Some Curious Technicalities in the Work of Odd Jim Dotty:  Part III
by Eucalyptus Ike
In the constellation Canis Major, Sirius or the Dog Star is a binary
star [a pair of stars in orbit around a shared center of gravity], and
the brightest star in the night sky. A blue-white star 23 times as
luminous as the sun makes up the bright component of the binary,
and its companion was the first white dwarf star discovered. The
name Sirius may derive from the Greek word for "sparkling" or
"scorching." The ancient Egyptians used its predawn rising to
predict annual Nile flooding. The Romans associated its appearance
at dawn with the ‘dog days,’ the hottest time of the year.

Before we begin, please take a moment to digest the data bits below
in order that you may be utterly prepared for the pithy
documentation to follow…   
Plot of Canis Major:
Binaries vary
in terms of their
relative size and
brightness and the
distance between
them. They make up
about half the stars in
the Milky Way
Coyote Under Canis Major
The paintings of Odd Jim Dotty typically present a plethora of perplexing potentialities for the epigrapher (or critic) with the
lung capacity to ascend into the rarified air of Dotty’s cerebral stratosphere.  You see, Dotty dotes deliberately on delicately
documented deductions, and thus his work is often about obscure, obtuse or abstruse abstractions.  That is to say, his
thought processes are typically recondite, if you take my meaning (if not, perhaps you should be reading elsewhere).  A
case in point (no pun intended) is the point of the piece above.  In
“Coyote Under Canis Major,”  we see Dotty doing his
dandiest to delineate a range of perspectives beyond the reach of raunchy reason even to suspect what’s really going on.  
Allow me to explain. As you can see above and to the right, there has been appended a star map of the Canis Major
constellation.  So far so good?  Now, if you will be so kind as to compare that map against the iconic representation of that
star system depicted in the painting, you will discover that a major leg of the constellation (the left one pointing downward)
has been deleted from Dotty’s iconic rendition.  Why?  Furthermore, in the painting, due to the absence of that missing leg,
we can discern what appears to be an owlishly doggie white dwarf, in outline, peering down upon the coyote whose
position is approximately where that leg would have terminated.  Why?  Furthermore, the actual star in the painting that
represents Sirius, the Dog Star, is only half represented, and another leg on that end of the constellation is also missing.
Now we have two missing legs and half of a missing dog.  Why?  Well, the answer is the coyote (Canis latrans) itself is left
to represent those missing parts.  He is the other half of the Dog Star that is missing and his legs can therefore be seen to be
the missing links (legs).  This is, I suspect, a very oblique way of reminding us that the coyote is, after all, a member of the
dog family, although an outcast in the minds of most sheep ranchers and chicken farmers to be sure.  But not in Dotty’s
mind, hence the owlish white dwarf figure (Dotty’s doggone alter ego) gazing down dotingly with just the hint of a smile, as
you can clearly see.  And if you can see that, you can now see that the painting reveals an entirely new level of meaning that
was simply not apparent until you realized what was missing in the first place.  Yet, what else is going on here?  Why is the
coyote so ghostlike, for example, and prowling through a landscape devoid of any other apparition of life? Because, gentle
reader, like those mystagogues of old, Dotty is initiating us into religious mysteries, and we are reminded of something far
older than ourselves, the mythos associated with the dog (coyote) in tribal lore.  Behold the venerable antiquity we now see
before our eyes,  an image that leant itself to the mapping and naming of the very skies themselves.  With his usual audacity,
and with a classic perspicacity, Dotty gives us a mythopoeic picture poem, an immaculate adoration in depth perception
quantified in quotidian originality, a Qumran quotient of quantum conundrum, like the Dead Sea Scrolls unfolding now in a
readily readable reality before our mesmerized and minimalized mind set.  A quintessence of the fifth essence quintupled as
we quiver and melt into the sterile ice sheet of the present…

