Posted by: Heath Heathen | April 11, 2012

The passing of a friend….

The sudden loss of my friend has prompted reflection on life’s inherent transitory nature.  I hope this brief account of his passing, and encomium to his memory, will provide me (and those who read it) with a measure of catharsis and acts as an anodyne for the soul.

Late this winter, as Hades delayed Persephone’s annual return to her mother, and the land longed for the arrival of spring, Christopher was unlucky enough to catch a cold. Like most young men his age, he considered this a mere inconvenience and while Thanatos laid in wait for Christopher. My friend continued to work diligently, through Seattle’s well-known chilly, gray, rainy days.

It is grossly unfair to lose a friend of such talent, intellect, persistence, and skill. Whose very presence sparked discourse, motivation, and the most wonderful creative chaos. You see, Christopher Hoff was more than a neighbor, friend, and occasional artistic cohort. He was a personal inspiration to persevere in the art practice, despite doubt, rejection, and even outright failure. In the long slog of true creativity, successful work and the accolades that come with it can be all too elusive. Christopher was an inspiration to keep up the work, a point he demonstrated so eloquently in his daily art practice.

I keep reading posts online from people that have seen Christopher working around town over the years. While some see an unequivocal plein air painter, I see a man of charm and kindness easily disarming many in his humble manner, while challenging the spectator to consider the unseen, through the framing device that was his canvas. His proclivity for art surpassed the mere mastery of the material and subject, he raised the work past that of painting, to that of an urban performance. I greatly miss the daily review of updates in the drying canvases hung in the hallway as I come and go from the studio, as with the wonderful conversations with Christopher I had come to love.

As I wrestle with the existential crisis this loss has sparked, I strive to take comfort in what Christopher has taught me. I stand in awe of his life and the work he leaves for posterity. We have lost a talented and thoughtful artist, but our memories of him live alongside his artistic legacy. I find great solace in those memories, and in the community of artists and friends I have come to call family. It is wonderful to see us come together and support each other in the wake of losing such an amazing artist and person. May this spirit of togetherness and support persist, long after the pain of our shared grief dulls with time.

Rest in peace my friend, and thank you.

Christopher Hoff

Christopher Martin Hoff
1976 – 2012

Posted by: Heath Heathen | April 9, 2012

Piano Piano

A full moon rises up through a nebulous Seattle skyline as an unassuming building off the west Seattle off ramp slumbers in the shadows of a silent steel mill fully unaware of what is about to hit it.

I sit in wait as Piano Piano sets up after Clouds Over Moscow give a stunning performance. And then it happens… swells of complex rhythms, overlapping chords, and disharmonic scales raise in a rhythmic tsunami that crescendos then breaks as a wall of melodious sound crashes over my body.  My mind is stripped and I am fully immersed and unencumbered in an ethereal state of being. My body struggles to translate the vibrations into a personal narrative but mind and spirit are now only lightly tethered to my insignificant body as it undulates to the intensity of the music.

The band is fully engaged in the enterprise, swinging and thrusting in time. A wall of sound swells and descends in tantric measure as I let go of life’s concerns and sit in a tao like state, reflecting in mindfulness.  Dust in a fleeting attempt to stay dormant is overcome as Chet Thunder (a.k.a. Brian Toole) pounds his bacchus like hoof into the stage carpet and it springs to life, slowly raising up to his waist in ripples of animated time.  The building roars as the rhythmic drumming threatens to rock it off its foundation, as wailing guitars provide a sweet torrent of harmonic dissonance.

After only an hour long set I am left craving more but leave stunned and humbled contemplating my existence and my role in the cosmos.


Piano Piano
Kevin Malik, Brian Toole, Doug Connelly, and Rob Piotrowski

I do not wish to just sling the contemporary art theory once learned within the milieu of academia. Call me a sophist if you must but I am sincerely not a charlatan. Even thou my personal studies have lead me to the simple doctrine that life and “A”rt are synonyms, and the only difference is the sensibilities of the percipient.  So I come here to pontificate that perhaps all action is “A”rt and that the artifacts are just a transmitters of the art making process. I submit that all “A”rt is a performance thus music, painting, sculpture, etc. are just mere dialectic subsets of Performance Art to make it easier for people to understand and cirque the various manifestations of Art and/or of the meaning of life.

