You have to laugh

It has been good to be drawing again, I mean with a pencil as I have been drawing with paint pens somewhat similar to drawing with aerosol. The client wants some small drawings for categories in the site. Also had a moment to do a study of George Orwell for my next aerosol work. The book 1984 is so arresting and ominous, so well written and so relevant to the time it was written as well as now, a true classic. What gets me about Gogol and ‘the overcoat’ and Orwell’s character Winston is their wretched lives. The tyranny of boredom and bureaucracy a very modern type. The dirty old overcoat from a low paid boring job and Winston’s blunt razor blades transport me into feeling for their plight to essentially be free from the world around them. To overcome their poverty and repression, these books become very personal in our own battle to overcome mediocrity and blind agreement with the powers that be. The dissatisfaction with governments that are focused on economic agendas that seem alien from most peoples goals of community harmony and general happiness. There is the other argument though that people now feel entitled. Entitled to things such as free education while others feel entitled to be able to use money to leverage their children’s education over those who maybe entitled from talent. I like that word in particular because it is usually the people talking about entitlement who seem to think they are entitled to point out who should and shouldn’t be entitled. This isn’t even me playing with the word, it is actually that ridiculous, just try and think about it and you can’t help but go around in circles. The governments aren’t big on feel good approaches at least not until it is time to be elected or re-elected, it isn’t just a game but something that works like turning the key in your car. The feel good approach has disappeared replaced with voodoo economic data. I use the word voodoo because there is a bad spirit somewhere in the data, a sign. Iron ore prices are down, unemployment is growing etc etc, the equivalent of voodoo for most people. Maybe if the stock market is going well my cup of tea may taste better or the bus may go faster or the train will always be on time. Or if you feel like talking to someone who actually cares pray. That someone though has no physical body or general relation to time or space but has created these, not with tools though as some kind of existence may have already been. To create just like the large hadron collider but with nothing at all. Well don’t worry I am just weaving the magic of words, they have a habit leaving gaps and mutual understandings and misunderstandings. So many story tellers, the government fends of dissatisfaction with the spectre of terrorism, a cloak of self preservation and impending madness. It is true they have power and trust has become limited but you and I have the power to write a story that isn’t the next Hollywood blockbuster but a blog, a blog about the time I went and spray painted on a wall a picture that made you think, hey that guy is off his tree and I really love that video that Cata made and stay safe and now it is time I went to cuddle my cats. Goodnight.

Understanding

Well did some painting with Yuri and Urku from Chile and Ecuador they were great to paint with and have a lot of talent. Had some time off work so thought I really should get out amongst it while I am focused. The wall we painted turned into a psychadelic extravaganza full of lines and bursts of colour through chrome paint. Yuri has been painting street art for only eight months and has a very cool style, quite distinct, Urku has been painting for two years and seems to be very eclectic. Urku has a few different approaches and just gets right into it. Yuri took his sister along who does some interesting video work and I followed her on Vimeo which when the video of our painting comes out I hope to share. She uses her family name for Vimeo so I didn’t want to share yet just until she gives the green light.

Otherwise I feel a little flat, have been playing with some music but it just seems so dead as I am forcing myself to do it. That never really works for me I have to be inspired or in the right frame of mind. The issue is can I be bothered waiting to feel like it. It is always better in my case to feel it or I just end up stuffing about. So it hasn’t hurt and while I am feeling flat I have been watching various Brian Eno interviews on Youtube. One from 2009 another from 2014 an old one from the 80s and a documentary which I didn’t get to finish but got a good dose of it. In the 80s Eno was just so ahead of his time in his ideas, he seemed years ahead of technology which may be a source of frustration or wonder for him. He made a point of saying synthesisers needed to go in two distinct directions. One direction was simplicity, a synth that could do a small amount of sounds and the other direction a synth that had some kind of pressure sensitivity and complexity to draw out more feeling from the player like a violin can be sensitive to pressure and velocity etc.

It may be time to head back to portraits for a while, the pieces are going well but it tends to lead to various readings. The understanding can be that I am trying to be ….. who knows I am just wondering if I need to say something else. Not really sure and the next work is an older style for a truck but that is just taking advantage of the mobile surface, a salute to mobile artworks in general, it is a great format. The other thing from Eno I gleaned was his childhood interest in fossils and his longing for discovery, his music he described as trying to make another world which he discovered and could let others visit a more agreeable world. This I liked and could really understand where I have gone so wrong in my own approaches to art. My computer work is dystopic and creates a disagreeable environment, I am not like that in myself I am usually very friendly. It sends me back to my days visiting Sydney Uni in Rozelle in the early 90s and the post industrial landscape that was being wrought in installations. I really loved the dystopic nature of it, that is how I remember it but the message was probably quite different at the time. There was also a beauty inherent in those rusted cavernous spaces, lives had been spent working the machines and now the machines where rusted and the world was changing.

Eno was quite wisely noticing things that were missing from the world, there was no music for airports and so he literally made it. There were large screens in restaurants that were off in the evening and he felt that he could make the work that could fill these empty screens with art rather than the large hulking footballers that fill most screens in Australia. He found missing things and filled them, he didn’t necessarily have odd urges and want to share them. It does make me laugh if being wrong is an art form then I am definitely an artist of doing it wrong. What I did remember though was that when I was painting in the 90s my urge was to put a painting in a space that seemed to be screaming out for it thus why I am known for my aerosol work. People did notice that thankfully and people still do, they were like urges that I had to fulfil. Now people want street art everywhere because it has become obvious that lots of places can do with a bit of decorating. Thats progress.

