Friday, July 29, 2011

"Summeries #3."


“…This web of time—the strands of which approach one another, bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other through the centuries—embraces every possibility. We do not exist in most of them. In some you exist and not I, while in others I do, and you do not, and yet in others both of us exist. In this one, in which chance has favored me, you have come to my gate. In another, you, crossing the garden, have found me dead. In yet another, I say these very same words but am in error, a phantom…Time is forever dividing itself toward innumerable futures…”
Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986) Garden of Forking Paths, Ficciones.

Yeah, picture this: a father and son in a skanky hotel in bumfuck upstate New York. And the son says, he says,"I am the creator of this reality and you are a character that I have created to serve my needs (or something like that)." And you're all like, "What the fuck? I raised you and made all these concessions and recessions and what not, and you deny my existence?" And he's all like, "That's the reality you are creating." And in this picture, you are the father. And you stop. And you get beyond all the things that carve you into the soap figure of your expectations and you realize that the kid has something going on.
We make notations and choices and reservations and these are the scaffold that support our realities. Trust your notes and letters. Fold yourself into the realities of your kids and your cousins and your friends and loved ones as if you were the most delicate of souffles, trusting that the yolk is always. And in all ways: on you.

“Actualized Dreams” #4.

You made every attempt to explain to me that no instance was disconnected and attendant to itself - that before any one circumstance collapsed, it was already overlapping another related occurrence. I continued to plait my lanyard, even as I gave you the benefit of the doubt…….good times.

“Actualized Dreams” #5.

I once remember hearing you say that your imagination had been jogged and then we laughed so hard cause I thought you meant that your imagination had gone jogging, which made us laugh even harder, because that was exactly what you meant. I drew a sketch of an endless cycle while you went on about the pitfalls of giving. What did you call it? Oh yeah, cheap grace…….good times.

“Actualized Dreams” #6.

I had the good fortune to hear James Forbes speak. Well he didn't so much speak as he elaborated. He was talking, I mean elaborating on the diminished vitality of self and all these unrelenting assaults on well-being. What did Isaac say? That it was like a cultural low grade fever? But anyway, it reminded me of your obsession with nitrogen fixing nodules and our need to re/leaf - to actually attach our disconnected selves back to the Tree of Life…….good times.

All work by Tom Schulz, unless otherwise noted.

Please leave comments as you feel so inclined. Tom can be reached via the World Wide Web., Please join Empathinc. on facebook at:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Summeries #2"


“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”
Barbara Bloom

Artist Tom Schulz speaks at the dedication of

"My Shadow"©2004
34"1/2 X 58"
Water media, gesso, varnish on paper,
mounted on canvas

Read poem by clicking here.


CQ: Tell us about when you first identified yourself as an artist.
TS: Interesting question. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t think of myself as an artist. Even back when I was a kid, the world fascinated me. The sun through the clouds, dust motes, the rainbow in each drop of dew. Even the pattern of what my Mother called her horrible age spots. It all was just so compelling and beautiful to me. I wanted to connect with that. Still do.
CQ: And can you describe how you made that connection?
TS: Oh, I collected things, and drew. I read a lot, and developed scenes in my head that fleshed out the words. And I spent a lot of time wandering about. We lived in a subdivision that used to be a plantation – I could literally graze my all the way to the river during the summer.
CQ: So in the painting, “My Shadow” – is the image of the boy a self-portrait?

TS: I think almost everything I do is a self-portrait on some level. Actually, I spend a lot of energy tracing back to those things that impacted me as a child. This is an appropriated image from an illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith. It was in one of my favorite books – "A Child’s Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson. My Great Aunt Irma Hochstein gave it to me. She was one of the first people to encourage me as an artist. This particular image was illustrating the poem "My Shadow".

CQ: So why choose this for this painting?

TS: Yeah, well I’d come to the conclusion, after a lot of studying, that Stevenson had a world-view agenda and hid a lot of meaning in his children’s poems. There’s a phrase about the child’s shadow – “what can be the use of it is more than I can see.”

