Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

National Memory
I'd like to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. I was heartened to read President Obama's letter to fathers this morning. I have posted it below:

Good morning,

I grew up without a father around. I was lucky enough to be raised by a wonderful mother who, like so many heroic single mothers, never allowed my father's absence to be an excuse for me to slack off or not always do my best. But I often wonder what it would have been like if my father had a greater presence in my life.

So as a father of two young girls, I've tried hard to be a good dad. I haven't always been perfect – there have been times when work kept me away from my family too often, and most of the parenting duties fell to Michelle.

I know many other fathers face similar challenges. Whether you're a military dad returning from deployment or a father doing his best to make ends meet for his family in a tough economy, being a parent isn't easy.

That's why my Administration is kicking off the Year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families. We're joining with dads across the country to do something about father absence. And we're taking steps to offer men who want to be good fathers but are facing challenges in their lives a little extra support, while partnering with businesses to offer fun opportunities for fathers to spend time with their kids. For example, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Major League Baseball and the WNBA are offering discounts for fathers and their kids, and companies like Groupon and LivingSocial will be featuring special offers for activities fathers can do with their children.

You can learn more and sign the Fatherhood Pledge at

We know that every father has a personal responsibility to do right by their kids – to encourage them to turn off the video games and pick up a book; to teach them the difference between right and wrong; to show them through our own example the value in treating one another as we wish to be treated. And most of all, to play an active and engaged role in their lives.

But all of us have a stake in forging stronger bonds between fathers and their children. All of us can support those who are willing to step up and be father figures to those children growing up without a dad. And that's what the Year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families is all about.

So I hope the dads out there will take advantage of some of the opportunities Strong Fathers, Strong Families will offer. It's one way of saying thank you to those who are doing the most important job of all: playing a part in our children's lives.

Happy Father's Day.


President Barack Obama

P.S. Earlier this week, I did a TV interview and wrote an op-ed on this topic. You can see both on

Jungleland for Clarence Clemons: And the Poets Down Here Don't Write Nothing at All ...

Filmed at Hard Rock Calling June 28, 2009, Hyde Park, London, UK.
Thank you Clarence for the gift of your music ...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Clarence Clemons Dies at 69

I'm listening to Clarence Clemons playing with Gary US Bonds as I mourn the Big Man's passing.

Great solo by Clarence Clemons on Gary US Bonds' amazing version of Steve Van Zandt's Daddy's Come Home. This video was shot in Japan and adds a personally bittersweet tinge to an already emotional song.

More at:
Backstreets on Clarence Clemons
Clarence Clemons, Springsteen’s Soulful Sideman, Dies at 69

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fragility of Life: I Mourn the Loss of Artist Sylvia Moss

In the Gion Rain 30"x22" monotype on paper 2011
Gregg Chadwick
A Gion Rain
22"x30" monotype on paper 2011

I came home from a memorial service for a great artist and a great friend, Sylvia Moss, on Sunday night. In times of loss and uncertainty, I tend to turn to the arts - books, music, film, theater and museums - for solace. But when an artist is severely ill or dies I find that I have to create. I have been in my studio for the past few weeks creating monotypes. A monotype is a singular impression made from an image which has been drawn or painted on to a printing plate.

My monotype process is technically straightforward but pushes my artistic subconscious in both image and mark. When I painted "A Gion Rain" onto a copper plate, thoughts of Sylvia fell like rain across my mind. Sylvia Moss died in Zurich, Switzerland on May 9, 2011. Sylvia had long suffered from the challenges of multiple sclerosis.

Sylvia Moss grew up in Piedmont, California and then moved east to a beckoning New York City to pursue her love of theater, fashion, and art. Over the years, Sylvia studied at The California College of Arts and Crafts, The Art Student’s League of New York, Columbia University, and The California Art Institute.

Sylvia eventually returned to California and was Professor of Costume Design at the University of California Los Angeles in the Theater Department where she taught from 1973 until 1994.

Sylvia authored numerous magazine articles as well as a groundbreaking book about alternative materials used in costume design, Costumes & Chemistry, published by Costumes and Fashion Press.

I had the fortune to meet Sylvia Moss when the Santa Monica Art Studios opened in an old hangar at the Santa Monica Airport in 2004. She was a continual inspiration as she determinedly fought the ravages of multiple sclerosis to create her visual art.

Sylvia's experimentation with alternative techniques in costume design fueled her explorations in the visual arts. Her paintings are as much archaeological digs as two dimensional creations. Layers of grit, gloss, glitter and color marked her artistic path as Sylvia's paintings seemed to grow of their own accord in her laboratory/altelier.

Sylvia Moss
Meditation 8
22"x30" oil and mixed media on paper

As my fellow artists in the Santa Monica Art Studios will attest I approach brush cleaning as a form of meditation. Each day, I carefully clean the detritus of each brush's passing in a bath of cool water. Just before her final trip to Switzerland, Sylvia wheeled up to me in her motorized wheelchair as I bathed my brushes. She began to speak as if she wanted to tell me the meaning of life but then stopped and just smiled her remarkable, unforgettable grin. And with that smile, Sylvia said "Goodbye" to me. I will hold that smile in my heart each day as I create.

