Plainly Explained

What can I say that hasn’t already been said before? Words often get in the way of what I really want to say, which is one reason I create. Words can say a lot but not everyone thinks or feels the same things and while we can get a good idea of someone else’s emotions, we really don’t know exactly how it is to think or feel like someone else. I thought about churching up everything I am going to say but then I decided I should probably stay true to myself and reflect my raw, imaginative, complex-honesty, like I do in my art. I’ve edited this paper numerous times, kind of like how I paint over my paintings multiple times. What I think in this moment may be obsolete in the next, it changes like the weather. My obsessiveness is on display for you to see because I’m trying to translate how it is to be me so that you will have a better understanding of my art.

I am someone who has been labeled as being mentally ill. People who speak their minds, and use them, are sometimes dismissed as being crazy, or something weird like that. Who knows, maybe those kinds of people have some kind of genius about them. Or, maybe they’re miniature Jesus’? How many times do you think a Jesus has disguised himself or has been reincarnated and proclaimed to the world, again, since we apparently still haven’t gotten it right, “Hey! Everyone love and respect each other!”, or whatever Jesus might say, as if the secret of the second coming is NOT a sexual innuendo, and the universe was NOT an accidental combustion of a giant cosmic flatulent cloud where the something had to eventually come from nothing, including the gases… not to mention the spark.. But, actually something that awakens inside of you that is recognizable in others as well as yourself and, when so, everything rises to some higher level of harmony and existence, when you are awoken to it. But then other people are like, “pfff… goh dang hippie”, or, “How you gonna pay for that?” I could go on, but, you know, the absurdities that are still happening in the world but have been proven by history to not work.

While I don’t like to claim mental illness, I do accept it. I like to share that, and make a point of it, hoping that it might encourage others and reassure them that they are not alone and that they can pursue anything they wish to pursue. I’ve often wondered if I am still in one of those facilities and that what I am experience now is just some kind of dream-like illusion. Anyways, art gives me a reason to live, and, through all of the madness, it is a way for me to show that there is still a sign of life inside. There’s actually quite a bit.

When you display your own personal experience, through art, you catch a glimpse of a moment of how it is to be you, displayed for others to see. Any specific piece is up for infinite interpretation and those interpretations may lead to infinite conclusions. While that last statement may be a valid point, if you do analyze artwork, all different types, you might realize that all creativity comes from somewhere. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are all regurgitating the same source of life in our own unique ways. There is a deep sense of connection with past life’s, and past people, who were all expressing themselves creatively. Everything about you reflects a certain story, and style, that is uniquely you while also being ‘one’ with everything else. To me, that source of creativity has something to do with the reason for existence. I am expressing every aspect of life in every mark that I make, or even by just ‘being’ me, all of which is a never ending conversation. Creativity is an explanation of life and all of its magic, and mysteries, and I am in a constant state of describing what that source is.

Over the years I think that I’ve crafted a style that is significantly unique to the art world. I am primarily a mixed media artist and a lot of my work is very experimental. I really like layering, to create depth and texture, and painting over things to create an ongoing story that can be viewed numerous times and still have something new to see. I also use a lot of materials that I find relatable or interesting such as things I’ve written down, pages of books, or actual objects. I go through phases of applying materials, to writing and drawing, and also painting, but not necessarily in any specific order. I am always looking for ways to break out of my own boundaries to make something new that sets itself apart from the rest. I also like writing on the back of my paintings, almost as if it were a journal, and I call that aspect Tales from the Backside of The Canvas. There is an innate intuitive instinct (insert another intelligent cool word here) about what I do and I don’t really have to premeditate on it, it seems to be very natural. As I change, and continue making art, my style is always evolving and expanding and reinventing itself.  Like all things though, my art will eventually be buried in history, and I like that because it’s artistic and it’s a reflection of life, in a sense that even the artwork will dissolve and fade away one day. What’s important to me is that the spark, where it all came from, will go on forever and hopefully ignite other flames along the way.

