Loooooooooots of updates...yes, I'm still alive...Dallas, Albuquerque, San Diego, San Fran, Hollywood, Las Vegas, The Gorge, Portland and more!
Alright, so from the title and the date of the last few posts, I've been to many places, and have a ton to update. I wish I had a better excuse as to why I didn't update as much during Identity Fest, but 15 hour days from set up to breakdown and then driving 400 - 500 miles to your next day's tour date just sucks the life out of every burning cell in your body. Savage. Now we are up in Sedro-Wooley, just north of Seattle at Rachel's Uncle's house. It's nice to have some time--even though not much--to reflect and recoup and get ready for the next string of events. It's even more odd to sit and think that just a month ago I was sitting in Maryland at my grandma's house celebrating my birthday, not knowing how tough the next leg of the tour was going to go. It was like riding an explosion across the country...paper cuts and whiskey...no time to think, just sell and paint and wade through the surrounding body parts and staring, bloodshot eyes. I even found out that my art goes over well with just about every sheriff department in the U.S., to the point that we had to ask the cops to not hang around Vincent and I because they were killing sales. They were cool about it, and knew exactly that what we were asking was not a stretch, considering most drug soaked, drunks were not going anywhere near the cops, even if I was giving away free paintings of naked women.
So anyways, The Identity Fest was an incredible experience that really pushed my art, my patience and my creativity to new levels--I can't wait to unleash the new paintings distilling in my brain. It's been wonderful to finally have my eyes open to the rest of the U.S., and to calm my nerves, wondering if the rest of the country was as misguided about art as San Diego is. I can honestly report they are not. Different cities showed different levels of enthusiasm--especially the woman in Albuquerque who as astounded that the actual artist showed up in her town to promote, and didn't just send someone in to sell--but it was still on a level that was refreshing, and of a level that really recharged my will to create. The appreciation from the new found fans and friends was just what I was looking for on this trip--a real justification that it was time to hit the road. I thank all of you.
The sights I've seen as well have been a blur, but have been amazing, including just driving through northern Nevada's amazing expanse of nothing blasting music and screaming something out the window like a madman about America as I drove. Gallup, New Mexico's route 666, the meteor crater, gas stations with mud smeared windows like something out of 'The Hills Have Eyes', gas spewing out of my tank when I took off the cap (unexplainable by a mechanic as well), Dinosaurs, millions of acres of corn, too many toll booths, my daughter machine gunning cops with a bubble gun, hundreds of thousands of people having fun, the milky way, Motel 6, swamps, my wife and the counterfeit bill experience in Ely, Nevada, slot machines smeared with lipstick eating my money, overpriced pizza, basement nightclubs, my paintings disappearing and being replaced with a fair price (probably the strangest thing!), wind storms, thousands of bikers in one town, Gwen dancing to Pretty Lights, sitting with Gwen having father/daughter time watching DJ Shadow's AMAZING set, Woody Creek Tavern--thanks for the tour Tim!, Amish people and their buggies, my wife by my side the whole way, Amazing cider at Lincoln Rock, talking it up with Vincent on the banks of the Columbia River while drinking a river of whiskey, testing my Volvo's limits halfway up a mountain and off road while pulling a trailer, the civilization we carved through the red rock of Colorado, the neon drunks of San Diego, and many, many more sights and sounds too numerous to mention. I thirst for more, though. I want to be on the road more. This was just a crumb of the time I think screaming across the country will satisfy me. Too many people to meet. Too much art to create. Too many miles to rack up. The epic nature of this journey, and the lessons it will hopefully teach generations of artists to come, will not be fed to fruition in just one run. No, the trip must soak through the years. There's nothing in this life, of importance, that can be shoved down our throats in just one lusty, calculated, drunken, well read bar fight. It's the wounds that sit on our skin that teach the lesson. We change the bandages, we pick the scabs out of curiosity, we wash, we clean, we are nurturing the wound, and treating it as a mother. Sometimes it scars and we become the open book of our time lapping up the knowledge of bar stools and gas stations. I know in order to get to this point in my life I've cherished the defeats more than the successes. The defeats, at least, will wrap their arms around you and poke and prod and remind you of your fuck up, allowing you to remember and soak the lesson in, unlike the successes, that just sit on a shelf like a trophy, only to be brought out when it's time to brag or defend yourself. I'm hoping this trip is an inspiration to all artists to step outside the coffeehouse set and realize that those walls are just ONE place to hang. That it's more about the business knowledge than it is the knowledge of perspective--the talent will come through repetition, the business is learned. That you need to see past your own handicap of wanting to do shows for exposure only, and thinking that you have to pay to play. You are the performance. You are the reason that people show up in a gallery or at a nightclub. They are not here to see the promoter so stop watching him reap all the money. I never saw anyone walk up to a gallery owner and congratulate him on having art on his walls, but I've sure as hell watched people's jaws slam against the floor when looking at the art on those walls. Grow some confidence--the whole reclusive artist thing, trying to be as mysterious and profound will not work on the masses, just the snobs that try the same tactics to get through life. The clients are out there. The people that genuinely want to buy your art can be found by searching them out yourself. It takes work, sure, but you are making the sale yourself, and making the connection yourself which will translate into a more personal relationship with the client, and they will appreciate the artwork that much more. Just some advice through my years of being in this crapshoot, and my months on the road.
Anyways, enough rant...time to call it a night. We are leaving Thursday for San Francisco. Rachel's folks know of a cool place to camp in Santa Cruz, so we'll set up shop there first and then this weekend it's the A.P.E. Comic Con. We'll spend about a month in San Fran before heading down to the Long Beach Comic Con Oct 29-30th. Then I roll into San Diego on Halloween! After that it's Texas for the Wizard World Austin. After that who knows....