2007-03-17 // 18:14:07
Preface To the upcoming book "Passings"
by Chip Marks
What is this thing. must I tell you?
Chip marks... Triberadio... what is this who is this
He looked at everything and watched everything.
He wanted everything ( he still does)
Never afraid to risk life limb and heart,
diving in for a swim was never a fear.
Feeling of being totally different then the people around him.
I felt this growing up.
Yes its me... In the first person.
What am I doing here?
I am telling a little story
Tossing fragments to winds and see if they carry to you.
Wondering if these pieces fit into your puzzle.
That we may find a common point.
A place where we can start.
I live in the middle of nothing.
I travel treeless highways looking for the lost.
That sounds so poetic but in fact it is quite true.
I've wondered about it.
Why do I travel these roads looking for these lost places.
Almost like I'm looking for myself in the basements of these homes lost.
I wrote this for you.
I wrote this and created and captured these images for you.
From what I gathered on the ground.
What you left me.
These treasures you gave to me... all of you.
You didn't know it but I saved everything.
Boxes full in my mind.
Francesca DiLeandro told me.
Your work is the record of your life.
That you existed... that you were.
This is my record, scratched as it may seem.
My love for the moment captured, for beauty and decay.
For the moments standing at deaths door wondering why I wasn't given a key.
Though this record is only a glimpse I hope it is a view you find.
Find inside you as something we hold together.
My work flows like rivers not mine.
I wonder sometimes if this work really is mine.
I do not hold it back.
I love words, I love typography.
Every photograph is value to me, there is no "bad" shot.
They are moments of a heartbeat.
I love to mix these things into a subtle weave.
I look there and I see you in the threads.
I remembered I loved you as your smile smears to televised mistakes.
I push the saturation, color to push you off a cliff.
I look to clouds summer daze, baby Jesus and a popsicles.
It melts in the street, more shapes to destroy obsolete value.
Poor white trailers fly by when I drive.
I'm looking for you out here.
I'm creating this record in hopes you will see.
That all that exists is color and shape.
Pools of liquid around knees that pray
2007-03-17 // 18:13:26
From the upcoming book Passings by Chip Marks
by Lisa Marks Mahon
Chip Marks, aka Cary Vaughn Marks is my older brother, 5 and ¼ years to be exact. There is a picture of him at the beginning of this book with our mother at the hospital when she had given birth to me. The reader can see that even then he was a handsome fellow. I often wonder how it must have felt to be the youngest for all those years and then have this little girl come in and take over. I was only lucky or unlucky enough to be the youngest for 22 months, not enough to come to know what it was really like. Plus, I was prone to great tantrums so I don’t think anyone thought of me with great love and affection, and I escaped their desire to shape the oldest male heir to the Marks name. A tremendous and I imagine very heavy legacy in our family. A legacy that I am grateful I missed.
If you have had a big brother you might appreciate how I felt about him. I loved Chip, and lived in awe of everything he did. I was also very afraid of him; he had a strength and power that I could never imagine having for myself, especially since I was so little and alas a girl. In a recent conversation with my best friend from childhood, she said how afraid she was to come to our home. Partly it was the amazing unstableness of our mother, the remoteness of our older sister, and our exquisite and at times paralyzing fear of Chip. Because even then Chip pushed the edge, exploring the places that from our youthful place appeared (indeed were) forbidden and unacceptable. And I loved every thing he did, and hoped that I could one day approach his standards. This took me down some very strange alleys as I looked for the roads to get there.
I remember Chips childhood nightmare. He had to sleep with the closet door closed because sometimes he would see a skeleton in the closet. I would go into his bedroom, which was dark and teenage brother like, a place where mystery lived… There would be Mad magazines, shades that were always drawn, and a funny smell like incense or other things that weren’t really known or allowed. And his closet always held his nightmare for me. My closet was fine, but his closet was a dark and shadowy place. Once I dreamed I was sleeping in his room, or maybe I was sleeping in his room, and his fear came and sat at the end of my bed. We talked and it was very scary, so much power in this ghoulish figure. To this day I remember the strength of my feeling, it was a huge fear. I think our fears became friends back then, and maybe they still lurk in dark places together.
I see a picture of us as a family when I was two. The local paper photographed our father serving us Lebanese food, our family heritage. There was a new baby in my mother’s arms, and our hair was not all in place like it should be for a public picture. This is a cue that the stress has been building. I have my knife in hand to attack the stuffed grape leaf before me. My mother and sister are looking at me with horror, like a wild animal is on the loose, and how will she wreck this moment? But not Chip. He is looking at me with such delight! He loved that I would screw everything up, and encouraged this child to take risks and express her wild nature. Perfect order wasn’t the highest goal. He liked breaking the rules, exploring and allowing chaos, and challenging authority that was not worth allegiance. As you will or have seen this continues in his art and his words.
