On Wheels: Progression and Its Orbit. by Cody Bubenik

I bought tires for my car last month. The drive now down the street, out of the city, to my hometown are all smoother. In the car political news podcast play, my brother talks to me about what new crisis is occurring I respond (yell) back.  I can't help but think of the tires underneath us. The constant circular movement, the revolutions around and around its' axis. With each new cycle of rotation the car pushes us a few inches forward and closer to some final place. 

 My partners car has been in several wrecks, she calls me in a panic one time after drifting in a turn lane, her wheel and axel have been pushed back. The car has stopped its revolutions, stopped its cycles. We watch as it's pulled up and away on the back of some other thing bearing the weight.  I wonder if there's any similarities between these and our lives. 


Two years or so again I began biking around Austin. I would blast music and bike up and down hills on my way to and from work. I would wake up in the morning and make my way to work. I would work all day, eating lunch alone at the same spot on campus, and then I would bike home. I would fall asleep after eating and binge watching some show or another. I would drink.

In between being at work and being at home, I would be out on my bike blaring music and riding. A lot of the time it was the same circle, down the same streets to a certain point, rest, relax, then head back up again. This path was meditative, predictable and certain yet new each time. Every time I moved down the road I would encounter some new thought, a new obstacle, a new path to push through. And each time I headed up the road back to the start I would push through even more thoughts, push through breaths, push through pain in my calves and tiredness in my body. It would remind me that I was here right now, in between this work life and home life I was here. 


I was hit by a car in December. In my jacket listening to Bill Callahan I rode down the same road on the way back from lunch. A car pulled out infront of me and I went over the hood. My blood pressure was through the roof when they checked me out, my leg was messed up scars and blood. My back was ok, and my head was too. The EMT's and Police seemed scared. 6 people gathered around me to ask me multiple times if I was ok. They tapped my back and spoke slowly. 

I remember being hit, and I remember cursing, I remember the feeling of knowing you can't avoid this, that in that split second you will either be ok or not. I remember the thud of the metal and the feeling of my legs burning with pain my jeans all ripped to shreds. I remember climbing home and laying on the floor. I remember crying alone in my apartment for the first time in a year, through all of the heartbreak and loss, through all of the things going on in my life. For the first time I sat down and cried. 

Progression moves in this way to me. These cycles of up and down, fluid movements of life that are followed with an equally fluid movement down. Peaks followed by Valleys. Our own lives move with this frightening idea, ups followed by downs that we can't predict. And we do what we can to preserve the good times, to solidify a life of stability and comfort that will keep the ups continuous. 


It struck me that night that cycles are only broken by impact, that the natural course of objects is to stay in motion (not revolutionary I know), and that we move through the same cycles over and over again until some sort of pressure is exerted on us. In the case of the car the foot on the break, in the case of my bike, a foot on the gas. And oddly enough those cycles are acted upon by other people's cycles. 

I've thought of a lot of my relationships in terms of orbits. That is that all these relationships with people I have and make are just orbiting cycles, they move in and out and occasionally they sync with each other. In some cases this sync results in something nice. Like the syncing of a schedule that results in two friends taking vacation. In other cases, like being hit by a car, the syncing of two schedules that results in harm.  I've been trying to do what I can to live out these cycles in the most understanding way I can, I've been trying to understand that people need to leave your life and move in different directions. And for the last few years this has become apparent, friends who have moved on to different cities, family members who've passed, jobs that have changed, relationships that have become more serious, relationships that have died out. These actions move in cycles turning over and over, the people in our lives move in and out like planetary systems orbiting and revolving, rotating around their own axis. 


In art i'm obsessed with these periods, how we can have growth and decline, periods of feeling unproductive and worthless, met with periods of great burst of energy. A professor of mine compared it to a river how we want to be something that moves with the time and doesn't fall down and stay put. It's interesting to me that in the modern age relevancy can drop and grow at will. A resurgence of radio was preceded by its decline. Book sales have gone through the roof lately preceded again by a period of slow growth.

I've been trying to see how the destruction and breaking down of processes and life can lead to the creation of new things, better things. That only when we hit a breaking point and an impact point can our cycle continue into something newer and better. That we have to examine our place and decide if the path we were taking is worth the risk of hitting that impact point again. 

Surely this election has exemplified that point for better or worse, the need to change the way we perceive the things around us. What raw aggression and anger lead us too. I've been thinking this in terms of cycles of personal life, or rather the wheel of things(1) that turns our life. The idea that we are led down the path of life because of our inability to rid ourselves of things like anger and jealousy. That enlightenment (or a new path) only comes through understanding and compassion. 

I'm interested in the context of rebuilding american ideals, ideals pushed by a majority white majority male voter base. While the infrastructure of our entire collective society is built completely by the minority hand. Biking through Austin streets to see construction and buildings and worksites that will soon be dominated by white male employment being built almost completely by a majority minority hand. It's hard to ignore that the path of our society led by Trump (and the republican GOP) is one that is ignorant to the very working power of society. And is this ignorance the thing that continually leads to our breaking point? 

The head of marvel recently asserted that it was diversity that was killing comics, although the best rated best selling publications are all those with minority representation the belief was still held that the need to diversify was creating a destruction in the base.  The same idea came to an impact in the American election (Though seemingly rejected in French and German Elections) That the diversity of our country was leading to a destruction point. 

Now that point has occurred and we are closer than ever to an impeachment like ideal, will the result be a change in how we view the world around us and what we want and should want as a collective society. Should we give any credit to the destructive force? Should I think the car that hit me? Should we congratulate people who broke our hearts? Should we parade cancer for taking those from us? 

In art i've been thinking about these ideas, been trying to think of what work can do to represent these ideas, for some its the process and the material, for others imagery and subject matter. For me I don't really know what it is, or why i'm making, but i'm trying to look at everything together around me and make something that seems meaningful and relevant.


The night I was hit by that car, after the crying, after the sitting alone, after talking to my mom, I was sitting at home alone. I was struck for the first time the complete emptiness of an apartment when you have no one to turn to. I was just starting to see my partner then, and I had been (and arguably am always) dealing with past relationships, and I had this nagging thing in the back of my mind telling me I should run. That night she came over with snack food and Advil. She brought nice ice cream and junk food and bandages. It was all goofy stuff that helped a little and made me feel better. But one thing she brought was flowers. It was odd then that I was so excited about flowers but I had never been gifted anything like that by a partner. As I sat on the table that night and drew the petals on a small sketchbook, my Red State  series started. And with it a new way of thinking about art and life took hold. 

I still ride my bike now, to and from work, I've lost 13-14 pounds in the last 5 months or so, I watch out for cars and have gotten better at breathing. The muscles in my legs have grown, my stomach has shrunk. I still blast music, I still glide down hills and struggle up them. I still make the cycle back and forth, back and forth. I hope another impact won't occur, I grip my handlebars tight at some intersections. 


 

  1. This is a way uneducated view of a complicated and complex religious/cultural point of view that should be studied completely, in no way am I asserting that I understand anything about it but rather using it as a platform for discussing cycles in one particular sense. 

On Blogging for the Release: Understanding Mistakes by Cody Bubenik

I haven't bought any Boots- Drawing on paper

I haven't bought any Boots- Drawing on paper

      One of the things that I enjoy the most about having art in my life is the ability to transition through a period with a form of visualization to my thoughts. For me being able to visually think out things that i'm feeling is a good connection to the written, and to summarize the collection of self into work that reflects the values I have or currently have re affirms my sense of self and place. 

The problem with making is that ultimately you are always asking the question "Am I making this for me or for others?" (or possibly I'm asking that only) As I move onto a different portion of my life and move closer to another year spent doing the same thing I have to ask questions about transitions and who I am. It's easier to visualize the things I am and who i've been through painting and drawing. In art you can take the time to step back and fully think of who you want to be and who you are, and the mistakes that exist as a normal human being, failed interactions, mean things said, regrets, internships not taken, all of these things in art present themselves as visual challenges that are overcome and wiped clean. 

As the growth and expansive period of Texas landscape ends, as the Summer cools into what we call winter or fall or "That cold period" along with it come all the thoughts of end. And work itself transitions to be a more introspective study of the self and its relation to making.

I blog about things to express a written form that I believe to be important in the creation of cultural image making. (Even if that image isn't well known or seen). And I blog because i'm an egotist. 


The thing about Texas summers, that I write about a lot, is the brutal heat and shear intensity keeps people together, sort of united against the absurdity of a place where sweating through an entire outfit is more commonplace than being dry.  But also summers for the entirety of my life (and I think others as well) have been a period of dramatic and informative change. The bursting of green the inclusion of new possibility and the expansion of desert landscape.

I think If I chose in this period of my life to relate myself to the symbol of a succulent or cactus, the flowering of that should be a change in character and personality. And if like the Succulent my roots are planted firmly in the Texas soil than my base should extend towards a goal that benefits and is visible by more people. 


In final thoughts to a weird blog sort of related to work, There are so many things I wish I could have done better, so many things I wish I could have said better, and so many things I wish I could understand better. And I feel that my art is about this confusion, this confusion and disillusionment with past and the self, the inability to fix and the frustration that occurs with feeling stuck in a position.  and maybe the visualization that accompanies the next season of life / nature will reflect this thought more clearly. 

On Reaching Out But Staying Put by Cody Bubenik

To be honest I've sort of stopped making work all together. I make a painting or do a sketch here and there, but the majority of my time is spent working at a "real" job. There was a time where I thought the principle of making work was worth it enough, but now I believe that some work is just stuff people don't want to see. And reaching out and convincing people that your work is worth seeing is for many more extroverted people then someone like me. 

In the last year I've been a part of group after group that fell apart. I've discussed show after show with people that gets rejected and never happens. And meanwhile life just keeps coming. Promoting yourself is best left to people with connections and the ability to make connections. Not to socially introverted people with a day job.  


