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New Year, New Things, New ONLINE SHOP
Let's catch up, shall we?
It’s middle of March. Almost the end of Q1 for all you ledger-addicts out there. Since my last post was back in December 2022, let me be one of the last in the world to wish you a Happy New Year.
For me the last few months have been packed with a new project at my day job, busy family life, and a bunch of new things I will tell you about below. Right now I’m writing from the living room easy chair with a swollen knee elevated, recovering from stem cell injections. So it seemed like a good time to catch you up on all the things.
Steady drawing was happening in the studio up until the holidays. I took a couple weeks off to be with family and rest, and once I got back to work it felt like I lost momentum and my headspace had shifted dramatically. My drawing table sat empty until almost mid January. I’ve made several drawings since then, just trying to keep things moving. I’ve also been exploring drawing with different materials - gouche, india ink, sharpies. My general practice is to keep a drawing surface always ready. I tend to draw throughout the day, making marks here and there in between (or during) Zoom calls at work. It reminds me of seeing the evil genius on film who always seem to have a chess game going on the side. They make drive-by moves, say something sinister-yet-mundane at whoever they are playing, then go back to their less mundane activities. My drawings are always there, getting filled up with drive-by mark making while I mutter less-than-evil things to myself.
None of the images I’ve made lately have me terribly excited at the moment. I mean, they are fine, and some are worth submitting for exhibitions. But in my mind most of them are attempts at recapturing a feeling I had with one specific drawing I made last year. It felt like someone else made it. Like I stumbled across something rare in a book. I didn’t recognize it and was so excited it actually came from me. Not much has come close since then. Perhaps the point of that one drawing was to trigger the pursuit of something new.
The worst thing you can do is to stop working just because you aren’t filled with inspiration and excitement. Sometimes my energy shifts towards activities intended to get me stoked again. Usually I pull out my favorite Dieter Roth monograph, or pick up the latest issue of Art Forum just to get my mind to respond to something. I may straighten up my works space. Other times I need a bike ride or to go lift weights and get away from the studio all together.
At this point in life I’m very much o.k. with there not being a point to making art. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want it to be seen, or need it to occasionally trigger a response from another human being.
Grand opening of my new online shop
Speaking of needing work to be seen - I’m excited to announce that courtneystubbert.shop is now open. You, as a faithful newsletter subscriber, are the first to know. This shop is lean at the moment, with only a few items available and more coming soon. I've got a hard drive full of random graphics and zine ideas that have yet to see the light of day. Some ideas are just a backlog of images and I need them to get out of my way. Throwing them on random hardgoods feels like a good place to put them so I can make room in my head for new things.
This shop has been a goal of mine for ages and I'm looking forward to seeing my weird ideas out in the world. I'm currently using a fulfillment service to handle printing and shipping of everything except original artwork. The quality of everything seems really high so far, but please let me know what you think. If you see something you like please shoot me a message. If there is something not available in your size or style, I’m open to suggestion.
To celebrate the opening there is FREE SHIPPING for all digital prints and apparel. AND because you are dedicated supporters I'm giving newsletter subscribers an additional 10% off their purchase. Enter the code DESTROY at checkout.
New artist website
During the fall I launched a new art portolio site for myself at courtneystubbert.com. Having a merch shop fulfills one half of my brain - it actually feels easier to get my work into the hands of people who want it as a print or shirt. To satisfy the other half I plan on looking for new exhibition opportunities in 2023. As much as exhibitions can be a pain in the ass, and harder to come by, this is an experience I want to continue to have. They allow me to create from a different headspace, and for a different purpose.
Recent Free Static performances and track release
My experimental music project Free Static has just released a live recording from our appearance that the New Music Festival here in Eugene from last October.
Free Static also performed again at Epic Seconds this past February (we played there back in December as well). We are working on a tape release of these performances. The most recent of which can be seen on our new Youtube page.
Reading and listening
The stack of books continues to pile up faster than I can read them. The listening never ceases. I’m not linking to anything. Just know that you should buy all your books locally, and use Bandcamp.com to support all the bands I mention below.
I’m still working my way through Blake Gopnik’s epic biography Andy Warhol. What a beautifully wild and complicated person. Andy, that is. I don’t know Blake at all.
I’m just finishing up Kraftwerk: Future Music From Germany by Uwe Schütte. This is not about the backstory of each of the musicians and how they became Kraftwerk, but instead focuses on the cultural and artistic influences that shaped their aesthetic, sound, approach to technology, and their impact on music and culture. It's well written, not too long, and goes in depth on their albums and the thinking behind them. The author was is definitely a fan, but keeps an intellectual objectivity about his subject that makes it worth the read.
I just picked up a copy of CAPS LOCK: How Capitalism took hold of graphic design and how to escape from it by Ruben Pater. I'm very suspect that there is no way to escape from the economic brutality that is Capitalism. I picked this up because I am always hopeful. I've felt burnt out on graphic design for several years. I love it so much and it has sustained most of my professional career. But at the same time, the internet has created a generation of mimetic trends and styles, “agile" methodologies, and value-based buzzwords that only serve corporations and the wealthy. I'm looking forward to reading this one, if only to regain some faith in a way of making images that can do more than get “likes” and collect your data.
Recent listening for your earholes:
Haunt Me by Tim Hecker - Earlier work for him. Headphone music. Textured, ambient, looping. Sometimes it sounds like watching that glass of water ripple and shake just before an earthquake.
Music for Animals by Nihls Frahm - This is a three hour album of slowly evloving, repetitive synthesizer and keyboard music that has melody, but like it was stuffed down in a sleeping bag and trying to crawl its way out. The synth tones are heavy and amazing. Definitely a record made during the solitude of the pandemic. This one is on repeat right now. Just soak yourself in it. If you can’t sit through a three hour record then your priorities are wrong.
Earth Patterns by Szun Waves - Think the rolling drumming of Elvin Jones, with contemoporary synthesizers and jazz-rooted saxaphone. I listen to these guys when I’m riding my bike out into the wetlands of West Eugene. It’s melancholy and hopeful all at once. You can dream to it.
Null by KEN Mode - These guys have been a favorite for several years. This is their 2022 release. Angular, hard, musical without trying to impress anyone. Skin your knee and laugh about it. Punch your neighbor who won’t slow down when he drives past your kids. Don’t feel bad about it. Get your ears shredded.
nature morte by BIG|BRAVE - Thunderous heartache from Canada. It’s not doom, but it’s not NOT doom. The lead singer sounds like her people were run off the land by colonizers and there is enough reverb on the guitars to make your teeth hurt. I caught them at a dive bar before the pandemic. A stunning sound.
Total Funeral by Electric Funeral - I found this accidentally by searching for the Black Sabbath song of the same name. It’s 53 songs of hardcore d-beat thrash punk. FIFTY THREE SONGS. It’s like having the skin pulled off your gums and sandpaper jammed in your earholes and I’m totally here for it. Evidently it is a compilation of all 7 cassettes put out by ONE SWEDISH GUY PLAYING ALL THE INSTRUMENTS and it fucking jams. God bless Southern Lord Records.
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