August 9, 2006


Peter is drawing me out of my recent taciturn mood:

Hi Dennis,
Love the blog,
Please describe the taste of the grilled yellow sea creatures.
They look TASTY!
How to prepare them?


Yes indeed they were muy delicioso, tio!

Lapas are meaty and all we did was to spritz them with olive oil and dust them lightly with pepper, the saltiness was provided already by the sea. They cook fast and we ate them off the grill with toothpicks a la pica pica. The shallow shells form a natural plate and the attached vegetation form a spongy cushion that softly conditions the bar-b-que and unlike mussels or snails, you can eat the entire creature. The proportion of meat to supporting internal organs is high and you never feel like your mouth is full of the latter. Chewy to a degree but less so than snails, the bar-b-que give them a wonderful smokey quality as the meat liquifies in the mouth like good steak.

The whole experience was wonderful, paddling in the white water as waves crashed on the rocks. Physically, it's great exercise as one struggles to juggle knife, prey, bag, timing wave action to breathing, all the while keeping oriented in the blinding white water and keeping yourself from getting thrown and therefore cut up on the sharp clusters of mussels on the rocks. Lapas have a specific habitat in that they seem to prefer flatter rock shelves at a water level where the waves cover and uncover, where there is less vegetation so that they can suction onto for safety. Barnacles and vegetation grow on their shells, creating mounds that look like other non-lapas mounds that surround them. When you find them, it is possible to catch them by surprise with your hands and pop them off quickly. But that doesn't happen very often. Usually, they react quickly and hunker down fiercely as your knife finds an edge to deliver los pobrecitos to the bar-b-que.

Poor things.

Delicious creatures, like they were meant to be eaten.

The science fiction writer I dimly remember from my youth, Clifford Simak (sp?), wrote a story about a planet that was one vast praerie filled with creatures resembling cattle whose bodies fell into easily partitioned pieces, as if they were meant to be eaten as designed by the creator (or an other worldly natural selection, according to your beliefs). Later, the spacemen discovered to their consternation that after eating them, they transformed into the alien cattle themselves.

Perhaps one day I too might similarly wake up on a rocky surf, hiding from a knifing snorkeler with a mound of barnacles and vegetation on my back? ?Dios mio!

Someone who has possession of a few monotypes, prints, is asking me about cashing them in. The discussion of art as investment might seem to be a rich offering in this blog, so therefore I take some measure of risk in opening it up to you all:

Dear Dennis,
My name is XXXX XXXX and I live in XXXX and I am looking for anyone who may be able to assist me with regards to a task on hand. I must admit...I am clueless in what I am doing and way out of my area of experience. Thus, is the reason I am contacting hopes that you may have some knowledge that could perhaps help me.
You may recall...I had contacted you a couple?of years ago when you were getting prepared to move to Spain. I had a friend who had given me some artwork of yours as a gift. I understand if you don't recall afterall that was some time ago. Regardless, I am happy to see that you are doing well and still going at it.
I have 5 pieces of your artwork, the pieces I have are all lithographs numbered and signed by yourself. As much as I dislike having to do this...I am in desperate need of selling them. I recently was laid off of my job as a XXXX...with the real estate market being so slow and uncertain these days...there was nothing more for my company to do than to let me go. Therefore, I am in dying need of money to survive. I know that the artwork I have?has to be worth some money...however...I have no idea were or who to contact for this type of thing???
This is why I am contacting find out if you have any idea and/or thoughts that could direct me towards the right direction. I really hate having to part with the pieces...however....I am in urgent need of funds due to my recent lack of employment.
Please advise me of any information that may be helpful.

Thank you in advance for your time...I apprecicate anything you may have to suggest.


It is never welcome to receive an email like this. but obviously this person was gifted by the work and is not one who sought it out in the first place. Personally, gifting art is something I do rarely. It's like giving puppies away... what a responsibility to lay on someone! Will the recipient ultimately feed and care for them? If art is as I like to say: in constant movement between the land fill and the museum, a gift of art is a greased slide in the direction of the former.

So keeping this in mind together with an ache for this person's harrowing financial circumstance, I replied:

Dear XXXX:

I do remember your previous email.? I hope that things turn around for you soon, sorry to hear of the changing fortunes of the real estate business.? I guess the assets that roared out of the dot com market have had their way with real estate.? I have heard that art is the next place for investment money to migrate to, and I have talked to more than one art dealer who is eager with anticipation.? I do wonder about the reality of it, however.

