Built Here is a column by Emilie Robinson featuring people who create things.
We’re standing in Geoff Bush’s laundry room, in between the gorgeous cave of his second work room: organized pieces of wood and old stumps, bits and bobs, hammers. In the laundry room there are a few stark pops of color on a canvas. “I call these lazy Pollocks” he laughs. There is nothing this man cannot do.
I want to pin the hell out of him right now. This man’s energy is immense, focused, moving in many directions. And he’s hilarious.
I didn’t think I could find myself here. Speaking earnestly to a man of 70 about bringing peace to America. I just got a corporate job, with benefits and my own office extension. But standing in his laundry room I feel something in me just woke up. I am seriously considering how good it would be to make a piece of art that could travel around America in a caravan with Geoff Bush, getting people to think about peace.
I decided to meet with him because of his belt buckle. Metal, cast by himself, in the form of “the oldest recorded peace sign,” a hexagram of the I-Ching. Symmetrical horizontal lines with breaks.
In the same breath he talks about Vietnam and metal casting. He quotes John Cage, The Book of Changes, the movements—but not like he’s reading a book, like I could. But like they were his friends. He breathed the same air as these guys.
Geoff Bush’s work opens a road that stretches back to the 60’s, when America came of age, and forward into new digitally charged projects—tying together America’s rich history of material love and new found material forgetfulness. But he’s not sentimental, somehow. He’s excited. He modestly hints at a very successful career in advertising, where, he jokes, he surprised people with his comfort in an online world, asking, “Why shouldn’t I know about this? I’m not dead, just older than you are.”
He shows me some coins, gives them to me as a gift. Wishes me peace, in myself. It’s refreshing. Startlingly so. “Not world peace,” he says. “You can’t make that happen. All you can is have peace in yourself.” I felt some kind of knot move, one that I didn’t even know I had. I might literally be carrying guilt about world peace around, I think, like a gall stone or a tumor. Who is this man?
Below, you’ll find images I took of his work space, his collection of materials. I’ve presented them with their reflection so that they make something very much like his hexagram. Also, Geoff loves flip sides, other ways of seeing. I thought it appropriate.
You can view a few of his works here.
If you’d like to make something that will accompany this man around America in his peace caravan, please shoot me an email (emilie [at] around [hypen] around [dot] com) and I’ll introduce you. I’m serious.
Click on the image to go into gallery mode. Use left and right keys to scroll through.