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I've been asked about the way I name/label my work and it's been suggested that I should give them titles. I've always wanted to allow the viewer to see and interpret the work on its own, without additional explanation or queues, and I have a slight aversion to obtuse titles as they often seem gimmicky to me. I lean more toward a label rather than a title as a practical indexing mechanism. I started labeling them in the early 90's according to the date: year, month, day, so they would sort in order on my computer. My mistake of course was the Y2K problem because I hadn't used the full year—dumb, I know.

Now that my work has grown and evolved over more than 25 years, I think of the entire catalog as a single piece of work as much as I think of the individual pieces as such. Since I mostly display my work online, it's usually presented, like it is here, in a chronological sequence along with many or all of my work. The date/labels help tell the story of the entire "piece" and give context to individual chapters.

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Jackson Pollack said that "every good artist paints what he is." I don't know if he'd consider me a good artist, but I do believe I "paint" what I am.

Robert NendzaComment
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I spend a fair amount of time pondering what I like and don't like about artworks—especially my own. It's how I decide if I need to keep working on a piece, change direction, or call it done. I got to thinking about the fact that I strongly prefer art that has at least a few distinct notable points of interest. For instance, I can appreciate a well crafted portrait or simple drawing, but I prefer one that employs a novel rendering technique, or even more so if it also uses an unusual color scheme, and more still if its scale, detail, composition, energy, or story are remarkable and apparent. I guess I'm saying that for me "more is more," but at the same time, even a minimalistic work of art can have multiple dimensions of interest.

Robert NendzaComment
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It's said that the eyes are the window to the soul. I've always found it easy to misinterpret the eyes, but the mouth reveals the years as well as the moment. Art is like the mouth that way. A piece can be dark and full of joy, or smiling despite the pain, but if you look closely, you can usually see the truth.

Robert NendzaComment
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In life you've got to experience pain so you can appreciate pleasure, you've got to know darkness so you can understand light—it's the yin yang thing. As an artist you've got to strive while the yang seed (the white dot on the dark side) waits to blossom, and stay the course when it withers again.

Robert NendzaComment
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Dear Mr. Einstein. Would it still be considered insane to do the same thing over and over again and hope for different results as opposed to expecting different results? I may have a problem.

Robert NendzaComment
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How tightly should one hold to his signature? Hold tightly and it can become dogma, spent, maybe even a hiding place from fear or cowardice. Let loose and it could pass without detection, or flitter into counterfeit, or quickly evaporate for lack of depth. Yet another fine line.

Robert NendzaComment
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This is my first piece of 2017, after a break of almost two months. I desperately desire to level up and I fantasize that I'll come back from a break with a fresh perspective and new insight, but it just doesn't work that way. Picasso famously said "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." I'm happy to be able pick up where I left off.

Robert NendzaComment
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I wrote in an earlier post about tuning colors. A little more on my approach to color: I was looking at a book of Richard Diebenkorn and thinking about the way his day-to-day environments affected his color palettes—like others such as O'Keefe, Monet, etc. And, I considered the way Rothko and Francis chose colors for their emotional and symbolic merits.

Those motivations come into play in my own choices, but less so than opportunistic improvisation. I often see something, as I'm working, that reminds me of a certain natural palette or strikes an emotional chord—and I run with it. 

Robert NendzaComment
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It's hard for me not to be judgmental. It's the way I process my world. That's definitely the case with art. Is this piece good or bad? How does it compare to this piece or that? Could it be better, what's wrong with it? Is it original, sophisticated, interesting, skilfully crafted? Do I like it, do other people like it? Does it deserve to be in this publication or gallery...?

Some people seem to be able to transcend this relative zero-sum paradigm. I'm envious.

 

Robert NendzaComment
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I watched a couple episodes of a show called "Edge of the Universe." Mostly it dealt with the detection of planets beyond the Solar System. When I was a kid, nobody knew if there were any planets besides our little family. Many people believed there must be, but nobody knew. The show informed me that the first exoplanet was discovered in 1995. It went on to say that there had been about 700 exoplanets discovered since then. Wow! It's amazing how quickly these discoveries occurred. Then I realized that the show was like 10-11 yrs old, so I looked up the current information:

As of December 6, 2016, astronomers have identified 3,545 exoplanets (in 2,660 planetary systems and 597 multiple planetary systems). The majority have been discovered in the past two years! Consider the exponential growth curve of this knowledge. Maybe Kurzweil is right.

Robert NendzaComment
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This pair was made more deliberately than most. Still improvisational, but I had a particular idea that was a combination of some old techniques and some recent inspiration. It was a single piece but I split it in two about half way through. 

Robert NendzaComment
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There are three pretty good art museums within a short bike ride from where I live in Minneapolis. I took a chilly ride to the Walker today. I had a few takeaways:

  1. There is a continuum in art from genius to totally meritless. Both can be seen in most public museums.
  2. Lighting art is an art. The Walker does a really good job.
  3. I noticed that all of the art films on display (there were a bunch) had the appearance of being shot on a 1970 super 8 camera even though they were recently created. I'm baffled as to why the art world seems averse to current technology.
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It appears I've been circling around a tree motif for a while. No idea why. I think a lot of artists can relate to the scene in Close Encounter of the 3rd Kind where Richard Dreyfuss is unconsciously compelled to sculpt Devil's Tower.

Robert NendzaComment
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I watched a movie called Cowspiracy. I recommend that everyone watch it and consider their dietary choices. But more fundamentally, I wonder just how misinformed and misguided we really are about a whole lot of really important things—at the hands of both those withholding and distorting information for profit AND those doing the same thing for effect. "I want to believe." But it's hard/foolish to trust information because nearly all of it has an agenda at its root.

Robert NendzaComment
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How many trees are there in the world? I wondered while traveling across Pennsylvania. Looks like they just figured it out in 2015. The number is something over 3 trillion. It looked like there were that many in PA. A trillion must be a much bigger number than I though.

Robert NendzaComment
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My name is Robert. I'm an art addict. Yesterday I spent hours looking at art and talking to artists at a local art event. When I got home I looked at art on Tumblr, and then I looked at more art on Instagram. Then I worked on this piece until 5:00 am. Then I looked at some more art on Instagram. #twelvesteps

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I'm waiting, very impatiently, for the day digital art can take its place among traditional mediums. The following is a quote from a leading gallery owner and author written in 2015. She is answering this question: "Is fine art worth more than digital art? Is there a way to market digital art so that it can be sold at an equal value?"

"...in general, it is technically much more difficult to accomplish a fine art painting than a digital art work. The skills involved take many more years to acquire and arguably many more years in order to achieve genuine mastery. There is simply much, much more to know in the world of painting than there is in the world of digital at this point in time."  - Michelle Gaugy

BTW, I really like her husband's work and think she has a first rate gallery.

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