Lately I've had urges to reach out to people i've left behind, and the list seems to be growing as I get older and move down or up a direction in my life. And yet I feel like inherently these things are for me and not out of genuine interest of other people. Sometimes I think maybe my art is about this kind of thing, that I lost any genuine interest awhile ago when I stopped having a huge passion for things. 

It's harder as I get older and more stable (or less stable) in my life to feel a sort of passion for something. Art has become another intangible thing left for people who took successful internships, know people, and network appropriately. And to even situated myself in a position where my art matters is beyond my scope of understanding. 


It's harder for me to write things to describe my art, or describe how I view things, lately things have seemed to be a collection of debates and arguments of conflicting view points and life styles that I can't sort through. 

I've been thinking about not making work anymore, about hanging it up officially and stop trying to pretend that something will come out of it. 


On Re Examining Donald (Unfinished thoughts) by Cody Bubenik

In a previous post  I talked about the obsession I have with Trump, which by now has grown into a global obsession with Trump. A friend of mine showed me a post about protest art in relation to Trump and it has me spiraling down this infinite hole of examining the political image of Trump. Visually Trump is still magnificent, a politician that by all rights claims not to be a politician, as I mentioned in a previous post he sits in between this visual ground of being and not being. But I wanted to elaborate on what I mean by that because this inherent contradiction has been bothering anyone who follows the Trump cycle.

Trump as a politician is allowed to lie with no repercussions, because his entire platform is based on eliminating "lying politicians" He even dubbed one of his previous opponents "Lying cruz" Yet Trumps whole being is defined by a history of lies. A history of fabricating the truth and building a brand that attempts to over write that truth. Trump is not a businessman, unless his business is the annoyingly tired business of the 21st century "Brand building". 

Trump represents this to me the most, the idea that a brand can be so powerful that it disrupts everything you have in your world, that it becomes this unstoppable force of self promotion, hurtling down at you with no way of ever disproving it. Trump's fans aren't concerned with facts and figures, and in an increasingly polarized news cycle they can drum up enough facts and figures of their own to stand behind anyway. They are head strong and stubborn, (like their counterparts) and they stand for the inherent broken part of our system, the polarization along party lines. Its no surprise that some of the same supporters of Bernie sanders (the self described democratic socialist) have turned to supporting Trump (or declared they would) their images are similar, strong, loud, defiant, outsider. And male. 

When you look into the talk surrounding Trump there is this huge fear, and with Brexit dominating the news cycle the last few weeks the fear has grown. Now the eerie similarities in image and political rhetoric are taking hold and people are settling down with the idea that Trump might actually win this thing. A man who can make anti-semitic, racist, sexist, and just down right ugly comments could be the next leader of the country. 

 

I was making this connection of Donald Trump to the cartoon character of Donald duck. Not only are the names similar, which is an obvious starter for cartooning, but the mannerisms of both are the same. Both Donalds have an inherent need for the spotlight, a need to be proven masculine and assertive, a need to engage the community around them in a way that says "I'm every bit as good as that Mickey" as a result the characters both fly off the handle at the simplest remark, Their reaction is only to declare themselves the best and their surprising lack of humility prevents them from ever achieving their ultimate dream of success. Donald (The Duck version) is well known for being foul mouthed and quick tempered, for trudging along in the toughest scenarios toward a path that only he can see. And in almost every case that path is never the best one. What do the surrounding characters do in this case? They simply laugh and joke about the sheer craziness of the character. 

Running across a good quote by the animator "

As the animator Fred Spencer has put it:

The Duck gets a big kick out of imposing on other people or annoying them, but he immediately loses his temper when the tables are turned. In other words, he can dish it out, but he can't take it

and of course 

"Donald is also a bit of a show-off. He likes to brag, especially about how skilled he is at something. He does in fact have many skills—he is something of a Jack of all Trades. Amongst other things, he is a good fisher and a good hockey player. However, his love of bragging often leads him to overestimate his abilities, so that when he sets out to make good on his boasts, he gets in over his head, usually to hilarious effect."

 

It's interesting to me this correlation between the Fictional and factual Donald. And in some ways they both seem to represent this entire personality split of the American/ Male / White male.  And maybe it was initially done that Donald would come to represent this foil. Mickey a rising star and talent who also happens to be portrayed as a black male. In fact the rise of popularity of Mickey over Donald seems to beckon the same critiques those that vote for the Factual Donald. As the white male becomes increasingly more of a minority voice the desire to rage and let loose anger to be "heard" takes hold. The overestimating of ones abilities and boasting a common trait in Male culture. 

 

 

On Boxes of Things. by Cody Bubenik

I've been thinking of boxes of things stacked up. Collected memories in one of the most physical ways. I remember a moment where flood waters had hit my grandmothers place hard, and the garage door was open with boxes and boxes of things sitting there. And I assume we were there going through these things, deciding what memories were wrecked by water and what were good to keep around for a little longer. 

The recent floods in Texas had a similar effect, one government agency sent out tweets and links to articles about how to recover books and photo albums, how to prevent mold and how to preserve water damaged items in the best way. When my apartment was on fire, and we were standing outside my brother was worried about the things he had going up in flames, and for me there was nothing of worth, I was worried about where I would stay. 

   In her garage there are boxes and boxes of stuff, I move them around with hesitation, each one contains some specific memory of her father and I get the feeling they haven't been moved in some time. Boxes and boxes of his stuff and tools and writings. Under several boxes I find a notebook with his handwriting, note taking on the construction of a car, and a dusty FIAT symbol. I stop moving boxes.  

I know one day I'll have to move my fathers stuff from the garage, one day i'll have to clean both my mom and dads stuff from their house and i'll be stuck with the same choice that everyone before me deals with, the same decision my grandmother was dealing with, the same decision my mother dealt with when deciding if she could stomach the idea of other people wearing her mothers clothes. 

What memories do we keep, and which do we throw away. 

Lately its the small things that have been reminding me of my past, cracks in a wall, pots and plants, rocks shaped in particular ways, boxes and writings. And I would have thought it would be the big things. But I make blueberry pancakes and think of my grandmother, and my mother, and of my older brother and eating texas shaped waffles. The trouble with these memories is that they come in waves, and they are un controllable. We surround ourselves with objects in this attempt to construct some sort of memory on them, to implant some importance to our things. But when its all done and those times are over we are just left with the weird boxes of junk that hold too much memory to get rid off. We will trade in our first car and all the times spent in it, move from our first apartments and homes, trade up and expand with the big things, but we keep the pot, or the basket, or the humming bird pin. 

And each compounds on itself, building collections of tiny objects filled with memory. Maybe its that we impart all of our self onto the smaller things, and are defined by the bigger. Our car defines the character we want to be, but the humming bird pin in our pocket takes the wear and tear of our stress. 

So how do we decide which of these memories is important to us? How do we sift through the boxes that pile up of old work, or old objects, or old clothes? 

 

On Small Places and New Paintings by Cody Bubenik

WIP Shot (Red State Fern: Community Growth in isolation)

WIP Shot (Red State Fern: Community Growth in isolation)

My apartment is not a large space. 2 bedrooms and a small living room. When I moved to the apartment it was on the tail end of a recent fire. Middle of the summer me and my parents and brother fighting and covered in sweat and stress. Backed out of another apartment and moved here. 

The windows of my place fill one wall of my bedroom, in the summer months the windows heat up the entire room, in the winter months the cold air seeps in through the cracks. Every weekend I open the windows and draw back the curtains. In front of the windows I paint and draw and listen to music. Singing along to Bill Callahan. 

Outside people meet at the back of the church in the grassy area, one by one they bring their dogs to play while they sit and chat and catch up on the day. In the distance there is a vegetable garden, parents with their kids growing gardens. 

I grew up in a semi small town, to those in a small town it would seem like an insult to refer to it as a small town but it felt that way. I don't think nor am I going to wax on about the importance of small town mentalities, but the importance of small spaces is becoming relevant more and more lately to me.  The dog park behind a weird church becomes a meeting ground for the neighbors and apartment community. The living room of my brothers boyfriends house becomes a safe space for queer men to gather and discuss. The regular spot at a bar outside is the place friends can let down their guard and open up after a long day. 

I started painting again, and in the creation of new images and the repetition of a process I haven't done since Graduating I realize the importance of how these small places influence and activate those processes and actions. I wondered to myself why a family of 3 boys growing up in a conservative town would venture out to pursue a more liberal political ideology. and I think in some degree the small places we carved out with people were an influence. But I would argue that it was the leaving and moving to a place that was bigger that caused the dramatic change. That contrasting of places and ideas influenced discussion in a larger context. It made defending of ideas and beliefs important. 

This blog is lacking some sort of substance or importance. 

I'm thinking of ideas, of anger and resentment, of hatred and sadness, of contrasting those with the feeling of being good. I said Hi to someone today and it had me thinking about all these things. of pressures of community building, of leaving, of re joining, of life and diverging paths and formations of new communities.  

On Likeness and Difference by Cody Bubenik

Majestic Rock

Majestic Rock

    Another point in the usage of the rock as a symbol is the understanding that it is both a very unique and very generic object. As much as I intend for the work to be separate from a personal experience of work I believe these symbols represent a crucial part of identity, the need for individuality and the want to fit in. And at a grander scale this contrast is part of the unique problem fueling the divide in American politics. I recently read a great article in The Atlantic about the idea that stated

"The larger context of this isolation and alienation is America’s culture of individualism. It, too, can worsen the despair. Taken to an extreme, self-reliance becomes a cudgel: Those who falter and fail have only themselves to blame. They should have gotten more education. They should have been more prepared. On this score, too, the U.S. deviates from other wealthy nations. America’s frontier spirit of rugged individualism is strong, and it manifests itself differently by race and education level, too.""

