Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Remembering Joe Strummer

Misquamicut Parking Lot. Oil on stretched canvas, 16x20

Misquamicut was cold and nearly deserted when I made this painting. A storm was rolling in, and as the afternoon wore on, the clouds thickened over the ocean but the sun shone beneath them - for a while. At the other end of the lot, a man watched and coached as a youth rode a four-wheeler. They were so far away and the wind was so loud, I couldn't hear a sound.

This painting is another effort to get specific and put people in my landscapes. Not all the time, no - for me, the very emptiness of the landscape attracts me. I see myself in it, and see all the possibilities. A horizon draws me like almost nothing else. It pulls at my curious self, at my optimistic self, at my courageous self. I wonder what's over that rise, and believe that it's something better, and often, I am brave enough to go and look.

The whole ethos of discovery pushes me hard - and tends to keep people out of my landscapes. But seeing them, drawing them, painting them, allowing them in - that's good, too. And different. And for me, hard.

Sleepless last night, I watched most of a documentary on Joe Strummer, guitarist and singer of The Clash, and one of the heroes of my past. I had forgotten how stirring the band's music and lyrics are, and what a thrill it was to hear them and see them for the first time. It felt like the world was on fire when they played, that all things were possible, and political change was practically as available as desire.

The Clash made it big, and collapsed of its own weight, and I lost track of them, of Strummer, of all of that. He died in 2002, of a congenital heart problem. Laid down on his couch and never got up.

The movie said lots of things to me, but one thing that sticks was something Strummer believed: No input, no output.

It's important for me to remember that, and go looking for new things, new challenges.

Thanks for reading!

For more, see jacobson-arts.com

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