Title: Do your chores, love dad
In my 20’s and 30’s I earned degrees in English and the Humanities, while sporadically publishing in obscure, small presses. In 2006, my novella, Being Wendall, was published by Mount Voices Literary Press. Then I stopped writing, and spent 2007-2015 helping to start, then lead, the Inlandia Institute, a non-profit literary organization based in Riverside, CA.
Common themes in my projects consider how humans successfully adapt to rapid cultural and technological change. I am fascinated by the conflict between the systems we design and the values we hold, paying particular attention to their effects upon family structures. My artistic tendency is to use simple materials and structures to speak about complicated, emotionally dense subjects. I choose words and materials that can be interpreted more than one way, giving the observer a larger role in the artistic experience.
Following this, my hope is to continue creating new art. My preference is to find writing and visual creation partners. To that end, my adult sons helped with the construction and presentation of the final product. One son, Devin Burns, draws and writes; my other son, Creed Burns, studies acting and voice at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
This project attempts to capture one father’s low-tech effort to communicate with his sons. The plywood and copy paper collage, as well as the poetry chapbook’s design, are influenced by the primary raw materials used in this exhibit: spiral bound notebooks. Seven notebooks of messages and doodles were copied, cut, and reordered to illustrate how people make-up family bonds and roles using complex communication systems.
Fear was the catalyst. Fear I was losing my connection to my children. Fear they would be harmed by my divorce. Fear that an identity and worldview honed over two decades of marriage was gone and I had no idea how to fill that hole. So I started writing notes to them. These were mostly reminders about chores, dinner plans, and where I could be found. We began to add doodles, then more detailed drawings and puns, as a way to entertain each other. The project is proof that the power to destroy and create anything worthwhile is in our hands.
Please consider purchasing below or pick up a copy at the Blue Door Museum Store @ Riverside Art Museum, downtown Riverside, CA.