Talent or perserverance

Say considering my involvement with PSK from the mid to early 90s and subsequent departure in 93. It seems the stain of small elements who really weren’t involved can become more real than my own experience. My own contributions to graffiti probably never happened, all that survives is the story people want to believe. I am not saying everyone in it was an angel but it seems to be associated with people who were not in it and who were not really graffiti artists. People can try but a lot fail, the criteria is talent or perserverance.

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Written words

Disorderly art practice, delinquency, space, society, control, graffiti, outside in, inside out, public space, private space, graffiti in the gallery, Perform delinquency. Jaqueline, Jason——Dan , Sharon—–Ted Knight—-William—-Tom

There was always a feeling of being oblique, what was his problem anyway? He pondered this but couldn’t put a finger on it. He seemed to want to be something else, to exist outside of normal parameters. He always fell out of a milieu, like in the movies he watched as a child. The criminal who wanted to get out, the accused who wanted to lose the responsibility and shake his possible destiny. It seems he didn’t want what he could see or what he thought he saw. Another drink in the pub would lead to a barren future or so he thought, like all the rest, like them. The clogged arteries, operations, tumors, diabetes, each cigarette lead away from this anxiety, a paranoia. He thought he knew life, its traps but what he saw was not a waste but some of those paths that exist, he had no path but to avoid what he saw what he had seen. The abuser was hiding around every corner, the addict. Holding a bottle of coca cola in bed was his idea of suicide, a slow gnawing death at the hands of our own stupidity our own inadequacy our own addictions. Who could say no to the corporate hand that crept in and promised us happiness, the smiling face, the real man, the constant reminder of what could be. He thought of what could be, the movie that became his life but lacked the immediate sense, there seemed to be no happiness but just places where you could hide. Hide behind art, hide behind books, hide behind pretense. What was art anyway but entertainment, an intellectual privilege or sensual moment to escape. Some would say that art is what is real, it reflects the true drive of humans to make sense or none sense of the world they encounter, to clarify the experience of existence of sense. Catharsis would purify and acknowledge the pain and joy we feel. For him though it fed his image, his fame grew, the boundaries blurred between art and life, this is what made him. His own self was only a vessel with which to direct to this place where the others were not, he was tired of them he needed distance a kind of peace. It was going to be a great night, Jason was heading to the show too. Jacqueline was preparing a joint, you never knew when it would come in handy, she flicked quickly through her papers and found her marked essay, a fucking credit she thought and flicked it back down. She wasn’t going to let it get her down, her essay on Rembrandt was a bore for her but a worthy passage and anything over a pass was good enough, “Jason..you ready?”. She got right into her theory on Tracy Emmin but the reality was she was a better artist than writer. Jacqueline was studying teaching at the art school and really that was her focus so many hoops to jump through the writing was intense. She still got to practice her art though, mainly a quixotic style of painting that seemed to describe holes, holes in this holes in that, they were good mind you, painstaking detail. One painting took close to a month, it was mainly the preparation, the sanding, the finish was the most important factor and it took time, meditated time. Jason eventually surfaced from the bathroom, his hair looked awful and she messed it up, he pretended to be annoyed but really he loved the attention “you got the keys?” fuck what a question she thought she always had the keys, they swung by the bottle shop and grabbed a couple of long necks as usual Jason rifled around for some coins in his jeans. They paid and got talking and drinking, they were a fun couple, they laughed a lot and took the complete piss out of each other most of the time but occasionally they would argue and the police would be called. You can only imagine, it was really her who was the crazed one in a domestic, she smashed things. Lucky most of their furniture was found on the street, no fancy leather couches here just a preloved 70s couch with a big hole in its side. The gallery was packed, it was the local really, Sharon was there almost staggering drunk and Dan was holding her up while trying to look for a chair, the only chair available was actually part of an installation, he sat her on it anyway apologizing though the artist seemed to like this involvement with his work and took a few photos. People mingled and moved methodically around the work while refilling there glasses, soon the alcohol ran out and just before the crowds could disperse one of the post grad performance works were introduced. This work literally scared the shit out of everyone, a guy known around campus as Ted Knight started swearing and smashing bottles against a specially built wall, the work was hypnotic and violent. He would throw a bottle at the wall with wild force and scream abuse at the crowd. What was the point of this Jason thought, a once over of his thesis on art imitating life would probably clear this up or would it? The amount of paper work Ted had to do to get spaces to agree to his performances and installations was complex. He had to at times get DA approval from the local council, he even had public liability in case someone got hurt by a flying shard of glass. It looked like Jacqueline was over it, a bit shaken really from the realism of it. “let’s get out of here J” . As they walked out they could hear Sharon vomiting in the toilets, “thats just bullshit, Ted is crazy” Jason snorted as they paced through the autumn chill. “Well yeah, but at least he can