Satellite Photography

"Satellite Photography." 2/16/13. Acrylic paint on cardboard.
“Satellite Photography.” 2/16/13. Acrylic paint on cardboard.

I didn’t go to church as a kid, but I remember a friend once telling me about something he had heard at church that Sunday. “They said that a satellite took a picture from really far away of what they think might actually be heaven.”

I’m terrified of judgment when it comes to my spirituality or my ideas about God. I’ve had so much animosity built up around religion for so long that I get really nervous and defensive about it. (See: “Evil” / “Maybe I Don’t Believe in God”).

But I pray. Or – rather – I try to pray. Sometimes. I’m not praying to someone that can be photographed from outer space though. For me, prayer is an exercise that’s its own reward. When I pray, it’s never for myself. I only pray for other people because – in doing so – I think about them. (“Portraits of God, Nothing, and Fear”).

Most days, I isolate and tell myself that my activities through my website (and online generally) are enough sociality. Living in my little bubble of self, it’s really easy to get wrapped up in my own nonsense, problems, or [whatever]. Prayer is one way of forcing myself to remember other people in a way that affects me more than a “like” on a Facebook post. It feels good to break out of myself now and then. And it’ll usually motivate me to reach out and connect with a friend in a way that feels a little more meaningful than I might otherwise.


“The Weak End” is a series of ten paintings.


8½x12” prints are available in my webstore.

Values Are For Shoppers, I’m For Giving Up

"Values are For Shoppers." 12/3/12. Marker. 7½x9½”.
“Values are For Shoppers, I’m For Giving Up.” 12/3/12. Marker. 7½x9½”.

Core beliefs are the things we believe about ourselves that guide and influence all of our behavior. This week’s spirituality group assignment at Tranquil Shores was to list ten core beliefs. I did it on the same page on which I was also scribbling (and using to write notes to the girl sitting next to me).

  1. I am ugly.
  2. I am a problem.
  3. My perceptions are wrong.
  4. I am smart.
  5. I am only tolerated.
  6. I am almost good enough.
  7. I’m not like other people.
  8. Nothing lasts.
  9. I lose.
  10. Nothing matters.


Number three might not actually be a core belief as much as it was a new belief that had been developing in response to everyone telling me how wrong I was (when it came to my core beliefs).Number four is the one positive item on the list. Number six was misinterpreted by someone in the group as positive but “I’m almost good enough” is an acknowledgment that I might not be thoroughly awful (when it comes to [insert anything here]) but I’m not good enough to actually succeed. Which is maybe even more frustrating because it puts me in the position to think that I might succeed “one of these times.” It keeps me going and sets me up for more disappointment. [What I failed to recognize up to this point in my life was that I had succeeded many times at many things: I have a fucking law degree from Georgetown! I released records by some of my favorite bands! I’ve done all kinds of cool shit in my lifetime].

Number ten is my favorite because it’s the one item that I held on to – but spun in such a way that (rather than eat away at my fucking soul) it frees me.

That sounds lame and I’m okay with that.


After we wrapped up core beliefs, we were told to make a list of core values. Values are inherently positive though. And having just reviewed my ten core beliefs, I was emotionally drained and feeling sick to my stomach. In that state, I wasn’t about to acknowledge anything even remotely positive. Not to mention that – while I knew what my core beliefs were without even having to think about it –  “my values?” … That was a little trickier.

“Values are for shoppers,” I wrote.

Because I think I’m clever.

And because I was scared to go there.


Court Dating

"Court Dating." 4/15/13. Colored pencil, watercolor, marker, and pen. 9x12".

“Court Dating.” 4/15/13. Colored pencil, watercolor, marker, and pen. 9×12″.

Do you ever feel like every word out of your mouth is annoying? Like even your love is annoying? I feel like that almost always. And I don’t know that I’m wrong.

“We’re gonna have to wake up early and it’s all the way in Venice; are you sure you wanna take me to my court date?” Heather assured me that she didn’t mind. I told her I’d take her out to breakfast afterward, thus turning the court date into a regular date (you know – the kind that couples go on)!

When we woke up, she was grumpy. She seemed really pissed off about having to take me but she insisted that she wasn’t so I took her word for it and behaved as if I believed her. Like everything was cool. Nothing I said could make her smile though; she was mean. It was a bit of a drive so I had to give up on conversation and find a way to get okay with me regardless of her attitude.

I started drawing. It was labored. I had no idea what to draw and didn’t really think this would ever turn into a finished piece. But I had to do something to keep my mind off what was happening (lest I become irrationally upset and begin contemplating suicide or some other poorly planned major life decision). This was really expressive art therapy at its purest. I just kept adding to the page until we got to the courthouse.

Though I captioned it that day, I didn’t finish it until I pulled out my sketchbook a month later (under frighteningly similar circumstances).


