Friday, November 21, 2008

First I painted graffitti, then I got tagged

Tagged -- by Karen and, because I waited too long, by Silvina. By now, no one who visits this site doesn't know what it is. How do I know that? Because, I can do math. You're all from sites that recently got tagged.

You know, some schools don't permit kids to play tag... the school psychologists say it's emotionally scarring. It's a way of picking on the unpopular kids, who are never able to get "untagged," since the clique of popular kids target them. (My sense: those kids are bullies, whether tag is played or not. Fix the bully, because you haven't solved anything by banning the game.)

About a week ago, someone tagged someone else in the blogging network. That first person tagged seven others (1x7=7), each of those seven tagged seven more (7x7=49); those forty-nine each tagged seven more (49x7=343). One of the 343 is me.

If all of us in my cadre of 343 tag the full batch of seven, then the next group —of 2,401 artists— will be looking for 16,807 "untagged" souls on the web.

Now, there aren't any bullies in this game -- except for maybe that first person. It's actually a great idea (until you get into this ponzi-scheme math), a way of recognizing someone, of getting people to write a little bit about themselves, and to pay the compliment forward, so that lots of people are sending lots of people to look at lots of other people. It is a 'rolling theme', providing interest and variety... and I'm complimented that both Karen and Silvina have tagged me, because they are kind and generous and talented (and running out of candidates already, I imagine.)

So, here are my little-known facts:
  1. In middle school, I played saxophone in the school band. At first, I made good progress, but then I got worse, instead of better. Eventually I was so bad, I gave up practicing because I couldn't stand to hear myself play.

  2. In third grade I jumped off the side of a slide, snagged my foot on the ledge, and stopped my fall with my face. Put my upper incisors through my lower lip. I can still feel the scar.

  3. I get better at tongue-twisters if I've had one beer.

  4. In theater, I didn't get sweaty hands before going on stage, but I got a huge adrenaline shot when I said my first line.

  5. I spent my early childhood in Germany and England -- missing a huge chunk of Americana. People look at me funny when they make an "I Love Lucy" reference and I look blankly back at them. I must look like one of those red-scare foreign agents: He looks and talks like a normal American, but he doesn't know who won the '68 world series.

  6. I was inspired to become a visual artist by having an internship with an architect, who made me study political art. John Heartfield changed my idea of the power of art, and gave me an unforgettable image of courage.

  7. I once had a job programming payphones - and designing ads to go next to them in the booth.

At this point, I'm going to break the rules, because everyone else on my blog roll has already been tagged this month, or I just don't know them well enough to tag, and I can't overcome my anxiety about the possibility that I'd be rejected out of hand, and I'm not a very friendly sort, so I don't have any other friends.

I guess that makes eight true, but little-known, things.

But, to round out the people on my blog list that I don't know well enough to tag; if you aren't already familiar with them, do go look at the blogs of (in order of latest update):

Bob Cornelis, who poses hard questions about art and artmaking
David Lobenberg, an accomplished watercolor teacher
Deb Schmit, a terrific western landscape painter
Frank Gardner, a landscape painter living in Mexico
Karin Jurick, who has a body of work about people looking at art, which is cool
Kathryn Law, who is a sunny impressionist, now in Italy.

... and David Cornelius isn't willing to play, but everyone should have a look at the story of his moleskine-exchange project with his international art friends.


Anonymous said...

I love the way you wrote about this and did your tags. It says a lot about how wise you are.

Anonymous said...

Question; on stage, huge adrenaline rush. Did it freak you out or help you perform better?

Edgar said...

Martha - Thanks! Just curmudgeonly, mostly.

Silvina - Well, it usually made my first line unintelligible, until I had a director point it out to me. Then I learned to breath first, and use the adrenaline in a kind of 'slow burn.'

I think it's probably an anthropological truth that you should have adrenaline on the stage, or you're just walking through it. An audience senses the presence or lack of your fight-or-flight response, and they'll focus on you because of it, or get bored because it's missing... a little like a pack of dogs: if one of them puts his tail and ruff up, all the others PAY ATTENTION!

Cara said...

Edgar - thank you for sharing with us - and for your visit to my site. I enjoyed your posts very much.

Marian Fortunati said...

Hi Edgar..
Isn't it funny the things we remember from early life... Can other people see your scar or do you just feel it.
I have a scar on my lower lip where a surfboard forced it onto and over my teeth... They stitched it up nicely and now I'm the only one who knows.

Marian Fortunati said...

Good grief... I was so busy telling stories that I forgot to mention how much I like that last painting! It's amazing how you can take such an ordinary subject and make it something interesting and enjoyable to look at!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, what you said regarding adrenaline. I need to learn to use it.

Hey, btw, I spent my early childhood in Buenos Aires watching I Love Lucy reruns. They must have had them in England and Germany!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks for the "tag" Edgar. I feel like the unpopular kid with everyone ganging up on me... again.

I enjoyed reading through talk me down a few times, but I dare not get involved.

Edgar said...

Cara Dawn -- It's good to stay in touch. We have a lot in common, I think.

Marian-- I think the scar's invisible now. It was possible to show it as two white marks on my lower lip right through my twenties, though. Your surfboard thing sounds like a similar event. Bet there was a lot of blood in the water that day, eh?
... and thanks for the feedback.

Silvina-- The English were quite successful during that period with their homegrown programming. The only shows I can remember being imported were Star Trek and MASH. In Germany, there was a dubbed version of Bonanza and High Chapparal. You should have heard the high squeaky voice "Hoss" had! But I didn't know enough hochdeutsch to follow all the dialog (my relatives were countryfolk), so, I'd usually get bored and leave.

Frank -- very nice of you to stop by... sorry about the flashbacks. Maybe when I next climb out on the ledge, you'll have some sanity to share. Timing is everything, right?

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Edgar,

I don't know what you mean you don't have any friends. You do so.

I like your math on tagging -- and
I'm no good at math. I would
have tagged you too, but I didn't feel I knew you well enough,now I do. I am a big fan of both your painting and your blog.

I like the blog support --
and tagging is just more of that.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Edgar - thanks for the "tag". I think it's my first one, since my blog is relatively new. I've really been enjoying your blog since I found it so you'll find me a frequent visitor!