Sundays with Clyfford Still: My half-assed tribute

So I just spent a week or so as the involuntary guest of the government of a small Balkan country.  They were rash enough to allow me the use of a set of watercolors.

Those who haven’t much experience with painting might not know this, but watercolors are actually the hardest kind of paint to master.   That free, spontaneous look they have?  Takes a ton of planning, practice, and “saving whites”.  Oils are a cinch by comparison.  With oils, you can scrape off your mistakes before they dry.

Anyway, here’s one of my prison paintings, entitled “Half-Assed Tribute to Clyfford Still”.

Half-Assed Tribute to Clyfford Still, by M.K. Hajdin

The photo quality is half-assed, too.  Just to keep up with the half-assed spirit of things.

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Sundays with Clyfford Still: The Golden Cord (9)

Welcome to Sundays With Clyfford Still.  I’m your host, M.K. Hajdin.

This is number 9  in the series.  You can read the other posts here.

It’s Easter, which in most religions is about celebrating new life.  Let’s hear what Clyfford had to say on the subject:

Clyfford Still painting white with yellow streaks

Untitled by Clyfford Still (late 1970s)

These are not paintings in the usual sense; they are life and death merging in fearful union. As for me, they kindle a fire; through them I breathe again, hold a golden cord, find my own revelation.

— Clyfford Still

On a blinding white background flame spirits leap and flicker and cool as they sink toward the bottom of the painting.

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Sundays with Clyfford Still: Why did he leave the art world? (6)

Welcome to Sundays With Clyfford Still.  I’m your host, M.K. Hajdin.

This is number 6 in the series.  You can read the other posts here.

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Clyfford profile in color

A rare color photo of Clyfford Still

Clyfford Still turned his back on the the art world and went on rejecting its elitism and snobbery for the rest of his life, only to be embraced and immortalized after his death.  It’s a genius strategy, because after you’re dead nobody can argue with you.  Nobody wants to disrespect the dead.   Still was perfectly aware that artists who have starved in obscure garrets all their lives are suddenly pounced upon as soon as they die, gobbled up and assimilated into the world of the “culturati”.  He just didn’t want that process to happen while he was alive, because being part of high society is fucking tiresome.

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Sundays with Clyfford Still: Clyff was the first punk (4)

Welcome to Sundays with Clyfford Still.  I’m your host, M.K. Hajdin.

This episode is fourth in the series.  You can find the others here.

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.1962-D by Clyfford Still

1962-D by Clyfford Still

Here we have one of his paintings from 1962.  A round red shape not unlike a sun peeks out from behind jagged black and white veils.

“I hold it imperative to evolve an instrument of thought which will aid in cutting through all cultural opiates, past and present, so that a direct, immediate, and truly free vision can be achieved. . .and I affirm my profound concern to achieve a purpose beyond vanity, ambition, or remembrance.”  — Clyfford Still

Clyfford Still was about piercing the illusion, facing the void, tearing down the establishment. He was a punk before punk existed.

*Although the punks didn’t have his oratorical skills and had to make up for it with loud guitars.  Not that I have problem with that.

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Questions? Comments?  That’s what the comment box below is for. 

You can also tweet them to me with the hashtag #clyffordlove.