I alluded to this piece in “Titrating,” when I described myself as feeling scared, stuck, and trapped, but smiling. (See the red text in the background).
Like the pieces in “The Weak End” series of paintings, this (along with several others) started out as one large painting that I eventually cut up into a lot of smaller ones. Unlike that series though, all of the paintings in this series (“Your Higher Power is Literally Garbage”) were painted and repainted so much that they don’t really share much in common.
In the center of this piece is a strip of pink duct tape that I drew on, while riding in the car, because I had no paper. Yet another weird/poor drawing of a kid with fucked up teeth. It’s pretty representative of my belief that I’ve got a lot more willingness than I do talent (or even creativity).
As often as I feel “inspired,” I’ve got nothing. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still have the need to create something. So I do. Because it’s good for me. It helps me, emotionally.
And if you read my last post, you know that right now is one of those occasions where I desperately need to create something. And I knew that I’d come to that conclusion if I wrote up the entry for this piece, which is why I chose to write an entry around “Pulp” first. I wasn’t ready to do what I needed to do to get better. But I am now.
“I think I should (or at least want to) eat but I feel fat so I’m gonna try not to do that. I’d eat with Adderall but don’t wanna stay up too late. Got treatment tomorrow. I’d work out but don’t want to. I should get some work done or make some art (which I sort of am) but really I think I’ll just beat off. It’s a good distraction. I wanna say I wanna use heroin at times like this but I don’t. I never will. I’m not a good addict.”
Yeesh. [or something]. Right? I wrote that on a discarded USPS box with no intention of it actually becoming a piece. I was just losing my mind. There’s a lot going on here but that’s how it started (bottom center, red pencil).I’m proud to say that – like the other piece in which I express an interest in masturbating – I wound up getting pulled into art instead. (If you wanna know the truth though – on other occasions, I actually have masturbated! Don’t tell anyone though – it’s a big secret).
On the edges we have two allusions to the piece I finished earlier this same night (“Titrating”). On the right it says, “If THAT wasn’t titration-related, maybe THIS isn’t either.” On the left it says, “On a scale of one to ten, are you warm and safe? Do you find colors soothing? Is there any leftover pizza? On a scale of one to ten… Leftover pizza?” (That’s me poking fun at myself for being so concerned with pizza back on February 26th). Regarding “colors,” that’s about the neon green paint splattered across the pink duct tape that coats the far right side of my “canvas.” I like colors.
I was “making a living” at this point in my life by selling weird antique dolls on eBay. Every morning (or afternoon) I’d wake up and go out to the garage (in my ex-girlfriend’s family’s house) and list the dolls for sale. The details don’t matter, but they were basically inherited and I was enlisted to sell them in exchange for 50% of whatever they brought in. The dolls were all stored in giant plastic tubs. Some of them didn’t have clothes on, but there were a bunch of clothes floating around at the bottoms of the tubs. In order to make as much money as possible, I had to research the dolls based on their attributes and the markings carved into their backs and necks. For many of them, what clothes they were wearing was “important” (by which I mean, it affected how much I’d get for them). So here I was, sitting in a dark garage, putting different outfits on these toys and photographing them. Context aside, I was twenty-seven years old and playing dress-up with dollies. When that thought occurred to me, it struck me as being so absurd that I had to snap a ridiculous picture and post it on Facebook. The caption read, “Don’t even try to pretend I’m not the funniest motherfucker on the planet.”
Because I totally am!
When this piece was just one step away from the way it ended up, I fucking hated it. Aside from the fact that it mentions embarrassing stuff (body image issues and masturbating) I just didn’t like the way that it looked. I can’t really explain my next move. Maybe it just popped into my head and seemed characteristic of mental illness and (since that’s how I felt in this moment) I embraced it. I took the piece and I peed on it.
And – call me crazy but… that’s what did it. The slight change in color tone brought about by my urine soaking into the cardboard… really brought the whole thing together. (My phrasing is intentionally silly here, but the sentiment is 100% dead on). Suddenly, I loved this piece. I deemed it “finished” and immediately started my next piece – “Everything Works Out Exactly As It Should.”
The next day (as I always did) I brought all of my new artwork with me to Tranquil Shores to share. I wrote the name of this piece on the back of it and came up with a really funny game. I’d hand it to someone, let them look at it, and then tell them to flip it over and read the title. At which point they’d look up at me like, “seriously?” And I’d give them a big dumb grin and nod.
Urine is sterile! The piece was dry by this point! Who cares?!
Heather and I started dating in February. She’s not at all into punk rock, but she does like to do normal human activities like go to baseball games with other normal humans. In May, I went along with them to see the Rays play some other team that I forget. While I was sitting there, I drew a silly comic about my experience on the back of two tickets.
While this was really well-received by my friends and others that follow me online, I was surprised that half of the people to see it through Reddit got really pissed off and defensive.
I like to think I’m open-minded though so I’m going to take this opportunity to change my position on the matter. Watching sports is totally punk (but having a sense of humor is absolutely not).
Should I discover otherwise, I’ll definitely keep you posted.
On an unrelated note, someone online bought my copy of Henry Rollins’ “Get in the Van” today. It’s been at least seven years since I read it, so I took a look before packing it up to ship it out. The thing that stood out most to me… the guy’s talking about some people that let him and his band stay with them (not for a night, but for a while) and he’s talking about how much he hated them. He says he keeps to himself and never really interacts with them – yet he hates them. Because they’re “stoner-hippie-punks” and he thinks they’re “full of shit.” My kneejerk response is, “how terribly unhappy do you have to be to hate someone that you barely know?” I’ve never really understood why anyone has held Rollins up as any kind of an idol or hero, but – reading this stuff – I’m really reminded of the huge ideological differences that exist between different “sects” of punk rock. This book’s all about fighting and violence and self-righteousness. It’s all “I know what’s right, you’re wrong, and I’m gonna kick the shit out of you for having ideas that aren’t exactly like my own.” Basically – it’s got a lot in common with everything to come out of hardcore (which has pretty much nothing in common with what punk means to me).