Tag Archives: Against Me!

Whatevermind II (Pinkhairdontcare)

"Pinkhairdontcare." 5/12/13. Pen. 8x10".
“Whatevermind II (Pinkhairdontcare).” 5/12/13. Pen. 8×10″.

I shipped out the inserts for Rational Anthem’s Whatevermind LP this morning. Pictured above is the art that I made for those after I decided that my first attempt didn’t quite match the themes of the album.  The band should have the records for sale in time for Pre-Fest next week). “Pinkhairdontcare” is what some little girl nicknamed me while I was filming “No Real Than You Are” (or so I’m told). It was also the caption Van used when he posted his portrait of me on Facebook. My character wears a Rational Anthem shirt in most of his scenes so… – seems like an appropriate title.

Portrait by Van Jazmin.
Portrait by Van Jazmin.


underwear_that_is_orangeToday’s been really pleasant. After the post office, I came back home to find a package from a friend, waiting by my door. Aside from the book and the “underwear that is orange,” it had a really nice card/letter. I also got a check in the mail and (now that my bank finally has a branch in this city) I was able to go deposit it. As you could probably tell from my newest painting, financial panic was starting to set in these last couple days. Yesterday, were I to set aside the money I’d need to pay my bills on the first of the month, I’d only have had five dollars to spare. And yet, one day later, I have enough of a cushion that I should be okay. I definitely still need to figure out some ways to branch out and sell more artwork because my current “situation” definitely isn’t sustainable but  I think things are gonna be alright (even if I don’t have any evidence to support that proposition!)

(I came up with an idea last night – something I’m planning on ending my entries with… While some people might find it objectionable, I’ve given it some thought and I’m comfortable with it. It won’t change the fact that I still need to “branch out” and reach a bigger audience, but it does have some potential to help facilitate that).

But anyway, riding around town, running errands – the weather’s nice, people are nice (they smile at me) – life is good. I was listening to Against Me! and it occurred to me that their strongest material is probably the stuff they recorded for Fat, which happens to be the period in which I paid them the least attention.

For example, is there any better sentence fragment than “…if this is how I communicate and demonstrate a love of life…” – from “T.S.R. (This Shit Rules)?”

And while I think their weakest releases (outside of the really early demos) are New Wave and (to a lesser extent) White Crosses, there are a handful of really strong songs there. I remember when WC came out, Taylor fucking hated whenever I’d listen to “Bamboo Bones,” mostly on account of the lyric, “what God doesn’t give to you, you’ve got to go and get for yourself.” I found it amusing – not because I wasn’t equally put off by all things even remotely religious or spiritual at the time – just because it was so against the grain. (I like anything that fucks with people just a little bit). It’s kind of brave in that sense: to sing about “God,” in that way, in a band with an audience like Against Me!’s. I don’t know what meaning the songwriter attaches to the word but, when you throw something that vague (and bold) into the world, you can bet it’s gonna be spun all kindsa ways by all kindsa people. Today, I like that lyric a lot.

I don’t really use the word “God” these days but, in the short period in which I was, I liked it. I might not have had the same meaning for it as anyone I spoke to, but it connected me with people that I don’t usually connect with – in a way that I don’t usually connect with anyone. And like today, it just felt nice. Pleasant.


Getting Greedy

"Getting Greedy." 4/6/13. Acrylic painting. 29x30".
“Getting Greedy.” 4/6/13. Acrylic painting. 29×30″.

Among the million criticisms launched at Against Me! when they started to get popular was that all of their songs were about playing in a band or (more generally) the music industry. I thought it was a bummer when they forgot how to write catchy, engaging songs but didn’t mind those lyrical themes so much. But part of me is bothered by this piece in that same kind of way. It’s a little too self-referential / on-the-subject-of-art/business for my taste. Or maybe I’m just embarrassed by the sentiment or the vulnerability. It was my second time selling at a street fair-kinda thing, nobody was even stopping to look at my stuff, and I was getting a little down in the dumps. Eventually people did stop – and laugh, and compliment – and come back with their friends to show them certain pieces that they really liked, but no one was really buying anything.

I knew all along that I shouldn’t need validation from anyone or anything outside of myself, but it took me a little bit to realize that – if that’s what I wanted – the positive feedback should have been enough for me to feel validated in that way anyway. After all, if the lack of sales was actually about me (or, more specifically, my art), what would that mean? What would the explanation be? It would be that my pieces weren’t good enough to sell. Which would mean that if I wanted to succeed, I’d have to make “better” art. My pieces though are authentic, honest, and expressive. A lot of them are also funny and some of them even look cool as well. Even if I didn’t know that myself, I can tell a real response or compliment from a bullshit one, and plenty of people have told me as much and genuinely meant it. I could have been peddling unearthed/never-seen Picassos, and (unless they had his name on them) I probably still wouldn’t have sold much more than I did that day. Or maybe if I had been selling technically proficient portraits of TV characters, I’d have sold everything I had. But that would have been bullshit because that’s not who I am and it’s not what I do.

So this painting is about the emotional triggers I was struggling with before I took the time to really reflect and figure it all out. When I finished it, I was too embarrassed to even add it to my display. And I’m still a little embarrassed by it, but that’s okay (just like everything else).

This statement was written in May, around the time the painting sold. An 11½x12” print/poster is available in my store.

Here’s a later-period Against Me! song that I think is every bit as good as anything they’ve ever recorded.