This here’s a little pencil work in between my India ink experimentation and the beginning of the Sharpie craze. Not sure what all the shouting and/or surprise is about but this is another one that always makes me stop and take yet another look and wonder what the hell was going through my mind at the time. Enjoy.
Here’s a softer, more human entry into the craze. Tried to do a little light source, shading type stuff with it. Not sure what he’s running from but it must be scary. A wise man once observed that if you see a man running naked down the street in fear, run with that man. If he didn’t have time or didn’t even think to put on pants then whatever danger he’s running from must be fucking frightening, fast-moving or both.
This is something I’ve been doing for years. Every once in a while I’ll just stop and draw one of these contour line compositions. There’s no rhyme or reason to them, I just start drawing lines and more lines until the page is filled. It’s almost like an exercise in a way. Just something I do when I’m not particularly inspired but still feel like drawing something.
As mentioned in the Content tab, here’s one of my Crazed Death Porno works. Lotso fucked up shit going on in this one. I won’t even attempt to explain, as I don’t fully understand it myself. I’ll just touch on the subject of sex and what I do know about myself.
When it comes to sex I don’t think I’m that far from the norm (I use the term loosely, as opinions regarding “normal” sexuality are quite varied). I’m a man, heterosexual, and have fully functioning genitalia. I like sex and I also need a minimum amount of regular sexual release in order to feel somewhat calm and composed. There is a part of me that tends to go a little nuts about sex, in that the more of it I have the more I want. I’ve also noticed that when I have really good, hot monkey love, sex I have trouble handling it in a way. My brain goes into sort of a feedback loop and it takes a long time for me to stop obsessing over the most recent hot monkey love event. Again, I don’t think any of my behavior regarding sex is all that uncommon, as we’ve all heard of men obsessing over sex before. It’s primal, it’s one of the big reasons why our species gets propagated and I think it’s that sort of sex-crazed state of mind that makes up part of what’s going on in the above composition.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I might have been expressing a little anxiety with this composition. Seems appropriate to follow a depression post with anxiety.
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really fear or worry about death so much. The big thing I do worry about is suffering. Of course, that’s where it all seems to fall down for me. Death only comes around once, suffering surrounds us everyday. One could conclude I have a very unwise approach to life in this regard and that would be a very valid judgment if you valued longevity above all else. I’ve always placed value on quality over quantity. I’d much rather have my peace of mind today than a long future ahead of me. So much suffering is endured for the sake of a future that we have no guarantee that we will ever experience. Of course, one cannot truly know pleasure without having first suffered pain but you don’t need to seek out suffering, it will find you all by itself.
I guess most any artist can claim to have wrestled with depression in their life. It would be a little naive to think I’m somehow unique for having had the experience. I guess what I’m driving at is that depression has always been a point of interest for me. I can remember having feelings of frustration, futility and anger as early as grade school when I would fly into angry crying fits when my mother discovered I had once again not done my homework. Sheets and sheets of repetitive arithmetic homework assignments. Concepts I had mastered in the classroom and didn’t need to practice at home. It drove me crazy.
From that beginning I was well on my way to having a lifelong dance with depression. I was eventually tested it was determined I was “gifted”, whatever that means. Gifted students are supposed to be frustrated with the standard curriculum and all they supposedly need is something more to challenge them and make them feel satisfied with their education and not bored out of their minds. I didn’t want more, I wanted less. More specifically, I wanted to be left alone, left to my own devices. Later, this feeling became so strong I took a whole year off from high school, barely showing up half the time. In the end, it took me five full years to graduate (and just barely) with the aid of an extra correspondence course to complete the required amount of course credits.
The only reason I even attempted college was due to my interest in being an artist and the temporary optimism I had gained from pulling myself together enough to graduate high school. I lasted about two semesters before my old habits started to kick in. I quickly tired of doing assignments where I had to draw this or sculpt that. I was learning techniques but my heart wasn’t in it. I did have some sincere enthusiasm for the ceramics classes I took but the professor I kind of connected with soon retired. The other professor was much more interested in his own career and didn’t give a damn about you unless you kissed his ass or were popular enough to be in his little clique of friends at the local coffee shop. All in all, a very discouraging experience for a young man who desperately needed encouragement.
Nowadays, the depression has simply become a part of me. There was a time when I thought I was fighting it but now I simply keep company with it. I use it as a shield against the unforgiving reality we all share. Some say that I might be mentally ill and should seek help but I personally think that anger and depression are appropriate responses to a corrupt and uncompassionate society.
I don’t know, Babs. I got a little wacky with the jaw bone on this one. I also enjoyed drawing the large, stringy tuft of hair on the side of the head. Not sure what the little humanoid dude is going on about. Feh, you figure this one out. Thanks for looking.