A lot of these art shows want all of this information from you. They want to know things about you, and your art, that is going to interest the public. I get it, but I don’t really like that aspect. I’m really good at explaining myself and describing everything but it’s like even if I say very little then it seems like too much and when I say a whole lot, it seems like not enough. The things I make are like a David Gilmour guitar solo. It’s just cool shit. They came to look, not read. Who wants to talk about deep shit while you’re trying to drink vodka?

Day Dreaming at Night

His caw echoed through the barren hills

And the wind flew through his dusty mind

His days were yet ahead

His nights were long behind

His was herein the time of presence

Being bold and empty and true

Bold, empty, and true


As he thinks to pray

He thinks the thought is enough

To connect with the Gods

The Gods would already know

Did the Gods not place the prayer in the mind of the man?

Did the Gods not place the thought of prayer into the mind of this man?

Here we go again, at the beginning.


I blend in so well

It’s all so plain to see

But the way in which I formulate us,

is so unique

This mysterious puzzle

And we’re all a piece

Not meant to be solved

Pieces leave

Pieces appear

This news was foreseen before it was delivered

Beautiful, none the least

And then I found myself,

completely falling into place

Scattered pieces amongst the floor,

yet,

Completely complete

Controversy In the Art World

Artists that do their own thing get a lot of flack. One reason this is so is because they are standing up to the giants. A lot of the artwork that you see in museums are pieces from artists who did their own thing, they didn’t conform to any rules just to make a dollar. During their time, they were typically very controversial people, but only because they were made out to be that way. There are too many people out there trying to control art, but that isn’t what art is. There are a lot of phonies out there that are involved in art just to be an image, or to portray the illusion of what they think an artists is-they are pretending. And these are the people who get offended by the artists who do what they want.

These false persona artists who are just playing a role may have some temporary success here and there, but the people who are truly passionate about what they do, and create from the heart, are the ones who have their work hanging in museums and are the ones who are written about all throughout the history books. Everyone has their opinions, but as an artist you can only read and listen to what others say so much before you have to just make art. Learning from others and practice are great but its more about being true to yourself and listening to the mindset that these great artists had. Aside from anything visual, what are some common ground factors that make a great artist great? I hear the little things here and there more so than their actual work. I connect with greatness, whoever its projected from. They’re not telling you so that you make exactly what it is they are making. They’re sharing their experiences so that it leads you to your version of this truth.

Here are a few that stand out to me (paraphrased):

“Whoever learns to paint like a child has mastered art".” -Picasso

“There will be someone after me who uses color even more.” - Van Gogh

“Write the truest thing you know.” - Hemingway

“There are two important days in a mans life, the day he was born, and the day he figures out why.” - Mark Twain

I could go on and on with these. I don’t think about them as much as I did when I was younger because that’s what led me to where I am now, and I focus on my own style. I go back and find new things all of the time, but I’m more concerned with forwarding what I already know. All of the things that I read, heard, and saw from other brilliant people, created the picture that I am today. It’s not about making yourself, or your art, look like someone else’s. It’s about being true to yourself and true to the art that you create.

You can’t put chains on greatness. If you are doing what you know and love, someone is going to recognize that. There may be more people who don’t like you, and talk bad about you, but that’s good. You don’t need those people. All of it is moving you in the direction you need to be and weeding out the people who don’t belong. Someone is going to want to find out the truth about you, and invest in you because they see lies and envy flowing from the eyes of others, and they know that you’re the one who’s being real and genuine. Those stories people are saying, whether true or not, are stirring curiosity in peoples minds-they are interested to know more. This is what I’m seeing at the moment.

A Silver Thumb Tack Changed The World

As the Special Delivery Exhibition is winding down, I want to share some of my experiences. One thing I can say, again, is how fortunate I am to have such great people in my life. My friends Will Malone and Jet Smith have played a huge roll in this whole adventure.

One beautiful aspect about art is the ability to allow someone to feel or to provoke a thought. Any kind of reaction is interesting to observe, it says a lot about people as a whole. I do not view any of this in absolutes such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. To me, it is all just a record of how art can influence the behavior, or what kind of figurative chord may be plucked within an individual. These reactions tend to be a direct result of where someone is in their life-their insecurities or aspects of themselves that they deny.