express himself without hurting…hello” Jacqueline sung as she was distracted by a cat under a car. “come here puss, who’s a beautiful little feline?. They both loved animals and the cat butted its head on Jason’s ankle and danced about between them enjoying a scratch under its chin. The cat followed them down the lane before crouching and springing onto a fence and disappearing. Darlinghurst looked like a ghost town and then out of nowhere traffic heaped up and disappeared again. The lanes were always quiet, a possible real life Ted Knight performance was always only a few lanes away from a pub. The local junky hang out was astir with a thin emaciated man abusing his younger girlfriend, “oh, shit, its Ted” Jacqueline laughed at Jason’s remark. They walked by quickly trying to avoid eye contact and not laugh. “uuuckin bittch” was the last they heard and a few cars created a din. You had to laugh to stay sane, most of the locals were junkies living in bachelor apartments, as they were students they were never that far away from this. Ted Knight also lived nearby and he was inspired by the locals and their use of language, he had grown up in the country and moved to the city to study and live. The noise was entertaining, there was always something going on. You had to be careful and at least be out walking with someone or avoid the lanes if alone. It was just so random what you would come across. Luckily most of the junkies were not desperate and shooting galleries were in the locality so they could get needles or methadone or something and do their business in a supervised setting. Most of the junkies were harmless and rarely bothered anyone but occasionally someone would hit ice and go mental. Ted had grown up in a violent household, he didn’t have any residual issues from it even though he performed it. For him the performance was an educational moment for the audience, a cathartic necessity to pull through to experience pain and come out the other side purified. The fact that his audience felt uncomfortable was a plus, they needed to know, they had to know. Experience was a great educator and Ted had the coolest temperament, he was always good to deal with and was the complete opposite of what most of the younger crowd thought though in his own year he had a strong following. Not to say all of the other years felt the same but there seemed to be a consensus from the new under-graduates that this guy was mad. Luckily it doesn’t always matter what the majority think in most cases, if it did then we would all be in trouble which is why politics can be such a problem at times. In art there are things that defy understanding that reach into a person and ask questions about what we think. What we think we know is suddenly out the window and something immense steps in, and this makes us wonder. That is something Jason failed to understand, that he was supposed to make people wonder, his art was about what is in front of us but with an aesthetic thrown in, this was supposed to engage people and it rarely did. When he did do something good he was great but most of his work was mediocre because it failed to raise people into a sense of wonder or terror. Ted though couldn’t be neatly categorised though he was, the specimen of the PHD scene. Jason only in his second year was struggling but only because of his lack of daring, he was plodding through and wasn’t really acedemic if you consider that he was only twenty and came through due to a strong HSC performance. It doesn’t always go down well when your understanding of art is limited by your ability to pronounce names though he was learning albeit slowly. There was a privelidge though to uni life and it made him feel he was making the right decision to be there. Tonight though unnerved him and really he admired Ted for his tenacity but hid this behind contempt and humour. Though he wasn’t spiteful under all his humour was a lot of doubt. Jason never had an authority figure or a father figure or so he thought but for a short time he did and this what he panged for. It created the difference he could discern and taste the bitterness as opposed to caring authority though it is not always ideal. His first memories were of fear and terror maybe this is what drove his mediocre art, an ideal escape though people wanted entertainment and drama, by any means Jason had had his fair share of drama and wished it on no one. The violent bursts from his father gave way to fear so deep he felt himself leave his body for a moment hovering over the scene from a vantage point as a small child. The first memory a memory of terror and so the remark on Ted Knight all those years later, the utter unease of violence that had propelled him away. Driven by the fear for so much of his life could he ever accept it? He had to be what he was, he had been thrown by the force of psychosis into creating odd things which he mistook for art and really his teachers mistook it too. It wasn’t art but a way to focus, it wasn’t his psychosis but his fathers that created so many objects and ornaments while in high school. If anything Jason was the odd one out, rather disinterested and this made him seem ridiculous almost frivolous, Frivolity had been given the boot by art especially the connoisseur he was seen by his peers as a wanker and really he probably was. But it didn’t stop him from making bad art and trying to explore the trajectory he was on. The best part of his work was his humour it was a saving grace in an otherwise oblique strange obsession with nothing in particular. If he didn’t have such a patchy education he could probably have pulled the art thing off. The truth was he had no idea how to even write an essay and you can only bluff for so long. It wasn’t that it was that hard but he got through high school just and he had some stories to tell. Ted not surprisingly had a lot in common with Jason though they didn’t know each other but Ted had a violent upbringing due to his fathers alcoholism but he seemed to turn this into a positive drive though his negative performances which momentarily relived a sense of violence and were more an echo, an orchestrated violence that was supported