 

   This problem is also inherently the backbone of the american southern community, ( and I will only speak of my personal culture as the larger context of Mexican/Hispanic/Black/Asian cultures are something that should be spoken about from the individual culture in question) are generations of farmers and homesteaders who's belief was that failure is a result of only themselves to blame. This rugged individualism as the author states is in large part a catalyst for feelings of isolation and alienation which leads the individuals to support parties and candidates that pander towards that. It is interesting that Rocks occupy this space, the rugged individualism of an individual rock, that is the pattern or the design, the mineral composite, the shade and texture is obvious on further examination but the original understanding of a rock is usually in context of a large grouping. 

I feel to some degree the urge as both an artist and an individual to separate myself along these lines. To blend in and then to stand out when the time is decided. The initial contrast of plant life and rock life was a contrast of different perceptions of similar ideas of memory, but also different ideas of emotional understanding and different ideas of personal experience. These differences when paired together make a very unique and wonderful experience, they create a dynamic landscape (be it emotional, political, academic, ect) that encompasses a variety of different ideas. 

When people complain about the idea of american politics having a two party system and being un available to a third distinct party I feel they miss the importance of our two party system, the evolution of the two party system is surely political and economic, but at the same time it's inherently cultural. The creation of that system is and was dependent on our cultural evolution. There was no need for the formation of a separate third party because the american people by and large fit into 1 of 2 major categories of believing. This should not be taken lightly, the idea that such a large percentage of the country can be described by a 2 party system and fit so rigidly in those boundaries is both interesting and frighting. 

The formation of any third party is only created on the outskirts of the main party. extreme left or right. Interesting enough a party of middleground is not the party that people accept or demand when they expect a third party. It is usually talked about as a further entrenchment of extreme right wing or left wing ideology. (IE tea party, libertarian, green party, democratic socialist) but just as the combination of rocks and plant life create a beautiful composition and landscape the combination of both ideologies would bring us into a completely new and bright political landscape. 

On The Rock as a Symbol by Cody Bubenik

Hit by A Car: Self Published Zine

Hit by A Car: Self Published Zine

It took being hit by a car to understand a big part of the symbolism I was using. Or let me back track and say it was a catalyst for understanding things. I feel a degree of guilt and stupidity when I say that a seemingly generic dramatic event gave me a seemingly generic revelation. But its the truth and a good way of starting.

The day before I was busting rocks with a hammer, my coworker had un installed some bike racks on campus and the bolts had been drilled down into the earth, and the covered with concrete. It was his idea to cut the bolts as close to the concrete foundation as possible and then to hammer the remains into the earth. “Dont worry they’ll slide right in” as he’s cutting he’s telling me stories about his time in the army. Sparks are flying around him and there’s a certain feeling of weight to his stories of how he use to “do shit like this all the time” He’s brief on details of his time and it seems to me he was more eager to leave it behind. Unlike my coworkers, the majority of who are all old army buddies, he feels no need to bring up his time unless in a situation with another man that seems to call for it. When another old guard brings up their time he seems to grudgingly comment, always with a laugh and a sort of anxious changing of the subject. I wonder if for him he feels similar guilt of bringing up a brief stint in the service to men who slept with their guns by their side every night for many years. 

The process of busting down bolts isn’t so exact, for the most part they stay stubbornly in place while the hammer does more damage to the surrounding foundation then it does to the bolts. one in every five may slide an inch or two further into the ground, but only after a long period of aggressive beating. For the most part i’m left feeling like this is an exercise in us letting out our anger. Busting something that cant bust back. as the rocks fly and gravel is created I begin to feel a bit stupid in spending an hour of work time doing something that no body on campus or in the organization will ever notice. In just a weeks time construction on this section of the sidewalk will begin and jackhammers and machine will begin tearing up the surrounding foundation to replace it with a new form of gravel and landscaping. His eyes are focused on the blade and the sparks surrounding him so I don’t bring up this fact. And i’m enjoying being outside instead of punching keys on a computer. 

The next day as i’m riding my bike back to work i’m hit by a lincon town car. I try to stop in time as he pulls out from a stop sign but all I can really manage to do is utter “shit” and “fuck” as I fly over the hood of his car and hit the ground. I’m reminded now looking back of those pieces of rocks flying everywhere when hit with a forceful object. And i’m sure in the moment I felt a degree of helplessness like I too might become a collection of nothing more than rocks. My legs hurt a great deal and i’m sore. There’s a bit of relief that comes with feeling your legs. I know i’m not paralyzed and that i’m relatively ok. I’ll skip discussing any more of the details of the crash due to the guilt and the unimportance it has to the overall message. 

As i’m laying around the house icing my leg and laughing and enjoying my vacation i’m beginning to ask myself why I chose to draw obsessively rocks and plants. In my immediate mind I believed that it was more objective and pretty and that an art world would be more interested in something that can be labeled and has a structural image. But I know its something more than that. There is a reason I chose to address myself as a rock in the majority of my comics, and furthermore a reason I felt that this Texas landscape and limestone were important enough of a symbol to look at. 

On the political side of things the rock and plant life represent two foundations of a crucial identity and divide in the country. The un controlled growth of a vine or plant life may be brought up as a symbol for the explanation of the potential that progressive politics or ideas can have on the country, as either a negative or a positive this symbol is used repeatedly as a representation of the effect ideas can have on shaping a nation and its cultural image. Surely the thought of some ancient ruins covered completely in the uncontrolled plant life of the surroundings symbolize a path that many on the conservative right believe progressivism will do to the country. Like wise the steadfast collection of years represented by the rock, and the breaking apart of structure can be used as a symbol for the inherent problem with conservative ideology. The inability to grow and shape itself to anything and the effect of breaking apart when confronted with a singular dynamic force of change is represented in the very existence of a rock or rock formation. These two symbols used in conjunction however can show a unique and complicated understanding of the political system working at its best. That is a strong foundation on which controlled growth expand and exemplify common features. An image of a tree growing out of the foundation of a sturdy boulder is brought to mind. To me the rock and the plant life represent contrasting but similar ideas in life and growth. In the establishment of culture and image they both play an important and dynamic role. The rock and foundation being the geological collection of years of human data. The plant life being a representation of current progress and understanding. And even in this I begin to feel for the conservative ideology, which has always had at its core the problem of appearing old and useless. Of being the rock standing in the way of change.

On Flooding by Cody Bubenik

Flood Waters

Flood Waters

I remember very vaguely various floods in my life.  Recently Austin has had two floods, and since settling down here they are the one's that stand out to me the most. I took a trip this weekend to the Greenbelt and went hiking a bit by myself before meeting with a friend. The water was flowing and clear which was nice for a change. Every few feet the path was blocked by some huge tree trunk, something that had fallen in the storm of the previous week and been left there. On the base of these trees spray painted in a perfect circle around the trunk was a singular orange line, and my assumption was this is the guide for those workers who will come in and cut apart the tree opening the path up again to walkers and bikers and dogs.

If you venture from the path a little ways and walk along the creek/river bed you can find the remnants of the flash floods. The soft mud under your feet and the warped path of the wild grass, pulled down by the water rushing across. Tree's fallen and on their side, flowers up rooted rocks still coated in a thick moisture. It would have been interesting to see the impact the day of the flood, the news showed pictures of houses flooding, cars sinking, people being saved.

I recall driving home from a friends house during, being stuck on the freeway. Passing a group of cars gathered around the railings. Their eyes were scanning the water frantically. Over and over they were scanning the water as if trying to catch a glimpse of something lost, something that at any moment would pop up and recover itself. The fire department and police ignored it, they brought out their gear and rain coats, directed cars around. I remember feeling a sense of dread wondering what it is they were looking for that could have made the fall into the river, what would cause two women to sit on the side of a busy free way in the pouring rain with no umbrella or coat frantically searching. When I got home I read about the story, a man crashed and then jumped over the railing into the water. They found his body later. 

When I was younger Katrina was the big flood. I didn't care much about it then, it never effected me and it was another out of sight situation. I remember briefly being without power at my home, I remember light flooding and our house was fine. I remember kids coming to our schools, the stories were always that they had lost everything or most things and had moved back to be with friends or family. In a new school with no one around them after losing everything. Thinking about it now it makes me upset, even more upset that I didn't think about it then. I heard on a radio show stories about Katrina, One woman talked about losing her house and job, all of her clothes. She came to another state and didn't have anything, people assumed she was a bum, assumed she was up to nothing good. I remember the same thoughts about those kids who came to our school, dressed badly and in long hanging shirts with ratty blue jeans. They had the same look on their eyes as the women scanning the water on the highway. Constantly looking around as if something would recover. And the rest of us were just passers by, judging image and form, making assumptions and implications based on appearance and no story. The assuming factor was that things should be beautiful that's how you know they are normal. There was something more truthful and normal about the whole story though. 

And here I am along the creek/river bed taking pictures of the aftermath, trying to create something beautiful out of natural wreckage, here I am along side the highway looking on as crews dive into the waters and try to find a body, here I am drawing pictures, painting things, making stuff as houses and memories and shared times are destroyed by the water. And I have to ask myself how I can contribute to something larger. How I can do better and more meaningful work. and hopefully I get successful enough to answer that question.  It's not just the success, it's the worry that art, or rather my art can never have a meaningful impact. Or rather that the meaningful impact that other people have.

My brother reports news, my other brother helps with education, my father oversees construction on  homes, my mother oversees banking projects. Everything that seems to have a direct correlation with making peoples lives easier and better, and they aren't given any thanks for the jobs they do. And here I am trying to make art and churning it out in the hopes of selling something, in the hopes of changing and creating something new. And I can't help but ask for what purpose. 

On Coffee and Red State by Cody Bubenik

Bush Mug

Bush Mug

Part of me wants to smash the mug you gave me against the ground, on drunken nights when I start feeling down I think of how nice it would be to destroy a symbol of memories. to shatter it into a million pieces and collect them all. I tore up the note you left me. The shreds didn't make me feel any better though. Each individual piece didn't change the collective whole, it didn't re establish anything, it didn't change the way I felt. It felt like a childish way of addressing an issue internally. 

