Chicago, 7/29/14

It’s been longer than usual since my last update. I’m out on Michigan Ave right now, the same spot I’ve posted up with a painting and a table of prints for the last week and a half (the corner of Van Buren, I think). It’s gone phenomenally well pretty much every day that I’ve come out; I’m making way more money than someone who paints funny faces for a living should. Today is one of the few exceptions. I’m not sure of it’s the weather or something that I’m doing differently.

I’ve got a bunch of new, finished paintings that I haven’t added to the site yet ’cause I’m waiting on getting them professionally photographed. It looks like that should be happening sometime this week though. I’m really proud of them.

About a year ago, something happened. I made a painting about it. It’s the only piece of art I’ve never shared online in any way because I felt like it was too private. Something like that’s sort of / maybe happening again now. I make art for myself but I can’t pretend that a big part of that isn’t the validation I get when I share something. Knowing that I won’t want to share something if I incorporate certain details fucks up my shit. Art is very much my therapy these days. In that way, this situation reminds me of December 2012, when I was still living in Tranquil Shores and I was unwilling to tell my counselor about the shit in and out of my head that was fucking me up.

That was a little more serious because my life was on the line over it. There’s nothing happening today that’s gonna kill me but I’m noticing the ways in which I’m behaving differently. In moments, I catch myself feeling bitter. Smiling less. My humor (which I’m told is already pretty dark but doesn’t usually feel that way to me) is … striking me as pretty dark lately. My smiles are meaner. And – as always – this problem I’ve got, I know it’s not a huge deal and (honestly) I don’t even know if it really is a problem. (I might be making something out of nothing – or something out of very little). Like I said: it’s nothing that’s gonna kill me.

I guess that’s all I got for now. Traffic at my street table is slow, I knew I could use a little journaling, and -what the hell- I might as well make a fucking update out of it ’cause that’s what I do, right? (Pay attention to my every whim and thought, everyone).

And since every entry should have a photo, here’s one I forgot to share when it was first emailed to me by Jacksonville artist, Andrea Ashmead. Back in April, she painted me while I was painting “Corporations are Cool.” Pretty awesome, huh?

20140729-145133-53493651.jpg

I Fall in Love Every Week But This Week I Fell in Love With You

"I Fall in Love Every Week But This Week I Fell in Love With You." 3/9/14 - 6/4/14. Mixed media. 11x14".
“I Fall in Love Every Week But This Week I Fell in Love With You.” 3/9/14 – 6/4/14. Mixed media. 11×14″.

I started this piece the night after I met a girl in Jacksonville. She was just visiting, from Tampa, but we went out once before she went back home. Over the next few weeks, we texted a whole lot and made plans to spend a night together the next time I was around Tampa. She may or may not have sort of had a boyfriend that she lived with. About a month after we had met, I was on my way to Sarasota for the premiere screening of No Real Than You Are. I invited her to go with me. She didn’t respond. I tried to call but she didn’t answer. I don’t know if I did something wrong or if the reality of my actually coming around didn’t quite mesh with her boyfriend situation, but I never heard from her again. That hurt my feelings, especially since it coincided with similar developments in my “relationships” with three other girls (all in the span of a couple days)! This particular rejection was the only one I didn’t acknowledge at the time ’cause it felt the worst and struck me as being the most petty / trivial. On the one hand, it was really casual and I obviously wasn’t taking it too seriously. On the other hand, I really liked her! I did my best to not let it get to me but it made the next rejection hurt that much more.

Luckily, I fell in love with another girl a few days later and everything was okay again.

—-

Some less interesting details: I worked at this piece on and off for three months because I just couldn’t seem to get it to look like anything I could be happy with. Somewhere in there, I glued some cardboard and a piece of a reflective sun visor to it, even though I sort of hate collage / mixed media stuff; I just felt like I needed something  to sort of shake it up a little bit. It’s also on a small canvas board (11×14″) – way smaller than anything I’ve got any interest in painting these days, but the board was given to me on a night when I didn’t have a fresh canvas with me and I figured I’d roll with it. I’m pretty sure I spent at least forty hours on10409694_866552430041482_8420832531891564025_n this tiny little thing – every bit as much time as I spend on my
huge canvas paintings. I got the idea for the pattern in the lower-left (“mummy”) figure after painting the white slip-on shoes I bought at Walmart for ten dollars.

This is Why You’re Sleeping in the Living Room

"This is Why You're Sleeping in the Living Room." 6/28/14. Ink and sewing needle (tattoo). 7x5".
“This is Why You’re Sleeping in the Living Room.” 6/28/14. Ink and sewing needle (tattoo). 7×5″.

Spillane and I have a new goal: to convince one new sucker per week into letting me give them a tattoo. This is the second (of the three) I’ve done so far. (Not counting the one I gave myself back when I was still in Tranquil Shores).

You could also say it’s the second of my “Kendra Sheetz pieces,” seein’ as she was the subject of my one and only art intervention, which took place just about a year ago.

