Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Call and Response: Melinda Schwakhofer."

“One must not always think so much about what one should do,
but rather what one should be. Our works do not ennoble us;
but we must ennoble our works.”

Meister Eckhart

THE CALL: send 2-4 pieces of evidence.
It could be images of your work, work you like, things you find interesting.


I am an artist who likes to put my personal signature on everything that I do. I may or may not be an artist in the conventional sense of the term, but I have a sense that my identity is, in some respect, my own creation. I am acutely aware that my persona is a construct – something which has been created and can thus be re-created. Some of my current work is about exploring persona via mask making - who do I show to the world and who/what is concealed behind my mask?


I make art from a wide range of media encompassing fibre, photographs and video, food. In the creative moment, I hope to bring something beautiful and good into existence. Not afraid to explore the darker side of life, I may endeavour to bring good out of evil, hope from hopelessness, meaning from absurdity, and to save what appeared to be lost; or at least make a darn good loaf of bread.


On a recent trip to Malvern, England, I came across a fountain, Malvhina by sculptor Rose Garrard. The design of the female figure, sculpted in stone and bronze, has a triple theme incorporating elements representing the three springs that supply the spout, the three roads that meet here and the three most important periods in Malvern`s history, - the ancient Celtic origins, the coming of Christianity and the growth of the town in Victorian times. Malvern spring water flows from a bronze disc where three circles interlink symbolising the sacred triple of the Celts and the Christian Holy Trinity.
Melinda Schwakhofer

Tomschulzartist responds: I first came across Melinda and her work in a circuitous fashion. I was surfing photographs of labyrinths on the web and was taken by a particularly lovely image. Playful shiftings of light and sheen across a delicately mottled pattern. Fascinated, I blew up the image and declared, "Hey, that's one of my labyrinths." I scooted to her blog ('my world' as she phrases it), Inspiraculum. Posted a note, and sure enough, it was the Myers Park Baptist Church labyrinth, completed in 2005. It's a darn good story.

I visit Melinda's world often.

I remain intrigued with Schwakhofer's ability to literally weave a tapestry of made and found objects and observations, and having not seen the evidence of her efforts in actuality have come to view her blog as a specifically coherent work of art. So when she shares with us that she may not
"be an artist in the conventional sense of the term", I had the thought, "Well, who among us is?" Convention is ephemeral. Convention is fashionable, or political. Art (especially when removed from the wall and pedestal) is communication. The drive to wind out a conceptual thread and share the great mystery of discovery.

Perusing the evidence of Melinda's response, I'm reminded of a wonderful defining statement from R. Buckminster Fuller (himself a most unconventional artist). Fuller said, “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.” ”
Which (of course) is An Other way of saying,
"I am acutely aware that my persona is a construct – something which has been created and can thus be re-created."

And that's darned good living.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Melinda, for Responding to the Call.
That is a darn good-looking loaf of bread. Tom.

Above: "Alexandra", Oil on primed paper, Tom Schulz, 2001.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Call and Response: Daniel de Wit."

“Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune’s all we are.”

Grant Morrison

Daniel de Wit's Response:

Hey Tom, thanks for the compliment. Anything i've done is cool for you to use, you can make my submission all about sound if you'd like, but I'm trying to get away from being pigeonholed completely into sound. however if you'd like to make everything focused to work in the broader sense, that's great too. All of my stuff with the band is still in the weird prenatal stage, so I can't really send you anything in that respect.

Daniel de Wit is a musician, artist, and designer currently based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a member of the Rock & Roll band Dirt City Magic. He can be contacted by writing


"Energy Collision"


"Intuit Cyborg Tissue Sample"

"Occupy Wall Street October 5th, 2011: Gathering at Foley Square and March to Wall Street"

Tomschulzartist responds: I have recently taken to not
listening to music while I work, ending a decades long practice. It had to do (at first) with a sodden Ipod and the associated elements of both liquidity and funds. But then it became a choice. My head is generally populated by a convocation of conversations, and the music shut the doors to the convention center. In altering that one habit, in flinging the doors open to that inner dialogue, I came to understand
Evelyn Underhill when she wrote, “We will not enjoy peace until we enter into the wild strange place of Silence.”

The wild strange place of Silence.

Through my association with Daniel, I have become much more aurally observant. And that has greatly enriched my existence, from taking in a movie to taking in a walk. But I also watch him experiment. Music, sound, performing, drawing, writing. Taking chances. So much focus in contemporary pursuits has been placed on. Well, on being focused. In the world of Art, diversification may actually be a necessity. I look at de Wit's work and I ask myself, "Am I taking chances? Am I still capable of taking the Young Person's risk?" If I can look at another artist's work and get all jazzed about getting back to my work? Then I'm gonna say, "Yeah."

And that's just sound thinking.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.

Thank you Daniel, for Responding to the Call.
Hey, Tom.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Call and Response: Fred Levy"

“The result of the struggle between the thought and the ability to express it, between dream and reality, is seldom more than a compromise or an

approximation. Thus there is little chance that we will succeed in getting through to a large audience, and on the whole
we are quite satisfied if we are understood and appreciated by
a small number of sensitive, receptive people.”
M. C. Escher (1898-1972),
On Being a Graphic Artis

Fred Levy's Response:

"Here are 4 photos from my tumblr blog. This blog is a creative outlet of things that I see on my day to day outings. Many of these photos are taken using my iPhone and taking a new look at the things I am passing by. Too often my head is down as I focus on getting from point A to point B. This is an attempt to look at the points in between.
Always happy to collaborate with you.
See ya,
Fred Levy, Photographer


Iphone ART #106

Iphone ART #102

Iphone ART #096

Iphone ART #106

Tomschulzartist responds: I have worked hard all of my life. Sometimes I have worked hard for other people and sometimes for myself – just because I wanted to. Working hard for your self is not just about being self employed. Although I have been self employed most of my adult life. Maybe that was a deliberate choice. Maybe I just stumbled into that reality. Or maybe I couldn’t get along with (my) perception of authority.
But, that is another discussion altogether.

What I mean by working for myself is all about joy. About choreographing effort. About the process of doing that which I refer to as real work. Real work is not confined to altruistic effort. Real work is not just defined as proper or helpful, though if all goes well, these aspects are a part of real work. Real work is all about crossing the boundaries of the ‘have to’ into the land of the ‘want to’.

I refer to this as transgressing the mundane.

I think that is what Fred Levy does in this series of Iphone images. He is making a conscious effort to recognize that which he might ordinarily hurry by unnoticed. In recording those marvelous moments, Levy sends each of us an invitation: transgress the mundane. Participate fully in the day to day. Expand the moment into its myriad lyrical infinities.

While comprehending both the conveniences and pitfalls of a Cause and Effect existence, here at empathinc. we prefer to live in a Call and Response Universe. This series is an exploration of that space.
Thank you Fred, for Responding to the Call.
See ya, Tom.