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.
I did land a job, briefly, working nights at a hotel. It was messed up from the beginning, however; it was a second try at a place where I didn't have much of a reception the first time, and despite getting the job it went downhill from there. From screwed up technology to a workplace culture of open paranoia and fear, I knew it wouldn't last. The last two incidents included me realizing that the manager everyone hated so very, very much was someone I worked under at another hotel years ago, someone with whom I had already had it out. Back then she had a different last name, but I have always affectionately called her 'The Evil Clown Lady' due to her striking resemblance to the evil clown character known as Violator from the comic book series Spawn. I hadn't actually seen this woman immediately, and instead was reacquainted with her via her notoriety among those working beneath her. When I did see her, it was from a distance, and I made sure to hide. The other incident involved having a severe allergic reaction to some small swarm of itchy bugs which bit the hell out of me the moment I sat down in the back office, and left me with a torturously itchy rash for three days.
All told I lost almost an entire week of productive life to this accursed night job. The interruption to my sleep schedule, loss of art time, and extreme measures taken by my loved ones to commute me into the city in the middle of the night and back out in the morning when I have a driver's license, all added up to way too much, so I quit. Then a couple weeks later Megan got fired from her new and apparently otherwise successful job as a bread baker, without warning or good reason. Looks like the finances aren't looking so hot after all.
Currently I am working on a pair of shoes (above) for Showcase, the shop downtown. I already completed and handed over the first hat for them, done on a brand new New Era cap, and they loved it. Supposedly I am going to be given more of them soon, as well as blank t-shirts. I was hoping to have the shoes done by today, but they are only two thirds of the way there so I am pulling an all nighter tonight to finish them. Tomorrow is the Art Walk in Bend, and I want to have them on display for the masses, along with the hat. Originally I agreed to come in and airbrush graff onto t-shirts in front of people too, but on account of jobs, snow storms and having my house invaded by hordes of drunken relatives for an entire week, I haven't had nearly the time to trek all the way over to Doug's garage to practice as much as I'd like. Consequently I think I would embarrass myself if I tried to fulfill my promise tomorrow...
It occurred to me earlier today that these sneakers could very well have been made by the hands of slave laborers in some awful foreign factory. The thought came to me as I examined the minute differences in construction between the right shoe and the left, how one seemed to have more loose threads and squiggly stitching ends than the other, how the glue was less expertly applied on one, things of that nature. It reminded me of sweatshop work, where wide quality variances can result from anything, from inconsistent materials to poor working conditions. In places like these oversight is strict, not to turn out a quality product, but to turn out as much product as possible while giving the workers as little as possible. They are made by people who could never afford to pay American retail cost for a packet of Ramen, much less buy a pair of loud, trendy designer sneakers. To think of where these shoes began and where they may end up after passing through my hands, from being what one person might consider a byproduct of pain and an unfair life, to being a canvas for an artist living a life of comparative comfort in another country (not without struggle), to finally being a coveted art object paid for in large sums by someone who wishes to feel a connection to STREET CULTURE of all things, is disorienting at best. Perhaps, when you consider their exploitative foreign roots and the nasty, illegal nature of the graffiti art culture I have studied for so long, which now has made its way from the walls of ghettos, alleys and the undersides of society's infrastructures, through my wide open eyes and twisting memories, to finally land upon these slave-made shoes, only to be sold to the people at the very top of the system, those who can afford custom hand made graffiti art protected by glass cases like a dead, preserved animal in a museum... maybe in a strange way it makes sense, like millionaires who eat chips and drink soda every single day, like coddled artists and rock stars who live behind thick walls of people and money to protect themselves who paradoxically kill themselves off with private addictions to dirty street drugs. Hip-hop, a music which started out as music being made by musically, technically, and poetically untrained youth, is now a multi-billion dollar industry. The raving, drugged-out lunatic Hunter S. Thompson is now afforded all the high-minded literary ass kissing one reserved for men like Keats, Yates, and other one-named legends. The jazz musicians once so pointedly labeled as deviants in conservative propaganda are now revered almost solely by the elderly, our society's most conservative section, as the ever-spoiled youth of today revere countercultural icons so extreme they don't even really exist, except as media constructs, because they are that alternative.
Following the shoes I have a hat to do for a friend featuring the name of his sidewalk food cart, Greek Chariot, which incorporates a picture of Zeus; then it's on to the vaporizer which I promised to that awful wanker Kads Baker nearly two years ago, which I will likely finish and then sell on my own and mail him a check instead of simply kissing my art goodbye and trusting him to pay me for it if and when it sells. After that I have a blank skateboard deck to paint up, which will be auctioned for a local arts promotion nonprofit in February. There are a few people making noises about wanting custom shoes from me, which may or may not mean more paid work, and once I get my airbrushing methods nailed a bit better I will have an endless outlet for one of a kind graff t-shirts. Holy fucking shit, for a guy with no job I am really busy!