baker Blinker's Weblog

First and Second Life at least.

“Day of Destruction” March 31, 2008

hidalgo004l.jpg

 

Calling C.N. Blinkerton, 1

Filed under: Hidalgo County, NM — baker Blinker @ 10:45 am
Tags:

Phone interview with Charles Nelson Blinkerton by baker b., March 31, 2008.

bb:

Hello sir. Hello?

CNB:

Yeah, is this baker?

bb:

Yes sir.

Honored to be speaking with you.

CNB:

Well, likewise.

bb:

Are you having a good night?

CNB:

Pretty good. Got a mug of strong tea with me so I’m doing ok.

bb:

Yeah, I’m sipping on a decaf latte. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview in the middle of the night.

CNB:

Like you, apparently, I’m a night owl.

bb:

Right. So we agreed in this interview to talk about your career a bit, since you said you don’t get to do many interviews. Then we’d like to go into your ties with Second Life some as well, probably toward the end. Does this sound good?

CNB:

Let’s get hopping.

bb:

Tell us about your career a bit. Oh, did you get a chance to look over my blog before the phone call?

CNB:

Yes sir I did, and I was pretty impressed. I’m somewhat unclear about some of it. Maybe I can ask you about that later on. I see in turn that you’ve been visiting blinkoritsover.com as well

bb:

Yes.

CNB:

The downloads I mean. That’s perfectly ok, as long as you don’t try to make any money off of ‘em. I’ve donated them to the public domain.

bb:

Right, I won’t.

CNB:

Well, to start with the career, I think you did a pretty good job in your blog, short but sweet. The death of Pollock was a turning point. It was when I was staring at the rocks already atop his grave rock — how would you put that — tombstone, let’s say — that I had the vision. Well, not then but later on, in the middle of the night. Like the Vertigo guy after the death of his girlfriend. You can insert a picture of that when you transfer this to your blog, ha ha. Now as you said I wasn’t an abstract expressionist at the time but I became one. In the vision I saw a particular peak. I didn’t know what it was until later but I knew I just had to head west. Follow the southern border of the US. I knew that I’d eventually find it. This turned out to be Hilo Peak, not the one, necessarily, in your blog, or at least the one near your home. The one near my home in Lordsburg. In Hidalgo County.

bb:

How did you find the peak, then?

CNB:

I was driving on Highway 10 after just entering Hidalgo County and all the exit names seemed familiar. There was one called Antelope Wells that I took, southbound. And a little bit down that road I saw what I knew to be Hilo Peak to my right. It’s not a huge mountain, but I knew it was the right mountain. Trekked up it that very day. And I knew I was in the right place.

bb:

How did you end up staying in the Lordsburg Motel for so long?

CNB:

Contrary to rumors, as you hinted about in your blog, I didn’t stay in the motel room for 20 years without going out. Quite the contrary: I went out at night when no one else was up much. Did a lot of my painting, then, in the open. Actually I was writing more in the motel room during the day, when I was awake.

bb:

Writing?

CNB:

Yeah the Squirt book. Didn’t you dig up that information?

bb:

Sadly, no.

CNB:

It’s a book I was working on the whole time I was in my abstract expressionist period, or the 1960s and 1970s basically. It could be considered a cut-up, like Burroughs did. It didn’t start out that way but, inspired by Burroughs work, it certainly ended up that way. I called it “Red Squirt Seven”. Then there was a sequel called “Shakenstein”. I see you knew about that one at least, because you put the word in your blog.

bb:

Truthfully, I didn’t know about that.

CNB:

Really? That’s hard to believe but I’ll trust you.

bb:

Truthfully.

CNB:

Well, maybe you got it from the same source that I did: the combination of the ghost towns Shakespeare and Steins near or nearish to Lordsburg. I spent some time in each.

bb:
Yes, you are correct. That’s what it is. So you were a writer and an artist at once?

CNB:

That’s right. It was a yin and yang relationship. Give and take. It was like I was married to each.

bb:

Can you tell us more about your relationship with Pollock? You were a surrealist at the time?