by an education and paper work. Ted had a knack for performance and he could have acted but felt a desire to perform in an art context. He didn’t do so well in art in high school because he was beyond the syllabus. He chose to concentrate on english and science not really seeing art as a choice at all. Acting would have been good and he performed in a few school plays. He was openly gay and out going and was educated in a Catholic boys school in Dubbo though not many people knew he was gay as he wasn’t easily discernable in attitude He was more of a man’s man and when he lived in Darlinghurst visited all the gay bars though he found the campness a bit much. He did have a boyfriend in his year a petit effeminate type but they weren’t all over each other they had a good relationship probably a tad intellectual less physical. They liked each other though love was out of the question probably thought they were too smart for it but they were companions none the less. ‘We haven’t seen much of you lately’ said William his eyes darted across the room out of habit, ‘I saw your paintings at the gallery’ they both sat down at the cafe table and ordered. ‘I was holed up for a few weeks’ it was no secret to either of them that an opening at least the lead up to one would mean a marathon effort to the fine details finished for works, everything had to be packed and sent too. William and Tom rarely met up anyway they were both too busy being in the postgrad year and actually having galleries to please. It was probably twice a year they had to show most other artists studying were still doing group shows whereas they had been in the gallery system for over five years. They were not really super friendly with each other mostly they found each other boring. Things weren’t going too well for William, his last two shows were heavily criticised even though he made enough sales to keep things afloat. He wanted to go overseas and escape but really he had a living. The criticism was mainly levelled from the main paper, he knew he was lucky to get so much attention magazine reviews from hipster magazines were more congenial and he had a following from young wealthy trendsetters but he had always wanted to be taken seriously as an artist not as some hipster sensation. How he got into such a strange situation was mostly by chance. He had been a graffiti artist and then moved into street art doing posters making a name for himself but also was a good artist and had a healthy standard of work in painting and sculpture. He was trapped in the hipster glare and if truth be told his work had suffered because he couldn’t ignore his real fans and the Sydney papers who had covered his last two shows found his displaced work worthy of a flogging. He wasn’t a main feature but as he became more collectable the reviews were bound to happen. In a home makers magazine a blithe and semi trendy one he was given the honour of being highly collectable. Tom found William a bore mainly because he was academic and totally intrigued by the written word. Then he would sometimes start a conversation drawn from what he was reading than what was actually happening at the time, William couldn’t stand Tom’s total ineptitude and ignorance but they still talked and would acknowledge one another as they were both were fairly successful and both studying. Why they both bothered studying was beyond comprehension but it did give them access to established artists who were teaching and if things dried up they could fall back on something such as a teaching job neither were reckless and they planned ahead. Already William could see some inroads to better galleries and was working the system to his advantage by producing a new body of work that seemed to release him from the drudgery of his gallery work. He painted organic letter forms that were like illuminations though a bit trendier, a bit more like graffiti and street art but not as commercial. Still quite illustrative but impressive and they had a market but in the course he worked on sculptural forms that were painted they were bound to never sell as he had tried too arty too experimental and rather strange for the gallery he was in but another more high up gallery was eyeing him off so he had potential to fill. It was at a cost, the hipsters didn’t get it though they rarely got much and maybe he could risk it and be taken seriously but it was a risk nonetheless. He felt the barb from critics that had made him painfully aware of his current compromised practice but it was nice to make a living too. Luckily he wasn’t totally in the spotlight as he was an emerging artist with a practice that made a wage, this made him happy and quite confident for future prospects. Jason was walking down the street, he had a joint at Dan’s only an hour before and he started feeling a bit creepy, his back felt arched even though it wasn’t, his brain was no longer functioning properly and rather than enjoying it he felt an ice cold chill go up his neck but he could only feel it in a dull way it wasn’t crisp but dull, he saw water spilling into a drain, a drain, a drain he thought and then it came to him. It was clear as a bell but at the same time kind of dull, what was it? Was it anything? He quickly tried to pull himself together, it is just a drain, but it was a revelation, the drains lead everywhere they were in control they were the underworld the part of life people didn’t think about, yet here he was thinking about it or at least becoming swallowed in thoughts, dull edgeless thoughts, the drains were like an unconscious mind beckoning him forward, ‘come to us’ they whispered, ‘come here we are waiting’. Jason started walking trying to feel better trying to get comfortable but he felt damp, he felt wet, it was probably sweat, it was probably the drains, the drains had become a fixture and he couldn’t shift his mind away he started to feel nauseous. When he arrived home he felt somewhat better as though the walk had helped him get beyond these paranoid thoughts. The dope really got to him he figured he probably had been having too much he had decided to put a stop to it, by the morning he had forgotten the whole episode.

