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All posts by Robert Sparrow Jones

My Life Aquatic

They’re curious, the Ballard Locks. Here, Seattle’s main freshwater lakes, Lake Washington and Lake Union, mix and mingle with the salty inland sea of Puget Sound. The Ballard Locks connect the bodies. They are intricately engineered to move hulking commercial ships, tugs, and barges—as well as smaller pleasure crafts and kayaks, up and down a 26-foot elevation. But this infrastructure was also designed to prevent damage to the freshwater ecosystem and salmon. The locks are an important part of the region’s maritime history since 1916, and with more than a hundred thousand boats, over a million tons of transported cargo, and more than one million people visiting annually, the Ballard Locks are also an intricate mix and mingle of human life.

Endurance and the Art of Guido van der Werve: Nummer veertien, home

Adequately capacious, clear and brilliant, the landscape broods with sublimity. Spring is sweeping in, emitting an even light that stirs up the deepest colors, the richest shadows. It’s a different kind of saturation, a light that is water-soaked. It’s a landscape that is heavy laden with weather. This sensitivity is expressively captured in cinematography, offering paths through the landscape where the journey becomes implicitly mythic, steeped in van der Werve’s haunt of heroes. Landscape is not just a backdrop, it’s a living character.

Poiesis: On Drawing

Ideation should always be this concise and rewarding. Many of those maps I have kept and found again and again. They end up, intact, as a bookmark for Flaubert, or at the bottom of my bedside table drawer under loose change and a pocket knife. As urgent as the notes are made, their meaning, for the life of me, has been all but lost. They are still so compelling that one can make a painting directly from them. My own thoughts dial around their archaic symbols and half-words, the key of which had been pantomimed on a cold snowy walk or cupped into a rolled-down car window—If you see this, you will know.

Sonya Clark—Coiffed, Tangled: “The Hair Craft Project”

“Hairdressers are my heroes. The poetry and politics of Black hair care specialists are central to my work as an artist and educator. Rooted in a rich legacy, their hands embody an ability to map a head with a comb and manipulate the fiber we grow into complex form. These artists have mastered a craft impossible for me to take for granted.”

Benjamin Duke: A River Without Banks

Duke intertwines lives to remind us that the multi-sensory experience can be a terribly beautiful and disastrous experience. His constructs are reflective illusions where spaces are about the body’s existence in the world, the body’s activity in the world. It is important that these are worlds that have been lived in so that pondering them we don’t feel external to them. He organizes and gives structure to different grounds through which he is positioning us. When these grounds intersect a vortex blossoms. The amplification denotes specific, important changes that occur in the physical process of creation where, in the exaggeration, lies deep significance.