Part of me wants to leave a note inside the mug, apologizing and explaining, in this way maybe you could see me as a person who is kind and understanding. I thought about this before I tore up your letter, thought about letting it sit in the bottom of my drawer and maybe one day when i'm older I would look back and reminisce on how good times were.  Maybe you would do the same with the mug. 

But the note didn't do me any good in the bottom of a drawer, nor did it do me any good torn up. likewise the mug doesn't do anyone good collected or shattered. An image is just an image, a symbol is just a symbol. And the reflection on them as anything more is what creates a negative association of nostalgia. Images like life should be created in shifts and stages, ever evolving and forming into newer and better ideas. Inspired by the world around us and the past that made us. When image making shifts too heavily in either direction we fall into the same childish traps. Breaking a mug against the ground, burning a letter from an ex.  

I think I have decided to pack it up, and leave it with your friend, no note, no comment, no anything. 

Red State is about similar thoughts. To me its about examining things I find and understanding their relation to a bigger picture, how small objects and memories can be transformed into larger ideological points and pictures. Something personal can be expanded to be something universal. The drawings are a state in the overall idea, plannings and initial memories created. memories of ideas and times and thoughts. From there they will evolve, change forms and mediums, become objects and writings, be given out and taken in. At the end a bigger picture might arise a better understanding of what those times and objects and symbols meant and mean. 

I've been reading how we (Texas) became a Red State how demographics and influence and politics and economics all created a push for conservative agendas and belief structures. How data points and academics collectively understand the voting blocks of Texas. Part of me believes this to be the best understanding. Part of me is torn by memories, about rapid changes in beliefs experienced, about political dynamics evolving. and like the coffee mug i'm left with a similar choice. Reaction or non reaction. 

How do these images, how do these memories, how do these ideas and people and politics shape our reactions? Why do we smash mugs, why do we leave notes, is it an inherently selfish response to our surroundings? A belief that our memories and our existence is so important that it must and has shaped the resulting culture? Or is it a belief that we are so unimportant that we would do anything to leave a memory? 

These are the thoughts that i'm having while i'm starting this newer series. Thinking about myself, thinking about my actions, thinking about the past and the future, thinking about feelings, and politics, and culture, and trying to see how individual work can both reflect and effect that culture. How it can explain and be explained. 

The mug use to mean something to me, the things I have use to remind me of memories of a better time and place, more and more lately they remind me the dangerous nature of that type of nostalgia. one that associates itself with only the positive. The type that leaves out the fights and the anger, that leaves out the tough nights. How do we construct a better image? A more complete and complicated understanding.  These are things i'm beginning to think of. Things i'm hopefully working on. 

 

On Trump by Cody Bubenik

Donald Trump : Donald Duck 

Donald Trump : Donald Duck 

      I am obsessed currently with Trump. If you wanted a character that completely compiles everything that has been happening in politics, or rather the political image making of politics, into one being, you have Trump. Literally the Trump card, the politician who can’t be stopped because he isn’t and is. To me Trump represents this fictional space we are crawling into.  A culture that is constantly re writing its own history and present to define it under positive terms. Where flashes of images and advertisements constantly impact us, sub consciously influence us, Where the blurring of reality and fiction is made apparent every single day when we sign on to an Instagram feed or a twitter feed.

       Trump is this,  or as put above he is and he isn’t. An image that is out of control a point that has no point and a point, a commentary only given by people in desperate attempt to make sense out of senseless. When trumps popularity gains it’s a perfect example of popularity gaining because it’s popular.  

      A world which moves to fast for even itself Trump is a snowball tearing down a mountain.

       Trumps failure doesn’t matter, his success doesn’t either, his existence, his success to this point is all that is important. It has guaranteed a generation of PR firms and marketers will look towards his performance and attempt to model future candidates after it. The idea of a candidate that is allowed to say whatever he wants whenever he wants and still get positive poll numbers is a PR dream. It is what every corporation, every politician, every one of us is looking for.

          Trump is a chaotic being, he is disorder in every way, a disruption of a system. I won’t vote for Trump, I’m not saying he’s a good candidate or a good human being or a good politician. But an image he’s the best. 

         He is an Artists dream. An image unable to be destroyed by criticism, one that feeds off of its own existence. One that will forever last in the memories of the American people, and forever be written down.

All press is good press. And Trump is a press magnet. 

On Succulents by Cody Bubenik

Holy Plant Start

Holy Plant Start

                 In Texas, In the summers, not much can grow. The heat beats down on all life, one hundred and ten degrees all day, flowers wilt in this sun, the pavement burns any roots that should sneak out of the soil and up in an attempt to grasp what little water might drop. The water that does drop doesn’t run off, it is evaporated into the endless miles of sky before it can reach the soil. Every day the sun boils, every day it beats down. And every day the plant life suffers.

Of the few beautiful plants that do grow are the succulents. Their roots are structured to withstand this particular torture. They reach down and out across the desert lands, not comfortable with a single place they instead draw their life from the surrounding area, holding onto each drop that falls as a memory, a recollection of a time before the heat, a time before the pavement, a time before the brutal boiling sun and the endless days of summer.

 Day in and day out they collect this water. And Day in and day out they store.

The plant swells and burst with these collected days, as its roots grow and plant themselves firmly in the Texas soil, its body stretches up. Embracing the sun in a bitter defiance of its wrath. Day in and day out they grow towards the sun, with each vertical inch their body swells and hardens, days of rain, days of floods, days of droughts and attacks and hurricanes, all these days stored inside. The outer shell develops its spikes. In a desperate attempt to prevent the theft of its life, to prevent some outsider, some thirsty animal or hungry spirit from digging in and draining it. The spikes grow sharp, they populate the outside a tough callous.

The plant is not all tough, not all functional, not all hardened, in the dead of the night when the sun has stopped its torment a single flower will grow, unfurling its beautiful blood red color to the night sky, calling up towards the stars in gratitude. In the night, in the moments when the city or desert or plains have grown quiet the plant performs its beauty.

 The flower, or the budding of this flower is infrequent, only for a moment is its true beauty manifested in ready shape. The years of stress and strain hidden deep inside only to burst for a week or more. The flower then takes shape, it unfurls itself to the world in a bold display of its livelihood. The succulent screams its existence, bright flashes of yellows and reds, of golds and umbers, dancing in the hot winds that whip across the landscape, twirling and flowing, reflecting the sun’s rays back up. While the other plants wither and burn, while their beauty fades and breaks down the succulent’s expands. The flower draws on the days, it draws on the sun, it draws on the floods and the hurricanes and the ice, it draws on the planting, on the first time that the same winds now dashing its flower around transported its seed into the soil it now stands. All of these days it stood enduring and collecting now for a brief moment on display for the world.

and then just as before it retracts. It returns to its shell and begins its slow stretch upwards.

Day in and day out.

 

On Forgiveness and its relation to art and image by Cody Bubenik

Flowers I was going to send to you.

Flowers I was going to send to you.

         One of the things rarely mentioned to me in my so far very short artistic life is forgiveness. In the creation of a human image, or a creation of our being forgiveness is at the core. The concept alone acts as a catalyst for the religions and dogmas that have dominated the cultural landscape of humans for generations, and there is virtually no form of media or narrative that doesn't speak about the importance of forgiveness. Likewise it seems that forgiveness is an important concept for the creation of art and works.

         If a work starts as an idea and then forms around it, if we spend our time cultivating that idea then we also have to incorporate a degree of fault in that idea. The pursuit of perfection in idea drives us down a path of research and intellectual discovery, however if perfection itself becomes the end goal, and not the perfection of the idea, then the work is warped to be another work about work. I’m against work about work, because work is not an inherent quality of the human race. The recent drive to fetish work is an example of economic and political policy driven by a classicist desire to incorporate work into the idea of a human existence. The artist I grew up around have a strange desire for talking about all the work they do, an image that incorporates the complexity of “process” and work is all the rage.

          But is there anything complex about process? Sure the turning of gears and the complexity of a self-driving car are interesting pieces, and they do talk to some degree about the complex nature of technology and its relation to improving and destroying the human condition, but these things are not necessarily complex, except to those that have never engaged in this kind of work. From a construction workers point of a view the building of complex concrete buildings is not art but rather a daily task that more often than not they would kill to rid themselves of.

          My father busted his back in the fields laying pipe when he was younger, digging and plumbing, building and nailing. His parents and grandparents were cotton farmers out in west Texas. Out in the Texas heat picking crops. To my father, work is a badge of honor, however it is one that he wants to rid himself at some point. He worked (along with my mother) in an attempt to create a life for his sons in which that sort of hard work isn't necessary. I mention this because the appreciation (or fetishism) of work in the current culture comes from a nostalgic looking of what was.

               I don’t work as hard as my father. I don’t do the type of back breaking labor he did in his youth and I won’t have to. Likewise I don’t do the type of work that the construction worker who currently sits on a crane a few feet above my head does. And there is something inherently confusing about fetishizing that type of work from a comfy chair and air conditioned building.  Work about work is that sort of idea. To go to a gallery to see process work seems insane, or to see work about working. Why not simply walk into the gallery and view the bricks and the piping, the architectural drawings and the lumber used to hold the building. How about the graceful sweeping of the custodial staff and the conversations of their life they have at low hours of the night? 

      Forgiveness comes to mind now as a more important and interesting tool to use. (and forgive me if you disagree (and forgive me for that joke) ) the beauty of painting is the natural ability for forgiveness, the fluidity of the medium (in combination with drawing) allows for plenty of time of self-reflection. The painting is not done till it is decided to be done, it exist in several states until a realization is made. With painting (at-least to me) forgiveness is of primary importance. It is interesting to see the failing of painting globally that seems to continually get talked about. The removing of walls to hang paintings and the moving towards installation, performance, and object creation. Is this a result of the work fetish? Where all art is being drawn down a narrow path of art objectivity?  What comes to mind now is the destruction of object, but done in real time it becomes a performance, done over time it becomes a series, the natural state of decay that should exist with objects has been eliminated as simply a point of poor craftsmanship or conceptual message.

