Tag Archives: Gainesville

Another Painting By My Favorite Artist

"Another Painting By My Favorite Artist." 3/9/14. Acrylic paint and ink. 3x4'.
“Another Painting By My Favorite Artist.” 3/9/14. Acrylic paint and ink. 3×4′.

My second painting in my new phase as a thoroughly mobile/transient/itinerant artist, this 3×4’ painting was completed over the course of eight days and in five different cities. The highlight of those days was definitely getting to paint at (and sell prints) alongside three of my favorite bands (Iron Chic, The Slow Death, and Off With Their Heads) as they came through Florida on tour.

I captioned and titled this piece relatively early in the process but days later, when I felt compelled to journal on the canvas, I looked at what I had written and realized that my chosen title couldn’t have been more perfect. The text on the canvas reads:

I’ve resisted picking up the pen because my feelings keep changing and it’s too early to find any meaning in my circumstances. Shit – it’s not even over yet. Just one person with the right reaction could turn it all around. But – right now – I feel totally defeated. It doesn’t take much. For all my success this last week, even the last month or the last year, it only takes one bad night to leave me feeling like a complete and utter failure.

 It’s art walk night, it’s rainy, but I’m not in the plaza; I’m at Burrito Gallery, in the room with all my art on the wall. I’m set up with a table of prints and nobody gives a shit. The walls are covered with my art! I – the artist(!) – am identifiably sitting right here! (My exclamations are half-jokes. I know it’s not a big deal but this sort of thing always generated at least a modicum of attention. People are filtering around me without so much as a glance. And yet I sold thirty-something prints over the weekend, with last minute table set-ups at punk shows, to kids that don’t have money and don’t buy art.

 The artist in the other room told me he’s been painting for twelve years but only got brave enough to show in the last five or six. “Brave?” What’s there to be brave for? The constant stream of attention and praise?! Others have told me that they admire my courage in putting myself out there as I do. It doesn’t usually feel like courage to me though. Most days, it’s easy as fuck. But that’s only ‘cause I’ve been so successful, or lucky, or good at framing–my-bad-experiences-in-such-a-way-that-I-don’t-put-too-much-stock-in-them. I need to think back to April to remember that total sense of dejection. I’ve felt it since then but not to that degree. Bad nights usually turn to good ones before I pack it in. If this one doesn’t, I just need to remember how spoiled I am. This level of rejection is not so extreme that it ought to leave me contemplating crybaby suicide. I’m already more successful than most artists will ever be and it’s not because I’m better, or smarter, or anything like that. It is because I’m braver. I square off against the threat of rejection and failure every day. I’M BUILDING MY FUCKING LIFE ON IT. And – sure – I’ve been blessed (or what-the-fuck-ever) to have gotten the overwhelmingly positive reception that I have thus far, but I know the hurt of being ignored, the sting of being turned down. AND I FUCKING HATE IT. It KILLS me. But day after day, I get up and I fucking face it. And I feel better now.

 That – right there – is me, in action, using art/journaling to balance myself out – to save me from myself. It’s exactly what I tell people I’m all about and there it is in perfect practice. It’s also why I deserve to be my own favorite artist. I fucking love it. I love this wonderful outlet I’ve found. I love so much. Life is beautiful (and sometimes tragic, fucked up) and funny. Colors, shapes, mental illness – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yo – I Painted a Fuckin’ Unicorn

Friday, I sold art at the Civic Media Center in Gainesville. Drove back to Jacksonville last night and sold at the Four Families album release show. AND NOW – after seeing Gord post something about Atlanta – I’ve keenly deduced that not only are Iron Chic playing in Gainesville tonight, but they’re playing with Off With Their Heads and The Slow Death! Couldn’t be more excited. I hit up Johnny to see if I could sell art at the show tonight and – now that I’ve got the go ahead and know that I can make some money to cover gas – am about to hit the road and drive right back to Gainesville.

Things couldn’t be going better lately.  That (and the fact that I’ve been off Adderall for MORE THAN A WEEK now) has had an interesting effect on my artistic output. I’m less in my head, less troubled, and painting nonsense like this:

"Yo - I Painted a Fuckin' Unicorn." 2/28/14. Acrylic paint. 16x16".
“Yo – I Painted a Fuckin’ Unicorn.” 2/28/14. Acrylic paint. 16×16″.

Which is cool, I guess. It’s not the first time it’s happened.

My favorite element of the painting is the arrow at the bottom center – directing the viewer’s attention to the unicorn. You know – IN CASE ANYONE’S HAVING TROUBLE FINDING IT.


