all sweetness and light.

just another negative asshole on the internet

just another negative asshole on the internet

I was reading someone’s site earlier, an artist someone pointed me to for ‘ideas about selling more art’.  The artist makes good stuff, illustrative art made from collage, very design-y, very positive and girly. It’s good art. Their art is on all kinds of stuff.

So I started reading their posts, and reading through their archives, and looking at the stuff they’re doing. And holy hell, talk about happy positivity and sugar smiles. Not a single negative thought, or statement. Not a droplet of anger, or unhappiness. I mean this girl is sweet as pie. Her life is made of rainbows and cupcakes. She’s never posted about being poor, or being sick, or being lonely. Not once. She’s pretty, she’s only a bit younger than me, she’s always encouraging, she has not a single personality flaw. And she’s nice about it too. She has her stuff licensed for home decor things, and has other companies wholesaling it or retailing it, and sells only originals here and there if the whim comes.

Listen, you guys. I see people like this, and I start to feel so shitty on myself. Like- I watch horror movies, and I curse, and I get negative. I’m often poor and sometimes sick and always a little off-kilter. I have done things wrong in my life and will likely continue to be fucked up in new and surprising ways on a regular basis. Sometimes I get in arguments, or drunk, or say things that are crass or offensive. I’m extremely imperfect and not always a good person.

And so, if I am not sweetness and light, how the fuck can I ever succeed? Success seems to require this…this peachy keen persona, this happy-up vibe and I just cannot do it, can’t fake it. Even if I could there’s decades of evidence for all my failures and bad behaviors! I mean…I don’t even know how one lives without troubles and fuckups and bad times. I couldn’t even write this post without cursing. I don’t even know if that can be real. But apparently it is real, and there are people like that, and they make GOBS of money on their works, without even doing much actual work. 
28308_1344575736648_1298901221_30981550_4061441_nCupcakes-and-sunshine people discourage me. I don’t know what to do now. This should be an inspiring post, but the more I read there the more I realized I will NEVER have that kind of following, that kind of draw. I’ll NEVER be a nice happy positive person that nice old ladies want to chat about at some frilly gift shop, it will just NOT happen. There are no major contracts for wholesaling in my future, there will be no fluffy bunny pillows at your local department store with my name on them, you can exit through the gift shop but my work isn’t for sale there.

I can try as hard as I want, encourage others to try, but in the long run, I’m still a negative asshole, and I still get depressed, go broke, have toothaches, and offend people. I love what I do but I also love to read true crime, look at gross and gory pictures, watch shitty horror movies and make fun of stuff. Do we have to be perfect to succeed? Do we have to grovel?

This life, how do people live it?

So then I go look elsewhere for something else to read. I hit on an article talking about Van Gogh and how great it is that his work has so much recognition, how high the prices are at auction. Man, he’s dead. He died broke and miserable.  And wasn’t some of his work “cultural appropriation”? All those japanese masks and flowers… also, dude was negative, unhappy, self-destructive, and all the rest.

Since reading and thinking about art didn’t cheer me up any, I’m going to watch Body Bags- and maybe a couple other shitty horror movies- and snuggle the dog.

a story from my youth.

still not cool enough.

I was ten years old, and the house I lived in was next to a small playground/park. Of course back in those days I was usually unsupervised; I spent most of my time climbing trees, swinging on the swings in the little playground, or catching minnows and salamanders in the crick next to it, or climbing trees in our little patch of meadow, or looking for animal skulls or bones in the swamp behind it. I feel like I should draw a map, but these little places were maybe within a few acre’s range of my house.

Unsupervised outside was the usual routine then. Almost every kid in my little neighborhood was the same- this was the seventies, and parents threw their kids outside as much as possible, only calling them in for homework, dinner, and bedtime. This was before video games, before the internet. We had TV but there was nothing on for kids my age at that time of day, right after school.

One day, I was at the swings, and two slightly-older, really cool looking girls that I didn’t know were there. They were on  the swings, hanging out together, talking. I wanted to be their friend! I really really wanted them to like me. They were just amazing! They had cool haircuts, and awesome clothes, and wore makeup, and they were talking about really cool stuff like riding bikes and smoking and where they were going over the summer. They were rich white girls from town, just hanging out in my little playground by the woods. I was in awe of them the way only a ten-year-old bookworm math geek can be in awe of worldly, confident and successful people. My heart was swollen in my chest, and I grew enthusiastic as I listened to them chat with each other.

