Photo Blog by Mark I Chester

Mark I Chester studio  1229 Folsom St./SF  415-6294
all images are 2012 Mark I Chester

February 24, 2012

photo of the day 2/24/2012 photo Mark I Chester

untitled (rubberman with gasmask, rubber gloves on the sides of his face), 1999, from the series Outcasts exhibited in 2000.

The truth of art is that it is what it is and not what you think it is. ;) In other words, it is only what is directly in front of your eyes and nothing else. It is what we assign to what we see that gives art its promise and power. But what we assign to a piece of art is only our personal projection. It is hard to remember sometimes that what we feel is what we feel, not what we feel is what the art says or what the art is. But as Clinton once famously said, It depends on what the definition of *is* is. Yeah, I know, that's a bit convoluted, but then the very nature of art is rather convoluted.

There are prolific artists. There are angry artists. There are artists that do art as a kind of social revenge and political protest against, well you can fill in the blanks with a myriad of well deserving current stupid and evil people acting as individuals, corporations, nations or spiritual entities. There is no lack of people to point fingers at.

I, on the other hand, am a reluctant artist. Art is something I did because I was compelled to do it, rather like a drug addict who is compelled to abuse drugs, except in my case, there was no recovery from my compulsion. I am driven to distraction, disturbed in my sleep and feel like I want to puke all the time. Sounds like I am pregnant which is probably not a bad analogy. When I looked at this photo today, my first thought was, some days it just feels like that. The photo took on a dark sorrowful, bang your head against the wall frustration. On some days it has a fetishy see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil hide-your-head-in-the-sand kind of look. But that certainly wasn't what I was thinking when I photographed it. Or maybe it was. Not that I know what I was thinking at that very moment.

Photography for me is an exploration. A kind of personal psychodrama that seeks to find meaning through both play and experimentation. There is no time to think and ponder and wonder. There is only time to do, to smack the shutter as many times as you can until someone demands that you stop. ;) The fact that anyone is willing to let me dominate them with my camera and seek to find some moment of transcendence is beyond me. I am not going to complain.

Then again on some days, the projections are just silly. For some reason the rhyme, rubber, rubber everywhere and not a drop to drink keeps rumbling though my brain. Such as my brain is these days. And such as some days are these days :)