How A New York Art Critic Slammed My Work and Saved My Life


Holly Solomon Criticizes My Art

The lecture hall of the art museum was standing room only for what was sure to be a lively discussion. Despite over 1,000 entries from 12 states the juror of the 20th Joslyn Biennial was not impressed. The juror thought of us as uneducated and that our art would not even be considered acceptable in the world of art she lived in.

Don't Go to Art School!

As a product of the university system of the United States, I can attest to the mind-numbing and soul-sucking effect that it had on my creative spirit and artistic output. As early as 1816 Gericault wrote about this and I have written some of his comments in this post.

The Explosive Bowling Ball

One summer night in July of 1968, I got it in my head to try another “fun” stunt with an M-80 and a bowling ball.

Earlier in the week I had hauled all of the plastic models of ships, planes, and tanks that I had made as a “kid” and set them up in the creek behind my girlfriend’s house. We set up my plastic army men as if they were storming Omaha beach. Jamie, Lamont and I lobbed M-80’s at them causing destruction and sending plumes of water into the air from the creek. The young neighborhood boys spent days salvaging the pieces down at the creek. For the unwashed in the technical side of M-80’s, they had waterproof fuses, and when you taped rocks to them they sunk and exploded underwater. I am sure someone MIGHT have tried this at Fremont Lakes speeding up the process and boredom of traditional fishing, but I could not imagine who would do such a thing.

How Many Will Fit in the Trunk?

Lined up at the entrance to the Skyview Drive-In

Skyview Drive-in or
How Many Will Fit in the Trunk?

Fall of 1967. When someone in our group suggested we all go to the drive-in to see “Cool Hand Luke” it was nothing out of the ordinary as we had been to a drive-in as a group before. However, this time there was a new twist - we would see how many of us could fit into Jamie’s 1955 Chevy’s trunk and sneak in without paying.

Is it Just Corn?

"Hybrid" ~ Oil on Linen ~ 46 x 52
There was no doubt now that I had finally arrived. My painting hung on the sacred white wall of an art museum in a large city. Not in a gallery, but a museum. THE Holly Solomon, from New York, the center of THE art world, had chosen it to be hung there.

What NOT to Do in a Fast Food Joint with Roman Candles

Summer of 1968. The summer between my sophomore and junior year Jamie, Jim, Lance, Lamont and I decided to have roman candle duels in Lamont’s backyard. And why wouldn’t we do such a thing? Shooting them up in the air was so very boring.

Becoming the Artist YOU Want to Be

One of the most difficult and important things you will ever have to do is to decide just what kind of a artist you want to be. This short article gives what I think is the best advice you could ever get on becoming the artist YOU want to be.

Blowguns & Other Classroom Diversions

Let’s face it, in 8th grade sitting in a classroom can be SO BORING! Sure, you could stare at the girls that were beginning to bloom or Mrs. Reynolds (if you had her as a teacher you know what I am talking about), but even that would get old after awhile. Someone far more clever than I had just figured out that if you took the tip and ink tube out of a Bic pen, it could become a very accurate blowgun. The projectiles were fashioned by putting a small piece of paper in the mouth to get it nice and wet and then rolled into a ball with the tongue. Just put the wad into the hollow Bic pen, aim and blow. Of course this was outlawed by our oppressive school administration.

My Girlfriend and the Streaker

In the fall of 1971 I was standing in the great room of the Kappa Sigma fraternity in Laramie, Wyoming with my good friend Jim and his fraternity brothers. It was a sunny crisp Saturday morning, a perfect day to go to the Wyoming football game. I was all in for that, but when the entire house decided to go streaking through fraternity and sorority row I must have turned white as a ghost.

The Meteor and the FBI

Omaha, 1970. Most, if not all of our friends had curfews, so on the weekends Jamie and I often ended up driving around Omaha and the surrounding area very late at night. I had to have Pat (now my wife) whom I was going steady with home by 11:00, so after I took her home Jamie would often pick me up and off we went.

Of Picnics and Condoms

One beautiful fall day Jamie came over to my house with a couple of friends to visit me and my friend Jim Holtz, who had stopped by to visit on his way to the University of Wyoming. We all decided to hop in Jamie’s car and have a picnic. Jamie loved to drive and we ended up 100 miles south in Kansas at a park with food we had picked up at a fast-food joint.

I was taught by Lesbians

In high school my girlfriend worked for her mom at the Walden Bookstore at the Westroads Mall. I would often come and visit Pat about an hour before closing to see her and use the bookstore as a library of sorts, concentrating on the art books when the doors were locked and she was closing out the cash register. I learned a lot, boy did I learn a lot.

Sending a Bust Developer to My Girlfriend

Fall 1970. One day in my dorm room I was carefully studying the contents of a gentlemen’s magazine when an ad for the “Mark Eden Bust Developer” caught my eye. While my girlfriend Pat was more than a handful I’ll admit that popular culture had brain-washed me into thinking bigger was always better, and $10 was a small price to pay for a gift that promised to keep on giving.

My Awakening

I began skirting the wall of the kingdom of heaven when I was 11 years old, although I was only dimly aware that I had even come to a wall. Having lived a carefree life with few challenges, a wall was something I knew little of.

Falling in Love

May 1968. (Note: This story is a continuation of Never Let Anyone Pass a Note to a Girl For You!) I forked over two one dollar bills for the tickets to the play in advance, just to make sure the play would not be sold out. The day before our date I got to work detailing the chariot that would whisk us away to the ball and a whirlwind romance.

Never Let Anyone Pass a Note to a Girl For You!

This is a true story of lust and lies and proves the point that all is fair in love and war. And if you find yourself in love, never let anyone pass a note to a girl for you!

Undocuchallenges Art Show

I recently read about an art competition and show for the “UndocuChallenged”, and thought it illustrated how twisted and politically correct some would like art to become.

The Drive-by Art Opening

Something has always troubled me about art openings and decided years ago it was just not worth the effort to attend them. However, last night I drove two hours to attend several art gallery openings, something I have not done in over 25 years.

Postmodernism is the new Academic Art

Last month I reluctantly attended an art opening in a small town far from a major population center, and even further from a major art center. The gallery was in the downtown area long ago abandoned by retailers, but was now in the process of a slow renovation. Most of the buildings were vacant and boarded up, and the signs of drink and drug abuse were evident in the walk of the few people that wandered the sidewalks.