Extinct Aurochs

The Undeniable Honesty of Auroch

Acrylic on aluminum-mounted photograph, 2014, 20"x16"

AUROCH: Hey Robert, what's goin' on?

ME: Just getting ready to head down to San Diego

AUROCH: What's in San Diego?

ME: I have a booth at Comic-Con.

AUROCH: Why do you have a booth at Comic-Con? You're not funny.

ME: It's not really for comedians. It's a place for creatives to meet each other and meet some of their fans.

AUROCH: You don't have any fans.

ME: I might.

AUROCH: Do you think anybody at Comic-Con will buy one of your huge paintings?

ME: No. It's not that kind of scene, but it should be a fun week.

AUROCH: You know, it's really hot in your studio.

ME: I think it's pretty comfortable.

AUROCH: No, it's boiling. It's probably because you don't have a single fan.


Extinct Thylo

Everything Will Be Okay

Acrylic on aluminum-mounted photograph, 2014, 20"x16"

THYLO: Hey Robert, what's wrong?

ME: Just a little deflated.


ME: I saw some terrible things that were written about my work. It was kind of depressing.

THYLO: Have thicker skin.

ME: The harder I work the thinner my skin gets. It's just become so hard, Thylo.

THYLO: Bahahaha, Hard? Oh wow. Do you have any self-awareness at all? Do you have any idea what's going on in the world? Being an artist is a privilege and a choice.

ME: Some say you don't choose art, art chooses you.

THYLO: Sure. Fine. Whatever. But don't you remember what Jimmy Dugan said in A League of Their Own?

ME: There's no crying in baseball?

THYLO: No, the other quote.

ME: Avoid the clap?

THYLO: No Robert, he said it's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard then everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.

THYLO: Thanks Thylo.

ME: Now enough of this insecure, narcissistic whining. Get back to work.


Extinct Dodo & Aurochs

Auroch's Non Sequitur

Acrylic on aluminum-mounted photograph, 2014, 20"x16"

ME: So then I said to Thylo, "What are you talking about? I'm a fork with a pea on it!"


AUROCH: Robert, are you ever worried that you'll never be taken seriously by the art world?

ME: Yes.


Extinct Thylo & Pigeons

Passenger Pigeons Are Deliberately Impolite

Acrylic on aluminum-mounted photograph, 2014, 20"x16"

THYLO: Oh no!

ME: What is it?

THYLO: They're back!

ME: Who?

THYLO: A cruel and mean feathered fiend.

ME: Oh no, not the-

THYLO: Like an evil crow from hell below.

ME: The most foul of fowl.

THYLO: A pigeon in need of religion.

ME: A verbal reek from a filthy beak.

THYLO: Like balcony geezers, they're never pleasers.

ME: The passenger pigeons!

PASSENGER PIGEONS: Hey Robert, Bumblebee is supposed to be yellow. Way to go, dummy!

ME: Ugh, it's just an underpainting guys. If you glaze over a blue underpainting with certain yellows you can-

PASSENGER PIGEONS: Oh my God! Nooooooobody cares. Not even the dog.

THYLO: I'm not a dog! I'm a Thylacine. I'm not even remotely related to a dog!

ME: Really? You kind of look like a dog, though?

THYLO: I know, but I'm just a good example of convergent evolution, like a dolphin and a shark. Robert, I actually think you're more closely related to a dog than I am.

ME: That's fascinating.

PASSENGER PIGEONS: Why are you making this Michael Bay painting. Nobody likes those movies.

ME: A lot of people like those movies. But this painting is a commission.

PASSENGER PIGEONS: This isn't original. You're not original!

ME: What if I painted birds and mountains and beautiful women? What if I made big geometric abstract paintings? That's all very common subject matter for painters. Would you say I'm unoriginal if I painted birds, mountains or portraits of beautiful women.

PASSENGER PIGEONS: Oh What if! What if! Why don't you make up your own characters?

ME: I mean, Michelangelo didn't write the Bible. Botticelli didn't invent Pagan mythology. Artists have always just been some kind of illustrator or decorator.

PASSENGER PIGEONS: False, false, FALSE! Have you ever read a book about art history before!?

ME: I've read many books about-

PASSENGER PIGEONS: You have nothing important to say with your art. Why don't you paint something important!?

ME: I really hate those pigeons, Thylo.


Extinct Dodo

Romantic Existentialism With Dodo

Acrylic on aluminum-mounted photograph, 2014, 20"x16"

DODO: Hey Robert. What are you doing out here?

ME: Just taking a break. Doing a bit of plein-air painting.

DODO: Well what are you looking at?

ME: Dodo, I'm looking at the great adventure that awaits us just beyond the horizon. A place where all of history is witnessed and all the mysteries of the universe are revealed. I'm looking at a speck of light in the heart of darkness, a grain of joy in the abyss of suffering, and a moment of calm in the hurricane of violence. I'm looking at the defeat of inequality, the death of injustice, and the triumph of rationalism. I'm looking at the exiled ghost of spiritual poverty wandering past the garden of redemption. I'm looking at a cup of water from the well of forgiveness and an island of sobriety torn from the Pangaea of opiates. I'm looking at hard work dancing with ethics in the ballroom of merit. I'm looking at the hypocrite and the righteous, the humble and the self-righteous, betrothed at the altar of compassion. I'm looking at an oasis of freedom in a desert of oppression, and a scarlet rose of happiness in a muddy swamp of depression. I'm looking at the injury of nature mercifully healed by the power of the common good, and the appetite of greed satiated by the honor of civility and personal responsibility. I'm looking at the victory of empathy and decency over the empire of apathy and intolerance. I'm looking at the courtship of trust between Gilgamesh and Humbaba, David and Goliath, Lions and Lambs, all resting in the warm fields of peace. I'm looking at Truth grasping to a leaf floating down a river of deafening noise. I'm looking at the tribal infection of the human condition and the transcendent remedy for its soul. I'm looking at the noble vessels of good battling the giant kraken of evil, far from the rocky shores of relativism. I'm looking at the thin vestibule between fate and free-will, and the insurmountable precipice of misfortune conquered only by the winged chariot of destiny. I'm looking at the remnants of hope in a valley of despair and the warm fires of existentialism at the end of the long hero's journey. Simply put, I'm looking at the eternal meadow of love.

DODO: What in God's name are you blabbering on about? Are you painting a meadow?

Me: No, I'm painting a tree that has chickens growing on it.

DODO: Why does the tree have chickens growing on it.

ME: Because it's a poultry.

DODO: . . . You're spending too much time alone.