More at:
Sylvia Moss

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hang In There Clarence!

"They made that change uptown and the Big Man joined the band."
- Bruce Springsteen 10th Avenue Freeze Out

My thoughts go out to Clarence Clemons, known for his work on the saxophone in Bruce Springteen's E Street Band. Clarence suffered a stroke yesterday and the initial prognosis was grim. After two brain surgeries last night, Clemons condition seems to be improving. The Springsteen fansite BackStreets reports:

"The latest out of Florida has Clarence Clemons in better condition than anyone expected, a close friend tells Backstreets: "Yesterday, it did not look good at all. Today... miracles are happening. His vital signs are improving. He's responsive. His eyes are welling up when we're talking to him. He was paralyzed on his left side, but now he's squeezing with his left hand. This is the best news we've heard since [the stroke] happened — it's nothing short of miraculous. The next five days will still be critical. But he's a fighter.

Please join us in continuing to send prayers, love, and light to the Big Man."

Much more at:

Monday, June 06, 2011

Paul Revere's Ride

by Gregg Chadwick

Paul Revere 1734-1818
The Boston Massacre (The Bloody Massacre)
9 7/8" x 8 1/2" Engraving, hand colored 1770
Boston Museum of Fine Arts

"We live in an age where, on every level, it is considered a sin to be wrong. From advertisers to kids on the playground to the world of corporate PR to politicians, the all-too-common wisdom is to defend the indefensible. That's what Palin is doing and that is what her renfields on Wikipedia are doing, and that's sad, because as anyone remotely successful in Silicon Valley can tell you, without owning our mistakes we cannot learn from them and without learning, we cannot win."
- Curt Hopkins in Read, Write, Web

I love to read history. Scores of books line my studio walls and the past is never far from my thoughts. Museums have been a favorite haunt of mine since childhood. Peering through glass at ambered papers and tattered journals never fails to remind me of the great divide between what happened and what we know. Each year historians gather new evidence from primary sources and measure what we think we understand in light of this new evidence. History is a living pursuit that sheds light on who we are and what we value. It is one thing to nudge historical understanding a bit forward with new evidence. But misrepresenting current historical consensus about Paul Revere's ride in 1775 is unhelpful.

What is the current thinking on Paul Revere's ride to to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them?

We know that Paul Revere was an ardent revolutionary who was active in political and civic organizations in Colonial Boston. In 1770, Paul Revere created an emotional hand colored engraving of the Boston Massacre. On March 5,1770, five men were shot to death in Boston by panicked British troops. Preceding the gunfire a crowd of Bostonians taunted a sentry standing guard at the city's customs house. When British soldiers reinforced the sentry's position, chaos ensued and shots were fired into the crowd.

An astute, if not conniving businessman, Paul Revere borrowed the features of a drawing by artist Henry Pelham to produce his own engraving of the event which he labeled The Bloody Massacre. Revere's engraving was quickly produced, advertisements for the prints appeared in Boston newspapers three weeks after the shootings. Eventually Henry Pelham's produced his own version but Revere's engraving was already selling at high volume. Eventually a third engraving of the Boston Massacre was offered for sale by Jonathan Mulliken. Interestingly, except for minor differences - including Paul Revere's engraved signature on his print, all three prints share the same composition and characters.

John Adams, whose cousin Sam Adams was warned by Paul Revere on his midnight ride five years later, expressed in his memoirs that acting as the defense lawyer for the British soldiers accused of murder in the Boston Massacre trial in 1770 was "one of the most gallant, generous, manly, and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country."

When Revere's depiction of the Boston Massacre came out, he had already been in the Colonial military service since 1756 and was later promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1776. As an express rider for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety Paul Revere carried messages and copies of resolutions as far as New York City and Philadelphia. Paul Revere's role as a courier came to a head on his midnight ride on April 18, 1775.

Grant Wood (American, 1892–1942)
The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
1931. Oil on Masonite. 30 x 40 in.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren told Revere to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, and warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them. Contemporary accounts tell that, "After being rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown by two associates, Paul Revere borrowed a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin. While in Charlestown, he verified that the local "Sons of Liberty" committee had seen his pre-arranged signals. (Two lanterns had been hung briefly in the bell-tower of Christ Church in Boston, indicating that troops would row "by sea" across the Charles River to Cambridge, rather than marching "by land" out Boston Neck. Revere had arranged for these signals the previous weekend, as he was afraid that he might be prevented from leaving Boston)."

William Monroe, a sergeant in Captain Parker's company of minute-men, stood guard outside the home of Reverend Clark where Samuel Adams and John Hancock had sought shelter. His account of Pul Revere's arrival is interesting:

"Early in the evening of the 18th, British soldiers had been seen on the road from Boston.
I supposed they had some design upon Hancock and Adams, who were at the house of the Rev. Mr. Clark, and immediately assembled a guard of eight men, with their arms, to guard the house. About midnight, Col. Paul Revere rode up and requested admittance. I told him the family had just retired, and had requested that they might not be disturbed "by any noise about the house.