       Maybe the question of forgiveness becomes from a nostalgic view as well. Maybe we can only forgive ourselves and others once forgiveness has already been given, and the saying of that word is not an action but rather a decision to accept what already exist. This would seem to fall in line with painting and my perception of forgiveness being involved with it. Do I really forgive the marks I make accidentally? Or do I make them purposely and then later accept them?  

       What is inherent to me in either of these scenarios is that the appreciation of the work (or process) involved in creation of the work is only interesting after all the other interest have been examined, and even in the writing of the post the primary entrance to it is not how I have typed or constructed but rather the ideas presented. And of course the ideas are strengthened by form (however bad) but at what point does form take over? There are pieces of great literature as well that deal with this issue, whose context and idea is of the form of writing. And these are needed as a way of pushing the art form to a new place. But if we never push to a new place then what is the point in pushing in the first place?

    I've been wondering if art will make a move back to illustrative, among my peers drawing and painting seem to be gaining popularity, fun and seriousness mixed together fiction seems to be important, but also there seems to be a push back to representational work. A push to reexamine how we can strengthen representational work and use it in context with the new appreciation for form to create something new and exciting.

    For me the first step in creating something new and exciting is that initial forgiveness. The ability to not seek perfection but to seek perfection of. The failing is just as important as the success of a piece in the cultural creation of a new. I begin to see work and its creation in religious terms. The idea of alpha and omega comes to me in the creation of all my work. Every work is both the beginning and the end of an idea, a thought that progresses through time and builds, I think of them as points of talk in a larger conversation. And I have no desire for my work to be the defining thought in the conversation but rather a part of the whole.

 

On Reconstruction: The life of an Apron and talk on image creation. by Cody Bubenik

Reconstructed Apron: Burning old memories

Reconstructed Apron: Burning old memories

The apron as an artistic tool is interesting. Or rather as a metaphor. It protects and confines. I remember many days in the Litho studio sweating through my shirts as I rolled up ink slabs. All the time my trusty Pepsi apron tied around my waste. An apron, like a good pair of jeans, is only established after it's been worn and broken in. Years of dust and dirt, abuse and struggle. An apron collects the remnants of better times, every spot a reminder of a time before a finished project took form. 

 

How do we chose an object like this? My mother collects them, her laundry room filled with racks of multicolored aprons each with a unique symbol and pattern. Given to her by friends and family over the years. And it seems the only way to obtain such an object is through a gift. An apron purchased for the self lacks the necessary character. An image placed on yourself selfishly rather than graciously by loving friends. No apron should be bought by the individual, it should be presented in a ritual, a gift or a prize, a badge of honor, a token of passing.  

            What does this say about those that collect aprons? And what does the apron say about us? Our image is a creation of the same principles that drive an apron to its glory. Our image, like the apron, is constructed through years of dirt and grit, through generations of passed down stories and layered lessons. Through heartbreak and love, birth and death, and anything in between. Likewise our image is not simply given by ourselves. We can only take up the mantle of reconstruction and redefining our image as we de-construct the image that already exist for us.  This process becomes a continuous reflection and mediation of the image we have and the impact it has on society.  On a state level our Texas image is based in a long history of cultural exchange from our southern brothers and sisters, Native American ancestor, and eastern settlement and exchange. To deny any one group its place in the overarching narrative of Texas is to reconstruct the story of Texas identity completely. The political pushes to do this are a result of that understanding, a result of a complicated understanding of the history of the Texan identity that is used to forcibly eliminate a class, race, gender, sexuality from the grander narrative of “Texan” and anyone who claims it is simply a “result of the times” uses the guise of ignorance as a mask.

            So then why create an apron? Why not build political movements and thesis, why not storm the capital and promote political change? Why not encourage positive growth and understanding of culture and participate in the larger exchange of education and information?

For me the creation of the image is only the primary entrance into a topic. The image (object) is a tool. In my eyes (and it could be entirely different in yours) the object is a visual metaphor for a complicated topic. When the object becomes fetishized we overlook the importance of what the object represents. This is the reason I create in a way that doesn't focus on the ability to be archived. Only through the understanding that the object will degrade can we understand the importance of observing its message while it exist. And more importantly is what the object can do to facilitate a conversation in the now rather than in the future.

            The object has two primary lives (hopefully). The object of the now has a purpose and function of facilitating and explaining a wider complicated issue. The object of the future is an object appreciated for its (hopeful) facilitation of that conversation. The importance of a future object is the value it brought or the purpose it served. The apron is an object that serves these two primary lives. The functional use of the now and the future use of the nostalgia. We remember the times spent with our mothers in the kitchen baking, or the late nights at the Litho studios, or the solitary of a working studio.

            So this relationship is important, the balance of memory and conversation the push and pull of nostalgia and progress is a central theme to my work and on a wider range to the appreciation and creation of a wider more complicated and inclusive world. Like the multicolored rack of aprons that hang in my mother’s laundry room the identity of the future is one not dominated by a singular being but spread and varied. 

 

[Post on Posting] by Cody Bubenik

I don't know how many people actually view this site (click the little heart or like button at the bottom so I can find out). For the most part it seems to be just ramblings on whatever issue I can find at the moment, and a lot of them aren't exactly based in a research and scientific approach. There is a lot that I don't know and I hope I don't pretend to know too much.

Life lately has been absent of a lot of work, and I knew after undergrad work would slow down but not to this degree. A good portion of it has slowed down because of personal reasons, and I find myself getting more and more lethargic (see depressed) about life and making in general. I have become again obsessed with memories and wonder if I am living too much in the past. To me that is the danger of nostalgia, and I talk about a lot why it is used, but that primary function of or rather that longing that occurs with nostalgia is dangerous. 

I wonder why we don't long for the future like we do the past, the safety and security of the past seems to always trump the insecurity of the future. And I am sure there are those that the unknown excites. I'm going to try and push forward with images and objects, trying to create new stuff that talks and excites and challenges. But I can't guarantee their success. 

I feel like the cowboy image is continually in that framework, something looking back, it's funny this contradiction. the cowboy seems to be a combination of pioneer and settler always towing that line. And I use it (like many others) as a symbol for those ideas in a nation or culture. Of the recent movies I watched Interstellar stood out to me, it seemed to challenge this notion or play on it a little bit. A farmer, an engineer, an explorer. maybe he is the new cowboy. 

there are a lot of questions to answer still a lot of things to comment on. And maybe I don't know my own position on the issues. But maybe it's ok for positions to evolve and mature. Being set in your ways is what lends nostalgia it's power. 

We have to accept the past for what it is and attempt to move forward with as little ill will as possible. I try to do that as much as I can.

On Texas Writings : #2 by Cody Bubenik

                In the morning I listen to my brothers voice on the radio, from out west near the border in Marfa somewhere in a small studio my brother sits discussing the local happenings in a town where local happenings aren’t big news. He’s a slender guy and I can picture him sitting there in his chair with a western button up and his cowboy boots. The radio, and the airwaves have brought us together for a brief moment he’ll never make enough money to visit more than once or twice a year. And even if he did I don’t think he’d care too.

                In the other room my twin brother is asleep, him and his boyfriend have had a long night of drinking and studying, not necessarily in that order, his boyfriends dog is barking and needs to be let out but they can’t hear it. They are too far gone in their slumber. The morning still has that stale taste in the air, the birds are chirping and it’s not peaceful a mixture of sun and flood lights seep in through the windows. The kitchen is a mess and there’s no time to clean it, almost ten hours of sleep last night and I’m still tired. The exhaustion seems to grow each day today I wonder if it’s hit a breaking point as I try and make something for my future lunch.

                On the way back from my grandfather’s rosary my dad and I sit in the front of his truck. I remember reading earlier a line from McMurty about the relationship between horses and trucks or something of that nature. It wasn’t exactly life changing but an interesting relationship either way. Either way I begin to feel that connection as I ride beside him in the front. He tells me about his jobs flying across the country, working in the cold driving through the rain all of that stuff he did busting his back when he was young just trying to make money and get by. I asked him if he ever thought about leaving Texas, moving away and settling down here. In a sentimental moment un-characteristic of my interactions with my dad he said to me that Texas was his home. “I enjoyed my time out, but I always wanted to come back home” I began to wonder then what it is about a state that can make someone feel so special and so included. Certainly it was in large part due to my mother who was sitting at home some 20 odd years ago waiting up for my dad In the dead of the night. More than likely pacing the floor to make sure he dragged himself in and arrived safely.

                But there was something else, my mother could have moved anywhere and my father traveled half the eastern coast doing jobs surely there was some place just as good, just as homey, just as fun that he could have picked up and moved to. Yet he planted his roots here in the dry Texas soil.  

I’m standing at the bus stop now, beside me ten or fifteen other college aged kids wait with their eyes buried in their phones. I’m no exception to this rule as I scroll endlessly through the pages of news I have queued up from the night before. I tell myself I’m trying to be worldlier, I’m trying to understand global politics and economics and the impact of the world. But after the third or fourth paragraph my mind begins to wander to paint splotches, cactuses, and the particular color of the concrete below me. I feel to some degree lost in the patterns of the objects around me, over and over again I find myself staring at the pole covered in ripped stickers and scuff marks, or the collection of pebbled rocks tossed in a flower bed beside the bus stop. I wonder if this is a bad sign, if it means I’m falling out of touch with the particular world I occupy, but the sea of phones and tired eyes lets me know that the others around me could care less about interaction too.  The bus ride is long and silent and I think the bus drivers must hate it, the old guards that saw the change occur must not be able to reconcile driving a group of 40 some people who say collectively 2 words, but I enjoy the silence of the ride.

