Albrecht Dürer: Changing Up The Game

From the cave paintings of Lascaux and through ancient pictographs, to Egyptian Hieroglyphs, into the early Greek alphabet to Greek uncials, through Romans capitals and into the era of Illuminated manuscripts, Father Time plodded his steady journey, leaving in his wake his story of graphic design. On the heels of the illuminated manuscript (relatively speaking), Gutenberg shook societal foundations with his invention of the printing press, around the year 1450. Gutenberg forever changed accessibility to the written word. Due to the arrival of the printing press, within the next forty years, Albrecht Dürer would invent a new business model that would elevate the artisan craft of engraving into the fine arts stratosphere .

Born the son of a goldsmith in 1471 Nuremberg, young Albrecht worked in his father’s shop until he was apprenticed to Michael Wolgemut, a painter and print-maker, beginning in 1486. After his four years apprenticeship with Wolgemut, Dürer began his bachelor journey traveling extensively and studying in Colmar, Basel and Strasbourg, and Italy. In Italy, he became a great admirer and friend of Giovanni Belini and Mantegna. Dürer returned home to Nuremberg around 1495 and began to infuse Italian Renaissance developments into his work. “Art historians have acclaimed Dürer as the first Northern European artist to understand fully the basic aims of the Renaissance in Italy”.

After “a second trip to Italy in 1505, staying in Venice for nearly two years, his sensitive perception of the natural world is shown in a number of drawings and watercolors of plants and animals; and in a remarkable series of Alpine landscapes executed in the course of his journey to Italy”. Dürer possessed preternatural talent and endless energy. Despite his remarkable skill in painting with both watercolor and oils, skills which went a long way to making him the most dominate artist of the 16th century Northern Renaissance, Dürer’s fame both during his lifetime and still today stems from his masterful achievements as a print-maker/graphic artist.

Dürer wasn’t the first to take advantage of the printing press, but he was the first to see the exceptional money making potentialthat lay in engraving  and printmaking. Although an accomplished and eagerly sought out painter, Dürer had a revelation: painting was a spotty, labor intensive process that brought him nowhere close to the income he desired. A quality oil portrait could take as long as a week to complete and earn him an average of ten florins (equivalent to $5.59 today). “He could charge that for ten full-sheet prints…. Compared with that near-instantaneous wonder (the printing press), the time and effort of painting suddenly seemed intolerable”. Dürer was acutely aware that he could make many more florins with engraving.

He traveled extensively with is agents (including his wife, who was his business manager, and his mother), selling his prints throughout Europe. Dürer is recorded as saying, “I shall stick to my engraving, and if I had done so before I should today be a richer man”. Again, he wasn’t the first to do it, but no one else comes close to doing it as well. He wisely invested in his own printing press and was able to work independently and unencumbered, due to the lack of a print makers guild in Nuremberg. Through the prolific production of such masterworks of engraving as Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513),

Knight, Death, and the Devil 1988_2014-durer-kdd prd154yDurer, Knight, Death and the Devil 3
St. Jerome in his Cell, and Melencolia I (both: 1514),


the Fall of Man (1514),


and tireless self-promotion and marketing, Dürer became the first artist of the time, outside of Italy, to be designated international celebrity.

In conclusion, Albrecht Dürer changed up the game for artist who followed him by leaving a business model that was more profitable, for the artist, than waiting around for commissions. “Dürer’s principal accomplishments were the elevation of graphic art into the realm of fine art, the evolution of the profession of artist above that of other artisans in Northern Europe, and a highly original realization of a unique artistic vision. An equally talented draftsman and painter, he executed a vast number of woodcuts and engravings throughout his career, achieving as a graphic artist an unsurpassed technical mastery and expressive power”.

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We move Ever Forward

Click this link to hear Ever Forward (written and performed by Gambit and Riot – produced by The Poet Priest)

Contact Guerilla Poets at:

Contact Guerilla Poets at:

Or at:

Guerilla Poets

Poetry is life’s breath.

  • Priest

When Gambit and Riot of Guerilla Poets came together to write and perform Ever Forward, I like to believe that they romanced the muse and gave voice to Poetry.

Ever Forward is what it sounds like when Poetry exhales after holding her breath for far too long – a song, a fluttered heartbeat bleeding compassion and unbound love for those oppressed, discouraged, and depressed.

Guerilla Poets is a movement in mentality, a movement that is surging forward in a flood of syllables and solidarity backed by charitable acts – bringing the breath of Poetry‘s life back to the masses.

Poetry is power to the people, and Guerilla Poets is a conduit through which the juice flows.

Summer Strut

Strutting up the beach

Strutting up the beach

Up the Beach2 Dry Brush

It’s all a matter of perspective

Listen to the background music of your own “Summer Strut

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Darker Than Coal

Listen to this poem set to music on

You are the devil, in a little black dress

You are the devil, in a little black dress

You are the devil in a little black dress.

Inside you burns a soul darker than coal.


