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Thanks for visiting Rogue Gallery! Enjoy your stay!
Steven Lee Matz
Lyle Toledo Yazzie
Steven Johnson Leyba & Amy Eir Stocky
Leyba: What was your vision for The Patina Press?
Amy: My vision for Patina Press is simple, to give people with a powerful voice a place to use it. Anyone can of course self-publish these days so I am trying to offer something special, a curation of authors and artists that I believe the world would benefit from hearing.
The idea to start publishing came to me last year in 2019. I was meditating in my backyard trying to make sense of the rest of my life. I’m calling it my “Summer of Discovery” in which I discovered meditation and yoga and micro-dosing after a major change in my life, namely the shocking and sudden end of my twenty-some year marriage and creative partnership. I suddenly had no plans or obligations. I was nothing and nobody. Then I realized if I didn’t matter than I could do anything I wanted, who cares? As I looked back over my life, I realized my happiest times were when I was publishing and writing and making stuff. Now, in my new world of limitless independence and zero obligations, perhaps I could find my own joy, and I would start with those three things. And so, I started my own publishing company. Why not?
As I look at the authors and artists I am working with, there appears to be only one common thread, all of them have lived life on their own terms. The name Patina is a way to say the voices here are those of experience, and sharing their knowledge and wisdom is something I find vitally important no matter the delivery method — poetry, novel, non-fiction, whatever.
My first book is of course your memoir, and it’s so much more than a memoir, it’s a beautiful book full of your magical art and the raw emotion of your words. I am so thankful to be part of it’s release into the world, and I am honored you would be willing to be the first author of The Patina Press. It’s definitely been a learning experience for me, and I appreciate your patience with the areas in which I have not exactly succeeded, but it’s the likely experience of the first release. I feel really optimistic overall and I hope you do too. Then the next book is primarily poetry from a commercial fisherman and pioneering environmentalist, it’s from a completely different view from your book, but with the same zest for life and exploration of both the great and the terrible moments in a life lived.
I’m cringing as I ask this, as I probably don’t really want to know, but how do you feel about your book? I imagine you texting your friends throughout this miss-adventure saying “WTF is wrong with this lady?!?!?” “When will she get her act together?”, “Where’s my hatchet?”.
Leyba: I am honored and humbled. You published my book because of the passion, vision and unbridled honesty. As I said about the memoir
WE ARE ALL INDIANS NOW
“I didn’t set out to make great literature but, like with my painting, I wanted to create what I want to see in the world. Some of it is so dark and/or heart breaking. It was hard to finish. I was still living it as I was finishing it. I call it my “tell more than all” book, with all the chaos and what I call A.S. (Active Sabotage) from people who enter my life with an agenda and a distorted view of who I am. But that is the path of the warrior. I am here to learn, help and grow, not make myself out to be some sort of hero or guru. I am a human being and that is the book I wanted to write and did.”
In this age of social media every is on the hustle to be a celebrity. There is very little authenticity coming through all of the ego driven self aggrandizement and so few put time in to master their creations and some just promote themselves as a brand. Everyone’s and internet superstar. Slaves to the corporate masters, the parent ego state. There are very few radical publishers these days. In 90’s you were a underground publisher that had lots of influence. You are taking a chance with my writing and believe in the work. I don’t paint myself as a pretty picture. I have for over 30 years DIY it is so hard to do it yourself if your doing everything yourself all the time and self promote and make a living from ones own art. You get it.
We both are veterans of the D.I.Y. Do it yourself Transgressive Underground of the 1990’s part of the history of the actual cultural underground before the corporate masters co-opted it.
Do you feel there are visionary’s out there to continue the traditions of radical, political and progressive art and literature that is authentic and not part of all the narratives playing out and being illustrated by ego reacting against ?
