Comfort Food

The question comes from a listener in Paduca, Kentucky.

“My question is about comfort food. I know when I eat roast beef and mashed potatoes with gravy I feel good. Like comfortable, you know? I don’t feel bad when I eat steamed broccoli with butter on it, but I don’t feel comfortable like I do when I eat mashed potatoes and gravy. You know?”

So listener, what’s your question?

“Well, I guess I was just wondering if I was doing something wrong when I eat my broccoli?”

It’s times like this that my mind drifts off to thoughts of Melvin “Sy” Oliver and James “Trummy” Young and their composition that remains as classically philosophical as it is classically jazzy, “It t’aint what you do, but the way that you do it.”

Metaphorically speaking, as artists our own personal comfort food that feeds our creative monkeys comes in all different forms from drawing to painting to writing, sculpture or choreography, and everything in-between.

Contemporary American artist Judith Schaechter takes comfort in making stained glass art. On a recent visit to the Toledo Museum of Art, I reluctantly stuck my head in a gallery exhibiting her work. Here is a woman that clearly takes comfort in something that holds less than a robust interest for me. After looking closely at her work, I could see how she not only made this art form her own, but she has also brought it forward from the dusty, dank old cathedrals of Europe…and I was really taken with it.

Here’s a link to her work: Click!

Okay listener, I don’t think that you are doing anything particularly wrong with your broccoli that I can tell. Maybe you just need to be a little more attentive to the unfortunate rap that broccoli often gets. Might I suggest you try it with a little hollandaise sauce and see if you feel any more comfy. If not, we gotta stick with the idea that one person’s broccoli is another person’s meat and potatoes.

You Lookin’ at Me?

Reasons aren’t everything. 

“But why’d yah do it?” the detective asked.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” I said.
Even good reasons aren’t everything.

I look at a lot of things, I look at everything I can. Because of that, some say that I am good looking. I correct them and add “at.” I am good at looking.

For sure I am.

That having been said, I think we need to be careful about what we are looking at. With so many absolutely wonderful things to grab our attention, we can pretty easily be completely derailed and not even realize it.

In my working to rekindle a fresh body of work, in my new studio space, I was struggling to lay down any brushstrokes that felt like they meant much to me.

Puzzled, I made the conscious decision to look seriously back at the last work I did pre-pandemic that excited me. So, I unwrapped some work and stuck it on the wall and just looked at it.

I could see a thread, and for however many reasons there are that I let go of that thread I looked, and I heard my own art speaking to me as if it was Travis Bickle looking right back at me saying, “I’m hangin’ here, you make the move. You make the move. It’s your move. You lookin’ at me? Are you lookin’ at Me? … Who the hell else are you lookin’ at? You lookin’ at me? Well, I’m the only one here. Who do you think you are looking at?”

You can imagine, I was a little taken aback to have my own artwork talking to me like Robert De Niro flicking a pistol out of his sleeve at me.

Needless to say, it got my attention.