“What are anger issues, Daddy?” My ever-perceptive 6-yr-old asked me this on the ride to school a few days ago, having somehow heard the term mentioned in his classroom. A week earlier, just 2 days after the conclusion of an absolutely mental Art Basel, this very boy stood barefoot and shirtless in my studio, hands gloved in hunter-green watercolor paint, splotches on his shorts, inner arms and legs, one patch in the middle of his back. Home sick from school, I had to bring h
“Prince was no taller than me, yet he was larger than life. He had his own style,” my 5’2″ wife told our boys on the drive to school last week. “He’d even wear shoes with high heels.” Our 8-yr-old leaned forward from the back seat and giggled, “Why would he do that?” Without missing a beat, his 6-yr-old brother chimed, “I know … because he was the boss of himself!” Are you the boss of yourself? Prince was born different. Hyper-musical. Uber-sexual. Unquestionably self-confide
“So, what do you do,” an attractive woman asked me at a party in Colorado years ago.
“I’m a filmmaker,” I said, taking a swig of Fat Tire. I’d just produced a TV commercial, my first, for the magazine where I worked.
When she stepped away a few minutes later, a friend sitting nearby said, “So now you’re a filmmaker, huh?” His snide tone cut me. In the ten years prior, I’d been a stockbroker, a film student, a production assistant, a chauffeur and an ad salesman. Was I a
Since I was a boy, I’ve dreamt all my friends would buy houses in cool places, and we’d ultimately just share one big, life-long, world-wide party. Call it recreational socialism. That dream has come true. But why limit it to just friends? Thanks to an app on the Internet machine, you can exchange homes with over 65,000 people in 150+ countries. It’s basically online dating with houses … only your chances of getting lucky are much higher. Oh, and its FREE. View from our dinin
To Begin, Begin.
Wordsworth Few things intimidate us like a blank slate waiting for what one of my writing heroes, Annie Lamott, calls the unavoidable “shitty first draft.” For most of us, it’s far easier to edit than to fabricate. Thus, it’s critical to get marks on the paper ASAP. I’ve just finished four months of head-down, sleeves-rolled-up intensity in my studio, cranking out all new works for a Bay Area solo show in May. The canvases are currently tr
“Even monkeys fall from trees.” Chris Bradford, The Ring of Earth. No way, I thought to myself the moment my brush, wet with polymer gloss medium, smeared the letters on the white paper above. For months, I’d labored with a compulsive attention to detail on this epic piece, layering the color and placing each pinkie-sized slice of book cover with precision. The gloss medium represented the very final step in a journey of 1000 miles, a mere mechanical necessity. But, the mome
Eight Years in the Studio, Work Pants, Acylic and paper on cardboard, Old window, 2014, Stuart Sheldon We all wear uniforms that hold our secrets. Your suit, scrubs, hardhat, sensible shoes, heels, sneakers define you in some subtle or overt way. My painting clothes, the work pants and shirts ripped and spattered over a decade in the studio, bear all the marks and scars that define any artist: triumph, failure, magic, truth, dedication, doubt, sex, beauty, repulsion and perse
“Everyone has two lives. The second one begins when you realize you have only one.” Steven Sotloff. She Gets It. I wish everyone looked at my art like this. If you are not amazed at something right now, you’re either not paying attention or you’re a fool. When you turn on the faucet, if water comes out, be dazzled. If it is drinkable, be awestruck. Much of the world would give anything for such basics. And yet, each day, all day, we walk oblivious to our good fortune. And
We all need to escape our lives and disconnect every now and then. Change the scenery and the pace. The color blue alone made it all worth it. The Kingdom of Tonga sits far from everything, awash in turquoise lagoons, aquamarine shallows and cobalt reefs care-taken by the bluest eye sky. It is the only monarchy never colonized in the South Pacific, populated by a gentle people, notwithstanding their club-wielding, brain-bashing, cannibal lineage. One tranquil sunset, in one o
Stop waiting to see who watches No one watches At least not for long Everyone’s far too busy Looking in mirrors of their own ~ image courtesy of Black Country Museums ~ Vanity is tricky. I loathe it yet, as an artist, it is the fuel that stokes the flames of self-relection which, in turn, morph into paintings and poems and songs and Frank Gehry’s Bilbao Guggenheim. Vanity’s blade cuts deep. Festering self-absorption and neediness. My children salved my wounds. And proved to m
