Process, Plans, The Inner Child, and Technology

Since my last blog post, I’ve been getting shit done, making a list, and checking it twice. It feels good to be on target. No glitches in the matrix so far.

I got a prototype catalog from IngramSpark, and the quality was way better than the Lulu book. It’s perfect-bound, has a faster turnaround, and has a lower cost per book. The only difference is a one-time setup fee, but at least a digital proof comes with the price. The total cost is still less than I would have paid at Lulu if you can believe that, and they are a little bigger at forty pages. I’ll be selling them for twenty bucks at the art talk on October 1st.  I won’t have them in time for the actual opening.

Almost out of bubblewrap here, but I only have a few more pieces to wrap up for transport. The only thing left for me to do art-wise is to gather up a few more elements for the drawing installation. Since the beginning, I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to put any original drawings into it. I don’t want to put tape or pinholes through anything of “value.” It’s 98% printouts, which is why I’m not making anything for sale. However, there’s some last-minute stuff I want to have on hand to add if I need to fill in any blank areas. I might make a few more drawings, and today I’ll look through the local newspaper for some article clippings. Maybe there will be a few original pieces in it after all. 

This morning I started putting together my installation kit. I know it’s a little early, but if I forget something, I might just drill a hole into my head. That’s why I had to make a list for that too and include my trusty Dewalt cordless impact driver. The kit also includes my other tools, as well as tacks, pins, tapes, squeegees, bandaids, eyeglasses, framing hardware, various tidbits, and some weird stuff you wouldn’t think you’d need, but you do. 

Also this morning, I finished all the black outlines on a new painting. I don’t have a title for it yet, so I’m tentatively calling it Typing on the Brain until I can come up with something better. 

While that’s drying, I can return to a 16 x 20-inch piece hanging behind it, which is part of a new series based on some old family photos. On that one, I just finished up the late 60s wallpaper. That crazy wallpaper was in my parent’s bedroom when we lived in a posh, mid-century house in the San Fernando Valley during the mid-70s—definitely the nicest house my parents ever had. It even had a swimming pool. Of course, neither my brother nor I knew how to swim, but we sure felt rich. But, like all the houses we lived in when I was a kid, we weren’t there very long.

Picking out these familiar scenes to paint has been significantly strange. These will be paintings that will have a lot of personal meaning to me and not necessarily to the viewer. Because of this, I’ve been trying to bridge together a certain aesthetic. But since I’m going to appear in some of the paintings, I’m also trying to bridge a kind of wormhole in time. 

What I mean by that is a bit like rewriting history. I do this in most of my personal artwork. It’s a form of medicinal healing and growth. In these particular pieces, I’m attempting to transport my present-time beingness into the past to empower my (inner) child, if that makes any sense. How this will translate in the end is not exactly my concern. That’s where the aesthetic decisions and strategies enter into the process. 

Process is everything to me. You make all kinds of plans and attempt to fulfill them, and then problems arise for you to solve. It’s the best part and the worst part. Your “problems” are directional. You decide what path to follow and what you’ll allow along the way. It’s essential to stay open and allow anything at all. To get entirely lost. Maybe to the point of no return. Throw away all prior maps. Find your way back on your wits. For me, the key is to do this while making sure I don’t insult myself. Ha ha. Once doubt seeps in, there’s no road in sight. It’s a careful balance. It’s taking a hard listen to my gut. I can usually pull it off. 

As for getting my list of things to do done as installation day nears, I still have several plans, which don’t include all the other shit I have to get done. I still have to get work back from three other shows very soon: one at Art Queen in Joshua Tree, High Desert Carnival in San Diego, and yet another that recently closed at Angels Gate in San Pedro.

I’m running an ad on the Artillery Magazine website come the 1st of September, and I’m trying to decide if I should run one on CARLA too. It’s another expense I’d need to justify. Another gamble I’d have to make. I’ve already spent so much on promoting this show I wonder if I should quit while I’m ahead. Am I ahead?  

I also hope to video making the drawing installation in a timelapse. I have never done it before. I have a new(ish) camera that I still don’t quite know how to operate, but I think I can figure it out. It’s not exactly self-explanatory like a phone. It’s a complicated camera. Maybe I don’t need a complicated camera, but that’s what I live with. It does take pretty nice pictures though.

Talk about complicated gadgets; computers are pretty complex things, don’t you think? I recently saw a picture of the amazing thing I owned before I bought my first computer in 1994. I’m talking about my “gateway” drug.

It had to have been (at least) in late 1993. I know this because it was before the January 1994 earthquake. I happen to be using it right when the earthquake hit at 4:30 AM. It was this fancy (at the time) Brother word processor:

My mom bought this for me as a kind of olive branch—the most thoughtful gift she’d ever given me. She usually bought me clothing I’d never wear. She’d waste her money on designer clothes she wanted to see me in, but I really wouldn’t be caught dead in them.

Since our relationship was also complex, I wouldn’t talk to her for years at a time. Then, we met for lunch to talk about things, and it went fairly well. Afterward, we wandered next door from the restaurant into an Aarons’s store, where she offered to buy me the Brother. She knew I was writing on an old Royal typewriter that weighed about a thousand pounds. It blew my mind, and so I let her do it. That was also unusual.  

This thing was so cool. I could choose between four different fonts, save my work on a floppy disk, and see two and a half sentences at a time on the digital screen. What incredible technology! You could write a whole entire story/poem/article and press “print,” and it would remember it, just like a computer printer does! It was more than just a typewriter. It was practically a computer (I thought). And I was crazy about this thing. It was power at my fingertips. However, it made me pine like hell for a PC. 

Finally, later that year, I got myself a Windows 3.1 machine. The first thing I did was upload all my stuff from the Brother via floppy disk. Then I spent the next few months making myself a contact database. But was that enough? Of course not. Now I wanted to get on the Internet. Even though not too many people were on the internet in 1994, I still needed that fix. Blah blah blah, and the rest is history.

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