Thursday, August 26, 2010


A word of advice: don't have hero's. Have people places things you admire. Idolize no one, they will eventually let you down. Realize the difference between what a person does and the person.
very rarely are they the same.
About a month out from a new "working" blog. I hope it is as special as I want it to be, warts and all.
And dear ones, there will be warts. Special warts.

I've come to the conclusion that if I work in three hour shifts and take an hour off in between, I can work a good long day. Odd, at least for me, but it seems to be doing the job and the job is getting done.
Which, is a really good thing.
I have two major commissions and two gallery pieces to do in just over a month. Might even come close.
It all depends on if the world stays off my back long enough. Frankly if I had been one of the band members on board the Titanic, I'd have been looking for a life boat baby. No way this boy could play the clarinet while the damn boat sank. See, they will always let you down.
Oh, and many of you know, because I have mentioned this before, but I have a very hard time with pen and ink. Well, not so much the pen, just the ink part. I've never considered myself a half way competent ink man. I can fake it pretty well, but not for long and close up. I just keep slogging away at it until the whole damn thing is covered in the stuff. I figure that way, any one looking will be half blind with noodling and not look to close. But recently,(like two days ago.) that if I switched to brown ink, I felt a whole lot more comfortable. It's not ink that's the culprit, rather BLACK ink that screws with my perceptions.
You all probably don't give much of a shit in the long run, but for me, it was huge.
Anything that ups my comfort level while working means a lot more good work in the end.

Hero's. They are to busy, to otherwise engaged, to elevated, to up there, to really pay attention. They will wait until you reach them before acknowledging your presence. I know, that's why I try my best to do this and avoid telling you or trying to remind myself of how "special" I am. Because I am not.
I'd like to think I have a warriors heart, but the truth is most of the time I am either in another world or scared to death of this one.
Sad, innit.

Love to you all.


Sunday, August 22, 2010


Shit. What am I doing here?
Everything was fine two hours ago. Really.
Then I had the strangest sensation, not unlike ice-out on a river in March. A creaking groaning sound followed by a percussive popping sound.
Relax it is only a bit of poetic licence, I am entitled to that much in my own home. Last time I looked anyway.
The central question I am asking myself is where in hell did my endurance go? Two lousy hours and I feel utterly whipped. I mean, I could go for hours and hours without stopping even a year ago. Old fucking age?
You have to be kidding me.
I was honestly in the "zone" as the kids say, (oops, yup, old age-ism...Gah!) with the tool of my choice, just tearing up the joint. I mean I have four pieces to finish within the next month.. not likely but close enough for government work. As of yesterday, it looked petty good. One piece will have to be a bit smaller than I'd like, but that's alright if it's really good. It will be. No doubt, just a bit smaller than I would like.
Anyone familiar with my work knows that I put a lot of myself into it, and so it tends to take a bit of time.
That's ok with me and is for the most part, ok with other people.
Am I just expecting to much form myself to soon? Is there an underlying problem physically I am unaware of....some sort of immune failure Shit?
You know, if you ask any real artist they will tell you about that "place", that strange wonderful feeling of bi-location, a kind of being on automatic and looking over your own shoulder in a kind of blank wonder.
Love it. Live for it, almost NEED it, like a drug.
I simply felt it fade away like melting ice.

I have a weird job. Maybe I should give myself a bit more time to get back into the whole thing. You know, be NICE to myself. Or, perhaps I should lock and load and get up there and kick artistic ass.

Something like that.


Saturday, August 21, 2010


Here we are once again.
Simple. Sort of.
We've been dodging bullets like crazy around here and basically, we did it with only very minor flesh wounds. So, all is basically well. Enough said about that. North American twenty first century blues, man.

Today was my first day honestly spent in the studio in many months. Yeah, thee was a few moments of doubt, which under the circumstances I think rightly justified and totally normal. If fact, if I hadn't been just a touch nervous it would have been a bad sign indeed. Overblown self confidence is to my mind an indication of instability. One should have a realistic assessment of ones abilities and strive to transcend them. That is part of the process of working. If you truly believe that you've got it knocked, give up, you're dead.
Right now I have the sensation of wok gone well, and this rather unfamiliar feeling of not quite being in my body as accustomed. I let muscle memory take over and let the planning I have done for weeks now guide my mind. After awhile I settled down into the old knowledge and grabbed the thermals and set a course to my self that felt very good indeed.
But Lord, am I exhausted. I essentially started two new pieces for gallery shows this fall and corrected the mistakes in two pieces I had previously begun weeks ago but found myself bogged down in. An old lesson learned over again,...NEVER work when your guts say, NO. It's the fastest way to find yourself stranded
in the dark without a light.

