Archive for May, 2012


Ah, another fun day of interacting with the public.

The Highlight: A guy in a wheelchair came into the store. I commented on how he had lights on the front wheels, which was pretty awesome. He said he put them on there in November as a seasonal thing, and now it’s May and he’s just that annoying neighbor who never takes down their Christmas lights. Heartwarming, eh?

The Lowlight: A Big Tough Guy screamed slurs at “a couple of dykes” who crossed in front of him (in the crosswalk, no less) and made him have to step on the brakes and slow down his Big Tough Truck. Seriously dude? I seem to remember something from driver’s ed called YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS ALREADY IN CROSSWALK. Yes, even gay ones. Grow a pair, douchenozzle.

And finally, a picture. It was slow as shit at work today. Lucky for me I brought a few of my blank coasters for Asheville Brewing’s coaster art contest. I used a counterfeit detector pen to copy the portrait of George Washington from the dollar bill. Yep, you heard me correctly. DOLLA DOLLA BILL Y’ALL!

 

 

Tonight I attended a presentation on the ideas of Karl Marx put on by the Asheville Socialists. The turnout was pretty good compared to the last AS event I went to – I counted upwards of 20 people. The presentation itself was a bit lacking. The guy who spoke, while definitely intelligent and full of good ideas, is a pretty bad public speaker. He read straight from his notes and went so fast that it was pretty hard to latch onto anything he said. There was a lengthy group discussion afterward, but there were so many different trains of thought going at once that again it was hard to follow. Perhaps someone taking notes might have gotten more out of it, but oh well. The most successful thing about this meeting was that it was very thought-provoking. So now that I’ve had a little time to reflect on some of what was said (which just so happens to line up nicely with the book I’m reading, Reinventing Collapse by Dmitry Orlov)  and to let my mind wander into my own little corners of political thinking, I figured I’d present a few random thoughts about the state of the world today…

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So I managed to get a ride to work on Sunday. From my assistant manager. I decided I didn’t want to go through all that again, so today I just stayed home. But even though I had the day off, I was far from idle.

I worked a little on a commission, finally. I cleaned out the fridge and did a shitload of dishes. I walked to the grocery store. I paid some bills. I hung up a poster. I finished the True Blue newsletter. I cooked an elaborate dinner. I mopped the kitchen floor. I walked to the gas station and bought a fruit pie (which ended up being covered in mold, yay!) Next on the agenda is ripping some CD’s I got from the library, scanning and posting my previously mentioned commission, and getting some rest.

Hopefully my car will be ready tomorrow. I called to check on it, but I’m guessing they closed early today because I didn’t get an answer. Assuming it’s ready, tomorrow will be filled with grocery shopping, library visits, returning the moldy pie, and doing laundry. Eventually I need to get to Target and pick up my pills. And then Wednesday is a discussion about Karl Marx at the Wall Street Coffee House.

So that’s pretty much my week.

My car is still in the shop. Evidently they had to wait on a part to ship. They said it should be ready Monday afternoon, maybe around 1 or 2.

On Sundays and Mondays I work at the gas station, which is around four miles or so from my apartment. It’s no secret that I don’t exactly enjoy my job. Temperatures here have been in the 80’s for the past few days, and I most definitely don’t enjoy the heat. So in short, there’s no way in hell I’m walking to work. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t even have to consider that. But it’s starting to look like that’s the only way I’ll get there.

Monday is Memorial Day and the buses aren’t running. Most of the world doesn’t work for the government, so pretty much everyone I know with a car will be working. No problem. I can miss a day of work, right? As long as I can make it in tomorrow I’ll be fine. Except now it’s looking as though that ain’t happening either.

I haven’t seen my roommate in about two weeks. I’m assuming he’s been staying with his girlfriend. The other day he must have come home long enough to slide a check for the bill money under my door. Yesterday he must have been here long enough to take his toothbrush. But I haven’t seen him. So that means I can probably take his name off the list of People Who Might Be Able To Give Me A Ride. My friends Nici and James have been sharing a car for a while, but they’re both free on Sundays. Except their car is also in the shop and they’ve been relying on Nici’s brother to drive them around. My friend Carly has yoga. My friend Lucie is in West Virginia. Most of my other friends either don’t have cars or live upwards of an hour away. My last hope is my neighbor Angela, who let me use her car last week. She’s in Greenville and isn’t sure what time she’ll be coming home tomorrow.

So basically, I’m out of options. I really need the money, so I’d like to not miss both days. But right now that’s what it’s looking like. Oh well, maybe if I have an extended break I can get this commission done I’ve been procrastinating on, and that will give me a little money. Probably not as much as a day of work, but better than nothing. And I could probably use a day or two to just relax, I’ve been pretty stressed out lately. Of course missing two day’s pay will give me new reasons to stress out, but that’s beside the point. I think.

