Friday, January 14, 2011

fine...Fine... FINE!

Roughly 11 years ago a friend gave me a book that started me on my path to becoming a painter.

At the time I was crazy in love with her (in the way that only a 19 year old can be) and although the rational side of my felt that the book itself was hokey self-help nonsense, the lovesick teenager in me convinced that other part me that I had to do it; and do it I did.

I spend the next six months in England investigating and testing my creative abilities. I took one day a week where all I focused on was my "creative recovery". I didn't have any television, video games, no job, no car, no girlfriend (the girl who gave me the book had long since disappeared), and very few responsibilities. In short, nothing stood in between me the time necessary to process this material.

Those six months were instrumental in my artistic development. More so than any other time in my artistic history. I quite literally picked up a book and decided that I wanted to be a painter. At the time I quite literally had no artistic training and only an average level of innate artistic ability. (by that I meant I could doodle) But somehow, I felt that art was a correct path for me and come hell or high water, I was going to be a part of it.

For next five years I approached art like a warrior monk. Religious in my certainty fearless in my approach. I did my devotionals every morning in the form of journal keeping and I battled paint every day. I gave sermons lectures and encouragement to the arts. I secured a studio space for the school, I founded an art club, I ate slept breathed and drank art for 3 years. in short, I was an nigh-unstable tour de-force in creative inspiration.

Then all the bullshit of real life hit me. I left college and got a real job. Suddenly all there were demands on my time. Places I had to be things I had to do. It was the fate of a warrior monk during the industrial revolution.

Looking back on the last 6-7 years or so it's amazing how many emergencies I handled that were touted as "crises" when they really weren't. Things that had to be handled "right then" or disaster would break loose. Perhaps it was my training as a warrior monk that allowed me to handle these so called "emergencies" without freaking the fuck out. (Most of the time I wanted to tell people to just calm the hell down.)

But somewhere along the line I lost my monken focus and my warriors attitude. It's time I get a a little of that back. And so, Clar Innis!

Let the battle begin.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I hear there's an job opening between Charybdis and Scylla...

It's amazing how much damage a slight detour can take.

In my opinion very little is unrepairable. However, from my cautious upbringing, I am still very wary of the fact that often the effects of an ill thought-out or worse yet, an ill-timed decision can take months to repair.

The former is annoying because you look back and think, "Why the hell did I do that?" and second is often far more annoying because the right thing at the wrong time is rarely the right thing. A screwed up sequence can often cause as much damage as doing the completely wrong thing. I should know, I'm terrible at baking....

I've spent the last few months repairing what is essentially a mistake that cost me two and a half years worth of effort. Two and a half years. That's a long time. It's hard even confronting the difficulty that I've faced simply because I made a error in judgment. I've been very wary to talk to anyone about it simply for fear of reprisal, but the truth of the matter remains:

I should have left my job much sooner than I did.

That's hard to admit, mostly because I feel grateful to them for what I learned there. But all in all, it was made very clear to me over those last two years that M:R was not the place for me, and (for lack of better phraseology) it did not want me there.

But I did what I always do, and what I've always done it stick it out till the bitter end. M:R is shrinking and in my firm opinion it will continue to do so until they get some shit together within their operating procedures. I cannot abide incompetence. Nor can I abide consistently poor management decisions, lack of responsibility, blame-storming and lack of follow through. It frustrates me to see something that really does work so well, handicapped by ineptitude.

I personally pulled 5 studios out of the toilet for them, drove all over god's green earth (or brown as the season dictated) and generally cleaned up other people's messes. For a while, I felt like I was doing a good thing. I come to change my opinion on that matter. Bailing more than anyone else on a sinking ship does very little good if people are drilling holes in the boat.

So, I elected to abandon ship. Truthfully I think it's the smartest decision I made in that two years (besides marring my wife). I know more about painting than just about anyone there, save maybe Larry. My father always told that the only way to get better at something was to do it with people better than you are. I hated being the big fish in the small pond. That has always made me uncomfortable. I think in some respects I attempted to make myself smaller so as to be less visible. Usually the first thing thrown off a sinking ship is whatever is heaviest. I'm not a moron, I saw what was happening. but as I said I did the noble thing, and stuck it out until the situation became untenable.

It's going to take sometime to re-focus all my energy; being on a sinking ship has a habit of dispersing your attention. But now it's time to get down to brass tacks. To polish the core of what's important to me: Painting.

Oddly enough this upcoming year will be the year of the rabbit. (Fitting that I am a rabbit owner.) I remember on my birthday last year I received a portent of things to come. an overwhelming feeling of positive change. And while I loved the people I taught, the fact remains that I avoided a shipwreck.

So now, I am changing this blog to reflect my work. It's time I stop pretending that I'm small and that I fit in and that I am not more than just a good employee.

It's time to own up and be a painter.