During this time of pause, which for most who are still working hasn’t been a pause at all, I’ve felt the pressure at home to do all manner of projects and to make connections with folks that I had always intended on doing but always complained I hadn’t had the time to do. Most people I know have felt the same impulse so I’ve heard plenty of stories of garages that are finally cleaned out and closets organized. I’ve heard from old friends I haven’t heard from in ages and had long and satisfying conversations with those friends as well, which makes this moment very sweet to me because I love my friends and family dearly and any time spent speaking to them is a precious thing.
I took this particularly lovely smear of blue paint while I was painting my Neptune painting last week.
One odd thing I’ve noticed is that I really don’t like online shopping, not because I think its particularly bad, but because I see how incredibly addictive and predictive the software behind it is. It’s like Amazon has a chip in my brain sometimes when I go on that site. And because all I want to do is clean up the clutter in my life all the site is peddling me lately is cute little boxes and shelves and doodads perfect for solving my every organizational need. I didn’t really think this was that unusual of a problem until I went over to the dark side and started looking at clothes online.
Let me say first off that I am an unusual gay man in that I am particularly unfashionable. My ex would often marvel at how uncoordinated I was given that I am an artist. I think it was somewhere on his list of breakup reasons, the embarrassment I imagine going out in public was just too great for him. I regard clothes as just things I throw on my back. That character Andi from Devil Wears Prada, that’s me. But I let the need to get clothes bubble over for so long that I’m walking around in literal paint-covered rags now and so pandemic or no I needed recently to shop for something. And like clockwork there Amazon was with jeans, socks, underwear, shirts, all preloaded before I even searched for them. Very creepy, though I guess it’s convenient.
I miss the stores even though I was never a mall or shopping center person. I like a nice pair of pants or a shirt here or there. If I won the mega-millions I would quickly develop a sense of fashion that would not embarrass. I think what I miss about the stores is what I like about so many analog things that are going to the wayside. I like physically having to touch a thing, crank it up, push a physical button, try it on. This attitude probably comes from being a maker of things. How frustrating many artists must find it to have the thing they spent maybe hundreds of hours making, consumed visually in a few seconds on a jpeg on Instagram. I had a former friend who warned me that social media had a strange way of making people chase likes as if they were some kind of gold. I confess I have done this on many occasions. It often feels like all I’m providing is a dopamine rush for someone else plugged into the matrix who will never know the feeling of looking at a real piece of art up close, or never know what it’s like to go the mall on a Saturday with your friends, or feel that special feeling when Angela Ames gave you that first mixed tape of REM when you were in the 7th grade, or any of the other experiences only an analog encounter can provide. I think one of the saddest things about this pandemic, other than the horrific loss of life, is that it will finally spell the decline of most forms of traditional retail, relegating anyone clinging to the past to the dustpans of history.
I am so happy I grew up when I did. When from my perspective the biggest things that ever happened to the country was probably the President getting a blowjob in the Oval Office. I can’t imagine in twenty years how some future 40-year-old will look back nostalgically at today’s era thinking it was the best time of their lives. Somehow young people always manage to see their late teens and twenties as the best time. I hope they have something I’m missing to hold on to that they can carry on that won’t make this era feel like such a loss. I guess I’ll just have to adapt. I’m just hoping my growing fat ass can fit into those Hanes underwater I just ordered online.
I’ve been listening to a lot of House music in the studio lately. It’s funny I never really enjoyed a lot of EDM when I was younger but now I get it. For me, its energy and it helps the art to have a little more life. This is important because I have a melancholic disposition so anything that can help get me out of that mood is good for me creatively. The way EDM plays on Pandora is pretty random and it all sounds the same to me so here are two selections from my Deep House station. Here’s “I Can’t Hold On” by GTA, Dillon Francis & Wax Motif, and “Fuego” by Alok and Bhaskar
I’ve been finally finishing up those Maxatawny Stitzer pieces this week and then I will work on my Pluto planet painting toward the end of the week before I return to work and turn into a regular civilian again. This last month off has been amazing and I’ve gotten so much work done in the studio. I think I will do an end of the residency-at-home blog post next week something to chronicle all I’ve accomplished. I think I did about as much as I would have if I went to my residency in Vermont as planned. Until I next post I hope everyone stays safe. Be well.