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.

Art & Business, Not Jekyll & Hyde


Art has always been my way of relating within this world. I know that not everyone has a perspective such as mine–not everyone is an artist–but I think they’re really missing out to not know what art is all about and to not be able to appreciate the path that the collective art world has explored.

To think one’s self so practical and to desire only material possession, I feel compassion for those living in such emptiness. It’s not surprising the world is so misaligned with so many pursuing these outcomes and it has been hard not to be judgmental. Things, I thought, just more and more things. Look at atoms; things are mostly not there. Things are emptiness: an illusion.

This is how I’ve always thought and this is the basis for a certain kind of arrogance that could have consumed me. But as an artist, I’ve always dealt with created objects that are sold for money so how can this harmonize with my non-material philosophy?

These are the very ideas that have borne out a lineage of performance art. There’s a century worth of performances that justify absurd rejection of materiality–you might say a moral position. But I am into synthesis. How might we come to a meeting point? Business and art.

I had a great realization while at my patron’s house once. He’s bought many pieces from me and has been supportive. I was at his house lusting after his yellow Ferrari parked next to his pearl white Porsche and big chrome Harley. I felt jealousy well up while surveying his pool and I turned to admire the perfect brick driveway and it was just then that my typical artist brain finally gave way. I realized this is his art. Making money and feeling important and creating his own luxurious environment was his form of expression in life. He created jobs and homes for alot of people. This was how he rewarded himself. I finally felt a deeper connection with this man. I was finally able to recognize myself in him.

This was spiritual.

A Fishbowler Window Cleans The System

This dispatch is from McDonald’s in one of the North Valleys, just off the highway.

The notion of sustainability, these days, involves a rejection of the huge systems that run everything. It’s an anti-corporatism creed. Globalization is a real thing: an objective, a directive, and it’s the game plan that our current First World system follows. We’re all familiar.

I did not come to write this at McDonald’s to be ironic; I came to lunch on a Big Mac. My “value meal” cost me $7.00 and the coke tastes nothing like Coke. There is an effeminate Hispanic teenager behind the counter who proudly greets with “Welcome to McDonald’s” the millisecond customers cross the threshold & this is crackin’ me up. He’s just happy to have a job, “Welcome to McDonald’s”.

We compromise. For time, for ease, for the bottom-line, we compromise. Toward small business owners & those–like me–self employed, we are to feel repentant for coming to a food chain like Mickie D’s. But I ask: Where else do I get to see the snide mechanical faces in front of Fox News cameras informing me of the patriotic acts of Americans in the face of Terrorism? “Welcome to McDonald’s.” This is what I’m being fed.

I did a quick window job this morning for a Facebook friend who lives a valley over. He had read my last blog post–”about a buck a window per side”–plus he’s been following my exploits online since I was fishbowling in LA so we had alot to talk about. He does politics locally, Neighborhood Advisory Board, plus he ran for City Council last time around–maybe the time before that as well.

Ed Hawkins is his name; you’d like him–ex-Marine, a grandfather. We got caught up on the state of Goldfield and my own little foray into politics, my stint as Chamber of Commerce President down there. We then traded small town stories. As I’ve said it before: Fuck Goldfield. It has that effect on ya’.

So yeah this globalizing system of Facebook is what brought us together. Here I am thinking local, walking the neighborhood with flyers, workin’ the follow ups and it’s been my online connections that have paid off better–for 3 weeks now! I do believe it’s time, though, to set a minimum price for windows, $40 sounds good.

Free Range Life (a poem)

Fishbowling on Sunset by Lauren "Lemon" Randolph, 2011
I lived in this house
with this life
a wife
it was placid
I broke from that
to dig up
chaos & strife with
drama & friction
some would call
Wandering mendicant
I would glorify
as if a monk or someone
Free verse
free roam
free range cock
without a home
justifying simple existence
do what I want
roam free
mooch? who me?
But I didn’t steal
(except that one time, it was a Ginsberg book)
& I wasn’t lazy
and it’s true
I was true
maybe not to you
but I was true
continuance of my mission
cultivation of motivation
I’m tellin’ you
these things are true
I was true
A man without means
true to his mission
an ex-patriot of sorts
Broke some hearts
& cracked some eggs
Rendered poetry from life
But ya see Reverend
I was looking for
This is not my confession
more provocation
’cause my mission is
mobile self elevation
’cause you see Reverend
I want to lead the Revelation
Self preservation
the key
Artists used to be the self guided leaders of
I found all I need
my creativity


You might also like:

Art Reviews Written by Sorg

I’m very proud of the art reviews I wrote for Reno News & Review. If you like reading about art like I do, read up.. comments always appreciated.
Sweetness ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 12.10.09 )

Andrea D. Juillerat candy coats her nonverbal communication.

