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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

For K9: Roy Deforest (revised)

Revised Post
Deforest's work reminded me of another artist, Faith Ringgold, who works with acrylics on canvas and fabric pieces - and puts those pieces together as quilts. So I hunted up Ringgold too - but viewing her work again - I see that the similarity between her and Deforest isn't at all as strong as I imagined it in my head. Deforest's work, to me, has an edge or boldness to it, or perhaps quirkiness (?) or vibrancy to it that Ringgold's doesn't- though I like Ringgold's work quite a bit. Here's some of her work (and perhaps some of you with a better art vocabulary can explain why Deforest set me to thinking of Ringgold, and yet, they are very different):
Picasso's Studio

Church Picnic

Double Dutch on the Brooklyn Bridge

The Orignal Post

K9's comment on the previous post set me to googling. I had not heard of Roy Deforest before, but sure am glad I know of him now. I snagged a few Deforests to post. The first one, Dog Cart From Hell and the last one, Birdsong for the Working Dog are my favorites so far - though it's awfully hard to pick a favorite. (K9 - is the one you mentioned here?)


Blogger Little Lamb said...

I like these pictures.

January 04, 2007 2:59 AM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

chirp chirp chirp chirp!

boyed! you are so good to me! yes, the second painting is the one at SFMMA i missed seeing. its huge i think...maybe eight feet across. having missed the de forest we ended up at the fog city diner where i ate a massive mound of ceviche in a martini glass and slammed a few patrons.

deforest was one of the original san fran funk painters from the 60's....much of his work reminds me of visonary preacher man paintings from the south, namely howard finster...famous to many for his talking heads album cover.
(it was still albums then. yes kids back in the day records were made of vinyl and came in 12x12 cardboard sleeves!!)

i did manage to see a de forest in paris at the pompideu which had a damn good selection of american art and that surprised me.

i have a cool photo of roy with his dog...the black and white one...like an australian cattle dog looking thing....dogs sitting on the couch with him in a house with a busted out screen door. for some reason de forest always looks about one step away from "bum" though he must have made a ton of dough.

the lesson ol roy brings to me is to relax the f**k up man! dont over think it! paint freely without censorship...and go with what ya know.

thanks boyed. this was really a nice surprise!!!

/wag and *wide rotty smile*

January 04, 2007 6:02 AM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

I love love love the last one as well. K9 and Birdie, thank you for educating me on Deforest this morning. He certainly has the best subjects for paintings. ;) xoxo

January 04, 2007 6:05 AM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

birdsong for the working dog is my second favorite, although i like the title dog cart from hell. looks more like dog cart out of hell to me and has a van gogh quality to it....probably the way the farmland is painted....and the edge of doom as well

but birdsong for the working dog speaks to the beauties that are always around through toil and or just basic workaday rockpile.....

have you ever been in a place so dark that what you heard was like a freight train in your mind......you couldnt get past *whatever*.....you obsessed on it, played it over and over, tortured yourself with the unfixable past and then like a blasting trumpet birdsong breaks through to restore you to faith once again?

i have.

the black crow in cotton reminds me of some photos i took that i need to find.

chirp chir chirp chirp

/(soft) grrrr

January 04, 2007 6:17 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

unfixable past? now there's an interesting word - because unfixable - can't be changed - can also be unfixable - can't pin down. and maybe that's why it thunders so in my head - because it is at once static and yet, i can't get a grip on it, to deal.

you speak to my heart dog.

when i get in that space, it takes quite a bit of doing to hear the birdsong - but eventually, somehow, the light, high-pitched sound gets through the train roar.

there is also the dogsong - which gets through as well.

January 04, 2007 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


both of these
artists are new
and wonderous to me

church picnic & dog cart from hell

1) format; at least in the works presented here -- they're square
2) texture; these are 'busy' works, influences of later surrealism(?)
3) pattern; formal geometrics
4) subject; people, places, things, often combined, and as opposed to conceptual, philosophical concerns (tho the last one, 'birdsong...' is more abstract)

i hope another reader might be able correct or add to these thoughts

nice post, bird -- thanks


January 04, 2007 10:22 AM  
Blogger Mr Q said...

Thanks for stopping for a breadcrumb snack on your flight from the Artic Circle, which by the way looks less artic each year.
I have received a nice dose of art with your post today. Bold colors, almost as if they were chosen with a lot of emotion.

