Not Much Tanning at Night

Brazen Bronze
I’ve been working on my tan, working on caring less about it. I’m becoming brazen about my bronze. I plan to stop needing sunblock. If my skin can be weened off of it then I’ll be resilient and I’m on my way to becoming the uncontested Grizzly Adams of self sufficiency. I’ve needed less each day and haven’t touched sunblock in a week now. One day it will be impossible for me to become sun burned–that’s the idea. They’ll think I’m aboriginal.

Working here in the heat of the day is so absurd it’s almost unbearable. I have to wear black latex gloves so enamel paint doesn’t creep up under my fingernails. Glistening sweat pores from under these gloves and trickles down my wrists. Am I spoiled? I dunno but hey, I can work at night, alone, in silence, with the lonely breeze of refreshment. Nothing will be visible to compete with the horses I’m brushing on to this surface in red and blue. I’m all alone and in the best way possible at night, it’s only me. Me and the bugs. So just us.

My cabin is a 40 foot container actually ear marked for Eddie. I’ve been residing in his cabin during this stay and he’s not in a hurry to displace me. The guys have hooked up the water in this cabin first and I have a shower to myself. After six years coming here I’m the envy of camp.

Smack My Brush Up
I smack my brushes on the wall for splatters and they hate me for it. Paint brushes have tiny nails that hold them together which loosen up because they suffer at my abuse. Repairs are needed. I took the time today to replace screws in my brushes. I’m kinda proud of the whole thing, the abuse, the repairs–it’s work hard play hard. You should see me dancing around flingin’ paint.

It was to be the night I’d go full vampire. I want to paint late into the night with spotlights to see by. Bugs would convene, yes. My laptop assisted me in making a soundtrack which is 10 hours worth of music. It consists of 177 songs and I can’t wait to dig in. I’ve been talking about night painting sessions since before I got here. My tendency has always been for the night owl preference. Early wake ups suit me when I’m here but I’d prefer all-nighters for getting artwork done. My sleep schedule will take a bit of time to switch over. Years ago when i was just out of high school I had a performance motorcycle that I’d work on all night. Night working has been good to me. I’m a night crawler.

There’s a big blue jet parked right beside me. It’s called Playa One with a big ol’ official looking seal on the door. The wings fold out for people to dance on with spinnie glowey lights. Yes, it’s a Burning Man thing. This crew has a couple other art cars parked here in the dirt for maintenance as I paint on container cabins. Six cabins line this yard to eventually house workers during their stay here. This dirt is used to being trampled down by horses.  It’s a re-purposed stable at the West end of the inner ranch where the home front is. No vegetation is here, only dust, tons of dust. The horse patties have  returned to dried up biblical dust.

The weather is crisp and calm, just right. There’s a wind blowing cool air over me. I keep talking about sleeping out here. Seriously. One’s filled with pillows. My cabin gets pretty hot and never cools down. Sleeping out here on an art car might be just the thing I need. The stars are so luminescent it’s like a soup that you can dip into with your spoon–unlimited depth. New moon is the best night of the month to soak up the milk of the Milky Way.

These container cabins are 40 feet long, each side gets adorned with horses and so far I’m up to like 20 horses in total but some are very small and without detail so they almost don’t count. It’s blue brown and red basically. The short cabins are 20 feet long and those get rented to go out onto the playa for Burning Man which happens about a month from now. The cabin I’m currently working on will be a field office for JB, the owner of this ranch. It’s got the best view to the west. This is number 9.

No Dice
There was no gas available for me. I didn’t realize the gas cans piled were empty. There’s gas on the ranch in a big tank or two but I don’t have access to those. I can string a cord out from an outlet. This ranch does have power that’s generated by the big diesel genny. Also an array of solar panels generates energy for the ranch. My midnight lights will take power. Energy is rationed here.

The first night I ran out of gas. The second night I decided I could just plug in, skip the gas can fiasco. The second night I had my electrical cords all ready to go and I saw a flashlight out there in the dark by my painting. JB had walked out and he told me that we don’t have the power to spare. OK. I guess that’s that.

