Michael Chernoff's Art and Critical Essays

Motel Note #2



I Walk up a back hall heading for a door. A door to let me out into the rain soaked lots. I turn the corner by the elevator. A round bald white man appears, emerging from the brown door elevator. He wheels luggage ahead of me. I keep walking behind him still heading to the door.

He mutters, “I’ll never see my kids again…” and keeps rolling.

I stop following him and turn my back to see if there is another door already near me. There is none only a dead end window. I watch in the glass reflection as he unlocks his room door and crawls inside.

He’s lost more than I have now I think. I turn around and head to the door at the other end of the hall.


Motels Note No. 4#


Beware! The Traveloge doors they jam in the cold. Steel doors covered in dirty blue. You’ll insert the card in the door handle only to find there is action in the handle. Insert again and you’ll see a red dot flash hard after a brief green blip. The cold blisters against your skin as your door just won’t open.

Then start putting the card and twisting hard on the handle while shouldering the door. Attempt this at least three times before stopping.

You should overcome the door and huddle inside fearing you may never get back in again.

There will be a time when the battery runs dead in the Travel Lodge Doors that will not open correctly. This door hastles cannot be avoided you will have to inform the front desk three times before they give you a different room that you must move yourself and all of your possessions.

There are some conclusions that can’t be avoided unless spoken for.

Essay: Bleu Squre

Looking at my Facebook feed page I see I’m now friends with my new employer, Lauren Studios. I click on it and see no friends or information on the site. A little disappointed by its poor existence, I search for Ed Czuchrey my new boss on facebook and I find him easily. He’s wearing a bird watching hat and a maroon shirt, arms crossed giving hard kind stare. I’d like to add the man as a friend but it’s really not a good idea to link with your boss on the site, not yet at least. He’s an old timer which posses a careful sternness and glows toughness. He must be for being a port town boy in origin since I read that he is from New Haven, CT.

New Haven is the city which contains Yale University. I visited the city for a 20 hour stint when I was working at summer camp. My friend co-workers and I found the city to be at least enjoyable for harmless vices and a poolside motel; but an awful beachhead with too much shallow water and odorous trash sewn sand. Standing in the center square of New Haven made me feel like I was in D.C. but miniaturized and  just being  in terrible Connecticut. Apparently the city is impoverished and crime is high, which is funny since so many millionaires commute to NY from there and I’ve heard practically every city in CT is in similar condition to New Haven. A city home to one of the most prestigious colleges in the U.S. is a bad place to be.

Seeing Yale, the port, beaches, downtown showed an eerie resemblance to D.C. and its problems, New Haven feels like it was a city with a dreamy vision. To rise up out of being a working class longshoreman community and become an educated, affluent, network Hub on the upper Atlantic coast. A huge college, large centralized park, historic preservation, and a highway would bring it all to the city.

Then I thought about the Empire State Plaza. A huge government civic project which demolished an entire decayed section of Albany. A section so embarrassing to Gov. Rockefeller he initiated the project to bury the eye sore. The plaza stands now as monolithic scape. Fitting into the city almost as if it was dropped from the sky. Funny thing is that this huge cubic multistory capitol center was designed under post modernism with ambitions of creating something contemporary and futuristic. Now time has passed this place since its unveiling. The monolithic plaza seems like an archaeological landmark. A civilization which had wealth and chose to spend heedlessly. Hardly anyone traverses the above ground plaza walk as opposed to the concourse below. If you do walk through it outside your surrounded by towers, pools of water, an expanse so long it feels like a road. The only objects you size are low taste artworks and state police keeping vehicles and people off its surface. Afraid I might step to hard and crack this artifact?

Ending these words in my present mind, these cities were massively under control of a small group of minds that made a poor decision in the hopes of transforming a dying urban center into a civic center. A famous college and a state capitol. Urban renewal under a government seems to produce poor results in my opinion. Its always a bleu square project in the end.

None of what I’ve written is based on fact.

Personal Development: Aug 1st, 2012

I work at Lauren Studios now as a school portrait photographer.
In short I’m mostly painting and playing FF XII…end transmission.

Art: Sunken Studio

On a late night feeling forsaken, I sat in a room and was admiring paintings hung on the walls. It was a bad time but I still had opportunity to see beautiful paintings and enjoy them. Seeing that made me want to paint and at that time I didn’t consider myself to be a serious painter. It was also at that time my academic days were over and I was stuck in a rut of student teaching under a horrible woman. Feeling trapped in an inescapable hell I grew more depressed as time went on. Here I was stuck with a bad job, living under my mothers roof, and no great artwork to be possibly done. The house was packed full of possessions and all I had was a moldy, dirty, dark basement of which I occupied a small corner.  I thought to myself that no great paintings can come out of a space with no peace. I felt even more trapped in that moment.

I breathed deeply and then my mood took a turn for the better because of a vision. I imagined the water damaged corner of the basement. I saw myself wearing slacks, rubber boots, and an apron while puffing on a cigarette that burned my eyes. My head looked like David Lynch’s head but my body was still mine. In front of me was a canvas and easel and I struck the canvas with oil paint. But the walls were dirt covered and rusted red and water dripped from the cracked walls, ceiling, and shoddy windows. A dingy brown water flooded the floor. The water rose higher and I could hear the dripping of drops, the sloshing of my boots dragging around the water, and the scratching of my brush. The cig burn redder and hotter and the lighting grew more yellow. I wore an expression of pained obsession. All around me was the red dirt, brown water, yellow light, and white smoke. An unknown image resided on the canvas.

It was not a pleasant picture but it was the one I wanted to be in. The picture of me struggling in this inhospitable sinking room translated to the inhospitably of the entire building. I realize a studio is what I needed. The wisdom of Lynch  jumped into me like a ghost because of his words I had read. The words were “In order to get a good hour of painting in you need five hours uninterrupted.” These words should have minced my hopes further but instead improved my thinking. In all my time in my childhood home I never had a real studio. Only tiny tables with dim lights in my room were available. Even the garage was in shadow with no electricity, I tried painting there but could only get so much done.

Later I cleared the table and floor and made a home for work. I haven’t taken over that corner. It remains depleted and unwelcoming.

It was in the long forsaken basement I needed to be in.

Art Review: Bane and Fat Man

Does anyone remember the fatman skit from Freakazoid? Well I’m not really thinking about that skit or cartoon. I’m looking over the trait similarities between DKR villain Bane and the Emperor of Explosives Fat Man from Metal Gear Solid 2. I saw the movie last night and was impressed by the lengths Christopher Nolan went through to capture the fantastical terrorist plot captured by the film. But I had been looking at the similarities before seeing the film, noting a comparison between the two character from pre-release advertising pictures.

Not to boast but either Nolan himself or much of his design team are definitely subscribers to Hideo Kojima’s wacky counter-terrorist military drama. Both Fatman and Bane share a cue ball skull and heavy build dawned in combat fatigues. While Fatman lacks the mask he does an equally good job covering his face with a large brim collar. As far as physical appearance it doesn’t go much farther. Fatman roller blades, drinks, and glutenous. Bane instead is a numb, clobbering fighter, and a inoculate mask. But outer appearence should not be copied spot on when an artist looks to the work of others for inspiration.

Explosives is another big connection. Fatman’s medium was C4 explosives and creating clever ploys for blowing up any structure. He’s greatest desire was to attain infamy from explosives terrorism. Bane chose to infused concrete with explosive material and overtime laid a sleeper force to topple the foundation of Gotham city. Terrorism itself is a motif between the two characters. Fatman belonged to a military turned terrorist unit Dead Cell. Bane was a member and front man for League of Shadows an organization dedicated to domination and immortality. But even with his leader status Bane was actually a rung below all other members. He was the savior of Talia but was rejected as monstrosity by Raz al Ghul. Fatman too was the bottom rung on the team ladder of Dead Cell and is the first member to perish. Both characters seemed to be in control of events and ultimately lead to death and demise. Fatman believed his mission was to destroy an entire platform and kill all life in the NYC bay become the best explosives artist. Bane is a pawn meant for revenge.

Nuclear proliferation is another shared part. MGS2 is chock full of nuclear arms discourse and a third of the series content is centered around nuclear weapons and R&D. On a lighter note I found it very impressive how Bane and Talia blew their way through Wayne Corp financially and physically for a fusion reactor. Fatman never had knowledge about the nuclear warheads or  he was brought to secure as Metal Gear Ray and Arsenal. He was kept in the dark but was an instrument in a nuclear terrorist plot.

