Monday, May 15, 2006

Another African Mask Drawing

I'm in love with primitive art, especially African Masks. They radiate a purity, sincerity and power that I don't find in most fine art today. I believe that's because the motivates for creating art are less clear now. In tribal cultures, art had a definite value and role to play in societies well-being. Contemporary fine art (I'm speaking specifically about the USA here) on the other hand, is something shut away in museums and galleries and plays a tiny role in most people's daily life. The average Joe looks at "high art" as some kind of con game or puzzle that's too much effort for too little pay-off. Fine art also has some ass-kicking competition today from movies, TV, the internet, video games, etc., that primitive art never had to worry about. In fact, primitive art was the movies/TV/ internet of it's time, more fantastically interactive and 3-D then anything we have now, it literally danced-the-dance. So, another drawing from the pages of "Masks of Black Africa" by Ladislas Segy. This a " Mahongue" from Gabon and the caption reads, "This mask, known as elimba, has bold, angular forms, two square eyes, one for the mouth, and triangular forms for the nose and forehead." . O.K. not much info there. I like it because it reminds me of an old friend who used to wear his hair in a pompadour. So why copy a photograph of a mask from a book? Because it's my own ritual, my own dance of ink on paper going down into that trance state where words and rational thought are unwanted and the drums roll and roll. These drawings come out of the simplest, natural part of my soul, a place of purity and sincerity and power. I make this drawing because it is my essential nature. I make it because it just feels good. I make it because it makes me feel alive.