As humans, we tend to be uncomfortable when the inner pieces of ourselves that we ignore are exposed. We don’t like to be reminded of what we lie to ourselves about.. some of us. At least I have been guilty of this at times. But I have learned that if I embrace and acknowledge the so called darkness within myself that I can turn it into a light for others.

Provoking any kind of reaction from someone, through art, is basically a way to shine light into the areas of someone’s life that they may need to tend to. It’s kind of like doing God’s work. Why is someone comforted or offended by any specific piece of art? What are they ignoring in their own life to cause such a reaction? Or maybe it is comforting and a confirmation that they are doing the right things in their life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I will do when I return to Chattanooga. I’ve been bombarded with so many wonders and worry. One thing I know for certain is that I will continue making Special Deliveries throughout the city.

I have traveled all over spreading yes ma’am across this beautiful land, our country. As I’ve seen so much art along the way, I am confident in what I do. My art stands among the Picasso’s and Basquiat’s. We stand side by side. The greatness in me is the greatness in you. None of us are above or below each other in life. We are all here to learn and get through life side by side.

I have solidity knowing that what I do with my art and that what I express is amazing. I am honest with myself and it is reflected in my artwork. People are drawn to creativity because it explains what they can’t. Well.. that’s the artist’s job. That is my job. As an artist I have analyzed my human qualities, along with my own personal stories, and I can express those deep thoughts and feelings that other people may not dive in to on a daily basis.

And there I saw it. The reflected sunlight glimmering off of a silver thumb tack. The beam of light disturbed my eye and I remembered.. that God works in mysterious ways. I became famous in only four days.

Peace-Gratitude-Change

Today is March 24th and I have officially been on the Special Delivery tour for two weeks now. When it comes to writing, Hemingway said to “Write the truest thing you know.” In traveling around the country I have rediscovered a sense of who I am that has been hidden or lost. Sometimes in your life something comes to you and you just know what to do. That’s how I felt about this exhibit. I’m not always in-tune with picking up on that small voice inside of me, or following through with the idea when I do recognize it, but I am aware of what it means. When you hear someone say, “everything you need to get through life is inside of you.” What that means to me is that there is a true sense of who I am and who I am suppose to be and when I align myself with that person then I have found everything I need in myself because I am content with who I am in that very moment.(Whew). On our drive from California to New Mexico yesterday, Jet and I had a conversation about life and art, and love and God, and what it all means and our place in it. I know that when I work on bettering myself then that allows me to give other people the best version of myself and that has the potential to help them grow as an individual as well.

One thing that I want my art to do is to lead other people to the foundations where they can build the best versions of themselves too. With whatever happens after this exhibit is finished, I know that I have benefited on a personal level and anything else is just extra. I’ve had time to think about my family, and friends, and co-workers, and everyone I love and to realize how grateful I actually am. There’s something about an endless sky that gives you the quiet to listen to your own heart. Having the space to be away from everything has allowed me to release a lot of negativity and free myself from anything clouding the truer aspects of who I am. I realize that this is what I need to be doing. Art gives me the space to be able to grow into who I really am. One reason that I have the potential to feel weighed down at times is because I am having to do things in order to survive, that are not fulfilling to my soul. In spite of any circumstance I am in, I put in all my effort and reflect the greatness inside of me. I will always strive to accomplish my dream in hopes to inspire others and to one day be able to dedicate all of my time in to my love of art.

What do I want from my art? At the end of the day all we want is to be loved and accepted, and maybe even more so.. understood. I think one aspect of my artwork is a desperate attempt for me to show every aspect of who I am so that existence finds me worthy. There was a time a few years ago when I had the idea to write “here’s a pretty picture for you” on a large canvas and then to paint the canvas with my brains. Thankful, by the grace of God, or whatever reason, I didn’t. I didn’t see a way out of my mind and I felt eternally damned. And then somewhere along the line I decided to try. I decided to try even though I didn’t see a way out-a clear path. Maybe that’s faith?