Ok, now a little something for the future: I will be posting another "in progress" in a few weeks on the "Working" blog. How I love to dance on a knifes edge. Sink or swim, we will travel together to the end of the road. I hope it will be a very special piece for me, as I have been obsessing over it for weeks now... since just after San Diego.

And, yes I have purchased a run down old Victorian house for literally next to nothing to be the new home of Bent Nail Studio,...Casa Bel Canto. Now all that's left to do in a years worth of up dating and renovation that will either result in a fabulous abode of Art or a massive money pit that will drain me dry and leave me a broken man. Stay tuned. Probably both.

Looking forward to the future,

peace to you all,


Monday, August 16, 2010


Two quick things, quite diverse in nature.

1. I am happy to say there will be a very good chance in the fairly near future that
the folio I named "Bel Canto" back at the turn of the century, may well be finally be published.
Check for news either here or at Eidolon Fine Arts. I am, and will remain terribly proud of it's
Aesthetic resonance.

2. As of this Friday, barring a miracle, this blog will be shut down until further notice. I will not be able to reach either friends, family of business associates. The return will be as sudden as the disappearance.
Stay tuned.

Until then my friends, be kind.
All is silence.


Sunday, August 15, 2010


In many respects, writing about ideas is a complete waste of time. I mean, why? Isn't this an idea as I write it?
Word. By. Word.
How did I do that? Well, by wanting to. That's the first, most vital thing, the desire to do. Now, sometimes, and with some people the doing part seems a likely thing at the time, then the usual distractions set in and before you know it, *poof* no more idea.
This all seems perfectly obvious.....except it's not. the difference between having an idea and transforming it into something that other people can utilize is the fact that where some people have on and do what it takes to make it "real" and those who instead let it slip away is the fact that to one person, this idea became to important to lose.
I tend to think that we are drowning in a sea of ever changing, always moving ideas. We are simply put, soaking in them. On the surface of things we live in a rather straight forward three dimensional world. That's what we are taught, that's what science tells us and out 'five" senses conspire to reinforce in us.
It's all a lie. The strange and terrible part about this is that it is so damned easy to believe. It even gets to me know and then, certainly more when I was younger, and doubly strange far far less when I was a child.
In many respects, I have been un-doing my training as a person for a very long time now. Don't get me wrong, I was one of those children who never quite swallowed the whole thing. I was a troublesome kid from birth.
I wanted to know, WHY.
Still do.
Not just why the sky was "blue" but what was the essential skyness in the sky. Not that it was water vapor refracting a certain wavelength of light but rather what kind of idea put a sky there at all. Was the sky I saw the same as yours? I looked very hard an saw something else. I still look very hard indeed. I am never satisfied with what I can see, as the more I look the more I see. If the more I see means that there is more to see, where does it stop? Does it stop?
And if I remember seeing the sky clearly as a child, and I am apparently not a child, what then?
I must be both right now. Well, that fucks up linear time. So, the sky and the child and the sky and the man are all right now. Right now.
How's that for an idea? There is no time.
Try drawing that.
Consciousness is everything.
Everything is conscious. Even ideas. I am an idea.

That's what my life's work open windows, to punch holes in reality as we know it and free whoever takes a chance can find something more according to each and every ones capacity. Even me. Every thing I make changes me and my reality while I make it. After I am finished it's your turn, I am already off into another reality, one I changed for myself as I did things. So, in a very real sense an idea changes everything.
Divine madness.
Oh, dear, you will have to excuse me, Rossetti just came downstairs and would like a cuppa.
Good as an exit line as I ever had.

Love to you all.

ps: hmmm....what about those bad ideas? oh, well, another time perhaps.

pps: half an hour later. this the sort of shit i think about when I have a bout of insomnia. bugger.