Every Friday at Tranquil Shores, Robin and Nancy would take us grocery shopping. On my second Friday (8/25/12), Nancy accused me of shoplifting. (I wasn’t but she had good reason to suspect otherwise). When I went to Robin to complain, she asked me if I had been. “Go fuck yourself,” I told her.

(I’m a real charmer).

But anyway – it kinda killed me to part with this piece, but I gave it to Robin as a birthday gift. She’s probably the nicest person I know. My biggest problem with living in Jacksonville is being away from my Tranquil Shores buddies. (Have I mentioned that before?)


This morning (and last night) were really tough for me emotionally. Today was probably my least productive day all year. I’m gonna strive to make up for it tomorrow.


This piece is available in my webstore as a 10×13″ print.

Powerless Over Flexeril

"Powerless Over Flexeril." 3/15/13. Marker. 9x12".
“Powerless Over Flexeril.” 3/15/13. Marker. 9×12″.

I wrote a statement about this piece after I finished it:

Awoken by pain at 5 AM this morning, I was given a heating pad and a Flexeril (a drug which I have not been prescribed). Lying in bed, I started this drawing and continued until the pain subsided enough that I was able to get back to sleep. I finished later that afternoon on the ride back home from my outpatient group at Tranquil Shores.

In case you’re wondering, neither my integrity nor my recovery were at all compromised by my decision to ingest a Flexeril. If you think that’s at all questionable though, let me assure you that I am totally happy for you!

I only bring it up to clarify that this title is tongue-in-cheek.



I’ve been insanely busy the last few days, getting all of my stuff ready for Artwalk in Jacksonville next week. I’m happy about it insofar as it’s put a fire under me and gotten me to work on editing my statements (since I’m putting printed copies in the sealed sleeves along with each print). I’m aiming to have around 50 different prints ready for sale so that means 50 statements. The less fun part is all of the tedious presentation stuff. Putting the prints in the sleeves, cutting thick backing board into the right size for each print, formatting the statements in Word to be the right size for each piece — stuff like that. It’s cool though; I’m going to feel really good about it when it’s all done. (Only four days left to go).

I Believe in The Promises

"I Believe in The Promises." 12/11/12. Pen. 3x3".
“I Believe in The Promises.” 12/11/12. Pen. 3×3″.

“The Promises” is a passage in the Alcoholics Anonymous text. Don’t quote me on this, but it’s something like: “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through, we will know a new freedom and a new happiness, fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us, the dog will stop peeing on the futon and pulling snotty tissue out of the garbage can.”

 In early recovery, I hated The Promises. It just read like bullshit to me. I drew this cartoon while sitting in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. It’s just some snarky bullshit—I’m crazy, I feel like I’ve got a boot to my head crushing my skull into the ground, but – oh yeah, sure – I believe in The Promises!

I had been off heroin for about four months, trying in earnest to do everything I could to get better, but there was resistance in me that I couldn’t shake; it was keeping me from really moving forward. This cartoon is from the week when that would finally change though.


Trailer for the movie I was in (online now)

This is the first official trailer of sorts for No Real Than You Are. The video at the top of this page – that’s the one.

When people would ask about my character, I’d tell them I play this kid from Sarasota that built his life on stupid punk songs, doesn’t believe in anything, has abandonment issues, and shoots drugs. Which is all true (and was already the character’s bio long before I got involved with the movie).

I haven’t seen any more footage than what you’ll have seen when you watch the trailer, but I’d like to think that (despite my total lack of acting experience) my performance turned out pretty well. Being fully aware of what drives a character like this definitely made it a lot easier. Not that it was ever easy. I had a really tough time with it and I still feel the aftermath of the experience, most days.

That’s enough out of me. Go watch the trailer!



I wrote a little bit about my NRTYA experience in the entry for “Tola’s Approach to Demons.”

Acceptance, Surrender, Resignation, Shit

My counselor said I seemed different today. It wasn’t a change for the better. If I had to name it, I’d call it “Defeat.” I haven’t surrendered but there’s this bit of quiet resignation in me. I fight for myself but I think there’s a part of me that doesn’t actually believe I can win. I work toward my goals, I work for the life I want (everyday — and all day). But these goals may not be attainable. They’re as conceptual as my “belief” in a higher power. They are tools that keep me moving — they give me a reason to live, but they might not exist beyond that. My destination may be farther away than I’m able to travel in this lifetime.

"Acceptance, Surrender, Resignation, Shit." 4/16/13. Oil pastels, marker, pencil, pen. 6½x8½".

“Acceptance, Surrender, Resignation, Shit.” 4/16/13. Oil pastel, marker, pencil, pen. 6½x8½”.

I started this piece in February but struggled with it until it was finally finished in April. It seems appropriate here.

This entry is very much a continuation of its predecessor, earlier in the hour.


This song is playing and I like it.

I’ve had an idea for a Crusades comic in my head for months now. Maybe I’ll actually draw it one day.