I’m writing about this because I don’t talk about my personal self often and I am a highly reserved person. But I think that in sharing what people are afraid of it ends up strengthening ourselves. That is one thing that I see about society, a constant need to keep real life hidden. That is one reason for my insanity-when I see the whole world living contrary to the speeches at a funeral, or a graduation, or a memoir about something important..

Holding all of it in doesn’t help. You’re not alone in feeling alone.

A desperate search for acceptance, relatability, love and all of those things that society laughs at, yet cries about when they’re alone. I started to accept myself. I started to accept how I walk-the sound of my voice-my smile-looking at a picture of myself. It started with me. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me these days because I felt like I went through it all alone, and then came out stronger. But I wasn’t alone, I was listening to other people tell their stories and what they did with their experiences. I knew that there had to be something more to it then that. The main point that I want to share is that you are not alone. There are people like me who live in similar struggles and stay up late painting in hopes that it may inspire someone else to pursue what they love whether its art or anything else. As people, we are resilient creatures. Today I feel lucky for who I am and what I am able to do.

The last thing I want to add to this section is that I’d like to move to a different city where there is more opportunity for me to forward my career as an artist. I love Chattanooga but I do not have the support that I need to without a full-time career. So aside from this trip be one of personal growth, I’d also like to kind a location that is more accept and sees the worth in what I do.

Contemporary Art

Actually, I do like contemporary art. Some of it. Contemporary art is a genre that has a broad variety of artwork. I’m just not too into a blade of grass taped on the wall or a dirty boot nailed to the wall, or something like that. But I do like Jackson Pollack, who is an artist that is placed into this category.

Special Delivery Update: From Chicago we drove to Omaha, NE and stopped there for the night. The next morning we drove to Denver, CO. This stretch of land was uneventful and mundane, but the mountains in Colorado were worth the drive. I liked the scenery in Colorado but I didn’t care to much for Denver. I did like a smaller town North West of Denver called Boulder. I felt that Boulder had a much more welcoming atmosphere.

We stayed in Denver for two nights and left for Las Vegas early on Tuesday March 20th. Now we are in Vegas and I’m going to be setting up a piece of art in front of the Bellagio fountain. I have visited Vegas many time and it is a sentimental city that is near to heart. Tomorrow we’ll head to L.A..

So far Special Delivery has been an amazing adventure. I can’t help but wonder what is going to come of all of it, but I have enjoyed my experiences. This is pretty much the halfway mark of the exhibition and I’m really hoping that I stumble upon a forwarding opportunity to my art career. Thank you to all who support me.

-Robert

Opinions

My opinion is not a permanent destination for something that I think. It may change like the weather. I've been learning to not really focus on opinions too much—to let them go and to just make art. There’s a lot of freedom in letting go. I’ve been living day to day and clearing my mind of expectations while being open to opportunity and experiences. Detaching myself has allowed me invite and attract what the universe wishes for me to receive. We all have our own personal journey throughout life and sharing our experiences is how we grow and mature. I’ve learned to listen more and to not be offended quickly. What can you learn from any experience? The artwork is just art. It’s nice, and cool to look at, but the real value in all of it is the people you meet and learn and grow from/with along the way. Those encounters are priceless.

Today I went to an open studio event at the ZHOU Art Center in Chicago Illinois. I met an artist named Michel Delgado and he showed me around. I’m someone who is not too involved with other creative people or places, I mostly just do my own thing. I rarely look at other peoples work. From roaming around this facility and taking everything in, I remembered and re-encountered a sense of humility and gratitude today. I’m not exactly sure why, but it felt really good and human. I embraced it. There are so many talented people all doing what they love, and that’s one of the key points to Special Delivery—is to inspire people to do what they love, whether its art or not. My preferences, or anyone else’s, shouldn’t hinder you from what you truly want to do. Don’t live with a fear of judgement. Those people are just unsatisfied with some aspect of themselves. I use a lot of sarcasm but I do most things out of love.

Special Delivery: Some Scattered Updates

I don’t like contemporary art. I went into the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago yesterday and after I walked through the whole building I wanted to ask the front desk where the art was.