Friday, August 13, 2010


...I would have to say it would involve a daft horse and poppies, and a quill.
I should just just make one up, it happens all the time, people just register them and that's that.
I think it might be fun.
Ah well. On to more or less serious things I suppose.
I am thinking of issuing the Bel Canto drawings as a folio, in very limited quantities and beautifully
designed, ( as if I could let anything out of Bent Nail Studio that wasn't. Oh by the way I am also thinking for a kind of "fine arts" division called "Morphine Rose.") and of the finest quality at a reasonable price. I had always intended to do this when I sat down to do the series yeas ago. I am also changing my official signature again, this time for the far foreseeable future. I'll post it soon. This came about during San Diego, when I noticed that the current one didn't seem to look quite right to my eye. Since one can not hear my work except in the mind, the appearance is vital.
Oh yeah, just for grins.... out where I am, one can but old homes, (old, leaky, drafty, hard to heat homes.) for what would be a song in a more urban area. I have done just that...well the papers are being drawn up anyway. This will of course be an on going restoration project but it will also house a full scale studio, much needed after the truncated version I have had to use for several yeas now. I am picking it up for an unmentionable sum, as the wonderful old man who lived there also died there and was partially umm, well, got at by his cats. I do this on friday the thirteenth no less. Tres me, no? I shall honor his memory by making beautiful things for years to come. Also, the grand, run down old place will NOT be land filled and forgotten.
One other thing before I go... A tip of the oh so stylish Zedlian beret to Madam for the kind words.
Invisible bridges exist unseen and vital between the arts, and as She so bravely states in these cynical times, travel out of our minds and into our hearts. After all, that's all I have ever said, only without a voice, just the silent scratch of a pen, and less well.

Peace to you all.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

GOING DEAF FO A LIVING...postscript.

....Just so you don't think I am a miserable git and actually like stewing in my own juices, or at least a one trick pony,

Bill Nelson, "Contemplation 1986", You Tube. The other side of the know there is always another side.




Both heartfelt and from the depths.
I suppose in the classic sense, ( you know, the true romantics, Byron Shelly, etc.) of the first and openly declared Romantics, I should instead be railing at fate and the hostile universe from some mountain top under a thunderous sky streaked with lightning, but instead I sit here, almost numb with stifled passion and dreams gone dim of art not made, ideas left to whimper in the dust under the cruel table, bare of feasts and past music by players departed.
Ah, so baroque and poetic, so self referential and reeking of self pity, eh? But, who ever said poetic turn of phrases were not true? Certainly not me. I AM convoluted and romantic by nature.
Have any of you ever listened to Bill Nelson's "The October Man"? Look it up, it's undoubtedly on you tube somewhere.
It's as true a musical portrait as one can find, so much so I feel stupid even mentioning being caught with my knickers down in public. That sort of thing can't exist in this chrome and electron, instantaneous
gratification age.
But it's me....a walking shambling thing from some place unknown to quantum physics.

I have a terrible confession to make. AH HA!...don't you love it you Ophrah-esqe kids? At last the wizard comes out from behind his curtain! Well, sorry kids, in fact behind the curtain IS a wizard, what steps out
is, or was one, he's just been in a sense, bound and gagged.
You see dear reader, I can't draw. I can't paint, I can't do anything, and haven't for months and months now.
Art needs to be free, free to go where it will and do what it needs to do. Anything else is just product. Like a hamburger, or a slice of pizza.
Here's why. Listen closely children.

I am going to assume that by your being here that you know what it is I have done and what I am known for. Fair enough? Right then.
"Fracture of the Universal Boy" is simply put, more ME than anything you have ever seen before. It is in all truth ME without boundaries and without censorship of any kind. It is the last twenty years of me in the comics business. A summation, a kind of grand finale, and a farewell to the past...I had hoped ahead lay and open road to progress and new ideas, still "me" but me moving ahead with what I do, the next level of artistic evaluation.
I can't back up. That gate is closed to me. And, until the book is free, I can not go forward.
Oh, I am sure there are those of you right now just shaking your heads in disgust at this wimpy display of self pity. Only it's NOT.
I am what I do. Are you? Really? Ask any real artist, and they will tell you that this kind of "block" or fear is deadly to the mind, heart and soul and causes very real deep suffering.

I was given a package by Madam Auf Der Maur at Sdcc, that contained the video of "Out Of Our Minds"
It was one of the the single most disturbing, beautiful and fierce artistic statements I have seen in years.
I still can't quite digest it's implications. THAT"S art my friends. That is just what art does. I have dreams of what I am capable of, and the single fact that I sit here impotent and dreaming still while every day the world turns and these things remain locked up inside slowly but surely eats bits of my soul away, hurts beyond words.

The book must come out, and I must eventually be free to once again explore new vistas.

Thank you Barron, thank you Madam.....I need you in this world. It gives me hope.

