Corrupting the Youth

I'm being invited to speak more and more about my work and will be doing it again on April 1st here in Seattle. Jacques-Louis_David_-_The_Death_of_Socrates_-_Google_Art_Project

Anyone who's ever heard me speak comes to understand that my work is informed by a very broad number of influences. They range from art and art history to philosophy and post-modern theory to pop culture references from television, film and music.


In every lecture nowadays - usually to the students at colleges and art schools - I intone something an old papermaking professor used to say to me. She'd go, "this stuff is great, Mike, but you should really think outside the box."

To which I'd reply, "what's a box?


The conversation would usually devolve to the point of my interlocutor giving up when I just couldn't grasp the concept of box.

I know what a box is, duh, but there are certain assertions relating to truth that float in the world - too many to go into detail here - that have become the fabric of my being and inform my work as an artist.


If I try to impart anything, it's that one should be skeptical of prescriptions and the motivation of one's teachers. Having the willingness to walk the tightrope and take risks - even if means teetering on the brink of pariah-dom and failure - can be a noble path.

I never got to where I am because I read a book from front to back and left to right. No, sorry. . . that's not me. I still play my records backwards and throw up devil horns, but I'm no Satanist.

More always,