Some pre-Sharpie craze work from my 30’s. This is plain ol’ India ink applied with a fine point, metal pen tip. I really enjoyed the fine lines this medium allowed. Working with wet ink is fun and hearing the scratch of the pen tip on the paper while you’re drawing is pretty satisfying as well. I completed a handful of works but in the end I abandoned this medium, as I didn’t like having to clean the pen tips every time I finished.
As for the content, this one gives me a warm fuzzy. I remember enjoying working on the little details inside the grave; the shading, the bugs, the signs of foul play. So much fun at the time. There’s a big part of me that doesn’t fear death or the grave. In a lot of ways it’s very inviting to me. A place where you can go to rest and never be tormented by the troubles of life anymore. A tad morbid, perhaps, but I can’t deny these feelings.
My head explodes with excitement as I present my newest, fucked up, fuzzy skeletonian creation! Drawn only a few hours ago, it is strong evidence that the Sharpie craze is still quite alive and well. While it’s not the most original entry into the craze, it is brand spankin’ new and by yours truly.
First impressions of the content seem to indicate my current stressed state over work and the fact that my right hand is still not quite healed. Dunno, I’ve drawn very similar fuzzy skellies before so it may just be the style I’m working in right now. Anyhow, thanks for taking a look at my very latest.
A quick cat sketch from my 20’s. I just realized I didn’t even bother with whiskers. I think this was an assignment for Drawing I or some shit from college. Not much sincere content here, just trying to impress the teacher. I did draw all this from memory though, no actual cat was involved (I guess the absence of whiskers was a giveaway). Back when my youthful optimism was driving me to work on my technique, use different hardnesses of pencils and draw cutesy, positive images. Bleah.
Here’s an interesting one from the early phases of the Sharpie craze when I was still working with just the one old Sharpie I found in the kitchen drawer. This is definitely a self-portrait and a prime example of what I mean when I say that I don’t know what I’m going to end up drawing until it’s done. Allow me to explain.
I do know for a fact that I began with the face and head, worked down the neck, then the large misshapen chest mass and finally the body. You can see all this in my technique, as it gets lazier and more impatient as I go along. The hastily added black liquid at the bottom the figure is wading through was used to partly cover a botched left hand. All of these things I remember clearly.
What I didn’t know was that I drew the head and chest mass erupting from the body. When I showed the completed drawing to my wife she pointed this fact out to me. It’s quite obvious. You can see the difference in texture between the chest mass and the torn flaps of skin around it. It’s the entire focal point of this composition and I didn’t know it at the time. I think it’s partly because I drew the whole thing backwards. I effectively misdirected myself, much like a magician will force the audience to look at the wrong thing in order to pull off their illusion. I fooled myself into drawing this eruption.
Another entry from my digital experimentation. This one is easily my favorite so far. As I mentioned before, I may end up doing more of these. I think the bold science fair colors I settled on and the sickly pale yellow for the face work well together. I also find it interesting how the mouth ended up looking like an ink splatter; total happy accident there.
Seriously, I should really do a few more of these.
Behold my screaming torso man! This is definitely one of my personal favorites. Of all the fuzzy skeletonian creations I drew during my Sharpie craze I enjoyed this one the most. This must’ve been shortly after I got the ultra fine point Sharpie. My enthusiasm shows in the super fuzzy, massive torso!
Run for your life! Screaming Torso Man is on the loose!
Another entry from my Sharpie craze. A lot of anger in this one I think. That’s all I’m certain of, really. This one doesn’t trigger any specific memories for me. Oh well, I can’t ramble on about everything all the time. Thanks for taking a look.
Here’s some pencil work from when I was about 31 from the looks of the date. The main thing I remember about this was that I drew it to see if I still “had it” so to speak. I hadn’t drawn anything for a long time prior to this. Failing at a BFA in college can do that to you. My technique is a little soft in this composition. I’m right-handed and you can see the whole damn image leaning to the right. Pretty amateur stuff. As far as the content goes, I do see remnants of my college experience in there; the African tribal mask thing, Picasso-esque nose and mouth…
(I’m listening to the Blade Runner soundtrack while I’m typing this. Good gravy did Vangelis have a supreme gift for creating atmosphere! It’s like all of the world is this dark, pathetic, ugly place full of disappointment and soul-crushing ennui yet it’s so comfortable and strangely, overwhelmingly beautiful.)
Getting back to the subject at hand, I think this did sort of mark a new beginning of sorts for me artistically. In the years after this I found myself drawing more, buying sketchbooks, experimenting with black ink and black markers and even starting to scan and digitally fiddle with some of my drawings. A modest rebirth, no doubt, but a personally significant one I think.