Anyway, Kendra was game and she said she wanted a unicorn. Since my only prior unicorn is a little fucked up, I modeled it after a photo of “Gift Horse” and just added a horn.

As for the text: Chris and I were staying at Kendra’s on our way to Lexington, I was being my usual charming self, and – after one of my especially boastful/obnoxious comments – she remarked, “This is why you’re sleeping in the living room.” I thought that was pretty hilarious so… four and a half hours later: another masterpiece in the books.

Which reminds me… Mike, won’t let me give him a tattoo with a sewing needle but he is going to let me tattoo him with the gun he just got. So that should be a fun new experiment…

Watch the movie I was in

I’ve held off on writing about it but No Real Than You Are (the movie I acted in last summer and that played at the Sarasota and Cannes film festivals earlier this year) is up on the internet now, and you can watch it for free.

I have mixed feelings about the film as well as my experiences surrounding and making it. I pride myself on being totally open and honest but – for the benefit of others involved (and, admittedly, some of my own selfish reasons) – I’ve held my tongue. I’m not happy about that and maybe one day I’ll throw caution to the wind, stop giving a shit, and spill it all.

Until then, here it is – presented with no (real) comment.

Vincent Dale (writer/director of NRTYA)and his crew are starting work on their next film, Paris Love Conspiracy, and are nearing the end of their fundraising campaign. If you’d like to contribute, check out their Kickstarter campaign.

Some characters sniffed drugs off this table in the movie. Before the camera started rolling, I carved some nonsense into it.
Some characters sniffed drugs off this table in the movie. Before the camera started rolling, I carved some nonsense into it.

What I Do When I’m Not on Tinder

"What I Do When I'm Not on Tinder." 6/21/14. Ink. 11x14".
“What I Do When I’m Not on Tinder.” 6/21/14. Ink. 11×14″.

Check me out! I’m being an angry crybaby ’cause I heard second-hand that someone (that I don’t even know!) implied that I can’t really be trusted because I’m a drug addict.

You know how long it’s been since I injected drugs? You know how long it’s been since my compulsion to inject drugs inspired me to do something dishonest? Not to mention: I’m itinerant as fuck! Nobody knows me. I’m in a new city every day. I can be whoever I want each time I roll into a new city. The only reason anyone I encounter these days knows that I am/was a drug addict is ’cause I fuckin’ tell them. I wear everything on my sleeve ’cause I’m okay with who I am. I’m fuckin’ proud of who I am. Good and bad.

So fuck off with that shit.

What’s this have to do with my new piece, “What I Do When I’m Not on Tinder?” Very little! I’m just trying to kill two birds with one stone by venting and simultaneously writing a statement for a new piece. But if I wanted to contrive a connection, here it is: Even my Tinder profile introduces me to “potential matches” with an opening salvo of, “I don’t shoot heroin anymore but I still have a personality disorder. It’s nothing you’d notice most of the time.”

“What’s Tinder?” you ask. Well, you poor unfortunate soul, it’s a dating app for smartphones that matches people based on geographic proximity (“[this user] is two miles away”) and whether or not you swiped left (“nope”) or right (“like”) on their profile – which is comprised of no more than six photos and 500 characters of text. It’s superficial, shallow, and lots of fun! Once two people have swiped right on each others’ profiles, the lines of communication are open for messaging and (potentially) making plans to meet in real life. And now that Tinder’s introduced their newest feature (the hilariously-named “Tinder Moments,” a Snapchat-like feature which allows you to upload an additional photo, revealed only to your “matches” for 24 hours (who are then prompted to “like” or dismiss it by way of swipe)) it’s also become one more social-networking-avenue for a sad little boy like me to collect the validation-via-clicks for which I’m so desperate.

My mood right now is definitely corrupting my usually joyful description of Tinder. It’s shallow, superficial, and a lot of fun. It’s super speed dating. Say the wrong thing to some girl? Who cares! Just scroll down to your next match and start again! It’s totally meaningless (just like everything else in the known universe)!

I finished this drawing three weeks ago but have held off on sharing it on my website, Instagram, and Facebook until now because I only just got a proper high-res photograph of it. There was one venue through which I shared it immediately upon completion though – and it proved to be my most popular TINDER MOMENT to date!

I’m ridiculous. (And pretty okay with it).

Full disclosure: As revealed in the statement accompanying my commissioned “Bleed Blue Tatoo” piece, I’ve “started getting laid again,” am getting all the female attention I need, and have consequently been inactive on Tinder for a week or so. I’m also taking bets on how long ‘til I fall apart again and rediscover its utility. Hit me up for the current odds! Who knows? Maybe this very entry will be the spark that burns it all to the ground!

Bleed Blue / last week / Chicago now

"Bleed Blue Tattoo." 7/5/14. Ink. 11x14".
“Bleed Blue Tattoo.” 7/5/14. Ink. 11×14″.