And who will account for the awe filled cost
Of all that we have since unjustly lost…                              Navajo Joe,  Hopi Reservation,  North East Arizona
Is it not good to be reminded of where we have been?  Of how
far we have come across the span of ages since our ancestors
stalked the wild savannas in search of their daily dose of protein?  
For me the answer is a qualified yes; for Dotty an affirmation is
questionable.  Do you  not see how the enigmatic archetype has
adjusted now to the fact filled facets of modern metropolitan
existence, that shrewd image, its hour come round at last,
slouching toward Van Nuys to be reborn? In
Old Man Coyote
we have secured for us an enlarged and elongated timelessness,
and the enduring irascible character of the myths of coyote
stamped in the coin of a mythical but contemporary vintage. The
long, winding route of his journey captured in the iconic red line
is occasionally broken, disjointed, perhaps even abridged or
truncated, but the wily essential persona has in essence
prevailed.  How formal now in his blue and white dinner jacket,
trim and tailored to the test of telltale table manners, yet grinning
ever so mischievously, his long white canines reminding us that
he is not so impotently civilized as we might hope to us that he is
not so impotently civilized as we might hope to expect.  His eyes
so intent and focused, no longer beady red, but white like the
eyes of  the white man.  And in the background the faint sky
tracks of his ancestral constellation squiggle like wormy
reminders terminating in the wispy matrix of white dots over Old
Man Coyote’s left shoulder. What an odd coincidence:     
From the Online Dictionary of Cheyenne:
Historically, the word vé'ho'e [whiteman] descends by regular sound rules from the old Algonquian word for 'trickster' or
'culture hero'. The Algonquian trickster continues in Cheyenne folk tales today. Cheyenne stories frequently highlighted the
trickster vé'ho'e long before the whiteman was ever encountered. Semantically, to native speakers, today, the word vé'ho'e
almost always conjures up the meaning of 'whiteman', with various emotive connotations, ranging from stinginess, greed,
prejudice, sneakiness, to prestige. (Many speakers are aware that the word also means 'spider', [because the whiteman
spread the web of his railroad tracks across the plains], but this is not the first meaning that comes to mind when they hear
the word vé'ho'e.) Although extant Cheyenne folk tales clearly indicate the historical nature of the meaning of 'trickster', this
meaning seems to be never offered by native speakers today. When vé'ho'e stories are translated into English the trickster
word vé'ho'e seems always to be translated as 'whiteman'. From a technical linguistic viewpoint, one would say that
Cheyennes gave the Algonquian trickster term to the whiteman because the whiteman was perceived to have many of the
qualities of the trickster. It is probably an accident of history that the word is homophonous with the term for 'spider'. The
Cheyenne prophet, Motsé'eóeve (Sweet Medicine), told the Cheyennes of the coming of a person (vo'êstane) to them; this
person was apparently the whiteman. Sweet Medicine said: Néto'sêho'a'ó'tóévo vo'êstane. Tsemâhevé'šenohe, tósa'e
tsêsáapo'vé'šenóhéhe tse'tohe vo'êstane tséto'sêho'a'ó'tóése. Néto'sevonéanotáévo netao'o hová'éhe
tséohkeéeméhaane'étamése, éto'semâhevonéanöhtse....Naa tsé'tóhe tséto'sêho'a'ó'tóése tsemâhetáeotsé'ta ho'e
tséxhetaa'óma'o'e. Translation: A person is going to come to you (pl). He will be all sewed up (enclosed in clothes), nowhere
will he not be sewed up, this person who is going to come to you. He is going to destroy for you everything that you used to
depend on, he is going to destroy everything....And this one who is going to come to you will take over all the land
throughout the world…

Now, technically speaking,  what in the world do you suppose the old man Sweet Medicine meant by that?
Old Man Coyote in Urban Disguise

        Newsletter of the LA Underground Art Scene
Canyon Paths
Dream Report Number Two
Exercise in White on Black
Dotty's Dotting:  Technique and Terminology
A Symbolustic Semi-Abstract Salutation by E. Ike
Dotting, sometimes called pixel epexegesis,
is the formal practice of the creation of
images or imagery through use of color,
size, and placement of dots of paint on an
object or a surface such as wood or
canvas.  Dots may be applied in various
ways including through the use of a fine
tipped brush, a match stick, a fountain pen
or even the tip of a finger dipped in paint.
Dot placement requires meticulous
attention to a host of variables including
the viscosity of the paint, the absorption
potential of the surface receiving the paint,
the quality of eye hand coordination, visual
acuity, and even the persistence and
pertinacity of the painter. Consistency of
dot size is generally considered extremely
important when adepts of dotting are
evaluated by their peers or by professional
purveyors of their works. Dotting
technique itself may take many forms
from the application of a single line of dots
in a single color to multicolored lines
applied in adjacent rows offset with dots
of greater or lesser size. Many variations
are possible depending, of course, upon
the skill of the artist.    
Subjects Matter as much as Subject Matter...

Acclaimed masters of dot painting are recognized for a
host of factors, none the least of which is complexity of
subject, form, and technique. Another way of saying this is
that "what the artist attempts defines the quality of the
artist."  Complex patterns, difficult subjects, breadth and
depth of vision, choice of materials, techniques of
application: all these factors play a role in determining the
reputation of an artist.

It is clear from a careful observation of "Dream Report
Number Two" that a gifted dot painter is exhibiting his
ability. You can see that underpainting in dots was applied
in at least three layers (perhaps more) before the
pictoglyphic elements were added to the work. Notice, in
the text area, a layer of dark paint was applied over which
a layer of lighter gray dots appears. Then the text itself
was superimposed upon that layer which is set off as if in
a raised box delineated by a dark outline, all of which
suggest a canvas imposed upon a darker canvas. The text
[which itself is dotted in] presents the dream report,
ostensibly as if it emerged from the darker layer of the
subconscious. The orb rising above the wall of black robed
figures further suggests the dream rising as well as the
mythic elements referred to in the text--since the orb could
represent the world being sung into existence--and the
humor implied in the final set of references. But it should
be obvious at this point that "Subjects Matter as much as
Subject Matter..."  
Maze in Motion

If you stare at "Exercise in White on Black" for a while
you might experience a mild case of disorientation, as
your mind struggles to take in or absorb the complexity
of the patterns represented. Multiple perspectives fade in
and out as the eye wanders seemingly haphazardly over
the surface. Parts leap out in three dimensional patterns
of squares which then fade back elusively into two
dimensional forms as the eye is tricked to re-interpret
what it sees. What has seemed static becomes fluid; what
has seemed motionless becomes motion elongated and
retracted. Optical illusions appear, pyramids emerge,
boxes appear inside other boxes.

And yet all these effects are achieved by the placement of
dots; dots in lines so straight that they challenge the
notion that this could have been achieved by someone
working with a highly disciplined technique.

And yet, we have not even begun to discuss the
theme...