paranoia to poetry.

I have tended to accumulate a lot of unfinished creative writing over the years. Some of it is paranoid, some of it isn’t. It is interesting looking at some of it, I was trying to express a range of emotions but it seemed caught in paranoia. In some ways after doing graffiti for years and having people after me and all of that sort of stuff. But now I can ask was anyone actually after me? Well there was Soen’s for a while and he did try and look for me a while back. I wrote on various topics trying to dramatise and recreate that sense of drama that comes with the story of graffiti in a mind. The stories though were attempts to unravel the paranoia of those dramas. There were some negative types around and the thing I found weird was that I was trying to express the drama of that and the fact that those types were around. Initially I wanted to write a book but never really found a voice that I could write with well. I chose voices that were aggressive for the effect but really I should have chosen a neutral voice. As my condition improved I started to find a normal voice that wasn’t so paranoid. As my schizophrenia was treated and I was less paranoid I could use a neutral style and sometimes change the voice to create drama then switch that off again.  Some of my writing just makes little sense but it tends to become a little more poetic in later years. I want to make a dialogue based artwork with a lot of the snippets of text work. It would be good to hear it as a larger dialogue that jumps from paranoia to poetry.

The character walks by night, we never see his face. It makes you wonder if he is real. The face gives everything away. It holds you and you use it to focus, to find a point to locate a relationship. This face is never there so there is no dialogue other than you watching. He is focused looking away, even when the camera is noticed he hides. What is he hiding from? Rejection? Knowledge? His victim? His oppressor? Maybe he hides away in shadows in the night to conjure up a dark power like a witch doctor. Maybe he hides to evoke curiosity or fear. If you see him is it best not to know? If you knew would the light illuminate him as the mask falls away and a naked face comes to view? What of the mystery? What of not knowing, of seeing the dark shadows envelop the stalking dark figure playing with shadows. Cutting with fear with the power of remaining unknown, a figment of your imagination something that can’t be touched but felt with blade where only pain is the message the loss of blood the force of a needle the haemorrhage of blood the loss of consciousness. A place where ownership is not negotiated or agreed upon but taken by a blunt force. Where anything is possible but never any different where wealth slips away and poverty reaches in taking everything away. Where the perpetrator is the victim and the victim a criminal who will never have to answer for his crimes. Not to say the relationship is not full of benefits they sit under the one roof, they know they exist but never feel they will meet until they do and the answer is forced out even though there is no question. It is never a question of rich or poor as both have means. The banker wears the hood, he waits in the shadows. He takes your power away momentarily leaving you empty until you are out of his power and ready to accumulate. He wears the hood to hide an identity and to create an identity, it makes you wonder if any of this is real.

