Thursday, December 27, 2012


I swear not within a week of writing about 'knowledge' and 'intelligence' being two different things, I got a facebook request to use 'goodreads' (I declined, being able to only imagine a few things worse) from a friend whom upon next seeing me asked me if I read 'sci-fi' which I do, or have but chose then to make it known to him that I don't really read. He responded, quite flatteringly with 'but you seem so intelligent' and tempted though I was to then verbally reiterate the difference between knowledge and intelligence, I didn't because in my job conversation is fleeting.

But yesterday I saw the Hobbit, having only learned the day before that somehow a book that takes less than 9 hours to read had been made into a trilogy. And as much as I applaud Peter Jackson for cutting a whole heap of bullshit out of the lord of the rings, I have to condemn him for adding a whole heap of bullshit into the Hobbit.

It's probably the worst film I have seen all year. Unforgivebly so, and the strangest thing is, I hate it most on behalf of the people that really love it that are being exploited by the disrespect of the producers.

But it reminded me of the existence of Tolkein, and subsequently another curious pairing of words that often are equivocated or confused like knowledge and intelligence are.

they are 'creativity' and 'originality'. And Tolkein is a fine example. He is a fine example because he is a shitty writer. But he is by most accounts the originator of the fantasy. He along with C.S. Lewis (a much better writer) basically kicked off what now fills vast sections of book stores.

Tolkein created a world, a language, peoples and cultures that do not exist and walked parties twice through these incredibly original and incredibly complex worlds giving the viewer a narrative experience of something vast and rich and unseen before.

Sure there was Lilith, and going further back you get into the tradition of fairy tales and folklore, The Arabian Nights, the Brothers Grimm, the Bible and other religious creation myths. But Tolkein basically created the first completely original world populated by races with original languages and cultures.

And he was the worst writer for the job. This is merely my opinion, but Tolkein lacked descriptive power, he had no precedents to follow, so the travellogues of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings are quite monotone, drab etc. They are boring compared to what followed.

Lothlorien for example has been spectacularly rendered by artistic fans of the books for decades coming up to centuries and brought to life on the big screen in Peter Jackson's adaptation - but Tolkein imparted upon it all the majesty of 'a big tree what people live in.'

For all the originality of his concepts, he was simply unable due to his lack of skill as a writer to convey it in words.

Which isn't to say that while Tolkein was 'original' he was not 'creative'. It is to say that the two words are not synonyms/synonymous, whatever.

The burden on the word 'creative' I feel plagues and hampers so many young and fledgling artists.

I am aware I dount have the authority nor influence to go about redefining words, I can only share my insight with the goodwill and presumption that you the reader may find it helpful:

Creativity occurs with the act of creation. It need not be original. Creativity pertains to the process of creating something, anything. Originality refers to a lack of/or conceptual distance from precedent.

I will concede that talking about 'creativity' and applying it to a shop worker pressing aluminium into camping cuttlery is a conversation nobody is interested in. Creativity as it pertains to the arts is what I am interested in and I presume what you are interested in too.

That said, creativity and originality often correlate strongly (as does knowledge and intelligence), it's just that thinking you can't be creative unless you are original places a huge unneccessary burdon on the creative.

If you study your heroes, chances are somewhere somewhen they committed to documentation their influences, and upon familiarising yourself with their influences you will discover that their celebrated works, celebrated for their originality are in part - derivative.

In my experience that is pretty common, more common yet, you find highly original creative people who started off being cheap imitations of other artists. In the field of comics, most of the big name artists started off through tracing and imitating the big name artists of their day, only to develop their own distinctive style down the track. George Orwell in 'Why I Write' discusses his start in writing as a clear plagurism of William Blake's 'The Tiger'. He was a child, and thus had not intellectualised an unhealthy need to be completely original.

And that is why the distinction is important. And Tolkein illustrates it so beautifully. Because it is tempting to say all those comic artists who started off as wannabe Kirbys, or wannabe Jim Lee's etc. didn't really hit the bigtime until they started being original.

There's a number of reasons such thinking is fallacious, but the only one that is truly relevant is this - craftsmanship - they learn their craft through imitation, all the transferrable skills that have nothing to do with original style. Tolkein was highly original and was lucky, because he hadn't learned much craftsmanship when it came to writing. His literrary descendents Robert Jordan and George RR Martin and everyone in between shit all over the grandaddy of fantasy when it comes to composing prose.

Comic artists learn page layout, composition, perspective... all the transferable skills to any style before their own unique style creeps up on them. The one that labor over uniqueness and originality sometimes succeed but more often I suspect develop styles that are simply non-functional for the purpose of sequential comic art.

