Hello Folks! I know it's been a while since I have posted. I plan to get a lot more regular with it this year. Just been a little on the busy side. Here is a new eggshell painting I just finished! I had a lot of fun painting this one!
*Warning - This is an excerpt from a book I am working on which is basically an autobiography, that I am aware I am not ready for. It is unedited.
My natural tendency is too much. I eat too much, I drink too much. I paint to much. I read too much. Everything is in excess and extremes. I don't do small easily. I'm probably crazy. And I like to have fun, I freely admit it. But it has to come with balance. You can't do what I do with out a lot of really hard work! So I've had to create rules for myself in order to keep it in check. Never doubling up on sensations, for example or drinking when I'm depressed. Whether it's eating or drinking, I can't let it get out of control. And it does... when you find yourself partying all night with a rockstar and someone says at five am "did we lose the midget?" You might be out getting out of control - bring it back in. The midget comes back into the story later.
I post a lot of stuff about working out and staying in good physical shape because I believe that by me doing it someone else might do it too. I never tell anyone what to do. I just "do" and hope it inspires.
But, I've really never written about why I paint. Sure I could say it was the only thing I was ever good at. But that's not completely true. I was a bartender, and cook for a while and loved both. I also came very close to getting a degree in Psychology, which is still on my mind. (Pun not intended, realized it after the sentence was written). But art just took over. I often say I didn't choose it, it chose me. I find that many artists have a lot of similar struggles in life. Most have anxiety issues, awkwardness, social dysfunction, bad at relationships, drug and alcohol problems, and often downright mental illness.
You add to that a horrible childhood and you may have some serious talent.
Add to that mix one alcoholic parent and it can lead to you being the best of the best.
And if you're lucky enough to get one of your parents into a mental institution, you may turn out to be an absolute genius - if you can get passed the mess.
I think Frank McCourt said that a normal childhood is hardly worth living. I agree, but I have no choice in it.
Kurt Vonnegut's mother was in an institution, and Schopenhauer's mother pushed him down a flight of stairs. That's the company you can keep with just one insane parent.
I did a great deal of partying before I was even close to 21. People thought my brother and I were destined for jail or mopping floors. We have both mopped our share of floors by the way. It's not fun. The good part of partying like that when you are young, is that you get it out of your system. When I finally went to college, I watched all the kids who led sheltered lives in high school go nuts at the parties and bars while I was drawing and working, I'd already done that. When In my sophomore year I found out Disney was coming to town looking for 30 students for an internship for the following summer that sealed it. I was in work mode. I had one year to make that happen. I did it and I won't repeat that whole story here. I was bartending at the time so believe me I still had my share of fun. But my work always kept the fun from getting out of hand. Always kept me in check, I can't paint on even one drink. And Ive tried. Every once in a while I get cocky in the middle of a painting and think "why not have a drink I'm good enough!" - No I'm not. Neither are you.
After art school I moved to Arizona and began teaching figure drawing at Scottsdale Artist's School. I was broke as most kids are who just graduated art school. A friend of mind rented me a bedroom in his house for $200 a month until I got on my feet. He was an alcoholic. Brilliant, but an alcoholic. The other girl in the house was a drug addict and a high school guidance counselor. Oh, some day when I tell that story! Her boyfriend was a member of a well known bluegrass band in the area. They would play at a bar and all come back to the house to party several nights a week, sometimes all week long. So you can already imagine me in my little room trying to paint and draw with all this going on. Even back then I liked to paint from life so I would hire models and bring them back to my little bedroom and I'm there painting with a nude or half nude model in the room and outside the door are 100 screaming drunk people and a live band. I swear it's true. Only a dedicated artist or a nut-case would be at a loud party with a half naked girl, and spend the time painting! I'll post a link to this on FB and at least one or two people including one or two of the above mentioned models can confirm it. (The drawing above of the girl in pink was one I did at that time) Sometimes after I was done painting, I did join the party, usually late, around midnight or later but believe me the party was still going on.
So here is a story you have to pay attention to - OK, pay close attention, may involve some interpretation if ya know what I mean.
So, one night at the party in the living room, someone had a can of coke with them and offered me a sip. I said I don't drink soda. They said, one sip won't kill you. She was cute, and so I thought, well one sip won't kill me. Nothing will do you in faster than cute. So we had a great time, and I woke up in the morning and thought, "That was amazing!, we need to get a six pack of that coke and do it again tonight. I love soda now!" And something in my brain clicked on and said in a deep god-like voice "you can't control this, it's too powerful" And my study in psychology kicked in and I realized that association was also a large factor here with my desire to repeat the night. And so I didn't do it. I stayed in the next night and painted. I never had another drop of that coke since. One time and done. I knew I couldn't control it, and it would effect my painting and that couldn't happen. So painting saved my life that night.
