World Headquarters of Me pg218
Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic
An odd thing would happen five years into each body of work. The series would catch, become popular and really begin to sell at the exact moment I was done. When that feeling hit, the idea of continuing to paint similar images simply to supply market demand felt akin to factory work. I would move on to a new ground zero, embrace a fresh concept and hope for a new following. To have a more viable vocation, what I needed was an idea that would stay engaging past that mysterious five year mark… and beyond.
A new, intriguing direction wasn’t emerging, even though I kept practicing this new way to soften and blend acrylics with cheese cloth. There I was master-painting away, day after day, while frustration mounted. I was stutter stepping when I needed the concept equivalent of a giant leap. I needed wings.
And then I got Paris. — End of Chapter 11
Eight years earlier I had helped a young junkie through early recovery. One thing that helped channel his jittery, frenetic, nutso-tweaking energy was to meticulously cut pictures out of magazines and paste them into collages. He called it ‘Frankensteining’. By 2002, cut & paste collage images were popping up in group shows all over… with and without painted enhancements. I jumped on the trend-wagon as a way to play with compilations of my own and other’s photos using both scissors and Photoshop. They became first drafts for paintings that were interesting one-offs, but ultimately unsatisfying (even though I compiled less disturbing pictures than Miguel used).
‘Chicken Little’s Issues’ turned out to be the art version of my first memoir, back when writing an actual book was beyond my skillset. This large (4 foot by 5 foot) painting began with a solid foundation framed in federalist architecture (a dome atop a rectangle). Society suggests the ultimate goal is to achieve balance and stability; only instead of being grounded, my structure floats in storm clouds above a wine-dark sea. The intense little chick (of ‘The sky is falling!’ fame) has to transit the full moon ruling emotions and tides to get from fear and anxiety to eventual triumph. It was a metaphor for my first ten years of sobriety… of a long trudge toward the sunrise of a brighter tomorrow. I was only beginning to glimpse that future peeking through a waning storm.
People tend to love or hate this painting, but no one liked it enough to buy it. Chicken Little hangs in my dining room as a reminder to lighten the hell up.
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Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.