Welcome to my site! I’m Bill Randall, an independent writer, teacher and artist. I focus on contemporary art, especially when it bleeds across boundaries. Think culture-crossing, like Wisut Ponnimit, and form-crossing, like Godard, for two catholic touchstones, and one who draws manga, the other makes movies. So there. I teach, mostly in the Governor’s Scholars Program, which defies curt explanation.
I’m from Kentucky; I love it. I’ve been around. I have taught film studies and Japanese language and culture, which is pretty funny. I take pictures and make things and I used to make movies, though I haven’t much lately.
I drank six Bialetti fauxspressos today.
I grew up farming tobacco, thinking music didn’t come from people but somewhere else. In 1985 I slashed my right thumb open on a can of anchovies at Kincaid Lake State Park, which is kind of a dump. In 1991 I went to Pikeville for the first time. In 2003 I went to the Gooch in Wakayama-ken, which is a lot like Pikeville. Yet Pikeville has this certain pride; the Gooch is just a dump. I had a good time there, though.
And up the mountain to the monasteries, that’s another thing entire.
After my first stay in Japan in 2001 I began writing a column on manga for the Comics Journal, a long-running, Seattle-based magazine of critical writing on comics. In 2009 I stopped. Much of the writing you’ll see here, short reviews and longer essays on comics, shows my long wrestle with that art form. I never ankled it, but I tried. I value its fractured take on the world, artists like Phoebe Gloeckner, David Mazzucchelli, Kuroda Iou. And Paper Rad. Love Paper Rad.
I wrestled with cinema during that same time, and love the way they mirror each other broken. Cinema’s a horror when it steps in front of the world outside, and a beauty when it mirrors it. I used it for both and don’t watch much of late. I do enjoy sitting on a fishing boat, though.
Both offered a rope out of academia, thank God. Since then I’ve dipped back in for lectures, on long-take Taiwanese cinema at Oklahoma Baptist University and the ethics of photography at Centre College. It’s fun. Drop me a line, I’ll come talk to your school about something esoteric, like the 88, with patter. The last class I taught ran through Von Karman trails, Edward Burtynsky’s photos, money, hypnotic inductions, the Woolfest, and mycoremediation. I don’t charge what I should.
Yes to Kentucky basketball; Ryszard Kapuscinski; the Desert Fathers; Os Mutantes; Walid Raad; shape notes; Sanford Kwinter; Illy; Shiva Nata; Zaha Hadid; permaculture; JBH; bacon; Corvidae Sonicus; being alive, too.
And the art. I focus on photographic forms, because I don’t draw as much as I should. Currently doing scrolls, each for a day. Yes to time; networks; generosity; built space; lyrical systems.
I dunno. Drop me a line if we’ve met. Lots of you are out there by the wayside. I love to hear from former students and old friends, to hear you’re doing well or to hear at all if you’re not. If it’s been a while, we’ll fake it.