May 27 2009

de-Construct the Four Noble Truths continued…


the base of Four Noble Truths with all bronze sides welded.  the top portion with the moon and circle (sun) sit on my table.


here i am inside the base cutting apart some of the frame work to allow for new stainless tubing to go through the top and weld to a stainless steel base that will measure exactly one foot beyond the sculpture base.


still much to do; cut/cope/weld stainless tubing cross section, attach to bottom of moon and weld, weld base of stainless tubing to final platform stainless base, attach stainless base to sculpture base and weld, sand old patina off and apply new patina. clean, wax and new pictures of completed piece!

May 26 2009


my favorite day of the week. 


2006, taken with a cannon rebel, the 12 Apostles in Port Campbell, Australia

a day dedicated to just beauty..nature…silence within.


May 22 2009


4-noble-truths-maquettethis is my maquette for the “four noble truths”. it stands approx. nine inches high. initially it was for a public art commission here in tucson, however the project fell thru for many reasons, mainly political but also budget cuts. it was suppose to have solar powered lighting, which i had chosen neon as the lighting source. one tube of white light would wrap inside the top circle to emit a very white light, and inside the base i was going to use red neon because of it’s relation to chakra one, being the base element and because humanity on a whole begins with a foundation. i have been waiting to build this for three years now! coming out of my two year hiatus i decided it was time to just take this beauty on myself and let the “suffering” bear full weight upon me.

my Buddhist beliefs obviously had a lot of influence in this piece. i wanted to build something where people from all walks of life would come upon it and reflect or contemplate it’s purpose. i chose to have the titles of each panel done in japanese text because of its beauty and also because not many people here can read it, i like people to come to their own understanding. the neon lighting was bagged because i did not have a specific site or patron when i started so i didn’t want to worry about electrical wiring and outlets of source. instead of light emitting from the base i chose to go with smaller panels of steel to be painted green to accentuate the calligraphy, if i had gone with red the calligraphy would have gotten lost inside the patina. bronze was my first choice of metal because it exudes warmth  and living outside will become better with age, unlike carbon steel which just rusts here no matter how many times you seal it!  my other choice of metal was stainless because of its high sheen and stated elegance. the two metals can be welded together using fill rods of silicone bronze. stainless for some reason always reminds me of the ethereal, of open space, emptiness and also reminds me of chanting prayers to Buddha Manjushri, the supreme “stainless” wisdom.  the base is dark almost black(progression) as we ascend towards the sheen of stainless(energy) and rise to the moon(universe) and sentient beings(circle). for some it may reflect a stupa while others may just see geometric angles and shapes. my hopes are that it triggers a question within the viewer. is this presence enough?

in my last post i mentioned explaining “maquette trickery”, because i cut apart the sculpture to redo the integrity of the frame inside. well, sometimes my mind is not so smart! the scale of the piece translated fine however the top portion, the moon and circle, were heavier than i estimated.  the weld from the base of the moon to the top of the tubing was an obvious stress fracture waiting to happen! if it wanted to live and stand up to the forces of nature i had to rebuild the frame to go thru to the top! ssswwweeeeet!  bring on the suffering.

May 18 2009

The 4 Noble Truths

1.  True sufferings

2.  True origins

3.  True cessations

4.  True paths


24″ X 50″ X 144″  (stainless base to be 48″ square X 1/4″ in progress)

“the four noble truths”  was fabricated in bronze sheets, stainless steel and carbon steel as frame work. to view here it seems finished enough…wrong!  i barely had time to finish all the tac welds before the show (march21st), the patina was hurried and therefore inconsistent with my expectations. i had wanted a solid blackish patina, not the blotchy spotty mess i ended with. my fault because i truly had way too much on my plate!  with seven new pieces, new warehouse, new gallery, new salon, collaborative mediums through out the space and an opening after a two years hiatus…suffering was my middle name.

