Playing the victim

playing the victim

I was having a conversation with a friend awhile back about how a workplace situation was causing some issues and what to do about it. While I was talking over a particular point, he turned to me suddenly and said “you’re playing the victim”.

I was taken aback for a moment, immediately angered. Our conversation ended soon after and we said our goodbyes, but over the next few days I thought about his statement, going over whether I was just bitching and moaning or I had a legitimate concern. Of course I thought (and still maintain) the latter, but my mind just kept on wandering, about where the line is.

We, in our life have choices, and the most important choices we make is how we respond to others. In part, this piece is a continuation of the theme I explored in a painting I finished awhile ago entitled “The Misinterpretation of Silence and it’s Disastrous Consequences”

Group show – reception tonight

I am in a group show called ‘Plus One’ that opens tonight at 580 Hayes Street in San Francisco.

Facebook invite:



Golden: WTF? Part 2

It should be known that the folks over at Golden reached out to me and said the caps are a known issue and you can contact the company for refunds:


“Yes – we had an issue with the cap caused by a supplier reformulating the plastic. We have remedied that problem and offer replacements for all customers who experience this problem (generally with tubes more than a couple years old). Please, call our customer service team for assistance: 800-959-6543 or 607-847-6154.”


Now I’m even a bigger Golden fan. More companies can learn from them.

Golden: WTF?

Or, as they say in my favorite syndicated comedy, What the Shit?

Apparently the plastic is weaker than the paint… Which, in some ways is a good thing, no?

golden 1

golden 2

In case you don’t get the two above pictures, that is the top part of the cap broken off, the white part on the neck of the tube is the other half. Notice the dried cylinder of paint that has resulted from the shape of the cap.

Here’s one more for you:

golden 3

Anyone want a half dried tube of Naphthol Red Medium acrylic paint?

The things we carry, part 2

I know of someone who is currently writing a memoir and experiencing a bit of difficulty. Apparently in doing so, he has brought up memories of heavy abuse at the hands of his father, resulting in suicidal thoughts.

We as people carry physical objects throughout our life, but we also carry internal things. Thoughts, ambitions, goals, feelings, emotions, motivations, and obstacles that all weave themselves into our psyche making us who we are.

Our internal struggles that end up moving us in a direction is not unlike that of an onion, we can peel back the layers of emotion and thought to analyze what we have done and why. What has resulted in determination and perseverance sometimes can be better defined as cognitive dissonance.

My onion is layers of paint on a canvas. I dig through them to make sense of anything, for some semblance of a cohesive thought that can produce meaning. As I dig further down, I have to be careful not to tear the last layer and the canvas itself gives way, tearing the foundation.

I can’t help but hear Covenant’s “Tour De Force” in my head: Take you down… I wanna take you down with me….

So I was reading Dogpoet and thinking about suicide from a lot of different angles. It is easy enough to see several suicide references in some of my work, though it was never enough to actually make someone ask about it. Maybe by putting it ‘out there’, I have silenced such inquiries, or maybe they are just too afraid to ask. But I know this is another thing I carry. It is my mission to produce work that evokes powerful emotion and thought. To make the internal external.

When we hear that someone has committed suicide there are always statements of evaluation that immediately follow. ‘He had so much to live for’, ‘She was so pretty’, and my ever favorite ‘Why didn’t they talk to someone… they could have talked to me!’ Never before have we been so pompous to expect our wisdom to be the torch that lights the darkness, let alone their ability to trust us.

I can remember nights thinking what it would be like to be a ghost. What an appropriate fate to linger in the minds of those who knew me as that ‘odd painter with the mustache’ . Though no one would tell that many stories of me, and certainly not after twenty years or so. Time, like a flame, would consume every painting I have ever unleashed on the world and my tales, like my life, would be a wisp of smoke.

Now Covenant’s “Flux” plays in my head: forgotten as the ages grow, eternity is not for you.

But that is all it will ever be anyway; you will be forgotten. I am okay with this fact, even when it rears it’s ugly head around in the late night sessions stepping into the shadow.