A man across the aisle reads silent from a hard backed book. The kind where the cover has no picture, no ad no anything. Just a simple golden title written across the spin. Oddly enough the man resembles a younger skinner Louis CK a fact that both me and the woman beside him have figured out. She stares at him in disbelief as if in the blink of an eye he might transform himself into a different person, as if the universes themselves will collide and for a brief moment this man and the comedian will change places. 

I am focused on his boots. A dark green hue with a wonderfully unique pattern, half Christmas tree half cactus, the bottom soles of the boot are a particular hue of brown that resembles un treated pine wood. In a layered pattern only roughly a half an inch thick a beautiful array of browns come together. It’s impolite to take a photo so I pull my sketchbook out and begin to sketch him, I only get the boot done before the man beside me starts staring at my drawing, watching every movement of my wrist and forearm in much the same way as the woman watches Louie turn every page of his book. I can feel my anxiety rise as other people begin to notice his staring.

I’ll take a moment here to describe the effects of drawing in public. When a situation like this arises the collective thoughts of the place are easy to read, the cute girl beside me believes I am attempting to look mysterious, the older couple are always astounded by the sheer ability to draw on paper, the man next to me is interested in exactly what is being constructed (from his angle it’s hard to read) and now everyone’s attention is focused on what should have been a relaxing task. It is this way every time, there is no escaping and artist who say they enjoy drawing in public or coffee shops obviously don’t have the same level as anxiety as any rational human should.

I put away my sketchbook and try to turn my attention to anything but Louie and his boots.

 

 

Old friends like to ask me if I’ll stay in Texas. And unlike my father I don’t know how to answer this question. At my core I say that Texas is my home, but there is a bit of regret at not seeing the collection of what the world has to offer. Maybe if I had been to Europe or traveled to the Middle East I would get through more than the first few paragraphs of the New York Times article before tuning out. And in an increasingly global world it seems more important for artist to understand the complex geopolitical structures that make up our world. How could I then tell someone, like my father did so many years ago, that I would stay in Texas and live here? And on the reverse how could I tell someone that I have any plans to venture out of the safety I have built?

At night I have fever dreams, I wake up in a seemingly endless cycle of dreams within dreams, in these dreams I refer to them as parallels, universes existing beside each other, and for a brief moment when I wake up I believe I might have unconsciously slipped into one of these.  I wonder if the song I put on always sounded that way, or if I have slipped into another plane of existence where the tuning is slightly different.

 

 

                After Louie leaves I’m stuck thinking about Texas, thinking about the evolution of the boot that was described to me by a professor during my final semester at UT. I wonder how important the evolution of a symbol like that can be to the overall outcome of life and image. My professor John Yancey speaks to me about myth making, and about the effect that has on history. And I can’t hide my interest in the subject for long. There are long talks about this while the paint dries on the canvas and long nights spent thinking about the relationships between history and myth.

                In the first semester at school I remember speaking about Zen gardens, and the process by which they are maintained. I couldn’t help seeing my father on his riding lawn mower tracing the grains of the grass up and down every Sunday and the passing of the mantle from father to son down each generation. King of the hill is the only show I know to make this connection. There was something similar to a Texan and his yard and the Buddhist monks and their garden. A Buddhist monk might find the relation of his garden to a front lawn offensive, but I’m sure a Texan would find the relation of his yard to a garden just as offensive.

                I say this because I believe there is more to the Texan Image then I know or people give credit, I believe its history and it’s myth making strongly exemplify a part of our character as humans. And the very nature of a Texan preaching the power of their image should drive this point home. Texas seems to be the most important and the least important, a state trapped in an endless loop of nostalgia and progress that describes our world. The people growing up in Texas, the true Texans grow to love and hate themselves. The image is both John Wayne and Big Tex, Hank Hill and LBJ.

                And I feel a relation to Louie’s boots, my identity becomes a complex layering of fiction and truth. Of fashion and phopa. I feel that transition in myself, the pressure of the woman’s gaze on my back at all times.

As if I too might slip at any moment into one of the parallels and become the comedic version of myself.

 

 

 

 

On Memories, Space-Time and Permanence. by Cody Bubenik

        My grandmother died when I was young. It doesn't sound abnormal for something like this to happen and everyone has dealt with it at some point. Possibly in the future death will be an archaic concept. A choice made by those who've seen enough. But as for now death exist.

    I remember wondering where she went, where here body went was obvious but the collection of everything else that made her and their whereabouts was a complete mystery. (And is still) as I grew older I saw her more and more, in dreams in my aunts actions and especially in my mom. The collected actions and habits that had created my grandmother were passed down (sometimes unwillingly) to the successive generations of family. So her being, her physical body had been reduced to ashes and collected in an urn. We as a family had a small section of her physical body, her ashes that remained in a shelf in the living room, but more importantly we had the collective knowledge and memories. 

    My mother told me recently of her dreams, a reoccurring dream which my grandmother was with us all and we simply ignored that she was dead. We went about our days talking and expressing like we normally would and there she was, in all of  her glory talking the same way. For years I have had the same dream, and what previously haunted me now became a unifying factor.  I believed when I was younger that in some sense my grandmothers energy had simply been dispersed through the world. I would see a growing rose bush or the hummingbirds that came at spring and would assume that the natural course of the universe had taken hold and distributed her throughout the universe in whatever manner it seemed fit. The idea that my grandmothers collective soul rest in a collective place called heaven bothered me and I never took much to believing in a place like that. A friend of mine remarked to me the idea of being "one" with god, and I can't remember if this was when me and her were young or when we were older, regardless she described it as being one with a being. Which to me seemed more plausible then a physical space. I took comfort in the idea that at the end of days my energy or matter or whatever would be dispersed into some sort of oneness or void. Life wasn't permanent, but the ideas, being, the collective memories they all could be.

    When I think of permanence of work I think of this concept. I think of the death of my family, I think of the fading of memories and the changing of time. I think of the cosmic void of the universe. I don't think of these in negative terms but rather in practical understanding of what it means to be "Permanent". If I agreed that my being, my collective consciousness wasn't even permanent then how could I possibly believe that my work would be. The canvas and paper and material would all return to stardust at some point. Long after I am gone and the world is engulfed in the explosion of our sun. After the collapsing of the star and the collapsing of the universe my work would have already long been converted into raw materials and raw elements. But could the ideas life on? Could the ideas, like collective memories permeate through the universe? Could a single building block of an idea contribute to a successive grander narrative that stretches on through the fabrics of space-time? These are questions I like to ask when I worry.  And I don't think that these questions are necessarily present in my work, or that they need to be. But I think they are present in the thinking of creating. In methods of crafting and creating these thoughts exist. 

   

On Why I leave behind works. by Cody Bubenik

In art school there was a noticeable problem with the distribution of art work.  The problem I ran into was inevitable. That is to get better you have to practice, and practice results in a collection of artwork piling up. After every semester it was something of a ritual to gather all my work up in a collection of black trash bags and spend an hour or so hauling off the artwork to a dumpster. At the same time as i'm being told to create for the sake of creation and practice I hear on the professional side of things the need to limit the content created. The careful control of supply and demand seem to be at the core of creating an artistic market for someone. Which leads to the distribution problem. 

 While it was common for peers in the school to observe the work, to get the work seen by anyone outside of the very closed community was a significant challenge. This is not only due to the limited nature of gallery space in the area but also due to the differing skill level. It can't be expected for a collection of undergrad artist to be able to compete with graduate level work and professional work. When professionals, some of who have been working on their artistic craft for thirty to forty years more than you exist in the same area there's a noticeable lack of attention. This is normal. So at it's core there is an already an inherent complication with displaying work. But this is not my main concern, this is rather an example of a complicated system that seems to reward over production while giving no place for that production to exist in. Finding your market was a term people uttered a lot without any description as to what that meant. (Some of this was due to the lack of market those individuals had on their own.) 

   It would seem that digital distribution of ideas and artwork would be the ideal solution for a group of young artists. Living in a time of great technological advancement and access would seem to put a younger crowd at a significant advantage digitally. The distribution of works online should be an ideal place for artist growing up to display work and to create long lasting and complex discussions or artistic practice and ideas.  But even this is not true. The collection of social media and artistic platforms have been bought by already successful markets. In it's earliest creation Tumblr seemed to be an ideal platform for the free exchange of ideas especially of the artistic crowd. But as the popularity of the site grew the collection of established Artists took to the site in droves to establish themselves as  relevant. Again there is nothing inherently wrong with this.  Soon the site seemed to develop two distinctive collections of artwork. Artwork that was already successful made by successful artists who took to Tumblr as a way of increasing and diversifying their market.  And the second a collection of art that was limited to individual sub cultures. (Fan art for the most part) Young working Artist seemed to be in the middle of a complicated problem. The nail in the coffin arose with the support of corporate post. The inclusion of a system that insured the power stay powerful. The purchasing of prime time spots and top featured post as a function of advertising ensured that those with money can remain relevant by spending their money. The phrase rang true that you have to spend money to make money. But how does someone begin to make money when their is none to spend? 

The web has increasingly turned to these sorts of problems. In it's beginning stages Twitter too seemed to be an open avenue for creative minded writers, comedians and people to express openly ideas and connect. When the popularity of Twitter hit a certain point it was again taken over by a group of already successful celebrities and comedians desperate to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. Ask your friend right now how many celebrities they follow on twitter and I believe you'll find it's significantly more than the actual human friends they follow. On top of that promoted post took over to encourage loyal users to buy Budweiser. Again popularity was bought out by capital. Words that were once distributed openly  are now blocked by slogans and ad's celebrity input valued over the voice of the individual people.  Soon the issue became increasingly more complicated as corporations began hiring the individual people to post on the behalf of a celebrity. A young artist is now paid to create a joke for the Cheetos corporation instead of distributing their own ideas openly and freely. And further more the Cheetos company ask those same (often unpaid) interns to "watch what is said on social media" the threat of unemployment is held over the youth. Free exchange of ideas is dead, political outrage becomes dangerous and any open thoughts or creativity is smashed in the pursuit of a thirty hour un-paid internship. 