the carbon steel flat sheets were taken to a local powder coater here in tucson, north american powder coating. mark the owner is a wonderful guy from ohio! he loves heat man thats all i can say! he chose to move to the desert buy a business that requires excessive heat to melt/cure the paints onto metal in these huge ovens. tho, i guess i’m not to different in this “heat” arena! i actually shaved my head about five years ago due to a major meltdown in august. it was just one of those days where my hood would not stay, because of the heat it wanted to slide down my head,  every weld it knocked on my clavicle and therefore i couldn’t see a damn thing! drips were running down the backs of my legs, pits wreaked…you get the picture. i dashed off to the nearest pharmacy and bought some hair clippers! made sense at the time, right? within minutes my world seemed so much freer, lighter, cooler…scary!  i had shaved the back of my head like a road map. i kid you not…by the time the whole head was shaved all i heard from my daughters was how spiritual i looked? needless to say my head shape is not one where it accentuates my positives. ok back to metal.., he first sand blasts the metal to get all oils/dirt off. then the powder (paint) is put on and baked. after the powder coating, which generally is less than a week, i attached the finished green panels to the framework, just under the bronze panels by pop rivets.(in the eastern beliefs of chakras, i connected with the heart chakra, which is green and is the fourth chakra.  it symbolizes the obvious, but it is also about letting go,to let go of attachments within this life, a major source of suffering.)

the bronze sheets came all the way from seattle! i had them shipped directly to a metal shop that laser cut the japanese caligraphy of the stated truths in Buddhism. initially i had thought about cutting them myself with my plasma cutter however bronze is a very soft metal due to its high percentage of copper in it, when heat hits it it spreads out quickly whereas with stainless it stays very hot, more centralized.  had i cut them the metal would have warped and the edges would be far too rough a finish for this refined piece. with a computerized laser the cut is made utilizing water as a source to keep the metal cool. after the bronze panels were tac welded to the frame i started welding the moon together. first the stainless was rolled and cleaned and then my favorite part, the long welds. this leads me into another post…i must show you in close-up the stage where the metal butts (ready for welding), the finished weld and then the clean-up of sanding it, how all three stages look.  check back for the pictures of welds from start to finish! but first let me finish my thoughts thus far…the moon is a symbol for many countries and civilizations so without getting to heavy into it it was the feminine quality that resonated into this piece. it is also why i picked the cross section holding the moon.  if you take another look back you’ll notice it closely resembles the symbol for alchemy!  i transformed it into my own symbol..that of a human resting upon the moon. tho as a Buddhist i also see a conceptual tantric symbol.

moon3next post will include pictures of welds and the dismantling of the sculpture and the story behind it (maquette trickery). i will also post later the actual cost sheet to fabricate this and some other little anectdotes to the process…stay tuned and please comment if there are questions….or not.

May 15 2009


my father is a man of almost 80 years in this life. he influenced my direction into the world of art. he has always collected original art ever since i can recall. he used to buy paintings when i was very young and tell me one day they would be mine…problem is his taste in art does not reflect mine!  nevertheless he still taught me the principles of recognizing true quality and passion in any medium, whether it moved me or not emotionally was something i learned on my own as i grew. i suppose this is how it works for most people…to learn and understand the process’s and history of art and narrow it to the medium and style that moves your soul.


today i brought my father home from the hospital with a knee replacement. first off the surgery was a success and he was only in the hospital two nights! impressive for a man his age and with diabetes. when i visited him after his surgery he was in obvious medication oblivion, so i left in the afternoon taking mom home. mom went back in the the late afternoon and all was well, dad had gotten up to take a few steps with his new knee!  the following day i was back in the shop working and mom spent most of her day with dad, again things seemed fine however i could tell by just looking at mom that she was exhausted…and she seemed worried.