I feel great about the book as You trusted my vision. You put it out in the world. As for the hatchet it’s right here and it’s for chopping wood and those that seek to destroy me not intended for you. It is utilitarian and self defense and pretty sharp. It has a saw on it and I used it whole sawing a branch in your back and I cut myself on the hatchet blade and blood it the dirt. As you know I have been painting pages in my 18th hand made book EARTH using dirt in your yard and you helped film me burying and unburying it. In our times now so few people have grounding in nature and seldom physically in the dirt. So few people know or see that we are nature. The Church then the various governments and corporations have divided people so as to conquer and control. I seek to live this life and learn more and more of who I am. I wrote about that in the memoir and writing the book is an exploration of my place in the world and what I can do with my creations. Thank you for taking a chance, making the investment and putting my book into the world. It’s scary and wonderful.
Amy: I believe there are visionaries out there, of course. They exist at all times in some form or another, I have to believe that. But, it’s hard to find them because it’s so difficult to know what’s happening right now. Think of all the things we were part of over the years, how many people know about those various deeds and doings? How many people today are influenced by those things without even knowing directly about our various works?
Think of all the music and art and literature that has happened over the last forty, fifty, sixty years we are just learning about now. Like that last exhibit we saw at the Portland Art Museum when you first got to Portland — pre-pandemic in preparation for your show at AFRU, the artist was Robert Colescott. I never heard of him before, but I was compelled by his work to go see the show twice before the whole no-more-museums thing. Let me say here, I have a major concern right now that all the museum collections are being stolen while we shelter in place. Whose watching the back door? Opps. Sorry, I digress.
Leyba:I have that fear also. Just before the Nazi’s invaded Paris the French moved as much masterpieces out of the Louvre and hid them. Now that culture is canceled why wouldn’t the control freak so called leaders and multinational corporations steal art from museums? Who is guarding it? It is a resource and their is a world resource and money grab happening before our eyes.
Anyway, I think there are lots of people doing amazing work in the world and every so often they appear from their creative mist to be seen. It’s mystical, like seeing a deer in between the trees in the woods. I cannot name names, but they’ve got to be out there. I don’t want to consider a world absent of such individuals! As I say this, I am reminded of how small the underground is… but look at yourself. You’ve been doing all this incredible work for decades and lots of people know you but plenty more do not. Some people are never known in their lifetime like Van Gogh, or Vivian Meyer, or Henry Darger, but they are immortal today. It’s impossible to know all of the amazing creatives out there doing work at the time they are doing it.
I think of all the artists and authors and movies you’ve told me about that I’ve never heard of, and all the artists and authors and movies I’ve told you about you’ve never heard of. Life is short, how could we ever know all that’s going on?
Also, things have changed. Much of the work we’ve done, back then and even now, becomes difficult to explain in a society that doesn’t want to think about the ugly side of life, that prefers erasing history to learning from it. The transgressive work of our youth and that movement would not fly in todays’s world. Look at the controversy your use of the swastika continues to receive and how people perceive you based on your work.
But I don’t know, what do you you think?
Leyba: I find your optimism so inspiring. It’s easy to make the assumption that their isn’t any other visionaries out their because the art shoved in our face every second or what is promoted and and sold and resold is awful. It’s propaganda or propaganda. Not very meany creators or people that could create things have the time or drive to manifest their visions. There are so many things to distract everyone. We are all supposed to reach for the gold. Fame and fortune has nothing to do with master works of true visionaries. Sometimes somethings that people have created and truly believe in get through the cracks and everyone gets to see. I hope there are those people who really mean it and break new ground and don’t need to be propped up by the Art System and the Entertainment Industrial Complex. I have seen no visual art from a living person in the past 40 years I could even say was good much less masterpieces. Most art created now that is forced on us is stillborn. Only those dead masters have inspired me why is that? I feel most so called artists that are known are contrived and don’t mean it. Why should I buy what is created for markets and money systems not because the artist has to create? It doesn’t matter who says this is art and that’s not because anyone can see or read something and can tell if they meant it. Not everyone’s an artist but everyone should create. I am reaching for new ground and feel my breaking new ground will inspire someone who can break even more ground. Underground culture used to be a culture created by the creators of it. Now it is something marketed and sometimes fashionable.