So how do we distribute work? The institutions are  increasingly filled, the internet has been taken from us by corporate sponsorship. It would seem that the only viable option for a youth would be to open their own gallery space. Leading again to the problem of those with capital being the only ones capable of distributing art. 

     Acquaintances of mine, and successful and interesting artist in their own right began to open up their house for shows. The idea is simplicity at it's core, to take a living space and turn it into a means of distribution. The line between house party and gallery is blurred. However the public's access to this work is extremely limited, and it serves as a stepping stone to being accepted by an "established" gallery at its core. Another friend of mine has together with a organization in town has combated the issue of distribution through the creation of another gallery (aptly named not gallery) and this is surely a step in the right direction for changing the methods of distribution of art. But the question arises what happens when not gallery becomes an actual established gallery? A question that at it's core deals with progression and it's effect on the nature of work. 

   I have thought about this. All of this, and by no means am I an intelligent voice on the subject. But I can't help but think that there must be a better way. There must be a way of reaching an audience that has nothing to do with established gallery spaces or corporate money. The idea of temporary street art comes to mind, but in a city like Austin wall space is even bought and sold. 

   I leave work for selfish reasons, I would like to believe that I leave works for a political reason, that I attempt to challenge the notions of what it means to distribute art. But I worry at the core that the reason for leaving work in general is to boost a market. And if that market becomes successful and people begin to know my name for leaving work what happens then. The same issues of progress come up again and again. Still I believe that the methods of distributing work should be looked at critically in this increasingly ad-based society. Work should be distributed the same as junk mail. Both good and bad art should fill the street and demand to be seen. Coffee-shops should become a collection of stacked art, bad sculptures and good paintings besides each other. Parents should open their homes to a flood of art, buildings should hang large scale installations in the storage sheds or maintenance closets. No wall space should be sacred anymore and a collection of thick paint should cover every wall of the downtown area.  Gallery spaces should become increasingly harder to get to, a path of sculptures and piles of papers should block the entry ways and parking lots. In order to view "High Art" a person should have to swim through a maze of art.

 

Mr Wayne Goes to Washington by Cody Bubenik

The use of the cowboy image by politicians has had a varied effect on the success of presidents and political figures. What follows is brief research I have done into the matter. 


 

Mr. Wayne Goes to Washington: Politicians and the use of the cowboy image

 

The reconstruction of the American cowboy image seems to occur every few generations, and starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s the political right begins to use this image to their benefit. This co-opting of the cowboy image was a particular move designed to gain strength in a volatile time. Generations of right-leaning politicians, starting with Ronald Reagan, have tapped into the power and strength that comes with the cowboy. It is this political co-opting that shapes the image of the American cowboy in the 21st century. As the cowboy begins to move from the open fields and pastures to the industrial plants and ivory towers, so does the political image associated with them, being re-shaped to fit a modern media heavy political image.

 It is easy to draw images of the cowboy politicians and more than a few come to mind with that phrase. The Bush family , Ronald Reagan,  a generation of non presidential figures from Ted Cruz to Rick Perry, And of course "Mr. Conservative" himself, Barry Goldwater.  In fact in the late 21st century it might be harder to find a politician (especially those of the right) who has not in some way shape or form associated them self with the cowboy image. The construction of this image seems to begin for the latter half of the 20th century with the reconstruction of Arizona as a republican dominated state and the rise of Barry Goldwater to senator. 

 It is not the success of Goldwater as a senator and certainly not his success as a president (as he lost his bid) that is of importance.[1] It is however the success of Goldwater in his ability to construct an image from the ground up and as Nicole Hemmer puts it in the book Barry Goldwater and the remaking of the American political landscape.  It showed that "conservative media figures had found they could successfully sell a candidate to conservatives." [2] Goldwater was a perfect example of a figure that could be sold. Goldwater used the western image heavily, If his face appeared on the cover of a newspaper or magazine he was sure to be decked out in full western get-up. A signature white cowboy hat and blue button down shirt is seen over and over on multiple photo ops, and even those covers that feature Goldwater in only suit and tie are often times illustrated with a majestic Arizona background. It is this use of the western image and conservative values allowed him widespread appeal to a voter basis while his dedication to the political gain allowed him to appeal to the conservative right.  In another chapter of Barry Goldwater and the remaking of the American political landscape  Elizabeth Tandy Shermer describes the effect of Goldwater’s rugged western appearance when pointing out the major news outlets coverage, “ Major news outlets such as Time and the Saturday Evening Post took notice of this rugged westerner and devoted pages to the Republican.” [3] This western appearance is exemplified by the cover of a 1963 edition of LIFE that features a young senator Goldwater with his horse Sunny. [4]  Goldwater is dressed in an all blue western shirt with a silver belt buckle and a white cowboy hat. Goldwater’s face is stern as he holds the horse in his hands. Behind him lay the mountains of the western landscape. In this cover we see a man confident in the use of the cowboy image, a politician who has consciously associated their image with that of the heroic cowboy. [5] It is not hard for us to believe that Goldwater might have just come down from the mountain on horseback, kicking up dust in his wake. And conservatives flocked to the image of Goldwater as the savior of their party. In Texas Rancher J. Evetts Haley’s book  A Texan looks at Lydon Haley reaches the conclusion that Goldwater was the solution to the parties destructive slide. [6] Nicole Hemmer in The Dealers and the Darling states that books like A Texan looks at Lydon  “were treated like campaign paraphernalia: handed out at conventions and rallies, and mailed to delegates and state party headquarters for free.” [7]

But while Goldwater may have had all the pieces arranged, he still hadn’t mastered the control of the image that successive politicians would. Hemmer points out that the conservative media at the time argued Goldwater’s message failed to penetrate and that voters never really knew what Goldwater stood for. And as later Hemmer points out "to win over the people not committed to the cause conservatives would first have to find a way to define themselves to the American people. This was the major lesson of the Goldwater campaign."[8]  

Simply put the cowboy image did not sell well to the American people in the Goldwater campaign. For one reason or another, American people where not willing to take on another cowboy figure to the presidency regardless of his qualifications. The successive presidency of L.B.J the notorious cowboy president and the countries subtle move away from the cowboy might be partially to blame. Regardless of the reason the outcome was that the Goldwater campaign lacked the necessary control of the image, and the ability to establish this image to a wider voter basis. The strength of the cowboy image alone was not enough; a product cannot be sold if no one is willing to buy. A lesson the Goldwater campaign learned the hard way.   An example of this can be seen in the petty vandalism Hemmer references. “Billboards for Goldwater proclaiming, ‘in your heart you know he’s right,’ were defaced with the graffito, ‘in your guts you know he’s nuts.’”  The defacing of the campaign memorabilia shows the exact lack of control the campaign had over the image. The image of a cowboy politician loses its grasps on the American people when it begins to be associated with the image of a clown. [9]

The image of the cowboy politician would be perfected later with the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Drawing influence from his time in California Reagan pulls together the workings of the Goldwater campaign into a concise image. Unlike Goldwater Reagan has no trouble controlling the image.  Part of this comes with Reagan’s association with the acting world and surrounding himself with marketing professionals. This allows for a particular control of the image Goldwater’s campaign seemed to lack. As an example we can look to Reagan’s first presidential acceptance speech in the early 1980s. [10]

At the opening of the clip Reagan is greeted by cheers and waving of a sea filled with cowboy hats. One by one the audience seems to take off their hats, and wave it through the air in a typical cowboy fashion. Reagan’s face fills the frame of the camera, a stern yet concerned look sits over his face, as he talks he speaks in both a personal and professional tone his voice is smooth and direct with a personal touch added to it. Occasionally a smile breaks through his stoic face as he tells a simple joke, or as he talks about “renewing the American spirit”. Reagan’s appearance seems to mimic that of the old cowboy, one who has wisdom of the past but looks to the future.  But it is not just the image of Reagan that creates such an effect; his words are carefully crafted to reflect this tone. At the end of his speech Reagan calls on those in the audience to lend a hand in the spreading of this new message by saying, “The time is now, my fellow Americans, to recapture our destiny, to take it into our own hands. But, to do this will take many of us, working together. I ask you tonight to volunteer your help in this cause so we can carry our message throughout the land.” [11] In this Reagan blends the past ideas with the future, the use of recapture is specifically designed to imply the fault of a current America, by pointing out the failure of current culture to capture the destiny Reagan implies that the past had at one point indeed captured the destiny of America. He conjures up the image of a cowboy getting down to work when he asks us to take this into our own hands and to spread it across the land. It seems Reagan also draws a connection to the idea of manifest destiny, again by asking the American people to “Carry [the] message throughout the land.” [12]

            Reagan’s appearance and voice coupled with the specific wording of his speech is designed to emulate those tropes of a cowboy hero.  Reagan presented himself in a moment of great pride as both humble and stoic. Goldwater himself even later recounts this as he speaks of Reagan (Example from the book).  Reagan adds a new mastery to the already complex language developed by Goldwater, to best explain this we can look to the January 5th 1981 cover of TIME magazine. [13] There are a lot of similarities between the 1981 cover image of Reagan and the earlier 1963 cover of LIFE, Both Reagan and Goldwater wear very similar shirts, blue western button ups. [14] Reagan’s shirt however is slightly undone, instead of buttons he has opted for pearl snaps and the belt buckle and belt on Reagan are much more pronounced. Reagan’s stance is casual yet firm, his hands sit in his back pocket as if to relax after a moment’s hard work. His face shows both his age and youth in one stoic stare, a smile seems to creep of Regan’s face just slightly.  Beside him the text reads “Man of the Year”. The subtle differences in the images point to a better control of the cowboy image, and while both Reagan and Goldwater’s outfit seem to reference the Cowboy, Reagan does his with a greater sophistication. There seems to be something slightly more authentic about Reagan’s cowboy, his shirt is wrinkled (not ironed like Goldwater’s appears) his jeans are worn, his buckle is large, and his stance relaxed.  In one cover we can already see that Reagan is in much more control of the cowboy image, he has updated the image for a modern time, bringing in some of the western flair that occurred in the 1970s while still referencing the traditional image of a cowboy. Goldwater’s cover seems meek in comparison, Goldwater’s cowboy is one too closely related to the old, and it is in this updating of the image that Reagan gains a good deal of his control over the image so much so that a generation of politicians will look to him as the father of the modern conservative image.