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The park was the only open space with a lead sky bending the ground with it’s weight, We all moved through the tagged door, The hall smelt of piss while televisions made a meaningless chorus. We all had something better to do but couldn’t be bothered doing it. The bong got passed around we had a laugh followed by silence. We found ourselves at that Christian group again, Not the bible, never the bible it gave us a place to exist within Maybe a big pair of arms would come out of the sky and cuddle us. Get a job, I have one already I just need a sad story to tell someone. Hey keep listening, it’s a movie, it’s amazing, someone gets lucky at the end. They realise something and then something happens, it gets a bit boring after that. They get so bored they get addicted to ice and then their life is interesting again. Some well meaning people get robbed by them while helping them out It’s addictive, a shot of dopamine, pain is real and it is a cathartic moment. The piss is real, I swear it’s piss, amazing piss

In a sense I would feel that I was part of a larger more important reality when I was wondering the streets tagging. Everyone was unaware living their directed lives and I was the ghost wandering the streets waiting to be found. There always seemed to be so many unanswered questions, I couldn’t know everyone or everything. I had fallen out of the network of life into a psychosis. I had become the living dead.

Fluidity

The argument for gender fluidity can be thought of in terms of variables. Even though male and female gender is key to reproduction it is difficult to see it as primary. In a sense it is primary to reproduction but not as an act of decency or primacy as some will argue. If that were the case then the choice not to reproduce would be indecent or abnormal whereas it is quite common and normal not to reproduce. In fact the primacy of variable acts and behaviours in regard to sexual activity are hard to argue against as what is to say gender fluidity is not a state of being or an act of being? Coming back to variables or difference is not radical or difficult it is just a state of choice and genetics and is a part of being human more than anything else. You should be open to different ways of living whichever way that falls. It gets important in high school when people are starting to find themselves. At the least parents are normally aware of their childs leanings but some may not be. That can lead to alienation and unnecessary stress.

Liquetex spray vs Street spray

Have painted six aerosol works on canvas. There are three distinct styles or directions. The first is using the ironlak produced ‘sugar’ which is a non VOC (volatile organic compounds) aerosol. These two works were bright and more in the vein of my laser show aesthetic that I tend to use on walls. The other two were a combination of ‘sugar’ and ‘liquetex’ spray but in a more expressionistic style. They were pretty ugly really and larger than the others. The other two were also the same combination of aerosols but were aesthetically finished and small.

I plan to push ahead with the smaller works because they seem more promising though I don’t know if most people would get them. The bright ‘sugar’ laser style line works seem to be the most generally appealing but wouldn’t work in the kind of environments I would imagine them going in. Though I would gladly use them as a kind of filler to be combined with sound works.My pet hate is finishing things with the same solutions even if the result is different and I did resort to that on the smaller works only because they looked good with the same finish. I will probably just do a series with a similar solution just to keep a thread going.

Believe me I don’t really like doing that but sometimes the obvious choice is the best direction to take. Onto another subject though and this is the critical point that is why I am doing all of this is the finish of the ‘liquetex’ spray which I feel is really professional in the way artists finishes should be. In 98 ZapGalaxy got me into using liquetex acrylics and they really are the best acrylics I have worked with. I can’t say their spray cans are the best but they are the most professional I have used. In what way? Well it is all in the finish. Forget about application because really liquetex is designed to be compatible with all of their mediums and acrylics so application is really however whenever.

Liquetex would be hopeless on the streets and they are not designed for that. In a lot of ways they afford practical application techniques for canvas or board say for a quick uniform background. They will crack, they will have a lot of build but you can work over them, you can build light or heavy. So there are a lot of differences between liquetex and street grade spray. The real clincher is the finish. For studio based artists usually they will wait for things to dry, they will come back to areas etcetera. Liquetex can be built up and they can take some time to fully dry depending on build levels. Even if they crack, run and do all sorts of non street spray stuff for the studio artist this can create an opportunity.

I personally want my street cans to have low build and cover, dry fast and be clean when I want and dirty when I want. Liquetex presents an opportunity to have a professional art finish in a spray can. I still combine it with other cans but liquetex is artist grade spray. It wouldn’t improve your stencil work or street work in any way. Street spray is far more practical and it lives on in a photo. A canvas though is meant to be the record itself. I can see myself taking a bit more of a journey with this but it is about an art finish and is a different direction.