– By Jack Armstrong, Artist: 2013 Palm Springs, CA
Growing up in Omaha in the 1960’s made you dream. You dreamed of California, Paris, Rome, Sydney, New York, London, and all the islands you saw in travel magazines. Rio to Bali to Asia.
The dreams took me to the most beautiful beaches in the world and to the great cities with the finest art museums. I dreamed to paint what my hero Van Gogh did not have time to achieve, in the 10 year period in which he worked, long ago.
Omaha was a cattle stockyard town on the Missouri River with one gem of a Museum named “The Jocelyn” Museum of Art. It was a pink granite palace that shone in the sun, given to the city by one famous local family that changed my life.
I saw the old west masterpieces of Charles Russell and Frederic Remington and the Treasures of The Pharaoh “King Tut.” But Van Gogh changed my life when I viewed his self portrait, and discovered myself.
The Golden Mask of the “boy” King of Egypt seen thru the eyes of a 7 year old boy, was magical. Inside a Greek Temple, on the Plains of Nebraska, this Museum became my center of magic & wonder, that would inspire my journey to find the “center” of my own magic, & somewhere, somehow, inside of myself, create a revolution of light and color that would shine as brightly in modern art, as Tut’s golden & turquoise mask, shone in his time.
Seeing my first Corvette’s in 1963-1966 was the same for a young boy, as looking at masterpieces in art museums. American dreams, on wheels. Exotic bright colored paint, the fastest, most beautiful cars I thought, in the world. Listening to “Engines” that sounded like thunder-gods became our religion. Harley Davidson’s from that period were radical icon’s of lust.
The ultimate piece of motor art.
In the annual custom auto & motorcycle shows in the Omaha Coliseum, the velvet ropes surrounding these wondrous machines became my friends, as I clung to the soft ropes with small hands and large dreams, I whispered to myself, “someday I will paint the finest art motorcycle and Sports car, in the world.”
Gazing @ those incredible machines, it seemed to me then, & still today, that everyone who ever painted no matter how high the level of perfection, that they always went deep, in the sense of thickness of paint. No matter how many layers of paint & lacquer that were applied, @ the end, no matter what style and color or pattern, all the same technique. Flat surface, Without any texture, surface height or “explosion” of madness. Beauty without magic.
I saw the possibility then, (in 1963) which was still true in 2010 when I finally achieved my childhood dream of painting what I believe to be, the most revolutionary art motorcycle in history.
In 2009 I purchased one shining new, Harley V-Rod that would become my art signature, of a lifetime’s work, & planning that could take me into Vincent’s cosmic world and beyond. Van Gogh was the first artist in history to create Revolutionary art.
Despised by most of his peers as artist, and man, he forged work out of the most humble circumstances, to make painting come alive solely thru the magic of believing that what he was creating, would have relevance for ages to come.
He made paint speak. He used thickness of paints exploding to heights unheard of & unseen when the whole world of “art” consisted of painting slowly, on “flat” canvas of thin flat paintings, created with tiny art brushes.
In 10 short years, Van Gogh who taught himself to paint @ 27, died @ 37 years of age.
The magic that Vincent created was only possible by the aloneness or “oneness” he experienced in life. His only connection was through his “oneness” with himself, his art, and the universe. The m@gic “inside us all,” that most never seek, or discover.
Having finished the 100 paintings in 2010 that I promised myself would be my total output as an artist, after I repurchased my early work in the 1990’s and burned all of the paintings, I was re-imagining my early dream of painting a Harley Davidson.
My early work’s were no different than what had been achieved by thousands of artists, even though I was the only artist ever in NYC, that explained to the most important Modern Art Dealer on the planet : Leo Castelli, that I was “not” ready for the solo show he offered me, in his Castelli Gallery.
My friend Andy Warhol did not speak to me for months. Only Larry Rivers & Keith Haring understood. Roy Lichtenstein and Jean Michel Basquiat were in their own world, and I went deeper into my own non-dealer, non gallery experience.
My goal and my muse, which is really the child still lost in wonder among painting’s: in the “Muse”- ums of my youth, was to create something that people had never experienced before.
