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LOL-J photo 'splosion!  
04.04pm 22.02.2012
 
 
I don't know how many people are still reading this, but it's still here for the sake of my numerous lurking cyberstalkers from days past, and anyone else who doesn't know me over FBook. Entries are few and far between, but they're here for good, or at least until this account disappears. I keep slipping in just beneath the cutoff for purging inactive accounts, heh.

Lots has happened since that last entry. Like this, where the regional paper featured my art on the cover, and the front page of the arts section:

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That was weird. I also refinished a thrashed skateboard which belonged to a young man who sadly passed away long before his time, turning it into memorial art for his brother's sixteenth birthday:

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Did a few more hats:

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Another vape:

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Some more shoes:

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I've been drawing and writing in the same black book for like two or three years now, and it has become quite laden with artwork overlaying artwork, layers upon layers of stickers, pens, paint...

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... and some other stuff.

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+Coordinates+ Studiospace
+Noise+ Burning Spear
+Blipverts+ art, photos
 
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(no subject)  
08.47pm 07.10.2011
 
 
Wow. For a second there I forgot I even have a Livejournal. It's not that I don't have anything to write about, I suppose, but sadly my nom de plume on Facebook does most of that. But Facebook is weird now, and I'm not sure I'm going to stick with it, even under a false name. You see, several of my posts have either gone completely unseen by anyone but me, or else they've disappeared entirely. One was a social commentary post about the riots in England in which I basically said there were a lot of reasons for what's happening, and the situation could have been prevented if the UK government wasn't made up of out-of-touch elitist, racits twats. Not nice, but not exactly harmful either. The others were links to live video streams from the occupation protests sweeping the nation; again, not really that harmful. But I have outside confirmation that those posts couldn't be seen by anyone, and then they started disappearing entirely. The Net is abuzz about other Facebook users having photos and posts removed in a similarly unexplained fashion. Thanks, Facebook, for finally showing your true colours.

Other things have been happening as well. I'm continuing to DJ now and then, jazz for the retirees and electronica for places like the public plaza tonight. It turns out all those years of teaching myself music production have left me with a skill set which translate to vinyl DJing pretty well. Main problem is that I only have one turntable, which is nice but not a DJ turntable (as in, it lacks pitch/speed control). So I have to borrow my longtime cohort Jordan's single working DJ turntable, pair it with my almost-a-DJ turntable, and work within severe limitations. Though you'd never know it from how things went tonight. Cute teenage track girls and grimy park rats danced together in front of my tiny sound system while a dreadlocked kid drew artwork based on sacred geometry in his sketchbook; just beyond, skaters flipped their skateboards and sailed accident-free in and out of the crowds. Parents warily formed circles of crossed arms and frowns out on the periphery, and one nerdy looking white kid sat reading a fantasy novel next to my speakers. Old people looked nervous and disapproving, giving the crowds of young people gathered around me a wide berth as they slipped nervously past into the art gallery behind me, where shiny boring pottery awaited their banal adulations. Ironically, the gallery staff later caught me as I was leaving to tell me how much they liked the music!

For all the years I raged against DJs, I must admit that much of my frustration was somewhat misguided. DJing is a performance art which can potentially require a very unique set of skills found absolutely nowhere else. I say 'potentially' because many DJs just play a record, or even worse, an iPod or MP3 software, while being incredibly pretentious about it. I have deliberately set the bar much, much higher for myself, choosing the no-mistakes discipline of spinning vinyl combined with the insane, fractured structure of drum-n-bass, which can be very hard to work with due to its high tempos. I often record my practice sessions straight onto an old cassette tape recorder, so there's no way to hide my mistakes from myself; I then study my mistakes, listening over and over again, dissecting the problems in my technique. In terms of signal processing, it's just EQ, compressor, and limiter, for clarity and width over my tiny speakers.