“A Sneeze Between the Knees. That is an orgasm!” My college sex ed teacher opened her very first lecture with that jewel. Best description I’ve heard yet. Unfortunately, that opening moment proved to be the premature climax of the class. She droned on for months mostly about STDs and birth control and all the things you really don’t want to learn about at 19. Just make me a pornstar in bed, fercrissakes! I was recently approached by a renowned sexologist keen to know my thoug
Stuart Sheldon, Mother’s Day, Acrylic, Chinese funeral paper on panel, 24″x24″, 2004 I got divorced a long time ago. The short story is this – Good friends. Bad mates. Luckily, no kids were involved. Still, it was the second saddest event in my life next to later miscarriages that nearly robbed me of fatherhood. Recently, several friends with 4-yr-olds, the same age as my kids, announced divorces. I happened to be four when my parents divorced. So I have a clear opinion on th
I waited alone to be seated in a Thai restaurant on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall. In front of me a beefy frat boy and his pom-pom girlfriend touched one another like kittens. I was 29 and bummed to be without a date on Valentine’s Day. My romantic dinner for one was to include pad thai and a frosty Singha with my nose in Hemingway’s Islands In The Stream. But I was OK with it. Until, out of nowhere, the big lug turned to me and said, “No date for Valentines Day, huh?”
I currently live in a 2600 square foot home that I consider a mansion after five years on a 928 sf Sausalito houseboat. Mind you, I’ll probably never live in a more enchanted place than that floating, 2-story, light-soaked masterpiece. We had to walk two full city blocks straight into the Bay to reach our front door. We made our first son there. And our second. And enjoyed many a glass of rosé standing atop the roof at sunset. There was nothing boaty about the handsome grey s
Stuart Sheldon, Whirled Wide Whimsy, typewriter on paper, collage, poetry, 11-1/2″x8-1/4″, 2003 We embarked on a proper family brunch outing Sunday … just the four of us. En route, we bought assorted cupcakes for a friend with a new baby and grabbed a strawberry one with a mountain of vanilla frosting for us. I ambled ahead with Kai on my shoulders, grasping his piston-like ankles in a vain attempt to keep his sneakers from repeatedly banging me in the face. Swinging from his
I’m driving along two sunny Sunday’s ago, blasting Ramblin Man, when my wife calls. Confusion tints her voice. “What’s up with this poem you just blogged?” “What poem? I didn’t blog today.” HACKED! I’ve had my car broken into. Credit card pilfered. Bike stolen. But something about a faceless badguy sending out my own words to you really skeeved me out. As I lay dreaming the previous night, some dirty rat in a windowless room somewhere entered my WordPress account and sent not
Inside the Mind of Picasso, acrylic, oil crayon and resin on wood, 24″x24″, 2003 There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot. But there are others who transform a yellow spot into the sun.
Pablo Picasso “I don’t know how to look at art.” More than a few people have told me this over the years. At my shows. At galleries. At museums. I’m always confused, because telling me you don’t know how to look at art is like telling me you don’t know how to have sex. What
This is My Mom!! My mother was a 1950’s beauty queen. I have a photo to prove it. She kneels atop a real live tortoise. Beneath a palm. One hand placed delicately on the languid creature’s shell. The other waving beside her baby doll smile. She is a curvaceous beauty. The white one-piece a masterstroke. Yet, she was a shy teenager who lacked self confidence she tells me. Not the Miss University of Florida contest type. Peer pressure got the best of her. More than once, this b
Twitter exchange with one of my favorite authors last week: Me: Last Halloween my 3yo boy rocked Cinderella. This yr its Batman. I kinda miss the gown.
Peggy Orenstein: A cape is sort of gown-esque, no?
Me: Cinderella would be stunning in a cape. Dunno if I want Batman saving me in a gown. Peggy Orenstein’s most recent NYT best-seller, Cinderella Ate My Daughter delves into the “princess-mania” that has overtaken a new generation of little girls. Her magnificent memoir, Waiti
Burning Man is happening right now! A journey I have personally treasured on 7 delicious occasions. I could not be there this time, but all that is playful and creative within me is there in spirit. The principals which underlie this seminal event are more meaningful now than ever. Pick one and aim to apply it to your actions today, wherever you are: Ten Principles of Burning Man Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No p