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.