My process of adding and peeling off layers of paint on emotions buried on a canvas to get a feeling right, over days, weeks, months, or even years, can be an arduous and often tumultuous process, but it’s necessary for me to create. It is like continually pulling scabs off of healing wounds to disinfect the site so it heals right. And I know that when the piece is finished in it’s perfection, there won’t even be a scar. The thing I carried for so long is put down.

Hopefully my paintings can turn a few heads and make a couple more people think about the things they carry.

The things we carry

I recently sold a number of old items on Ebay. Now that most of the auctions are done and I’ve shipped off the boxes, the feeling is like nothing else. Well, almost.

I remember when I felt this way last. It was some four years ago when I sold my car. It was the one biggest item I have ever owned and most expensive. At first I thought I would never be able to get along without it, but now I look back and laugh. Let alone the mere cost, upkeep, parking tickets, insurance… The bigger problem was that it was just something else on my mind, something else to worry about. Just like my car, these old objects aren’t around me anymore, getting in the way of my thoughts and actions. Toys I haven’t played with in years? Gone. Old video games that barely work? Gone. Other things I haven’t touched in years? Please.

One of my friends pleaded with me to keep all these things. “How cool will it be when you look on these things years from now?” My answer? “Not nearly as cool when I look at my clean apartment today.” More importantly, theses things aren’t cluttering my mind anymore. And let’s face it: I’ll be 35 this year. Am I going to wait another 15 years until I’m 50 to finally get a good price on my comic book collection? Pfft, half of the shit I offloaded isn’t even worth anything any more. My Nintendo won’t be worth another dime in five years, Prolly less. And I’d rather have the money now.

The thing is, we can have the best of both worlds. As we age, we learn the ability to compartmentalize. Sometimes this has a negative effect, but if done right, it’s a quite useful skill. I can get older without growing up. I can still be a big kid with a bunch of toys around. But they lurk only in certain places, physically and mentally.

Still so many of us carry these objects through our life, objects that have little or no value. I’m not talking about a hobby or that rocking chair your mom gave you. That shit is great, and if it brings you joy, by all means, keep it, but USE it. We don’t need to hang on to every little piece of everything. Have some faith in your memories — they are already skewed in your favor anyways.

Runaway Train

I was painting and on my ipod came Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train”. I remember this song came out when I was a formidable teen and the accompanying video, which they would have different versions of displaying children who have “lost their way”:

I always thought the idea of running away was really bad. I mean, no matter how much I hated my parents, (which for the record I didn’t so I’m kinda talking outta my ass here) I knew I had it good there, and whatever I hated I could escape when I got older. But then again, no one was beating the shit out of me.

I commend their effort, but it was really ironic to learn that the video placed a number of teens back into situations that were not so good for them. i.e. an abusive family situation:

Dan Murphy talks Runaway Train video

A humble reminder that even the most altruistic actions can result in the opposite.

Tonka fixes the table

This required a little more elbow grease:

fix table

Tonka fixes the lamp

Gorilla glue FTW!


Let there be Light!

Last week I came upon a surprise in the studio:

broke lamp

This. is. not. good.

Sitting on the doctor office blue drop cloth is a broken concrete-stone weight. This is the base of a lamp that has come apart, most likely do to all the water I spill in the studio – purposely and not – that provides a strong weight to the base to keep the lamp standing.

I love this lamp. Not only is it four bright halogen bulbs that provide some kick ass painting light, but some much needed heat in a very cold studio. The lamp will fall over once I move the broken concrete-stone weight.

More importantly, and quite unexpected, is that I felt a small form of loss as Tonka gave me this lamp. I know it’s a little weird, but in a way it is like having a piece of him there.

Now, I’m first to admit I put a lot of attachment into certain objects, as we all do, but I’m getting better at it. After all, it is just a lamp. I actually put a bunch of childhood toys on Ebay over the past few months, with the last batch going up this past week. It is a cleansing like nothing else. Soon my goal of just essentials around me (along with a shitload of canvases) will be realized.

But now I need a new lamp.