Weston took some pictures of me, drawing under the waterfall at Moore Cove.
The other waterfall we hit today was Sliding Rock, which doubles as a “natural waterslide.” The water was so cold it hurt and I’m grimy as fuck (after laying around at Moore Cove, all wet, to work on that drawing) but it was totally worth it.
I think Chris and I are riding into Asheville tonight for some punk show.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated the site ’cause we’ve been staying out in Hendersonville at some cabin Weston rented and it doesn’t have electricity or wifi and I don’t like to post updates from my phone. Especially the updates with my new art so I’ll hold off on that for now.
Not a lot of news lately and the only set-up Chris and I have really done since we got here was for Studio Stroll in the River Arts District. Here are some photos from the last week though. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve probably already seen a lot of ’em…
“Adventures Per Minute” is how I felt in early April. From the moment I woke up until I crawled into bed each night, I was busy. Traveling back and forth between Jacksonville, Delray, and Sarasota; givinginterviews and being photographed; attending the premiere of the movie I starred in; directing a music video; setting up exhibits; making and distributing fliers and meeting people; selling prints at One Spark and Spring Fest; fucking; designing albumcovers and merchandise for some of my favorite bands; making more money than I’ve ever made in my life; and (of course) painting – at parks, at friends’ houses, on the streets, at punk shows, on rooftops, and at galleries.
It was just outside one of those galleries that I started this painting. Passers-by would stop, compliment my work, and ask how I was doing. That sparked the first small caption: “HOW AM I? I’m standing on a stool, paintin’ funny faces outside the gallery that sells my paintings for all the moneys. So – yeah – I’m okay.”
At the other end of the canvas, I elaborated: “I have everything.” And I really do. I’m not super rich just yet but all of my needs are met and then some.
I went back to Sarasota with the intention of trading in my van for a bigger one; it was my last stop before I finally took my show on the road outside of Florida. I changed my mind about the van but had quite a time back in that city where I (sort of) grew up. Things were messy – not only with friends in Sarasota but in my “adoptive” family’s house up the road in Bradenton. Drugs, lying, screaming, stealing… it was all around me and it was starting to fuck with my head. I don’t often feel “triggered” and – for the most part – think it’s sort of a bullshit concept. One afternoon in particular became an exception. I was on the back porch painting when the weather started acting up but there was no way I was walking back into the house. I took to the top corner of my canvas and started journaling:
It's been ten days [since I last wrote on this painting]. I'm on the porch in Bradenton. There's a tornado warning. I don't care. That'd be cooler if I actually thought it might hit. I would totally shoot up right now if I had drugs in front of me. BUT I HAVE THE MONEY THESE DAYS.
My best friend (the one that used to shoot heroin) - he started shooting heroin again. And smoking [and shooting] crack. I had him Marchman Acted soon as I got back to Sarasota. Everyone's pretty happy about that - and I've been buying into it too. But let's get real. Nothing has changed. This is just getting started. And it's gonna get a lot worse. I kind of think he's gonna die soon. What should I do? Drag him around the country with me? That's a lot of responsibility. And what would he do all day everyday?
And I love Abby too but her situation is even tougher, more hopeless.
I was talking to Heather about some of this and she asked me if I'll "ever get to live for myself." But I'm more independent, disconnected, and uninvolved than anyone. I do "me" constantly. But I grew up a fuck-up with other fuck-ups and what little I'm able to do these days when this shit goes on - I need to. Sometimes I'm the only one that can. I can't live without people anyway. It's all part of the package.
It's all worth it, I think. Even when it hurts a lot. And makes me wanna put a needle back in my arm. I don't think I will but, for the second time since I stopped, I really want to. This shit is dangerous.
And I haven't even gotten into the other shit that's eating me right now… My phone is ringing. What kinds of decisions am I gonna make today?
I feel safer in this house with drugs, screaming, CPS, threats, lies, theft, etc. than at Morgan's ('cause she's got roommates) and this [house] is the only place I don't feel like an intruder.
I paused and thought about all the good things that had happened lately – and the specifics of some of the bad… I brought the pen back to the canvas.
Life is sad and tragic and funny and beautiful. I'm usually having a pretty good time. I laugh and smile a lot. I don't want the people I care about to die. Or to live without knowing happiness.
