Sunday, November 8, 2015

Deer with Paw 1983

Having recently finished graduate school, I wasn't sure what the next step in being an artist should be.  After much thought and discussion, I decided it should be making make my work known to a larger audience.  So, one fall day in 1982,  I headed to Houston(two days plus) in my small Datsun pickup truck, portfolio and camping gear secured in the back.

It was an epic drive, with me taking a few wrong turns, and spending one night in a sleeping bag at a campground along I-10.  I-10 was a busy interstate highway that seemed to go on forever, and as soon as I got into Texas, I began to notice the many deer carcasses along the shoulder, hit by traffic as they tried to cross.  I'd pull my little truck over to the side of the road, wait for traffic to roar past me, then carefully exit the truck with my camera in hand and take as many photographs as I could.  If the smell were bad, I wouldn't linger as long.

The trip was really a bust, with no galleries showing any interest in representing me, and although the few curators that I showed work to were polite, they had no immediate offers of help.  However, when I got back to Phoenix I had several rolls of undeveloped film of the dead deer. They turned out to be powerful images, and I ended up developing and painting on several to make this series. Now, 33 years later, what I marvel at is how I brave I was(or perhaps how foolish?):  undertaking the long trip by myself, with little or no knowledge or where I was going or the reception I would receive, no cell phone, very little money, and mostly just an enormous belief that things would work out.  And, in the end, they did.

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