Surely, it is the relatively recent advent of the museum world into the primary market (art work sold as it is first issued from the artist... the secondary market is from collector to collector), specifically the museum of contemporary art (I think the first one was LA's MOCA, wasn't it?) that allowed a certain class of collector to directly participate in the mechanism that establishes value: the art critical/curatorial nexus.? The famous curator from LA's MOCA, Paul Schimmel, produced a show that attempted to convert this curious circumstance into art theory with his show "Public Offerings" where the importance of the singularity of each artwork in the show was played down in favor of the idea of an artist as a branded entity whose artwork functions as stock to be invested/traded in the marketplace.? I'm sure that Mr. Schimmel has a more nuanced idea in mind but the ghost of insider trading still haunts regardless how legal it may be at the moment.

As strange as this may sound, the stranger thing about art-as-investment is that unless the artist is in this smaller charmed circle of the museum curated, art magazine buzzed world; it will take a much longer time for the "fixed asset" to be able to be liquified in the fullness of its' promise.? Perhaps I am too self critical but my assessment of my position out there in the marketplace is that I am not yet in this charmed circle... and maybe by putting these ideas out into the ether of the internet, I might be decreasing this probability somewhat.?Yes indeed I am a lucky guy, however.? I show in galleries around the world and my work is known to some degree in the market of the art fairs.? I may be violating the law of "greener pastures" (the tendency of people to think that there is a party in town that is more fun than the one you are in at the moment, a tendency I recommend that all struggling artists out there exploit to the fullest), but the cold hard fact is that it will probably take my entire lifetime for my work to achieve the status of a ripe investment.? It may seem like I'm living large but the inside tip is that I am hanging on by the fingernails, plowing everything I make into the circumstances that help me make art.

The term "investment" is not a not very felicitous name for art today and yet it is the twist of irony that the intrinsic value forged by the artist's ongoing lifelong effort in creating the work becomes an extrinsic value in the marketplace.??I?may be tough on myself in the assessment of my position out there, but I want to note that I have been fortunate to have been collected by people who do enjoy living with my work.? This is a special kind of collector who looks at art with their eyes and not their ears, and in this way I think of myself as collecting collectors.? In any local market, there are only a few of these people and since I had cast my wish upon a star many years ago to participate in a global marketplace (to reverse the hidebound custom of the artist who first makes it in their hometown and only afterward extends into the world at large), I have been able to find via the hard collaborative work of my galleries, several small pockets of them around the world.? Each pocket grows slowly yet surely... but finally, slowly.

A yet stranger issue is the probability that if you sell my work now, you will make the statement that you would prefer to cash out early, which has the unfortunate effect of lowering the value to some degree, a self fulfilling prophesy.? People who hold on to these investments are making the statement that they yet have value, and that the dividends of enjoying the artwork's presence in their lives is more important and valuable than making that value liquid sooner than later.???Other factors influencing value is the limited number of work I produce, the growing audience I have been fortunate to broadcast to and integrate globally with the weblog and the yet to be appreciated fact that there are not many people in the world who are doing the kind of work that I do.? I can count maybe less than ten off hand.? To answer your question directly:? yes these prints are worth some money but the longer you wait to sell them, the more money they will be worth.? Since I know only the primary market of my work, and that it will probably take some time for the secondary market to establish itself as the network of collectors and secondary dealers integrate themselves, I'm not sure how to direct you into the latter marketplace.

I hope that your circumstances improve, or better yet: I'm sure that they will.??

All the best,

-Dennis Hollingsworth

My cousin Harold sends his kind regards:


Big Hoss is something else, like a skinned animal [black n white striped area], evidence of a trek [the lift portions], and what it must look like, of course abstractly diving straight down to the bottom of the Mediterranean. The evidence of events is breathtaking, damn proud to share your last name cousin! The poetic is that of the unanswered accident, the evidence of some sort of life, either experience, or the avalanche of the absurd death, and this absurd life. That it's hovering in the dark leaning toward the light makes me feel the logic of the living, breathing, dying, charming world arrested, and all the unanswered horrors, and accidents, and life, and laughter, sex and breathe all thrown together, like the turning of ones head, simple.

Your posts are driving me Dennis, I really get the feeling of a guide, thanks!


Thanks, cuz.

Harold has a fine blog himself which you can find in the Soup of Links in the colophon to the left.

Posted by Dennis at August 9, 2006 3:58 AM

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