CNB:

I met Pollock through Thomas Hart Benton. We were both students of his, but not at the same time and not in the same place. He [Benton] was visiting New York with a number of people and asked me if I wanted to go along. He mentioned there was an exciting new group of painters there that may be more my style than his. I liked him [Pollock] instantly, although I realized he had his ways with people. It never bothered me much. He drank too much, especially toward the end. I was always careful to be moderate in that area. But I wasn’t in the spotlight all the time like Jackson was toward the end. Lee was a nice woman as well. I didn’t know them as well as some, but I didn’t have many friends in NYC and was a loner by nature, so I probably considered Jackson much more of a friend that perhaps he would have stated about me. Could be wrong about that. He was a great influence, though, and I realized the greatness in him from the start. I knew he was going places, for better or for worse.

bb:

Can you tell us about your work at the time?

CNB:

The surrealism? Well, a definite influence was Max Ernst. Did you know he acts as kind of a bridge between abstract expressionism and all that went on before. Insert this in your blog if you wish: the painting called “Surrealism and Painting” from 1942. The painter inside the picture is creating a Jackson Pollock action painting before Jackson Pollock created one!

bb:

So your works were heavily Ernst influenced?

CNB:

Yeah, but I don’t see them as that important any more. My real work began in New Mexico. Mind you I was almost 50 when I started renting the Lordsburg room at the [delete motel name by request]. So this was a kind of mid-life crisis, I suppose, except not so crisis-like, although it would seem to be. I was married to my painting and also my writing. I hadn’t done any writing per se, however, until New Mexico.

bb:

Is any of your writing published? I didn’t see any mention of it on blinkoritsover.com.

CNB:

I’ll save that info for later, if you don’t mind.

bb:

Not at all. There’s plenty we can talk about in the meantime. So you painted these action paintings, somewhat in the style of Pollock…

CNB:

Somewhat.

bb:

You painted them at night and wrote by day. Can you tell us about the different periods you went through with your painting in New Mexico?

CNB:

The first thing I did was make a movie. I was inspired to create a fictional following of a UFO on the main Lordsburg highway – which happend to be numbered 666 — but it was all staged. There was a reason for this. My brother provided the music. The film acted as a bridge between my surrealism and abstract expressionist periods. Ideas about what I wanted to paint came directly from that film, which I called, simply enough, “1961 Film”. And from that came the first abstract expressionist-like painting, opus 1.

bb:

You number all your paintings, like Pollock did.

CNB:

All the abstract expressionist paintings, yes.

bb:

How many of these kind of paintings have you created?

CNB:

Oh, I’d say maybe 150.

bb:

Can you tell us about the next genre switch, to a Jasper Johns-type style.

CNB:

Well, abstract expressionism is just that, very abstract, very internal and self enclosed, like I was mainly enclosed in a Lordsburg Motel at the time, or so it seemed to others. Eventually I had to come out of the womb in a public way. And again it was a film that linked the two painterly styles: “1981 Film”. This has basically the same subject matter as the “1961 Film”, except day is dawning this time, washing the abstract expressionist-like shapes, which are the same as the UFO-like shapes, away from the sky. What we have instead is stark, unrelenting reality, the Lordsburg environment, which I really began to dig during the day. I had come out of my shell.

bb:

I’ll try to give some examples of this phase of your work soon in my blog. Would you say that you’re still in this phase?

CNB:

Well, once you come out of the womb, you’re out, so to speak. Although I don’t paint quite like Jasper Johns now, I would say that this exiting is an all important step. The present phase would have begun when I created what seemed to be the first virtual burn in Second Life, when, as you put it in your blog, I stuffed or jammed all my Pollock and Johns influence work — renditions of them by uploading what’s called their texture into the Second Life grid itself — anyway, jammed it into an old, rusty wagon I also created there. Then I set the whole thing on fire.

bb:

This is something I didn’t know when creating that post for the blog, but you indicated in our initial emails to each other that this burn happened right next to The Man statue that I mention elsewhere in my blog, and which represented the very heart and soul of the Second Life world at the time.

CNB:

It was not called Second Life, then, but Linden World. Second Life only came in 2003. But, anyway, yeah, some of the residents saw the fire and thought The Man itself was on fire. So they rung up the Lindens. I tried to explain what happened but originally I was banned for a couple of days, until they could check into my credentials.

bb:

My taking the surname Blinker on my Second Life birthday seems an odd coincidence. And you’ve speculated that this surname probably comes from your name.

CNB:

It seems likely.

bb:

Did you begin to create art in Second Life?

CNB:

You could say that.

bb:

Can you give us some examples?

CNB:

Lemon World.

(to be continued)