" Noise!' said he, you'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out.'

"We then permitted him to pass"

After Paul Revere had warned Hancock and Adams he was detained by British troops. Revere's account of the event is riveting:

"After I had been there about half an hour Mr. Dawes arrived, who came from Boston, over the neck: we set off for Concord, & were overtaken by a young gentlemen named Prescot, who belonged to Concord, & was going home; when we had got about half way from Lexington to Concord, the other two, stopped at a house to awake the man, I kept along, when I had got about 200 yards of them; I saw two officers as before, I called to my company to come up, saying here was two of them (for I had told them what Mr. Devens told me, and of my being stoped) in an instant, I saw four of them, who rode up to me, with their pistols in their hands, said God damn you stop if you go an inch further, you are a dead Man,' immeaditly Mr. Prescot came up we attempted to git thro them, but they kept before us, and swore if we did not turn into that pasture, they would blow our brains out, (they had placed themselves opposite to a pair of Barrs, and had taken the Barrs down) they forced us in, when we had got in, Mr. Precot said put on, He took to the left, I to the right towards a wood, at the bottom of the Pasture intending, when I gained that, to jump my Horse & run afoot.

Just as I reached it, out started six officers, seized my bridle, put their pistols to my Breast, ordered me to dismount, which I did: One of them, who appeared to have the command there, and much of a Gentleman, asked me where I came from; I told him, he asked what time I left it, I told him, he seemed surprised said Sr. may I have your name, I answered my name is Revere, what said he, Paul Revere; I answered yes; the others abused much, but he told me not to be afraid, no one should hurt me; I told him they would miss their aim. He said they should not, they were only awaiting for some deserters they expected down the Road.

I told him I knew better, I knew what they were after; that I had alarmed the country all the way up, that their Boats were catch'd aground, and I should have 500 men there soon; one of them said they had 1,500 coming: he seemed surprised and rode off into the road, and informed them who took me, they came down immeaditly on a full gallop, one of them (whom I since learned was Major Mitchell of the 5th Reg.) Clap (doug d) his pistol to my head, and said he was going to ask me some questions, if I did not tell him the truth, he would blow my brains out.

I told him I esteemed myself a Man of truth, that he had stopped me on the highway, & made me a prisoner, I knew not by what right; I would tell him the truth; I was not afraid; He then asked me, the same questions that the other did, and many more, but was more particular; I gave him much the same answers; he then Ordered me to mount my horse, they first searched me for pistols.

When I was mounted the Major took the reins out of my hand, and said by G___d Sr. you are not to ride with reins I assure you; and gave them to an officer on my right, to lead me, he then Ordered 4 men out of the Bushes, &to mount their horses; they were countrymen whom they had stopped, who were going home; then ordered us to march. He said to me We are now going towards your friends, and if you attempt to run, or we are insulted, we will blow your Brains out.'

When we had got into the Road they formed a circle, and ordered the prisoners in the center, & to lead me in the front. We rid towards Lexington, a quick pace; They very often insulted me calling me Rebel &c. &c. after we had got about a mile, I was given to the Serjant to lead, he was Ordered to take out his pistol, (he rode with a hanger,) and if I ran, to execute the major's sentence; When we got within about half a mile of the meeting house, we heard a gun fired; the major asked me what it was for, I told him to alarm the country; he ordered the four prisoners to dismount, they did, then one of the officers dismounted and cutt the bridles, and saddles, off the Horses, & drove them away, and told the men they might go about their business; I asked the Major to dismiss me, he said he would carry me, lett the consequence be what it will.

He then Ordered us to march, when we got within sight of the meeting House, we heard a Volley of guns fired, as I supposed at the tavern, as an alarm; the major ordered us to halt, he asked me how for it was to Cambridge, and many more questions, which I answered: he then asked the Serjant, if his horse was tired, he said yes; he Ordered him to take my horse; I dismounted, the Serjant mounted my horse; they cutt the Bridles & Saddle & of the Serjants horse, & rode off, down the road.

I then went to the house where I left Adams and Hancock, and told them what had happined, their friends advised them to go out of the way; I went with them, about two miles across road: after resting myself I sett off with another man to go back to the Tavern; to enquire the News; when we go there, we were told the troops were, within two miles. We went into the Tavern to git a Trunk of papers, belonging to Col. Hancock, before we left the House, I saw the ministerial Troops from the Chamber window, we made haste, & had to pass thro' our Militia, who were on a green behind the meeting house, to the number as I supposed, about 50 or 60. I went thro them; as I passed I heard the commanding officer speake to his men to this purpose, lett the troops pass by, & don't molest them, without They begin first.'"

Paul Revere rang no bells, nor fired a weapon. He was fortunate to be let go by the British patrol. Paul Revere's ride was heroic and did inspire artworks that carried his actions into the heroic realm of myth. But we don't need to turn his stealthy journey into a rabble rousing cowboy adventure. On his ride Paul Revere didn't need to carry a gun, he was armed with courage and intelligence.

