Thursday, October 17, 2013

In the present this time

 in which I talk about my life at the pool house until everything gets busted open by a swift kung fu kick.

the house from a neighbor's boat

and from the water side with prints drying

Yesterday I messaged a friend that I was going to the opera to see Turnadot and he came back with the question what the opera has to do with the New York Niggers. My answer was: “It’s all in my life” and that the NYN had quite a few fans from the opera world and that Leo and I used to occasionally hang out with opera singers and musicians on the upper Westside. New York and Hawaii are the two places where I spend almost as much time as growing up in Germany, the three places I have called home. I live on the island of Oahu now for almost 23 years, my first 6 month on the North Shore and in the Kailua/Kaneohe area since, so I want to talk about this home. 

they don't call it rainbow state for nothing
 don't miss this special link

sun and rain

mango tree still looking for a home

reality check -  plenty planes and copters

pure kitsch sometimes

the view on canvas
garden by the sea


black gold

The northeast coast of Oahu is called the windward side facing the Pacific Ocean with the Ko’olau mountain range behind. It is a special place with more rain than the Honolulu or the west sides of the island and therefore greener and a little cooler too. For 15 years I worked on the beach in Kailua teaching windsurfing and kitesurfing until I started graduate school. Since I finished my MFA thesis exhibition in 2008 I have tried to make my life making art and music and teaching art, taiji, yoga and occasionally still kitesurfing. I have taught art in Colorado and New York City, painted houses and done other odd jobs and since this fall work as a substitute teacher.

kitesurfing on the Northshore, pic Stephen Whitesell  

and in the backyard. pic Steve Chismar

heading out for glassy surf on early Thanksgiving morning

The center of my life since 2008 has been the 2 ½ story cottage I rent on the shore of Kaneohe Bay. It has a magical view and I have a 10’ x 20’ downstairs studio where I print, make music and work on other art projects. It also has a couch where guests sleep or I do when guests use my bedroom area. There are no separate rooms. I love being here, cooking in my outside kitchen and working at home whenever I can. Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with the rent. This is what people here call the ‘price of paradise,’ Wages are very low, compared to places on the mainland, while the rents are very high, because there are enough people who are able to buy anything attractive and lower income housing is scarce. When you walk down Kailua Beach you’ll find up to ½ of the houses/estates empty.

wood blocks

mixing ink. pic Alorah Kwock

clean up. pic Alorah Kwock

rolling ink.pic Alorah Kwock

prepping the paper. pic Alorah Kwock
fixie prints

Jason Farris checking out his first ever wood block print

studio looking east

24" block - scrolls on mulberry paper

48" block on linen
Here is video walk through my studio/house as I was winding down a printing session a few years back.

My typical day looks like this: up at 4:30, bathroom, neti pot, drink some hot water followed by pranayama and meditation (ca 1hr+), followed by asanas. The length of my asana session depends on whether I work at home or away. If I work at home I usually cook for lunch and eat the leftover for dinner, without it going into the fridge, trying to avoid keeping leftovers longer than 24hrs. When I work away then I cook the night before. I’m up before the chickens and in bed not long after them. This keeps me pretty balanced and healthy (knock on wood). (hahaha, not always. later edit, see below) This lifestyle also has an element of isolation, since the art and music scene is happening in town of course and many of my friends have moved to other islands or different parts of Oahu.

Kayo Iwaki, fellow yoga teacher, practicing

DIY pallette, brush and paint storage on wheels

Stephen & Maya at a dinner

Gaye Chan, Lian Lederman, Alleta Van Patten, Jaimey Hamilton, Thanksgiving

Susanne Pridoehl and Toren visiting from Germany
never too early to express yourself

Friends come over for dinner or bbq’s and visitors from Europe, Japan, the mainland or wherever are always welcome to stay . I love to share the blessings. I have a little garden where I am just successful enough to grow some greens. We do stand up paddling right from here and occasionally have parties where my band plays. Of course I do venture into town and participate in exhibitions, play with my band, or go to dinners or concerts. But hanging out late at night throws me off for a couple of days and I don’t miss the night life very much having lived it in the 70’s and 80’s probably several lifetimes worth. Whenever I get a chance to play though, I still rock out whenever  possible.

the author in front of his rock'n roll wood block prints at a pop-up

Brandon Lund, Stephen Niles, Will Williams III
with Taylor and Jordan Fite

occasionally nothing can be done - just looking up


Last Monday I tore a ligament in my right shoulder demonstrating some kung fu stuff to one of my taiji students. I hadn’t practiced this in 30 years. Now, everything I do is very slow, awkward and potentially painful. This includes typing of course. Siri doesn’t understand me yet. I have been going through a difficult time trying to become open to new possibilities and exploring my inner demons and resistances. Now, all of that is cracked open in one single move.....
in case you missed this funky video from my 64th b-day. Gotta love that wha wha!

the wildlife doing their thing

1 comment:

Marie Kennedy said...

Would we want to "clear the tar" parts of ourselves leaving only light? Maybe for another lifetime... I agree with your friend, compassion happens through swimming in our darkest shadows and learning to love those parts as well. And by virtue of accepting our own, we intuit compassion with others realizing their shadow spaces. This lovely, flawed human experience is such an opportunity to see all kinds of beauty through Light and Dark places, and I wouldn't want it to be any less of the spectra. Thank you :) ~Marie