I'm guessing at this point maybe one or two of you are still reading this far. I hope you are amused, I try to keep it fun. If you are reading this, on my Facbook page on the link to this post leave a comment - "I liked the part about the pineapple" And I'll send you a treat in the mail. I love a random joke that makes no sense. But back to the story...
No matter what happens, it's painting to the rescue. If I get turned down for a job, I don't go to the bar, I paint more not less! If some one of you lovely ladies rips my heart out Indiana Jones style and takes a big bite out of it, I take it out on a painting. If you were to look at a timeline of my work you can actually see where the really bad break-ups are by the paintings I made at the time. Anything, anything at all I turn to painting as the solution. One ex said to me, after a horrible break-up "Are you going to be OK?" I smiled and said "I'll be sad, but that will be the worst of it" She said "What are you going to do?" I said "What I always do... paint". The painting to the right is completely inspired by a bad relationship. It's called "Almost". I've never admitted that publicly before. I say the opposite.
Picasso said "Artist's lie to tell the truth"
I lie because I told the truth.
The painting to the right is titled "A Shoulder To Cry On" I painted it when a friends of mine's father was very ill. The idea was that a gourd and and eggplant are very different. I wanted to see if I could create sympathy by the placement of the objects. The person who bought it caught it immediately. Part of me wishes I didn't sell it. Those paintings are my kids, and I love every one of them. Even the bad ones. I spoke to an artist not long ago who said "I never painted anything I loved" I was floored, jaw droppingly floored. I don't know what gets him up in the morning. I have paintings I'll never sell. Never. Don't care what I'm offered. Don't confuse that with me thinking I'm great - it's not ego. It's about connections, It's about creating a moment you can never get back.
I've said above I can't paint with even one drink and I paint almost all day long every day when I'm not at a show. I can't paint hung over either so that keeps me good the night before too. I also can't paint on any sort of pill or medication. So I've had to learn to
control anxiety, control when I go to sleep, and when I wake up because
I can't take anything at all. Maybe Advil but that's it. My demons,
unfortunately are all under my own control... well, as best as they can
be. When I first met my demons I tried fighting them, after a while I just decided to clear out a drawer for them, The upside is that I am who I am, naturally. There is probably something wrong with me, no definitely something wrong with me. I've been told I have ADD, Bipolar Disorder, and my favorite a Peter Pan complex. I don't know, don't much care. Something makes me get up at eight or nine am and paint until two or three in the morning every day. Something makes me feel like Superman half the time, and I'll even take those bad days because they come with the good ones. I do yoga, work out, eat right, those three help. Maybe some pill can even things out, I don't know, I'll never know because whatever I have, I'm not messing with it. I refuse to live in mental mediocrity. So If I'm crazy, I'll take it, because I like my crazy right where it is. I don't see posts like this often. It takes guts you know. I'm bearing my soul so that one of you may read this and say, hey, me too, at the risk of negative comments and getting made fun of. Oh well, time to go paint.
As far as I'm concerned, I've never painted anything that I consider
pornographic. (Well, I've never released anything anyway.) And calling
me a pornographer or saying I make porn is nothing more than an insult.
Yet it happens a lot. But here is an interesting observation: When a model has big breasts, it gets
called pornography, when she has small breasts, no one says s#$!t. In my
print book at shows I have to tape off the two paintings on the left.
The one with claws and the nude in the mask. I get where the claws might be considered Pin-Up, that was the goal. But I consider the Mask painting tasteful. And yet both have had to be covered with tape in my printbook at shows. The two on the right have been in my book for two years (no tape) and
not one single person has ever complained...
The two above are both of the same model from the same modeling session. She took both poses. No one has ever called the one on the left porn, but they have the one on the right. Makes no sense to me.
The painting to the left originally looked like the bottom pose. I got a ton of complaints on it and it too was called "porn". So I changed the costume to all black. Now no one calls it porn anymore but it really is the same pose. And I'll be honest, the pose could be considered pornographic even with the costume!
And here is a painting I did from life - There is no way I'd consider that porn...
And lastly, the one on the left has taken a lot of hits. So many I took it offline. I don't consider it porn at all. I painted it from life. It's one of the best heads I have painted. I'm really proud of it...Now the one on the right I think might be sexier than the one on the left, and no one says anything.