John Singleton Copley
Portrait of Paul Revere
35"x 28.5" oil on canvas 1768
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report Reenacts Revere's Ride Complete With Bell and Musket

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
To warn the Brits, or what? Oh, dear
I cannot think, it’s not quite clear…

I have it now! And I will tell:
He rode, he shot, he rang the bell,
He told the Brits to go to hell
Defiant, proud and shooting swell.

Through the country dark he road
Through fair New Hampshire, so we’re told,
Through field and street, he was right bold
His rifle clutched, a vise-like hold.

“We armed, we’re armed!” he shouted wide,
He rang that bell as he did ride,
He shot the dark from side to side,
Uh, wait, I think that, uh, I lied

-Elizabeth Ash (With Apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow )

Paul Revere's Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
>From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

More at:
Sarah Palin – “Paul Revere Warned…The British?”
Bio of Paul Revere: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Wikipedia in Tug-of-War Over Palin's Version of Revolutionary War

Paul Revere House, North Square, North End
Paul Revere House, North Square, North End
(The Paul Revere House, built circa 1680, is located at 19 and 21 North Square, Boston)

photographic print : salted paper circa 1898
Boston Public Library, Print Department

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Remembering Rollin Pickford at the Carmel Art Association: Opening Tonight - June 4, 2011

by Gregg Chadwick

Rollin Pickford
Spring Crescendo
22"x30" watercolor on paper
Courtesy Melissa Pickford

"All of those paintings I did, every one of them had something wrong with it. I guess that's why I kept painting."
-Rollin Pickford

Tonight the Carmel Art Association Gallery is hosting an exhibition of the watercolors of Rollin Pickford. Pickford's paintings make use of myriad techniques to approximate the play of light on land, sea, and sky. For eighty years Pickford limned the California scene as rolling hills and stands of trees vanished beneath strip malls and subdivisions.

In Pickford's paintings, one can feel the sweep of an Asian brush across wet paper as pools of color shift and coalesce into light and atmosphere. The works seem to hang in a state of flux - their beauty poignantly balanced between a fixed moment and the passage of time.

Rollin Pickford died in 2010 at 98. This rich exhibition was curated in his memory by his daughter Melissa Pickford.

The opening runs from 6-8 pm on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at
the Carmel Art Association Galleries, Dolores between 5th & 6th Streets, Carmel, California
For information please call 624-6176.

Rollin Pickford
22"x30" watercolor on paper
Courtesy Melissa Pickford

Gregg Chadwick
Rollin Pickford (In Memoriam)
30"x22" monotype on paper 2011
Melissa Pickford Collection

More at:
Remembering Rollin Pickford
California Light: The Watercolors of Rollin Pickford

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Happy Birthday to Bibliophile Marilyn Monroe!

Portrait of Marilyn Monroe Reading Art Book on Goya

More on Marilyn and Books in The Los Angeles Times: Monroe's Library

Marilyn Monroe's Library has Been Catalogued on Library Thing: Marilyn Monroe's Collection

The Poet's Spring: Art/House 2011 for Habitat for Humanity

The Color of Wind
Gregg Chadwick
The Color of Wind
(Whispers of the Rail, The Petaled Road, Spring Departure)
30"x72" oil on linen 2011 (triptych)

"In the cherry blossom's shade
there's no such thing
as a stranger."
by Kobayashi Issa
(1763 - 1828)

"In Japanese Zen poetry, spring blossoms, particularly cherry blossoms, are often used as symbols for the simple, natural, unfolding springtime of enlightenment.

In the "shade" or, you might say, beneath the canopy of enlightenment, there is no longer any sense of separation. Nothing and no one is foreign to you. There is no such thing as a stranger."
- Ivan M. Granger

I am always honored to support Habitat for Humanity with my art. My donation this year reflects my interests in Japan and Japanese culture with my triptych The Color of Wind.

Whispers of the Rail
Whispers of the Rail
30"x24" oil on linen 2011

The Petaled Road
The Petaled Road
30"x24" oil on linen 2011

Spring Departure
Spring Departure
30"x24" oil on linen 2011

Details on Art/House 2011 for Habitat for Humanity Below:


Art Event & Silent Auction
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

To preview art please visit: Art/House 2011 on flickr

7:00pm - 10:00pm RSVP Required: to RSVP please visit - Art/House 2011 Reservations

Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served Music stylings by DJ Fat Albert Einstein
3026 Airport Avenue • Santa Monica, California 90405

For more information, call Patty Lee at 424.246.3178

The Poet's Autumn

Shadow Light has paired my painting Acadia with a remarkable poem by the Portugese writer José Luís Peixoto. Enjoy:

Acadia by Gregg Chadwick

(Referenced by Missies Blue)

when i got tired of lying to myself
José Luis Peixoto (b. 1974)

when i got tired of lying to myself,
i started writing a book of poetry.

it was two hours ago that i decided, but it was too
long ago that i started growing tired. fatigue
is a gradual skin like autumn. pause.

it rests slowly on the flesh, like leaves
on earth, and it ingrains it to the bone,
like the leaves ingrain the earth and touch
the death and become fertile at their side.

the city continues on the streets, the girls laugh,
but there's a secret that brews in silence.
it's the words, free, the books unwritten,
what will come in future seasons.

there's always hope at the bottom of the avenues.
but there are puddles of waters on the sidewalks. there's cold,
there's fatigue, there are two hours ago that i decided, autumn.

and my body doesn't want to lie, and what is
not my body, the time, knows that
i've many poems to write.

