Thursday, January 31, 2008

Public vs. Private

Sometimes the things you say in private, to friends over drinks, aren’t the things that you bring to public discourse. Over at Jaxcal, Byron King recently posted a rant saying that in all of Jacksonville, there is no arts writer; no-one whose insight and commentary should appear any other place than that august institution that is Jaxcal.


Jaxcal is a blog. Jaxcal is ostensibly a community effort. Jaxcal is King’s baby and the place he is wont to post whiney and mean-spirited tirades before getting the whole story, then pull them down in a fit of regret. Perhaps King hasn’t realized that it isn’t that there are no art critics in Jacksonville, merely none that care to be associated with the pet project of a tactless cannon.

Good luck finding “your” art critic Jaxcal.


Blasphemer said...

Snicker (golf clap)

Byron said...

sounds like you got your feelings hurt. sorry.

of course I think you're the best published writer in town.

and I really don't think jaxCAL is just me anymore.

you might want to look at the 40 artists who joined in the last month to realize that.

if someone like yourself who has the talent and really wanted to make a difference they could.

I've asked you to get involved but you'd rather not, just like your buddies who've black listed me it seems.

there are 98 registered users on jaxcal the main site and 40 on the space site, so how can that be my pet project? seems like more than one person.

And it seems like a lot of folks agreed with me. And I say what others think because I'm honest.

If we were more honest to each other in this little city we might progress.

Byron said...

you really shouldn't hold grudges Madeleine it's not healthy. I know.

unless we get honest with each other in this city we're going to have a hard time making the progress we need.

if you can honestly tell me we have someone who is covering the arts in Jacksonville to the level they could be covered, doing writing that is at the level of other emerging progressive cities then I'll swallow my statement.

but I don't feel it is so. do you? and again, it seems a lot of folks agreed with me so I know I'm not alone.

I do sense feel a lot of hatred in your post and I find that odd as I've only met you once and you really don't know me at all.

and all I've ever done is try to work with you not against you.

but I definitely feel we need a serious art writer in this town. someone who's not afraid to say what they think and can back it up.

on another note....if you want to help me move this weekend we're moving to the Southside. lots of fun. my wife is eight months pregnant. and you should see my 2.5 year old. she'd definitely cheer you up.

TRON said...

Chopper, Sick Balls.....Balls=JAXCAL.
HAHA. I bet if there were some Trophy Soldiers on the EU cover we would have never heard anything about this.

Byron said...


jaxcal was mentioned in that EU too.

along with Morrison Pierce who is a strong member of JaxCAL.

it's not EU, it's all of the art writing in town, really. just used that as an example.

Sean Tucker said...

We don't need examples, Byron.

If you're going to outright attack people using "making progress in this city" as an excuse EVERY time, be prepared to take the heat. Citing specific examples only gives us reason to shout back. There ARE great writers in this town, and they are writing about art. Why are you complaining?

Consider that you might be "blacklisted" by people for a reason. Rather than REALLY trying to make progress, you are isolating yourself from some artists by calling them out for not supporting you.

Rather than jerking eachother off and using our blogs to get fame and credit for revitalizing the community, do something.

For example (ha ha), you organized a pretty badass show with the fecal face thing. Do it again, step away from the computer and the faceless blog and all the "great ideas" and do something. Not for you, not for JaxCal, for Jacksonville, for art (with a lowercase a).

Just please stop complaining.

Thanks for giving me somewhere to write this, Madeline.

Byron said...

You're right I haven't done anything. so sorry. I apologize.

I've busted my ass for some time now and done a lot of good for this little high school of an art community.

You may see what I do as complaining but I see it as a call to action, of which I am doing along with many others involved with JaxCAL.

madeleine said...


You’re right. I don’t know you well enough to make character judgments. And that’s why I didn’t.

And yes, you did ask me to be involved in Jaxcal, and I was, until your irresponsible indictment of Mark Creegan (pulled down before too many people saw it) made me uncomfortable with my association with Jaxcal. Which I tried to tell you in as tactful a manner as possible…a hint that you clearly did not take.

With your “invitation,” you’re basically calling on someone to roll in, and say, “Yeah, I’m the biggest and the baddest writer in town, check out my six-guns if you don’t believe me.” It is the antithesis to most of the writers I know, and the approach smacks of unattractive hubris on the part of the organization making the offer.

Here’s the thing: you say that you want Jaxcal to be a community forum, a hub. And as far as I can tell, it is. People visit it, people comment. But, to deny your hand in it is absurd. I am pretty sure you’re the same person who posts about people not being “involved,” then you boast about who is registered. I will say this, you sure know how to get in the printed press you are so quick to lambast.

And as to my involvement in our "high school art scene." I’m one of the people who has been here, quietly working. Not hollering at others via the internet. Because most of the artists I know "bust their asses."

The damning comment about my friends? That was plain uncalled for, but I’ll take in stride since it illustrates one of my favorite ideologies: quality vs. quantity. Enjoy your 98 registered users. I’ll enjoy the company and thoughtful conversation of my friends.

P.S. Thank you Sean, can’t wait to see the new effort…where can a curious reader pick one up?

Byron said...

when I meant high school of an art community I was talking about how Tron was sniping at me like folks used to do when I was in high school.

i think we should try and avoid that at all cost and try and maintain educated banter.

actually Kelly Pope is the best contributor we have and she's a senior at DA.

Go Kelly.

Sean Tucker said...

"Educated banter" may be one of the funniest things I've ever read.

We all bust our asses, Byron.
I'm wondering if you missed the part in my comment in which I called one of your efforts "pretty badass." Also, when you first contacted me about my little art book project, you were so forthcoming with amazing ideas and an excitement I had yet to experience. Limited-edition prints included? Genius!

