Happy New Year


Here's What I'm Thinking


Yes, I know it's way vogue these days to want to save the planet and all that.
The environment's in jeopardy and we all have to pull together and do our part, etc.
Everyone I know is recycling or, at the very least, they're lying to everyone else about recycling and I'm thinking, "What for?" 
What exactly are we trying to rescue here? 
Somebody really smart needs to explain it to me 'cause as far as I can see, life on Earth sucks a fresh turd. 
You really expect me to separate my garbage for this fucking shitpile? 
Hell, as far as I'm concerned, our rendezvous with total disaster can't arrive soon enough.

Where the hell are all these nukes everybody's always whining about? 
Let's light a few of those up, why don't we. 
That would kind of end the suspense, wouldn't it? 
Break the tension? 
Or maybe our finest scientific minds could find a way to alter the Earth's orbit and steer us into the path of one of those big asteroids, you know - one of those 'Global Killers'? 

Listen, all I'm saying is that not recycling just isn't gonna cut it. 
We gotta get pro-active, people! 

Let's make it our resolution for 2009...

A Record Review by Ted Fisher

I love my friends and none more than Ted Fisher. We've been pals a long time, yes, but the fact is our tastes don't often converge. So when I found this product review he'd written over at Amazon, I was really pleasantly surprised to find the two of us in such close accord.

True, we are both pretty much the same age and grew up together in similar environs. And, yes, we liked a lot of the same stuff, music especially, when we were teenagers. But since then, our opinions have matured independently and it really shows lately. He's basically a nut for classical (and is becoming quite learned on the subject) and I'm... not. Or not as much.

So when I read this recent piece of his, I had to smile over how, after all this time (it's been since, I think, 1993 that we last stood in the same room) we still share a few things, so I thought I'd share just one of them with you.

The Record That Changed It All

by Ted Fisher

July 10, 2008

I just listened to this record again after I went to a Sex Pistols concert on the 4th of July, 2008 in Slovakia, of all places. It is still a great record after more than 30 years, although hearing them in concert singing about the Berlin Wall ("Holidays in the Sun") and their spat with their former record label ("EMI") did sound a bit dated today.

I think a lot of reviewers have it right when they call this the "album that changed everything". But I don't think most of them go far enough, because they seem to limit it to punk. Without the Sex Pistols, we would not have had New Wave, which within a few years turned into the industry mainstream. The Police? Not there (so no Sting either!). U2? No way. Duran Duran? Nope. The B-52s? Don't kid yourself. Devo? Well, maybe -- but probably in a different form. The musical reality that we now know as the 1980s could not have happened without the Sex Pistols. They really did change everything.

This isn't just the "greatest punk album of all time", which it actually may or may not be. It's the album that set the stage on which the musical background of the entire Reagan era was played. (Let's ignore "Thriller" and Stevie Nicks for a moment -- great as their achievements may be...)

Understanding the evolution of pop and rock music into what we have today means, at a minimum, understanding Elvis, the Beatles and the Sex Pistols. Those are the guys that came along and changed everything -- the paradigm shifts, as they say. (Number 4 is probably Grandmaster Flash, but let's ignore that as well for now...)

The Sex Pistols were far from a perfect band. Image got in the way of the music quite a lot -- in part because the project was launched by Malcolm McLaren, who wanted a band out there that would let him sell more clothes at his London shop, called "Sex", dealing in what would become punk fashion. Unfortunately for the band, the image obsession meant replacing Glen Matlock, who could actually play his bass and who played a key songwriting role, with Sid Vicious, who had little musical ability but who looked nasty and didn't have Matlock's feathered, Bay City Rollers-style hair. Vicious was a disaster, and met a disastrous end.

But none of that really interferes with the record -- Matlock plays bass on much of it, and where he doesn't, guitarist Steve Jones fills in. No Sid here.

The Sex Pistols were more of an idea than a band, really. The image often took over everything. Thankfully, the real merit of the record is the music. This isn't just guitar distortion, crashing drums and shouting. The songs almost all have melodies that grab you from the start. (The only real exception is "New York", which I still wouldn't recognize in a lineup today, although I've heard it hundreds of times.)