Peace to all,


Thursday, August 5, 2010


So, here I am. Sitting in a frustrated and anxious puddle of me. I have no reason why at least non that I can relay with any sincerity. Physically, I have mostly recovered from the con ordeal. I don't mean that in any sort of negative way, it's just that after not really being "public" for so many years it was a bit difficult being "on" my game for such along stretch without pause that it internally wore holes in my body and soul.
I am one to take solace from the sky and rain and the fur of my dogs, from smelling the air at dawn and listening to inner silences for secrets. I love the whisper of my pencil over paper, the subtle silvery black line and it's possibilities that open secret windows of the soul. All artsy fartsy I know but don't slog it off as the meanderings of a hopeless romantic, I assure you it's all very practical and quite real. Art is not not made without passion, however quiet and strangely atavistic.
I suppose it is nothing more than a case of post con letdown. I desperately want to connect with the wonderful minds of the people i met there to bolster my seemingly wounded interior. Barron Story I met for the first time and found a far more kindred soul that I expected and I rejoiced in the meeting as it gave me strength continue when I was at low ebb. Meeting Melissa Auf Der Maur for a few precious minutes was like meeting a friend, old and dear from another life. I can't being to tell you the shock I felt in meeting someone I felt I had almost an intuitive knowledge of. I strangely miss them both.
Today, as I inhabit my so called "real" world, I am a shaman to whom the spirit world has been closed and the souls of beasts no longer speak to.
My dear Karen is away today, involved with other deeds and necessities. I miss her mightily. I never feel really comfortable without her nearby.
Melissa, Barron, I miss your company and sparks. I seem to have miss placed mine.

Good afternoon all......


Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I should preface this before I really dig in just to be sure i am being very clear: any perceived cynicism or over the top irony should be taken with a massive grain of salt, as indeed any or all of my writings here need to be.
It is nothing more or less than a self applied bandage over a freely bleeding heart. Art cannot be made without deep feeling, and much of what passes as the real thing these days is no more than a Hollywood zombie film, all fake blood and clever illusions. By contrast, my work is a snuff film. I'm dieing right on the page/canvas/ paper.
Right then, San Diego. Dear God, while I was away, somebody feed the fucker a shitload of vitamins By the last day I had my doubts if I was going to get out alive. There must have been twenty people there I hadn't seen in years that I simply couldn't get to. If any of you are reading this you understand, I hope.
frankly I worked my ass off. Seriously off. I was very, very deeply touched by the shear number of people who took the time to find me and say hello, get something signed or just to shake my hand. As a "Special Guest", (whatever that means, I had no special, different or otherwise out of the ordinary treatment i could discern) off course one is obliged to host a panel, though, thinking to myself, what in gods name would any comics fan or art aficionado want to see me for? I mean, I hadn't even made a public appearance in seven years, and none in San Diego for over a decade. Granted I do have a new book out this November, (fingers crossed.) so one gathers that a convention of San Diego's shear apocalyptic magnitude would need more half assed panels than not.
I was wrong. I was loved, and appreciated, in equal measure to the love and respect I try most heartily to give each and every person that has ever put down their hard earned money to feed me, ok mostly mega corporations of which I would get a table scrap or two. But still, you know, it felt wonderful. While i was there I certainly didn't come home having inked a huge deal, or with pockets full of cash , oh no, far from it.
I am however most grateful for the response to the book and hopefully it will translate into respectable numbers bearing in mind that it is coming out through the smallest of small publishers. Canny business man that I am, I am very good at shooting myself in the foot. I suppose I would rather be appreciated than rich.
Believe me, a huge influx of cash would be more than welcome right now. If I had not bashed out the requisite convention sketches and the amazing Ryan Graff of Eidolon Fine Arts had not hand bound four extremely beautiful copies of "Boy" to sell I would not have either eaten or made it home. ( A hundred and fifty dollars for five days of airport parking and another sixty for gas to get two hundred plus miles the ungodly hour of two thirty am.)
And speaking very briefly of Eidolon Fine Arts, It is distinctly possible that I may be signing with them if and when the bugs can be worked out. More on that in a future posting.
So, to sum it all up as the day begins and the sun rises as ever, San Diego has become a monstrous, cynical venue of mass exploitation and naked ego, where every one and absolutely everything has been marketed down to the lowest common denominator, it is also,if you look one of the most amazing destinations for serious and astute popular art lovers the world has ever seen. Just pack a lunch and tranks.
So , my hello's: Dave and Claire, Jim and Bebe, Shelly Bond, XmadmX, Barron Story, Jason Shawn Alexander, Shelly Wan, John Watkiss, in abstention, Lee Moyer, Sioux and the GG's, Stephen Murphy, I felt your ghost hovering, and last but not least, Death...she was a total sweetheart. And it goes without saying but I will, I simply couldn't have done it without my dear Karen. Thanks for the ideas babe.

ps: photo, the lovely Gail Potoki and me own Karen, aka Fhionn.