#1125

Embrace your weird
the thing you fear the world’s
a toxic place
every normal breath you take
is death
Embrace!

#1125
18×20 Mixed media: Watercolor, Ink, Acrylic on Arches 140lb cold press
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Member:  DVAA-Da Vinci Art Alliance. Building community through art. My artworks are featured on my DVAA Member Profile: https://davinciartalliance.org/willard-johnson

#1124

22×28 Oil over acrylic on canvas
#1124
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Member:  DVAA-Da Vinci Art Alliance. Building community through art. My artworks are featured on my DVAA Member Profile: https://davinciartalliance.org/willard-johnson

‘A work of art does not contain the least bit of information’: Deleuze and Guattari and Contemporary Art.

#1120 16×20 Oil on canvas
#1120
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Deaf Gain

Image result for Disabilities logos photos deaf
I’ve been a social activist, off and on, for 60 years. An important part of my life. Of my essential identity. I want to say something in that connection, about how important the idea of Deaf Gain has been for me, as I’ve come to understand how it’s used in the Deaf Community.

I spent so much time in meetings during Occupy Philly that it came to a kind of joke: what do the corporate capitalists and Occupy anarchists have in common? … endless meetings!
…and then,–working up to the Wells Fargo trial and using it to build public awareness of how those criminals were bankrupting public education in Philly…. until my hearing began to be a problem I remember the first, mass organizing meeting of Philly for REAL justice… how I had to leave when it broke up into discussion groups, because I could make out nothing of what anyone said in the echo chamber of more than a hundred conversations going at once.
Since then, my activism been pretty much limited to joining street marches, which feel more and more useless, and occasional Street Medic support — like two years ago, the July Shut Down Berks occupation (was that two years ago already… or 3?)
It’s really hard to see every day so much going wrong and able to do so little. Reduced to supporting stuff in FB is WAY depressing.
Because I can speak, and in the right conditions, one to one, I can converse ok, have to remind people in a meeting–and while they try, and mean well, if I’m the only one in the room HoH, it reverts quickly back to Hearing Space, where my participation is limited. On the plus side, I can tell myself: ” Hey! Look at me–Old White Man who knows to Step Back and let others do it!”
… but being the Dummy in the room, pretty much makes me feel would make no difference if I stayed home.
Has a lot to do with choosing to go Voice Off in public. People don’t forget it’s hard for you to understand if they don’t look at you, if everyone talks at once, has made me into a passionate disabilities advocate. That matters. Remembering you’re not alone– knowing there’s something to work for. That you can use what ever has shut you out of the Normy World, to better understand how Privilege works–to better understand ways we need to change how we live and work together.
Most of what those shut up in their Normal World look at as a “loss,” … isn’t loss, but GAIN if you turn it to service to others. And that way of seeing disabilities as “losses” is so wrong, so harmful in so many ways!
That’s what “Deaf Gain” means to me as I see in the Deaf community. People who learn and build and create new ways of understanding — Vision of what it means to be human in this world, connection to one another deeper than any of our senses.

#1118 Hear with no Ears

There is neither sanity nor reason nor madness under capitalism.
It is all disease. All of it. We live the disease. It oozes out us, reinfecting us daily, hourly. Language is the great carrier. And commercial literature, and art that artists have surrendered to commodification. Even the animals we falsely and wrongly claim to “own” and call “our Pets,” are infected… though less than we humans who have bound them to us.
#1119

Choosing to go voiceless in public has been an act of liberation. A discovery. I think there is no part of my chronic depression that doesn’t begin with a denial of something I want. Something attainable. Something beyond reason. Like “coming out.” Accepting that I can find sexual pleasure with men, as well as–and maybe more than I had with women. There was nothing reasonable about that. Given my age, my sexual engagements up till then.

There is nothing reasonable about going Voice Off. It began to emerge from frustration at not understanding what people said, but in acting out this unreasonable desire I begin to grasp that it’s more than a reaction to frustration with the hearing world. The Hearing World is the only one manifestation of what is wrong with everything we call “Normal,” but it centers so directly on the great carrier–language … the swarming spores of the mold of language that grows in our shower stalls, our lungs, our groins, our daily bread.

Deaf Space, I suppose, can be no more free of it than anywhere else… but in coming out, in breaking through the Hearing World, into this different space, one hears more clearly, more truly… for a time. Until the poison of reason reinfects us.

10×12 Watercolor, Ink–black and gold.
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

#909 — Not Lost after all!

Thought I’d lost this! 9×12. Black gesso, black and gold ink.
I’d left it at DVAA after a members show… must have been months ago. Don’t remember at all!
#909

View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Some earlier thoughts on Deaf Space

#381, from October, 2015. 29×32. Acrylic on Canvas.  I called this: “Self Portrait.” It seems to be moving from hearing,  to a visual deaf space, with hands raised and ready to begin to sign… I began to learn ASL in 2016.
#381

In the ten years or so since I began to notice the change in my hearing, I’ve found that whatever inconveniences I’ve experienced, what I’ve learned about Deaf history– beginning ASL, it’s place in the Deaf community–that whatever inconveniences I’ve experienced have been far outweighed by what I’ve gained.

Following the several deaf/Deaf hoh pages on FB, I see this fabricated wall created between sign, and Hearing language. The social and political and medical effects of which have been so damaging, historically, and hardly less now. The discussions and fights on the advantages of techno-props to bring people into the Hearing world, versus learning sign (especially those around surgical procedures to infants to give them cochlear implants), go on as though these were mutually exclusive options.

The assumptions of the advantages of Hearing, as one might expect from a privileged class, become masks to stigma and stereotyping. Language has always been more than vocalization. “Gestures” are as grammatical as speech. Sign languages are not subsidiaries, or alternative of speech, but a natural unfolding out of the larger set that constitutes language.

View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.