Before the bicycle brand was part of Raleigh
It was called Armstrong. No relation to all the slam-journalism you will find if you look up that name now. But if you had an interest in knowing about what Armstrong meant to the cycling industry in the 1960s, you would have found a low-brow, easy single-3 speed with a Brooks saddle. The brand was snapped up by Raleigh and then faded…to…road dust.
Today I found an Armstrong leaning against a wall in a garage. As I networked what it was and if it was worth fixing I reflected on how similar vintage stuff is to metaphors in the art world. How easy it is for one idea and motivated artist to be close to greatness or folly. It’s such a fine line with defining threads being nothing more than a glitter streak of luck. Armstrong or Raleigh. Nobody or Somebody. Success or Failure. Makes one want to dial-in to a T.E.D. program and listen to the philosophies of the host who spent a couple years doing “dirtiest jobs.”
The American version of success just doesn’t seem to let anyone be poor. But, are you happy? That makes up for a lot of creature comforts, but -ya-still-gotta keep the lights/heat/mortgage paid.
Last week I spent a few evenings curled up with “The Art of Michael Whelan.” That book just wore me out. Made my eyelids heavy. Way too much introspection about personal artwork. Sheash….I have never had that much to say about anything I have done. I suppose I gravitate to the more practical and functional spin of Illustration. I can sit and listen to Chris Oatley and Noah Bradley hash out the details of “why Freelance is dead” and still feel inspired. (To keep my day job, but also to keep slugging away at my brush and canvas every Sunday–even if it is only two hours.) My problem is that most of the time I do not feel like an artist. I feel hurried, task oriented, obligated. All that has to dissolve away from my sense of being before I can get the loose brush in hand. Balance is a struggle.
This week was full of twisted inspirations. I am reaching too hard this weekend and that always equals zero for creativity. Michael and I are doing an artshow together in December. The sights are set for prepping. I bought some small Birchwood pieces to prime. prep and paint. Not sure what the theme is yet for these itsy-bitsy-3″x6″ thingees. Yesterday I used the table saw with Michael’s help to cut down some of the Masonite pieces. Thanks for sharing tools. The art in progress is all up on the shelf around my kitchen so that I can bang my head on the pot rack for inspiration. Remember when developing your Creative Empire in the domestic setting…nothing is sacred.