Friday, June 19, 2009

Further Art Developments and The Oaf Begins To Suspect He's Been Sold A Bill of Goods.

There's something vaguely familiar about this and I can't quite put my finger on it. I hope this isn't plagiarism.

So I've got two more pages filled in Swill, five to go. I wound up deciding that I needed some new subject matter to spark me up, so I went to The Bone Room. It was my intention to see if they had any trash or scraps to sell; it turns out they did, and I wound up blowing thirty bucks on fucked-up dead bugs.

Now I'd gone in hoping -- though knowing it was but hope -- that maybe I was the first artist they'd had in for a while asking after that kind of stuff. Well, this is the East Bay, with one of the world's highest concentrations of working artists. Of course they'd figured out how to commodify fucked-up dead bugs.

But they had another surprise for me. I'd brought in one of my presentation portfolios for The Bonelands in case I needed proof that I was an artist. Well, it turns out that they're expanding and that they want to have a small gallery as an adjunct to their store. So I was able to drop off a portfolio with them well in advance of the new space opening... we shall see.

The piece above is the first to come out of the insect scans and it's going to be the centerfold for Swill if it doesn't turn out to be plagiarism (it really seems familiar -- maybe I saw it in a dream). I figured out a very nice trick that gives me a lot more flexibility -- by going back and forth between Illustrator and Photoshop I can...

Shit. You know what layers are, right? By keeping the three elements of the composition above on three different layers in the Photoshop file, I was able to toggle layers off and on so as to import each element seperately to be Live Traced onto seperate layers in Illustrator.

I need to figure out how to do real tutorials, with screen grabs and all. I wind up feeling like these little reports don't mean anything to anybody -- I need to beef them up if they're going to provide useful information. Pull out the mike, that kind of shit.


Anyway, I've been facing a growing realization that I've been ripped off. We've all been ripped off. Sex and drugs were everything we were promised -- both dangerous and unavailable -- but rock and roll...

Lemme put you into my head. Maybe it's just me, maybe this is something a lot of people have experienced. But ever since I was a sprat I have been given this vague half-formed yet tremendously potent feeling that rock music meant something. That on some level, in some way, it had both power and purpose.

Part of this had to do with the time during which I was raised. I was born in 1964, was in San Francisco for the Summer of Love, listened to Sgt. Pepper's every day and saw Yellow Submarine in the theater when it was first released. Rock and roll was inextricably connected with color and pageant.

I think superheroes had something to do with it, too. When someone puts on a costume, they take on an identity and the powers that go with it. It was the image of the other -- and believe me, I was the other -- as a figure of power and respect.

And so grew an illusion, one I have only recently grown aware of. The feeling that there was, as I said, something significant about rock. That there was a golden age, a lost continent, a wild planet of rock, that the bands were agents of this otherworldly realm.

This wasn't by any means a conscious thing. I just would be exposed to rock and part of me would tip back and go, "Woo!"

I wonder how many more choice nuggets of idiocy I have lurking around in my noggin... I am forty-five fucking years old and it is just now dawning on me that rock and roll is a sleazy shitty business, but not in a romanticized way. Rather, in the same slovenly suckfish fashion as any other.

I'm pretty sure they fight crime.

The first Roxy Music album is swell pop. Some of my favorite. Really great stuff, clearly ahead of its time. Et cetera, et cetera. If you haven't been bored shitless listening to people talking about early Roxy Music, then go get some. This one and For Your Pleasure should see you through the night.

But here's part of my problem. See, when I watch people on stage, I don't have more fun if the performers are dressed like silly-assed sons of bitches. It would never dawn on me that putting on a fool suit would be something you did out of showmanship.

Let me put it this way; I can hardly stand to look at these guys. If I had to watch them perform I'd spend the whole time cringing in embarassment for them, so there's no way they show up on stage like that. They only dress that way because they're in the Justice League.

I dunno. It's totally retarded, but it still kind of hit me on some level. Rock is just a business, virtually none of it is of any particular musical interest, most performers are livestock from the neck up and the ears in and the majority of those who aren't fools are exquisitely developed assholes.

It's just another career choice -- listen to the lyrics. Mostly they sing about fuckin', but inbetween they just sing about being rockstars. Fuck a rockstar who sings about being a rockstar. Fuck rockstars, period. Rockstars killed rockers.

I didn't really know I had the illusion but now that it's vanished on me, I want it back.

I want that kingdom in the garage and beneath the sea of green. I want Rocktopia.


Glendon Mellow said...


robp said...

Two totally different areas to comment on.

The centerfold: it has to be presented as two separate 8 1/2 x 11 images or the printing gets really complex, so please give us a gap in the fold area.

Roxy Music/rock music: damn fond of both, and my fave Roxy album (and reportedly Eno's, although it's the first album after he left he band) is the third one. And they dress like shit. But I think they were trying to create an entirely new THING, which of course didn't concede (thank Whomever - the New York Dolls drag look didn't work either, although in that case I think it worked for the guys in the band, whereas Roxy just looked like shit.)

The thing with rocknroll is it's more visceral than visual; great bands sound great. If they look great, how nice for their publicists, but the sellability is almost antithetical to the product.

Fool suits worked for people like Lux Interior, who knew exactly what he was doing. Looking cool is rarely an act of originality; right now I'm listening to Graham Parker, who I always thought looked cool, a guy with receding hairline and compensatory huge shades who dressed in suits and his band was dressed in whatever they felt like because they were too tight for anyone to care - they were a tight band but they sure as shit didn't clothes-shop together.

In both yr defense and opposition I'd cite NRBQ: ain't seen em in years, but they were an incredible live band that seemed to be built on the experience of playing live shows every night. They covered Sun Ra and they covered Eddie Cochran and they did a great job either way, they could play anything you fucking wanted even if you didn't know you wanted it, and they put on some of the best shows I ever saw. But if you want music that goes beyond the experience of being a musician --

I could probably go on a long while about this, on both a musical level and a level of how I responded the music. There was a time when I was so into the Clash that the idea of non-political songs was anathema to me. It didn't last, there's a lot of great love songs, but yeah, most bands have an incredibly limited subject area.

Stopping for now, I could do this one eternally, cheers.