print edition of poetry book!

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The print edition of my poetry book is now available!

For those of you who prefer actual ink on paper.

The book of essays goes to print tomorrow, there’ll be a kindle edition of that one as well. Pick one up! Or get both, that’d be awesome too. Or share the link with people who like poetry, the kooky bastards.

I’m pretty excited about all this. I’d never have done it without prodding, but now that it’s done and published I feel good about it. I’ll post links to the second book tomorrow once it goes live, and probably put a few new paintings up later tonight too (I have one or two things almost finished) 

UPDATE: Print and kindle editions of the essay/art/tattoo book are here!

The third book in the series will be mostly images: that one won’t be out til nearer the end of the month. And I am planning a kickstarter this month, for the horror coloring book, I’ll update when both of those projects begin!

Originally Published on: Oct 4, 2013

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.

I am crazy wild this minute- excerpt from essay on the experience of mental illness, by Lara Jefferson, 1948

This, and the previous excerpt I posted, are small selections from the book “The Inner World of Mental Illness”, published by Harper & Row in 1964. It’s one of my favorite books, written by a variety of people in very different circumstances and with very different afflictions; all the stories have the same undertone of fear, grieving, and pragmatism.

I’ve read this book to shreds, literally.

Most of the chapters in it are excerpts from longer books written by the mentally ill, but some are merely short pieces, collected by doctors or nurses. I’ll post more of these if enough of you want more of them.

The book includes a variety of mental illnesses, so if you’d like an excerpt dealing with some other disorder, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best.

This excerpt is from “I am crazy wild this minute”, written by Lara Jefferson in the 40s. It was written on scrap paper and wrapping paper in a state hospital.

When her writing was discovered by staff, she was given a typewriter and encouraged to continue. Hospitals at that time were much more chaotic, and psychosis was not treated with as much compassion or medical understanding as it is today.

Had I been born in the age and time when the world dealt in a straightforward manner with misfits as could not meet the requirements of living, I would not have been much of a problem to my contemporaries. They would have said that I was “Possessed of the Devil” and promptly stoned me to death- or else disposed of me in some other equally effective manner.

I know I cannot think straight- but the conclusions I arrive at are very convincing to me and I still think the whole system is a regular Hades itself. …

I cannot conduct myself as the rules set forth because something has broken loose within me and I am insane- and differ from these others to the extent that I still have sense enough to know it; which is a mark of spectacular intelligence- so they tell me.

Here I sit- mad as the hatter- with nothing to do but either become madder and madder- or else recover enough of my sanity to be allowed to go back to the life which drove me mad.

(more…)

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,

 

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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.

is your art good enough to sell online?

Short answer? Yes.

Long, realistic answer?

pretty on the inside

I show you my heart.

Putting your art up online is kind of like showing it in a gallery. You may not be the best at your particular art style, but if you want to improve, showing the internet what you are doing is a good way to get better. There are so many skill levels, so many ways of expressing yourself; the internet is home to them all.

If you’re really timid, start slow. Use deviantart, and request critiques. Once you feel like you can handle more harsh views, try some art forums, and ask for opinions.

Or, alternately, you can dive right in. We all start where we are. Try to get very good pictures of your work. never upload giant files; upload files that are just big enough to look good on a monitor, no larger. Image theft is common, and sometimes unintentional. If you watermark unobtrusively, and only upload smaller files, you’ll find more people credit you when reposting or sharing your work. You want people to do that, because that is how you will sell your art online.

Etsy is a good starter for artists. It’s not the best venue for fine art, but it can be a good way to get your feet wet. Be cautious, though, as most of the advice on using etsy is not written with art in mind, but easily-reproducible craft. Your painting can’t be tagged and posted the same way a t-shirt can. This is why etsy is only a starter site.

The Craftstar has a decent art section, but you will have to have a paypal and pay for listing in advance.

You could also opt for one of the other sites geared for art sales- originals are harder to sell most places than prints, but it IS possible to sell just originals online.

If you are just starting out, keep your prices as low as possible. Once you are selling your work on a regular basis, then you can raise your prices. At first, it’s unknown if you will succeed or not. Most people not only buy art for its look, for how it grabs the eye, but also for the artist’s longevity, their name, their history. Build your history a little!

It’s the internet. You should maintain privacy for your own comfort and safety of course-but letting people get to know you, talking about deep or personal things, lets the viewer understand the origin of your works, and become more invested in them. Give them a chance to find out where the art came from. You can be a cantankerous bitch hermit like me and STILL be capable of showing your inner self online. You don’t have to be outgoing to do it; you can talk as if the site was your own art journal, your own notes about each piece.

So- yeah. Your art is good enough to sell online- at etsy or anywhere else. Keep your expectations of sales low at first, and your prices the same, and then as time passes you will see how your work can fit into the greater whole of online art.

And if you need encouragement, ask for it. And if you need a slap on the wrist, or a sound drubbing, you should ask for that too. All the help you could ever want from other artists lives inside your computer, but it can only do you good if you put your own work in there too.

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.

daily dose.

Thought I’d join in on a twitter thing I saw, and post my daily dose of medicines.

In the morning, I take the top row of pills, all of them, everyday.

That’s two 200mg seroquel, and two 40mg prozac capsules. And to the right, Chantix.
I take this as soon as I open my eyes. Sometimes (almost always) I stay in bed or maybe even go back to sleep for a bit; but it’s the first thing I do in the morning.

At night, I take one of the leftmost pills on the bottom row- I alternate them. One is lunesta, one is ambien, one is temazepam. I take a different one each night so they all keep working. And, along with that, I take my second chantix.

I’ve had insomnia as long as I can remember. The last year or so with these medicines, I have been able to fall asleep far easier and more consistently than ever before. Not that I don’t still sleep in, because I do. But at least I don’t stay up all night then sleep an hour or two- or sleep ALL day everyday.

Also, I’ve been smoking a pack a day every day for 28 years. I’ve gone through one pack in the last two days…so the chantix is helping. I still don’t know if it will work, if I will be able to quit completely, yet- but I am hopeful.

an excerpt from “living with schizophrenia”, by Norma Macdonald

Excerpt from an essay published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, ca. 1963. Written by Norma Macdonald, a woman who had been re-admitted multiple times for recurring schizophrenia and aggression.

Another excerpt from the same source, written by a different woman, is available here.

            I began to see that in schizophrenia I had much more than a handicap, I had a tool and a potential. This sort of mind, controlled and used, has a far-reaching imaginative power, a sharp instinctual awareness, and the ability to understand a wide span of emotional and intellectual experiences. Perhaps in 10 or 20 more years I will be able to control it much better than I do now, and then perhaps it will be more use to me. (…) So far few of my conclusions seem to be practical.

.
Simplest of all is perhaps the knowledge that this illness rests very definitely upon physical factors. …if I hoped to remain well I must have three square meals, my necessary nutrients, and at least eight hours’ sleep nightly. I know that by going without food for a day or two or by missing sleep two or three nights in a row I could (and do) lapse into a state where dreams worry my mind at night, fatigue sets in, voices begin to pester me, and suspicion of the motives of even my best friends rises up to turn my life into a living hell.

.

(more…)

totally self-indulgent photo post.

just some photos of me on my days off.

nothing to see here, move along, move along.




ah hell. have a gallery.

 

(more…)

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