with its glorious sunsets and its crunching mix of souls

and its ancient Indian remnants on the ridges

the hoo doos.

First I had to kill the rust who were grazing here.

for two days loudly I did that

Early afternoon the rains came in

so either I napped or I drew.

It was the blue that got me started.

Bright patches would shine through and I knew

that color would scream to be obscured.

And deep greys were important to me too

because rain clouds here are a treasured gift

from the hoo doos?

But without the pinks

none of this picture would hold any hope

and it was the sky’s change from moment to moment

that this picture was all about.

These days, the daily grind here is more about entertainment,

the biggest desolate desert party in the world,

and instead of hunting mule deer into the canyon for the tribe’s dinner

these tribesman celebrate the burning of a giant wooden effigy.

Those working at the ranch were either using air chisels

to mend windmills or cookin’ stew

for the off roader party

about to roll thru for the weekend

couples in campers

no more deer hunting.



started 5-19-14

Journal from my 6 days at Iveson Ranch

Day 1: Grinding steel all day. This box has some cancerous rust to get rid of. Whatever.

But tonight we watched a show, The Voice, because these guys have gotten into it. That’s fun. The rooting for your favorite, it pulls you in. This kid blew me away. His skill was astounding. He sang Stevie’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and I love Stevie, but this kid BROUGHT it. He had it. He just did. Confidence, poise. But goofy looking and even that, he made work. Talent, ya know.

So I did these black & white drawings and watching this show is what pushed the drawings. Talent; it’s all a practice. If I want to be good at something–if I am good at something, I practice.

I’m wanting to write about sleeping. I just woke up an our ago. It’s a rain day. My first night I stayed in the guest room up at the house but last night I moved to my new home for this week, the orange container cabin. It’s many fruity colors actually; yeah, maybe I should call it “the fruity cabin”. It wasn’t warm but last night was damn cold. No heat source here other than me. 2 sleeping bags was a good idea.

This unit is painted indescribable colors: grey/lavender, orange, pale yellow, silver-brown. So yeah, I guess they are describable. See the pictures of it?

But when I stepped out to pee in the morning a cat meowed behind me and when I turned to see him, he was stretching his “good morning” at me. He was in the compartment on the side of a neighboring empty camper where the battery was to be stored. It’s just the right size for a ranch cat to crash in and my guess was that this is a regular spot of his. I hadn’t known he slept there last night, I woulda’ invited him in.

We find our place in life, the rancher man was telling me last night after steak dinner. That’s Eddie. He said we don’t always find it right off the bat and we might have to switch gears but there’s a place for us all.

It’s still not raining this morning but grey skies impede me. I’m almost hoping for some drops so I can continue hibernation without shame. Instead, though, I’ll move back to grinding for the second day. Hard disk or wire wheel?–we’ll see. Hell, maybe I’ll end up pulling some paint out after all today.

I can’t get away from this book this morning though. Cowboy poetry and paintings. Our resident Scottsman cowboy (Eddie) highly recommended it. He lives this life fully, having lived many other lives fully already.

I do understand why… this kind of life. It’s a certain culture to belong to–those that would appreciate the solitude of cow pokin’ or whatever they call it. Ranch life, even a modern ranch with its motor repairs and backhoes, it is a special existence. Nature simply fills up life more.

It’s strange to think that rust is a life form. It eats.

Anyway, we’re sitting in what was once the river bed. I like how rivers move through the centuries and you can tell where they might have been a couple hundred years back. The canyon still drains through here even though a ranch or two upstream diverting water.

The deer were run up through here. In close quarters, the Pauites would hunt those deer and feed their families. The water is great here. This spot is a pocket of life & life feeds on life. We don’t like to think about it like that these days but that’s part of our problem, being so detached from the natural processes.

The Indians had the solution to having limited numbers of hunters in the form of what we call the hoo doos. These “hoo doos” stand in formations made of dark rocks on ridge tops overhead, lining the valley and canyon floors around here. When running animals between ridges the hoo doos served as stand-ins to guard from above so the deer or whatever animal it was didn’t get away. They were fooled. It was very systematic and apparently successful, proven by how many of these are left meticulously standing today.

I painted the hoo doos on the last unit. That one’s going to be Eddie’s home, once the craftsmen finish the inside for him. Its a landscape all the way around and I think it looks pretty damn good–effective.. buoyant colors. This oil enamel technique of mine is dialing in.

These cabins actually are very temperature efficient. The steel is very thick and then they’re insulated in here. Drywalled and trimmed nicely. This unit has 2 beds, bunks, and a nice huge shelf/table. My dad actually helped with this one last year in the fall.. maybe it was summer.

I’ve got to get artists out here. This ranch can room 15 comfortably. This place is exactly right for creative making. My surroundings have engulfed me–it’s official.

When I come back from painting all day, I’m still wearing “painter eyes” and everything is being scrutinized closely of color. The form of my surroundings becomes delineated and I render edges to everything. Nothing is lost; this is not a lament. I would say that reality becomes questioned. What am I really looking at? Does the paper I’m writing on tonight really have yellow, grey and tan mottling to it?

There are prevalent batches of color staining my arm, mostly shades of blue/grey. My calves are sore. My back cries. This bed is plenty soft. I’m gonna’ end this writing abruptly and catch some Z’s now.

The following are some random notations I don’t feel like editing in their proper placement:

at one point, explaining, I pointed Eddie up to the clouds and said “Not like those–too easy.” My technique grows more streamlined with each piece but at times pure poetry was to pull me through.

The horses watched from start to completion. Who knows, maybe they crtiqued me with my impressionisms.

Every time I find myself rendering a painted sky I muse that once a year the two will match. As above so below.

The clouds and I both conjure up poetry. When there is nothing our motivation is to render poofs of something. We find ourselves with rhythm and alliteration to abbreviate the scene. The form of the score adheres where pattern & repetition presents in present tense. Precipitation, drama in quarantined sections rendered to push eastward or westward in Z’s and V’s.

Everybody’s ecstatic about this finished unit. It feels good to hear them say I’ve outdone myself.

Skybox Close SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA Skybox Side Skybox Pinks SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA Skybox and MountainSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA  HooDoo Painted Storage Container Home Unfinished   Sagebrush Desert Rocky Ridge SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA Roadway


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