I was interviewed by the ubiquitous “Art Whore Cult” a mad collector and discoverer of the forgotten and well known. He asked  probing questions and I responded as only I can, strangely. It is a good interview and I explain my own voyage of discovery and what was good we went right back to formative years, I surprised myself. I remembered things that are etched into my mind, that was why I responded to Eno’s childhood as I too would dig and search for buried things. It was discovery and a fascination with bird bones, horse shoes and other objects, I failed to mention my snorkelling though that I loved which was a childhood obsession with rocks and shells. My thing though was digging I don’t know if Eno was digging things up but it is all about finding things. My computer works as ugly as they are seem more about uncovering feelings that are repressed but I will create breaks in the works that provide moments of contemplation from the barrage from delusional crap. They just need to fill a gap from the world around me not just from my own world and that may just take a little more understanding from my end.

Awkward

It is funny because a lot of my computer based work has been based on awkward stuff, many years ago I found a hard drive on the street as I would refurbish found computers and I found the poems of the hard drives owner. The content was quite personal so I displayed the work as a sound piece called “discarded words” by an unknown author. The show itself was about waste and how to recycle it, it was very fitting and well received. The original authors words found a voice and were quite special really which is why I think they lived on. The author probably moved on feeling they were irrelevant who knows. It really fitted my own work because I made some pieces one called “the shame machine”. This piece was a disorganised dialogue at once critical but indecipherable, a mad rant from an electronic voice. The computer now had a psychotic problem and was voicing its shame. The other piece which is not titled was even more difficult, it was trying to explain its delusions. Basically I decided the machines i.e. computers could be scripted or programmed to describe their issues with being deluded machines. All this comes back to the machine delusions that are common in schizophrenia. Another work that wasn’t as awkward was the work called “expand”, it was about graffiti invading the listeners body and spilling out of their body into unknowable places. In some ways these pieces can be the most difficult for me because they are so pointlessly poignant but they have been exhibited and the shame doesn’t generally rub off. Luckily I do other stuff too or the shame could be too much to bear!!!! I love showing these pieces though because I love to see the look of bewilderment on peoples faces that kind of look like what is this crap? It is bad but at the same time I believe people and art should be allowed to have problems : ) also some art can be too relevant and easy to digest as something that isn’t easy to be digested all the while, a kind of fashionable treatise on current trends. In saying that though so much stuff these days is aimed at the general public to create art events, there is a bigger push for mass appeal but who wants to see difficult stuff anyway? Really what is difficult these days is getting the wrong kind of cheese on your croissant or the coffee is burnt, that is difficult!

Anxiety

Can remember having a lot of anxiety related problems for many years and it wasn’t therapy that truly solved it but learning how to turn aggression on and off. This may sound odd but hear me out, basically the initial lesson was that to be prepared for the unexpected such as someone attacking you, you had to be relaxed. When you should release your defence whether a punch or kick it was only at the point of contact you would use aggression. It was like turning on a light, it was a split second delivery everything else was just awareness and calm. You were calm nearly the whole time but the point of contact just a split second was when the aggression happened. It wasn’t necessarily your own aggression though ideally it was the attackers aggression. But that moment and practicing this taught me to be calm under pressure and analyse the situation clearly all the while controlling my aggression or their aggression into a split second only. I also learnt another trick that was a little more advanced, where you would channel the opponents aggression and rise the level of aggression before bringing it back down again thus disarming the situation at least in most cases where the attacker would follow your lead and calm down. I actually got to do these in the wild, the first case I was set upon by two men and I dodged the initial blow letting the opponent lose balance and I stood calmly and literally looked at them analysing the situation. This left the two attackers a little awkward, my initial understanding was they were intoxicated and most likely ameteurs so I just stood their and looked unemotionally at them. They tried to egg each other on to have another go but they weren’t entirely sure. All the while I stood watching, I could tell that I could have floored the two of them without much effort but I watched and wanted them to make a decision, it was their choice I didn’t really care less.

As far as I was concerned I was only going to defend myself and had nothing to prove so I stood their and watched them. After ten minutes they decided to leave and started apologising, I hadn’t moved or given any indication toward their retreat. They started apologising more and edging further down the street I still hadn’t moved eventually they started walking away faster and then I moved and yelled out at them “are you sure?” they started running away and I finally crossed the road to go home after this stand off. They decided it wasn’t worth it. The other time that I got to practice this was when I went to an exhibition and I was with a girlfriend. I saw around six guys and one of them was a disgruntled graffiti writer who wanted to have words with me, he started a diatribe becoming aggressive so I became aggressive but with the intention of bringing him down all the while checking his pockets for weapons and he calmed down. He kind of looked at me weird because I was frisking him while his mates were watching during the whole drama. I said “great so we are sweet then” and I shook all of his mates hands and walked away unscathed. That was lucky because initially I was genuinely scared because I was on my own and I had to take control of the situation so I became calm and tried to disarm it. The best thing was walking away with my girlfriend and feeling that I had solved something. Being calm can be so hard but I did master it in those kind of situations. Anxiety is difficult I can still get anxious in family situations maybe because it has been something that I associate with stress from when I was younger. In fighting the situation is easier to read, you are defending yourself, with some of my family they are lovely but my anxiety is heightened and my solution was to avoid the associated stress. Obviously it is my problem and it is varied so I can deal with obvious threats but not placid situations. Fighting is for young men and most young men need to learn how to control their aggression so boxing or martial arts is good and I feel it can be helpful if the right messages are learnt. Most of the time though even with family I can be calm and don’t feel anxiety I suppose I feel vunerable at times with family. I always felt for some reason I was bad and was wrong that is why I went in other directions looking for friends that I felt comfortable with. Graffiti crews were like a family for me when I was young and misguided what you really need though is to find inner confidence and learn to control the fight or flight emotions i.e. anxiety.