Taking a cue from the old dub sound systems, I have begun constructing a larger sound system out of old speakers with busted cases. The plan being to take their intact hardware, combine them all, and mount them into a new pair of cabinets. So next time, I won't just light up the square with my sound, I'll fry the fucking world with it! >:-]
 
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Time keeps on ticking, ticking... into the future  
08.15am 05.05.2011
 
 
I've been up to a few things, and knocked down by a few things. Most notably I have finished editing a book for someone, despite a raging toothache which has lasted the better part of a month. Following this book, a tell-all about how working at a certain software giant inadvertently landed him in jail, will be a revision of an older book on political humour, and possibly one lampooning Evangelical Christianity after that. I never imagined that my true breakthrough into paid literary work would be as an editor on books I probably normally would not read. I can, at least, assure myself that these projects are in fact better for my involvement.

In other news, Meg and I passed our seventh year anniversary. To celebrate this I wrangled Megan's help in planting two bonsai trees in a single pot. Using flexible metal wires I am slowly training the two limber saplings to grow around one another, braiding into what appears to be a single tree of two different species. In perhaps an even bolder move for a first bonsai, I also decided to plant them directly atop a rock especially chosen for the job; over time I will gradually lower the level of the topsoil by brushing it away with a paint brush, revealing the two trees' roots. This, in turn, will theoretically cause the roots to develop bark like a normal tree trunk. These extra-strong, barked-over roots will curl around the rock below, clinging to it like a tiny fist. The results of this will be two miniature adult trees clinging to one another against all odds, separate yet inseparable, atop a small rock island in the middle of a planter with water, not dirt, in the bottom.

Of course, with the state of the world these days, one has to wonder just what has possessed me to take up a hobby which takes years and years to come to fruition. From all appearances, we (as a society as well as a species) might not have much longer left.

I would take photos of my proud new bonsai, but unfortunately it's not much to look at: just two sticks stuck in a planter, with so much shiny silver guide wire lashing them together one hardly notices the tiny buds signaling the growth of future branches and foliage.
 
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Lots of sleepless nights/Photo Bomb!  
09.27am 04.03.2011
 
 
The thing about writing a journal is that it can be difficult to keep up consistently. The fact is that most of the time when I feel the urge to update, I'm likely running low on time, energy, or patience-- or all three. The passage of time stacks entries on a mental list as long as my arm of things I should write about, compounding, at times, my reluctance to write. And thus the list grows, and time passes, and nothing is written until mornings like this one.

Some time ago my art career lurched to life, and so far it hasn't stopped. In the past two months I have done art for an MLK Day art show and open mic, three mixed media pieces which rank among the largest works I've ever attempted. Unfortunately when I went to snap photos of them on the wall I discovered them damaged and hidden in the basement of the gallery behind a pile of disused furniture. Yes, there was a lot of bad noise, and eventually the person responsible did apologise, but not before making things far worse than they needed to be by trying to intimidate me into thinking it was somehow my fault. The three were called 'Free Ride', a painting of a burning bus in tribute to the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement; March Into Infinity, with MLK linking arms with his fellow protesters at the head of a march; and Judge Lynch, a rather eerie piece inspired by the infamous 1930's photo of the lynching of two young black men, Thomas Shipp and Abraham Smith, the iconic and horrific nature of which went on to become an early rallying cry for an end to racial inequality in America.

Following that I got rather sick, eventually landing myself in the hospital with bronchitis which would literally make me cough until I passed out, and then I'd wake up choking on phlegm. It was a surreal, intensely unpleasant experience.Both life and artwork basically stopped dead for two weeks last month while I coughed, and coughed, and coughed. The good news is that all the flexing has been wonderful for my ab muscles. Hello, four-pack.

Despite beign sick I still managed to do a pair of sneakers last month, pictured below. Following closely on its heels came a skateboard deck, also below, which was auctioned off for a local nonprofit (Division Street Skatepark Project, or DSSP) which is working towards building a proper skate park here in town. While I haven't yet gotten a final figure on how much it went for, four bids had put it up to $80 before I left the auction to go home and go to bed. While I made no money from it, the exposure was immense, as literally about 800 people attended the event, with photos and video popping up all over the Net. Also did an airbrushed t-shirt for the shop, where I'll be doing an interior mural soon.

