Q: Why are you writing this blog now?
A: Over the years writers have attempted to historify many of the activities I was involved in yet have outright gotten it wrong. Some of the art events I held or took part in attribute my activities to either the wrong person or with a one liner – a one liner for a week event like Inter DADA 84! Merging with this has been a recent reconnection with people who were at or involved with some of these same activities who tell me, “It changed my life!” So with a desire to correct these perceived wrongs and with a sprinkling of ego I forge ahead with this blog.
Q: Why do you think you can write about these events accurately?
A: The basic answer is, “I was there.” To expand on this, I’m writing about the activities I was involved with personally or created. I don’t pretend to be objective nor an art historian. I’m an artist writing about what took place behind the scenes, thus the title of this blog. There’re so many funny anecdotes and stories that might interest others about these events. For example, when visiting Pawel Petsatz of Commonpress in Poland on my first World Tour, I brought him several $1 bills. In trade he insisted I take a leather motorcycle jacket he used to wear when riding. It was in a ‘50s bomber style and a little too big. When I would wear it clubbing in San Francisco I had many admiring strangers ask where I got it. I loved that jacket still do to this day. It will go with my archives to some collection one day.
Q: After the ‘80s what did you do?
A: By the end of the ‘80s I was teaching computer graphics at Ohlone College in Fremont, in the hub of the Silicon Valley bubble that was beginning to emerge. Naturally I got caught up in this exciting new high tech environment for it was where my art had been heading anyway. I had been working with computer graphics as art and using the theme of space travel and exploration at that time. Concurrently I became more avidly interested in the healing arts, a life long interest, and started taking classes at night to develop these abilities. In order to live I began a business, at first providing technical services to engineers and programmers. This eventually evolved into services for the workforce and customers of major corporations in the Bay Area. All of my creative energy and time was devoted to these two endeavors throughout the ‘90s. When I had free time (like a vacation) I would travel.
On my travels I was mostly interested in meeting indigenous healers and learning about/participating in local practices. I went to: Brazil (all over), Peru (including the Amazon), Europe, the Philippines, American Southwest, Hawaiian Islands, and the Bahamas/Caribbean. It was from the interactions with the people I understood how healing is a universal activity closely related to art. Both of these have historically been suppressed by the mainstream USA culture more than supported. This answered a lot of questions about why some contemporary art movements are supported more outside of the US. In ’81 and ’82 I was in Europe for six month stretches and found out then how much financial support artists were receiving from the governments. At the same time alternative healings arts are supported more outside of the US as well. Now in the new millennium this is starting to change here.
That takes us through the ‘90s. Except I forgot to mention I took up sailing in the SF Bay quite seriously for awhile. I would go out on the boat or charter over the weekend with friends just to decompress. It worked!I needed to do something social since I worked solo so often I needed to be around people. A marina and sailing school was just around the corner from where I was living at the time.
Q: So you weren’t doing any art during this period?
A: Even though I was busy working, training and studying I was still photographing when I could and had an early digital camera I would use. I continued to sketch designs of artistamps, plan and collect things for artibooks I want to make. As far as showing, my friends were helping by including my early works in group shows and sometimes including me in articles/books.
Q: What have you been doing in the past 10 years?
A: I moved to Florida right before the high tech bubble burst. I continued to work although not at the high pace as I had in the past and became more seriously involved with digital photography. I’m primarily self taught but have taken some intensive working treks with feedback led by several pro photographers. I sold stock photos for awhile and show now. I also wrote a novel and began a second one. Both are sitting in a box "marinating" until I feel it is time to pull them out again. I went as far as getting agents interested but got OD'd on the revision process and needed space from the manuscript to do it justice. Artistamps, visual poetry and Fluxus are my primary art involvements even though I’m painting now as well. I’ve been going through my storage and have decided to reduce some of my stamps and books inventory in an Inventory Reduction Sale. You can get a list in PDF format just by sending me an email.
In the healing arts I opened a center teaching meditation, clairvoyance, and healing in S Florida. I do private consultations and healings by appointment for clients around the globe.
Steve Smith (2 more) - Florida, USA - 2016
6 days ago