I think if you want to be creative, you have to first and foremost create. And get better, more effecient and more competent at creating. You need to relegate 'originality' to the 'nice to have' pile, but not make it a necessity. I think this because I see a lot of the 'imitators' being the only ones that last long enough to do anything truly original. I think this because I've learned to not throw out an idea simply because I've realised where it came from.

I'm not advocating plagurism, I'm advocating derivation. We progress by taking what came before and doing what we can with it. If every scientist got caught up in needing to do shit a-priori and not get up to speed with the existing body of knowledge we would still be living on the plains of the sub-sahara, instead of writing blog content that can be read by somebody on the plains of the sub-sahara.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I'm grateful to have the courage of my convictions. I'm trying to break through into a profession where that helps a lot. Creativity is ultimately - the act of creation, and I see a lot of people around me struggling to determine what they should do, could do, how to be true to themselves, thus discover themselves, relate themselves to the world around them, figure out how to express that etc.

It's a worthwhile pursuit, and I found that from my own experience reaching the point of conviction was true to the old Ford Engineers adage 'the solution, once found, will be simple.' I enjoyed drawing. That was my huge reveal some 4 years ago now.

I'm also grateful to have so much support, and that's hard, I'm literally so grateful that when I BEGIN to comprehend it I'm moved to tears. It makes it hard to express gratitude when it makes you so emotional.

And I got space, what an unparallalled luxury, I have walls to pin my plans upon, two desks to draw at, lightbox, scanner, compootah etc. I am set up, I don't have to even sleep where I work.

And for all the attention lavished on me, I can see a psychologist for free, and have an attentive non-judgemental adult listen to me. I can actually do something to take control at the times when I feel least of it.

I have a lot of grattitude.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

May have overdone it

I literally can't physically bring myself to draw this morning. It's alright, I can switch it up to writing.
happy family, happy family...


I know I'm extremely bored, or have taken procrastination too far when I actually read any form of news - I stopped reading news long before I stopped reading books. Books because I honestly never find the time, news because it is unneccessary to hear.

And I have found it fundamentally true that any news that actually concerns you will find you, you never have to go looking for it.

And so it was with these two articles:

 Neighbour discord threatens venues

Noise offends Bourke St resident

One featuring the highly sympathetic and all around great guy - Joel Morrisson (whom hosted my first ever solo exhibition) and the other the highly unsympathetic nobody from nowhere.   Now these articles 'concern' me as a patron of the arts and now virtually dependent on Melbourne's live music scene. I have scene many an 11pm finishing gig where the headline act winds up with 20 minutes to perform and the music keeps cutting out because it exceeds whatever decibells.   Today I don't have any arguments or even any rationalisations. I speak from pure emotion.   If somebody calls up the police and says 'I'd like to complain about the noise.' 'where are you?' 'I'm in my apartment I just moved into high street/brunswick st/smith st/sydney rd/ackland st/fitzroy st/the cbd opposite this music venue and the music is really loud and it's running till 2am!' 'caveat emptor motherfucker.'   End of conversation. Western democracy is known if for nothing else than for bending over backwards to protect the livelihood of people in obsolete and unprofitable industries, so to me no argument is necessary to defend the rights of live music venues over newly minted residents, since live music makes money.   I can't envision how these 'culture clusters' could be win-win, to me it is only important that culture wins, people who walk down Brunswick St on a Sunday afternoon and say 'I just love it here! so bohemian!' and then buy up a converted warehouse apartment only to discover that the bohemian proximity brings with it a vibrant music scene that is also loud or maybe just persistent has simply not done their research.   Fuck off. You wanna crazy up your life go to a sex shop, don't buy an anthropological viewing platform and then get offended when the people you came to observe refuse to stop being the people you came to observe.

it's tricky

You know I remember when I drew this picture of Musashi, and I finally felt like the linework was all my own, my own style. I had finally developed it, and it just came lazily. But in all the drawings I have done for or since, I've never really resolved the way I draw faces, things like eyes, every picture I draw I just make up the 'rule' as I go for that picture.

Christmas gave me a brief respite from actual commitments to just sit at home and draw today, and boy I just went fucking crazy. But I figured it would be a good chance to work through studies of Dave Crosland aka King Gum and figure out how he does eyes, facial features etc. Only when I consciously looked for it, there was no real hard and fast rule.

I'm about to embark on my first major comic project in 2 years, and it's looking like the artwork will be hugely flexible, as in inconsistent. I don't know if it will work, here's hoping. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

There's a conceptual threshold of wealth called 'fuck-you-money' defined as the amount of money you need before you can say 'fuck you!' to somebody before, as opposed to after, hanging up the phone. But there's no hard or fast figure to say 'now is the time' you know, for some it might be $12 million, for other $120 million, and so on up into the billions...

