When it comes to art, some say that realism tells the whole story, abstraction tells none of it, and postmodernism tells half. Apparently my work is postmodern, because it tells half the story. So I’ve added this text to the images for those who want more.

In the summer of 2007 I taught an undergraduate course, Visual culture, and a graduate course, Critical pedagogy in the visual arts,, for Texas Tech University in Sevilla, Spain. I asked both classes to create image-based journals of their experiences. My wife Mary and I role-modeled by creating journals of our own. This gallery contains the images from mine, along with text that explains the thinking behind them.

DIS/ORIENTATION
DIS/ORIENTATION

HERE I USED DEVICES THAT WOULD REAPPEAR: • MY BUSINESS CARD, REPRESENTING MY DISORIENTATION ADJUSTING TO SPAIN. • REFERENCES TO THE ABUNDANT ISLAMIC MOTIFS. • DRAMATIC USE OF BLACK. • LOOPING LINES, A FAVORED MOTIF. • SMALL HOLES CUT INTO THE DRAWINGS, REVEALING DETAILS OF THE DRAWINGS THAT FOLLOW. I PLACED A PIECE OF SCOTCH TAPE ON THIS DRAWING, KNOWING IT WOULD BE INVISIBLE. IT SYMBOLIZES THE PARTS OF THE STORY THAT I KEEP TO MYSELF.

THE BLINDNESS OF THE GODS
THE BLINDNESS OF THE GODS

THIS WORK BLENDS MOORISH AND BAROQUE ELEMENTS TO EXPRESS A RELIGI0US THEME. MUCH ART AND ARCHITECTURE IN SPAIN CAN BE DESCRIBED THUS. GRAFFITI IS OMNIPRESENT IN SEVILLA. AND IT WORKED ITS WAY INTO SEVERAL DRAWINGS. I CREATED A TAGGER NAME, VICU, A SHORTENED TERM FOR VISUAL CULTURE. VIEWERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME TO REPLACE MY MEANING WITH THEIR OWN. THE CUTOUT IN THIS SKETCH IS THE RED FIGURE AT THE BOTTOM. IS IT YOU?

COWBOY DENNY
COWBOY DENNY

MY REACTION TO BULLFIGHTING TRIGGERED THIS. WHEN I WAS A BOY, I LIKED TO DRESS LIKE THIS AND SHOOT GUNS. FIFTY YEARS LATER I FOUND MYSELF LIVING IN WEST TEXAS AMONG ADULTS WHO DRESS LIKE THIS AND SHOOT GUNS. IN SPAIN BULLFIGHTERS ARE POP HEROES. I ASKED A SPANIARD IF HE COULD EXPLAIN THE APPEAL OF "SADISM CLOAKED IN PAGEANTRY.” MY CHOICE OF WORDS WAS INOPPORTUNE. IN A VOICE THAT GRADUALLY GREW LOUDER, HE BERATED ME FOR BEING "OBLIVIOUS TO TRADITION."

TWIN PEAKS
TWIN PEAKS

TO BOLSTER THE NON-ART MAJORS' DRAWING SKILLS, WE WENT OUTSIDE FOR A LESSON ON TREES. OUR BUILDING WAS NOT IMMUNE TO GRAFFITI, SO AFTER I FINISHED THIS DRAWING, I TAGGED "VICU" ON TOP OF IT. I ALSO ADDED A REFERENCE TO MY BUSINESS CARD, CONNECTING THE SPACE WITH THE REST OF THE IMAGE. THE CUT-OUT IS THE BIRD ON THE LEFT.

CULTURE CLASH
CULTURE CLASH

THIS SKETCH WAS BORN IN LA RABIDA, THE COASTAL TOWN WHERE COLUMBUS ASSEMBLED HIS CREW OF SAILORS AND EMBARKED FOR "INDIA." ROMANS RULED THE REGION, FOLLOWED BY MOORS, FOLLOWED IN TURN BY MEDIEVAL SPANISH. I INCLUDED MOTIFS FROM EACH PERIOD, ADDING VICU TO MELD THE IMAGE WITH THE PRESENT. I WAS STRUCK BY THE GOLD-COLORED EARTH AROUND SEVILLA, SO I INCORPORATED SOME OF IT INTO THE IMAGE. THE CUT-OUT IS INSIDE ONE OF THE LOOPS.