More at:

Myebook - Macondo #1 (Revista literária) - click here to open my ebook

José Luís Peixoto's Website

José Luís Peixoto

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tim Burton Exhibition Opens at LACMA Tonight and Jane's Addiction: End to the Lies

Opening Event tonight at LACMA for the Tim Burton exhibition. Jane's Addiction is slated to perform. Much more to follow...

Tim Burton
Untitled (Edward Scissorhands)
1990, private collection
Edward Scissorhands © Twentieth Century Fox, © 2011 Tim Burton

More at:
Tim Burton at LACMA

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Eyes Transcend the Medium

The Wound Dresser - Walt Whitman - Washington DC 1865
Gregg Chadwick
The Wound Dresser - Walt Whitman - Washington DC 1865
30” X 24” oil on linen 2011

"The eyes transcend the medium."
-R.B. Morris (Songwriter, Performer, Poet, Playwright)

I have created an ongoing series of paintings that explores the history of nursing for National Nurses Week and the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Three of these paintings were exhibited at the recent UCLA symposium: The Image of Nursing. The artworks were then auctioned at a gala event (Nurse: 21) to help fund scholarships for UCLA School of Nursing students.

The paintings adopt a look as viewed through the lens of time similar to the art of a period film. In my artistic practice, I create dream like images with space for the viewer to imagine their own paths to meaning. At times these openings may be found in the doorway of a subject’s eyes.

Walt Whitman's poetry is a continual source of inspiration for me. Whitman's life as a nurse, helping wounded soldiers during the Civil War, is a story that needs to be told in all mediums.

The Wound Dresser
by Walt Whitman

An old man bending I come among new faces,
Years looking backward resuming in answer to children,
Come tell us old man, as from young men and maidens that love me,
(Arous’d and angry, I’d thought to beat the alarum, and urge relentless war,
But soon my fingers fail’d me, my face droop’d and I resign’d myself,
To sit by the wounded and soothe them, or silently watch the dead;)
Years hence of these scenes, of these furious passions, these chances,
Of unsurpass’d heroes (was one side so brave? the other was equally brave;)
Now be witness again, paint the mightiest armies of earth,
Of those armies so rapid so wondrous what saw you to tell us?
What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious panics,
Of hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous what deepest remains?

O maidens and young men I love and that love me,
What you ask of my days those the strangest and sudden your talking recalls,
Soldier alert I arrive after a long march cover’d with sweat and dust,
In the nick of time I come, plunge in the fight, loudly shout in the rush of successful charge,
Enter the captur’d works—yet lo, like a swift-running river they fade,
Pass and are gone they fade—I dwell not on soldiers’ perils or soldiers’ joys
(Both I remember well—many the hardships, few the joys, yet I was content).

But in silence, in dreams’ projections,
While the world of gain and appearance and mirth goes on,
So soon what is over forgotten, and waves wash the imprints off the sand,
With hinged knees returning I enter the doors (while for you up there,
Whoever you are, follow without noise and be of strong heart).

Bearing the bandages, water and sponge,
Straight and swift to my wounded I go,
Where they lie on the ground after the battle brought in,
Where their priceless blood reddens the grass, the ground,
Or to the rows of the hospital tent, or under the roof’d hospital,
To the long rows of cots up and down each side I return,
To each and all one after another I draw near, not one do I miss,
An attendant follows holding a tray, he carries a refuse pail,
Soon to be fill’d with clotted rags and blood, emptied, and fill’d again.

I onward go, I stop,
With hinged knees and steady hand to dress wounds,
I am firm with each, the pangs are sharp yet unavoidable,
One turns to me his appealing eyes—poor boy! I never knew you,
Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you.

On, on I go, (open doors of time! open hospital doors!)
The crush’d head I dress (poor crazed hand tear not the bandage away),
The neck of the cavalry-man with the bullet through and through I examine,
Hard the breathing rattles, quite glazed already the eye, yet life struggles hard
(Come sweet death! be persuaded O beautiful death!
In mercy come quickly).

From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand,
I undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off the matter and blood,
Back on his pillow the soldier bends with curv’d neck and side-falling head,
His eyes are closed, his face is pale, he dares not look on the bloody stump,
And has not yet look’d on it.

I dress a wound in the side, deep, deep,
But a day or two more, for see the frame all wasted and sinking,
And the yellow-blue countenance see.
I dress the perforated shoulder, the foot with the bullet-wound,
Cleanse the one with a gnawing and putrid gangrene, so sickening, so offensive,
While the attendant stands behind aside me holding the tray and pail.

I am faithful, I do not give out,
The fractur’d thigh, the knee, the wound in the abdomen,
These and more I dress with impassive hand (yet deep in my breast a fire, a burning flame).

Thus in silence in dreams’ projections,
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals,
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night, some are so young,
Some suffer so much, I recall the experience sweet and sad,
(Many a soldier’s loving arms about this neck have cross’d and rested,
Many a soldier’s kiss dwells on these bearded lips).

Walt Whitman
Accounts on aftermath of the Battle of Antietam.
Diary kept during the Civil War, 1862.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

In December 1862 Walt Whitman saw the name of his brother George, a Union soldier in the 51st New York Infantry, listed among the wounded from the battle of Fredericksburg. Whitman rushed from Brooklyn to the Washington D.C. area to search the hospitals and encampments for his brother. During this time Walt Whitman gave witness to the wounds of warfare by listening gently to the injured soldiers as they told their tales of battle.

Below is a rich description from Walt Whitman's Diaries that captures his experience as a nurse:
DURING those three years in hospital, camp or field, I made over six hundred visits or tours, and went, as I estimate, counting all, among from eighty thousand to a hundred thousand of the wounded and sick, as sustainer of spirit and body in some degree, in time of need. These visits varied from an hour or two, to all day or night; for with dear or critical cases I generally watch’d all night. Sometimes I took up my quarters in the hospital, and slept or watch’d there several nights in succession. Those three years I consider the greatest privilege and satisfaction, (with all their feverish excitements and physical deprivations and lamentable sights) and, of course, the most profound lesson of my life. I can say that in my ministerings I comprehended all, whoever came in my way, northern or southern, and slighted none. It arous’d and brought out and decided undream’d-of depths of emotion. It has given me my most fervent views of the true ensemble and extent of the States. While I was with wounded and sick in thousands of cases from the New England States, and from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and from Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and all the Western States, I was with more or less from all the States, North and South, without exception. I was with many from the border States, especially from Maryland and Virginia, and found, during those lurid years 1862–63, far more Union southerners, especially Tennesseans, than is supposed. I was with many rebel officers and men among our wounded, and gave them always what I had, and tried to cheer them the same as any. I was among the army teamsters considerably, and, indeed, always found myself drawn to them. Among the black soldiers, wounded or sick, and in the contraband camps, I also took my way whenever in their neighborhood, and did what I could for them.

More on Walt Whitman during the Civil War at:
Whitman's Drum Taps and
Washington's Civil War Hospitals

More on RB Morris at:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chinese Consulate in New York City Carries a Ghostly Image of Falsely Imprisoned Artist Ai Weiwei

Nemesis-Ai Weiwei: The Elusiveness of Being. By Geandy Pavon

"The concept of the project is to impose the face of the victim on buildings walls that house government offices … The light on the wall is a symbol of revelation."
-Geandy Pavon

Provocative work by Cuban-American artist Geandy Pavon as he projects a billboard sized portrait of Ai Weiwei onto the Chinese consulate in New York City.

More at:
Geandy Pavon Website
Video: Imprisoned Artist Ai Weiwei's Face Projected On Chinese Consulate

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meditations on a Wave on the Day of the Venice Art Walk: May 22, 2011

by Gregg Chadwick

Gregg Chadwick
Study for Kamakura
14"x11" oil on linen 2011

"The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty."
- Kenko, from Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa), circa 1330

I am always honored to support the Venice Family Clinic with my art. My donation this year reflects my interests in Southern California and Japan with Study for Kamakura. Kamakura is both a beach town and a center of Japanese culture. In my painting, grey beach haze seems to mask the distance between east and west.

Kamakura is home to the great statue of Buddha, the Daibutsu, pictured on countless postcards and books on Japan. Two years ago, I finally made my pilgimage to Kamakura and stood in awe beneath the great statue. A great wave washed away the building housing the Daibutsu in the 15th century. Since that time the statue has been seated in meditation beneath the sun and the stars. After surviving great tsunamis and political upheavals, the Daibutsu provides perspective on humanity's rush for wealth and power. Beneath the ancient bronze statue, I felt the past speaking to me. If we stop and listen, we can hear our long gone friends speaking to us through words, colors, and forms.

The 14th Century Japanese poet and monk, Kenko, wrote, "The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread out before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known." Lance Morrow's essay in the June 2011 issue of Smithsonian magazine considers Kenko's thoughts. Morrow explains "In a time of traumatic change, some writers or artists or composers may withdraw from the world in order to compose their own universe—Prospero’s island." When artists withdraw into their studios to create, they are not alone. With them, breathing soundless encouragement, are the voices of the past.

Kamakura 36"x48" oil on linen 2010
Gregg Chadwick
Kamakura (Daibutsu)
36"x48" oil on linen 2010
Private Collection, Los Angeles

“Leaving something incomplete makes it interesting and gives one the feeling that there is room for growth.”
- Kenko, from Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa), circa 1330

Portrait of Kenko, Buddhist monk and poet,
by Kikuchi Yosai(菊池容斎)

Details on the Venice Art Walk Below:

Now in its 32nd year, the Venice Art Walk & Auctions has raised millions of dollars for Venice Family Clinic – largely through the Silent Art Auction, which offers great deals on original and limited-edition works by the biggest names in the Southern California art scene.