Up to this point, I hadn’t given any thought to what I was writing or how it might be received. I just let it come out, even when it occurred to me that I might need or want to remove Abby’s name at some point. But after I finished that long journal down the left side of the canvas, I remembered that I was creating art and that I had intended for this to be a joyful painting – a celebration of the wonderful, exciting things happening in my life. “I need to balance out all this dark with some the light I experienced leading up to this.” But (in my soul, not my brain) I really only felt compelled to write the darker (more recent) stories. I decided to phrase everything in the present tense.
I am standing in an alley while my friend smokes the last of her crack before I take her to the police station, from which she'll be transported to detox, under court order. I picked her up in an empty parking lot.
I am dropping my "sister" off (with everything she owns) at a drug dealer's house. An hour ago, she attempted to transfer custody of her daughter to me. I still live in / operate primarily out of A VAN. We hugged and I told her to not be a fuck-up.
I am back on Adderall [after a month without] and I think the dose is too high now and I'm too in my head and having thoughts like these: [An arrow points at the long, sad, I-wanna-shoot-heroin, my-friends-are-dying journal].
I needed my positive adventures to balance the painting and convey what “adventures per minute” had meant to me initially. But I had already told those nice stories on my blog. Repeating them here felt contrived. I did it anyway but in just four short sentences – covering One Spark, the music video, the film festival, and painting on rooftops. A few days later though, I had another adventure. But one that I didn’t want to be the first thing to pop out at someone. I hid it against a dark blue backdrop. It says: “I just PRETEND (consensually) ‘raped’ a girl that identifies as ‘gay.’ It was pretty awesome. I like her.”
So THAT sort of raises some questions and probably warrants a whole exposition of its own but this statement’s already long enough, I’m writing this in Atlanta, and – you know – I got some more adventures I really ought to be getting up to right about now so…
I don’t know where I’ll sleep tonight or wake up tomorrow. I couldn’t even attempt to guess where I’ll be in a month. Life is uncertain and scary (sometimes). I just used “frozen yogurt” body wash and that’s really, really funny.
I’ve got six or seven hours to drive today. I’ve got more friends than I can count. There are a lotta people out there that love me and a lot of people that I’ve got warm, fuzzy feelings for that (I think) approximate (or
maybe even are) that same kind of love.
Hey, Jacksonville – if I’ve been sayin’ I’ll hit you up when I get back, that day’s right around the corner. I been gone so long but I’m coming “home” and it’ll be at least two weeks before I bail “for good” and move on to whatever’s waiting for me outside of Florida.
Check me out – talkin’ like I’ve got a clue! Making a “plan!” As if things have ever worked out as I thought they would.
Here’s what I do know: (1) I’ve got so many stories, dark/light, beautiful/fucked up, egocentric, and otherwise from this last month or so that I’m really excited to get back to writing (publicly) real soon. (2) I got a bunch of new art to compliment and round up all my stories. (3) Some of this shit’s gonna make people feel weird, some is gonna make me uncomfortable, but I’m committed to being honest about what I’ve recently been up to, experienced, and how I’ve felt about it. (4) Chris Hembrough is the best friend I could ask for and I wish I could take him with me. Spillane too (OBVIOUSLY) but I’ve gotten to connect with Hemmy in such an outstanding, positive way this last month.
Yesterday, there was a tragedy. I’m not gonna get into it just yet but I wanna say this: we didn’t need a tragedy for me to be writing this way. It’s been on my mind for two weeks already and while there were some beautiful moments in the aftermath of the accident, there were plenty more, long before anything went wrong and even in between the time of the crash and the time it came to light. So as fucked up as it strikes me to describe it as at all “natural” or “good,” it felt very much like a natural extension of everything that’s been happening. And I think it was good for both of us, at least insofar as the roles that it lead us into. It also prolonged my stay in the area for one extra day. Now that I’m off, we’ve both got our own adventures and trials ahead of us. I’m pretty confident that we’ll both be kicking the shit out of them.
Death and loss feel surreal sometimes, we can feel the pain of the people we love almost as intensely as our own. I’m not sure what I’m getting at so I’m gonna stop until I can take the time to process and write about everything that’s been 2014 so far, in a less stream-of-consciousness kinda way…
We live on quite a planet. Let’s celebrate.
“Don’t know if I can keep up but I try god dammit.”
Here’s the drum head I made for Rational Anthem. Adapted from my painting, “Autobiography.” (It’ll also be featured on all of their summer merch and their new record cover; more on that later though).