Natural gait ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 09.17.09 )

Elaine Parks likes not knowing how her art will look when it’s finished.

Extra ordinary ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 08.27.09 )

Nebraska artist Tim Guthrie explores American perceptions of torture.

Straight edge ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 05.28.09 )

A retrospective of artist Kelsie Harder’s works.

Bulk art ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Arts & Culture – 04.23.09 )

Where do some of the big hotels and casinos buy their paintings? And do they have any artistic or educational value?

In the think tank ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Arts & Culture – 12.25.08 )

Local artist Chad Sorg spent a week living in a “fishbowl” on public display, ruminating on monks, exhibitionists and voyeurs. Here’s his first-hand account of the experience.

Factory productions ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 12.18.08 )

Is Dania Home & Office just a furniture store, or is it an art gallery?

Steal this art ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 04.03.08 )

It’s funny how rough and disjointed art like John Yoyogi Fortes’ could look friendly, but it does.

Painted birds ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 02.21.08 )

Women get naked for a good cause.

View from a hot dog cart ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 06.21.07 )

He may look and sound like a natural-born hot dog man, but cartoons are Woody’s art.

Body parts ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 05.03.07 )

Not specifically erotic or macabre, B.O.D.Y. points to our fascination with the human vessel.

Fire starter ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 03.15.07 )

The Shiva Vista Project is building a fire-breathing tower for Burning Man—an image of creation through destruction.

Get in gear ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Arts & Culture – 02.08.07 )

The Reno Bike Project is putting bike advocacy in action by trying to give new life to donated bike parts.

On the flipside ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 01.18.07 )

Neither a cowboy nor a poet, artist and TMCC curator Nolan Preece exhibits his photography in Elko during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Bare boned ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 10.26.06 )

Using mostly wood and bone, artist Walter McNamara is high-minded and lowbrow in his work, with winks and nods in every corner.

In full bloom ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 09.28.06 )

Mary Warner’s exhibit Bloom shows masterful rendering and humbling accuracy of a simple subject—flowers.

Hunter-gatherers ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 08.31.06 )

Eight local collectors share their prized obsessions in To Collect and Preserve at Shappard Art Gallery.

I, robot ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 08.24.06 )

Hotshot Few Thousand is meant to be seen as an autonomous being without human dependence. As the robot’s fame grows, its creator, Chris Munz, would prefer to fully slide into anonymity.

Fit to print ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 08.03.06 )

Printmakers’ Conspiracy honors some of the more mysterious aspects of printmaking.

Eyeful of icons ( RN&R – Arts&Culture – Art of the State – 04.13.06 )

If you think Russian icons look awkward and unrealistic, its makers were just doing their job.

Cat Sitting Fishbowler, Part 4

Day 3, Evening

8:30 PM, Nina Simone moans. 4 canvases here means dabs here & there and most interestingly, they’re all different genres it seems.
Mister White Whiskers wants out again. He just came in!
She wails sex like in the dark, Nina. Time for propane heat.
These moments can pass unnoticed as insignificant. Take note. Take heart. Godspeed.
Mark art from these; poetry or publication in abstract of the moment’s feeling. You Tube it, Tumber, Google + it. Sing out. Yell to the the mountain top and share it. We have this in common, that we can all put it in a certain perspective if we try. Make a story of it or a picture; maybe somethin’ in between. Whether it’s a story of your trip to the post office or laundry day, or leaning against the juke box last night. See the beauty (or horror) and share that.
Cooking the contents of a can: stir fry vegetables, cost $1.80. Looking forward to eating this.
To spruce it up I made it into Thai. Added a couple spoons of peanut butter and then garlic powder, garlic salt and black peppercorn ground in. Oh and coffee creamer- Irish cream.
It really is good.
For the last couple bites I’m adding more peanut butter. Ewwwwww.. THAT’S awesome! It’s chunky peanut butter. Not the first choice for my teeth, but tasty.
The vegetables are thin slices of carrot, watercress, bean sprouts and those lil’ corns cobs. Peanut butter is so nice with spice. It’s a dampening effect. Insulation. I tried to get  a pic of me eating it for you but the camera’s card was full AND battery’s dead!
I got the grooviest jazz goin’. Ornette Coleman from 1959.
Day 4, Morning
I should have emptied that card last night. Ornette put me to sleep after a few painting dabs. The fog this morning is killer. I’m about to go out & shoot. You gotta’ see this.
Digital frenzy. Went out in the ‘hood a bit. Historical documentation never ends. Atmosheric effects galore! The sun would come and go, filtered by these grounded clouds and consequently, the whole landscape would come and go too. I don’t know if I got many shots of the well lit moments but it’s mysterious how they become concealed so quickly.
Boesch Home, I’m told, was lived in by an old miner who was blind. He had laid a wire along the ground that he’d follow to get him to work & home every day.
This is the edge of the mining districk. One of the state’s longest continually running bars is over here. The Sante Fe is exactly the kind of place you’d expect; leather horse tools hang from the porch’s banisters.
Goldfield was so much more densely populated at one time. It’s hard to imagine.
When the lighting is right, I’ll have to get some shots of this cabin’s interior.
It’s that simple existence that’s become so foreign to us. I woke from my nap after shooting the Christmas Eve fog, thinkin’ about Mr. Boesch’s little place. I didn’t notice if any electricity had ever been connected. He wouldn’t really need lights except for visitors. Right across the street is the Sante Fe, though. Maybe he would have just taken them over there during a visit.
Seeing the stuffing come thru the walls puts things into perspective. I guess the miners would have worked during the winter. Temperature doesn’t change much down in the hole, I guess.
Mr. Boesch claimed he could feel the ore with gold in it. I believe the story is he was actually rich. He just preferred the simple life.