Hope to see you at Westminster School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, for the Studio Tour, the Silent Art Auction, the Select Auction, the Art Within Reach pop-up store, the Artful Living auction, the Food Fair, live music, and the separately ticketed Art & Architecture Tour of Water and Tree-Lined Streets of Venice. Don’t forget there’s free parking and shuttle service from two nearby lots.

By the way, online sales are now closed, but you can purchase tickets at the event.

Thank you very much for supporting Venice Family Clinic and its mission of providing free, quality health care to people in need. It’s going to be a great day.

Map to the Venice Art Walk:
Venice Art Walk

More at:
The Timeless Wisdom of Kenko
Venice Art Walk 2011

Great Buddha at Kamakura
photo by Gregg Chadwick

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Until the End of the World

Gregg Chadwick
Hanuman's Dream
72"x96" oil on linen 1996
NEC Collection

And the dust clears and we are still here. How then shall we live?

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Make My Bed? But You Say the World’s Ending

Friday, May 13, 2011

The First Grader: A Compelling New Film Set in Kenya Opens Today: Friday, May 13, 2011

by Gregg Chadwick

The First Grader, a new film directed by Justin Chadwick and produced by Richard Harding and Sam Feuer, opens today May 13, 2011 in Los Angeles and New York.

Since I wrote the following review in March, I have seen the film again and attended a marvelous question and answer session with Justin Chadwick, Naomie Harris, Richard Harding and Sam Feuer. I met Justin at that event and he mentioned that people were asking him if his brother had written a review of the film. Justin and I are not knowingly related but I am sure if you follow the genetic path you will find that there is a connection somewhere in the distant past. In honor of my artistic brothers and sisters and their beautiful film, The First Grader, I am posting my thoughts on the film below.

I recently attended a pre-release screening of this poignant and numinous movie set in the Rift Valley in the mountains of Kenya. The First Grader, like Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, seamlessly combines story and place to create an illuminating beacon for our time.

The First Grader portrays the story of Kimani Maruge, an 84 year old Mau Mau veteran who helped liberate Kenya from the British. After the Kenyan government announced in 2003 that free schooling would be offered for all, Maruge, played marvelously by Kenyan actor Oliver Litondo, arrives at a primary school to finally get his chance at an education - long denied under oppressive colonial rule and unavailable to him since independence.

As the story unfolds, the realities of rural Kenyan life intermix with Maruge's traumatic memories of torture, incarceration, and the murder of his loved ones, which he endured steadfastly for the sake of freedom. These very real scenes make a powerful emotional impact but with a remarkable reverence, a profound sense of calling and self respect despite injustice. There is an artistic elegance to this film that combines truth telling with transcendence.

The First Grader, based on a true story, uses a school full of actual Kenyan pupils playing themselves. Oliver Litondo (Maruge) explains that high up in the Rift Valley "education is coming in as a new thing." The youngsters were not surprised to see an older student, there was already a fifteen year old in a class of six year olds, so the students accepted Maruge as one of them - just another student seeking an education like they were. Shared goals and shared experiences create a bond between the young students and Maruge.

There are also important shadow elements in the story written by screenwriter Ann Peacock. The First Grader deftly covers the post World War II history of Kenya: moving back and forth from Maruge's struggle against British rule to his struggle against tribal prejudice and mistrust of his motives in 21st century Kenya. By combining traditional Kenyan music with his own compositions, composer Alex Heffes creates a rich sonic landscape.

The film, compellingly crafted by cinematographer Rob Hardy, opens with a gaggle of school children running through mist shrouded trees to their isolated but beckoning new school. On this first day of the new term hundreds of children and their parents jostle to find a place. The exuberance of youth contrasts with the dogged strength of Kimani Maruge and the desperate drive of parents struggling to gain a coveted spot at school for their child.

Naomie Harris plays teacher Jane Obinchu who grows to support Maruge's fierce drive to learn. The joy of learning and the bond between teacher and students is so evident in The First Grader that while watching the film, I felt as if the audience was compelled to grab a sharpened pencil and join the class.

The First Grader is a transcendent human story about confronting injustice and achieving redemption. The film spreads balm for old wounds and lifts the spirit with hope for the future. The First Grader is highly recommended.

More at:
The First Grader Website
Review of The First Grader by Ted Ott
Naomie Harris and Justin Chadwick Talk The First Grader

Watch the full episode. See more WETA Around Town.

"The real challenge is now—getting people into the cinema as the film has been so warmly received and supported around the world winning many audience awards. It is important that alongside the blockbusters there are stories that can inspire and audiences can experience together in the cinema. We don’‘t a huge machine on this film so I hope that people talk and tell their friends"
- Justin Chadwick (Interview w/indieWIRE.

Happy 17th Birthday to My Amazing Kid Cassiel Chadwick!

Cassiel in Computer Light
Gregg Chadwick
Cassiel by Computer Light
40"x18" oil on linen 2008

Monday, May 09, 2011

Dedicated to the People of Tripoli: Sam Brookes - A Roof on my Head

Roman Ruins at Leptis Magna, Libya
Photo: ALAMY

As the fighting continues to rage in Libya, the gaze of the West seems to have turned to Abbottabad. The dedication of artists like Sam Brookes turns our heads back to this story of pain, heroism and ultimately triumph.

