I painted this cartoon on the front page of one of my treatment plans. It’s got a list of all of the things that I should’ve been doing at that point but wasn’t. The thing my counselor was pushing the most was that I go out and interact with human beings that weren’t (1) my girlfriend or (2) my ex-girlfriend’s family [who I lived with]. Basically – to hang out with my friends—not too unreasonable but… you know… I’m busy… and I kinda like my bubble.
On this particular evening – I was out in the great big world. I rode down to Sarasota for a house show with Rational Anthem, Wet Nurse, and Weak Nights. When the last band finished though, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Without heroin or some other intoxicant, how was I supposed to handle this? I’m good with one-on-one interaction but groups of people are tricky.
I decided to make myself useful; I went around the house collecting all of the beer cans and other garbage, bagged it all up and took it outside. I felt pretty good about that [it was nice to be the one cleaning up, rather than fucking up someone’s house] but … what now? I was sleeping at Pete’s house and he was still having fun; I couldn’t ask him to leave. I looked in my backpack. I had pen, pencil, some watercolors, but no blank paper.
It seemed like a funny idea—to make a cartoonabout finally being in a social situation but engaging in a thoroughly antisocial activity—a cartoon that acknowledged my foolishness but demonstrated a resistance to giving it up.
I wasn’t actually trying to be antisocial, of course. [I’m not an asshole – I’m just awkward]. I’d break from what I was doing whenever someone walked up and expressed an interest in talking to me. Maybe – on some level – I was even doing it with that outcome as my goal. Maybe it was an effort to interact one-on-one without having to feel like I was somehow monopolizing someone; it might have been a subconscious move to interact without having to insert myself into a crowd and feel out of place. (It’s cliché and childish but – just about everywhere I go – I still regularly feel that I don’t quite fit in or belong).
So I worked on this at the house, at the bar we all went to afterward, and then back at Pete’s.
Epilogue: This is one of the few things I’ve sold really cheap. To a kid I met in downtown St. Pete during my one Indie Market experience. He really liked a lot of my stuff and especially this one. He had one of those huge backpacks that transient/traveler kids tend to have, so when he asked of there was anyway i could accept just $12 for it, I figured that was probably a pretty decent chunk of his net worth. Besides, when it comes to pricing my art – it’s got very little to do with money. I mean – don’t get me wrong, it is how I pay my bills so I do need to make a certain amount each month, but (after that) it’s not about money – it’s about personal valuation, self-esteem, and confidence. I’ve been encouraged not to give things away which is something I was initially doing anytime someone expressed an interest or even when they actually made an offer to buy something. (And I still do it occasionally). ‘Cause it’s uncomfortable. It’s foreign. Coming up in punk rock – we’re not supposedto make money off our creativity. I still feel guilty sometimes when somebody asks how much I want for something. I’ll usually tell them a number that’s only two-thirds or so of what I actually had in mind. But then when they buy it without blinking, I feel dumb for not just saying the actual price I had in mind (especially when I’m struggling financially).
Although “struggling” is a little of an overstatement. I might *stress* but – so far – everything has always worked out for the best. In the six months since I moved out of Tranquil Shores, I haven’t failed to pay for essentials yet. Things are good. Things are okay.
Listen while you read! (The embed for their new album won’t work, so here’s a stream of their 2011 EP, “Bread Line” – one of the last releases on Traffic Street).
It’s almost midnight, which means that I’m just barely living up to my “new content every day” promise. I know, I know. You’re all very upset. I’ll make it up to you somehow… just not tonight!
You see, I’ve been spending the day, readying myself to hit the road. Tomorrow I’m embarking on a (very) short tour with Rational Anthem. We’re going up to Dave Strait Fest in Minneapolis and stopping for a few other shows on the route up and back. (By the way – interesting trivia fact… did you know that (not counting bands that Davey Tiltwheel is in) Rational Anthem are the only band playing that aren’t from the Midwest?) That’s kind of cool if you ask me.
But anyway, a ton of my favorite bands are playing and I’m really excited about it. Before I went to rehab (the first time) I was going to at least forty shows a year (many of which I was the one responsible for booking). Shit, I did forty shows just in the summer 2008, ’09, and ’10. Since I went to rehab though, Rational Anthem (and Weak Nights) are the only bands I’ve seen. In almost two years. That shit’s insane. Plus, Rational Anthem’s 2009 tour was kind of the epitome of my bad behavior. Well, my bad behavior in a social context anyway. I was not a good friend to them. After that tour, my relationships with Chris and Noelle became a little strained, so it’s kind of a big deal for me to be hitting the road with them again. Even if it is just for a week. It means a lot to me. Like… it makes me really happy. Not just that I get to go, but that they trust me to go. That they actually want me to go. (They invited me! They’re stoked on it! (That’s really, really awesome)).
I interviewed them for Razorcake recently, so you’ll be able to read a lot more about our zany adventures together once that comes out. For now, I’m just gonna share some of the stuff that I got to design for the sixty-or-so day tour that they got home from about a week ago.
This originally said Off With Their Heads instead of Rational Anthem but I decided to change it up ’cause Rational needed a shirt and OWTH didn’t. I listen to both bands when I’m feeling well, but when I’m upset, I turn to OWTH when I wanna dwell in it and Rational when I wanna pull myself out. I didn’t get one of these shirts before they left for their long tour so I’m pretty stoked to finally get one tomorrow.
Screen-printing is not the best medium for images with small or fine details. It took me fucking forever to find a balance in manipulating this image so that the faces were somewhat visible, but didn’t have any lines or dots that’d be too small to come out in a screen. The logo on the first few Rational records and shirts was mine, but this one I stole (I think it’s one of Corey’s). (When Corey’s not playing in The Manix and Banner Pilot, he does some pretty outstanding artwork and was definitely an inspiration to / influence on me). Anyway, this shirt was Chris’s idea (or at least he’s the one that brought it to me). Originally, it was going to say “Pop Punk Vacation” at the bottom, which I thought was kind of boring. We thought this was way, way funnier. Not only is it a great statement about playing in a band generally, but what the fuck are they doing posing on top of a van for a photograph? I mean, don’t these fucking kids have jobs? Honestly…
Originally, this was the only thing I was designing for Rational Anthem’s summer tour, but – as it’d turn out – I got to do pretty much everything. (That first shirt design was also printed up on red and black koozies). This one definitely took the longest though. The main artwork – like the name of the tour – is a National Lampoon parody. I looked up the posters to the different Vacation movies and thought it’d be fun to do a re-imagining of the “European Vacation” poster, on which the Griswold family are all clutching the legs of their leader, Clark, as he stand proudly with his fist in the air, clutching a [I forget what he was clutching]. The tagline is also a parody of the tagline from the poster. Ours says, “For over three dozen years, punk rock has survived many terrible posers. Now for the real test… Rational Anthem are coming out of their mall!” (That’s definitely my favorite part). Anyway, I drew the kids with colored pencils. Don’t ask me why I gave them green skin – I have no reason. The van in the background is from the first piece I ever sold, “Clarity,” and the rest is from a piece I made after I left rehab, called “Heather Pierce.” Neither is up on this site with a real write-up yet, but you can see them (and get a little background info on each) elsewhere. “Clarity” is online here, in my Facebook album of inpatient artwork, and “Heather Pierce” is up here, on my Storenvy site.
Here are the dates for our little mini-tour. If you’re coming out, I’ll see you soon!
Tue. 8/13 – Leavin’ late and just hanging with Stewart in Atlanta
Wed. 8/14 – St. Louis w/ [ask Noelle]
Thu. 8/15 – Dave Strait Fest in Minneapolis!
Fri. 8/16 – Dave Strait Fest in Minneapolis!
Sat. 8/17 – Dave Strait Fest in Minneapolis! (this is the day Rational are actually playing)
Sun. 8/18 – Des Moines, IA w/ The Copyrights, Lipstick Homicide, Tight Bros, and more
Mon. 8/19 – Carbondale, IL w/ [ask Noelle]
Tue. 8/20 – [ask Noelle]
Regarding the shows on Sunday and Monday though – Zack’s hitching a ride with us back down to FL from MPLS and – I think Dear Landlord might be playing one (or both) of them. Once I’m actually with everyone, I’ll know more solid details on the shows (like venues/addresses) and I’ll throw them up online here when I do.