Even harder to concieve is a point at which you have 'made it' to the extent that you have some sustainable success and can say take people for granted, or piss off your supporters, or act with impugnity towards your reputation.

Currently 'Pride comes before' plagues me, in the modest success I have enjoyed as an artist, I was caught off guard at how quickly and surprisingly it became a full time job that still does not sustain me financially. I am accutely conscious that there are people looking after me and that I need to look after them, and it has become onerous to not try and dissappoint them. At the same time there's a bunch of people I still need to win over, and expend effort to try and bring them to my cause.

Thus you know, I try. And it's exhausting, and it's not 'poor me' but as Bryce said 'we chose this' and I sought Bryce's advice because I'm only just beginning to understand that there ARE problems that come with having hundreds of supporters and am understanding just why he struggles with the problems of having THOUSANDS of supporters.

It's a balancing act. A few weeks ago I had 6 social engagements on one Saturday, fortunately they aligned in such a way that it was possible for me to appear at all of them, I got to 5 out of 6 before exhaustion hit and had to pyke on the last. But while it may seem understandable to just pick one thing to go to and that people have clashes and are busy and can't make shit... that's the job I've chosen, and when you have 5 or 6 things on in one day that's precisely when you have to make an effort to get to all of them. Otherwise how can I ask people to go to effort and expense to support me?

It may be exhausting, but I love going to the effort. It's like a marathon to me, I get off on it. But only a fortnight later I was triple booked - and I'm not 'guest of honor' in these situations, but I just remind myself that I'm not the guy who 'everyone goes to his exhibition' but that I need to be the guy who 'goes to everybodies exhibitions' and to be a superfan basically. That's the rep I need and want.

Subsequently I have my eye on a lot of people pursuing the same career holy grail as I am, different paths, different decisions, it's a really rich and valuable learning experience. While I look at world class artists to try and emulate in style and quality, local artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers have so much more immediately relevant stuff to teach me.

And you know, it's easy to criticise sometimes 'their promotion is terrible, they're selling themselves short. etc.' and it's also easy to praise 'man their work ethic puts me to shame.' and either way you can be critical and admiring of the same person in the same breath but nothing in the end changes the fundamental fact that I WANT THEM TO SUCCEED.

I go to watch people succeed. I vicariously experience their joy as they achieve personal mile stones. It is my favorite thing, the best thing.

Thats why its dissappointing to now feel like I am witnessing a promising career, somebody I have admired for years (relax I am 100% sure they do not read this blog) basically 'snatch defeat from the jaws of victory' as my father puts it, and turn into a cautionary tale rather than a role model.

For one, while I currently labour over how to stave off 'pride comes before the fall' at that exact moment where it took over my thoughts, I saw the pride take over them and I thought nothing of it, I was just like 'they're a little over excited, their bubble will burst and they will chill the fuck out.'

But then I was watching this episode of breaking bad where a character said 'being poor is easy, that's why anybody can do it, no it's hard to be rich' and what I am witnessing I think is somebody being caught off guard, or blindsided by how hard it is to be successful - once you have succeeded, even modestly.

I'm not really in a position to say what is required when you are successful, but I can see how people fuck it up, like taking their supporters for granted, or assuming it's a permanant state, an unconditional one.

'Fuck you money' might be a nice thought, but I'd speculate that even if you have more money than you can spend stuffed into your mattress, it's probably safe to say that it's never a good idea to say 'fuck you' to anybody you are dealing with.

As I sit here writing this, I realise it would be poor form to actually divulge any details of the cautionary tale that you may sit in judgement and actually learn from it, because it is still in the process of playing out, and hopefully will resolve as a caution to them and me and nothing more. But at the same time, it's hard to write about something in purely abstract-arms length terms.

It just reminds me that I should write to Bryce and seek his advice, because I think Bryce is one of those people who not only has succeeded but can succeed.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I got the worst nights sleep last night

but I'd do it again.

Now to bed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Are white men overrepresented in heinous crimes?

Not in the prison population in general, we know minorities tend to be grossly overrepresented in prison populations. But seriously, I notice that most of the guys that have say walked into schools and shot people or abducted and murdered women on a friday night tend to look much more like me than say, my refugee student.

Yet public debate seems consumed with the prevention of people who don't look like me coming to Australia. Yet all the truly the horrific shit seems to be perpetrated by people who look like me.

I guess one reason is that when you racially resemble the perps, it's much easier to imagine that the heinous crime gene is not walking around hand in hand with the pasty skin gene.