Performance art is an “A”rt that cannot be done by any other single art form in of it’s self. That is not to say that various forms; poetry, dance, spoken work, etc. lose their own sensibilities and strengths, but rather that the dynamic nature of the performance transcends the form to give the participants  something that wasn’t there before, thus making the performance a new and extraordinary “A”rt form that not just reflects life but is life. The primary apparition of the performance raises the sensibilities of the participants (doer and/or seer) to the combined effect of the performance shows the art within the action(s).

role of the artist

While I feel the likes of Langer would not agree with me. I  have found that I agree with some of Langer’s work, as well as the works of her contemporaries.  The French Poet, essayist, playwright, actor and director Antonin Artaud working from 50’s through the 90’s and often denied that there was any difference between life and thought, between poetry and truth. He believed that art-making was a trope for the functioning of all consciousness – of life itself. I suspect he was not alone as Duchamp after putting a bottle rack on a podium took 15 years off to play chess to show that the artistic mind was at par with that of the intellectual. Duchamp once said of “A”rt that “The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act” This act is not beholden to merely the creative act but all acts between humans. There is marriage of artist and spectator, action and artifact, life and thought.

Langer feels that there are quote “no happy marriages in art – only successful rape.”  These cold stocking words leave me hurt and wondering if she felt the same on other maters of marriage. There is no such thing as a successful rape! I believe Langer is wrong and perhaps could not see that the genus of art can be seen as a whole and not just a signaler event. With the performance something unique is created that transcends the mere realm of traditional “Art”. Whether the art is good, bad or indifferent we still see a painting, or a sculpture, a poem or a play as art, thou most do not see the art in all performance. However, the greater our sensibility the more we come to understand the sublime nature of all things and the medium becomes irrelevant, that the line between art and physics end and become an invisible pointless distinction.  Whether it is a painting or poem of refracted light, it is mere semantics it is the artifact of the actions of the art of life.

When Kirby designs this artist actions, he is choreographing a dance of the mind. That is to say that the actions are to get the participant in touch with what it is to be human. Were as Langer might say that dance is hard wired to the core of our being and naturally would do the something.  One only needs to do is dance and they are fundamentally in touch with their relationship to time and space. The artist action is a more esoteric form acting in a unique way to get the spectator and/or percipient to their destination. Where as the dance doesn’t always needs a logical analysis for us to understand it, the artists action demands more from us. The nature of the artist action demands that we reflect on our performance to come to terms with our relationship to our actions whether spectator and/or percipient thus raising our sensibilities to the connection of life and “A”rt.

Languor said “Each genus, for instance creates a different kind of experience altogether; each may be said to make its own peculiar primary creation.”  This being said I think we can safely say that performance art is the unique experience that can not be manifested through any other art form, say sculpture, painting, poetry etc. Even thou the geneses of the art my take its root in one of the traditional forms its virtual identity comes apparent only through the form of the performance.  If I were to use Langer’s words I would say the performance becomes the “outward showing of inward nature, an objective presentation of subjective reality”. That is to say that the performance is art personified.

While the performance “A”rt I call life may not always be visible or tangible to others, it never the less ratifies my relationship to the act of living and making my life a work of “A”rt.

In the style of James Burke’s BBC television show “Connections”, Howard Bloom’s “The Genius of the Beast a Radical Re-vision of Capitalism” is not all that radical of a perspective on our beloved western system of commerce(well not for Bloom). Perhaps the most radical parts of this work is the dismissal of the Kondratiev’s wave and Adam Smith’s invisible hand, but that has been done before. The true insight in this book comes from Bloom’s understand of the human condition and the way he puts all the pieces together providing a fresh and very interesting perspective on the roll of capitalism.  I love Bloom’s work including the Lucifer Principle, and The Global Brain, and this is a great extension on previous work with fresh wonderful ideas. However if you’ve read his other work you will not be at all surprised by his thesis.

