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.

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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.

basic lettering for tattoos, script

lettering in script tattoo styleI do not know enough about lettering to call myself any kind of expert.

seriously. (check out some of my art with lettering in it for verification of that)

I am sometimes shaky, I am often confused by fonts, and although I have done thousands of tattoos with text in them, I still struggle with the forms and shapes. I owe the little I DO know about lettering to B.J. Betts, who is well-known in tattooing as a real expert on this stuff- he has some books out, if you are a professional tattoo artist you should keep your eyes peeled for them and buy them. (but if you work in a shop or have been around a while you already own all his stuff…)

I learned to do lettering before I ever heard of his work- the way I learned was through calligraphy, and through sign painting. A combination of those things and Betts’s work has formed my meager abilities.

Here’s a walk through on drawing this stuff. If you’re a tattooer you will naturally make the proper adjustments to the text as you go in order to make it applicable to skin, so I won’t be explaining the precise tech needed for that. If you just want to add a tattoo to a painting, a drawing, if you are not a tattoo artist you can use this how-to to make script lettering … or if you are doodling reference for your tattoo artist to build you a tattoo from, you can do this to give them an idea of what you’re after.

This is a step-by-step for script, cursive lettering in a slanted style in which the letters are connected.

I will post a separate one for block or stylized lettering next.

My tools:

Liquid acrylic ink,

fountain pen

(with round nib- just what I prefer)

colored pencil

(for beginning sketch/marking symmetry)

standard black #2 pencil

tracing paper, paper that is easy for ink lines

(I am using a scrap of srches hotpress here)

The rest of the steps, after the jump.

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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

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my daily routine.

 

image

image

I have two separate routines for work. it depends whether I am having a tattoo-studio day or a home-studio day.

if I’m working at the shop, I wake around ten or eleven and lay around like a slug until it’s time to rush to work. I arrive, drink coffee, plan out my hours. talk to clients. clean my inks off or monkey with a machine until  “real work” shows up. I leave right after the shop closes for the day. I usually don’t do any other art on these days; working on commission is draining (satisfying though!)

if I’m not going in to the shop, I wake up late, noon or one. I have coffee and laze around a little.then eat, and start looking over the mess I left the previous day. usually I will have something drying and ready to be worked over a little more. so I pick up where I left off. at some point I’ll reach a moment where everything is tacky. then I start something new…I work a little, stop and stare. smoke, have a sandwich and more coffee.

a lot of times I’ll just get in the car and go exploring, searching for objects or supplies, detritus. things that make me feel creative. it’s a lot of walking along the river or the side of the road.

I work until very late at night when I’m doing my own art. I’ll stay up until the birds are talking. sometimes I work all night and into the next day. coffee is my friend. this happens a lot more in the winter. I tend to have a very hard time waking up in the mornings, it’s always been that way.

of course I spend about two months each year  “on the road”; I can’t call it a vacation because I usually am tattooing just about that whole time- I don’t like not working anyway. but when I travel I have no routine at all, and when I return it takes me a while to get back in rhythm with my schedules and routines at home.

Jim Thorpe, and the march of time

This used to be the most awesome crawlupon ruin in the county- just beautiful and so interesting. Well, now they’ve fenced it off. No trespassing-so they can renovate it…for the tourists.

I am currently a tourist.

I would NOT pay to see this rebuilt. It’s just not interesting at all renovated. The beauty of these ruins is in the freedom to roam them, to go where you want and see the decay of the stone…a tour guide? Pfft. Why bother?

I mean- I may be out of line but, I prefer to lay my hands on history, gently. Not see it from ten feet away…also, rebuilding a site which is famous and amazing because it is ruined and abandoned? that’s just stupid.

I am probably wrong in my feelings about this subject but restoration of abandoned places irks me. I like the decay and abandonment. I like it. I don’t want them to rebuild it and repaint it and put some lady in a period costume in there for minimum wage to explain crap to me. That’s just me.

There are still abandoned places here and everywhere- let’s hope they are allowed to rest in peace instead of being dolled up and paraded around for money.

funny

http://ugliesttattoos.com/2010/05/16/funny-tattoos-scissoring/#comment-28576

Marylin was kinda upset but only I think because she didn’t realize that they post not only ugly or “bad” work, but also joke tattoos and silly ones, that are well done. I understand that not knowing what the site was like she would be pretty upset. But I love that site so…

Any rate here’s the tattoo that caused the flak.

At any rate, this is my own photo of the tattoo. It came out great and makes me really happy. Marylin is an awesome person, and the tattoo made us both giggle a ton. So it didn’t bother me to see it posted there. Go check out their site, too. Except for the fact that they don’t even TRY to find the source for the better-quality tattoos and credit the artists (COME ON GUYS) it’s a great site. And the truly ugly tattoos that do get posted are hilarious too.

http://resonanteye.com/2008/09/18/pair-of-pairs-of-scissors-scissoring/

art opening

Had a great time at the Unfine Art’s 8th anniversary.

I had a piece hanging in the show—

I enjoyed Honey Vizer’s reading of the manifesto to Shawn’s awesome sax madness—

The Ninkasi and some of the food was delicious—

And I even had an attractive date to bring with me, who was willing to help re-build a bucky ball, and discuss the PNW-china connection with some strangers.

All in all a successful evening.

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rain on dark city streets

terrible dreadlockssmoking girlWhen I was much, much younger I lived in a second-floor apartment across from a gay bookstore in Philadelphia for a while. (Thanks to them for introducing me to Hothead Paisan at such an impressionable age, by the way.)  It was a decent apartment, with a nice fireplace. We had several cats, my girlfriend and I. I owned an ancient underwood typewriter, which I place on a board in the window, I drank a lot of coffee and smoked way too much. And on rainy spring nights I’d sit in the window watching the people go in and out of the bookstore, and I’d try to write…poetry. This was before tattooing, before the west coast, before the zine, before I squatted, before I dropped out of civilization for the wild years. This was the start of that. It was the BEFORE TIMES.

It was horrible, in retrospect. But at the time I felt like it was a way to recognize that inside me hides an angry intellectual snob, someone who could rise above living in shitsville, who’d worked in factories. Some kind of Henry Miller/Bukowski/Hemingway persona. Some kind of talent that made me better than what I’d come from. I hadn’t started working at art in earnest yet, collage and a few drawings or paintings were all I’d done, so writing seemed a natural outlet for me instead.

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