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Q PHILIP SLAGTER – INTERVIEW published in HEY!

modern art &


pop culture n°1 Season 2 2018
(an art mag published by HEY! modern art & pop culture
PUBLISHER)

1 / You have lived abroad a lot (China, Thailand, Kenya, South America …).
Travels could be strong basics of life in which everybody builds its own
foundation. What kind of traveler were you?

Like many of us my travels started in my imagination when I was very


young. My great-grandfather was involved with Royal Dutch Shell in the
engineering of the first oil refinery in Japan on the Island of Kyushu in the
early 1900’s and my grandfather had spent the first 16 years of his life there
with his father. I had heard so many wonderful stories about Japan from my
grandfather and traveled there in my imagination so many times.

Then my family would take us all on holiday in my grandfathers yacht to the


Bahama islands in the 1950’s. My grandfather had followed in his fathers
profession and had successfully developed one of the early American
independent oil production companies. The Bahamas were not developed
then as they are today. For instance, Paradise island, now the home to so
many tourist attractions was then a barren island with one small shack on it
and was called Hog Cay because of the wild hogs that dominated the island
and at times could be quite dangerous.

Bimini was just a single dirt street through a row of British colonial style
buildings, much more of a third world environment than today. I spent most
of my time with the Bahamian native children far from the yacht as at that
early age I found the elite yacht class boring and thoroughly enjoyed being
with “regular” people who seemed to be caught up in a much different and
less sheltered world than I had ever experienced in my “privileged”
environment.

My next experiences with travel to other countries came in my mid thirties


when my older brother was incarcerated in Guatemala and charged with
“assassination” after the accidental shooting of one of his workers when he
was involved in opening a wild animal resort in the Peten region of the
country. I traveled there to help with securing a lawyer and hopefully aiding
in his acquittal. This was my first experience with a true third world country
rife with corruption and danger. My family was in a constant battle to keep
him alive with payoffs to officials all the way from the jailers themselves to
higher government officials. In the end he escaped with the help of an
activist group who helped political prisoners. While there I had to flee the
country with the help of the US Embassy after a kidnapping attempt on
myself. I escaped and fled to the embassy and they flew me out to Mexico
City. I arrived in Mexico City alone and with not one word of Spanish. That
is another story for another time.

My next experience in Mexico was accompanying a friend to a family


wedding in Puebla and then down to Oaxaca for a stay in the Head Federal
Narcotics Officers compound, her uncle. While in Oaxaca I worked with a
poor Zapotec indian family in Teotitlan de Valle to reproduce some of my
abstraction on large hand woven wool rugs and I asked them to add tribal
imagery as they saw fit. The father told me he couldn’t draw and was
uncomfortable with the request. I asked him if he could draw like a child. He
responded yes and became comfortable with my request. They produced 3
beautiful rugs, the first two of which were added childlike human figures but
in my absence he did the last rug simply as a copy of my original painting as
he became worried about his designs and feared not being paid. I paid him of
course and those three rugs sold instantly to one of my collectors upon
arrival in LA.

I again returned to the Bahamas, for one year, when I was offered a studio
and apartment in a small hotel under 15 years of slow construction by one of
my collectors who kept the property under slow construction as a legal
foothold outside of the US. Wonderful experience.

Not long afterwards a collector was visiting my studio with Ralph Helfer
who was one of the originators of the Mount Kenya Safari Club in Kenya,
Africa. He asked if I had been to Africa as he could see African influence in
my work. I replied “no” and he offered a trip to Kenya in exchange for some
paintings. Of course I accepted. We traveled to Kenya with Richard Carlson
and Kathy Regis, my main patrons at the time. I of course took every
opportunity to escape from the group and travel into Nairobi and Mombasa
alone experiencing life and humanity that reminded me so much of the
experiences of my childhood. While visiting a Maasai tribe in Kenya I asked
the chief, Ben Kipeno, to introduce me to Maasai artisans who could
reproduce my abstract work at the time with beadwork and add their own
tribal imagery. Five pieces were produced of beadwork on dried goatskins
and I am told they were quite beautiful. They “disappeared” from
Abercrombie and Kent in Nairobi, who were the shipping agents, when the
work was to be sent to the USA. More stories for another time. (See
attachment “Massai with art”)

My only experience in France was a one night layover on my way to Kenya.


A beautiful experience as we visited and dined in a wonderful “bistro” with
one of the Grand Dames of “haute couture” who surely has passed by now.
Unfortunately I cannot remember her name currently.

My next and most important experiences came as one morning in the late
1980’s I was having breakfast with my friend and collector/patron Richard
Carlson, a quite successful businessman, at his mountain home outside of
Los Angeles. We were discussing how I could sell over three hundred pieces
of art all at one time and change my life as I, through my own naivety, had
grown disenfranchised with the Los Angeles art world as to what I perceived
as no real concern for art other than monetary value. I had asked Richard
about a process to market this amount of work. As he was explaining some
methods he casually asked how much I wanted for the entire body of work.
Without thinking I threw out a figure and he extended his hand and said
“sold”. I shook his hand and we drove back to LA where he removed three
hundred plus pieces of work from my studio and handed me a large amount
of cash. He put the work in storage and shortly afterwards his wife Kathy
Regis, who was the real collector and art historian in the family, fell from a
third story balcony and died. All of this work is still in storage and lost to the
world as Richard has no interest any longer in art or artists of any kind.

This was the beginning of my “real” travels.I had read quite a bit about “the
ring of fire” in Indonesia and had planned a trip to Singapore where I would
board a steamer to Jakarta and wander the eastern shore of Java and
eventually end in Bali. Well the plane to Singapore made an unscheduled
stop in Bangkok where we had a 30 minute layover so I deplaned intending
to catch a flight to Singapore the next day and meet my luggage. It took me
five years to leave Thailand with a new wife and beautiful daughter.

My departure from Thailand was hasty and unwanted as there had been an
attempt to steal my then two year old daughter and sell her into child sex
trafficking. It involved a group of Thai men, including a buddhist monk,
who moved drugs and children through the temple system working as temple
restoration contractors and had asked me to participate in mural painting in
the temples. The offer to paint was a ruse to get closer access to my
daughter. Amer-asian children were the most valuable because of their
“exotic’ appearance. One of the men, the one who had contacted me, had
been identified to me by the US Embassy in Bangkok as a Thai national who
had been in the American Special Forces and worked border patrol between
Laos and Thailand during the Vietnam war era. When the Vietnamese War
ended he had lost his job but continued human and drug trafficking because
of his connections to the border. I confronted him just before our departure
and asked him why he had destroyed our life in Thailand. His response was
a simple “why not”. A truly soulless human.

My next travel experience came in 2007 when I was asked by a friend to join
a crew and paint 250,000 sq. ft. of sky in the Macau venetian Casino under
construction at the time. We worked for eight months on the sky and then I
stayed another two months working on a private mural commission for a
restaurant in the Venetian complex. I in no way equate this stay in Macau
with having lived in China. Macau is the “Las Vegas” of China and in my
opinion has little to do with actually experiencing life in China. I think you
could take Las Vegas and put everyone on methamphetamines and you
would experience Macau.

While in Macau I helped conceive a second child with a beautiful


Indonesian woman who then returned to Indonesia as a pregnant non-
married expectant mother. This is a no-no in a muslim country and
thankfully Indonesia is a very tolerant form of Islam. In some Islamic
countries she would have been stoned to death by the village women
themselves. Fortunately on the island of Java they do not, in general, have
that extreme view of Islam. In my experience with Javanese culture the
punishment for an unmarried pregnant woman is to be ostracized by the
village and the entire family is shamed and removed from the core of Islamic
ritual which is the very root of the new culture after the Islamization of Java.
So began my travels to Indonesia. Little did I realize that 25 years after my
unscheduled stop in Thailand I would finally make it to Java. I have a
beautiful 7 year old daughter and her mother for whom I built a home and
hope one day to be able to relocate them to the USA. I might add that all is
well with my family in Indonesia and they participate in all the rituals. Lots
more stories here for another day.

I never sought introductions to the upper level of society in any of these


travels as I preferred to have the raw experience of living with and getting to
know the people of various cultures and experiencing the culture as they do
rather than what it wants to become. For this reason I have always avoided
“ex-pat” communities during my travels.

Part of my enjoyment of traveling is that I rarely meet anyone who describes


themselves as anything other than who they are at the moment. It is much
different than my experiences here in the USA where people introduce
themselves as labeled by some profession or social tag and what they want
to become rather than who they are in the moment.

So in ending your question about my travels I have to say that my dislike of


“labels” makes me reluctant to try to identify myself in reference to your
question “what kind of traveler are you?” If you will, I will let you draw
your own conclusions as to the type of traveler I am.

2 / Did you follow an artistic training / education? If yes, which one? If


no, can you elaborate on this?

My artistic training/education began with my grandfather on my mother’s


side. He was a weekend painter of wildlife and a large influence on my
youth. He taught me to hunt and fish. He taught me to have great respect for
anything I might catch while hunting or fishing and thank the game as well
as the universe for the gift of food. He taught me it was not important to
always kill or catch something but rather to experience the beauty of nature
and any game brought home for food was simply a bonus of the greater
experience.

He taught me to pay attention to anatomy, detail, attitude, shape, form, color,


etc. He inadvertently taught me all the aspects of formal art training without
knowing what he was doing as he had a terrible aversion to the great painters
of the time such as Picasso, Monet, Dali and on and on. He had no trouble
sharing his distain for their art so consequently I was never exposed to these
great artists until my college years.

When I first started college at Indiana State University I was petrified of


taking any art classes. It was my third year before I joined any art classes. I
would visit the classes and see the art being done and then tell myself that I
in no way was as good or qualified as these art students. After all I had only
painted birds and nature up until this point.
Pushed by my pragmatic minded parents I entered into the commercial side
of art with a minor in ceramics. I had only one painting class in college
taught by a hallucinogenic professor from Yale who had only discovered
LSD upon his arrival in Indiana. What a quick progression to “hippie” he
had attained. Our classes were quite often spent eating small amounts of
LSD and going out into the city of Terre Haute Indiana to experience the
“locals” as he called them. It was fun to see my fellow humans through these
rose colored hallucinogenic glasses.

He then became politicized and decided to destroy the system of currency by


having his students draw and print “Hopper” currency which he planned to
print so much of that it would replace the existing system of currency. He
would eat as much acid as he possibly could and then ask the Chief of Police
to meet him in supermarket parking lots for discussions on youth and the
current problems in Vietnam. He would sit for hours outside of his
Volkswagen bus traveling studio with the Chief while he painted miniature
paintings of “hoppers’ which are the grain bins on the bottoms of railway
cars. He also organized “Hopper Happenings” at the university where music
was played and we “hippies” would receive the criticism of our fellow
students. Also quite a bit of “sit ins” where we would stop interstate travel
and shout slogans about the end of war. Like the youth of today we believed
we were actually making a difference. I quickly learned the pointlessness of
these actions and that the “powers that be” were not only directing us but
that their ultimate decisions had nothing to do with the format or ideas our
protests and actions had taken. Unfortunately this seems to have been
magnified in our current global situation.

I left college in the first year of my MFA program wanting to experience the
vastness of life and stop being insulated by this structured college regime
which seemed to me to have no bearing on any form of reality that I had
experienced at that time.

I went to New York City to pursue a career in graphic design and quickly
became an art director in a major publishing company which published
school materials for all levels of education. Disillusioned with the need of
the company for monetary gain over the needs of the students I soon quit. I
then joined a small graphic design firm headed by B. Martin Pedersen. It
was composed of Marty, myself and a young lady who handled reception
and organization. Marty is currently owner, publisher and creative director
of Graphis Inc., the international publishing firm that produces Graphis.
I learned a great deal from Marty, mostly about life and respect.

I soon realized that I was limited in my ability to produce what I felt at


the time was “art”, something not done for the satisfaction of clients but
rather an individual expression of one’s individualistic self.

I quit and moved to the backwoods of Connecticut and dedicated myself


to painting, art and the pursuit of something I then, and still, call “truth”
or “reality” for the rest of my life. I still remember the crucial decision
that I did not want to be eighty years old and probably wealthy and
comfortable but never having the courage to pursue what had been
growing inside of me and driving me my entire life. It has been a harsh
but rewarding journey.

3 / We can feel in your painting some strong aesthetic issues, which bring to
your compositions a very specific breadth. How do you describe the
narrative themes and concept in your work?

Any sense of narrative in my work is a pure byproduct of the painting. We


are so influenced by the constant form of narrative being thrust upon us by
the “by design” media that we seem to feel a need to describe everything in a
sense of narrative. My work is organic in the sense that I may start with an
image from media, past or present, that is recognizable and then during the
process images that seem in some way to me to have a connection appear. I
spend a great deal of time absorbing media in all areas and these images
simply appear during the paintings development.

I remember that I used to map out a painting and have a fairly well
developed image in my head that I then tried to reproduce, rarely to my
personal satisfaction. For instance, I had a marvelous, life changing
experience in my late twenties that I wanted to paint but have never
attempted to do. This is certainly is not something I would attempt as
classical realism but more than likely will paint it, or possibly already have,
in a more abstract approach.

I had taken my landlord out to shoot a Whitetail Deer on the property I had
rented from him. He was a New York stockbroker and had come to the his
property countryside to shoot a deer. In my self ill-advised thinking to
ingratiate my self with him I agreed to show him where the deer were. That
morning I put him under a tree 30 yards from myself and told him where the
deer would pass by him as I had been observing them for some time now,
not as a hunter but a lover of life and beauty.

We could hear the deer approaching as they walked through the dry leaves.
In my vision, with each footstep, the forest started to illuminate itself. Light
started to emanate and articulate from within every leaf, blade of grass,
insect and everything in my vision. The world for myself transferred itself
into a magnificent vision of light glowing from within. Something I will
never forget. Then the deer appeared, a beautiful large buck glowing from
within just as everything else in my vision. I sat transfixed with tears
streaming down my face. Not tears of regret but tears of the shear beauty I
was experiencing. I was not thinking or analyzing. I had become a part of
this incredible scene. Thought and language were, and still are, insignificant
to describe the moment.

Then the explosion of the rifle jerked everything back into the shared
moment of reality that I had left. The deer made a mighty leap in the air and
crashed to the ground dead.

It was not long after this experience that I realized I was not the creator of
my paintings but merely a tool or conduit. A brush, if you will, for an artist
far greater than myself. It will be wonderful someday to meet or even
understand who this artist is. Maybe I never will.

That’s when I decided to no longer identify as the producer or the director of


this particular film where I was an actor painting and self identify as the
audience. It was freedom for me. I was no longer trying to recreate an idea
or feeling but simply sitting in the audience and watching the movie. I still
paint this way. So much more fun to not know the ending of a film.

The painting, “Taking a Selfie With Suamiku Lele” is a good example of


this. Everything behind the large face of Lucy the Australopithecine
“ancestor” intruder is fully painted and realized at an earlier stage. She just
told me one moment she needed to be there. Of course it took quite a few
moments to realize her.

As far as aesthetic issues go I really pay no conscious attention to this. I am


a proponent of forgetting intellectually everything we have learned as
students of art and letting it naturally appear as I work just as a musician
would do when in the groove. If we let go of the concept of time then the
sometimes months that these paintings take to accomplish becomes one
series of interconnected moments that occur simultaneously.

4 / Your universe is very dense, intense, saturated with


information. Your painting is driven by a dynamics of movements,
which are leading all your compositions. In the scenes you are painting,
we feel a strong link with graffiti matters and gesture … Would you
elaborate on this?

"When living and painting in New Mexico my work started to take on a


form of abstraction. I removed myself from my understanding of the formal
aspects of art as I was experiencing a completely new form of reality, the
New Mexican desert. I started to layer over paintings and sometimes “draw”
over the surface of a painting straight from the tube creating further layering.
I used “cattle markers” to create drawings by themselves or over other
pieces.

When I then moved to Los Angeles I first encountered graffiti and yes I was
heavily influenced by it. The tagging and layering over existing pieces
seemed so similar to what I was beginning to do in my own work. The
shapes and forms I could see from a distance and the immediacy and
strength in the work when viewed from a distance all influenced me. The
activity of the city in it’s confusion also attracted me. The lack of regard for
property reminded me of my own lack of regard for existing and past art
“movements”. The attempt to make a statement by people not even aware of
making statements also attracted me.

When it comes to the matter of gesture and movement, let me ask a question,
“Isn’t everything always moving and in flux?’. “Isn’t a photograph a static
abstract representation taken in the moment and not really capturing the
movement of before and after the shutter clicks?”. You might argue film
overrides this but I disagree. Doesn’t a film begin and end. Something the
moment never does."

5 / When you started painting, what were your artistic goals, and what
are they now?
"I suppose when I first started to paint my goals were like most young
artists. I dreamed of showing in the top blue chip art galleries and museums.
Another goal was that I could become “known” enough to have a voice and
hopefully point out to people the inconsistencies in our human construct that
I felt were important for change. I had no intention to fit into any existing art
movement so it’s humorous to me that I am now labeled as a pop-surrealist
as that term didn’t even exist when I was young. When I look back at some
of my early work it could easily have fallen into that category.

Beyond that my goals were to just explore reality in all of it’s dimensions.

In my late twenties one of my collectors, Caroline Newhouse the wife of Si


Newhouse of the Conde Nast Publishing company (Vogue, Vanity Fair,
New Yorker magazines), introduced me to Mary Boone who was just
starting her long and lustrous career as a gallery owner and participant in the
New York art world. I did not feel my work ready for that level and did not
pursue Mary. Mary if you are out there now…I’m finally ready. I had done a
commissioned portrait of Caroline and she hung it next to a Rubens in her
collection in her Connecticut home. I was so proud to be so near an
incredible painter such as Rubens even though it was only canvas.

As far as future goals concerning my painting, I have none other than to


continue painting, exploring the nature of reality and continue watching the
film. I am enjoying this new social media exposure and will try to see how
far it can be taken. Yet it is a shame in a way as no painting can be viewed
digitally the same as when viewed in person. The computer cannot ever
reproduce the actual interaction between a painting and a viewer as in “real
life” any more than social interaction can never be as fulfilling as the actual
human experience.

It seems painters don’t get to retire. I also have no intention of ever retiring.
Where my life’s work finally fits in will be up to posterity."

6 / You heard many times this question, my sincere apologies: you stand
in a specific figurative field. In which kind of “art movement” or “art
family” the art critics usually try to identify your work? Lowbrow?
Surreal Pop? Neo Kitsch?
"I have never really labeled myself as in any art movement. I have simply
called myself a “painter”. I have always felt uncomfortable calling myself an
artist. I feel the term “artist” is something that should be bestowed upon
someone as a result of the work they produce, whether it be in any of the
many disciplines of art.

I am fascinated at the labels that are being applied to my art now, “outsider,
pop-surrealist, first generation pop surrealist, lowbrow” as I gain some small
amount of recent recognition.

When La Luz contacted me and told me that I was a “first generation pop
surrealist” and when they announced the show mentioned my name in the
same sentence with Robert Williams, Todd Schorr and Mark Ryden, I was
elated and still honored. They said they would like to reintroduce me to LA.

While in LA for the opening of the show I had the privilege of meeting
Robert Williams, the father of pop-surrealism. We had lunch and spent some
time together where I showed him the original of “Adam and Eve, First
Hardon”. He sat in front of it for 15 or 20 minutes looking at and talking
about the painting. At the end he turned to me and said, “You are the most
fucking fearless painter I have ever known”. Needless to say, coming from
Robert, I was very happy and proud as I have always thought his work
“fearless”. Wonderful.

In the eighties, at times, critical reviews would label me an “expressionist”.

Also in the eighties I became close friends with Josine Ianco Starrells, the
daughter of Marcel Ianco, a name in Paris I am sure you are familiar with. I
loved hearing her stories and seeing the early photos of her childhood in
Paris with the likes of Picasso, Dali, Braque, the Surrealists and the
Dadaists. She would always tell me that I would never be a rich artist as she
considered me a “real” artist and I would never be understood. She also told
me my life as a painter would be difficult because of a facile ability I had.
“You can adapt and paint anything and do whatever you want with paint”
she would say. She would tell me over and over to “get a day job” and that
“a real artist cannot live from his work”. Rather discouraging and hopefully
with the advent of twenty-first century technology and social media she will
be proven wrong. So far she is correct.
Intellectually I suppose people need labels so they are comfortable with
something that may be outside of their own level of perception or beliefs. I
personally feel labels can be detrimental to progress because an artist may
believe one of the labels and stymie his future potential development, feeling
the need to stay in that category.

Interestingly a recent article in Artillery


Magazine ( http://artillerymag.com/making-art-post-global-world/ ) about
my work at La Luz De Jesus Gallery was titled: “Making Art In A Post
Global World”. I thought it interesting that the author of that article is
labeling me a “post global pop surrealist”. I wondered who the other “post
global pop surrealists” might be. I googled. I found none. I only found a few
articles about “post global artists”, two, and they were very vague and overly
intellectualized in the realm of social politics. Humorously I realized the
author was labeling me maybe twenty years ahead of my time, which would
make Josine Starrells’ predictions of me come true. I don’t agree that we are
in a post global society…yet. We are certainly moving in that direction.

I don’t see my painting as “post global” in any respect. I think he was using
those terms due to my use of pop cultural imagery from many other global
cultures and time periods, not just from my own personal experiences but
equally from the false narrative of “reality” contained in our
new experiences with virtual reality, AI, and social media thrust upon us by
our “handlers”.

I do feel many of my thoughts and hopes for humanity do encompass


globalism just not in the completely inorganic, ignorant way it is being
thrust on humanity by a ruling elite with no regard or empathy for humanity.
The utopian idea that all of humanity can live in peace cannot be argued,
denied or ignored. We have historically had and will always have a ruling
class until every human on the planet has attained “self realization and self
recognition” and practices the concept of “Tat Tvam Asi” (I am thou and
thou art that). I understand and accept that we are all intentionally designed
and conditioned through a system of greed and fear. I have always wondered
why “the powers that be” cannot condition us with love, respect and
empathy. It would be so much easier, even for themselves. I suppose the
answer is addiction to power and greed because in a world of fully realized
humanity there will no longer be a ruling class and equality will be the
norm.
I adhere to the idea that “pop” culture is not restrained by time. “Pop” in my
definition contains everything from the past as well as the present. For
instance the beautiful mural work and sculpture and architecture of the
Renaissance cathedrals was “pop” during its own time. These were images
popularized by the ruling power of the church for control over their subjects.
We can experience it all now in virtual time and it therefore becomes subject
matter for any artist regardless of time constraints. After all, there is the
concept and theory that time itself does not exist and is simply a human
construction to help with human interaction.

I lean towards this view as tomorrow is only imagination and yesterday is


simply a memory. We all know we don’t remember every minute of every
day that has passed. I feel that memories are the product of “self” realization
at some moment and location. A moment we actually see and recognize our
self in the moment and in our own “personal reality” as distinguished from
the construct of a group or global reality which has little or no connection to
our own personal reality.

And the “moment “ is the only time in which we can take action. We can’t
act tomorrow or yesterday. The action taken in the current moment can
influence the next moment but action must and can only take place in the
present moment in which we recognize ourselves, thereby creating
memories

So label me anything. I won’t object or argue. I hope I am at a point in my


life to not argue with anyone about anything. Everyone is entitled to their
own perception of reality, be it personal or group, and it certainly is not my
job to get people onboard with my personal form of reality. This is the same
as I feel about my painting. I am not trying to make a definitive statement
about anything. I am only offering the viewers a chance to question
themselves…and answer their own questions. If my work contains anything
then it equally contains nothing.

In the words of the great composer John Cage, “I have nothing to say…and I
am saying it…and that is poetry…as I need it”.

I only have answers for myself. I have taught in two universities and realize
that no one can teach anyone anything at all without the participation and
desire of the student to learn.
I had a close friend and assistant in the mid 1990’s in Los Angeles named
Eddy Milan. Eddy also lived and worked with me in Montana and was with
me when my daughter passed. I met Eddy when I went to a porno shop to
rent a video tape (pre internet lol). I was in my work clothes having returned
from working on a mural in LA that is over one mile long.

It was not my mural originally but my job was to extend the dead artist’s
work. It paid quite well for six years and did not require daily commitment.
We would contract footage and then be paid for the job, not the time. It
allowed me to enjoy my family and live the amazing experience of watching
my daughter grow.

Back to the porno shop. Eddy asked why I was covered in paint and if I was
an artist. I replied I was working on a mural and asked if he painted. He said
no but that he liked to draw. I asked him to show me some drawings in a
few days when I returned the tape. To my amazement he had his sketch book
there when I returned.

His drawings were scattered it seemed at first but with a beautiful innate
sense of line and form. I asked if he would like to work on a mural and make
three times what he made at this job. Yes was the answer.

Eddy came from the hood in LA and taught me so much about a part of life I
never experienced. Eddy wanted to learn and learn he did. Please take a look
at his work. I think you will enjoy it. www.semigod.com

He credits me with teaching him “everything I know about painting” but he


is wrong. He took what I knew about painting and extended not only the
technique but the thinking as well.

Nothing occurs in this reality alone."

7 / What are the major points that you are currently exploring in your
art?

"I think I have already answered this question throughout this dialogue but
to reiterate, “reality”, “truth” and “all” that that encompasses. I no longer
feel the need to explore the old masters or other past periods of art except for
reference, enlightenment and enjoyment. I enjoy watching the current and
media oriented expression of art not only from what we call the “art world”
but from simple regional artists, children, the current “blue chip” artists, and
everything that encompasses image making and the expression of human
individuality throughout all the arts, sciences, religions and just plain human
interaction. The internet is an amazing tool for information and
unfortunately mis-information as well. When I was younger I spent hours in
the library and I would carry home 40 or 50 pounds of books regularly from
the library and now…click, click, click. It is really fun to watch this high
tech world evolving and wonder where it will lead.

At times I get labeled a “political” artist. I feel most of my work has nothing
to do with politics even though I am well aware of global politics and it’s
images often appear. A political artist makes statements which he wants
people to understand or accept his views. This is propaganda. Hopefully my
paintings are open ended and make no definitive statements."

8 / Did you already have a book published? Do you have any events
planned in 2018?

"I have not yet had a book published of my work.

I will be in a group exhibition at Radius Gallery in Missoula, Montana later


this year.

La Luz De Jesus Gallery has asked me to show again in LA but we have not
scheduled a time yet. I believe it will be mid 2018. I will probably exhibit
some smaller work as it has been a while since I have explored smaller
canvases.

I have always felt the “scale” relationship between the painting and the
viewer is very important. Smaller works are much more “private” as if
looking at a book or out of a window whereas a large work with some
elements the same size/scale relationship as the viewer invite the viewer into
the canvas and produce an interactive experience between the viewer on a
scale of their own personal reality.

There is another project I am working on and I have sent you the rough draft
of the proposal (see attachment “East is East and West is West”). I hope to
be able to fund it through crowdsourcing such as patreon.com. It is called
East is East and West is West. During my last visit to Indonesia I was
offered a solo exhibition at a very beautiful international gallery, Semarang
Contemporary Art Gallery in Semarang , Indonesia. It is a large three story
gallery and I told the owner it is not possible for me to fill the gallery space
alone. So I suggested to him that we could do a show of myself and some of
the younger Indonesian artists. I would open a studio there for one year and
work on private works as well as collaborative pieces with the Indonesian
artists and we would do a group show of the work at the end of the year.
After the exhibition is finished we would bring it back to the USA, probably
in Los Angeles but certainly New York if we can find a gallery/venue. But it
is not possible for me until I secure the funding."

9 / Where are you currently working and living?

"I am still living in Montana but would like to relocate to a city where there
is a more active”art world” where I can interact with the other artists,
collectors and galleries. Until I am a bit more secure financially I will not be
able to do this.

I have been in court for 5 years, representing myself, with a lawsuit against
Chase and Citibank after they illegally foreclosed and sold my home and we
had to move out. We have just found a good home and studio for me to
continue painting in. It has taken 2 months to find so I have not been
working during that time and am really feeling the need to be back in the
studio. I usually work anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day when I am
painting."

10 / Do you have any concluding thoughts that you would like to


express?

We all act as if we are the monarch of Pointland, as if we perceive any and


all reality as originating in our own mind and thus becoming a part of our
perceived reality.

There does seem to be a valid external reality separate from ourselves,


although the Quantum physics theory of the Holographic Universe and the
related Double Slit Experiment suggest otherwise. Most of us perceive this
external reality as our own.
This is the Blue Pill Matrix that Neo was able to see in it’s entirety by
ingesting the red pill. (Thus Christ in the painting Supernatural Magic, Carry
On) is given the blue pill to keep him in his own matrix reality as he is
purportedly a “completely realized human”.

By perceiving this external reality as non separate from our “selves” it keeps
us in an unconscious, constant state of agitation and confusion.

I don’t mean the actually perceived individual reality that we all experience
alone but rather the other perceived “reality” that is thrust upon us through
all forms of media dating back to the beginning of image making in the
caves and extending into the newest forms of digital, AI, internet reality .

Through the recognition of the separateness of this other perceived reality


we can more readily view our “selves” and the other/outer reality becomes
malleable and enjoyable even in it’s harshest conditions.

This other reality encompasses the concept of “history or memory” and the
concept of “future or imagination”. It does not contain the moment, the only
time in which we are able to actually view ourselves or maintain any action
that may or may not relate to the concept of future.

"I have just been through a very difficult period of my life. 5 and 1/2 years
ago my then 17 year old daughter was killed in an auto accident on her way
to school one morning. Five policemen woke me one morning and five
minutes later told me that the most important thing that existed in my life
was gone and that I would never see her again. I died at that moment. For
four years I wondered why I had died but was left on this earth. I sat down,
cried every day, drank beer, smoked marijuana and didn’t get up for those
four years. I destroyed my body. I couldn’t even stand straight. I felt no
compassion or love for children, myself or anyone else. I could not see the
beauty of the wind or the sky or the sunset or sunrise. I felt nothing.
See the attached article from the Missoullian newspaper here in Montana. I
had to write my daughter’s obituary three days after she passed.
(http://missoulian.com/news/local/obituaries/dao-ann-
slagter/article_b7118b5e-63ac-11e1-88ed-001871e3ce6c.html )

And another article about me 4 1/2 years later.


( http://missoulian.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/painter-philip-slagter-
returns-to-his-art-after-a-debilitating/article_6b059b0d-5546-5b86-84db-
43bec87c413f.html )

Then one day in a moment of clarity I remembered all that I have told you
here today and wondered if the universe would grace me again if I removed
the barriers that I had created through pain and grief.

At the same time I heard my daughter speaking to me in my heart. She said,


“Dad you always taught me that we are here for a purpose and don’t often
recognize that purpose. We are separate from our bodies and are offered this
amazing experience in this magnificent dimension. You have forgotten your
purpose. I was here to learn from you and to teach you. I have learned many
things from you and you have learned many things from me. When we are
finished in this dimension we move on. Time is not a constraint for the inner
true self and regard for others is not a part of this inner self when we are
finished in this dimension. Dad, hold my beer and watch this, I am offering
you the biggest and most important lesson of your life. I hope you can learn
from it.”

Oddly a sense of joy came over me and I realized I had learned a great deal
already from her last lesson. Almost instantly I started to see beauty again
and experience joy. I have no other way to explain this. I started to repair my
body and mind. I started painting and laughing again. I am again happy and
an active participant in this amazing opportunity.

About the same time La Luz called and offered me the exhibition in LA.

Life turned around in such a magnificent way. All of my intellectual ideas of


life and death and purpose were no longer “intellectual” to me but rather
became a part of my being. Somehow deep inside I understood the meaning
of life, existence and death in this dimension and that we continue on our
journey. I have no idea if our dimensional memory-reality will be continued
and really don’t care to bother with that form of intellectualization any
longer. For me, I have been graced with answers and another chance at life.

How my work relates to all of this is open to your interpretation just as to


whether or not the term “artist” applies to me. “A gentle open mind is the
first step to awareness. Awareness is the first step to consciousness.
Consciousness is the door to infinity. Infinity is our destiny“. Tat Tvam Asi."