More at:
The Music of Sam Brookes.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Tom Morello's New Song "Union Town" Roars in Solidarity With Workers Across the Globe

"Performing in Madison, Wisconsin and seeing 100,000 people in the streets demanding justice inspired me to record an album of union fighting songs. I've been a proud union man for 22 years and my mom was a union public high school teacher, so for me this fight is very personal. Unions are a crucial counterweight to the raw corporate greed that torpedoed our economy, threatens our environment and wants to strip away decades of social progress. From Cairo to Madison, workers are pushing back and tyrants are falling. Here's a soundtrack for our fight."
-Tom Morello

The full length UNION TOWN EP will be released digitally
May 17th with all proceeds going towards pro-union struggles.

On February 21st of this year, Tom Morello performed at the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin in protest to an anti-union bill put forward by Governor Scott Walker. Morello explains in his editorial about the experience, “Frostbite and Freedom: Tom Morello on the Battle of Madison,” at

For days I had been following the exciting events in Cairo and across the Middle East. But when I turned on the television and saw 100,000 people marching through the streets of MADISON, WISCONSIN to protest an anti-union bill put forward by some schmuck named Governor Walker it caught my attention. I turned to my wife and said, "Honey, our boys are gonna grow up to be union men." She sighed and replied, "The Nightwatchman is needed. You should go."

And so The Nightwatchman went.

A nice lady at the airport looked at my guitar and politely asked, "Why are you going to Madison, young man?" I replied, "Because they're making history in Madison, ma'am. And I don't want to miss it."

The title track from the Union Town EP (full track listing below) is available now at On the heels of Union Town, Tom Morello, as The Nightwatchman, will release his third full length solo album, World Wide Rebel Songs, late Summer via New West Records.

Engine Company
Gregg Chadwick
Engine Company
48" x 36" oil on canvas 2011

The America Votes Labor Unity Fund supports the unified efforts of a broad coalition of national labor organizations to defend workers and their unions against state legislation, ballot measures and executive orders that will undermine or destroy their rights. The America Votes Labor Unity Fund accepts donations from labor organizations and individuals who donate on their own behalf. Please visit for more details and to make a donation.

Tom is set to release Union Town via New West Records digitally on May 17th with a physical CD and Vinyl release to follow on July 19th. All profits from Union Town will benefit The America Votes Labor Unity Fund via

The studio recording consists of 8 pro-union songs featuring three Tom Morello originals, as well as the Woody Guthrie classic “This Land Is Your Land” (including the more radical, often censored verses).

Tom Morello : The Nightwatchman Union Town Track Listing:
1. Union Town
2. Solidarity Forever
3. Which Side Are You On?
4. A Wall Against The Wind
5. 16 Tons
6. This Land Is Your Land
7. I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night
8. Union Song (Live - Capitol Square, Madison, Wisconsin Feb. 21st, 2011)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

International Concern for the Plight of Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei

A Berlin Museum Calls for China to Free Ai Weiwei

Last week, Salman Rushdie in the New York Times, wrote an important piece on the plight of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Excerpts below:

"The great Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern, a former power station, is a notoriously difficult space for an artist to fill with authority. Its immensity can dwarf the imaginations of all but a select tribe of modern artists who understand the mysteries of scale, of how to say something interesting when you also have to say something really big. Louise Bourgeois’s giant spider once stood menacingly in this hall; Anish Kapoor’s “Marsyas,” a huge, hollow trumpet-like shape made of a stretched substance that hinted at flayed skin, triumphed over it majestically."

Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei at the Tate Modern in London - October 2010

"Last October the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei covered the floor with his “Sunflower Seeds”: 100 million tiny porcelain objects, each handmade by a master craftsman, no two identical. The installation was a carpet of life, multitudinous, inexplicable and, in the best Surrealist sense, strange. The seeds were intended to be walked on, but further strangeness followed. It was discovered that when trampled they gave off a fine dust that could damage the lungs. These symbolic representations of life could, it appeared, be dangerous to the living. The exhibition was cordoned off and visitors had to walk carefully around the perimeter."

"Art can be dangerous. Very often artistic fame has proved dangerous to artists themselves. Mr. Ai’s work is not polemical — it tends towards the mysterious. But his immense prominence as an artist (he was a design consultant on the “bird’s nest” stadium for the Beijing Olympics and was recently ranked No. 13 in Art Review magazine’s list of the 100 most powerful figures in art) has allowed him to take up human rights cases and to draw attention to China’s often inadequate responses to disasters (like the plight of the child victims of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province or those afflicted by deadly apartment fires in Shanghai last November). The authorities have embarrassed and harassed him before, but now they have gone on a dangerous new offensive.On April 4, Mr. Ai was arrested by the Chinese authorities as he tried to board a plane to Hong Kong. His studio was raided and computers and other items were removed."
-Salman Rushdie in the New York Times.

Continue reading the entire piece at:
Dangerous Arts