These are all the similarities I could ascertain from my memories of the movie and video game. I don’t mean to bring these subjects up for its own sake. I find it very interesting when an artist influences a generation of artwork. When I saw Pi I drew and immediate comparison of Aronofsky’s directoal work from David Lynch and Shinya Tsukamoto. Is Bane a homage? No, but he does have attributes from MGS creations.

One final attribute I noticed from the film is fascism. Bane’s terrorist plot involves using financial and justice institutions to create a people’s government which is unjust and lead by dictation. Frank Miller was involved in the revival of the Batman mythology in the 1980’s and his own writing on Fascist plots extends all the way to the crown film series of techno-fascism Robocop. Miller wrote the Robocop 2 screenplay and short stories but were hacked by alternate directors. In Dark Knight Rises I got the sense that Nollan has taken those Fascist Fear fantasies and created a venomous cyclic story of justice clashing with the anarchy of evil. Hideo Kojima has been more lighthearted than the Batman trilogy but all three men share fantasy’s of tough guys branding their own mark of Justice.

Personal Developements: July 17, 2012

I was away this weekend in Barryville NY. Toxifying, exercising, and detoxing myself with substance and movement. I feel good.

And got other new happenings.

Last week I completed the shooting and editing for the song titled DSL for comedy rapper Dirty Phatty. The project took a long time from transvestite scenes with John Malmborg to smashing a computer in a Slingerlands. The best part was when we trespassed onto Latham Circle Mall now set for demolition. Originally Phatty had arranged for himself, John, and other friends to use Zero Gravity Laser Tag on Central Ave as a set for shooting. The owner never showed and we were faced with a dilemma of canceling the shoot or pushing onto to somewhere else. I suggested we use the mall and John quickly agreed. We rode in a single car and pulled into an empty parking lot. There were signs telling us the mall was closed. Determined I got out and pulled on the door entrance. It opened and I decided we came far enough to go in.

Inside were more warning signs to stay out. We entered the food court and found a wet, dark, moldy back room. I plugged in a strobe light and fog machine and got to shooting. The setting was grimy and worn down, not at all the kind of atmosphere I thought we’d be getting for this shoot. Then again this shoot had a lot of loose knit plans so there was no harming this project in any way. But it was very dark and I had to fumble with cameras, dim lights, and the smoke direction. It’s times like those I really need an assistant at video shoots. Also I had to make sure no mildew or water got on my electronics either.

The recording was going great for an hour, until an old guard or custodian opened the door to the room. I wasn’t even aware someone entered until Phatty greeted him and everyone else a sick stricken stare. All I heard was…”Get da hell outta der!” One can only imagine what he thought hearing dick sucking lips behind a door. He being alone and opening a dark smoke filled room with strangers…this was a brave guard.

Then he asked why we were even here. I said that the mall was closed being torn down so we didn’t think anyone would mind us being there.

“Wha da Hell are you talkin about we’re not close? We got da movies and JC Penny here! People still come here!” In this sense I feel a little bad since this guy may have been working at the mall for a long time. But I felt indifferent since we were achieving an artistic dream.

Hushed and fast we picked up my gear to make a get away. The man went on saying how unhealthy it was in the room. Phatty asked, “will I get sick?” A sarcastic joke, I kept my mouth shut and hurried. The guard first tried to make us leave out the back door so fortunately we weren’t 14 and disobeyed. Then he shouted he was calling the Latham police. But he followed us so much I don’t believe he ever did or was going to call them. It was just more important to get us out of the mall.

As we walked across the mall court he followed us shouting to leave and about cops. When we exited the mall everyone laughed and did their best impression of the old man. Also imagining if we ran into him at another mall with the signature get-da-hell-outta-here raspy voice, accent possibly from Cohoes. In reality we really could have been arrested if the cops  For the rest of the shooting trip nothing else quite as exciting happened after but it was a great laughable memory.

Other new items include me landing a job at Lauren Photo Studios as a school photographer. I interviewed for the second time today and got approved for acceptance. I haven’t accepted the position yet but most likely will thursday. I start August 6th as a trainee. It’ll be great to get steady pay now and I can learn more about shooting equipment and technique from portrait experts.

I’ve received invites to show artwork in other venues and received word the a video of mine will be screened at the World Music and Film Fest August 25th. Also I’m working on getting outside artists to join the new show at HIE Studios.

Nothing else definite to report on until next time.

Studio Development: July 8th, 2012

So I did some cleaning and rearranging in the studio in order to make it more hospitable for visitors. I plan on bringing a few new comers. But the other half of the basement is still dilapidated so I hung up an accoutrement to remedy the environment.

A set of curtains…former bedroom curtains belonging to my mom since 1987.

The curtain works…it blocks the view of all the nastiness on the other side of room. Hangs on nails from a ceiling beam. Is split in the middle and pushed aside for easy access. Also I hung up my post board to get off the floor and out of the way. Tacked on various business cards and paper info and pictures.

Always look for improvements.

Personal Development: July 8th 2012

Well my mom finds my work disturbing. Which goes back to the good news of this post because my neighbor Keith has taken an interest in my oil paintings. During the Delaware Ave Sidewalk sale I put some of my paintings on my porch and shoppers would pass by them. Keith and my other neighbor Doug stopped at my porch and viewed the paintings. After that I recieved a garbled voice mail from my other about artwork. Even later while walking my dog I ran into Keith and he told me clearly what he had in mind.

He was considering a sale.He couldn’t buy my Wanted piece, but he did observe an interest in purchasing Bag of Bleu.He discussed with his wife and thought he’s son might like it too.

“This guy has a darkside. I wouldn’t even know it if I hadn’t seen that painting and I like it,” explained Keith.

My mother told Keith “Keith I am so pleased that someone is taking an interest in his paintings because honestly it was disturbing me”—she then winked with a wide face mouthing really pointing to me and putting her hand in front of her mouth. In short this wasn’t unknown on my part and my mom gave it a nice support while not praising it highly. Keith is currently thinking about the purchase and I have a good feeling about it.

So the Delware Sale brought some new attention. New email subscribers for HIE Studios, Three possible buyers from the Davy Jones Show, a possible oil painting sale, and I sold a hamper I found for free for two bucks. Tiring.

I’ve decided I also need to have studio visits in my house now. I should bring clients to the basement and show them artwork, work facilities, future plans, and investment options. So I’ll go buy a shower curtain, clean out the kitty litter, and reorganize materials.

Tomorrow I’m taking my Food Family Paintings to Everybody’s Cafe in East Greenbush tomorrow. Possibly edit a music video tonight, paint more, write more, visit people, and get news on a job interview. I may have landed a job with a national school photo company on Colvin Ave. so here’s good luck to get some steady money. Enjoy the weather and let us pray for rain on this hot dry days.

Studio Development: June 29, 2012

Well I tell everyone I’m broke which is kinda true kinda not. I’m trying to spend money because I practically have none. But thanks to my dear pal Tyler Mackenzie Cummins who posted about this new guitar pedal invention named the CONSOLE. He doesn’t have the money right now so I pledged 250$ towards its creation. Now the way it works is like a regular pedal effect sound except in its in a cartridge form. The device is being in Oregon by Deviever a musician, DIY builder, and cool lady artist. I’m giving you money Devi so don’t let me and everyone else down.

But listen this was on kickstarter, so you know your getting some great gifts too. Supposedly in May 2013 I will recieve a two slot console device with two cartrdges of any FX filter I want. So when its time I’ll role through my midiverb and see why I don’t have on it FX wise. I’m still trying to find a job and save what money I can for loan repayment and my wanna-do movie project. But I saw this as an investment in new sound equipment and just something interesting so no regrets today…maybe tomorrow.


Other matters focus on the no amp situation I’m in. I pulled up my mom’s old sherwood stereo reciever and it works okay. A lot of static whenever you touch it snaps and pops. But man here’s another challenge arose too. My doepfer modules and midiverb don’t seem to be getting along. The whole rack gets used by the midiverb as generic sound source which comes out filtered on the many modes of the device. So there is no pitch, tune, or rhythm to the sounds coming out of the midiverb. Yet I can play my itouch and get clean signal using an 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch cable. I called Pete Edwards but was cut off…all I got was that its probably too loud! Well it’s gonna get resolved sooner or later because both pieces of equipment cost too much to not use. Plus I want to expand the audio quality of my synth sounds beyond Final Cut audio filters.

But speaking of the equipment here’s a video I posted today of some edited footage I recorded a few weeks ago. I also just applied to the WWE and Vimeo for jobs so lets pray I don’t go work at Walmart. Cheers.

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