My shine is sucked from me into the holes

of your eyes. Your silence is a list of reasons,

a wet carpet that can’t fly—


but I can. Without deference

I spread the pinions of my opinion

and swat down opposition’s debate.


Swept into the sky on self-made thermals, I do pirouettes

with sunbeams and waltz with milky moon stone

through lofty epiphany, in and out, in and out of thin air.


You are the devil in a little black dress.

Inside you burns a soul darker than coal.


An osprey with thunderbird ambition,

an eagle with an Icarus wingspan,

Never look into the sun


but how can a peacock bypass his own reflection?

The frost calls to me, as I box with shadows, a deliberate

dancer who courts immortality knowing that


bricks, boards and heavy-bags don’t punch back.

Hypnotized by double mirror vision, I ride a comet chard

and punch through the astral loopty-loop to dictate


the indecipherable. Chisels of dynamite

strapped to my thighs, I sculpt a frieze infested

with contagious verbiage, set on infecting the future.


You are the devil in a little black dress.

Inside you burns a soul darker than coal.


From my mind-field I calibrate a personal time

space continuum. Rooted but reaching, a lexicon

climbs the boughs and branches of my psychic canopy.


Cockatoos and toucans swoop low through a rain forest

of lucid consciousness, down into the nether realm of the rime

scaled juggernaut. Out from the top of my brain cell ceiling,


I am resurrected with cursive dreams set in concrete,

spouting antediluvian lore. Still,

your sickening silence swings like a scythe,


slicing through me. The way you smile is cyanide.

In your eyes, I see monstrosity,

a truth darker than coal.


Human Being

English: Tesla Coil Sparks. Português: Faíscas...

It was eleven o’clock. The dining room was closed and I had no more guests in my section. My last table had squared up and cleared out ten minutes earlier. It had been one of those nights when I’d felt more like a performing circus monkey than a waiter. No more grinning and begging, shuckin’ n’ jivin’ for tips. I was finished—for the night, anyway. All that stood between me and the sweet freedom side of those restaurant doors was my closing side-work. Determined, I snatched in my second wind like a hungry Doberman snatches up a raw, blood red leg of lamb. I struck the tedious set of chores that opposed me like a tornado through a trailer park..

I refilled condiment caddies, wiped off tables, swept floors; I moved with purpose—a man on a mission. All of that fury lasted about fifteen minutes. I was at the bottom of the hourglass and the sand was piling up quickly.  My high-speed action retarded into syrupy, surreal slow motion. I was hurting. My legs quivered and my back yelped in pain like a dog being clubbed. I’d had enough, so I made my decision . The rest of my time was spent peeping and ducking, half-assing and hiding. I moved with a shifty ease as I cut every perceivable corner. Time was of the essence. My freedom would not be delayed.

Finally, at ten minutes till twelve I’d reached my desired end. An eternity had passed but now I was ready to ante up and settle out my receipts. I shoved my hand into my apron pocket and yanked out the evening’s booty. “Fifty dollars…that’s it?” My voice cracked. Rolling my eyes I played back the countless times that I had responded “Yes ma’am” and “No sir”. I had done everything for those people (before they’d asked), except chew their food for them. I had provided a seamless stream of quality dining experiences. Where, I wondered, was the gratitude in their dismissive gratuities? There was going to be no beer and barstool for me. It was just as well though; I had just moved down to my dad’s to get my head and my finances together. Cashing out took thirty minutes or so, then I hit the doors; a bull on parade.

So there we were I-77 and me. Our relationship took on a strange love-hate twist. I loved her because she was leading me to where I laid my head. I hated her because I had to ride that curveless concrete whore—again! Once past the shiny, bright, white, blue and amber neon of Charlotte’s southern rim, there was nothing but a funeral procession of trees. Spire-like monuments of life during daylight hours, submerged in midnight they were stygian sentinels that mocked me.

Their hypnotic monotony warped my reality. My perception of time and space skewed, translating my terra firma bound vehicle into a liberated flight machine. No longer was I rolling on four wheels; I was flying in the cockpit of my mind. The spectral trees blurred into union with the night sky. My headlights beamed defiantly onward. The Black Crows howled Southern Harmony and Musical Companionship at me from the speakers, as I flipped the switch from numbed autopilot to conscious control. I was buzzing; my mind a hive of cracking Tesla coils. The reflective vinyl of interstate highway signs streaked past like shooting stars.

Upon approaching my rural outpost, I swooped in low and touched down smoothly.  With my vehicle back in automobile form, I crawled up the gravel covered landing strip and came to a halt beside my dad’s black and gray pickup truck. The simple split-level house was my bastion. Approximately fifty feet ahead, at the end of the driveway there stood a lamppost. It was the only man-made light on six acres of land. Pale, chalky luminosity fell from its head and a dampening silence hung in the air. Laying my head back against the headrest I closed my eyes. I was still pissed about my meager earnings. It seemed the harder I tried to get ahead, the faster I ran, the farther I fell behind. I popped the car door open and was greeted by a cricket cantata that dusted the darkness like audio gold.