I had to cancel my mission but I’m happy to have it all set up and ready to go for another night and trust me, it’s on. This will happen. Choose your battles, as they say. On the ranch we get started on things that might not happen until the next day. The night was not a total failure because I now know what to expect.

Drawing From Horses

I’m horse drawing tonight before sunset in their huge fenced territory, the horse pasture. There’s a bit of daylight left, raked from behind the closest ridge in front of us. Six horses live here, Arabian and quarter horses. One is a black and white mule, the only male. He’s 37. I’m told in human years that’s 120. His name is Catfish.

One horse came over to look me in the eye. I mean literally, only 3 inches stood between our eyes, hers huge, dark and milky, inspecting mine, foreign, light and tiny.Like swimming with a whale.

They differ in mood, the horses. A couple horses were very slow to come over and meet me. The ones who did introduce themselves, they had their various ways of interaction. Some more cautious.

You think about how bored they must get but after all, these are not humans. Their desires are simple and definable. I bet their desires and their lust don’t get in the way. Their dreams and aspirations probably aren’t a concern that gets confused. Do horses even have egos? I don’t think they crave attention in general, though perhaps I’m wrong there. There was one brown Arabian who liked to pose for me. What does a horse want out of life besides soft vegetarian food, a light breeze and an agent?

I’m just glad to see these horses never picked up smoking. Not heavy drinkers either so this is good. Boredom never wreaked self-destruction for them. I can’t tell if they care about the sunset or not. All in all I’ve found these horses to be a very easy going bunch. Like me, dislike me, they don’t seem to care about me either way.

It’s very Zen of them to be so chill. For humans it is a challenge to just be. Having no opinion, pushing no preference, a person would feel disengaged or just plain dumb to have no problems to fix. We occupy ourselves with jobs and the pursuit of ideals. We suggest that having no opinion is lazy and fence riders be damned but we fail to see how often the opinions we choose are wrong. And the ones who think they are rarely wrong are more wrong than the rest!

Horses don’t seem to have opinions. Or at least they don’t bank on it. Horses are so open minded I wonder how true it’d be if I called them geniuses. I don’t think there’s ever been a horse war. A war between horses is an absurd thought.

Abstraction isn’t their game. Horses don’t do abstractions—they hate algebra for instance. Yes they told me. They don’t have much to say about art either. I learned this first hand in the pasture. The quality of my renderings made no impression but the smell of my paper interested more than one horse here so maybe genius is a loose term.

There has never been evidence of a horse God. Horses don’t go in for belief systems. There are no political parties in the equine world. There are no divisions amongst horses. You just won’t find schisms. Horse is the original pacifist. It’s going to be fun painting them. I start soon.

–Chad Sorg, July 2016, Iveson Ranch, N. Nevada

Playing Sherpa

Navigating these scrambling rabbit paths leads my mind to my childhood when I’d get into one-kid adventures surveying the forest lands like a scout or mini white sherpa. Later I got motorized with a red and chrome Honda 50.

Here the dirt is dry and it’s not even dirt, it’s sand. It ain’t mud. Trails that haven’t been blown away are evident still, but the lack of human intervention out here is the freshest air. I’ve been trying to see as the animal sees. I’ve been trying to stop my mind from forming words. Writing essays and silent minded hiking don’t mix. Now I know.

My boots wind me down a couple slopes to a mass of low willows filling this low folded area wall to wall. It’s a low gulch here. The glut of life accumulates here and feeds the mouths of a whole panoply of species from the micro scale up to the species like bobcats that would have us for dinner if they had to. That’s extremely rare though, just so you know. The deer live here untouched, unbothered by human aggressions and passions and if we watch them closely we may even find evidence of frolicking.

Moisture runs the show. Vegetation is here in this crevice between mountains because the creek flows through with reservoirs. Water, my friend. Even the shape of the ground here was eroded by water in its various phases and amounts. Water, ice, snow and steam work to mold the ground of our lands.