 

A few random things…..

1. On the car front, turns out there is an internal regulator switch in a car’s alternator, and mine has gone bad. They’re replacing that, and I figured what the hell, they’ll be fixing my oil leak. I’ve milked it as long as I can, if it’s going to screw up everything else in my car I should get it fixed already, bite the bullet and figure out how to pay for it later. That’s Reaganomics for ya.

2. I’ve spent the past half hour tearing apart my room, my art supplies, and stack upon stack of paper and pads looking for a small set of watercolor cards. I have a commission, and she wants it 3.5″ square, so I figured these would be perfect. Problem is I have no idea where the hell they have walked off to. I know I didn’t use all of them, I just don’t know what I did with them. I won’t give up, however. Find them I shall!

3. I have a terrible backache. This post will be just about the last thing I do in a seated position tonight.

4. I finished a new picture the other day, but for some reason I never uploaded it. It’s called Nepobedimaya, which comes from a book I’m reading comparing the pre-collapse economic and social problems of the USSR with those of the current United States. It means undefeatable, and was something the Soviets used when talking about their nation. The title doesn’t have much of anything to do with the piece, I just thought it sounded cool. But yeah, here it is:

 

 

Mkay so that’s it for now. Off to wrap up a few other things and then find my heating pad so I can get some sleep tonight…

 

I have good news and bad news. Well, let’s start with the good. My business cards came today. Check it, yo.

I blurred my phone number, simply because I have no idea who reads this blog and I don’t feel like getting random calls from random freaks. Crap. Maybe I should have blurred my email address too. Just kidding. But yeah so, I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. Now hopefully I can get them in the right hands and get some business because of it.

Also good, I ordered pizza from Asheville Pizza and Brewing, and my neighbor is awesome. To understand these two things, we have to discuss the bad.

My car broke down again. Ironically enough, I called the shop where I took it last week to see if they had gotten their computer scanner yet (they haven’t.) I then set about on my day. As I’m exiting the interstate to go to Amazing Savings and get some groceries, I lose power. They came and towed me, looked at my car a little, and then gave me a ride home. They said they’ll call me when they figure out what might be doing it. I’m starting to wonder if it’s a sensor or something. Hopefully something cheap!

So here I was, my busy day of errands thwarted by a piece of shit car. I was about to carry my hamper of clothes across the street to Bar Of Soap, but my awesome neighbor Angela let me drive her car over there. When I got home I didn’t feel like cooking, so I ordered a pizza and watched How I Met Your Mother. Which brings us to now. I’m kinda tired, I’ve had a headache almost all day, and I’m bored. Awesome, huh? Well, might as well blog about it.

 

Today while walking home from work I bumped into one of our regulars. She helps artists get their work into galleries and advises them on what will sell and how to better market themselves. I had given her my website a while back and we talked about getting together but nothing ever came of it. So today I asked her if she had gotten a chance to look at my stuff, and she said yes.

She said it was really good, but her one suggestion would be to focus it a bit more. There was too much variety, it was too all over the place, and the whole experience was overwhelming for people who want a nice tidy picture of what I’m all about as an artist. We’re probably going to get together in the coming week and talk more about my stuff. She wanted to tell me about specific pieces she thought would sell, but she couldn’t remember titles. Because she knows me she’s going to give me a consultation for free, and she has a lot of connections with local galleries, so it’s really a no-brainer.

I do find it odd, however, that her comment (complaint?) about my artwork is probably the most common one I get. In college my professors kept telling me to settle into a personal style and go with that, rather than being all over the map. I’ve had people tell me they can’t really “get” my artwork because they’re not sure what style is the best. I’ve had people who didn’t believe everything on my page was my own because the styles were so dissimilar.

I realize that from a marketing perspective, it’s good to have a highly defined and unique style. When Geico has five different mascots you get confused, but when it’s just the gecko you sit back and laugh. When a band does everything from metal to jazz they tend to sell fewer records than another band who found a marketable sound and stuck with it. In this day and age we want things focused and easy to digest, and when we feel like consuming another flavor we go elsewhere. I understand this to an extent, but I what I don’t understand is why that has to come at the expense of variety.

The greats have always been able to function in a number of styles, yet still be recognizable and marketable. Picaso did everything from realism to cubism, at different times having scenes of everyday life bathed in blue and grossly distorted figures with unnatural perspective. The Beatles did everything from pop to rock to folk to Indian classical to bizarre psychedlic sound collages, often on the same album. But with both Picaso and the Beatles, in spite of their various styles, their work is easily recognizable as their own. The duality of their uniqueness and variety adds to the experience, and is the source of much of their charm. But in today’s cultural climate, it’s often one or the other. You can be the challenging, difficult artist who follows his muse wherever it leads, at the expense of fame and fortune, or you can fine-tune your spiel into something distinctive and marketable and make a fortune. But don’t dare try to do both.