Cat Sitting Fishbowl Stint part 2 (photos)

Just a handful of images. I’m staying in this tiny camper till Christmas and I’m lovin’ it. Last night I just wrote and today I’m starting a couple canvases. I’m going to be updating you of this exciting time in my life. There’s no crapper, only a urinal.

As always, you can click on an image to see them blown up.

I walked down to our cafe for breakfast and some writing time. We’re glad it’s open again. No gas yet, just food. Nice atmosphere. Of course every time I go there I know everyone. It’s a bit much, actually, especially when I’ve just awakened and then had to brave the chilly wind with ice sickle tears at the corners of my eyes when I walk in. I finished letter to my mom and dad and then after breakfast, walked over to the post office to mail them off.. a little late.

I received a letter from a friend, Christmas card and commending me for what I’m doing in life. The letter was addressed “Chad Sorg, c/o Goldfield Chamber of Commerce, PO Box __________.. I’m not on the board of the Chamber any more, but the letter found me easily. The new reining President is Bobby Patterson, who happens to be my #1 choice for the job. He has my total support!

At home, our PO Box is 53, here in Goldfield, 89013 if you’d like to send something. Money’s always good too.. but yeah, our house is called End of the World, so just for fun, why don’tcha’ address it to that name next time, see if it gets to me.

I love the rust and the ruins and the joshua trees. More images to come, from my lil’ trailer hide away, especially once I get a painting done. Mr. White Whiskers likes the night life apparently. I worried about him all night till he finally knocked this morning just before dawn. He doesn’t seem to like salmon; what’s up with that!?? Our heater kicks ass!

And I JUST COULDN’T WAIT to show you this newest canvas..

Bus Burn Painting, Oil, 12 x 16

Cat Sitting Fishbowl Stint Starts NOW

I can’t believe I said yes to this like nothing at all. It is amazing how maliable I am; day before yesterday, I believe it was.

6:43 PM, Friday, End of the World, 12/21/12. Wow, that’s weird.

A guy I don’t know that well came to my place to ask if I wanted to cat sit in his trailer for a week or so. I said yes. Plain & simple, so here I am.

I cannot believe how simply he lives. He outdoes me, actually. No TV –that’s a start. No radio. NO COMPUTER! Apparently he drinks coffee but I haven’t found the coffee maker yet.

The food here is astounding-tiny collection. I’ll get to that later. Just a urinal; no pooping here unless I go gonzo (outside, I guess) or the rest stop. There’s TP here, shelf above the bed.

I just found his one porn mag.

I’m at the radio station at the moment to catch wireless and my show’s about to come on, I hope anyway. Last week it never seemed to come on the 2 times I tuned in to hear it. Told Carl to just air last week’s show. No prob. Gives me a week off anyway.

OH, here it is. RIGHT NOW! Tonight happens to be the “Lonely Episode, number 26, Audio Sorgfield”. It re-airs tonight @ 11 Pacific time. Otherwise, see the schedule on our page for the rest of the week.

Cat’s name is Mister White Whiskers. He was beside me this evening while I wrote this on a note pad. I hope his owner doesn’t mind me mentioning his porn mag. It’s very tame actually. Very moderate. I’m impressed by his austere life. He does have 2 vehicles though. I’m not judging.