Quiet wind cools my writing on this modern papyrus with fine point gel pen at this poetic moment. These winds have carried away souls for centuries and probably poems too. People have lived here where I write for a long time. A few have died here I’m sure. It’s a natural cleansing cycle. The rhythm rings echoes of death. Layers of the dead bring more layers of life and the desert doesn’t try to hide much in its dried mulch.

There are remnants of historic encampments around here just like I’d see in Goldfield, pots and pans and the various exciting trinkits decomposing gracefully. I wonder if they were mining for gold too. Maybe hunting, I really don’t know but the ‘leave no trace’ ethic didn’t take with these guys. I don’t mind because it all rusts away to make for astoundingly glamorous photos.

They should call this the front 40. Maybe they do. Hiway 34 is gravel and runs through here from Gerlach, twenty some miles away. This area of the property butts up to that.

It’s an unexpected wilderness serving as the dumping point for ancient rivers and shoreline of an ancient high elevation sea. The desert leaves traces apparent for generations. The depth cut in is dramatic here with sharp erosion edges at 45° angles and it becomes wholly apparent that it’s only mounds of sand waiting to change. I’m standing along the border between flattened and ridged. The Granites father this family of hills along the Haulapai flats. Fly geyser bubbles a few miles away and past that the might Black Rock desert. A passionate land.

Horse stables surround the houses of this ranch and beyond the fences are low ridges that sweep into winding formations, gracefully photogenic but unapologetically woeful toward any rubber wheels. Like the rest of the western half of this continent, It’s all volcanic here. Yesterday a kid broke his collarbone riding motocross. It’s dude ranch 2016 style.

Two stunning horses were here on visit, belonging to a wife of a biker is what I’m guessing. Both were a deep smooth brown. One horse was statuesque. A giant. Art car people come and go too. There’s also a family reunion gathered here now so it’s alot of people on the grounds. They’ve all brought enjoyable energy.

Mountain bikers pass slowly down a path as I write this. At a distance they remind me of the Mormons in the suburbs. This is kinda’ funny. I was lost in a Calvin and Hobbes fantasy wearing bobcat skinned sarong brought abruptly back to 12 geared reality in the last frame. I’m not sure they’re wearing the ties but their shorts and shoes look uniform. They are of the dirt biker clan who meets here yearly but today seen roaming more silently. A quick ride before they leave have to leave.

The Rain Sheen and the Heartmind

The rain sheen across the street causes an emotion in me. Something about nostalgia, scenes in movies, hopefully it’s not nostalgic thoughts of movies. Either way this is what I experience crossing the street by the 7-11, these thoughts about an emotion. The heart, the mind, but the heartmind?

If logic is the height of the human mind is it the best we can do with our brains? If one’s logic should be exercised & challenged continually, the grasp of logic gets better, right? Illogic is combatted by a good sense of logic through practice.

But non-logic, now that’s something else. Outside of logic. We could call that feeling.

Logic and Feeling are two aspects of a balanced self. The heartmind.

These aspects of life, the thoughts and the feelings, we might see them in duality, a polarity perhaps as they need eachother, but I wonder if I can gain more by accepting that feeling on the rainy street’s crosswalk without a logical soundtrack of analysis.

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:

One Essay and One Poem, Submissions For Harbinger Asylum

The Truth About Nada

The truth is a joke. At least it’s a joke as it’s used here in the title of this essay. There is no truth–there, I said it.

When a word is created an entity is born. Dada proposes absurdity and Nada points toward negation or nihilism, so either a) we stand for the negation of absurdity or b) we’re about absurd nothingness. These are contradictory notions but I plan to dispel neither of these myths.

If the Socratic method were to be applied, no answers would be offered but instead, only questions. Is this some kind of Buddhist koan then? What is NadaDada? What is not NadaDada? How necessary is bureaucracy? What is this, an autocracy? From where does our power come? How necessary is money? Are artists entertainers? Is art a commodity? We all have to make a living, right?

