Sunday 6/2/24

Sunday 6/2/24

June 02, 2024

On Sundays I reflect.

I didn’t drink alcohol this week and I don’t even think there was a temptation.

This week I’ve mostly been listening to Sprinter by Torres on repeat. Scenic World by Beirut has also been played a lot recently.

This week’s blog is going to be heavy as I got some news this week that I need to write about. Before I get to that, I’ll share a few more quick updates.

Construction is moving along in the gallery  thanks to Stan and Heather. NüBen just got back to town and will be helping with the next phase of buildout. My friends have come by to loan us tools, leftover materials, and give advice. I’m so grateful for everyone pitching in to bring my vision to reality.

I had to sell a piece from my personal collection this week to continue funding the expansion. Around a decade ago I acquired a full size skull pipe from Bob Snodgrass and crew which found a new home this week. It’s hard to let go of a piece like that but it was essential to keeping things going.

If you are in a position to support by purchasing work from our website or stokedct.com or want to acquire something from my personal collection it would be greatly appreciated. I’m in a pretty tight spot financially and doing everything I can to rectify that.

I spent a lot of this week on the torch and sold a handful of the new things I made from ash trays to pipes and other small stuff. Thank you so much to everyone who purchased this week it was a huge help. I still have a few fresh pieces available under $100 for anyone wanting some of my work.

Tuesday I’ll be hosting a conversation about our local arts scene at Two Arrows Cafe in Vail at 5 pm and hope to see some of you there. It feels like there is a community developing here around the arts and we want to cultivate that any way we can.

Anything else I want to write about my week here isn’t that important. Now I need to share another story.

So I write these composition notebooks back and forth with the closest people in my life. Sometimes they get heavy use and sometimes there are larger gaps. It’s all part of my bigger conceptual art project and my preferred communication to digital. My first preference is to engage face to face but I also live in a remote area and can’t always make that happen.

One of my friends that I have a notebook with is another artist who focuses on painting and sculpture. We haven’t corresponded in a while but now I’m jumping back in with him.

This week that friend reached out with some bad news. He has been diagnosed with a rare leukemia that he says is easily treated and has a good prognosis. That being said it will affect him for the rest of his life and likely return in 10-20 years after treatment and remission.

We got on a call that day and he filled me in. His subject matter in his art addresses mortality already so we discussed how the diagnosis is affecting his work.

“There’s freedom to, and freedom from, and freedom to run from everyone.” -Sprinter

My friend is brave and has a great attitude facing his own mortality. I’m not sure I would be able to have the same reaction if faced with the same news.

This artist happens to be one of the top artists I want to acquire a piece from, specifically a painting. I’ve sold some of his work in the past and for years I have wanted to own a piece but can’t afford it, especially right now.

I will be helping him sell some of his available work and if you want to see what’s available please reach out. To respect his privacy I will not be sharing his name or the work here today. If I’m able to sell enough of his work, I’ll also acquire a piece for my own personal collection after many years of waiting.

I met this friend online through his interest in the pipe art scene and originally he was a client of mine acquiring glass drinkware. We connected at the art fairs from Aspen to Miami and while he was always busy with the gallery he works for we always made a few minutes to catch up.

One year at Miami Art Week I walked around the fairs with a hoodie that zipped over my face besides two eye holes. I walked around my friend’s booth while my friends watched, and the artist did not know it was me until I returned later.

It was a wild social experiment some of you may remember. Viewers thought I was part of the art and asked me to pose with them for pictures.

Over the years the artist and I have had an ongoing dialogue about the art world. We are both artists and brokers, dancing between our creativity and the ultimate reality that we must also participate in the commercial side of commodification of art. This is a real challenge for me that I am faced with in my life.

I don’t think about death that often. In recent years I’ve had conversations with friends and family about legacy. Most artists legacy lives on through their tangible art. I hope that my legacy can be Bat Country Studios, the physical space we have created together in Minturn. I hope the space outlives me and can continue to be a place for artists to congregate and collaborate. Aside from “The Trashterpiece” which is my most important physical creation, Bat Country Studios is my greatest contribution to the art world. Over 50 artists are represented at the studio and over 100 artists have come through to create over the years. Many have left their mark on the space from signing their names to painting my walls. These artists have had a major impact on me and everyone else who has come through the space.

My friend will begin treatment when his body is deemed healthy enough by his doctors. His spirits are high.

We talked about depression and anxiety and addiction the other day. We both struggle with all three. We had lost touch for a while there. Usually I’m pretty good at keeping in touch via messages, phone calls or notebook correspondence. If not for those methods, each year I have a semi regular circuit I make in the art world or my personal travels and usually I reconnect with people when timing aligns. This particular friend and I haven’t crossed paths in a few years now.

I was so happy he reached out, and so sad to hear his news. Thankfully, it seems like my friend still has time but the diagnosis reminded me how suddenly everything could change. I feel how important my correspondences are knowing that any time I could lose the opportunity to have that contact. Life is fragile and unpredictable.

The notebook correspondences are like time capsules, storing whatever the correspondent and I choose to share there. It’s a real tangible object that won’t disappear if the internet fails for example. It feels grounding.

If I were faced with a similar diagnosis what would I do differently? Or what would I prioritize before my death? Would anything change from the way I live my life now?

These are some of the questions I have been asking myself.

Did the diagnosis affect your work? I asked my friend.

He said it must be subconsciously but the subject matter he explores has always touched on these concepts. It’s existential and transcendental.

In the coming weeks he and I will explore these ideas more directly over the phone and in the notebook.

Sometimes people forget that each artist’s time is limited. We each have so many hours to create, and so much energy. I’m reminded by my friend’s news that these works of art that I buy and sell and collect are special. It is a privilege to be doing what I’m doing and I am grateful.

I’ll probably never be able to acquire another skull from Bob Snodgrass, but I do still own a skull marble he made that I will never sell. It’s a practice in detachment for me to let go of these objects, almost every time.

Detachment from things is important, but I don’t think being attached to the art is as unhealthy as say my attachment to my phone or technology.

I want to share more here but I’m exhausted from the week and need to eat.

I implore you to touch base with someone you’ve lost touch with this week. Don’t wait for them to tell you they’re sick or even worse to hear that person has passed away. Time is precious and limited.

Thank you for tuning in and for supporting my journey. I couldn’t imagine any other life for myself despite how challenging it can be. I also couldn’t live this life without all of your support.

Enjoy your Sunday,

B



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