I tried to talk to them, and they started teasing me. “You’re too young,” one of them said, “You’re too young to hang out with us. Go away.”

Of course I didn’t go away. I kept trying to get involved in their cool conversation. In retrospect I was being incredibly annoying, in retrospect all kids that age are annoying most of the time. One of them finally asked me a question. “How old are you, anyway?”

My heart leaped! They were going to be my friends! “I’m ten, ten years old!”

I will astound them!

I will astound them!

“Bullshit!,” she replied, “There’s no way you’re ten. You’re like…eight. Eight years old. Stop lying.”

“NO I AM TEN I AM NOT LYING” I felt my face get red hot. I was in fact pretty small for my age- I was the shortest person in my class, and always unhappy about it. I was also embarrassed, ashamed, I don’t know why now and I didn’t know then, either.  I whined, “I’M REEEEEEALLY TEN YEARS OOOOLD”

She looked at me and said, “Prove it. Show me your report card or something.”

“I WILL” I said, and started running home. I got home, shuffled through papers (seriously, I was in awe of these two girls) found my latest report card, snuck it past my mom out the kitchen door where she stood smoking a cigarette (“what do you have there? why are you being sneaky? get back outside and play”) and ran at top speed back to the swingset, triumphant, ready to bask in my newfound coolness. Not only did my report card have my year in school on it (proving my age) but I ALSO had straight A’s that year! They were bound to love me after seeing that. I will astound them! So I ran with my paper in my fist, fast as I could, back to them. And when I got back to the swingset…

They were gone. They’d left. Those two girls didn’t care who I was, how old I was. To them, I was a pestering annoyance. Asking me to prove something was their way of getting me to go fuck off so they could escape my affections, their way of putting me down, of making me leave. I was so crushed, and suddenly, a lot of things made sense to me in a horrible new way.

Tests at school? Proving myself to people who didn’t care. Homework? The same. Chores?Proving myself to my parents, who should have already believed in me. Pretty much any kind of showing off, speaking up, explaining myself, anything, was people who disliked me, asking me to prove myself, in order to waste my time or get rid of me. Success was just a sham.

I swung on the swings for a while, alone, and then my mother called for me to come eat dinner. And that was that.

This memory is small, and isolated from other memories of my life at that time. The feelings that go with this memory are HUGE, and have made me feel that same burning shame, that same disappointment, even now, even into my adulthood. It’s incredible how massive the exact moment of disillusionment with the world can seem, when you’re young. I think it was two years later I started smoking, started slacking off in school, and sort of dropped out of the race to succeed in life. To this day, I am uncomfortable explaining myself, proving myself, showing my background or history or performance with people, or attempting any accomplishment that I can’t personally enjoy attempting. I stopped worrying about failure, that day.  I still  feel like doing some things is a waste of my time, is a fruitless effort for people who don’t give a damn. Still. I still feel that way. 

We all have our moments of realization, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. I’d have to call this my first epiphany. I think in one way it has served me really well, though. Because of the life I have lived and my lack of concern for social markers of success, I’ve done things that I loved, lived a very interesting life so far, and seen a lot of amazing things I would never have encountered if I was running the rat race. SO I am ok with this memory, this moment in my life. It’s all right by me.

on becoming outgoing

the ghost writerI used to be really, really shy.

I went through years of just never talking to anyone, just going home after work. Reading. Spending time alone or with one or two friends. Then I went through a long, angry phase of hating people who were social. That lasted a while.

At some point, BAM! I was no longer so shy.

As soon as I didn’t care what anyone thought, things got a lot easier. If someone doesn’t like me, it doesn’t really matter. I mean of course there are people that I’d like to have like me- I still don’t feel all the way happy in a crowd- but now, it’s discomfort, a bit of anxiety, whereas before it was crippling and it kept me alone most of the time.

Of course some people don’t like me much, now that I am a loudmouth. But then again…some people wouldn’t have liked me no matter what I did.

(more…)

new stuff I’ve discovered in my vaporizing time.