this morning we went together and were just turning the corner into his ward when i saw him two feet in front of me walking like a crazed man from a mob after him!  imagine…the visual of an old man skin and bones, six feet tall in a hospital gown, white hair with an expression of anger, bewilderment and excitement to see faces he recognized!  the first words out of his mouth upon seeing me were “get me the fuck out of here” and running behind him was a physical therapist trying to keep up with him! oh yes, and he was moving at such a fast speed with his walker too. i have to give him props for learning and mastering the use of a walker within twenty-four hours! we sat down in the hallway because he did not want to go back to his room and i asked him what had gotten him so upset. “these people are playing tricks on me. last night i walked forty flights of steps (mind you, this is a one story hospital) and when i reached the bottom they were clapping because i was doing so good with my walker. then they made me go into this room where there were three bottles of urine and i asked them what it this guy tells me to drink it cause it’s only water. that’s when i knew this was a dirty trick…i don’t want to be here another night i can’t take another night here with these zombies. when i awoke sometime in the night someone had changed my clothes! god damn it, they have no right to do can’t leave here. i am not staying here!”  that is when i decided i had better have a talk with the charge nurse and find out what the hell he is talking about.  the charge nurse is a robust woman in her mid fifty’s i’d say, obviously overworked and under staffed, as i waited to speak to her two nurses came up with emergency situations and fluster arose! when i finally did speak she was incredibly patient and attentive, astonishing with the chaotic environment. this is how the conversation went: “hello, my father in room 981, with the last name of C O L D I T Z ,he’s telling me some stories of which i am not sure what he is talking about. do you know, were there any issues that the staff had with him last night? hmm, well let me look up his records…oh, uhuh, yes, hmm, well, it seems your father awoke sometime in the night around 10:50pm and tried to leave the ward, he used his walker as a weapon and then when staff tried to calm him he started throwing urine at them, that is when we called security. we finally got him back to his room and bed and administered insulin and monitored him till he fell asleep. really i said? ya know he was talking about zombies..oh yes honey, i have aging parents myself and we are used to this here. it is sometimes a normal response for seniors to become disoriented and psychosis can happen. i’m sure the zombies he was refering to were the staff!”  well, for some reason i did not feel better with this knowledge. i had never seen my father so incoherent even at his worst! i could tell mom was equally as upset with this news. everytime i tried to tell him what truly happened like “dad, you were basically sleep walking last night. that is why you don’t remember having had your clothes changed and….no, they are lieing hazel, that is not what happened but i can’t win this one.”  

winning for dad was and is something he actually prides. i on the other hand had long ago given up the need or desire to win at anything, thanks be to having a Buddha nature in my mom she balanced things out! funny thing i can still remember dad taking me to ALL my swim meets and practices and how competitive i was back then. to make matters worse i was inherently good at sports and am the middle child between brothers, so ya i can be a bad ass!  

as i type these words dad is resting inside his home with mom by his side, afraid to leave him. she said to me as i was leaving…”i’m not sure what to do…laugh or cry”.

as tears well up for me i can easily cry and still laugh. he is such an amazing man. he role modeled strength, not the physical strength but mental. emotionally…what can i say, he’s half german and mom is full japanesey! oh lord the two powerful forces of repression, tho that is another tale……

i love you dad.


May 14 2009

Rudeness/Elitism in Art?

Clearly I have a long path ahead in my Dharma practice and “it’s gonna be bumpy!” Only a day or so ago I was reading about “Rudeness & Elitism in the Art Community” under “Blog Wars” on .

Like most artists I have personal experience with this offensive and completely unnecessary behavior. I could not believe some curators were actually attempting to justify the situation. It seems so simple, rudeness and elitism should not be acceptable in any segment of society including the arts!

I admit I had to make a conscious effort to calm myself and refocus my feelings back in a more positive direction. Then, as if I am being tested, an article appeared in the art/entertainment section of today’s Tucson’s morning newspaper that put me right back in the same emotional place! Arrgghhhh!

A local Tucson artist/metal sculptor who has been fairly successful was claiming in a large featured article to be using “Twitter” to connect people with his work. Even to the point of including “Twitter” in the name of one of his current exhibits.

With apologies to my Dharma teacher in advance…….the artist and the article reignited my anger and frustration over rudeness & elitism in the art community! To be clear, I do not begrudge any artist who has become successful. In fact, I do my best to acknowledge and support that. The source of my frustration is insincerely and falsely claiming “Twitter” as a way to connect with other artists and the community.

I have been on Twitter for over five months and during that time I have been very fortunate to connect with many other artists and individuals with similar interests. By connect I mean truly “connect!”. We dialogue regularly, render opinions, provide mutual support and when possible, meet for face to face “Tweet-Ups”.

During that time I sought to establish a connection with the featured artist. I acknowledged and congratulated his success and attempted to initiate dialogue through every Twitter mechanism available……@replies, DM’ing. Not once did he ever take a moment to respond. This from an individual using Twitter to connect with artist and the community?

I will admit that I am human and my feelings were hurt. We are both metal sculptors living in Tucson using recycled metal and steel as our primary medium. A natural connection right? Wrong, not once did I ever receive a single response.

Like so many people, he is, in fact, “using” Twitter. Using Twitter for self promotion and not to truly establish new connections with artists and the community. Another example of “Rudeness & Elitism in the Art Community”? I’ll let you decide……..I am off to meditate!


Your humble Asian Welder

May 10 2009

Project II: Co-Modify

My experience within the project

I was initially attracted to the Co-Modify II Project put forth by because it forced me out of my little comfort zone which is generally something I am loath to do. What seduced me was the combination of art, albeit commercial, which is an area I have generally avoided and marketing which has always been my personal pariah.

Having completed the project which ran from May 3-9, 2009, I have but one last task to complete my search (along with Mick Jagger) for the ever elusive end-point of “satisfaction”. For that, I must review my thoughts, motive, purpose and experience.

On first perusal of the project description, I freely admit I was not entirely sure what the project mission was. In fact, make those perusals 2-6 as well! As a dedicated student and practitioner of Dharma, I am used to committing to concepts and ideas that are not infrequently confusing, seemingly contradictory and almost always esoteric. Thus I refused to give in to the obvious path and simply follow the creative work of others. I chose to pursue intrigue and participate in a project I did not fully understand. In reflection, I may have discovered a new mantra….never let a lack of comprehension keep me from my personal forays and explorations!

Having completed the project, do I now have a better understanding of its concept? “Project II will be a commentary on and exploration of the commodification of social media and, by extension, the commodification of our social lives in general.” Answer; “no”, to be honest, what the hell does that mean? I had to look up “commodification”! Perhaps that was the purpose; make it so vague that the participants would create their own concept/interpretations and by human nature we would be copying mass/social media!

Enough said…..forward with my oversimplified mission to select an imaginary sponsor and then create commercial commentary which would fit in the parameters of our internet based marketing world (I could only understand/utilize twitter as my relay).

I chose “Sharpie” for my sponsor. Although it seemed like a vision at the time, I suspect if I were forced to analyze my choice……Sharpie is universal! It is a common denominator in our society of artist, children, office staff, etc..

My initial attempt was a fairly classic magazine style advertisement.

It seemed like a good first effort but as is typically the case, “too corporate” and a little overt! I admit my first inclinations were to “Commodify” my business/or logo into everything there by marketing my brand as well as my sponsor’s, however I did not see anyone else doing this and felt somewhat tacky for this overt tactic! The random idea I had and documented with a picture was of my body being traced with Sharpie’s, like a crime scene, only I was playing hooky from work and Sharpie documented it. Never did I think so many people would find this visual appealing, funny and creative! But it worked, from that picture on a buzz was created by many twitter’s and somehow found its way to an aficionado!


From that point forward, I let Sharpie take me and mingle intimately with myself creating subsequent efforts that were more directly related to my non-conformist, half Japanese, half German, artist personality. Just seeing the combination in written text scares me! What I generally thought of was how to use Sharpie in everyday life outside of its preconceived uses.

As a working artist/metal sculptor, the initial excitement of the project was gradually blunted by the day-to-day reality of my work and I began to question my motives. It was then that my work was recognized by , the public relations social media (PSRM) spokesperson at Sharpie!

She was thrilled to see such “free” PR out there and was gracious in her compliments. Enough so that she has asked for one of our dress’s from my gallery/salon, here in humble Tucson, AZ. I was photographed in a “blk. drop cloth recycled dress w/recycled linen lining” and Sharpies attached throughout the front…for easy reach in every color a gal in design needs!


With the help of @sharpiesusan my enthusiasm was reenergized and my mission rejuvenated. We exchanged tweets and I felt as though my efforts were a success within the project. I immediately connected with @sharpiesusan. My online impression is of a bright, funny, passionate and enthusiastic woman. She seems quite genuine in a world of fake media. A true connection with someone I’d never of had the opportunity of speaking with. Thank you @platea and An Xiao for this and the opportunity to work with you and everyone that participated…on many levels! It was fascinating to watch the mix of performances and how they all did them. I am still catching up on what others put out there!



*i initially wrote this for An and @platea to be posted on their site, my experience with the project. it has not been published but this is the latest that was

perhaps i will not go with that new mantra! ignorance has never been an acceptable reason for a cause…even Buddha would agree.

complete flicker photo’s from my visual commentary

May 5 2009



The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science…