My mother told me that Chip’s nickname came from him being a “chip” off the old block. I never quite saw that connection. He looked like my father, the brown curly hair, blue eyes, and nose of a 100% Lebanese born and blooded man. (Yes, those Phoenicians sprinkled a lot of Aryan genes into the Lebanese gene pool, and these were manifest in my father while his parents looked truly Middle Eastern.) But their essential natures did not seem to honor this “chip” theory. Mostly I remember Chip and my father fighting, the pressure for him to conform and be the “successful” son was very high. Whether it was the swim team, school, or his friends, there were many expectations. The expectations were high and success was minimal. Even success was not seen for success but as a stepping stone toward a greater, more elusive version of the same story.
So Chip went down the roads where his genius could flourish outside of the spheres that my parents measured as successful. He was a musician and an artist, and they despaired. Although in secret I think my mother rejoiced. Because this was her essential nature, a musician and artist locked in the closet as a mother in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. On the outside she embraced order, structure, and image but inside she was eternally in rebellion. After a bet with friends she went on television when I was 5 to dance as a go-go girl, and later she was a booking agent for rock and roll bands. At the same time she wanted to belong to the best country clubs, and have showcase children. So our oldest sister adopted her outside story while Chip lived out her inside fantasies. The rest of us watched the drama unfolding.
She loved his art. His pictures and sculptures were very special; they hung on the walls and perched on shelves long after he left home. I never thought of Chip as a failure in my mother’s eyes, she recognized and knew him in her soul. His areas of music and art seemed like miracles to me. To my father he was often someone who needed fixing, and my father could never do it. He loved but he could not provide the fixing that was the most desperately needed, which was to accept and support this incredible son they had produced. To see genius and allow it to unfold without judgment, something that I know my father had never received and did not have to give.
Chip was always a big part of my life. His opinion meant a lot to me, and I tried very hard to be worthy of his notice. For many years he would not talk to me alone, yet it did not stop me from joining him and his friends as they continued to push the limits in their personal lifestyles, their music, and their lives. I knew I could go very far at pushing the envelope and still be in safe territory because his choices created so much space in our family. I would always look like the good kid, traveling the edges of acceptable lifestyles and even go over without notice. He was a lightening rod, and lightening passed me by to end up burning him.
Chip likes learning. Every medium that he explored became his creation tool. And he learned them well, taking them to their very limits without ever being taught. I imagine it continues to be his joy to challenge and push things beyond their perceived limits, to discover new territory, and then go even farther. And he does not let the opinions of others stop the expression of his self, in fact I believe opposition spurs him to explore deeper and more intensely himself and the medium that he is using to express the essence of this.
He is basically self taught. While he likes learning, he is not one to immerse himself in other peoples’ structures and launch his creativity from there. His learning does not come from school or teachers in the traditional sense, but seems to evolve from inside himself as he immerses deeply into the medium that he is passionately attracted to at the moment. I imagine him following the road map of his soul as he engages inside and moves from there toward unfolding the images, thoughts and music that honor what is birthing at that moment. And this book Passings is one of those moments in which the muse has taken him down the road of the soul. Whose soul I will leave you to wonder…
2007-03-17 // 18:12:49
Growing up in the ‘60’s
by Tony Thomas
Growing up in the ‘60’s when everything including TV was black and white. It all seemed so simple... cut and dry. Then came JFK, Vietnam, Woodstock, and the peace love flower generation was in full bloom. It was around this time I first met Chip. We were all full of mischievous energy, looking with wonderment at a world full of endless possibilities. As the world changed, we grew. We grew to understand things in a whole new way. Chip always amazed me with his relentless pursuit of knowledge, always experimenting testing, pushing the envelope, soaking in every bit of everything around him, excitedly sharing his new discoveries. We pushed the bounds of the universe in an effort to make sense of it all, uncovering mysteries and stumbling on to painful truths. After thirty some odd years little has changed. Older and much wiser, Chip continually amazes with his insatiable thirst for new avenues of expression. His raw talent and deft skills combine to make the most prolific creative force I have ever seen. All of this talent, skill, experience and emotion is displayed with razor sharp clarity in his work. I still shake my head in amazement every time I see a new piece. Thank you for the inspiration, the knowledge and skills you have passed along, the incredible body of work of art that you have shared, but mostly for being my friend.