I am also editing the manuscript of a book written by a man whose former employer, a certain worldwide computer software company, gave him the shaft and served him up to the wolves when they needed a scapegoat to dangle before Federal investigators. Whether or not I sympathize with him is irrelevant, whether or not he brought it upon himself (and it what measure) similarly doesn't matter, at least not to me. Fact is, I'm a paid, and soon published, book editor.

As I grow older and I feel my lifespan growing shorter, I find myself pushing my art to new extremes so quickly I can only be making up for lost time. As a younger man I lacked the sense of self-assuredness and identity needed to truly make my art live. Looking back on even my best work from years past I find, at best, morbid renderings of my own discontent. In many ways that discontent bled into the art itself, defying technique and even completion to somehow still look lifeless. Now I find my art exploding with meanings and messages, endless permutations spelled out in a private graphic language which I had to find within myself and embrace before it could fuel anything. Now my art creeps out into the world like the tentacles of a monster, bearing with it my most buried and subversive thoughts laid bare. Someone recently told me, "You've got that style. That kinda... style, I dunno what it is, but it's yours. I love everything of yours I've ever seen." I don't even fantasize about compliments like that, they're so rare.

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Everything Is Normal

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+Blipverts+ art, photos
 
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Writhe and shine  
02.41pm 08.01.2011
 
 

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My writing has once again lapsed, primarily because I have been so busy lately. As I keep saying, for a guy with "no job", I am awfully busy.

First off, the holidays were the usual bucket of stress and trouble, but in the end things turned out nicely. I was able to give a couple of small gifts to a few people I love, and in return I got a few very awesome things, like an air compressor to run my airbrush with here at home. I sent my little sister a hat I did just for her, and the game 'Life'. To Megan I gave a jigsaw puzzle featuring art from the Beatles' film 'Yellow Submarine', and to her nephew Ryan I gave a graphic novel. I also received coffee, a gold mesh coffee filter, paint, paint pens and other art supplies, blank t-shirts, and a couple of books I've been wanting to read. In the end it was just the immediate family, with Ryan and his parents in Idaho with another branch of the family and my mother in Portland with a dead car. I hate to admit it in light of my earlier pessimism, but it was a low-key good time.

Right around Xmas was a sudden jolt of life to my art career, which included doing a pair of custom sneakers for a client (a guy nicknamed 'Sharkbait') through Showcase, the clothing shop I work with downtown. I undercharged on my first paid gig because I literally didn't know how much I could reasonably ask for, a mistake I will not make again. Nevertheless I delivered a kickass pair of shoes. I also picked up three pairs of roller skates from a shop which supplies the local roller derby scene, which will be used as display models at the shop. In return for this the girl who runs the place is setting Megan up with a pair of skates worthy of using (the ones I am painting are old rental skates from the 60's and 70's which weigh about three pounds each); after delivering the first pair they offered to let me work through their shop on a similar arrangement to the one I have with Showcase, that is, they'll display my work, take orders for custom art from customers, and pet me nicely when I ask. In return they get a cut of my fee and the reputation of having an awesome in-house artist who takes custom orders. Just yesterday I also picked up my first shipment of blank t-shirts from Showcase, which I will do custom graffiti art on, and will then be sold in the shop. After I got home I received an email from the girl at Roller Doll; she had two customers wanting their derby helmets painted, and wanted to know what I would charge. So today's big tasks include cleaning up the art studio and working out a price list for my services...

In addition to this I am also trying to line up a DJing gig at a local retirement home, of all places. I talked to them about doing remixed jazz for their entertainment night like two months ago; they found my info on a "tiny slip of paper buried on a desk", read it, and called me back finally. I'll be dropping a pro bono set on the 29th to see if the old folks dig what I'm doing to their music, and if they do, I'll likely be invited back on a regular (and paid) basis. Oh, and I'm doing some art to be featured in a collaborative show celebrating MLK day-- another entry for today's list: concept art.

