From the diary of Rodney Chang

April 16, 1985, 2:45 a.m.



Certain times, even during sleep, the mind races with thoughts. The strong wind chattering the blinds awakened me at midnight and since then I haven't been able to put my mind to rest. Thus the racing mind in sleep led to the focusing of conscious problems or issues, including these thoughts in the nebulous dark-



Concerns about my artwork, its temporal content and worth after death, and setting it up for posterity through lifetime organization , collector documentation and proper storage or tracking of ownerships.

The hierarchy of pure artistic ideas/theories versus completed works. The latter is secondary to the first and are just manifestations of a greater mind than what can be captured/created in one fortuitous and isolated piece.

Become a reborn artist through deemphasis emotionally of incessant having to make art and keep made art around in visual/compulsive environmental order. Instead establish worth and production time through writing and developing ideas for future more powerful works, based not on continued unconscious and spontaneous interaction with materials but from application and involvement with aesthetic theory. I feel scattered and disorganized currently as an artist.

The true REWARD for the artist is not the money and social recognition but the involvement in the proces of creating, of immediate object gratification. Something the IRS is totally against.

Different cultures and political/social environments place different demands on artistic behavior, resulting in different types of art and the molding of different cultural artistic "personalities."

No matter how great one becomes as an artist, most are destined to be labelled as "provincial" artist, due largely to geographical isolation of the artist purely due to the limits of economic marketability and the expansive separation of populations (how many famous artists do you know from Idaho, Chile or Missisippi, living in Hawaii?).

Most serious artists actually use the scientific method (trial and error) in their development of works - without knowing it. The approach can either be inductive or deductive: make many variations around a common idea or isolate one new effect and develop it into a generalized approach/style for many future works. Either one can led to artistic rut/rust.


The train of art: idea/inspiration to making a product/piece to analyzing it to slide/photo documentation (as part of the life collection of the artist) to sale or inventory storage to entry into permanent records.

Hawaii's a deadend due to its geographic isolation - it's constant and repetitive exposure/games/support - without ever getting into the mainstream of worldy art.

Love-hate relationships are part of the dynamics for me in regards to the things that mean the most to me - others, myself, my artworks, my potentials/talents, money, work ethic, sense of purpose in life.

An emotional priority of "developmental thought and its compilation and documentation" supercedes anxiety and negative feelings of disorganization and ordering of past works and the need to keep working to stay agile and developing as an artist.

After 40, as an artist, one can either feel 1) a sense of running out of time, rigid, obsolescent or 2) reborn, experienced and unto a higher level of consciousness with positive vibrations from one's latest accomplished work.

Story of my life should be documented for therapeutic value in assisting other struggling artists gain perspective of their life situation.

Need for networking new and varied talented friends to impact or influence my own work and to increase motivation to continue without peers or standards.

Being one of a kind can mean difficulty in establishing normal standard values and lifestyle; identities, needs and wants may get in the way of understanding or relating to others' needs more normal needs, perspectives and values.

My life is based thus far on open doors, opportunities, luck, open options, indecisiveness, insecurity, changing heirarchy of priorities which keeps one out of balance or always searching for something better to accomplish and challenge.

It's hard to let go of artistic pursuit and start anew in some other alternative creative challenge at this point - but it sure would simpligy my life and finances.

Sense of being scattered and choatic; need sense of organization and progress toward life goals at this point; need to feel concrete intermediate successes.

Making too much as a dentist is penalizing me too much as an artist by IRS.

Must figure out how not to have to be pressured into choosing among friends, keep options open and mutual friends apart.

Generalized conceptual ideas lead to specific secondary significant art objects.

Insomnia may be necessary to process distrubances: must use intelligence to solve unresolved stressors, lingering problems and conflicts - more important to the body than x hours of sleep.

Use cookie cutter on clay slbs, then string slabs vertically on wires supported with wood or ceramic bases.

Idea from dream! - Dennison florescent stick on circles as background on illustration board; paint in grey field first before placing circles; use black calligraphic lines for emphasis and accent of composition.

Or how about coils form hardware store as tension points between flexible bar sculpture.

Vice - to bend thick wire into right angles - as substitute for cast bronze coil sculpture.

Think positive - appreciate what I already have and have accomplished instead of pondering over what may have been....

Figure out how to be true to one's natural instincts, impulses and nature to be worthy of others' lives and one's time.

Phenomenological research approach of the internal mental processes can indeed be heuristic in leading to better artworks.

Society offers the analogies to measure one's own ambitions and efforts - sports, competition, juried shows, rejection of works, value, quality, sales or no sales, rank, criticism, review or no show review, etc.

It's irrelevant what others think of my work - 99.9% perceive from a vantage point of ignorance about the new and unique here; I'm the best judge of my works in regards to relevance, purpose, quality and defects; I must dictate what a work expresses, most importantly, to and for myself!

Once the lesson of a completed art work is digested, its dynamic interest is lost and the search for new lessons to gain higher, deeper truths begins anew. There is no pause for rest for the driven. Oh, to make works with deeper meaning!

Help one's friends, don't have victim relationships and guilt trips.

Future works - from a theoretical base, create larger and modular more complicated and time consuming works; use smaller component works as units for larger works.




1. communicate where I stand with certain "friends"

2. work hard in the clinic and support the manger efforts better

3. select favorite past works to display in living space for visual feedback of past visual accomplishments and sustain self confidence in one's efforts

4. Get some sleep before it's time to wake up