It’s hard for an artist to be completely objective about their own work. Every artist is his own worst critic, yet he is also his own best apologist. So with a grain of salt I’d like to say that, while not every path I follow is successful, I feel like my various styles can coexist with ease and not detract from my own personal brand. At the present time I feel like my surrealist landscapes and my political drawings are my best work. While the two couldn’t be any more different, I think it’s easy to tell that they are the work of the same mind. I could probably stand to clean out the rest of my portfolio and focus on those two specific directions, which would streamline things rather nicely, but those two sides of my work can and should exist side by side. I feel like focussing on one at the expense of the other only shows part of what I’m all about, and while one might sell better than the other, both need to be shown to get a full understanding of my art. But that’s just my feelings, which are heavily influenced by the fact that I made all this shit and these pieces are like my children. If every kid in a family looked exactly the same you wouldn’t get a very accurate picture of the gene pool that created them.  Hopefully at some point the arts community as a whole will recognize this and stop trying to pigeonhole artists and sacrifice variety for brand image.

 

I just made a portfolio at WNCArts.com.

Not really anything new here that you can’t already find at my other pages, but it could be a good way to get my name out there, as far as the local art scene goes.

So if you live in Western North Carolina and are trying to find some cool art, you now have one more link to add to your quiver. And if you’re an artist you should make a page there, it’s free. Yay.

 

Art For The 99%

A guy came into the store today and told me about the gallery he’s opening. So far they only have one artist, some guy from New Jersey. His plan is to only feature top dollar art, with the cheapest pieces starting at around $1000. He’s not a local, and based on what he told me it doesn’t sound like he has much interest in featuring local artists. Except those that his investors are sure can guarantee that type of a pricetag.

We got to talking about the local art scene and the economy. My theory is that when the economy is down the art community suffers the most. Your average Joe has less money, so they buy less art. Your artists then have less money, so they buy less supplies, or get them off the internet at the cheapest price they can find. The whole community takes a hit.

He said that while this may be true for those at the bottom, the opposite is true for those up top. It’s hard to not see his point. The Scream just became the most expensive painting in history. Sotheby’s is having record sales when it comes to artwork. Collectors are paying top dollar for relative unknowns, hoping that they’ll become the next big thing. The art of the 1% is alive and well, whereas the overwhelming majority of art lovers have been priced out of the marketplace and can’t afford to buy any of the art they love. This means the overwhelming majority of artists are dirt poor. The small minority on top are making record profits, while the rest of us are barely making ends meet. Sound familiar?

So this hatched a concept in my brain. It should be possible for ALL art lovers, regardless of their financial status, to be able to own original works of art. Not cheapo prints or thrift store wall furniture, but original high quality pieces by up-and-coming artists.

Every revolution has to start somewhere, so here’s my attempt to get the ball rolling: Send me an email and I’ll give you my mailing address. Then send me anything two-dimensional (paper, unstretched canvas, cardboard, vellum, plastic, whatever) and a check for enough to cover return postage, and I will create an original work of art at no charge and mail it back to you. You can give me specific ideas of what you want, or just give me free rein. If you want to enclose a small donation feel free, but it’s not required. Just cover postage so I’m not losing too much money on this experiment, and you will have your own original piece of art.

Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, or get in touch with me here, and spread the word. Viva Free Art! Long Live The 99%!

 

1. Got my car back today. I starts and runs. The check engine light still comes on, and the wipers and automatic windows seem to be going at half speed, so there’s something electrical that’s gotten screwed up from all of this. The shop (which evidently is a lot newer than I realized – they don’t have their credit card readers hooked up yet so I had to go to the ATM) is getting a code scanner soon, like in the next week. He said he’d hook it up and diagnose everything for free, and if I have any trouble before then to let him know. Fingers crossed.

2. I got an email from Lauren, the owner of the ZaPow gallery downtown. She likes my stuff. The bad news is that with all of this car stuff, plus business cards and all the usual expenses, I’m too broke to afford their space rental. I replied and told her I was interested but couldn’t do it for another month or two. Hopefully she’ll still be interested in my work once I have enough money to get some things framed and rent a space. Fingers crossed x2.

3. I got my first commission the other day. And of course I did the logical thing – procrastinate and doodle something else. I’ve envisioned a new series, called Cryptozoology, for all of the weird creatures I draw when extremely bored. So here goes one of them, the Firesnake…

4. There is no 4.