There must be those people making stuff and meaning it. We live in a time where it is the end of belief. I feel most don’t believe in anything they believe in what they are told and sold. Indoctrination and subjugation. People are half ass, they do t even believe in their religions and money. I mean they are going through the motions half ass. Religious fanatics are half ass, presidents are half ass and terrorists are half ass. I see few who are doing anything 100%. They need to be validated and propped up. They need to be told what do do and think and they seek to tell others what to do and think. There must be people making shit that is real and they believe in even if no one else believes in it. Like Van Gogh. I remain optimistic but all I can do is forge a new path further so those great unknowns can then make the new trails.
Disingenuousness is what culture and society now. We have had many conversations about how there is so little science and journalism or art that isn’t about the artists ego these days and corporate science and corporate journalism. I feel so little out there appeals to me because the ego is the message and that is such a bankruptcy of the imagination.
Now that many people are making art as we are all forced inside for months I’m inspired by reaching inward into an inner space rather than being on the day to day ego careerist promo hustling on social media. I am inspired by quantum physics and instinct and unknown factors, instead of being ruled and governed by so called leaders. What great unknowns do you see or feel that could or is the possible next level and exalt and inspire you?
Amy: I would imagine it is difficult for artists not to be swept up in all the politics of the day. This could be a pivotal moment toward world freedom or oppression, based largely on arts ability to motivate the masses and whose message is genuine. Who will own the narrative? I suppose artists and thinkers have to ask themselves, are they putting forth their message in a true way or is it about ego? I understand we all need to earn a living, but using the premise of making a stand with the building of one’s personal brand is, dare I say, gross. It’s just being part of the same failing capitalist system we are dealing with right now in America, the same one they are claiming to be fighting against. It’s the same dance, or as you say, “New boss same as the old boss”. There are other ways. One can choose a completely different perspective and we can solve societies ills with a more sharing society, one that uses kindness and creative thinking. Everyone can shout about the problems, let’s now figure out how to solve the problems and not just put a different dictator system in charge.
But as is always I feel like I am on the outside observing society.
These really are times of great change, every day is the great unknown. I’m pretty comfortable gazing into the abyss of uncertainty, it’s always been part of my life, anyone who believes they have certainty in life is fooling themselves. The last eighteen months have been full of great change for me. I’ve had every part of my perceived identity stripped away, and the death of the ego in being a woman turning 50. I’ve spent a lot of time looking inward, being contemplative about the temporariness of life, and reentering into a singular mindset which took time even though I’ve always been a bit of a loner. Micro-dosing, helped a lot. Gardening.
Gardening is really a great study in the Tao. My garden is by no means spectacular, but just putting my hands in the dirt and basking in growing things has been a longtime salvation for me. It’s gotten me through some really dark times over the years and continues to give me great joy. I’m into the power of trees and plants, I can feel it.
I’m not really sure what exactly you are asking, and I don' think I actually answered what you are asking.
Leyba: Patina Press published my memoir WE ARE ALL INDIANS NOW and I did a ritual performance “ INVOCATION OF THE NEW CREATIVE AEON” which is in the memoir and you you were part of this ritual at AFRU Gallery in Portland Oregon.
we have had conversations about this invocation becoming very real. Did the invocation become real?
What was it like to be part of the INVOCATION OF YHE NEW CREATIVE AEON”?
Amy: Between the ritual performance you did in Long Beach CA in February and the one at the beginning of March in Portland, it would seem they were extremely powerful! Even in March who would have imagined half of American workers and all students would suddenly have so much time on their hands and almost nowhere to put it except into constructive or creative projects? It’s incredible!
It’s the most beautiful thing to see on my social media feeds all of the people making art and being creative. For example, one woman I know here in Portland started painting after years of never finding the time, then her eight-year-old daughter began painting with her and they began to sell their works on Facebook. It is so cool!
I think the power of the two rituals had great consequence, both intended and unintended. Who would’ve guessed we’d still be here together through spring and into summer with so much of typical life at a standstill?
My being part of the ritual that evening is something I don’t think we’ve actually spoken of at all. I had so much apprehension about discussing it that I’ve actively avoided it. Did you know I was avoiding this topic for all these weeks we’ve been pandemicingtogether?