“Cosmic Extensionalism” which I named the style I paint in, is more than a new school of art. It is everything I dreamed possible long ago. Art dealers, gallery personnel, curators and art history experts today speak in gibberish. This is what they have been taught. Vincent taught us thru his life and work that the “Essence of life itself” only becomes visible when we believe in the power of our “own” creation.
So all the theories of people who do not create “anything” except meaningless words to try and explain the “meaning” in many paintings that have no meaning & are hung on walls in the great dealer galleries and museums of the world, supported by “words” to somehow validate their “worth” in terms of price and significance seems absurd when considering Van Gogh.
Almost No One, wanted him, or his art in his lifetime, yet he succeeded on a Dailey basis for a 10 year period, without decent food or shelter to create something so different and unique in his time that has transcended the world of art, artists and museums.
Impossible dreams come true, only when people believe that the impossible does not exist.
For me “Cosmic Extensionalism” is universal magic, a cosmic connection to the energy of trillions of galaxy’s and Channeling that power to everything we do or create. It is a universal essence of life, color, magic and light.
Painted in a couple of months time, my “Cosmic StarShip” Harley’s creation felt to me, like Vincent’s olive trees, or his painting “The Sower,” coming to life must have felt like to him.
Explosions of fire, from a mind on fire.
I had never painted on metal or done anything other than flat canvas which I made “un-Flat” thru the extreme textures and shapes of my new style of painting.
As I sanded down the original paint on the New: $30 Thousand Dollar, Harley Davidson V-Rod the excitement was unbelievable. We were never allowed to touch the dream machines we loved as children behind the “velvet” ropes long ago.
This was the same experience as seeing my first Bright Red with brilliant Chrome Exhaust Side Pipes: Chevy Corvette, in my hometown, & Going into my first art museum and seeing a boy pharaoh’s, treasure, & my first van Gogh.
Cosmic Extensionalism is real, name it what you like, it is: A Divine Universal Power that suspend’s time.
I became the magic, and created what people say is impossible.
Something unique and radically different in the art world. A million dollar Harley that did not look like any other Harley on earth.
I cannot explain how I painted the machine, except that it is similar to a dream like trance, yet with hyperactivity and explosions of color in my mind. I cannot tell you how many days or hours it took. When you are on the most intense journey of your life you do not look at a clock or calendar, or remember what or if, you ate or drank.
I have recently in 2012 had a similar explosion of Cosmic Extensionalism with the creation of the “Cosmic StarCruiser ARTBike”, which is another first in art, a $1 Million Dollar “ART” Bicycle. Dead sharks in the major art museums of the world and steel balloon dog’s made in factories by steel workers, will never inspire visionaries like a Frank Gehry building or the cosmic explosion of paint on a canvas, or a bicycle, that has never been done before.
I will let the world’s critic’s explain with “their” words how they think I created it, and what it’s meaning really is.
And I am certain they will explain it.
For “all” people in the world that believe the word “impossible” is true, and that magic isn’t real, they will be correct.
I am currently planning a $30 Million Dollar “Art Car” SuperCar, Automobile. It will be a Cosmic “StarCloud,” & as completely different from my Harley & my Cosmic Bicycle as my work is from Van Gogh’s. Yet, they will all express the same feeling. The same emotion screaming out of the paint. Light, Magic, Color, & Texture.
It is life, and these works are “Alive.”
Hopefully my work will inspire others to create their dreams. Something that has never been done before. No matter to the “impossible” believer’s, who advise against it.
No matter how hungry or poor you are in life, you become richer in the “dream” of what you “will” achieve, and then “create” in life, from the belief in the dream. In a 7 year period I created most of what is now named Cosmic Extensionalism. It is my cosmic dream realized not only in my work, but in every part of my life. I dream of magic awake & asleep, and sometimes feel that my paintings are inside me, or, that I am still flying “inside” my art.
Art is life, If you simply “believe,” you can create: “any” life & art you dream of.
What do you have to lose?
– By Jack Armstrong, Artist: 2013 Palm Springs, CA