paintings by Samuel Barrera





















Samuel 1


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Visual artist specialized in painting, a law degree, was born in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico on December 28, 1967. Self-taught, Mexican, Yucatecan and living in Merida, with 5 solo exhibitions and more than 20 collective, was member for five years of “Blue Spiral 1” Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, EU With a 15-year career in the visual arts in the United States parallel between collective and individual exhibitions. Participation in international art festivals and former member of AC Garden Art in Mexico City for three years. Founder and honor member of Corredor Internacional del Arte in the Paseo Montejo of Merida, Yucatan.

Nietzche saw art as man’s struggle against negative social forces by use of the imagination, which he considered a product of pure ego. Art for him was the highest form of clear lucid thought, a tool for the good.
Schopenhauer envisioned art as a device of pleasure. Tolstoi viewed art as a propaganda and Oscar Wilde held to a doctrine of “art makes life”, meaning art is sometimes more real than reality.
I think the purest form of art is to give way to simple visual interest. To look at what you find yourself driven to see. Higher notions of art tend to confine art with lofty moral restrictions.
When art is passed off as a quasi-religion which can only be administered and interpreted by a special-order of priestly elites, the system invariably stifles imagination – even when the art is as liberal as blobs, slashes and splatters.
Art that has to serve as the instrument of artistic revolution is limited by having to react to a greater force in a continual hope of some overthrow, hence becoming the tool of reaction. Even the great revolt is enslaving.
But when all predetermined prejudices are momentarily set aside and you are one of the many at the scene of a horrible accident, your libido will do the looking. Something dead in the street commands more measure units of visual investigation than 100 Mona Lisas. It isn’t what you like; it’s what you really want to see! Art is not the slave of decoration. Hail the voyeur, the only honest connoisseur!
-Samuel Barrera




The Barbie Revolutionaries

by Bill Meissner

In 1992, an activist group broke into the Mattel factory and
“switched the voice boxes of 300 Barbie Dolls and GI Joes”
–Boston Phoenix
[4/12/10 poems 2005]

How do you feel, Teen Talk Barbie, now that you can say
“Let’s go get em!” instead of “Math is hard?”
Do your slim arms and spindle legs feel
stronger and steroid-enhanced? Do you feel like you could punch
your way out of the clear showcase of your box?
Do you have the unexplainable urge to organize a commando raid
on the factories of American Girl dolls, to destroy them
before they reach the end of the assembly lines?

Equal rights, Barbie: now you can aim an M-16 at the enemy, too.
When the five-year-old girls in pink My Little Pony t-shirts
see you spring out of the box with that
black and green camouflage paint on your face,
how loud will they scream?
And what will their confused fathers say, staring at your anatomically
perfect body sheathed in a scanty dress,
when their daughters pull the voice box string and you growl:
“Dead men tell no lies!”

And Joe, does it puzzle you,
inside your explosion-bright cardboard barracks, why you suddenly
think about slipping on pink fatigues? Or when you picture yourself
browsing through a rack of prom dresses?
Do you feel your testosterone-starved triceps begin to sag?
Stacked with your platoon on the factory shelves,
you used to dream of bullets and blood,
but now it’s only lipstick cases and rouge.

Joe, you’ll permanently scar the little boys in Zubas
poised in back yard forts with plastic guns and mini-grenade launchers
when you command: “I like to go shopping with you!”

Barbie and Joe, how far will your voices carry?
In the next decades, there’ll be Baywatch Barbie, Malibu Barbie,
Lingerie Barbie, Astronaut Barbie, and if you study really really hard,
maybe even Math Barbie, but probably not Lady GaGa Barbie.
And Joe, for you there’ll be Desert Storm and Operation Iraq—
you’ve got plenty of fight left in your always-clenched fists.
You’ll have smart bombs and night vision: a whole new terror
waiting out there for you to destroy.

But until then, Barbie and Joe, you just lie
behind cellophane windows
until the tiny urgent hands, desperate for your model,
open the flaps and lift you out.
Then you’ll smile at them with pre-formed plastic lips,
just waiting for them to pull the string on all that silence.

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Bill Meissner’s first novel, SPIRITS IN THE GRASS, about a small town ballplayer who finds the remains of an ancient Native American burial ground on a baseball field, was published in 2008 by the University of Notre Dame Press and won the Midwest Book Award. The book is available as an ebook from the UND Press. Meissner’s two books of short stories are THE ROAD TO COSMOS, [University of Notre Dame Press, 2006] and HITTING INTO THE WIND [Random House/SMU Press, Dzanc Books ebook].

Meissner has also published four books of poems: AMERICAN COMPASS, [U. of Notre Dame Press], LEARNING TO BREATHE UNDERWATER and THE SLEEPWALKER’S SON [both from Ohio U. Press], and TWIN SONS OF DIFFERENT MIRRORS [Milkweed Editions].

He is director of creative writing at St. CloudStateUniversity in Minnesota. His web page is:

His Facebook author page is:!/pages/Bill-Meissner/174769532541232?sk=info

Three of Meissner’s poems and a trailer for SPIRITS IN THE GRASS are on youtube, accompanied by images and music.

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photo by Angela M Campbell

(Editor’s note – When we last presented some of Bill’s poetry, we illustrated it with this photo. By coincidence, he had been working on a new collection, which includes The Barbie Revolutionaries, and here it is. It only seemed appropriate to reuse this photo.)