Bloom’s overall thesis is quite compelling, littered with personal anecdotes to illustrate his points keeping it light and captivating so you won’t feel the weight of 483 pages of this economic theory. However because of the style of the book, and the brevity on subjects like Marxism, and the ideas of Adam Smith, I feel there is not enough meat to expand his thought process. That said if you’ve read his other works and know his references it will make all the more sense where his is going and why he is calling it radical. To me it almost reads as a love story of capitalism equal to that of Ann Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Ignoring or explaining away the horrible offenses of men like Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and others pointing out the greater good that has come from the “evolutionary search engine” that is the (you guessed it) The Genius of the Beast.

The book is full of deserts, a feel good about our system peep rally lacking the robust meat and potatoes meal needed for a truly “radical revision” of the banquet we call western capitalism. Nevertheless life is short, Bloom is a genius and I love deserts. Bloom makes wonderful points about the value of capitalists in our society and is totally worth the read.

Drink 001} All ideas come from others and are merely morphed to fit the ideologies of the individual that comes in contact with them.  No idea in of itself is free from the fingerprints and thoughts of others and that which they may call their god. We as humans are all connected, whether through communications like; phones, internet, conversations within social circles, or through the spirit forces of the unseen world. We as a race are interconnected through our genes, our thoughts, our abilities of language and if nothing less our suffering.

Drink 002} All art remembered in history is classist.  One can’t be a remembered artist without the social matrix that allows for disposable income, that which to buy and sell the artist’s work. Making it an investment to be cherished. Only because others plow the fields, raise the live stock, buy and sell goods, or whatever their social standing, is there room in society to be able to afford the “Artist”.

In the past the Artist was the Shaman or the Monk, ART was a personal journey with the artist and their gods for the betterment of their society.  With the rise of a class system “A”rt was transformed, the Shaman became the “artist” practicing their craftsmanship, whether it be for the church, the government or the population at large. Thus was the start of the corruption of ART!

Drink 003} Art that is not personally spiritual is by its definition made for mere consumption.  Art that is merely a consumable is not ART! Not to say ART that is made with said personal spiritual intent can not be traded in some manner for goods and services with others that agree with the significance of the work, but rather that while something may take artistic skill, training and craftsmanship to make it doesn’t make it ART. The mere intent of making art, doesn’t make it ART. One must use both skill and intention in line with their personal spiritual desire to make “ART”. Anything less is not art, it is at best commodity or craft.

Drink 004} A chair can be ART, or it can be a chair. However, I am not sure it can’t be both at the same time. Plato’s chair, is ART. The chair I craft and sit in, is the shadow of that chair. The vision in my mind that I used to help me make the chair is the true “ART”, the real chair is merely the shadow of the idea that I call art based on my minds eye of what “ART” really is*. (*which may or may not be a chair)

Drink 005} Your body is but a mask that conceals your true self.

Drink 006} DADA never really happened!

Drink 007} The copy is (almost) never better then the original.

Drink 008} If god is seven, then the devil is six, and man is five (or is he?).

Drink 009}  Let me out of this chair, and I’ll show you things you’ll not believe.

Drink 010} Ouch, Man that floor is hard……………………

Posted by: Heath Heathen | January 3, 2010

Post Traumatic Saga Documentation (PTSD)

Hello Everyone,
For the last few months I have been working with friends (Micheal, Shannon, Christopher, Chad and others) to get ready for a Performance / Art Installation party in Ballard called Last Viking Saga. We’ve had a lot of painting, casting, and soldering parties and I am happy to report that the project was a get success and went off with a bang December 12th 2009.

This was the most epic BB-Gun Party yet. We had over 100 people attend and best yet no one got hurt this year!!!?