Walking through downtown Chicago yesterday, I saw a chain link fence blocking something off on a street corner. The fencing was lined with plastic that had leaf patterns to make it look like a bush. That’s contemporary art, right? I thought maybe I could drag that bush fence to their front door and they’d accept my offer. I didn’t do that. But I did leave a painting. Maybe there is some contemporary art that I would like, but I’m not actually sure what contemporary art is. The artwork that was in the museum was not interesting, to me.

So far I’m really enjoying this road trip. I got pretty lucky in New York with getting into the Van Der Plas Gallery on Orchard Street. I will be in a group exhibition from April 8th-14th and the opening reception will be on the 10th. In the future I am hoping to have more opportunity in New York with a possible move to the city. As of now, that is just a hopeful dream.

Will is going to be flying out of Chicago tomorrow and Jet is flying in. From Chicago, the next destination will be Denver. I think I’ve driven around 1,900 miles so far. The North East side of the U.S. has been fun but I think I’m ready to travel West in to yesterday.

The Special Delivery Exhibition/My Bread Crumb Trail

I’ve been planning this idea for quite a while now. Its been something that I ignored for a long time but eventually I realized that I should do it since I was thinking about it often. The Special Delivery Exhibition is a trip across the United States that involves leaving some of my artwork at different public locations. The idea is to make the unknown known. I am not a well-known artist but I think that what I do is significant and worthy. The frustration of being a recognizable name in the art world is where my idea came from for this exhibition. If I make all of this artwork, and I work all day, and stay up all night working towards these dreams, what is it for if no ones ever sees it? am I going to die as an unknown artists.. another one of those? I refuse. I’ll drive around leaving them on doorsteps if it comes to that. I suppose that kind of frustration has led me to actively pursue this idea. I don’t think this has been done before either, so the original idea was also convincing. I want Robert Schoolfield to be a brand, a recognizable undeniable force in the art world. And I think its going to happen.. it is happening.

As of right now Special Delivery will be a road trip starting in my hometown Chattanooga, TN and will go through the following locations: Nashville, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta, and then back home. We will be stopping at specific public locations along the way leaving artwork at each stop for people to see and interact with. The locations listed are the main area of interest but there will be several other places that we decide to stop at along the way.

Will Malone and Jet Smith, two friends of mine, will be accompanying me on this artistic adventure. Will is primarily a photographer and currently working on forwarding his business. Aside from photography Will does other side projects such as a podcast and he has an interest in film. Along with my project Will will be documenting and filming pieces of the journey. With life happenings and availability restrictions, Will will be ending his part of the tour in Chicago and fly back home. At this point Jet will be flying in and continuing the remainder of the Journey.

Jet Smith is a young, multi-talented creative individual with aspirations in many different categories. Over the last year and a half Jet’s focus has been on opening a community darkroom in Chattanooga. Jet and I have collaborated and worked on several projects together and share similar perspectives on creativity and what all of it means. Jet will be picking up where Will left off in documenting the story, and using the experience for inspiration in his own artistic pursuits. We will finish the route that will initially lead us West towards Denver and the West Coast, and then eventually ending up back in Chattanooga.

With Will’s photography business taking off and Jet’s darkroom opening up, only three weeks before he flies out to Chicago, this whole idea is somewhat of a risk for both of them. There is a sense of suspense in the air. I hope that the experiences ahead allows us to forward our creative careers and take us to higher levels of success. If you’d like to learn more about Will or Jet click the links below.

Will Malone

Instagram: @willmalone

Website

Jet Smith

Instagram: @fleetingmode @safelightdistrict

Website

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Artist Statement

My art is a physical representation of inner aspects of the human experience. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings that can often times be difficult to describe. Sometimes I feel alienated or separate from other people. Art is a way for me to relate and communicate with others and the outside world, on a deeper level. I think that too many people deny aspects of themselves that are beneath the surface, or, behind the masks we wear in our daily lives. This can be so for many reasons. But, those differences are what make us unique as individuals. Those differences are beautiful.

It can be very uncomfortable to reveal such personal things. By confronting and exposing my inner self I have learned a lot about who I am, which has also allowed me to have a better understanding of other people as well. There is a source of creativity expressing itself through all things. With my own experiences and interactions with creativity I have developed my own style. Although the creative source in me may be the same source in you, my version has all of my characteristics attached to it which makes it uniquely me. This would also be the same with you. By sharing my own personal growth and facing the person within, I have been able to connect with other people in a way that I am not so well at in a social setting.

               Aside from bettering myself through art, it is also about leading others to a place of finding their own version of truth, or to tap into their own source of creativity. Some people need encouragement that they are not alone in their endeavor, as I once felt. You are not. We are all going through different stages and phases of our life’s journey and sharing our experiences can be beneficial for all. My name is Robert Schoolfield. I am the art and the art is a reflection me.

What kind of art do you make?

I get this question a lot, what kind of art do I make. Its a lengthy answer, I suppose. For me specifically, I think the art I make is a combination of my life’s entirety. Everything I have seen, felt, or experienced, in some way, has influenced my artwork.. my style. Style is something that I think I have obtained. I know that everyone has a certain style, but I think that I have developed a very distinct style that is uniquely my own. And I did it without consciously thinking about developing a distinct style, it just happened, over time. Well, it was always there but I have fine-tuned it over the years. I think that since I live this artistic experience that my style has come about by just being myself, in that I am not faking it, I’m not playing a role. What I do and what you see is the real me. There is a sense of rawness, emotion, passion and a lot of other characteristics that make up who I am, and that is prevalent in my art. You can’t take it too serious either, there is humor involved as well. There is a little bit of everything, if you look at it right.

There have been a few categories that I have been placed in. I suppose to sum it up easily, especially for a broader audience (who might not recognize art lingo but still have interest, and for the sake of learning), I usually say that my art fits along the lines of abstract art. Before I continue this, I do not like to label myself as an abstract artist, this is just some collected thoughts that I have decided to share from the storage shelf of my mind behind a dusty jar of pennies.

The reason I don’t like the label of abstract art is because I feel that when people hear ‘abstract art’ that they get a mental image of purely none object art. Like maybe some kind of colors running across the surface, like a river of color, or an accident on the floor. And all of that is okay, but I don’t think that abstract accurately describes my style of work. It doesn’t fully explain my style of art. There are hints of what I just described in some of my artwork, but its not entirely made up of abstract art qualities.

How about Outsider Art? When I came across outsider art I felt a strong connection. Even if you read the characteristics of a stereotypical outsider artist. If I was judged purely by my life’s story and the strangeness of who I am, I would have all of the necessarily attributes to be an outsider artist. From mental bouts to my introspective perspective and anti-social behavior I fit in quite well. At the same time, the point of being an outsider artist is that you don’t have many things in common with other artists, which is why you’re an outsider. So possibly I’m outside of the outsiders circle. Maybe I’m beneath the underground. I am relatively unknown, even in my hometown. A lot of the traits deemed to an outsider artists is their persona and how they live their lives. If you look up images of outsider artwork, a lot of it looks very folksy, to me. It appears to be a more advanced form of folk art. And what I do doesn’t really match the imagery of most of the outsider artwork that I’ve seen.

Ultimately, what I’m trying to get at is that I do not fit into one specific category. My style is uniquely my own and uniquely significant to the art world. However the previous sentence is perceived, that is what I truly believe of myself. I am my own movement. Maybe I’m an independent outsider? The thing that is connected to the rest of existence is whatever the mystery is with the place where all things come from. My art comes from there, I think. That force flows through me and through all things, is what its all about. Mostly I’m just Robert. I make what I want and maybe their is no solid foundation to what I do, maybe there is? At times there is and at times there isn’t. I’m just the guy with the pen in my hand and the language that comes out of me is up for infinite interpretation. God? Love? A lack of? .. Its a little bit of all of those things, I suppose. Then again, what do I know? I’ve been wrong a time or two. As I’ve said before, sometimes the words get in the way of what I really want to say, which is one reason why I create.

Now that we didn’t get to any certain destination, and this probably provoked more questions and confusion, welcome to the first post of my blog. Thank you for reading and I am looking forward to sharing more writings and thoughts with whoever my audience may be. Stay tuned for more things written in the key of me. Amen. Namaste. Shallum. Krishna.