Steve Jones' guitar playing is remarkably tight, and really is brilliant in many places. His style really is minimalist, but you don't immediately notice that through the power and distortion. Where he does use flourishes, they are melodic and memorable. Johnny Rotten, the vocalist, creates a thoroughly misanthropist persona simply using his voice. The sound he creates is unique and quintessentially punk, and he doesn't have to actually say "I hate you" because you can feel it. In many ways he created the mold for most punk singers after him, including a way of phrasing that lets you know he doesn't care what you or anyone else thinks.

Actually, seeing the Sex Pistols in concert today is a totally different experience in two important ways. First, Glen Matlock back on bass, still with his feathered hair, and this puts the music rather than the image in focus. Second is a complete change in Johnny Rotten -- or actually John Lydon, as he now goes by the name of his birth. He no longer hates everybody and everything, but actually seems to really enjoy himself and to genuinely like people in his own "in your face" way. When I saw them in concert, he waved his naked paunch at us like a belly dancer and told us: "We love ya." This was not the Pistols of 1977, but rather more like a thoroughly enjoyable 2008 tribute band to the Pistols of the past.

Enough from me -- just get it. This is one of the basics. You don't have to like it, but there's a good chance that after a couple of listens you will find something to your liking. I think everyone should at least know what the Sex Pistols were and sounded like.

Also keep in mind that these people who seemed to make the selling of nastiness and destruction their livelihood at the time are warm and fuzzy middle-aged guys today. They weren't actually hateful, they just seemed that way.


God Is The Name We Give To Our Ignorance

I just spent the last hour and fifteen minutes watching and listening to this panel discussion and presentation by Neil deGrasse Tyson on the nature of religious belief in the presence of scientific discovery, or vice versa. 

If you are a religious person, then you will no doubt find this discussion quite challenging and so I'd encourage you to take the time to listen to what the people on the other side of the table are thinking. Mr. Tyson can be fairly strident in his approach and states his point of view with the sort of ardor or zeal with which you often hear religious orators bellow their dogma. For me, that irony is pretty refreshing. But that isn't to say that the man doesn't make his case in a sensible, logical and succinct manner and if you aren't a religious person, then you might find further resolve or identity in Tyson's very rational presentation of these ideas (as I have). if you simply haven't given the matter much thought, then I know you'll find this talk illuminating.


By the way, the title of this post is not a quote from the discussion, but my own words.
Thought I better make that clear.

Kathleen Gave Me Crabs

Seems like only the other day I was over at Fred & Kathleen's place enjoying some frosty libations on an unseasonably warm day-after-Christmas when K-leen asks me if I want some crabs and so I ask her the very thing you're wondering now. 

"Whaddya mean?"

She explains that, well, she got these two hermit crabs as a Christmas present from a relative or something and, you know, she's already got all these other animals to care for (she really does have her hands full) and having these two other little fellers to look after is just two things more than she can fit into her daily diary so she asked me, "Would you like some crabs? If I gave you these two hermit crabs would you take them home and take care of them?"

I gave it a moment's thought, but not more, and said, "Sure!" 

And I'll tell you what, I'm glad I did. They're great. I love them. They're the perfect pet for me. No yapping, no yowling, no pooping (or not that I can see), none of that needy, "Pet me" bullshit... no shedding. They do molt, I've read, but infrequently and then they eat the remaining exoskeletal husk for the calcium.

And, man, K-leen gave me everything to go with, too! There's a nice, clear plastic cage with an orange plastic lid and a handle (looks a little like a lunch box) and its got this crazy, bright-orange sand in the bottom with a little, plastic palm tree sticking up out of it and a clam shell for water and another smaller one for food. And I got a little bag of crab food and a little thingy of hermit crab treat (from the good people at Florida Marine Research, oh yes!) which contains, um, let's see now... papaya, coconut, pineapple, sea salt, banana chips, apples, mangoes, rolled oats and wheat germ. Goddamn, man! These crabs are eating better than me! What the...

Anyhow, so the one there in the purple conch shell's named Lil' Trixie and the dude in the more traditional snail shell is The Scrubber. Those are their names, whether they know it or not. And let me tell you those little blighters can really kick up a fuss when the sun goes down! Scrubber's clearly the alpha-crab there in the lunch box. Poor Trix is just coming in for some water and pretty soon ol' Scrub's got her cut off at the pass with his two front legs extended in what I assume is some sort of a show of dominance or territoriality or God-only-knows-what. Oh, and they chirp at night, too! Did you know hermit crabs do that? Anyway...

So, yeah, it's non-stop, late night, crustacean hi jinx for me, now. 

Thanks for the crabs, Kathleen!

Tiger & Tabby





This piece also first showed at the St. Louis Extract exhibition at Mad Art Gallery in 2002, but was better and more widely recieved (and eventually collected) at the Kroma space in the Cental West End of St. Louis.


The allocation of resources in an overpopulated environment is a little thing we call, “politics.” The resource of personal space is suddenly at a premium. Only the very wealthy ever get all they want. Oh, who am I kidding? Nobody ever gets all they want.

Lake Michigan from the Pier


The last time I visited Chicago would have been in July of 2006, so that's when these 3 frames were shot. It was a fairly dismal outing with a woman I wish I'd never met, but I managed to get a lot of great material with the old OM-1...



Oh, sure.
These go back a spell.
Some of my earliest forays into this crazy amalgam of media whose perfection I still pursue these are, preceded only by the Prime Series (which I'll post again at some juncture).
These aren't, by far, all of the early Standards. But, sadly, either the others never got photographed or, more likely, I sent the last of my slides out to some gallery who never returned them. And all the works themselves are either sold or who-knows-what. I think my esteemed friends (and very serious collectors), The Pages, may still have some. 
That'd be my only contact with work from that period. 
Maybe I'll make it back out to L.A. again one day and visit them. 
Sure, that'd be swell.

Blue Shrine to Lillian Gish


Lillian Gish was born into a broken family where her restless father James Lee Gish was frequently absent. Mary Robinson McConnell a.k.a. Mary Gish, her mother, had entered into acting to make money to support the family. As soon as Lillian and her sister Dorothy were old enough, they became part of the act. To supplement their income, the two sisters also posed for pictures and acted in melodramas of the time. In 1912, they met fellow child actress Mary Pickford, and she got them extra work with Biograph films. Director D.W. Griffith was impressed by both the girls and especially by Lillian, who he saw as a exquisitely fragile, ethereal beauty. Over the next decade, Lillian was to become one of Griffith's greatest stars. She appeared in features such as The Birth of a Nation (1915); Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919); and Orphans of the Storm (1921). With Griffith, she became the greatest screen heroine of the time and was known as 'The First Lady of the Silent Screen'. Lillian even tried her hand at directing with a movie called Remodeling Her Husband (1920) starring her sister Dorothy. After 13 years with Griffith, Lillian went to MGM where her first picture was Boheme, La (1926). Her new contract gave her control over the type of picture, the director, the supporting lead and the cameraman. In the late 20s, Lillian's star began to wane and sound pictures became the rage with the viewing public. Lillian would resist the new sound pictures as she believed that silent pictures had a greater power and impact on audiences. And this was true in the beginning as they did not worry about the microphone. So Lillian was released by MGM in 1928 and went back to the stage and was a great success. She would continue on the stage for the next half century. Lillian never forgot D.W. Griffith, even when everyone else in Hollywood did. She helped care for the ailing Griffith and his wife until Griffith died in 1948. In the forties she again appeared in a handful of 'talkies' and received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role as Laura Belle McCanles in Duel in the Sun (1946). In 1970 she received a special Academy Award 'for superlative artistry and distinguished contributions to the progress of motion pictures'. Her last film was The Whales of August (1987) in which she shared the lead with Bette Davis. Lillian Gish never married.

Power Default


Well, I used this image as a myspace profile photo for awhile and I still can't get enough of it. It's beautiful and I love it.

What it is is me walking around down by the Mississippi River near the old LaClede Power Co. Building. Yes, I think that's right. I'd been down there for walks and bit hunts many times before, but it was a walking visit with Mike Paradise to this location that found me before this slim vista. I didn't have a camera that day, but bookmarked the composition in my head and promised myself to come back prepared one day. A few months later I did, with Jim Braun, just walking around again, him describing the medicinal value of the plants around us. I didn't know he knew all that stuff. And then there it was, and I got out the didge.

Now, don't let me kid you - the photo I shot that day looked nothing like the one above. You know I photoshopped the crap out of it to get it looking so dreamy. In fact, just this one time, let me show you the original unfuckedwith version.


Reject Me, I'm Yours!


These things, going back a few years, um, like to 1993, were the result or, perhaps, by-product of a batch of designs I did for the Hungarian rock band, Andersen.

After having visited Budapest in, I think, April of that year and after having met the band there and after having heard them and seen them play and after recording with most of them (on this demos project I was working on there at Line Studios located then in the Petofi Csarnok) and after performing with them once, too, they asked me to contribute some designs for the new record that they were just on the verge of putting out. So, when I got back home, I went straight to work. I made several series for them to choose from. Some were in the style of my previous collection of abstract collage paintings, some were more in the vein of the Standard and Prime Assemblage work, and others were more a traditional collage with some photostatic elements, like these ones. All of this was pre-Adobe, mind you, all hand work, so I had all these 12"x12" illustration boards, some with quite a lot of relief on them (one design, I remember, even had a dead lizard glued to it). So, all stacked up and packed up in a big box. I sent them on, at some expense, to Budapest and awaited approval.

Sadly, that's pretty much the end of the story. I waited. I sent for an answer, but never heard a thing. Then one day, months later, I got a message that an international parcel had arrived for me at the airport from Hungary. I rushed down, of course, with great expectation, to fetch the thing, thinking it must be copies of the new CD, decked out in my stuff. Cool!

No, turns out it was just the original work I'd sent them, minus a few pieces, returned to me at my expense without so much as a "thank you but no thank you" note.

And that's the way it sometimes goes. Sometimes you get people to see things your way and sometimes you don't. And sometimes, when you can't get your vision or your pitch through, you never even hear about it. You hear one day that the guitar player from the group is into computer animation and that they decided to use some of his cartoons as the album art instead.

So it goes.


Here's another pitch I made to a group here in St. Louis just this past year.

I was inspired (loosely) to these designs based only on the band's name, Models Need Sleep, which I thought was a pretty interesting, enigmatic moniker. I'd never heard the music (I still haven't) but I knew Jon and Matt from Colony were in there so it had to be pretty cool. I spent a few evenings fooling around in Illustrator, found some images I liked and worked them in (the center one, my own favorite, is a picture my old friends, Fred and Floy, sent to me of their daughter, Katie, who is just too, damn cute!) and then I took a disc to one of their shows and wordlessly passed it to Jon, who slipped it in his back pocket. The result? You guessed it: nuthin. In this instance, though, it's a little more understandable since their guitar player, Grant, is such a very talented visual artist, too (fucking guitar players, man!). I got a look at their CD cover and it's this cool thing of upside-down water or something. It's neat and nothing even close to what I was going for, so...


The list, of course, goes on.

Here's a rough comp for an animated logo for the Hoffman/LaChance gallery here in town. The story is the same. Not a peep.

So the win-some-lose-some story isn't a new one. Clients who lack the courage for confrontation, or the courtesy to communicate and constructively critique (alliteration alert!) aren't news either. And if you know what it is to be a compulsive creative, then you know the scenario is destined to play out again, cause you know you can never quit. They gotcha.

On the flip side, of course, are the acceptances, the approbation and occasional accolades but I won't lie, the joy of acceptance is not proportional to the disappointment of rejection. I wish I could say that they balance each other out, that the elations make up for the depressions, but they don't. It would even be nice if I could say that at least the fight is a good one, that the cause is noble, but when you're simply feeding a compulsion, that's a pretty hard argument to win. Ultimately I guess we are all just creatures possessed of the need to continue, chess players in perpetual stalemate, gamblers fueled by hope and impulse but also knowing that the house always wins.

Goddamn! Am I some kinda fuckin' downer, or what? Jesus!

Next post, please!


Fast Food Blackout

This post goes out to Stephen Lindsley, the only other person (along with Kristopher Curtis) to take an interest in my modest musical endeavors. So here, Steve, is a new album of all-original compositions (and two re-mixes). Hope you enjoy Fast Food Blackout as much as Safe Songs and thank you for your patronage.

1. Theme for Underpants

2. Unemployed Semiwaltz

16. Mr. Frisky Digits (Celebrity Reflux)

Stencil & Spray


Here are some pages I found in an old sketchbook. I wish I had more of these from what would've been around 1986 or so. They got a lot more involved after a while. Bigger, tighter... they evolved, don't you know. I do like these, but these were just the seeds for greater things that have since sold or been gifted, worn or who-knows-what-happens-to-all-the-crap-I-make?



This piece premiered at the St. Louis Extract show at Mad Art Gallery in 2002.


There are two theories to why we age. 1. Copy Degradation: The cells in our bodies are constantly dying and replacing themselves. We recycle our bodies every seven years. The replacement cells are never as good as the originals, so every seven years we become an inferior duplicate of ourselves. 2. Oxidation: The oxygen molecules that we need to live contain little things called ‘free radicals’ that cause the molecules in our bodies to oxidize, or ‘rust’. So, the matter in our bodies is rusting, breaking down, falling apart.

Either way, it takes time to burn away. We have time to make the story of our lives whatever we want and, if you think about it, having a finish line makes it kind of a fun game.



or some sort of grass-like plant I saw at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in October of 2006.

Seeing Stars


Epileptics please turn away.

Nine Washers


embedded in the dirt on the Pima Reservation in Scottsdale, Arizona (right across the road from the casino).

Special X-Mas Message from Jack

New Default Image


(with correct URL)

Jesus & Elvis


Merry Christmas, everybody.
I guess.
Or whatever.

This post goes out to my old friend, C. Neil Williams who, I'm sorry to report, is stricken not only with an admiration of Elvis Presley, but a belief in God. Good luck with those, buddy! These are for you...

These compositions are actually from a few years back and I've posted them before on other, erstwhile sites.
Here's a story or explanation I once included with these on an old site

I'm really not all that into the Elvis thing, so don't go thinking I'm that guy. In fact, I don't give a damn about Elvis Presley. Don't care that much for Jesus, either, though I know I'm supposed to. I have to admit, though... these are kind of funny. Perhaps they are are familiar to you already. The text for these designs, I learned well afer having put them together, is all over the web on humor pages and the like. Has been for some time now and though I've searched, I can't seem to find an author to which I can attribute the jokes. I have to say I'm a little bit uncomfortable posting this gallery - definitely don't want to be thought a plagerist - but, as i say, they're funny, and that's reason enough for now.

"Why, then," you ask, "would you, Christopher, under these adverse circumstances, bother to illustrate these texts?" (Yes. That sounds like you.)

Well, you see, one day our good friend Ron Buechele, owner and director of the Mad Art Gallery in St. Louis, decided to throw an event commemorating the second anniversary for the space themed on 'The King'. He commissioned work from a whole bunch of artists from around town and I was one them ( see the Elvis-oriented work in the 'Round Compositions' gallery for further examples ). In fact, he decided it might be a laugh for he and I to collaborate on a collection of pieces based on these Elvis-Jesus-compare-and-contrast gags he found and I said, "Okay." In the end he became too involved in planning the event and ran out of time to work on our collab, so I took the wheel and completed nine works myself, though they were credited to both of us. Anyhow, the party was a smash. The show looked great. These pieces, printed and framed at 14" x 24", came off well and sold well, too. Good idea, Ron.