Leyba: I figured as such but didn’t bring it up because the ritual is still happening. Meaning I did the INVOCATION OF THE NEW CREATION to hold space. You drew on and I painted on the camping blanket we used. It was a focus point a symbolic porthole but as I said to the people at AFRU gallery in Portland concentrate on this circle. Pinpoint how you see your life created as you want it not as your told. What do you want your life to be. And I am seeing people manifest their lives how they want it.
While many are trapped in the Covid narrative and in survival mode many are doing exactly what they want and that is a beautiful thing that no one can take from them. its a very difficult thing ritualizing with art and holding space or holding the door open for others.
Amy: So what better place to talk about it than a public forum, I guess. Being such a private person, I have always ritualized alone and if I’m honest, I’ve often had to hide it to avoid ridicule or questioning. So the discomfort of that along with participating in any public manner was extremely difficult for me. To explain, the opening of your exhibit at AFRU Gallery was also the de facto premier of the pandemic in America, so your planned participants all bailed, as was completely understandable given the circumstance, but left you in a predicament of having no one to assist. When I offered to fill in I had no idea how difficult this would be for me, I was just trying to be a good hostess and make things happen, you know, by any means necessary. And, it’s challenging to even explain, but I felt like I failed you. Piercing your forehead was easy in comparison to participating in your performance in a public way. I tried to just go with it, and bask in the terror and embarrassment, but later I felt ashamed and disappointed with my part of it, yet I could not talk about it to you. I’m sorry.
So there you go, what do you have to say to that?
Leyba: I think we lost control and that is a beautiful and necessary thing. Well that is magic right? You do a ritual to manifest your will by whatever means necessary then let it go. No attachment because that would fuck up the magic(your intentions ability to manifest). My performance art is ritualistic and not theatre. It is chaos and improve. The best performance I have done in the past 30 years are the ones that go wrong and get out of control. That to me is art and magic where they can become the same. Nothing is repeated it’s different every time and it’s discovery. You did a perfect job with the performance. It was terrifying to me also because when I was performing it I felt who am I to say and do this? It’s fucking ridiculous and people will think that and say so. But who cares? It’s on them what they get out of it. Many others will see and feel and be changed forever. Thank you Amy we manifested the reality of people owning their lives and their time. What will they do now that we opened the door and turned the light on? What the fuck are you going to do now? What the fuck am I going to do now? We helped bring this pandemic on some level and we gave people back their lives. Now we are all completely responsible for our lives. How will this play out?
(Amy Eir Stocky is a publisher artist, author, journalist, filmmaker and pioneer of underground culture www.thepatinapress.com )
(Steven Johnson Leyba is a contemporary avant-garde artist, radical hand made book maker, author, activist and a questioner of all things especially authority www.stevenjohnsonleyba.com)
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A great specter is looming over the art world: the specter of Inter|Sekt. For far too long we have watched the artists of our generation turned into a disposable commodity, bought and sold by the galleries, stifled in their expression by the tastes of the art consultants who purchase pieces on behalf of financially minded clients who want a "solid investment".
They have been amalgamated into schools, said schools are a device of gallerists and art historians to divide and conquer the creatives and free thinkers.
For we live in a nation which thinks itself to be free yet is not, they expect the same of their artists.
Our culture has been raped and plundered by the upper echelon, picked apart and sold by the same greed mongers who claim to be it's patrons. The tool which has most effectively stunted the growth of modern American art in particular is the clever indoctrination of this idea of schools to not only the art student but anyone whom even reads a brief survey of the history of art sees that it is broken up into these categorized schools; the philosophies of these various sects creates conflict, division, and ultimately destruction of the morale and submission to the established order. Thus rendering the creative spirit confused and useless.
This helps curb the rebellious spirit of the average citizen outside of the art world in other spheres of society.
Art history is a lie and galleries are dens of thieves!
Inter|Sekt is not destroying the schools or the galleries, we are simply showing you they were never real, at least not in a world outside of that constructed by academics to sell text books to art students.
The reign of the gallerists and art consultants is over when you want it to be.
From the ashes of the indoctrinated schools of every form of art shall arise The New World Creative.
-Steven Lee Matz-
The inter|sekt manifesto
Gus Romero IV