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Jan 31, 2017

Convictions are Expensive. And Worth It!

"Hitler as an Old Man", by Tim Holmes
Only a fortnight since Trump took the White House, already we're careening off the rails. I can hear the rumble of 1000s of people who died for the lofty dream of democracy turning over in their graves, condemning us for playing so loosely with the ideals they actually died for!

I've often wondered what it must have felt like to be in the court of King Henry VIII or any of a hundred egotistical kings and dictators that plowed shamelessly through history. Now I think I can feel it. It's not so much the brash and infantile behavior we know these truncated people exhibit––the kind of shallow idiocy people like Kim Jong Il are incapable of rising above––to me what's so alarming is the painful acquiescence we see in those around them. We know that powerful narcissists surround themselves with yes men, but you figure there's got to be at least a few reasonable humans among them who are simply overwhelmed by the corrupting and irresistible force of being close to power.

I was heartened to hear folks like Speaker Ryan say banning Muslims has no place in the Republican Party. But the party is not over yet, and Repubs are flocking to endorse this ban, apparently (giving them the benefit of significant doubt) against their better judgment. These are clearly leaders too weak to resist the lure of power, a sign of having conveniences where their convictions should be!

I believe wholeheartedly that the resilient and compassionate human spirit will prevail in the end. I only hope that the US doesn't have to be dragged through yet another stinking chapter of history like McCarthyism before we are reminded that yes, we do have a sense of decency!
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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.