Zak suggested, just tonight, that I fishbowl this residency. Just tonight he mentioned this as I was about to walk to the trailer to feed the cat. I actually hadn’t thought of it that way. While I’m here for the week I’m painting. Oils on canvas. Writing too it looks like. Yeah, I’m fishbowling this cat sitting trailer week.

As I said, I hadn’t planned on fishbowling here but what the hell. Pictures to come.

“I live in strange places and blog about it..” says my business card.

There’s a book on Mark Twain here. Dust cover’s mangled. I’m reading his assessment that multiple palm readers had divulged that he, according to his hand wrinkles, had no sense of humor. I would like to be so humorless myself.

Good night.

Back In Goldfield, Out of Oakdale and Out of Wal Mart

I love it on the road. The mind races as the scenery swooshes by. Ideas coagulate.

If you read my last blog, you’ll already know that my Dad came to visit in Goldfield. After here for a couple days, my Dad left Zak and Alison behind and we went on the road to visit some national parks.

It’s good to be back home. It was good visiting, Death Valley and the Sequoias were inspiring, but now that Dad’s gone, it’s nice to get back to life here in Goldfield.

I have to tell you, while putting on some hefty miles, father/son bonding, on my mind was fishbowling. Touring highways and lonely routes, I got hours to explain my ideas to my Dad and I relayed how successful I feel my performance art was. One part of me feels that that chapter of life is over, but another part of me -especially while on the road -feels that fishbowling is not a done deal for me. It’s a more interesting thing, for most, than paintings. Fishbowling is about intimate exposure.

Do you know what it is, fishbowling? In simple terms, I’ll say this: fishbowling is living in public spaces and blogging about it. That’s what my business cards said. I would broadcast interviews with artists and creatives in return for meals. I saw alot. I lived simply.

Now that I’m established here in my little town, I still think about the road. It means so much to me to be traveling like a rolling stone, day dreaming about those like me that came before me. It’s good to be out there in the world, forgetting who you are and taking it all in.

Since moving to Goldfield, I’ve become the President of the Chamber of Commerce, but since then, just a month ago, I resigned from that position. It was for the best and I truly mean that: it was for the best. It was a moment of enlightenment for me to realize that I needed to extract myself from that spot in this microcosm of the world. Without the title, I wish to act on the consensus of this town.

I don’t want to embarrass anyone or make this sound negative, because it all worked out the way it was supposed to -I hate when people say that, as if the future has all been recorded before we ever lived it. I’m not a fatalist and I don’t believe in ‘destiny’ as a prescribed thing where we’re just mouthing the words or marching rote paces prescribed us. I feel our daily decisions make a difference.

Anyhoo, I wanted to recount some points from a conversation with the hotel clerk, Brianna, who I had a late night conversation with in Oakdale, CA, population of 15,000, at the base of the Sequoia National Forest. She had asked me what I was writing about there as I sat in the lobby with my note pad. I was writing about ideas of how to involve our locals to help Goldfield’s commerce.

She relayed to me that, as a “chubby girl”, she was fond of the idea that her town could get a Wal Mart, as the store’s selection of plus sizes is amenable to people of her size. We had been talking small towns and my personal experience with the Chamber of Commerce.

Oakdale is only a town and had recently voted down a bill to make it a city, I was told. A politician, new to town and unpopular, had been pressing the matter.

My little town of 200 deals with related issues. Here, we continually question whether we’d like to open ourselves up for higher levels of commerce or not. We like our streets with no names. We like the quiet.

In the end, I shared the book I had with me about my town of Goldfield by Sally Zanjanni. Brianna was interested to know about how our fires were put out in the 20’s with beer. I explained that only liquor is flammable but not beer. She was impressed with our historic population of 20,000. She understood our unique position as an all-but-dried-up little town.

Wal Mart, it seems, is a very divisive subject that can separate people into groups. The moment I realized I needed to resigned as President, I was listening to a TV program about the store’s insidious practices in America and beyond. In Reno, I had shopped there out of necessity. People like me created Wal Mart. I am the problem.

Goldfield is different and at that moment of clarity, I had decided that if Goldfield saw me as a Wal Mart type, I should not stand as a leader. I would agree with their impression and step down. Only time will acquaint my townsfolk with the real Chad Sorg.

So I told Brianna to form a chubby coalition and talk to the small businesses in town that supply apparel. “Show them the buying power of local chubby girls; Wal Mart is a rapist,” I suggested.

Brianna believes, also, that if the town becomes a city, they’ll get a 24 hour hospital of their own instead of having to travel 60 miles to Modesto for medical emergencies.

I don’t know the answers to these questions. I appreciated our momentary connection, though.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: