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Mitch Burg

 

I’m the youngest of four siblings, by a full seven years. It is well understood that I am a “happy accident.” It seems an appropriate moniker now. I have come to this artwork through a series of happy accidents and that sense of learning to appreciate the unexpected remains at the heart of my work and my life. As with many of the best things that have happened to me, it was my wife, Shannon, who first introduced me to art shows. She worked for an artist, Ann Miller, in the 90s making glass jewelry. I would go with her to shows from time to time, and though it was hard work, it sure was fun. I never imagined I would one day be an artist with my own little 10’ x 10’ traveling art gallery. I left the University of Wyoming in 1986 with a degree in Journalism, but by the time I made it to Santa Fe found myself working in the interesting retail world of selling tribal imports–rugs, furniture and art from the around the world. I am sure there are aesthetic remnants from those days in my artwork now. In fact, I consider my work to be a kind of tribal art. My tribe is the perennially young at heart love to laugh and play bohemian folk poet, maker and lover of life tribe. I am also of a more specific tribe that is naturally fascinated with picking up old and rusty things. I am fortunate to have a house on the Santa Fe River, a dry riverbed most of the year, a source of some great junk finds and creative meanderings. As I was getting frustrated working for someone who did not have my future foremost in mind, I started picking up some of those rusty bits and assembling them into little artsy objects I would give away or sell at the local fairs. Hanging around the jewelry studio where my wife worked, I learned how to make glass beads. I became friends with an artist, Duane Dahl, who taught me how to fuse glass. I came across a glass kiln and scrounged the money to pay for it. My artistic curiosity grew and my enthusiasm for making things was rewarded to the point that I dared to build a studio at my house and perhaps make a living at this. The rest as they say… I am, by my dog-like nature, easily distracted but I have come to fold this into my particular way of making art. I now have a wonderful mini-junkyard surrounding my studio, welding equipment, two glass kilns, a bead torch, woodworking tools, painting supplies and a bunch of stuff people have given me to see what I could do. I never know what ‘s going to happen in my riverside idea-torium mini studio, but I know I will always find something to get excited about. I have discovered a faith I wasn’t even looking for but I imagine will sustain me for a long time to come. My son, Marshall continues the tribal tradition going to art school in Portland, OR. My wife, like all great women, continues to be our heart and guide. The most surprising thing about my work is how it has unexpectedly helped me circumnavigate my love/hate relationship with words. Rather than imploring my misguided brain for the right sentences, I find beautifully ambiguous stories in the latent memory of found objects, in the playful colors of glass, in an elegant relationship to tools, in the happy accidents that seem to occur at the confluence of so many possibilities, not unlike myself.

 

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A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine.

I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image.

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