Immediately after completing “Nothing’s Good Enough Because I’m Not,” I pulled out another canvas and got to work. I set out to do something a little different: a landscape. Not a traditional landscape but, still, a landscape of sorts. Pretty quickly that idea fell apart and I found myself working on another painting not radically unlike all of my other paintings. Which is cool – I mean, my paintings look like my paintings for a reason… (’cause they totally are!) But you can still kinda make out what was (supposed to be) my orange sun, pink ocean, and blue sky (with purple clouds)…
I left Sarasota for Jacksonville, to set up downtown for One Spark. I wasn’t an official “One Spark Project Creator” but that just meant that I could sell whatever I wanted without playing by their rules. I got the same spot on the street (outside Burrito Gallery) that I had taken at March’s Downtown Artwalk (the night I had sold so many prints that I told my friends I was “makin’ STRIPPER MONEY“). I was excited for the weekend and my snarky, (gleeful), sorta tongue-in-cheek caption, “CORPORATIONS ARE COOL – YOUR COMMUNITY IS DUMB,” is a reflection of that.
A lot of people take it for granted as meaning/being whatever they want it to (genuine or sarcastic) but some people like to ask me what I meant. “Nothing,” I say. “I’m just a little shit-eater.” Which is to say that I like to (playfully) fuck with people (just a little bit, innocuously). The truth is that I don’t care about corporations or community; I care about me. There are three spots on the canvas where I journaled and, while I didn’t intend for them to relate, they all sorta do. More to the point, they reflect the kinds of concerns that actually bounce around in my head.
On April 10th, the second day of One Spark, I was handing out fliers when some woman actually crumpled up my li’l bio sheet and handed it back to me. Seriously?! I get it if you’re offended by the word “fucking” [as in “I’m a fucking artist, guys“] but this thing says I have a personality disorder and used to shoot heroin but now manage my illness with art. That’s like – the sweetest thing ever! How the fuck is somebody gonna crumple that shit up? (I got a personality disorder! I’m fragile!). Anyway… my journal from that day says: “Every rejection today hurts a lot more than usual. This is probably the best or worst possible path for someone like me. I don’t expect the world to baby me but… well.. maybe I sort of do.”
A week later, on April 17th: “I’m depressed ’cause I’m at my exhibit and yesterday everything was set up awesome and today the owner came in and was all bent outta shape about a bunch of stuff and now I don’t know what’s cool and what isn’t. I don’t even want to set up to paint so I’ve got this [canvas] on my knees, propped against a wall awkwardly. It’s too windy outside. I just wanna leave. The lights aren’t even on. My art is in the dark. I’m done showing at anything but galleries. I feel sleepy and lethargic and I wanna give up again.”
In hindsight, that stuff shouldn’t have affected me as much as it did, but (as angry as I once was) it’s pretty rare that I even so much as encounter anyone getting really angry these days and it, consequently, fucked with my head a little bit, even if it wasn’t directed specifically at me.
Lastly (and best of all), from April 19th: “By 11 AM this morning, I was at work on my painting and I had already eaten half a cake, drank a BANANAS FOSTER cappuccino from 7 Eleven, gone to the [art] store for more supplies, and shown my penis to TWO girls.”
(just to be clear)
“YOUR COMMUNITY IS DUMB”: If you’re doing cool shit, people are gonna wanna be close to it and are gonna be inspired to do cool shit of their own. Suddenly, it’s gonna feel like you’re part of a pretty rad community. On the other hand, if you’re one of those people that sits around griping about how “there’s no community here” or preaching to people about how “we need to do more work to build community!,” nobody’s gonna give a shit about any of that and you’re gonna be spinning your wheels in that same mindset forever. Either way, community is made up of people, we’re all flawed, and sometimes shit’s gonna be great, sometimes it’s gonna be not.
“CORPORATIONS ARE COOL”: Big multinational corporations are mixed up in some pretty fucked up shit, pretty much across the board, and that’s like – a total bummer, dude. But you know what? Home Depot is open late, pretty close by, and has the wood screws I need. Coca-Cola makes sugary bullshit that tastes good and doesn’t cost all my moneys. That local coffee shop is a nice enough place to sit for a minute but they don’t have internet on the weekends and they charge FIVE TIMES more for a refill than Starbucks. And where the fuck else am I gonna buy a 12x18x6″ lockbox other than Walmart? The Dead Kennedys were boring and I’m pretty sure they were aiming for SATIRE when they said, “give me convenience or give me death,” but… take out the dramatic ultimatum and it’s right on target. I’m not trying to save the world with my “dollar votes” and I’m not trying to spend all day driving around to support independent businesses that don’t offer anything more than the corporate stores. I got bigger fish to fry, funny faces to paint, and girls to show my penis to.