So I was watching an episode of Adventure Time called “The Jiggler” (spoiler alert!) where Jake and Finn unwittingly lure a baby creature away from its mother and take it home with them. The baby soon gets sick and basically starts puking blood. Instead of getting help for the poor thing they ultimately decide that all they need to do is plug the hole it’s puking from but the creature has multiple holes on its body it can puke from so they resort to using their collections of glass eyes and eye patches to plug all the holes in an attempt to stop the puking. This was very troubling to me since my abusive fuckhead father had worn a glass eye when he was younger and by the time I knew him always wore an eye patch. So here Jake and Finn have sacrificed their precious collections in a effort to “save” this baby. Moments before the young creature explodes from their gross mistreatment of it, they show a shot of it as a quivering mass with glass eyes shoved into its holes and eye patches strapped around its body, sitting in a puddle of its own puke-blood while still slowly leaking more puke-blood from its many plugged holes. Needless to say, I was more than a little disturbed at this point. When the creature explodes it doesn’t die. Instead, puke-blood goes everywhere and it gets all stretched out like a big rubbery noodle. So now our intelligent heroes panic and decide to gather up the sick, exploded, noodle baby into a pile and just smash it all back together as if it were just a bunch of modeling clay. Maybe I was taking things a little too seriously but by this point I was a little horrified and experienced a legitimate stress response in my gut. Miraculously, smashing the baby back together using brute force doesn’t kill it and after all the kidnapping, abuse and attempted murder they eventually return the baby to its mother.
Now, while I’m a both a fan and creator of disturbing imagery and have great respect and admiration for anyone who can effectively illustrate the weird and stupid things that can happen in a surrealistic dream-like state (pretty much the core of what Adventure Time is about), this particular episode really hit just a tad too close to home for me. Anyway, long story short: I watched “The Jiggler” and afterwards I drew the image you see above.
I’ve been concentrating on relaxing lately. Getting back to my old habits of tuning out, wasting time and just resting. Before this blog, before getting back into my art. Just a nihilistic defeatism without hope, without dreams, without pain (or as close as I could get to it). I would often play the game of thinking about being homeless. Wondering what it would be like to not have a job, not have bills to pay, not have any “social responsibilities” or whatever you call them. Just existing as a non-entity, a virtual zombie as it were.
As a teenager, during my first of two senior years in high school I would often skip school to go down to the local creek and lay out on this big flat rock in the middle of the stream and just close my eyes and listen to the water flowing around me. I miss that rock, that sound, that simplicity. The freedom to just let everything fall apart. Nowadays, I still hear water but I’m in a row boat with a slow leak. If I stop rowing, if I stop bailing things get out of hand pretty quickly. I still have the impulse to just chuck it all though.
Perhaps that’s what this abstract monster of blood geysers is all about. Just a little wish fulfillment or a graphic imagining of the violence and destruction that would result in my life if I just gave the fuck up.
This is the only honest to goodness, actually attempting a photographic likeness, self-portrait I have ever done. This was completed when I was 19 years old. Early college, when I was all ambitious, arrogant and very serious about myself. At the time I was all like, “I’m gonna draw myself using two mirrors, man! That way what I draw will be an actual likeness of myself and not just a mirror image!” And so I did. I used two mirrors, concentrated very hard, narcissistically paid special attention to my eyes and pursed lips and, in the end, screwed the whole thing up by making the distance from the tip of my nose to my chin noticeably shorter than it actually is. Eh, whatcha gonna do. I was young, dumb and fulla cum. The odds of me not screwing this up were pretty slim to begin with.
Have a good new year. I plan to get drunk and burn shit.
More stuff from my past. The creature at the bottom was probably the result of me playing the original NES Rygar game too much. Looks a little like one of the level bosses. I loved Rygar. There was no time limit, no score, just a quest to complete and you could take your own sweet time. My kinda game.
Anyway, I’m sure there’s lots of symbolism in this one but I’ve never really gave it much thought. Maybe the little guy hanging below and inside the powerful beast man is supposed to be my vulnerable, inner self, preferring to die rather than face the difficulties and pain of life. Or maybe he’s just too tired from playing Rygar.
Here’s some more of my drawing backstory from high school. Strong dad influences in this one (and, for some reason, a dash of Marlon Brando). Also some beastman type stuff going on in there, probably from watching too many episodes of Manimal.
Anyway, my dad got one of his eyes shot out with a bee-bee gun as a kid. He apparently had a glass eye for a while when he was younger but by the time I knew him he was sporting an eye patch. That combined with his dark, curly hair gave him a decidedly pirate look. Thinking about it now, he would’ve looked much more awesome if he’d had a semi-translucent plate riveted over his bad eye, as pictured above. Would’ve given him a much cooler, cyborg, road warrior look.
While using my new gray markers my mind was on the subject of color tones. I noticed how stacking progressively darker tones on top of lighter tones was having an interesting effect and, boing!, I remembered an exercise in one of my early art classes where we were instructed to find the gray tone of a color using only pencil. I think we used some color magazine photos to work from and our work was checked by the teacher making a non-color photocopy of the magazine images and comparing the gray tones we drew to the gray tones in the photocopied image. All in all, a very good exercise, very memorable.
Anyway, I got a little ambitious and thought about what would happen if I reversed that scenario? What if I tried to see only the gray tones in colors and attempted to draw with them as though I was completely color blind? As it was, I was stacking two or three gray tones before finishing with black on the previous images in this trilogy, therefore, two or three colors should be used in this experiment. To keep things fairly simple I settled on the three primary colors: yellow, red and blue. Yellow obviously having the lightest tone and blue the darkest. I started with yellow (bad for the eyes, by the way) and began stacking, finishing with black. What you see above is the end result. I’m happy to say I think I succeeded. If you grayscale this image it looks pretty similar to the others. Yay! Go me!
Well, I’ll stop wanking now and let you enjoy the final entry in my latest Octoberween trilogy.
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.
This one always makes me pause. I remember first getting into drawing skulls and skeletons in high school. I once asked a guest psychology teacher in my English class what they meant and he said it was generally considered to be a fear of the future. At the time, what he said didn’t mean much to me. Over the years I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot of truth to that answer.
Honestly, though, it is a bit more complicated than that. I’ve always loved books about the human body, skulls and skeletons have always been symbols of hardcore coolness and rebellion to me and the best test score I ever got in Advanced Biology in high school was the human skeleton test. Feh, it’s never simple, is it?