With all the tattooing I’ve been doing myself lately, it kind of makes sense that I’d do some work for an actual tattoo shop. (Or maybe not?) In any case, this commission came in two nights before my own tattoo career started. On my way to Minneapolis for Cleveland Bound Death Sentence, I stopped in Lexington. My buddy, Chris, works for Bleed Blue Tattoo and, while we were there, I met the shop’s owner, Tommy. Being the self-promoting little fuckshit that I am, I (of course!) told him about my artwork.  He was cool enough to  commission me to design a shirt for Bleed Blue right then and there. He was also cool enough to tell me I could do whatever I wanted – so I did, right down to the sort of overly-personal text that I put in virtually all of my pieces. The only real guideline I gave myself was a limited color palette since  I knew that – when it comes to silkscreens – more colors means higher printing costs.

The text says: “I am an anxious mess of a human being but I’ve got high hopes once Mercury’s no longer in retrograde. Maybe I’ll start getting laid again.” I wrote that the night I started the piece in St. Louis. By the time I finished it a couple days later in Minneapolis, Mercury was no longer in retrograde and I had started getting laid again. Isn’t it nice when stories have a happy ending?

As if all that weren’t great enough, check out the week I just had, selling and making art at punk shows around the midwest:

June 29: Lexington, KY w/ Rational Anthem.
June 30: Cincinnati, OH w/ Masked Intruder, The Dopamines, Direct Hit!, and The Priceduifkes.
July 1: Bloomington, IN w/ Rational Anthem and The Razor Ramones.
July 2: St. Louis w/ Masked Intruder, The Humanoids, Direct Hit!, and The Priceduifkes.
July 3: Madison, WI w/ The Transgressions, Rational Anthem, Lipstick Homicide, and Spruce Bringsteen.
July 4: Minneapolis, MN w/ Dillinger Four, The Brokedowns, Masked Intruder, Direct Hit!, The Priceduifkes, and Canadian Rifle.
July 5: Minneapolis, w/ Dillinger Four and Night Birds.

Anyway, for now, I’m in Chicago (where I’ll probably remain for most of the summer). Then again, have I ever stuck with a plan? Either way, shit’s cool right now and I’m excited about everything I’ve got in the works. And I’ve got a bunch of new pieces that I’ll add to the site soon so… Cool.

Here are some tunes from some of the bands that have been rad enough to host me lately:


“25 to Life” by Masked Intruder


“Thinkin’ ‘Bout Ya” by Rational Anthem


“Snickers or Reese’s” by Direct Hit!


“Captain, We’re Drinking” by The Priceduifkes


Music video for “Wizard Symptoms” by The Brokedowns


“Like Sprewells on a Wheelchair” by Dillinger Four


“Moody’s Point” by Lipstick Homicide


“Wasteoid” (originally by The Transgressions but performed here) by Spruce Bringsteen (that’s a two in one)!

My problem with punk’s problem (with women)

I’m so fucking sick of discussions about “punk’s problem with women” that make reference to the Warped Tour and its “ShiraGirl stage.’’ I don’t give a fuck about the Warped Tour and I don’t really see what the fuck it has to do with punk rock in the first place.

The last DIY show I went to was five days ago in Madison. Two of the bands playing were Lipstick Homicide and Rational Anthem, both fronted by women. The last band I bought a shirt from was The Turkletons, a band in which lead vocals are traded off between the guitarists – one male and one female. The last set of records I bought from a distro were three 7-inches – by Boys, Pity Party, and Skinny Genes. Only one of those doesn’t prominently feature women and that’s only because it’s a solo effort by one guy. But that one guy’s active band is Science Police, of which two of the members are women.

The gender of the performers wasn’t even a thought (until this morning when I read another of these articles and asked myself if there was any validity to its criticisms). I don’t support any of those bands because they have women in them; I support them because they’re great punk bands. When I interviewed Rational Anthem for Razorcake, I asked singer/guitarist Noelle Stolp about gender and punk rock. She said and I quote: “To me – I don’t really fucking care. I don’t feel any different. I just know that I can shred better than some dudes and it kills their self-esteem as well as their boners.” Beautifully fucking articulated.

Punk rock is whatever the fuck we want it to be. If you don’t like the shows being booked at 924 Gilman or Charm City Art Space, become a member and book your own shows (one of the only rules to do so is “no sexism”). If you don’t like the coverage in zines like Maximumrocknroll or Razorcake, write your own articles, conduct your own interviews, and they’ll print them! And if you feel like whatever group you identify with is underrepresented in punk, then start a band, put out records, and go out on tour.

Are there sexist attitudes in the punk scene? ABSOLUTELY! (Kind of like how there are sexist attitudes – oh, I don’t know – EVERYWHERE). Is that a bummer? Of course. But I think we do a way better job (in the punk scene) at being inclusive and open to people of all genders, races, ideologies, etc than 99% of the rest of this planet (and we’ll continue striving to be even better). Punk rock is important to me so I’m sorry if I’m getting defensive but I don’t appreciate all the shit you’ve been talking on this scene that I love and that so many of us (male and female) work so hard for.

See you in the basement (not at the Warped Tour).