Jon Crispin's Notebook

Karma Congestion… (UPDATE)

©2016 Jon Crispin

…is a phrase my dear friend Alex Ross coined many years ago.  I think I have mentioned it here before.  We use it as a general catch-all to cover anything from mild creative block to what the Germans call Weltschmerz.  I have been somewhere in it for a while now.  I haven’t been posting much, but I have been shooting quite a bit and I wanted to put up a few shots here. / I was chastised by a Kathmandu policeman just after I shot this ↑.  The white kiosk in the middle of the intersection was put there this very day.  The old one was lying on its side on the corner beside me (and is quite possibly still there).

©2016 Jon Crispin

I’ve been in and out of the New Haven train station a lot lately and have always liked these tunnels.

©2016 Jon Crispin

Our friends Scott and Lisa very generously invite us to visit them on Block Island for a few days in July.  This was the view from their rental.  We had a lovely time.

©2016 Jon Crispin

Olive is now just over 2 years old and is the most wonderful dog. My pal Peter Carroll took this picture.

©2016 Jon Crispin

These two big stones are in the empty lot next to the house on Ensenada Drive in Woodland Hills, CA where Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band recorded “Trout Mask Replica”.  I was going to take a photo of the house, but it is a private residence now and I didn’t want to bother the current occupants.  I had a friend in college by the name of Greg Trout whose granny gave him a copy of the album for his birthday.  The only reason she bought it for him was that his surname was in the title.  When I first heard it, it seemed beyond unlistenable.  Now it is one of my most favorite records.  Beefheart was a genius.  Click on this only if you are open to weirdness.

©2016 Jon Crispin

My brother-in law John is also a huge Beefheart fan.  He was up for the excursion to Woodland Hills especially if it involved a stop at Musso and Frank is Hollywood.  John is totally amazing and so much fun to be with.  He was raised in Southern California and  his knowledge of the area is staggering.

©2016 Jon Crispin

He grew up in Palos Verdes and gave us a tour on a lovely Sunday morning.  This is a detail of a fountain  that is in the center of town.

©2016 Jon Crispin

Here is John and Lynne’s dog Scooter.  He is a mischievous sweetie.

©2016 Jon Crispin

Cris and I always go to Huntington Beach when we are in California.  The summer program for future lifeguards was happening as we were there.  There was a wide range of ages of the kids, and it was way cool to see all of the participants in their red suits and colorful caps.

©2016 Jon Crispin

The older kids paddled out beyone the end of the pier and back.  It looked exhausting.

©2016 Jon Crispin

The US Open of Surfing was happening the same day and the pier was jammed with people.

©2016 Jon Crispin

We also usually make it out to the Huntington Library in Pasadena,

©2016 Jon Crispin

mostly just for the chance to see Gainsborough’s Blue Boy.  It never gets old.

©2016 Jon Crispin

Peter was visiting from DC last week, and we made our annual trip to Essex to eat  fried clams at Farnham’s.  It was a beautiful day and the view from the picnic tables can not be beat.

Thanks for following and for giving me the opportunity to unclog some of that karma congestion.  I think it worked.  Cheers.

UPDATE.  This is indicative of how spaced out I am, but the picture of Olive was taken by Peter Carroll.  It is the best photograph of her ever, and he totally deserves the credit.  Sorry Pete!

Durbar Square / Hindu Gods

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

Cris starts work tomorrow, so today was a day to walk around a bit.  The earthquake damage is very obvious with piles of brick everywhere and scaffolding around many buildings.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

These shots are all from around Durbar Square.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

Cris would gasp just about every time we turned a corner in this part of Kathmandu.  She came here first in 1979 as a Peace Corps volunteer, has subsequently come back to work in Nepal on a regular basis, and is really familiar with the city. It is really shocking to see the devastation.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

As we were walking back to the hotel I started noticing pictures of Hindu gods that were about 3 feet off the ground and which were spread out about every five yards along a huge brick wall.  They are evocative in the odd way that things that attract my attention are.  I began taking pictures of them when I saw this next guy, who looked much more contemporary than the rest.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

These next two are Krishna.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

He is almost always depicted with a cow and a flute.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

And often a milkmaid.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

This sign was higher up on the wall and Cris was looking at it and smiling as I walked past her.  It is amazing to come to a place like Nepal with someone who speaks and reads the language.  It basically says, don’t piss or shit on the wall.  Which is why the images of the gods are placed just about the height at which a man’s stream would fall.  It seems a pretty effective deterrent.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

The issue of public defecation is something that the current government has begun to work on (for obvious reasons).

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

We like Ganesh as he is the remover of obstacles and the patron of the arts and sciences. For some reason, we have always associated him with travel, which is something we do quite often.  Finally, here is Hanuman, the monkey god.

Travel to Nepal and Day 1

Thanks for following. We are a bit sketchy on Hindu lore, so please pardon me if I have gotten anything wrong about the gods.

The Clark

Posted in Art, Jon Crispin, museums, painters, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 04/04/2016


Cris and I drove to Williamstown yesterday to meet up with Peggy Ross and her husband Peter.  The Clark is always the draw, and every time I go something new grabs me.  These Renoirs are quite nice.


I have always liked this Sargent on the right (“A Street in Venice”).

Naked Women Sculpture

Cris really likes these figures. I can’t remember the artist.

I spent a lot of time sitting in front of the Turner that I mentioned in a previous post.

Gordon Krighoff

Posted in Art, ephemera, Family, History, painters, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 16/02/2016

Gordon Krieghoff

I have mentioned my Krieghoff connection before.  Like Cornelius, Gordon was also a painter, and he lived and worked in Detroit, which is where my mom grew up. If I remember correctly, they were contemporaries, although Gordon was somewhat older.  In addition to works like the one above, he was also a commericial artist.

While my family doesn’t have any Cornelius paintings, we do have quite a few of Gordon’s.  There is not much of a market for his work, and there isn’t much information online about his life.  It is possible that my brother or sister know more than I, and they might add something in the comments.  I don’t ever remember meeting him as a child.

When my parents died, we siblings each got several of the paintings.  The frames were in pretty good shape but the mats were yellowed and probably not acid-free.  This is the second one that I have had reframed, and like the first, there was something sketched out on the reverse side of the painting.

Gordon Krieghoff painting

This is clearly the beginning of what was probably an advertisement of some sort.  I know he did illustrative work for some of the larger Detroit companies, including General Motors.  Like many of us, I wish I had more concrete facts about my extended family history.

Turner At The Clark

Posted in Art, galleries, museums by joncrispin on 21/10/2015

Cris and I took the afternoon off today and went to the Clark in Williamstown.  A lovely drive up Route 2.

There was only one Turner, but it was in a room of its own.  He is still my favorite.  There’s a ton of great Impressionist art in this private collection, especially Renoir and Monet.  Also a huge number of  Sargents, Homers, and Cassatts. It is really hard to believe that a family could amass this much amazing art, and it is so great that it is open to the public.

The Foundling Museum

Posted in Art, Asylums, History by joncrispin on 15/10/2014

Early on in the suitcase project, people started sending me links to the Foundling Museum in London.  Some saw an emotional connection between my project and the amazing stories that are a part of the museum’s collection.  I was really flattered.  This past Friday I finally got the chance to stop by and visit.  It is really difficult to describe in words the impact of the exhibits, and of the building itself.

This is one of many tokens that mothers or fathers left behind to identify their children should they ever return to claim their abandoned child.  It was a simple, but effective system.  So much history here, and I would encourage going to their site to read about what an incredible institution Thomas Coram envisioned and successfully started.

I thought a lot about charity, art, and how brilliant Coram was in bringing in creative people to support the hospital.  Both William Hogarth and George Frideric Handel were governors, and donated time and energy to the idea of saving abandoned children.  The museum still utilizes this model in their temporary gallery space.  I was really bummed to have just missed a Grayson Perry exhibit.  (If you have a few hours to spare, please listen to this.)

Sometimes art can really have an impact.

Mr Turner and More

Posted in Architecture, Art, Birds, Buildings, Cities, Jon Crispin, Travel by joncrispin on 08/10/2014

We made it to the Tate Britain today to see the Turner show.  It was amazing.  No photography in the temporary exhibits, so no pics, but oh my, what an exhibit.  He was it.

The rest of the museum was nice.  All Brit artists and huge, with lots of variety.

Walked around London afterwards and saw these coots in St. James’s Park.  I love coots.

Long bus ride out to Hammersmith to have a few pints at The Dove.

To me, it is the nicest and most welcoming pub in London.

John and I have a long history here.  We never made it to the V and A for the Constable exhibit.  Maybe tomorrow or Friday.

Lamb and Flag / Covent Garden

Posted in Art, Travel by joncrispin on 07/10/2014

Really nice pub in Covent Garden.  Off tomorrow to see Mr. Turner and Mr. Constable.

TEDx Martha’s Vineyard

Posted in Art, Asylums, Boats, Landscape, Ships, Transportation, Travel, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 21/08/2014

I’m back from the TEDx event at the Vineyard.  It was an intense couple of days and was really interesting.  Aside from my usual anxiety about presenting the project to people, my biggest concern was how to get 10 20 x 24 inch framed prints from my house to the venue.  It all worked out, but it was a bit nerve wracking.

I was really happy that I was only showing prints, and not doing a formal presentation.  I travel around and talk about the suitcases quite a lot, but mostly in give and take type of situations.  The idea of standing up and delivering a 15 minute presentation still seems a bit intimidating.  It was really helpful though to watch how others talk about their work in this type of format, and I learned a ton about how I want to refine my presentations.

Here’s Jon Ronson giving his talk.  I had read “The Psychopath Test” and seen “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and was happy to get the chance to hang out with him.  So many creative and stimulating people were a part of the event, and the organizers did a great job setting up time for the participants to relax and talk about our work.  It was an honor to be asked to a part of it and I am really grateful to all involved, especially Katy Decker who is an amazing bundle of energy and sweetness.  It was also fantastic that my dear friend Sue Jackson, her husband Rick, and their friend Joanie made the trip over from the Cape.  It meant so much to me to have familiar faces there.

The Vineyard is a really lovely place and as I hadn’t been there in years, it was great to be back.

It was only slightly weird that since the President was in residence for his vacation, the Coast Guard was out in force.  I would guess it was just for training purposes, but there were three chase boats that shadowed us back to Wood’s Hole and it felt a bit strange to see a manned 50 caliber machine gun so near to the ferry.

I am hoping to post more here over the next week.  Thanks, as usual, for following.

Peta Pixel/Peabody Essex Museum/Farnham’s

Posted in Architecture, Art, Asylums, Buildings, Family, Fish, Food, Fried Clams, Friends, Travel, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 18/06/2014

There was a very nice mention of the suitcases project on PetaPixel yesterday. Thanks DL Cade!

Cristine, our friend Kate, and I drove to Salem today to see the J M W Turner exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum.  It is amazing and worth the trip.  No photos allowed in the gallery, but it is a very cool museum.  Note the early Airstream trailer (lower right) that is part of the mid century LA exhibit.

We then drove up to Essex to eat some clams at Farnham’s.  For those of you who follow this site, I have posted about this place before.

The upcoming 10 days are going to be very hectic for me, so please be patient if I don’t respond directly to email.  I’ll do my best.

%d bloggers like this: