Uncommon Possession of an Artistic Disposition / by Sam Abelow

I began the artistic afternoon with a series of minimalist charcoal drawings. I was disillusioned with trying to "prove myself" by drawing realism, or by doing any other serious work. I find simple lines-- like singular tones on a piano-- as interesting as anything. Life is art. God is love.

About this time last year I was compelled to study art on my own. I took the initiative to,  as accurately as possible, draw from life. I tended towards flowers, women and animals as subjects. Those pieces took a lot of concentration and effort, received attention from viewers, but felt unrewarding and un-individuated.

It's been many months since I've done any serious visual art (painting or drawing). Today inspiration, or rather the compulsion to create forced its way into my experience. Yet, I felt dejected from concentrating too much on any particular subject, or traditional form.

In mid-Winter I began to go through some archives, planning to frame a selection of drawings. Some of the minimalist expressions from 2011-2012 really interested me. Today, when I drew with my charcoal pencils, I did what felt right. My hand was like a child; my mind feeling where to place lines, value and so forth.

Then I proceeded to make this strange "Offering." Thoughts passing through my head as the composition was completed:


What am I doing here?

There is pain. It is an odd sense of indescribable perplexity.

What will the neighbors think? Play is good; play is good.

The Lord is One, the Lord is One, the Lord is One, The Lord is…

Why did I choose to do this.

Now I must clean up. What was the purpose of any of this.

Fuck art. Art is stupid. I'm just crazy.

I chose to do this. Stay calm. [mantra] Be mindful.


At no point in the process was it ever clear what the intention was. I was not sure what I was doing, but gathered materials from around the house and trash bin. I questioned the purpose of art and probably life itself- which happens far too often. The white paint was already mixed and readily available and seemed like an obvious choice.

The direct stroke to the paper and then on the wood block, seemed and obvious decision. This initial formation indicated some sort of cross symbol in my mind. I recall this as the moment where I  recognized this piece as a strange, post-religious "offering."

I liked the texture of the purple corn extract (which had been mis-delivered by Amazon-- sitting around ever since). Placing the dried fruit and vegetables on the "four corners" added to the neb-spiritual, modern-shamanistic ritual element. Splatting some paint on top-- which you can see when comparing the two photos-- seemed to complete the work for me; knowing that this photograph would be the only result of the project.

There's another piece which is drying right now. I will post that later. <333