Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Little About My "Unknown Unknowns" Show, Coming to the Cult Status Gallery on March 23, 2012

“There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.” -Donald Rumsfeld, 2002 I’ve been fascinated by the concept of the Apocalypse since I was kid. There was something weirdly romantic about the whole idea-- you know, traversing a barren landscape alone in a suped-up car, wearing a helmet with cool spikes on it and all that. The passage of time, however, eventually teaches us (cruelly) that we all must acknowledge our limitations at some point. So, when the Shit hits the Fan, I’ve had to admit to myself that I would wind up accidentally eating some expired yogurt and dying from food poisoning within the first few weeks. No super car for me, is what I’m saying. The Miscreants of Tiny Town series started, in part, as a way to satirize our culture’s unfounded fears of/perverse desires for Armageddon, but this particular iteration of the series, opening at the Cult Status Gallery in the Spring of 2012, might seem like it’s finally coming to terms with the sad inevitability of it. While my narratives become more complex, the skies are getting rustier and my landscapes are getting scabbier. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell whether the stories take place in the day or night, as the sun appears to be slowly snuffed out by a thick, sooty fog. Throughout this “Unknown Unknowns” show, some figures have even broken free from their landscapes altogether, and are left to participate in an invisible story set against stark, bare walls. Since The Miscreants of Tiny Town emerged as something of an unintended side effect of the bleakly surreal world we’ve been plummeted into by the equally surreal War on Terror, it has often served as an attempt to both channel and mock the metastasizing paranoia caused by constant dire warnings of coming and/or current global catastrophes. They’re playful, satirical jabs at those nagging reminders of the fact that the varnish-thin securities and comforts we’ve been taught to take for granted are also directly responsible for our own impending disasters. But as I’ve slowly been able to build my life around the production of these characters and stories full-time, the work has also become parodies of my inner monologues in a way. They’re my own little Friar’s Club, “roasting” that formless cloud of anxieties and keeping it from getting too high on its horse. So here we are, at the dawn of the dreaded 2012. Yet, after being confronted with years of grim portents and spooky omens, we can take comfort in the knowledge that the world will be just as chaotic and terrifying as it’s always been next year. So if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, big deal. Let all of the things we do not know that we don’t know fall right along with it. After all, an apocalypse can’t exist without survivors, right? There’s hope in that, somewhere.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I'm still waiting to find out when my MN Original segment's supposed to show up this month. I still have nightmares about my performance during the taping. Thank God they were here for 6 hours, is all I can say.

"(More) Little Tragedies," The Glory that is Air Sweet Air, etc.

Yeah. I mean, WOW. So Cheryl Wilgren Clyne prefers that the name of her gallery not be capitalized for whatever reason, but yeah, yeah. Screw her. Air Sweet Air Gallery in Lowertown St. Paul has easily been one of the best gallery experiences I've ever had. Sure, I've been lucky to have Cheryl as a friend for several years. But it was blind luck and circumstance that made it possible for us to finally work together on both the "Little Tragedies" opening and the "More Little Tragedies" closing reception. What her small staff has been able to accomplish under tight time constraints has been genuinely impressive, and it was all done professionally, smoothly, fairly, and with great humor and relative lightheartedness. Cheryl's little gallery deserves all of the great word-of-mouth and press it's just starting to get; I'm just really happy to have been a part of it and can't wait to see all of her incredible ideas come together. Anyway, the show is "technically" over, but it's looking like it might be extended. ALSO, Air Sweet Air has been gracious and diligent enough to set up an online store for the show. They're still working on it, so please check on it ( periodically. I'll make a big deal about it as soon as it's officially up. Air Sweet Air is taking submissions for new artists right now, too. Interested parties should contact and get on that as soon as you can. Thank you, Cheryl, and everyone who was able to make it to the shows! More info soon.

Monday, December 5, 2011


This is going to be a nice show. Cheryl Wilgren Clyne's air sweet air gallery is a nice, intimate space in the heart of Lowertown Saint Paul. I'll be showing between 15-20 pieces and a stack of prints; prices start as low as $35. For more information, please visit my facebook page. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Here are some new images. They're all very small (6"W at the largest) acrylic and ink paintings on wood. More are on the way:
"Little Tragedy"
"Little Boat"
"Little Mouths"
"Little Aftermath"
"Little Caterpillar"
"Little Comet"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Early Morning "Progress"

Welcome to the new Brown Blog. If this site looks like bloody diarrhea flecked with some paintings and words, then...that's exactly what I was going for. Anyway, I added some bat-type things while watching Midnight Cowboy. It's just a first pass; lots more detail to be added. Composition will hopefully make more "sense" when it's finished:
Okay, more later. Sleep now.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Goin' Down to Brown Town

So during an artist's talk I gave about my work earlier this week, I was asked why my newest paintings were "so brown." I dribbled out some junk about how my paintings change depending on the seasons and that the limited palette reflects my current mood or something, then I just kind of trailed off until someone else managed to change the subject. Both of those answers were sort of true to an extent, though, but I've been thinking about that question a lot. Maybe I have to just admit that brown is my favorite color. I imagine it turns people off because saying "brown" aloud immediately conjures images of feces, dried blood, DMVs, or Jeffrey Dahmer's tinted glasses and that dopey look on his dumb face. That's at least what I picture at first, but maybe that's what I appreciate about it the most: it requires you to think beyond poo-poo and dirty boogers, and gives you coffee, syrup, chocolate, Autumn, bread, soil, the Mississippi, fur, hair, skin, and eyes. It brings out other colors and gives them more richness and meaning. Well, as far as I'm concerned. Maybe to everyone else, it just makes everything look drab. But anyway, yeah. I think browns are showing up more in my work because it seems to fit with my worldview these days. (It reminds me that I should start thinking about writing up a new statement.) This whole "Undeniable Decline of America" thing has been getting to me. My paintings have always dealt with the Apocalypse/apocalypses in one way or another, either making fun of peoples' fear of it to rolling around in the weird "romance" of it, but now that I'm getting older and more sensitive to entropy, it's starting to look like my new work is trying to deal with the inevitability of it. My skies are getting rustier and my landscapes are getting scabbier. My characters' eyes- once all crazy and bulging- are getting deeper and darker. Even the Sun in this world seems like it's dimming, as it's getting harder and harder to tell if my narratives are taking place in the day or night. I know I'm a bummer, but at least apocalypses can't exist without survivors, right?