Last Viking Saga follows the story of the Olsson family in Ballard, WA descendants of Vikings that were responsible for the death of Odin’s Favorite horse Sleipnir. Your role at the party was to pick a side. Are you with Odin in revenging the death of his beloved? Or with the Olsson family and defending Ballard from the wrath of Odin a.k.a. Santa?

last viking sagaYou can read all four volumes of the comic book at and please visit facebook and become a fan. There you can see lots of pictures from the party as well as videos.

I am currently working on editing down all the video and hope to have it uploaded soon….

You can find more information:

photos by:Neil Lukas

Posted by: Heath Heathen | January 2, 2010

My Two Cents

Okay, it is the first of the year and just like I said I am getting started on the blog. Yes, this blog is about “A”rt and I’ll get to that. However, I have to put in my two cents in here, of course if my opinion was worth anything I would have more than two cents to share….Whatever!

photo care of: the new pioneer square blog

Pioneer Square is the heart of the Seattle Art community for now, (keep dreaming Georgetown) and there has been a lot of chat about how to improve the da’hood. Well, like more artist types I am used to living in run down parts of town, or the middle of nowhere (think Georgetown) or out in the country in some old farm house with the winter blowing through it. Anywhere the rent is cheap Right?!

Pioneer Square has a lot to offer as a neighborhood! I am not just talking about the all the vital homeless services, or the plentiful section 8 housing, or all the cheap drugs, (enjoyed by most of the people in section 8 housing. You know who you is!). Nope it isn’t even the cornucopia of wonderful smells of human waste wafting out of almost every doorway and alley.

No, the real beauty of Pioneer Square is in its history! It is in its architecture, its rich artist community as well as long list of respectable restaurants. However, I would have been remiss if I didn’t save the best for last… Yes, let us not forget about the abundance of bars and nightclubs!

Why Pioneer Square is a den of hedonistic delights…. I moved here years ago after reading some of Charles Bukowski finer work. Thinking, “If Bukowski came to drink in Seattle today, where would he drink?” My answer? Pioneer Square of course! The Double Header on 2nd and Yesler to be more precise. Oh yes, the oldest gay club on the west coast with some of Seattle’s better drag moments has history alright. But as if that pedigree was not enough, it is now home to some of Seattle’s sleaziest drug dealers, hookers, and other fallen souls. Ahhhh.. It make me so proud as a relatively up standing citizen of Pioneer Square knowing that I can get blasted up close with such sordid, filthy and dilapidated old souls. Pioneer Square has a rich tradition of filthy cocksuckers making there way through Pioneer Square, why just read Sons of Profits and you’ll get a good idea of what I am talking about. You can get it at the gift shop after a nice walk through Seattle’s underbelly. There are plenty of watering holes waiting for you to have a drink as you read all about Seattle’s dynamic history of reprobates.

All that being said; as a tax paying relatively upstanding member of the Pioneer Square community interested in enjoying everything my neighborhood has to offer (well mostly). I have notice that things are a bit worse then usual. My fellow citizens nothing, and I mean NOTHING will change until you get out into the public and engage in your neighborhood. That isn’t just going to safety meeting, writing blogs or writing letters to the editor. Not even calling 911 will help. Nope! You have to get out and engage. Yep, fight with the drug dealers, talk to the hookers, curse at the morally depraved asshole leaving a smelly shit in your doorway!

So for everyone out there living in da’hood, where ever it might be. Good Luck! I am pulling for you, because I live in the da’hood too and I am lovin’ it!

Posted by: Heath Heathen | September 23, 2009

Just a quick post

Hello All,
This is just a quick post to let you know that there will be more to come. I am just getting started. Not to say I haven’t been ranting about art for a long time however, I am new to the blog thing.

For now do yourself a favor and go see John Waters: “This Filthy World “Philosopher of filth and reigning king of bad taste, John Waters presents an outstanding live one-man show that celebrates his origins of trash with his signature brand of irreverent humor. Filmed live in New York, this devilishly delectable monologue focuses on Waters’s early introductions to the grotesque that influenced the groundbreaking filmmaker and author, continually magnifying his twisted contributions of creativity.” –

Please check back later hope to have everything up and running with content in October.