le cirque de l’artiste

john watercolorI found that french phrase to be rather apropos.  “The circus of the artist”.  The mind of the artist can very often resemble a circus.  Sometimes a happy, colorful, loud, and child-like circus.  Sometimes more of a sinister, dark, and gloomy circus.  Something that resembles the traveling carnival in Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes or Clive Barker’s In The Flesh.  Either way it goes -dusk or dawn- it can be interesting, moving, and thought-provoking.

I posted an article a couple months ago written by my cohort E. A. Poorman about local(to me) artist Shane Darin Page.  I’ve known Shane since we were around 8 years old.  In all that time he’s had many hobbies, passions, and just things that have made those creative lights shine in his head.  We started playing music together as early as 1988.  We were in middle school and had an equal love of speed metal, which fed that urge to want to make music.  He did the skate punk thing, the snowboarding thing,…you know, those sports that gave you a free pass to roam cliques and groups of friends easily.  He could chill with the j0cks just as easily as the punks.  I was in neither group.  I was an island unto myself, yet we were drawn to each other.  Maybe that spirit of the loner that hung out in both of us brought us together.  By the time we were in high school and our senior year rolled around we were in Photography together and we’d become what you’d call ‘lifer’ friends.  The kind of friends that could drift apart as we got older but would always find our way back to a couple chairs and a couple beers.  Photography brought us together creatively as we created a short film for a project.  It was something to do with chaos, religion, authority figures, yadda yadda, all soundtracked by my distorted guitar, a Flanger pedal, and Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them”.  It was pretentious and pretty damn amateur-ish, but it was fun as hell.  Plus, we scared the Mormon girl in class.  Bonus!

Over the years, we did our own thing.  I became a “local” in my hometown, while Shane followed his nomadic tendencies and traveled.  Calling several places home -including Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Brooklyn, and St. Paul- just to name few.  A few years ago he settled back down in the same town he couldn’t wait to get away from.  He’s established himself as a freelance artist, as well as a full-time gig doing web design.  Recently he began an art project which involves portraits of folks in watercolors.  He asked me if I’d be interested in taking part in said project and I said “Hell yes!”  So what you see above is his watercolor of yours truly, Mr. JHubner73.  I was floored.  If I could walk around with a mask of that on I would.  Very, very cool.  The guy is incredibly talented, and I’m honored to be a part of his project.  He’s recently started up a new website showcasing his work.  You must go check it out here.  Not only is he establishing himself as an artist to respect, him and I are also collaborating musically.  He still dabbles in music, and him and I have worked together on and off for years.  A semi-serious music project that we are wanting to make just serious is Cambodia Highball.  It’s an instrumental music project that is part psych rock and part space rock, with some fuzzy shoegaze stuff in there for good measure.  Something along the line of Black Sabbath, Can, NEU!, and a touch of MBV.  We switch between songs as far as who plays drums and and who plays guitar.  It’s all improvised.  We’ll record drums and guitar live in one take, then go back and add bass, noise, more guitar squall and whatever the hell else we want to.  Anyways, it’s a labor of love and goes in spurts as far as when we work together.  So the creative juices are flowing once again.  We’ll be hitting the studio and doing some crazy noise making very soon.

Here’s a song we performed, recorded, mixed and mastered in one afternoon last summer.

Make sure you check out Shane’s work, and be on the look out for some aural weirdness very soon.

13 Replies to “le cirque de l’artiste”

      1. It sounds good. I look forward to more. (I also checked out the watercolors and am toying with the idea of requesting one of myself when I get another paying gig.)


      2. Thanks! It’s a really fun music project where you leave egos and expectations at the studio door. It’s when you get to just plug in and play. Let the music take you where it may.

        If you do request one and get a painting done you must share it! I’d love to see it!

        Look for some band-related artwork as well coming soon.


  1. I the love the noisy bits, the dark creepy bass, and the occasional fuzz-splosions. The only way I can imagine vocals fitting in is if they’re short percussive grunt/shouts saying … well … probably nothing, “HUH, HUH-HUH”. That doesn’t really belong in the song, but it got added in in my head.

    By the way, this watercolor is the most head-on portrayal of you that I’ve seen yet. You’re facing the world head on!


    1. Thank you David. Yeah, if I was more adept at the “grunt” things may be different. As it is, I am not, so they shall remain gruntless

      The painting makes me look way cooler than I deserve.


  2. Nice song, I got a little lost throughout and then got back, I love it when that happens. Also – great portrait, I like the colours they add a lightness to the quite detailed drawing.


    1. Thank you on both counts. Well, I had nothing to do with the portrait, other than it being my face.

      When you can get lost in a song that’s when you know something is working…as long as you find your way back before the end.

      Thanks again.


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