NORBZ

Eric Norby is awesome. He was such a strange contrast to Marcus, and we made a quirky trinity of awkward jokes, weird beer, and enigmatic glances together. Norby came to Mizzou at a time when I didn’t think I’d be able to forge good friendships with new grads. I’m not sure why I thought this, but I guess I figured I was getting old and more distant from the newer grads coming into the program.

thumb_IMG_1385_1024“Goddammit, Greta!” Digital Drawing, 2014.

Thankfully, Norby proved me wrong and became a good friend.

Sometimes irascible, almost never empathetic, always intelligent, Norbz has a very particular personality that stood out from the other grads in our program. He had a strong work ethic, clear sense of the value of his time and work, and a love for the experience of music and beer that made for some of the best times I’ve had in recent memory.

IMG_1191“Janus Head Norbz (Two Faced Portrait of Eric Norby),” Instagram Photo, 2013

We began making beer together – those were some amazing nights. Sometimes they resulted in shenanigans like this:

Oh Jesus from matthewballou on Vimeo.

Norby would have thrived in any graduate program. His ability to adapt and his smarts would have made him stand out anywhere. But I’m glad he spent some time watching The Big Lebowski with me, discoursing on the qualities of Ween and Radiohead, singing some Lee Hazlewood, and exploring the meaning of the western vista.

Thanks a lot, Norbz.

thumb_IMG_5373_1024“It’s a Graying Out. (Portrait of Norbz),” Graphite on tracing paper, 8.5 by 3 inches, 2013.

“The Dude abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners.” – The Stranger.

Inspiration – Laurie Anderson

Above: Anderson singing with a luminous microphone inside her mouth

“I don’t necessarily think that political art is any better or more worthwhile or more relevant than making a giant blue painting. We need giant blue paintings and they can sometimes be more about freedom than works of art that tell you how to be free. Giant blue paintings can show you.” – Laurie Anderson, at the SVA commencement ceremony, 2012.

Watch her whole speech here. Be sure to watch through to her “pillow recorder” performance at the end – fantastic!

And here’s a (mostly) “giant blue painting” – Ocean Park #129.

 

Inspiration – Trudy Rogers Denham

I’ve worked with Trudy in some capacity for her entire graduate career – sometimes in classes, often just as a contributing committee member. It’s always wonderful to see an artist come into a graduate program and make huge changes while maintaining a core of truthfulness about who they are and what they want. Though I’ve seen Trudy’s work shift dramatically, there’s always been a knowing thread through it all. In the first class she took with me we were able to understand drawing itself as that propulsive linear element that moves within any work – whether it be performance, installation, or more traditional forms. I’m so impressed with Trudy’s work and proud to have been able to witness it.

Here are some installation shots from her thesis exhibition – Residuum – please come see it as soon as you can!

 

Wide view of the first room.

 

Wide view of the second room.

 

Professor Daniggelis engaging with the work.

The poetry of the chairs…

Classic Studio Shot #1

me, in the studio 2004

Me in my studio during grad school – Indiana University – sometime early in 2004. Upper right corner – my Lionel Richie “Patron Saint of Painting” icon, collaboration between Maximillian Hernandez and my collage. It’s hanging in my current studio, too.

“VOLUME, NOT FEATURES” …words to live by.