excerpt from “through the looking glass”, an article by Mary Cecil about her experience with psychosis and commitment

Mary Cecil voluntarily committed herself to an institution in the early 1950s. This account was published in its entirety in Encounter, in 1956. Again, the article is excerpted from the book “The Inner World of Mental Illness”.

(for other excerpts, see here, or here)

After a fortnight in a sort of reception ward in the mental hospital, I complained to the doctor that nothing was being done. They didn’t appear to appreciate the urgency of the position. There was I, helpless in the hands of a fiend from Hell and anything might happen any minute. (Ms. Cecil believes that a hallucinated voice is the Devil, sent to harass her.) The Hospital ambled through its days, sweeping us off to Occupational Therapy or out to grass, as the mood took it. One might be suddenly singled out and, eager with hope, be subjected to a blood test or some flippancy like that.

“Ah, but we’re doing so much for you,” the doctor said earnestly…”In fact,” the doctor continued fatly, “we’re going to give you some injections. You’ll be moved to another ward.”

I’d learned already that it was a waste of time asking questions. Psychiatrists thrive on their air of mystery. Anyway, the fact of strange surroundings was enough. In this ward there had been some outbursts from explosive patients. …I noticed that the more obstreperous patients were dragged off, protesting violently, to some outer dungeon spoken of in whispers as the Villa. I added that to my fears and redoubled my attempts to appear totally harmless.

She discusses insulin treatment she received after being transferred to the next ward- a treatment used commonly at that time.

After tea I saw a lady doctor who said I was to have some injections. I saw myself ablaze with vitamins in next to no time. At bedtime the men disappeared into one dormitory and we women into another, so that was all right. Just as I was getting into bed I noticed a sheet marked the Villa. There was a curious taste in my mouth, had I been tricked into the place? Heart thudding, I gazed out the window and saw a small building by itself. “That’s the Villa,” breathed the woman in the next bed.

(more…)

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.

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.

online selling, etsy, ethics.

Update: people are beginning to migrate from the (myspace )I mean – etsy. Here is a page attempting to list their new shops and venues. And other are protesting it all.

The place has always had resellers; people breaking the rules to pass off mass-produced stuff as handmade.
There’s a lot of money to be had from people who want to NOT support corporations, who want to buy local, handmade stuff. A lot of people don’t like buying things that were made for pennies by slave labor. Lots of companies know that, and will lie about how their stuff was made, to get that dollar.

The people who produce things with slave labor want that dollar, too.

“Former eBay and PayPal executive Stephanie Tilenius has joined the Board of Directors of Etsy, joining Etsy founder Rob Kalin, FlickR’s Caterina Fake, Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson, and Accel Partners’ Jim Breyer (also on Walmart.com.’s board) on the board. Tilenius left eBay last year and now heads Google’s commerce division.”

So they invaded etsy (and a few other places) and have been trying for a while now to find ways to successfully sell to people who don’t want to buy from them. Recently, an attempt to pass off furniture built in Bali as “handmade in CA” was busted. The thing is- etsy isn’t supposed to be a place to buy factory-made goods being resold. Its own mission statement says that buying direct from people who are making things by hand, not in factories, is the point.

I signed up there because of that but now…well, the fact that when confronted with a (GIANT SHITPILE OF) evidence, including an email from the man who actually makes the furniture, that the stuff is not produced in CA, and that the original seller is a fraud, etsy chose not to apologize, not to admit fault and remove the seller—but to close discussions about it and deny. (note- the fraudulent seller? is not only still open, but still in their list of “featured sellers”)
So, I’m in the process of migrating. (check out my home page– new links to my stuff for now! All my rocks, sticks, logs, and moss will stay on etsy- but anything I made, art, paintings and stuff- originals- has been moved. still debating whether to keep my prints there or not, my “production work”)

(more…)

no sopa no!

I am totally against SOPA, therefore I have contacted my government reps to shout about it. I suggest you do the same. I’ll be adding this little plea to all my images today—but I won’t black out.

Content is king- and if someone reading this happens to like my picture and read it, so much the better. SOPA would pretty much put me under. I post my original works to sites which sometimes include violating images- while my work doesn’t violate any copyright law, shutting those sites down because of other people’s sins would punish ME, an innocent bystander.

I also feel that there are enough and proper copyright laws right now to defend original works. If someone “steals” my image and uses it commercially, I can right now, without any additional laws, stop them. Legally. SOPA is good for huge conglomerates who don’t want competition, but would absolutely DESTROY the small, lone, artists, those of us who toil away in relative obscurity.

It will take away the venues we use to sell our original works, and it will destroy our ability to self-promote. It will make us vulnerable to any jerk that wants to take us down- and enable censorship by the few. If someone finds a work online offensive, right now, they can flag it or ignore it. Under SOPA, they could report it as a violation, and it would be immediately removed.

The burden of proof is on the person accused, not the accuser- and this is contrary to ALL previous law and statute in the US.

If you are not from the US, imagine all your US viewers GONE. Unable to see you. As well as the sites you use that are from the US- GONE.

For our sakes, and for your own, stand against this utterly stupid law. You can contact your representatives through this site:

https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8173

and let them know how wrong they are about what the voters want.

on learning to tattoo.

owl tattoo brown tattoos on hipI get a lot of people asking me how to get started, wanting to show their art and find out if they should try to be tattoo artists.

They will ask about apprenticeships, teaching, equipment, schools, kits, “practicing at home”, “teaching themselves”, and all kinds of other stuff. I took the time a while ago to write up an article explaining how to get into tattooing the right way, how to learn without fucking people up, and how to find a decent place to learn from.

I hope this helps someone decide to go the right path to tattooing, and helps others decide it’s just not worth that much to them.

If you really are dedicated and persistent, if you really, really mean it, then you will eventually get there.

Unless you take shortcuts. Don’t take those. Do it the right way, even though it’s harder at the start.

I don’t review portfolios or teach anyone; but if you have more questions after reading this article, feel free to email me.

 

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”
– Leo Tolstoy

(more…)

kafka

When I die, please pile all of my creative work high on the pyre.

Burn it all down.

Please don’t go through it all, re-edit and assemble it for sale,

and then make a million dollars from my sad,

overworked corpse.

Kafka was firmly of the opinion that if they don’t want it now,

while it can do me some good to sell it,

they can’t have it later,

the bastards.

He worked full-time, NOT as a writer, throughout his life. He would come home tired from long workdays and stay up all night writing.

I’d have been pissed too. They always blame his lack of confidence in his own work- but I think, deep down, it was his fury that he had had to work so goddamn hard all the time while lesser authors had the leisure and funds to write, and to enjoy their lives.

Every time you think “I wish he had written more” ask yourself- when is the last time you PAID A CREATIVE PERSON for something, and spread the word, so they’d have time to write or paint more? People didn’t pay HIM either, so there’s your answer. He never had time, because he had to pay the rent. That’s how most creative people tend to live- I am lucky because my day job is art too, but even so, it’s not free, it’s not MY WORK wholly. Even so.

skinny women are evil, fat women are lazy. (or, SEA CREATURES UNITE!)

I don't care if you're skinny and covered in shag rug. I love you anyway.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff addressing the lack of larger or fat women in advertising, as symbols of beauty. It’s good in a way to see more of this, because the focus on one body type in media can be really disturbing. The implications that anyone bigger than the models is sick, lazy, or unhealthy; that fat women are all ugly, these aren’t right and need changing. I really think it’s good to raise awareness about body image, and to show women of all different sizes as beautiful and feminine.

That said, I also find it disturbing that many of these essays portray thin women as “anorexic” “unreal” and “nonexistent”. Look, I do know that the use of photoshop and the like has made images of impossible women pretty damn common. And yes, a lot of celebrities have eating disorders. But this isn’t always the case. By portraying thin women as unhealthy, sick, or unreal, you are continuing body shame. You are doing the exact same thing to other women that media has done to you, and it’s just as rotten.You’re continuing the cycle of abuse. Yes, you. You were hurt, so now, you’ll hurt others. For shame?

(more…)

chai tea and plain donuts

I spent the day napping and drawing. I haven’t finished anything. Everything I’m working on is half-done, waiting. It’s been a strange day.

Here’s an older picture to tide you over until I find some motivation to finish something.

oh yeah, and an awesome video for you to watch.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh-hdLKITZA&w=420&h=315]

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