  • Cigarettes don’t taste very good. I can’t finish one now.
  • Every single memory I have, besides really fuzzy small-child ones, are ones that involve smoking. I don’t think I’ve done anything in my whole life without a lit cigarette hanging out of my mouth. Until recently, every single moment was punctuated by a smoke.
  • I still roll down the car window to vape, just like I did when smoking- even though there’s no reason for it.
  • If you started out by buying blu stuff, you can use those cartomizers they sell at the gas station on an ego battery.
  • You can also refill those things with better quality nicotine juice if for some reason all your other gear stops working.
  • If you bought clearomizers and they stop working, you can take them apart and clean them…
  • You can also take them apart and completely destroy them and have to get new ones.
  • I like drip tips. I like chewing on something when I “smoke”. I used to clench and chomp on the filter of my cigarettes, too. Bitey. They make cheap plastic ones that make it easier to chew them to shreds, otherwise I’d have broken all my teeth off on the steel ones by now.
  • VCV is hip. They have the cheapest beginner set-up ever right now. No, they didn’t pay me to say that, but if they want to, I’ll take it. This is the basics you need, all the stuff I recommended in my past post about this stuff…for like 15 bucks. And their juices are delicious.
  • If you can’t taste your vaporizer juices, chew on an unused tampon and it will cure it.
  • Switching from smoking to vaping is easier than it sounds.
  • I still don’t smoke marijuana, but I like reading about people making stuff out of it.
GAH. and yes, that's one of those little flosser things for your teeth.

GAH. and yes, that’s one of those little flosser things for your teeth.

I fully destroyed half my gear today. I am definitely not now and have never been very mechanically-minded. I mean, I once tried lost wax and sand casting machine frames, and almost killed everyone in the workshop (don’t ask) and I have been known to fix a tattoo machine by throwing it against the wall, cursing it with vile imprecations. (It worked perfectly after that). I think moonbeams repair cell phones, and I firmly believe little gremlins in a plastic case are the reason my laptop functions.

trying out some new mechanical equipment and hating every minute of it.

trying out some new mechanical equipment and hating every minute of it.

I once tried to build a PC, too. Franenstein kind of works, but he lives in the basement and is not allowed to be fed electricity.

And I can’t wait until PVs are just as fiddle-free as all the other things I use regularly and have no clue about.

(My car is the exception to all this. A lifetime of poverty and strangeness has forced me to know how a car basically works and the life-sustaining things I must do to it. Not that I want to, or that I will if there’s a mechanic I can afford- but I know how. It wasn’t fun to get to this level of knowledge though, and I’d almost rather NOT understand why you shouldn’t take every sparkplug wire off an 8-cylinder van all at once to replace them.)

the baron.

the baron.

rats win races, sloths succeed.

556740_10151360701822712_101340810_n559917_10151362094257712_740607251_nDSC_1159a reminder tattoo for a tattoo artist friend of mine. he wanted to remember to slow down, and do more focused work, instead of hurrying up and rushing himself. He is the kind of artist who feels a lot of pressure from his clients, he tends to feel so glad to be tattooing that he forgets that his work is valuable, that his BEST work is worthwhile…that people who want really good tattoos are willing to pay for them, and that he is capable of doing great tattoos, and therefore shouldn’t undervalue his time…

If you undercharge people, you start to feel rushed. it’s inevitable- you end up booked solid for months but barely making ends meet. hurrying up to get that tattoo done in time, in the small amount of time you quoted them for. it’s far better to quote high, to take your time, take that extra hour to do your VERY BEST work on people.

any rate- I love fucking sloths. And this one is particularly classy, too.

also,

 

298323_10151361506522712_1862424666_n

You poor kids.

my blog: like a hundred baboons writing shakespeare with assault rifles

My standard advice to anyone wanting to learn to tattoo is “MOVE OUT OF OREGON AND GET A REAL APPRENTICESHIP”. I find the idea of “schools” laughable and repugnant.

You simply cannot teach “class” of more than one person hands-on, tattooing is not like other fields in this sense. Apprenticeships served one-on-one, by the person who plans to hire you afterward, are and were the tattoo industry standard.

Being here is the first time I have ever heard of a tattoo “school” being taken seriously by ANYONE as anything but a scam that teaches the student nothing.
Churning out people without being responsible for their future career is a terrible idea; I’d never before heard of ANYONE being taught without being hired by the teacher once they’d learned.

An artist who is very skilled and dedicated does not have time or interest in teaching twenty people. They may take the time to properly apprentice one or two during their career. In order for an artist like this to have an apprentice in Oregon, they must open a school in a manner that assumes they will want to teach multiple people; they must charge money, they must do a lot of things which deters them from bothering at all. The system in Oregon is set up so that the very best tattoo artists won’t teach, and those with less skill, will.

SHE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE ANY TATTOOS


People who are proficient at filling out forms and such; not good tattooers. We end up with under-educated people with no place to work, turned loose to fend for themselves.

I feel like a lot of these younger artists were completely ripped off by the system, taken advantage of, their ambitions falsely turned against them. We could have so many highly-trained young artists here, instead we have a pile of people who COULD be great, but are flailing around trying to learn on their own. It’s a waste of time, and it’s bad for tattooing.

Again- you can NOT teach tattooing in a class. This requires apprenticeship and mentoring beyond that; should be done in the interest of furthering our art, not raking in cash from naive starry-eyed kids and then tossing them out in the street to beg for work (or worse, open their own shop because they can’t find a job…how are they going to learn more then? When they are working alone with only their limited knowledge to go on?)

A few people have done the best they can teaching under these rules, but a first-year OR tattoo artist is still, STILL, light-years behind almost any other first-year tattooer.

In tattooing, it’s not good form to talk down on whoever taught you, no matter how fucked-up things ended, or how poorly the teaching as done. I feel that the current rules in oregon were passed without any insight into the general standards of tattooing nationwide and have really made us look bad in comparison to other places. The school/apprentice thing being the biggest issue.

Y HALO THAR TINY JACKASS

It’s not so much the number of new artists, because demand is still high and rising. it’s the quality and skill of those artists! YOU SHOULD NOT TEACH SOMEONE YOU DON’T PLAN TO HIRE. simply put!

The input given by a mentor during the first few years of tattooing is just as important as the original apprenticeship, and a formal apprenticeship gives in-depth, hands-on information that can’t be given in a class setting, or by someone who is teaching a herd.

For you guys who are wanting to learn tattooing: MOVE OUT OF OREGON. If you have other things in your life preventing that, be aware that YOU WILL NOT HAVE TIME FOR THOSE THINGS ANYWAY. The time during your apprenticeship, tattooing needs to be the first and only priority in your life.

So, move! Find someone who wants to INVEST in you, share their knowledge, and guide you. Don’t slap down cash on the barrelhead and expect to be a respected artist because you bought in.

I’m crossposting this rant from a forum where I posted it all; I have snipped out a few bits that were more technical, but the gist is the same. Learn from someone who wants to hire you, teach only someone you plan to hire.

We believe in nothing, Lebowski.

I am an atheist. Well, technically, I am a nihilist.

Atheists tend to believe in the good nature of humanity, or the ability to make the world a better place, or willpower, or some such like. A lot of them enjoy viewing the Universe as a remarkable place full of wonder.

A lot of them want to build community, work together to improve life for everyone. Many are generous and kind, and think that empowerment of others is a good thing. Most atheists are dedicated to making this world, the only world they believe in, a better place in general.

I like atheists. I like them a lot. You can tell that a lot of them are optimistic about humanity’s chance to survive, about our ability as human beings to turn around the destructive forces within us. Forces like hate, religion, patriotism, racism. Most atheists I know want some kind of peace, some way to make it easier for human beings to work together.

They aso are very curious about the way the world functions, about the mechanics and the meaning of it all, in ways that religious people simply are not. Religions answer all the questions, without giving any explanation, and to question is heresy. For atheists, questioning and finding explanations is the purpose.

Did I say I like atheists? Because I really, really like them.

Anyway, I’m a bit more of a nihilist. I think the human race, as a species, is doomed to certain extinction, and sooner rather than later. I think that it’s already far too late to do anything like make vasectomies and abortion mandatory and oil and fossil fuels illegal; I think we have passed the window in which such drastic measures would have saved us. We’ve pretty much shitted this place up beyond repair.

The world will go on. The earth and whatever animals and plants manage to evolve to suit the coming changes. Humanity, on the other hand, I do not think will persevere. We haven’t destroyed the planet, only our own chances of surviving on it. If perhaps we’d been able to overcome our lizard-brains long enough to stop breeding and greeding, we might have staved it off.

But now- with the top tiny number of humans in control of almost all resources, and the rest frothing at the bit to revolt- it is likely too late for turning back.

I may be an old woman when this happens, or I may not live to see it. Or it could begin now, tomorrow, tonight. I have no way of knowing. But I will, as all humans do, live out my life. If that means a grim aeon in a cage or cell, so be it. If it means eating soylent green, ok then. If it means starving or being shot, well that’s what happens to some humans, right?

We’re all doomed to die. It’s a certainty. And we’re doomed to die OUT, as well.

People who are breeding, driving massive SUVs, cutting forests, and the like- well, technically that’s evil. If I believed in such a thing. What was once the highest purpose for most people- hoarding and breeding- is now the worst imaginable modern demon. Greed and narcissistic reproduction have been allowed to flourish until- now- we are all doomed.