            Of these successive politicians to look to Reagan there is no more poignant example then George W. Bush. Bush is an interesting example in the analysis of the Cowboy president, for Bush the Cowboy image only works to a point, a systematic failing of the image occurs much in the same way it did with Goldwater’s campaign. It was the 1995 election of bush to Texas governor that paved the way for his eventual presidential run.  And in the recent collective consciousness of the American people there is no better example of a “Cowboy President”.  But what George W. Bush added to the image of the American cowboy was not all great, and may be best summed up in a 2003 interview by Piers Morgan, Morgan states “"I think people look at him and think John Wayne. We in Europe like John Wayne, we liked him in cowboy films. We don't like him running the world."”[15]  Morgan begins to make an interesting point about America’s changing perception of the cowboy. During the Reagan administration the American people were more than happy to look back towards the cowboy image, Reagan’s cowboy brought a return to conservative Christian values and an appearance of a simpler time just when the country needed it most. Bush’s fault seems to be that he used far too much of the cowboy image and that the American people where not ready for another cowboy president, especially one that would be in control of an increasingly global economy. 

Piers Morgan’s quote also exemplifies a changing perspective of the media on the Bush image, and that of the cowboy president, like Goldwater Bush too saw a defacing of his political image. One example of this defacing comes from the response political cartoonist took towards George W. most of these cartoonist chose to feature Bush as a crazy Texas cowboy, donning him in a huge cowboy hat and a trademark stupid grin on his face. Ward Sutton depicts bush as such in the book Sutton Impact: The Political Cartoons of Ward Sutton. On one particular page we see George W. Bush sprawled out on a beach chair. A sign behind him says “Welcome to Crawford Tx” a tiny cowboy hat sits on top the head of Bush who is wearing a bright yellow shirt that says “I love vacation.” In the comic Sutton mocks Bush’s cowboy image, the commander in chief sits picking his nose drinking from a big gulp while a trash can is filled with important papers stating “HIJACK WARNINGS: BRIEFING NOTES” and “CIA REPORTS” Sutton like many comedians and artists of the time began to critique Bush’s created cowboy image.[16] In the image we don’t see a majestic cowboy; we don’t see a cowboy riding down from the mountains on a glorious white horse. Instead we are left with a cowboy in swim trunks and flip flops. However Sutton wasn’t the only artist to critique Bush’s image in this way.  Will Ferrell’s portrayal of Bush on the T.V show Saturday Night Live gained wide spread appeal at the time. In one particular impression Ferrell portrays Bush in the middle of shooting a campaign commercial. In one scene Ferrell’s Bush is caught mending a fence with a pickaxe, in another he’s terrified of the horse that stands behind him. In a following scene he states “I want to warn you of a terrible thing liberals are doing…… they are trying to encourage people to vote. ” all while awkwardly holding a random farm tool, at the end of the scene Bush jumps when he hears the sound of a horse approaching behind him.[17] Ferrell’s impression of Bush acts as a scathing critique on the apparent stupidity of the president, and the impression is a reaction to the increasing American view of the president as a dimwitted Texas cowboy.  The instances point to a systematic failing of the cowboy image for Bush, in much of the same way as the defacing of billboards did during Goldwater’s campaign.

Another example of this failure of the cowboy image can be seen in the November 2002 issue of Texas Monthly.  [18] On the cover we see an older Bush leaning on a wooden fence post with barbed wire.  Unlike Goldwater and Reagan, Bush is dressed in a long sleeve brown rancher’s jacket. The text on the cover reads “George W’s Crawford”. With the cover and the interior article Bush makes a connection to previous Texas presidents, namely LBJ. However aside from the historical connection of ranch ownership the photo isn’t particularly flattering. Bush’s coat is ill fitting; his face stares off into the distance but lacks the charismatic smile and stoic look of Goldwater and Reagan. Bush’s face leans more towards worried, uneasy, and cluelessness then it does to strong, compassionate, and stoic.

            In this way Bush’s presidency shows a downward spiral of the effectiveness of the cowboy image on the American politician.  Much like Goldwater Bush never seemed to fully grasp the image, and much like with Goldwater the American people don’t buy into the image of the cowboy president. Unlike Goldwater the failing of the Bush image seems to come from pushing the cowboy image too far his use of the image becomes too large for him or the American people to handle and the bubble collapses.

 This collapsing effect of the cowboy image is later exemplified by Rick Perry’s 2012 run for the presidency. Again the public perception of Perry as a crazy cowboy led to his eventual downfall, the heavily popularized “oops” moment during a presidential debate solidified the American perception of Perry and the Texas cowboy as one of growing ignorance.[19]

            The co-opting of the American cowboy image has been used by a generation of politicians from Goldwater to Rick Perry in the attempt to gain political strength through the association of the rugged western troupe of the heroic image. However throughout the years this image has been adapted and changed for better or worse by the politicians and their ability to control the image. In this way the American cowboy image seems to be one of extreme versatility but also one that takes a specific handling, the reference to the glorified past of the American west is successful only when properly applied and controlled, and only at the appropriate time. As we see with George W’s (and Rick Perry’s short lived) presidential campaign the cowboy can be an extremely laughable image when used at the wrong time, but as we see with Goldwater and Ronald Reagan the image can be extremely powerful when carefully controlled. It is this versatility that has led generations of politicians to look to the cowboy image for a source of political strength, and it is this versatility that will lead generations to come to adapt the image in their own way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

"Ronald Reagan - 1980 Republican National Convention Speech." Video file. You Tube.

               Posted March 14,  2008. Accessed December 7, 2014. http://youtu.be/hA3pTToOJPw.

 

Rodgers, Walter (January 30, 2003). "'John Wayne' president has critics". CNN.

Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2014

 

Shermer, Elizabeth Tandy. Barry Goldwater and the Remaking of the American Political Landscape.

                Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2013.                      

 

Sutton, Ward. Sutton Impact: The Political Cartoons of Ward Sutton.

New York: Seven Stories, 2005. Print.

 

Time Magazine. "The World 50 Years Ago: 1963 Life In Covers." Life. Accessed December 7, 2014.

               http://life.time.com/history/1963-a-pivotal-year-seen-through-life-magazine-covers/#1.

 

TIME Magazine Cover: Ronald Reagan, Man of the Year - Jan. 5, 1981. Digital image. Time.

Time Inc., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014  

 

"Will Ferrell as Bush." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

November 2002. Digital image. Texas Monthly. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.

 

 

 

[1] This is not to say that Goldwater’s Senator race wasn’t an important point of political history but just in the specific visual construction of the image of a cowboy .

[2] “The Dealers and the Darling” page 126 Shermer, Elizabeth Tandy. "The Dealers and the Darling." Barry Goldwater and the Remaking of the American Political Landscape. Tucson: U of Arizona, 2013. N. pag. Print.

[3] “Drafting a movement” page 62 of Barry Goldwater and the remaking of the American political landscape Shermer, Elizabeth Tandy. "Drafting a Movement." Barry Goldwater and the Remaking of the American Political Landscape. Tucson: U of Arizona, 2013. N. pag. Print.

[4] 1963: A Turbulent, Pivotal Year, Seen Through LIFE Magazine Covers | LIFE | TIME.com. Digital image. LIFE. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

[5] In fact the image bears a striking resemblance to a B western poster for El Paso Stampede created in 1953

[6] "The Dealers and the Darling." Barry Goldwater and the Remaking of the American Political Landscape. Tucson: U of Arizona, 2013. N. pag. Print.

[7] “The Dealers and the Darling”  Barry Goldwater and the remaking of the American political landscape. Shermer, Elizabeth Tandy.

[8] “The Dealers and the Darling”  Barry Goldwater and the remaking of the American political landscape. Shermer, Elizabeth Tandy..

 

[9] A trend that will show up again in the later years of the George W bush presidency and the campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry.

[10] "Ronald Reagan Presidential Acceptance Speech at 1980 Republican National Convention." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

[11] Ronald Reagan: "Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Detroit," July 17, 1980. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25970

[12] Ronald Reagan: "Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Detroit," July 17, 1980. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25970

[13] TIME Magazine Cover: Ronald Reagan, Man of the Year - Jan. 5, 1981. Digital image. Time. Time Inc., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.

[14] 1963: A Turbulent, Pivotal Year, Seen Through LIFE Magazine Covers | LIFE | TIME.com. Digital image. LIFE. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

[15] Rodgers, Walter (January 30, 2003). "'John Wayne' president has critics". CNN. Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2014

[16] Sutton, Ward. Sutton Impact: The Political Cartoons of Ward Sutton. New York: Seven Stories, 2005. Print.

[17] "Will Ferrell as Bush." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

[18] November 2002. Digital image. Texas Monthly. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.

[19] To add as a side note and example,  the not so successful images of other Texas politicians namely, Ted Cruz, Greg Abott, and David Dewhurst

On Texas Symbols by Cody Bubenik

Think of a horse hit by a truck, the difference in textures, the dull shine of the horse hide against the chrome of the grill. On the side of the Texas road a horse wanders off, the sun is setting in the distance flagging each side of the road abandon shacks and failing farms, a rusting fence with barbed wire. A group of cows sit below a lone tree as a jet flies above. As the stars begin to come out the lights of the cars interior flash on. From the rolled down window a country song plays flagged before and after by two more modern popular songs. The song is interrupted by a giant thud. A dead horse, a busted grill, the stars in the sky, a jet above, the quiet of the country with the hum of the diesel truck.