CQ: You literally painted those words along the bottom.

TS: Using the image of Polaroid’s, which was the way special moments were documented back in the day. Watching the image come forward. It was magic in my eyes.

CG: And the shadow?

TS: A reminder that our shadows are very important to us and have great use. Think of what Peter Pan had to go through to reclaim his.

CQ: And almost as an afterthought there seems to be another Polaroid image tacked on to the surface of the picture plane. We have included that as a detail. Can you speak to that?

TS: I make a lot of associations. And recognize patterns. Must be part of my wiring. The Abu Ghraib torture scandal had been all over the news – here again I was being inundated with images. And I felt like one person in particular. Lyndie England. I felt like she was held to support The Shadow side of the whole affair. So that was a type of sacrifice going on (on) a lot of levels. Something just clicked and I remembered the iconic image of the little naked Vietnamese girl running from a Napalm attack. And I linked them in a photograph type image to make sort of my own proof of the occurrences.

CQ: Is that Revisionist History?

TS: More like Connect the Dots.

CQ: And can you share with us how you see this painting relating to the text (editors note: in reference to "The Sacrifice of Isaac")?

TS: Well I have this Bible. I call it the Tommy Schulz bible cause it was given to me by my Grandmother in 1962, and that was the inscription. I’m amazed at how those illustrations stocked the shelves of my visual library and my sort of kid theology. Thought the story of Abraham was like the kind of Faith I should aspire to. Even named my son Isaac. But as I decided to develop a conscious adult Theology and intentional spiritual practices, I came to question my relationship to the story. Like I did with the Stevenson poems. So that thread runs through the whole fabric of my interests. I think of the process as an ideological death and resurrection.
CQ: So do you consider yourself a maker of Religious Art?
TS: The same thing that motivated me as a kid? Still resonates. When I am at work, making things? I’m chatting it up with God. That doesn’t sound real religious to me. In the way that, you know, I think of capital “R” Religion. But I’ve embraced personal icons. So maybe it’s all the same.

All work by Tom Schulz, unless otherwise noted.

Please leave comments as you feel so inclined. Tom can be reached via the World Wide Web., Please join Empathinc. on facebook at:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Summeries" #1.

“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”

St. Augustine

I take notes. It's more than a habit, it's one of my spiritual practices. Little bits of information, inventions, observations, lists, and some more lists. Stream of consciousness sketching while conversing or listening. I heard that Jack Kerouac had a really long piece of paper that he put into his typewriter so that he wouldn't have to stop typing - wouldn't have to interrupt a thought stream (I might be wrong about that and probably could look it up. But then again - so could you. Feel free to get back to me on that). Well it's just like that except it's not, if you catch my meaning.

So I am going to present a series of "Summeries". Random cullings from years of sketch books, notebooks, scraps of paper. I'll include associated responses as I develop a story based on
the story. What I find fascinating is that I have been rather consistent in chasing after that thing that I have yet to name. Maybe you can appreciate that. Maybe you have been on a similar quest.

Summer reading. Summeries.

“Actualized Dreams” #1.

When I finish building this, I will come and visit you. We will be able to act like we have all the time in the world: because we will. And more. We can talk until sunrise and never be missed in our other lives. Our other schedules…….good times.

“Actualized Dreams” #2.

At the close of each session, both guides would intentionally lose themselves among the ruins. After leading for so long, giving up control was exhilarating. That each one discretely left delicate blazes (simply as a matter of precaution) was a shared and open secret …….good times.

“Actualized Dreams” #3.

We visited the thin space: where our peripheries became osmotic, and we didn’t so much share things as we each exchanged things. One completeness for the other…….good times.

All work by Tom Schulz, unless otherwise noted.

Please leave comments as you feel so inclined. Tom can be reached via the World Wide Web., Please join Empathinc. on facebook at: