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All Delight in Pan
All Delight in Pan
Digital_Cintiq 24 Pro_PhotoShop_Hard Pencil
Hardcopy size: about 22" x 30"

The primordial elements/forces/entities of ancient Greek religion are the impetus for this suite of Digital artworks. I continue this exploration in "All Delight in Pan," but now have included the Olympian Gods. Hermes figures prominently in this artwork, for he is the inventor of the lyre--not Apollo--and also the inventor of what ancient Greeks called "controlled" music. Contemporary musical culture understands such music as "art music." Being highly structured, complex, and sophisticated, it is exploratory art for its own sake and highly performative. It demands many years of rigorous training and education to play well. Western European Baroque and Classical are examples of "controlled" music. This artwork, and for that matter all my artistic endeavors, is the visual counterpart of such music, what the public understands as "fine art." As much as I love folk art, my art is not of this kind; folk art and music inspire my artwork a great deal, but it has little else in common with what I create. However, I'm banjo player, and I play folk music avidly: Old Time music, and this music has greatly inspired my large-format oil paintings of the last 10 years (See the "Oil Paintings/Charcoal Drawings_Old Time Songs & Stories" section of my "Portfolio" on this website).

"All Delight in Pan" celebrates this atypical mix of impulses and loves within me, of folk and fine art. In various texts, the ancient Greeks refer to folk and popular music as "ecstatic music." It's inventor in ancient Greek religion is Pan. Pan's parentage seems to vary from text to text, but the Homeric Hymns (Hymn to Pan) seem to be the earliest reference to Pan's parentage, Hermes and Dryope. Hermes invented the lyre and passed it on to Apollo. Hermes also invented the panpipes or syrinx and gave this instrument to his son Pan. But Pan was not drawn to the music his dad and his dad's pal Apollo played. Pan preferred wild places, wild dancing and wild, homespun music. In ancient Greece panpipes were a folk instrument, and the lyre was associated with art music. Like today, "ecstatic" folk music of ancient times was very different from "controlled" music, being music made by the untutored for self-entertainment, as opposed to complex music made to entertain sophisticated audiences of aristocratic classes and the intelligentsia. Pan provided the ecstatic, wild, dance music to wilderness nymphs who danced insanely to it. This sounds familiar, doesn't it? Old Time music often provided driving, energetic music for dances. Rural folk in rural settings made this music and transmitted it to the next generation aurally. Rock and Roll and Hip Hop is loud and energetic, too, much like Pan's music.

My title refers to homemade "ecstatic" music, made in rural, wilderness settings, in places that were isolated and made by people who were independent and self-sufficient. People of yore who lived in the Upland South of America had to rely themselves and others who lived nearby for fun and community: making music was first and foremost for themselves, their family, and their friends.

My title also puns on the word "Pan," which means "all." According to the "Homeric Hymns, all the immortal Gods on Olympus delighted in Pan. And so do I!