January 04, 2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

faith's church picnic is in the collecton of the good old high museum right here in the ATL. i worked at the museum for 2 years and once we hosted a big exhibition for the national black arts festival. there were lots of faith ringolds there.

i dont think the colors are as bright because theyre on fabric. as to the thread that connects this work /t is right on its the patterning and color use. also a kind of studios naiveity ,,,,,though they are both grads of art school...you wouldnt often see true outsider artists making a visual reference to les demossilees de avignon. but since folk art and art brut has come up in the world you see a lot of MFA types affecting a raw vision. Im not talking about deforest and ringgold with that statement.


January 04, 2007 12:13 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

oh man,you artsy-fartsy folk and vocabulary! hee hee hee!

but i got it - ok... so some of those trained artists can be posers - pretending to do outsider art - they are affectatious - not authentic. then... ringgold and deforest, despite being "trained" vs. untrained - are producers of true art brut (raw - real - outside the norm of society/culture)? but they seem so inside to me ... what the hell is insider art suppose to be? can be an outsider and still not be raw? of course - that must be so - just as you can be trained but still be raw and authentic. right?

and at first i thought les demosilieus de blah-blah-blah was some sort of special school of art or term of critique - but it's that painting ringgold based her piece on.

so, picasso - he was trained, right? but he was avant-garde - now is that the same as brut? uh oh, i'd best make sure i understand the term "avant garde". i've always associated it with cutting edge - the front door or guard - the outermost limit.

better school me good dawg.
/t. - you'd best chime in too.
the teach needs some learnin'.

January 04, 2007 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


in good,
er, paws with k9
at the head of the class -- i dare say he's likely forgotten more about art than i'll ever know

about color -- at first i didn't make a connection between these two artists, but reading k9's & Q's comments above, i see it better now and agree color is a similarity worth noting (tho handling of same is quite different, imo)

re surrealism: seeing the works of these artists immediately reminds me of works by canadian artist, alfred pellan -- sample here -- tho, more for color, texture than subject


January 04, 2007 1:43 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

oh! i like that alfred pellian.

i think i'd best get myself of to SFMoma.

this is all pretty cool.


January 04, 2007 1:47 PM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

yeah that pellian is like a much fresher miro...i like it. very clean. i like edges sharp like that. and has a graffiti feel to it as well.

no dont let /t fool ya...he's always riffin and referencing on art half the time nobody catches it......and puts out beaucoup work too. very prolific. ive been meaning to do a post on /t's work...but you could read about him for the rest of your life...thats how much there is about him on the internet.


what happened was in the 90's folk art became very collectible. in atlanta there was a guy who bought up all this work on the cheap from southern folk artsts, and by folk i mean had not been to either college or art school. the mans name is bill arnett and he got a bad reputation because he built up the desire for folk and then sold off his massive collection at a premium. now you can look at that two ways: a guy that saw value and educated the public and drove a desire or an exploiter of broke ass talent. i dont know how i feel about it. still.

some of his art discoveries: lonnie holley; thorton dial, saint EOM, RA Miller....and worked with finster too.
morley safer did a 60 minutes piece on him about the controversy. naturally bill is white...the artists black. bill is an eccentric man with a house full of art from all over the world...you can barely walk through there theres so much stuff. hes an art lover all right.

i worked with bill on a project involving lonnie holley. an education gig which involved bringing in a bunch of kids from atlanta public schools to learn how to make art with unconventional art materials. like trash. lonnie was like a shaman. just an amazing person. and he still has nothing! one day i will tell you the rotten things that happened to him like losing his house so a road or runway or something could be built...

grrr i digress

skip ahead to now in atlanta and new york you have the slotin folk art festival and it is a huge big deal. now all the work costs a bloody fortune. and its like the art expos you see in big cities: dealers have booths and some artists are self representing. and in the self representing category i have "caught" a whole bunch of people i know painting in a naive way, basically ripping off a style from the real deal folk artists. its not just me that is barking about it either. i guess it doesnt matter but it irks me ...these are people with avenues to commerce and traditionally the folk art system was to help outsiders from the gallery system make a dollar here and there. i dont know....

art brut is, i think, more about art made in insane asylums and prisons and stuff. some of it is so spectacular you just cannot believe it. talk about raw vision!!!!! the good art books are at freyas studio. i'll go over there and get one of the best art brut books and do a few scans for ya...maybe next week.

have you ever seen the magazine raw vision? it deals with this kind of work.

whew. thats a lot of writing.


January 04, 2007 2:42 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 04, 2007 2:52 PM  

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