I had this conversation with a friend and he suggest I list them and do a blog post on it:
Ten real reasons to avoid fast food - Even if you're just a regular guy or gal who doesn't give a crap about gluten, doesn’t know what Quinoa is, and has no idea how to handle Vegans, even in conversation.
10. Although they claim 100% real beef. McDonalds and Burger King have been caught using Soy fillers, Pink Slime, horse meat, and a ton of chemicals in their burgers. Oh? They say they stopped using pink slime? Good for them. How exactly do I know that for sure though? It’s not like I can watch them grinding the meat and packaging it up right in front of me like I can at the grocery store.
9. Hydrolyzed Soy Protein is MSG with a different name. One of those magic ingredients in KFC is MSG. WTF right? LOL.
8. If you don’t already know, and if you don’t, you might be living in a closet - look into the effects of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Those sodas are killing you. Almost every fast food restaurant’s beverage has High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. Google the effects but it has been accused of preventing the brain from realizing you are full, which means while drinking it you can just keep eating and eating. If that’s not scary enough, it’s been accused of blocking vitamin absorption also.
7. McDonalds' Chicken McNuggets and Taco Bell have both been accused of using fake meat, no meat, powdered meat, chicken beaks, feet, etc. I have no idea if it’s true or not, but you know what, I’ll take their word for it and stay away. Not worth the risk.
6. Remember those Dunkin Donuts commercials where the fat guy is up before the sunrise - “Time to Make the Donuts...” Not anymore. Dunkin Donuts doesn’t make them on location anymore. They are shipped frozen and then defrosted and decorated in the store... Time to defrost the donuts just does not have the same appeal.
5. Ever say “I might as well eat that in the bathroom” when referring to fast food? Well, as it turns out some of the companies are being accused of putting a chemical in their burgers that has an effect like a laxative. Yay!! Again, even if it’s not true - Why take a chance on that!? It's disgusting.
4. A dollar menu. A dollar menu? A dollar menu!!?? How dumb or drunk do you have to be to want to eat food that costs a dollar. Have some self respect and go to the grocery store. Try this -buy ground beef, real cheese, fresh bread or buns, a potato, and a bottle of club soda. See how many burgers you can make from 1lb of beef and add up the costs. It’s a lot more than a buck... so if they can charge only a buck, what do you think you are eating? It’s not beef. And if you are hiding behind the broke thing - Don't. I'll send you a list of a dozen ways to eat healthy for less money than fast food.
3. Fast Food will make you fat. Oh, and stupid actually but see #1 for that. The average fast food meal has 1,200 to 2,000 calories and between 50 and 100 grams of fat. Which means that one fast food meal is all of the food you should eat that day. And there is no nutrition in it. Nutrients are what fill you up and tell the brain to stop eating. So eating food with no nutrients will make you hungry again in an hour or so. Here’s a trick when you’re hungry. Eat a hard boiled egg and wait ten minutes. See what happens.
2. #@$!* them and their advertising tricks. When I was a kid it was “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun." It described the burger, in a catchy way, told you what you were getting. Good job. So what do they do today? They reduced the quality, added a bunch of salts, chemicals and fillers, and changed the slogan to “I’m loving it” Well you know what, I’m not loving it. And stop using the phrase “Comfort Food” There is no such thing as comfort food. They made it up! If you want to feel better emotionally go work out. Join a gym, do Yoga in your living room, go for a walk, whatever. Just get off your ass. Working out effects your brain the same way as sex and alcohol. (I highly recommend all three at the same time, if you can swing it). Working out also reduces stress way more effectively than fattening foods. But don’t think for a second that if you have a crappy day at work, an Arby’s processed roast beef sandwich on a frozen bun covered in butter flavored oil and garlic powder, and smothered in canned cheese will make you feel better. It won’t make your day “not sh!$#y”. It will make you fat, bloated, and lazy on top of it, and then tomorrow will be sh!$#y too.
1. Fast Food will make you dumber. It’s true! Foods with a lot of nutrients fill you up and feed your brain. Fruits, vegetables, eggs, non-processed meats, salads, beans, and yogurt, to name a few, will all help make you smarter. Trade in that Egg McMuffin for yogurt and a banana and look at the difference in your day. Foods low in Nutrients can make you feel hungry again quickly and do not get the proper nutrients to your brain... which means fast food will make you fat and stupid... Which is no way to go through life my son.