All of this is not to say that I do not enjoy my life. My life is all there is, and right now, it’s enjoyable. I will always want to know what happens next, even if my doomsaying nature thinks it can’t possibly be anything good.

Also, it’s fun to watch atheists try. They would give me hope, if I believed in such a thing.

And yes I know- I’m not supposed to talk about what I really think or believe. I’m supposed to be mute, or at the very least neutral, or else nobody will want to buy my art.

I’m sorry- but Picasso was an avowed womanizer and plenty of conventionally-moral women hung his works in their home. Van Gogh publicly adored hookers, and now the middle class has bunches of sunflowers in their front rooms.

I feel that if someone likes my art, they like my art, and will buy it. If they don’t personally like me, it shouldn’t matter- it adds strength to the story behind the piece, actually. (“I got it from this eccentric crazypants”) And if people disagree with me, I suppose I will just starve, as most vocal artists tend to do.

It’s our punishment, you see. Society likes to watch us frustrated, poor, and suffering. They don’t like their artists rich, fat, and happy- they save that for people whose skill is in manipulating others, owning cheap labor. and moving it from place to place.

enough ranting, time to draw.

the bechdel test.

The Bechdel test is simple. Your book, film, or other work passes if it contains two named female characters, who speak to each, about something other than a man (or men).

I actually think about this while reading or watching a movie. Some movies that have been hailed as feminist masterpieces (by morons *cough*) don’t pass this test. And some movies I love but which are seen as just awful to women- DO pass.

The corollary I’d give, is that if your work doesn’t pass the Bechdick test as well, you are off the hook. This second test is simple- if your film, book, or other work contains two men, with names, who speak to each other about something other than women, it has passed the test.

Some works contain only one character, two male characters, or a mixed pair. These works are officially off the hook, not liable to the test. Since they wouldn’t pass the Bechdick test, you can’t apply Bechdel to them either.

However, a book that passes one MUST pass the other as well, or it’s simply not realistic. Even fantasy works should maintain enough realism in the characters to make me believe they are real, to flesh them out. If a work doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, I find my suspension of disbelief waning, and my interest in the (male) characters almost lost- since some characters are not realistic, none can be.

watermarking images.

spider skeleton mount taxidermy artI’ve seen my work posted and reposted a lot online (it probably started in earnest, with my work, when this image was the main image on the wikipedia “tattoo” entry for almost a year) and I’ve never really thought about the amount of people who may be seeing it with no idea who made it.

A few things recently made me consider starting to watermark my stuff with this site’s address. First, I was looking at sketches done by some artists on a social network site I use, and found a sketch of my spider monkey mount’s skull and jaws. It was a great sketch, and I commented on it saying I loved that someone was using my work as inspiration. The artist blew it off, saying “Yes, I found this randomly online.” They had no idea they were talking to the creator of the work they were (tracing) drawing.
I explained that it was my work, she was excited to find out where it came from, we made friends.
It was a really good sketch.

Then, I found my spider skeletons posted to a russian site- and have no idea what on earth it says, whether it links back to me (update- it does) or not, and would love to comment but have no idea which buttons are for commenting or anything since I don’t read cyrilic.

Should I start watermarking things? I’d love it if every time my work was reposted or re-used, someone new came to see the rest of what I do, came here and maybe even said hi or spoke with me.
Having the site address on each photo is something I have alternately been too obstinate, or too lazy, to do. I don’t think even if I did this, that I would have the patience to go back and watermark all my older images (about twenty thousand images of my various works exist online) but maybe, going forward, I should make the effort.

What do you think?

home tattooing, round 13,879

http://resonanteye.net/2012/01/06/on-learning-to-tattoo/

 

Needlestick injuries, are also a consideration.

The risks associated with home tattooing start with minor Staph infections and end with septicemia (which can be fatal) and transmission of serious, life-threatening viruses. Also, using your home as a tattoo studio puts you and your family at extreme risk of infections and diseases. Simply put, this is not safe, and is most likely against the law.

Learning on your own will not allow you the ability to use modern techniques and equipment, since most retailers will not sell professional-grade equipment to amateurs. Despite what you may have read on the internet, there are NO books that will teach you everything you need to know to be a tattoo artist. These will only give you bits of information, and without good, working equipment and true, complete information, you just can’t tattoo all that well.

If you’re planning on doing this for fun, don’t bother. It is an actual, honest-to-god, real-life career, and should be approached as one.

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