Storytelling junky, comic book addict, noise saturation of the gray matter, a stream of conscience on being an artist and swearing off the apron of expectation in this, the strangest of shadowy worlds.
The creativity is still flowing, ordering the cells and matter and viscera of my body to do things I find questionable. Until I see where it's all going, of course.
The wallet is still on a forced diet and looking rather peaked, but hey, every shape has a bottom.
As for artistic pontification for this day: I like Pilot Precise V5 extra fine rolling ball pens. And composition notebooks for 99 cents. They're both cheap and neither one facilitates the expectation of laying down a line worthy of a samurai poet expressing his innermost thought in the sand before a great battle. The 5 for 6 bucks pens from Office Max and the black & white tomes of cheaply pressed pulp offer an anonymity of production, an existence that can be stricken from all existence at a moment's notice with the slightest loss of resources to the owner. A comfortable position over immortalized experimentation indeed.
And, if you can learn to strike the blue lines from the paper with your mind while you're drawing, using it as a virgin canvas regardless of the neon pin-striping on every page, then you'll find you can draw on dern near anything afterward. Another thing, a lot of stores have been cashing in on the retro-vibe and trying to sell these notebooks for upwards of around 2 to 3 bucks. Don't fall for it. Attack your local Target at 'back-to-school-time' and go home with a fistful of them for 99 cents each. Off season they carry them for a whopping 1.10, I think. Just make sure they're made anywhere but China. That goes for anything, really. There's the argument that boycotting China really only hurts the people. That's false. The government is doing everything in its power to annihilate the population of their people already, and buying, or not buying, from Wal-Mart isn't going to save one ragged breath from the sucker-punched lungs of a Chinese peasant. Not buying from China means that another buck fifty isn't going into the government's pocket while they bludgeon the mantle of most F'd up superpower on Earth from the likes of Atlantis, Rome, Persia, England, America and Ohio.
But alas, the clock is reading in single digits and the sky is as dark as a metropolitan sky can get. I'll run away on a ethically flogging rant next time I check my e-mails from Amnesty International. Not now.
Now is a time of celebration! A mingling menagerie of pagan traditions with ol' standards, to clasp hands and clap backs and suck down spirits in the name of...something or other. I've never really gotten into the holiday mindwarp, so I'm pretty comfortable on the outside looking in. I am, however, doing the classic gig of going 'home' for a few days. Seeing the heathens who spawned me and unleashed me upon this unsuspecting world. I am their gift...and their burden. As are most organic productions showing signs of a pulse and a desire to communicate after being discovered. What do do indeed? Choose wisely the shadowy corners of ill repute to prod, for they are the most tempting and generous with gifts of unspecified expiration dates.
And now I see that some time has passed and it's a larger slip than I thought it would be. There is ink to be spilled and hours yet til the sun comes to leer over my shoulder.
I'm still in Chicago, and I still love it. I am, however, beginning to feel the crush. The rising pressure that's normally kept at bay by having a balance of resources in the store. The scale is starting to show signs of teetering, the brass needle wavering towards the edge of the zenith.
A job would probably fix that.
The state of employment here is, to say the least, feudal. Those that have managed to retain their place among the commonwealth are tempting arthritis, their knuckles white, the scabbed skin threatening to rip and bare cartilage to the cannibal bureaucrats with labor bloodied teeth.
Enough with the dramatics!
This does not mean I have been sitting idle. Just the opposite. I've been searching, scouring and proffering my skills as an artist like a rabid gambler. Institutions and individuals alike have made their desire for an artist public, and I have brazenly littered their electric landscape with my wares.
One amazing shift is the opportunity of such...opportunity, as an artist here in Chicago. Seattle was a soggy wasteland of whispers, daydreams and personal testing ground for skills and boundaries thereof, at least for me. Not an actual playground or launch pad for anybody not already 'in the scene'. Chicago is proving itself to be a virtual arena of ink & paint stained warriors, all vying for the attention of an appreciative people bearing just rewards. There's exceptions, of course. I've mentioned one Michelle Knowlen, who's still residing in the American wetlands of Washington and striking a rather impressive chord in this static din of today's day & age. Her artwork is recognized in far off lands, that is, Europa, and beyond.
Contradictions aside, I will now go into what and how I'm holding fast to banishing the Apron from my life, in lieu of late nights and pigment covered fingers.
Craig's List. Out here Craig's List is a wealth of opportunity. A lottery, if you will. Every day there is another post under the art related banners for something, some...thing that somebody can do with their hands and brains that others cannot.
Another is this new conterpart to Craig's List, called Kijiji. Similar, but it's young and still gathering a pool of people to make a community. One supercool thing is: posting an ad for yourself, letting others know what you can do, and that you are indeed available for creative work, is Free. Yeah, that's right. Free. Nice. You can even upload images (up to 8, with a good size alotment) to prove your point.
Also, every bulletin board I've passed in the city has had some sort of creative bent to it. There are ideas there, if not actual propositions of a profitable nature.
And of course, punching keywords followed by the city name (in my case Chicago) into Google, or your favorite search engine (besides the spineless, scabby kneed Yahoo), and seing what rises to the surface first. Example: publishing house Chicago.