THAT'S what we need. We need your enthusiasm to put into great art shows or to be implemented towards great projects, not the constant criticism of the state of the arts in the city. It just brings us down! When you've got the artists in the scene saying "yeah man, this place sucks" where does that leave the art they make?

We all know there are flaws, but why hash them out on a blog? Why say "I felt like taking out a red marker and grading papers when I read EU Jacksonville’s art coverage"? Why openly attack?

At least they're writing about art. They are informing the other 850,000 residents in this town (who unfortunately, are not part of the 98 registered JaxCal contributors) about a whole facet of this community they had no idea about before.

Positive energy, man. Its far out.

We're all doing whatever we can to make this town a flourishing arts city. And I'm sure you can see that it's made a vast improvement from 5 years ago even – Several new galleries have popped up, house shows, the incredible ArtWalk, and of course MOCA. There are Rauschenberg's and Rosenquist's and other bigtime R-tists (whoooo thats funny!) whose work is permanently in this city! That's super cool even if you don't like them!

My point is that you don't need to attack the heart of the arts community...US. The 98 contributors to JaxCal, the EU staff, the artists that you don't like and that don't like you, your artist buddies, Madeleine, you, me.

It's a tiny group of us trying to keep the arts from dying in Jacksonville – don't screw it up by knocking down the people who are trying. No one here is better than anyone else, we all want the same see Awesome (with a capital A) art.

Quantity, quality, whatever.

Go Kelly.

Byron said...

there's a difference between being positive and being realistic. i only stated in that post what many folks I've spoken to had stated.

and I didn't see it as complaining but more as a call to action.

I'm sorry if I upset anyone by it. I do apologize.

And Sean I have done a lot the past year. A lot more than the 9th and Liberty and a lot more than contacting you with some ideas. I don't expect you to follow everything that I've been involved with the past few months but to imply I ain't doing anything positive makes me think you haven't been reading JaxCAL at all and that's fine. Not everyone does. Just last weekend we did this project with I felt was pretty neato.

and I seem to remember an art gallery / center thing I was involved with too which was a time sucker only a few months ago:

not that I have to defend myself. but I guess I am.

and also there were a bunch of folks who agree with my post so i'm pretty sure I hit the nail on the head. i am sorry I offended anyone with it though.

I wish you luck with your zine. I hope you get a great response with it and it becomes a great source of inspiration for the artists in Jacksonville.

And I'm trying to put together a global warming show sometime this year, so if anyone is interested in something like that holla.

cheers everyone.


Tonya said...

Please remember that I am a painter, not a writer. Also, I am not looking for this to open up any 'dialogue'. So please...don't email me.

I think many of us who have read the commenting succession have noticed a pattern taking place that actually has very little to do with a call for an arts writer. Not that it has any worth, just that it is an interesting tactic that should be noted. Much of Byron’s reasoning and defense is reliant on the notion that he feels that "many people agree" (see below) with his passions/bitching/drive/goals/approach (whatever word you want to use). It is important to point out that this type of reasoning -- the idea that 'you are either with me or against me' -- can be thought of as gang or militaristic. I think that a large part of the creative psyche is predominantly individualistic. In many, this individualism manifests in anti-conformity. The 'join my blog' [club], ‘we all agree’ effort is, at least for me, a gross distortion of the idea of an arts “community” because involvement can be misinterpreted as validation of specific persons tactless approach. Some would shy away from being lumped into the “many people agree with me” category because it is quantifying ones individualism for another’s delusional sense of self. Communities are built on an organic webbing of ideas, ethics and issues. And communities are held together by compatible personalities. There is not one community or one right way of doing anything. For me, there are bigger issues in the world than if someone wants to look at the mess that I create in my studio. Or if someone wants to write about the mess I create in my studio that no one is buying. It is incredibly important to have a voice, have an opinion and have a spine. (And don’t abuse the anonymity of others to allow you to stand erect.) But these things only work when they are mixed with integrity, humility and constant evaluation of SELF. All of which are qualities that do not come from numbers.


"you might want to look at the 40 artists who joined in the last month to realize that."

"there are 98 registered users on jaxcal the main site and 40 on the space site, so how can that be my pet project? seems like more than one person."

"And it seems like a lot of folks agreed with me."

"it seems a lot of folks agreed with me so I know I'm not alone. "

"and also there were a bunch of folks who agree with my post so i'm pretty sure I hit the nail on the head."

Sean Tucker said...

I'm out.
I can't keep saying the same thing.

We Made These Things: Volume 1.
All up in your bizznass – March/April 2008.


madeleine said...

In conclusion, I guess the only thing left to say is that everyone is entitled to go about doing things in his or her own way.

Like minds will always find one another, so there's nothing really left to worry/talk about.

Byron said...

I get it guys. You don't like me.

I only posted what I've been hearing from many others for quite some time now. the above link is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

yes... another example.

madeleine said...

The above is a poor example because the party doing the complaining about the writer lacks any kind of objectivity. Just because one doesn’t like what a critic/writer says in print about him or her, it is not reason enough to wholesalely indict the writer.

The idea that I hold grudges? I am not the person making wild, emotionally-laden statements like:

and it doesn't seem they [critics] are too good at taking criticism themselves.

you really shouldn't hold grudges Madeleine it's not healthy.

You're right I haven't done anything. so sorry. I apologize.

I think we should try and avoid that at all cost and try and maintain educated banter.

I get it guys. You don't like me.

The purpose of this post was to critique your tactics. Not disparage your person

Byron said...

thanks for your opinion.

markreegon said...