More art pics under the cut.Collapse )

2011 is going to be a busy year for me.
+Coordinates+ bedroomspace
+Sensation+ accomplishedaccomplished
+Blipverts+ art, photos
 
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The Death Card  
12.44pm 14.12.2010
 
 
In the Tarot deck, the Death card (trump no. 13) is perhaps the most notorious and misunderstood card next to trump 15, the Devil. Despite its grim imagery the Death card is generally read as a card implying deep change, to the point where what comes before is (or appears to be) destroyed. Generally what I tell people whose readings draw this card is that death itself is neither good nor bad, but rather just an unavoidable fact. I go on to say that it is our reaction to it which creates the major changes in life. It is a point of departure and a catalyst; it is our perception which turn it into tragedy.

An old friend of mine recently wrote an entry-a-day countdown to her birthday in her blog, with each entry revealing something about her past, particularly past birthdays, which her normally reserved personality would not allow her to write. One of those entries dealt with the day she learned of a mutual friend of ours' fatal heroin overdose.

Observing grief...Collapse )
 
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Lime Crime  
03.23pm 09.12.2010
 
 
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The sneakers are finished and on display. Finally, after weeks of work, accidents with exploding pens, countless late nights and seemingly innumerable delays, the are finally done and out of my hands. Luckily Carlos at Showcase loved them and has turned me on to more work. Also, while purchasing a pair of Roller Derby tickets for Meg and myself, I happened to notice a large graffiti piece hiding behind some roller derby gear on one of the walls of the shop. The girl I was talking to turned out to be the shop's owner, and the artist was her husband. Consequently I may have made an 'in' for myself custom painting roller skates as well. This is in addition to helping my old friend Marc and his cohorts at Redhand Studios, a shoestring budget indy film outfit here in town, which is an entirely separate adventure.

More pics under the cut.Collapse )
+Coordinates+ Homespace
+Sensation+ accomplishedaccomplished
+Noise+ Dubterrain.net
+Blipverts+ art, photos
 
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So We Meet Again, Clown Lady  
01.31am 03.12.2010
 
 
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Oh, hello there, LJ. I've been so busy I nearly forgot you existed. What's that, you say? You're hurt that I could neglect you after all those hard days and sleepless nights I spent venting my bitterness and disillusionment upon you? Well, that's an understandable position, LJ. I respectfully offer one of my own: I left Deadjournal for you, and I'm one of the few who haven't abandoned you for Facebook. Not entirely, anyways. And in my defense, I have been really busy.

So much crap it took two hours to write.Collapse )
+Sensation+ tiredtired
+Blipverts+ art, photos
 
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From the gutters and back alleys to the High Street shops  
02.17am 16.11.2010
 
 
As I found myself preparing to pound the pavement in search of a job for the millionth time, I decided to take a chance and wrap in plastic and neatly pack some of my graffiti hats in my bag alongside my file folder of resume's. There is a shop downtown specializing in high end hip hop clothing and tattoos called Showcase Ink and Apparel, and after chatting up a fellow airbrushing graffiti art on t-shirts I decided some weeks ago that I should bring my work in to see if they might display it for sale. Click for unexpected success.Collapse )
+Coordinates+ Bed
+Noise+ Coast to Coast AM
+Blipverts+ art
 
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(no subject)  
04.43pm 03.11.2010
 
 
You know what's awesome? Watching the X-files and seeing locations you've actually been to, fifteen years before you were there. As the majority of the series was shot in Vancouver, BC, I've spotted many familiar places, from east Van's distinct alleyways to Whistler Ski Resort, the UBC Campus, various buildings and streets downtown... also once spotted Downtown Van and the Vancouver library specifically on an episode of the Battlestar Gallactica remake series. It was supposed to be Caprica. Just like pieces of Van have apparently been co-opted by Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, West Virginia and dozens of other places. Funny.

Though I have not seen it yet, Meg and I also once stumbled across the filming of a street riot scene for the film 'Battle of Seattle' on the same streets. Talk about surreal... Van is the one city I'd consider moving to, if only because it's so awesome it can impersonate everywhere else.
 
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