Stoned Age Graffiti

I hesitate to mention to you ‘all’ that this is planned as part one of three as that might jinx the plan. i think talking of –even thinking of– good things that can happen contributes to them not happening. i do think that part of my constant talking about how bad things are happening is a way to jinx that.

I’m not some kind of Paleolithic animist. i don’t think that there are demons out there trying to mess with me. don’t need no stinkin’ demons, there are enough real people are doing that. so here consumerism burns wealth; a smart phone roasts a debit card. and by that light hunters and gatherers, hunt and gather. in a deeper part of the cave the artist has made some art, with stone age (20th century, really) tools; with pen and wine by an incandescent bulb.

Some say back then, that the artist worked isolated and alone to assure a good hunt and successful gatherings by his ad hoc icons. but he was still part of the team. others give it a more shamanistic, solitary turn, saying that his going to the dark, dangerous part of the cave is more important than the drawing left there unseen. the art more tagging than iconography; the gesture more of sacrifice than of camaraderie.

For Peircian icons similarity is identity, and for X-ian icons St. Basil the Great said “The honor shown the image passes over to the archetype.” an animist society could think that having a well-done drawing of a beast would lead to having one in their larder. therefore iconographers would have been well thought of.

The shaman-artist would return –if he survived– to the bright, safe part of the cave where his insights were listened to and acted on. he’d get a share of the bounty as compensation for his trouble. sure ain’t happening that way here, the hunters and gatherers are too busy acting on their own urges. were shamans’ visions respected back then or were they thought of as schizophrenic hallucinations as there are now? perhaps.

Then there is R. Dale Guthrie who says –i think, i’ve only read summaries and reviews of his $45 book– the artists back then were just kids. but everyone a kid was then, nobody lived long. they made art for whatever reasons artist do today; they made art of what they saw and what concerned them. being teenagers that was wild animals, wild sex, wild behavior in general. it’s a reasonable hypothesis.

This drawing mixes all that, the real upper paleolithic times and a modern artist’s youth. the other 2 drawings –knock on wood, i get to them– are of that now, far from young youth’s  present and future epochs.  here he’s drawn what he’s seen, what concerned him. he’s made a icon of the hunter and gatherer otherwise occupied, though he’s now more careful what he wishes for.  He hopes the shaman-artist combo is crap too, as his visions depress him.