VISUAL CULTURE
VISUAL CULTURE

WE VISITED STUNNING PALACES, CATHEDRALS, AND MOSQUES, MANY HEAVILY TAGGED. I THOUGHT ABOUT THE YEARS-LONG CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE ARCHITECTS AND LABORERS TO THE FIVE-MINUTE EFFORTS OF THE TAGGERS. NOTED HOW EFFECTIVELY THEY DISTRACTED ME FROM THE BUILDINGS THEMSELVES. SOME OF MY STUDENTS WERE ARCHITECTURE MAJORS. WE IDENTIFIED THE TAGGING AS A FUTURE PROBLEM FOR THEM. HERE I RENDERED A WALL AND PLACED A LARGE VICU ON IT. THEN EACH STUDENT ADDED A TAG. THE CUT-OUT IS IN THE TEETH AT RIGHT.

HELL AND HEAVEN
HELL AND HEAVEN

I'M NOT SURE WHAT THIS MEANS, BUT IT REMINDS ME TWO CONCEPTS DEAR TO THE SPANISH HEART. THE CUT-OUT IS IN ONE OF THE RED EMBERS.

ASIAN EPIPHANY
ASIAN EPIPHANY

I HAD NO EPIPHANY, BUT THE TITLE SEEMS TO FIT. THE FIGURE ON THE LEFT DEPICTS AN ASIAN STUDENT IN FULL CHINESE OPERA GARB. THE BACKGROUND IS MARKER; THE TREE IS PEN AND COLORED PENCIL. MY FACE IS CUT FROM THE PHOTO ON THE NEXT PAGE. THE CUT-OUT (MY LAST ONE) IS A SMALL BRANCH ON THE RIGHT.

BEACH BOY EPIPHANY
BEACH BOY EPIPHANY

NO EPIPHANY HERE EITHER, ALTHOUGH I DID SWITCH MY HEAD FOR THE VIRGIN MARY'S. PERHAPS THAT COMES CLOSE. I LIKE THE GUYS AND DOG IN THE BOAT.

THE BURDEN OF THE SPANISH WOMAN
THE BURDEN OF THE SPANISH WOMAN

THE TOP IS HEAVEN: BLUE LOOPS, INNOCENT CHILDREN. BELOW THE PAGE BREAK WOULD LOGICALLY BE HELL, BUT THE BURDEN THE SPANISH CHURCH PLACES ON WOMEN MAKES HELL UNNECESSARY.

COLUMBUS ON THE WAY BACK
COLUMBUS ON THE WAY BACK

THIS MIGHT BE MY FAVORITE. THE SHIPS ARE UPTURNED MAYAN PYRAMIDS.

FIFI SUPPORTS THE FOOFOO
FIFI SUPPORTS THE FOOFOO

OFTEN AS I STOOD BEHOLDING ONE SPRAWLING EDIFICE OR ANOTHER, I IMAGINED THE SENSE OF PERMANENCE, OF SECURITY, OF PROFUNDITY IT MIGHT HAVE CONVEYED TO EARLY VIEWERS, AND HOW TIME WILL PROVE IT ALL FALSE. I RENDERED SOME BAROQUE FOO-FOO AND A BALLOON POODLE TO REPRESENT THE TEMPORALITY OF THE PERMANENT, THE FRAGILITY OF THE SECURE, AND THE TRIVIALITY OF THE PROFOUND.

BULL FIGHT
BULL FIGHT

THIS IS MY FINAL WORD ON BULL FIGHTING: IF WE KNOW IT HAPPENS AND SAY NOTHING, WE SUPPORT IT.

CUT OFF AT THE KNEES
CUT OFF AT THE KNEES

AFTER RETURNING FROM SPAIN, I VISITED MY PEOPLE, THE MECHANIZED AMISH, IN NEW ENGLAND. THEY RESEMBLE GRANT WOOD'S "AMERICAN GOTHIC" COUPLE. HE WEARS A WHITE SHIRT, SKINNY BLACK TIE, AND A SUIT THAT MANAGES NOT TO BE ANY KNOWN COLOR. SHE WEARS A PLAIN DRESS AND MODEST HAIRDO, BUT I REMOVED THE BROOCH. TOO SHOW-OFFY. WHILE MODEST IN APPEARANCE, THE MECHANIZED AMISH SEEM COMFORTABLE MANIFESTING THEIR WEALTH IN THEIR HOMES. MARY AND I GAZE UPWARD IN WONDERMENT FROM THE SAFETY OF A SPANISH MOSQUE.