Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Poetry Scores Art Invitational

"by Wole Soyinka" on canvas
"by Wole Soyinka" on wood

"Cash may be set on paper" on canvas

The annual Poetry Scores Invitational will be going on this year at Mad Art Gallery on Friday May 18 from 7pm - 10pm. Poetry Scores invites a number of artists to interpret lines from a poem for a visual medium and then the artwork is auctioned off to help pay for the projects Poetry Scores is producing. This year’s poem is titled "Ever-Ready Bank Accounts" and was written by Wole Soyinka. The three pieces above is my contribution for this show. The words I chose to interpret were “by Wole Soyinka" on canvas, "by Wole Soyinka" on wood and "Cash may be set on paper".

Poetry Scores is an organization with many active members but the one I know best is Chris King. I honestly don’t know Chris too well but both of us have been making a conscious effort to hang out more with lunches that happen every so often when time allows. Chris has a fascinating history and insight to Saint Louis musical events from when he was directly involved with them and I never grow tired of hearing his perspective. But the thing that endures me to him the most is something that happened a few years ago that I’m sure he doesn’t even remember. I believe it was about 4 years ago when I was attending an event at the Koken Art Factory sponsored by KDHX. The event was a silly thing where artists submit paintings to be shown to a drunken, rowdy crowd and the painting to receive the loudest cheers wins 1,000 dollars. The paintings that receive no cheers are promptly destroyed much to the crowds delight. I had entered a painting of Jesse Irwin destroying a painting by Steve Smith which was painting from a photograph I took at the previous year’s event. I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be and looking back now, I’m glad for how it turned out, but at the time it was quite a shock to see a painting you created get destroyed. Yes, the painting was brought out, the crowd went silent and it was promptly destroyed. It kind of felt like someone punched you in the gut. A little dazed, I stumbled out of the Koken and got some fresh air. I realized I was just a block from the Way Out Club and decided to go see what was going on there.

To my delight the Day of the Dead Beats was going on. Day of the Dead Beats is a cool event organized by the great Brett Underwood where he gets a bunch of local writers, poets and musicians together to read from Beat writers like Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski and of course Jack Kerouac. So I grabbed a beer, found a seat in the back by myself and tried to forget about my bruised ego. The place was packed and Chris King was up on stage reading. He was talking about Kenneth Rexroth and how he translates poems from whatever language they were originally written in to English. Specifically he was talking about a Japanese poem that had been translated by Rexroth and illustrated with paintings by an artist who Chris described as the “Dana Smith of Tokyo”. When he said this there were some applauds in the audience. Suddenly all my petty humiliation evaporated and I felt great. I’ll always be indebted to Chris for unwittingly making me feel great at a moment when I needed it most.

now playing - Chris King

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