What'd I get? Tate Publishing. Are they hiring? I can talk pretty and spell words in language, kinda. No, but they do need illustrators. I send them an email loaded with links to my online galleries. A day later I receive an email telling me they're reviewing my work and will let me know if/when they'll want an interview.
NBC? CBS? Warner Brothers? They aren't run by robots from the future. There's a billion people needed to make the tripe found on any given channel at any given time. And this is America we're talking about. The days of every kid growing up and going to college fell away with the fins on grandad's Buick. Make a resume, upload your work to Picasa, or some other free online image hosting site, and email these fools. Is TV the goal? For some, but if not, what the hell? It's a gig you can divorce yourself from after you get off, a gig that you can learn an incredible amount through sheer speed of process, and it's job secuity because television is the one thing that will always thrive when luxury takes one in the face from our thuggish economy. And you'll still be doing something relatively creative, or at the very least banding together with creative people working that system until they can make their own. And until you can make your own. If you live in a hub of this country, check out their website and take a peek at the jobs available. It's crazy. Really. You'll be shocked.
And one other place: art supply stores. I was in one today and they had a board dedicated to artists and artists only. Selling ther serivces, calling out for partners, like minds, revealing resources to fellow storytellers.
So that's what I've been doing. The pressure is mounting, but looking at it from a pace or two back now, I see that it has only been about a week, week and a half at most, since I got here. It's only been two days since I sent in my work for consideration for an upstart comic book company, one day since the publishing house caontacted me, three days since I emialed the advertizing agency, the other publishing house asking for illustrators. They have things to do too, and unlike me at the moment, they have a punch out time. So I guess this little chunk of words is about patience in the face of anxious talent (if I may be so bold). And I'm currently working on some cover sketches for a magazine that emailed me back with interest in my style and wants to see if I'm right for the job. So, it's all happening.
I actually need to get cracking on those designs because Nadja threw her attention their way as well, and they told her they like what she does too. Which is a real special kind of cool and suck at the same time. And her sketches are looking a lot better than mine.
I leave you now with a few images of where I'm dwelling.
It's been a while. Not much can be done about that, so I'll ignore it and move forward.
I'm living again. As appose to voluntarily keeping myself in stasis.
Meaning, I've been holed up in the 'Great' Northwest for the last 5 or 6 years. Now I'm out and hitting the ground running. Footfalls slapping the street and leaving tread all over Chicago, Illinois. It's been a few days since we arrived. The novelty has not worn off and I doubt it ever will. Time will be my judge.
My theory on the last 5 to 6 years is that I was whisked away on a necessary adventure to test my own mettle, find out what I can really do, and do well. I think I have. Again, time will be my judge. This in itself was due to my stunning and impeccable warrior sister Nettie, whom you'll hear about often and at length to a repulsive degree, I'm sure.
Also, to meet a few much needed comrades in this, the strangest of times. My personal friend, and co-discoverer of the Post-Nada movement: Michelle Knowlen. Check out her dark little playground of mental aversions to the right, at Eggman Studios. Then there's the novelist Elsa Watson (http://www.amazon.com/Maid-Marian-Novel-Elsa-Watson/dp/1400082765/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229042962&sr=8-1) and her partner in crimes against the status quo, Kol Medina. Amy Spleen, who'll show up more to the right once I find out where she might be hiding on this world wide web. An artist to be reckoned with, to be sure. Charley Pavlosky, with whom many cinematic adventures have been met and mastered. Christina Marie, Suzy Redfern, others and others. They 'll pop up sooner or later.
Another reason: from the saftey of the land the Hopi deserted for lack of challenges, I was able to veture to India, Austria, here, there, back again. All of it, and everyone that has become integral to who I've become, are tangled in my intrepid armor of mental thread. You'll come to know them as brothers and sisters soon enough. Ben, Abe, Nettie, Ari, all of them.
And, lest I impale myself on my own sword, I must reveal the true puissance, the sinew and tendon weaver of my constant creation engine: Nadja Smith (the 3rd co-founder of Post-Nada). Like a newly minted Replicant, I drive on with little to no regard for expiration or injury in my forays with art and the world in general.
Enough! Enough! Enough about me and mine, let's get back to just me.
Below you will also notice a few new paintings. These are my latest spear thrusts into my mission of living by my own means as a professional artist. I have been painting comic book covers in acrylic. I love it. I paint it right on the BlueLine art board (3 ply). I'm thinking of painting everything on art board from here on out. The way it the paint slips right across the paper, exactly where you want it to go. The layering and mixing. The drying and blending. It's all too perfect. For me anyway. I can see how someone can fall in love with the atavistic rough hewn canvas, even addicted to it, snubbing such things as paper and all its slick contemporaties, but not me. I'm in the pulp for the long haul now.
Ecologically unsound, you say?
Well yes, that's true. If any of you find 11"x17" art board that's been recycled to a planet friendly level, let me know and I'll drop what I'm doing.
I'm waiting for the returns on the comic covers. Copies of which are sitting on editor's desks, in their computers or molding at the bottom of their trash cans.
No news is good news with Gary Gnus, is what I say. Or rather, what Gary said.
When I know you will too. And with that sentiment I will leave. The times ahead are strange and kinetic indeed. Moving, paths crossing, shadows, smoke and mirrors. Who knows what's what until we hit something. Well, I guess we will.