UPDATE! / ADDENDUM! (April 24, 2014)

In April of last year, I was at an art fair kinda thing, where I met an artist named William Somma. He asked me if I’d like to collaborate on a painting. He threw a bunch of colors onto a canvas and then handed it off to me so that I could paint a bunch of my funny faces on top. The result was our painting, “Limp.” When it was done, he asked if I’d like to do another. He threw a bunch of colors on the second canvas but they didn’t dry before the day was done. I took it home with me and didn’t pick it up again for almost a year. That second painting (eventually) became, “Yo – I Painted a Fuckin’ Unicorn.”

Here’s the thing… None of Will’s colors were still on the canvas by the time I was finished with it. His texture was still underneath my paint but I felt guilty about it. I argued with myself over whether I should acknowledge that this was the same canvas (and risk hurting his feelings) or say nothing and – should he ever ask about the canvas – LIE and say that I lost it. In the moment that I decided to share the painting online, I didn’t even think of the whole dilemma.

A couple days ago, Will sent me an email: Hey, question… I was browsing your paintings and I noticed the unicorn one. Is that the one I gave you at Art Pool underneath? The texture made it turn out pretty neat.”

Holy shit, that kid’s got a good eye! That was a year ago!!

I told Will all about my guilt and shame and he was totally cool about it. The whole thing was a giant relief.

AND CHECK IT OUT: Now my Unicorn painting has a way better story! Being mentally ill sure keeps things interesting!

Maybe It’s Okay to Be Happy

"Maybe It's Okay to Be Happy." 2/27/14. Acrylic paint and ink. 16x20".
“Maybe It’s Okay to Be Happy.” 2/27/14. Acrylic paint and ink. 16×20″.

I’m too fulfilled. Too many things are going my way. IT’S KILLING MY ART.
Or… maybe it’s okay to be happy?

I painted this yesterday. I was tempted to kick around my head until I could find/invent a problem but – ultimately – decided to just let it be. Things are okay and I guess that’s okay.


The exhibit at Burrito Gallery is all set up. I’ve got twenty-four pieces up on the wall and prints (of a little more than half) out for sale on the counter.

"Amazon Wishlist." 12/19/13. Acryic paint and food coloring. 18x24".

I still have some stuff at Chamblin’s Uptown as well. Five originals up on the walls and just under a dozen prints of different pieces out around the cafe area. Although – apparently – one of my paintings is too offensive for anyone to exhibit… You won’t find Amazon Wishlist hanging up anywhere around Jacksonville anymore.

Today, I’m headed out to Gainesville to participate in an artwalk at the Civic Media Center. I’ll be back in Jacksonville at some point this weekend, at which time I’ll start putting up new fliers all over Riverside and downtown Jacksonville. And this Wednesday, I’ll be at Burrito Gallery for Jacksonville’s Downtown Artwalk.

A week in the life of Sammy thrashLife

Thursday: I packed up the rest of my stuff and left Bradenton. My first stop was Umatilla, to visit an ex-girlfriend in rehab. I had dropped her off there myself after visiting friends in Boca Raton and discovering that she wasn’t quite as clean and stable as she had been telling me. After that, I went to Gainesville to teach Valerie how to format, package, and sell prints of her artwork. I had met Valerie while filming my scenes in her brother’s movie (“No Real Than You Are”) over the summer. The previous Saturday, I had gone to the cast/crew screening of the film, where I’d seen her parents for the first time since July. The next morning, they took me out to brunch and – after seeing my prints – told her what I was up to and she reached out to me for a tutorial. Friday, I woke up in Gainesville and spent the day meeting with galleries. Valerie’s mom, Nancy, called and said there was a big arts festival that weekend in Sarasota so I stayed the night and we rode down the next day.

Saturday, we arrived too late to really do the art fair but we went to her parents’ house in Osprey for dinner. They wanted to screen the film for some friends so – as the SUPER IMPORTANT ACTOR that I am – I stuck around for that. Afterward, we got to talking, they asked to see my art, and I wound up selling a bunch of prints.

Sunday, I did the art fair in Sarasota with Morgan and sold another
good handful of prints.

On Monday, Valerie and I hit the print shop to re-up on my supply. We drove back to Gainesville, I showed her the final stages of the packaging process, and then carried on to Jacksonville.

Tuesday, I went to Chamblin’s where I have a bunch of originals hanging, as well as some prints for sale. Collected a few bucks for prints sold while I’ve been away and then spent the afternoon writing up statements for some older pieces that I’ve been neglecting. Saw Heather for the first time in a while and then got a call from Erin Murphy, who informed me that her band, Teach Me Equals, were playing Jacksonville that very night and would I like to come out and set up to try and sell some art? Went over the Burro Bar around ten, watched them play, and sold way more stuff than I should have considering the Tuesday night attendance. Also got to meet Greg, the other half of the band and a really nice guy. Teach Me Equals definitely aren’t in line with my regular listening habits but I was really pleasantly surprised by their set. Loud, discordant, and fucked up but melodic, energetic, and dynamic in the way that kind of shit’s
supposed to be. Afterward, they invited me to come set up again at
their show in St Augustine.

Today, I woke up and went to see my Jacksonville counselor before setting up on the sidewalk in Five Points to finish packaging / assembling all the new prints I’d either just gotten or just printed statements for. Sold a couple and then went into Sun Ray to see Tim and collect the stuff is left behind before I left Jacksonville in January. Went by Burrito Gallery on the off chance I could catch the owner, did, and he informed me that they’d been saving a wall for me. This is the place I’ve wanted to show for a while so I was pretty excited. I got about 90% set up (with close to twenty pieces on the wall) and then hit the road for St Augustine. I’m about to go set up inside to sell

Tomorrow, I’ll check out and try to meet with galleries here in St Augustine and (depending on how it goes) get back to Jacksonville tomorrow night or the next day and finish setting up at Burrito Gallery. That’s gonna run through ’til sometime in April (I forget) and then I’m gonna leave Jacksonville behind and head north to the next city on my list. Had the Burrito Gallery thing not panned out, it’d have been New Orleans but since it’ll already be April, I think I’ll head somewhere a little cooler. I don’t mind sleeping in a minivan, but I’d rather not bake in a minivan.

Status Update: Birthday 2013

Birthday breakfast 2013! Gainvesville, FL.

It happened! I allowed myself to NOT post something new. (And for two days!) My phone wasn’t working properly and it seemed crazy to leave friends (some of whom I haven’t seen in years) just so I could go find a computer to sate my neurotic compulsion to add new content every day.

I had a really good time in Gainesville for The Fest this year. I got to town around 10 on Saturday night. Initially, every thing reminded me of drugs; I kept thinking about the last few times I was there: spent shooting up in vans, bathrooms, and crouching behind dumpsters or in alleys. Which wasn’t necessarily bad (it doesn’t freak me out or make me wanna use) but there are better thoughts that I’d rather occupy my mind.

In some of the quieter moments on Sunday morning, I started stressing out a little bit [basic social anxiety] and considered flipping right back to Jacksonville. I hid for about an hour, journaled a little bit, and then met up with some friends though and – from there –  everything stayed on track right through to the end.

I think that arriving/starting on Saturday night (instead of Thursday, or even Tuesday, as a lot of people did) was a really good idea for me. I don’t need that much Fest time. It’s true that there were a lot of people I would have really loved to see that I didn’t get a chance to meet up with so much as once (and plenty of others I could have used a lot more time with) but – in all – everything played out well.

And I was extremely lucky to have a lot of great people still around this morning for a dual Sam/Alec birthday breakfast. Birthdays aren’t a huge deal to me, but what better way to start one off than a few hours with friends from all over the map (just before they scatter back out across it)?

I’m gonna continue my little celebration by not being a nerd glued to the computer and just wait ’til tomorrow to get back into the regular swing of things. Here are two of the most endearing things I heard over the weekend though.


“Go pee before you go to bed. Then you won’t piss in your sleep. That’s how it works.”
The way you say that, it sounds like this is a recurring problem…
“About four nights a week.”
No way… Is he really drinking that much, that often so as to be pissing himself on a regular basis?
[sad voice] “Dude, don’t tell Sam that. I don’t want Sam to know that.”


What hoodie is that?
“Um… I’m not sure. Night of the Living Dead, I think.”
[laugh] Oh yeah – you get that at the mall?
“It’s not mine. – Hey, where’d you get this hoodie?”
“Hot Topic.”
[laughs] Serious? I was just kidding around.
“They’ve got cool stuff there.”


Outstanding. Hopefully, these work on some level even without knowing the identities of the speakers. Either way, they both made me smile.


Here’s a cartoon about my buddy, Avi (one of the kids in the photo). [I was gonna link to a bunch of art/posts about kids in the photo, but Heather just got home from work and I haven’t seen her since Saturday morning]. More (legit stuff) tomorrow!