We make art in strange places and blog about it.

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.

Originally posted on 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.

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



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