What it is and what it is not get discussed alot but the truth about NadaDada is in the motto: Get a room, make a show. That’s it. I can share this one central tenant of our little art movement and that is the motivation that NadaDada has always striven for since January of 2007. We are a working model of non-central governance–horizontal alliance. In other words we are all our own bosses.

We start to see how endless our unrestricted, individual universes can be. We start to meet the co-creators and our wider audiences: we share in the appreciation. Connection is a multiplier and the gestalt broadens the experience of art. There’s no one to herd us toward what’s appropriate, either in terms of morals or in terms of style. There is no jurying.

The challenge in putting such a philosophy to work is in finding how such an elusive organization as is one made of individual creatives could work toward any singular goal. But this singular goal amounts to opening up an unrestricted flow of freedoms in creative expression–individual expression. You know, fine art.

A commercial commodification has been adapted to the art industrial complex and the danger is in taking this for granted… like I said we all gotta’ make a living but we cannot forget that art is an action, not a thing. If you don’t think that’s true, you haven’t experienced the changes our relationship to art goes through: I hate this piece or artist and then someone enlightens me to the truths/intentions found in this piece or work of this artist.

Maybe our contemporary eyes have latched on to the attractiveness of something in this world that might live beyond our own DNA but the materiality of a painting is the by product of something far greater, something ever changing. Creativity is an action/activity/occupation and as close to the divine as a human can get.

“Creatio ex nihilio”: creation from nothing.

Artists are open to possibilities and what “can be”. Art is transient. Nothing is permanent. We show art in motel rooms. Check out time is 11.


Sugar Dance Dream

Sugar comes from space.

This harnessed specter

painted on somber face

hallowed this nascent grace

This femme framed

held she in place

by hundred yards of dress

this performance space was her nest

her prison

And I, drawn in

at third floor

a wordless behest

for a moment waned a lunar gaze

afternoon from the west

sunlit chest

the enticement of the taste.

This prohibition dream I had

in 1931 from end of the hallway

at an elevator shaft

Riveting was this dazzlement

this suffragette


was this one ghostlike

a confectionary enslavement

enrapt a nimbus

this love a lingua

metastasized between us

the heartbeat found quickened

and when the dance:

a noose.

This luminess

the minotaur

in her maze

and then..

she let me loose.

I’m lucky to be alive

and the cookies were delish.

-Chad Sorg

Life On The Ranch (with more photos)

Chickens prefer heavy beats. Day three or so, an art car, The Serpent Queen, was getting carpentry updates while I worked on the paint job of these storage units near the shop on the grounds.

The chicken coop sat not far and people working on their feet were all around and we had music. From where I was, away from the boom box, saws and routers I heard the rooster chiming in with his minimal harmonic chords. The first time the sound was so good, such great timing that it seemed as if it was part of the mix. The next track also featured the rooster’s r-r-rr-rucrrrruhku-u-uuuu and that’s when I was certain that the sound was coming from the chicken coop 100 feet from me. The cock didn’t care for classic rock. I decided I gotta talk to a DJ about this barnyard phenomenon.

It seems a spaceship contraption found a good landing pad behind our place. “That’s the Funk Yeah. It only plays funk out on the playa” I was told. The Funk Yeah was in disrepair and it needed a space mechanic. Ventilation tubes of steel line this thing in a sort of X wing configuration and it has a satellite dish for shade above the driver’s seat. I don’t know. It looks like a Star Wars kinda’ thing, you know,when they were on the desert planet with Jabba–a hover vehicle look like that. Underneath it was a Chevy van with the top chopped and with silver Tattooine embellishments. I wasn’t aware it was a space funk mobile.

Burners have the right idea. The collective knowledge between these ratty dudes is astounding. Over bacon and eggs this morning Douglas, Clown and Ocean were talking about a doomahincky used for movement detection–mercury switches versus some other thing. I don’t know but these guys get together and use their brains to make stuff and this kind of collaboration is what I’m most impressed by. They’ve got the right idea. When they put their minds to it they can build a city. Plus there’s the whole topless women thing. And lasers.

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