I made it only midway up the sidewalk before I stopped. I don’t know why, I just stopped and looked up. The full moon discharged a light unlike the sickly effort from the lamppost. The moonlight glared, a fire in the middle of a tar pit. Head thrown back, my mouth an open cavity, I turned round and round transfixed by the stars. They were salt tossed over a bleak heaven’s shoulder. With the experience of that common moment’s bizarre uniqueness, came an epiphany.

I was sucker-punched by the awareness of my existence, and how important it is to just be a human being—not a human doing. With that realization, I crumpled as I exhaled and sat down where I stood. On that particular pinch of earth, at that precise time, I was at peace. The agenda of goals that I’d been groping after, the vain ambition which had consumed me—spit me up like rancid anchovies. A cool breeze snuck and caressed me, and I tore my eyes from the heavens and let them scan the surrounding night. I felt an overwhelming stirring inside. It was as if I’d been caught. No—not caught, called; called by a voice that I recognized. Echoing through the deepest chambers of my awareness I heard that I had been foolish to chase after life, to try and run down fulfillment and take happiness by the throat. I was asked; didn’t I know that whatever I chase will always run away from me?  “Fifty dollars….” I had to laugh.

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Spoiled Milk

Hear this poem spoken over music at

I was a child seduced.



suckled at the small-screen nipple,

miseducated, inundated

by glowing images.

I had Good Times

with the Jeffersons,

poked fun at Aunt Esther

with Sanford and Son

like we were

All in the Family.

I learned the Facts of Life

from Arnold and Willis—

went through my own

Growing Pains

with dysfunctional

Family Ties.

I took

One Day at a Time,

all the while hot

for Designing Women.

I was mentally

masturbated, desecrated

by what Neilson rated,

was a channel surfer long

before my family could afford

a remote surfboard.

Subliminal advertising

commercial misrepresentations—


I grew up thinking

Life is like TV.

It took me 29 years to see

television is not


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America Abstracted

Watercolor on paper

“Americans daydream while Uncle Sam swings from puppet strings…”

Available as a print or on canvas (various sizes) visit

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What if Gala danced the Fandango for Dali?

What if Gala danced the Fandango for Dali?

Available as a print or on canvas (in various sizes) visit 

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“Wrap it up!”

In nineteen seventy-two it was like a curse had been spoken: Harlem, I put a spell on you.

It was an everyday reality. The streets bowed down to the power called heroin. One million dollars a day on one hundred and sixteenth street—thousands of lives held in captivity—thousands of demons set free. Dope fiends haunted doorways and stairwells, spooking everyone but the rats and roaches. Children played in the same alleys that hid pimping, pushing, and using. Heroin was King Kong on the community’s back. Someone had to do something.

“Freeze, you monkey ass fools!” Like justice herself, two Bauer .25 automatics aimed at her hemmed up prey, Arabica Jones broke down the bust. “Don’t make me chirp these Crickets. It won’t turn out too good for you boys!”

Her tight leather jumpsuit melted over her body like shiny black, liquid sugar. She spoke downward into her cleavage, “Wacko-jacko, wacko-jacko—Come get these fools!”

She shook her Afro in disgust. “You boys ain’t too swift—how you gonna let me roll up on you like this? You, Sweet Daddy Davis—don’t look away from me! Yes, you, fool. You goin’ up for a long ride!”

In the low-hanging, pale warehouse light; light that seemed almost afraid to touch anything, Detective Jones was on fire. Crates of pure heroin, stacked ten high surrounded her. There was product out on the table in between Davis, his four lieutenants and their suppliers; two of Davis’ men were white around their noses like Georgia mules. Davis coolly looked to the man on his left. As the man began to reach for the pistol on the table, the side door crashed open and the Vice squad swarmed in like army ants.

“Jones,” Chief O’Malley barked her name like a curse. Fat and sticky with sweat, he tore into the petite detective. “What the hell do you think you’re doin’!”

“Easy, man. I couldn’t wait any more. Hassle me later. Let’s just get this trash off the streets right now, okay?”

Her smooth smile was like cool water on O’Malley’s hot splotchy face. He was still pissed, but she did just close an eighteen month investigation; an investigation that before her involvement, was a cold one.

O’Malley: “How do you do all this in thigh boots with six inch heels on ‘em?”

Jones: With her hip cocked to one side, “Because I’m good.”

“Lis’en….” O’Malley spoke with less hostility. But Ms. Jones cut him off.

“Whatever! Damn. Can’t it wait until in the morning!” Arabica turned to strut away.

“Jones,” O’Malley growled, his greasy neck bulging over his sweat stained shirt collar.

“Yeah, I know. You’re gonna chew my ass off.” Walking away shaking her head on purpose, and her hips because, well, that’s just the way it was, “In the morning, man!”

O’Malley snorted, then bellowed, “I’ll be sure to skip breakfast!”

Diverting his attention to his men, he whipped up that big circle in the air over his head with his stubby, hairy index finger and hollered, “Wrap it up!”

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