a few words
God has been chasing me around since I was a kid. A bearded father figure got stuffed into my imagination by the determined clergy running the Catholic grade school I attended. The program was a classic: 1) Bend to Higher Authority 2) Accept the Mysteries 3) Don’t Ask Questions Ask Forgiveness 4) Embrace Your Inner Guilt 5) Keep Your Hands to Yourself. I saw through the control and hypocrisy early on, but it dug in deep anyway, the incense rose high above the altar, and I could not but wonder Who or What is God? Where is God? In the name of God, what can be expected?
Clues come to us in odd and unpredictable ways when we’re young, wide-eyed and open to everything. The cartoonist Stan Lynde created the cowboy comic strip Rick O’Shay in the late Fifties, and in it he drew a gunslinger named Hipshot Percussion. Hipshot was a very cool dude, a bounty hunter and confirmed loner, and, at heart, a transcendental mystic who found divinity in the Grandeur of Nature. When the regular townsfolk dutifully attended Sunday church services, Hipshot rode off alone into the mountains. Through him, Stan Lynde showed me something very liberating early on, a perspective I was not getting at home or in school, a viewpoint that felt real and honest and stuck with me even as those cartoon days receded into the past: the understanding that Nature is in itself divine.
At university, I dabbled in art history and painting while digging deep into music, literature, and philosophy. Spinoza’s Ethics rang especially true. Excommunicated for heresy by the rabbis of Amsterdam, Spinoza set out to logically prove his intuition that God is ALL things, every bit - all we see, hear, feel or imagine are but details in a divinity that is, by definition, whole and perfect. For him, not unlike Hipshot, apprehending God is basically a matter of direct connection - and that’s not a message spiritual middlemen like to hear.
Drawing has always been a way for me to make my own direct connection by looking closely at things. The process of making quick, calligraphic outlines helps me see, pulls me out of myself and into details I would otherwise overlook. It is a method of connection I have come to recognize as one small example of groping towards a state of grace.
I began taking photography seriously during a year of solo travel in Asia. By necessity, I learned to economize on film and focus my attention: uncounted hours were spent planning photographs I would later take. Going about the process in a slow and deliberate way resulted often in photographs that gained in weight and meaning. The finite number of frames available in a roll of film proved to be an advantage, not a limitation. For a look at a few of these early photographs please visit timtrompeter.net
As for other picture-makers, I have been deeply touched and influenced by the work and thinking of Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Seurat, Claude Monet, Man Ray, Rodchenko, Sonia Delauney, Robert Frank, Eva Hesse, Agnes Martin, Andre Kertesz, Cy Twombly and especially, Jasper Johns. John Cage looms large as a person I was thrilled to meet and chat with, nevermind me not quite knowing what to say. These days, I am intrigued by the sensitive neurological drawings of Cajal, the brevity of Feynman diagrams, the random creativity explicit in chaos theory and the very workable notion that blind chance serves a useful purpose.