Curious though as to whether the Wikipedia page on 'School Shootings' would mention the fact that it seems to be really white kids that go shoot innocent people. And I mean society is if anything 'friendliest' to white males. And furthermore, we have had two decades in a row now where the most celebrated individuals in the world have been straight white men who can't really dress themselves - Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Throw in Zuckerberg and the google guys and white loner males occupy both the most celebrated and most despised ends of the spectrum.

But apparantly the FBI warn against sibscription to any profile. And I mean that's a really good point, but why doesn't this extend in our discourse to pointing out that the vast majority of Islamic men in this world are like Mormon's only more religiously observant. Which is to say, 'won't say shit for a shilling' and the most outrageous thing they can contemplate is wearing shorts.

Thus attending Mosque or reading the Koran is not a useful means to predict who is going to bomb a night club. So too, being a white male loner who is a victim of bullying or worse - home schooling, is only a slightly more effecient way of predicting who is going to inflict grevious harm on bystanders.

Like I'm not a news guy, shit trickles to me slowly, and frankly I am becoming desensitised to the whole shootings phenomena in the US, whether it is violating the sanctity of a cinema complex or a primary school, I had to go and make an effort to read through the wikipedia page on the latest to absorb the true horror and feel the deep offensiveness of the act.

But still, I find it hard, a bystander a world away to find any motivation to blame any systematic issues, or anything beyond the individual who murdered his own mother and took her gun cache on a killing spree of innocents.

So many social contracts were violated by one person and one person only that I don't feel the social contracts that were meant to be upheld - ie, you don't kill your own mother, you don't kill innocent people, you don't kill innocent children... I just don't believe anyway to make social contracts actual enforcable contracts is in the end not feasible nor desirable.

The gun debate is something else,I am a firm believer that once somebody decides that what they want to do is really hurt somebody and the consequences be damned, there is little anyone ever could do to stop them. But there IS a difference between this resulting in the abduction, rape and murder of an innocent woman and the slaying of staff and students at a school, the difference is not only in the sexual element of the crime but the number of people a person is capable of hurting. With guns, the damage wrought is greatly amplified.

Guns make hurting people extremely effecient.

Beyond that though, what?

Some observations:

1. The perpetrators when white are treated charitably, compared to other perpetrators. They are not 'psychotic' but 'troubled' or painted as victims themselves. With the exception of the schizophrenic that shot Dimebag Darryl at a Pantera concert, most of these shooters have no excuse, they do not suffer conditions that relieve them of the responsibility for the choices they have made. Their attempts and successes at committing suicide communicate that they understand that they know they are doing wrong, and the shooter profiles carried in the media do everybody a disservice by trying to apologise for their inability to function in society not for mental illness but for personality disorders.

2. These shootings are often extravagent forms of suicide, meticulously planned the plans are never devoid of the realisation that they are a 'spree' from which there is no hope of escape for the shooter and that ultimately they will end with the arrest or suicide of the killer. From Columbine to last week, I am not aware of any of the murderers attempting to take hostages and negotiate a plane to Cuba. They are suicides. They are almost always suicides. Dr Gordon Livingston wrote that there is an intrinsic element of criticism and rage in the act of suicide directed at loved ones for their failure to make life worth living or hear the cries for help. When you murder your own family and then innocents, proxy's for society at large, this criticism betrays a self-indulgence, a sense of entitlement that is lost in the discourse that society at large is responsible for their quality of life. Why do these largely white kids think they are entitled to inflict their problems on the community around them? Where does this notion arise? It is so arrogant, so presumptuous to place responsibility on society for caring about their concerns and their conditions over others.

Sure there may be no hard and fast psychological profile, but these are seldom the children of families devestated by drug abuse, or impoverished and dispossessed, they do not come from war torn regions, nor did they cross a border illegally in hopes of a better life. They have change in their pockets, roofs overhead, they attend schools and wear clothes that are purchased from the store. They are amonst the wealthiest people in the world with numerous opportunities to prepare for a brighter future on hand. Thus there is no excuse to go out in a blaze of infamy, the community is not worthy of thier criticism, they are worthy of criticism.

3. Extraordinary as the event of somebody shooting their way into a school and going on a killing spree is, it is absolutely no accident that at least 4 people there died in acts of extreme heroism defending the lives of the innocent. Because heroic people are extremely common, people are awesome, kind and decent, leading their lives in an imperfect and unpredictable world.

The principle and school psychologist could not have foreseen that a shooter would walk into their school that or any other day, they could have had no plans or strategy for dealing with the situation. Yet their reaction was instantaneous and unenviable in its reward. They went to confront the shooter, a role designated to them and a responsibility they assumed despite how terrifying and grossly unfair it was. Two unarmed professionals encountering an armed assailant. There was nothing that could be done in hindsight but they did what they must. This I would argue is the general mettle of humanity. Society is not falling apart, people are falling off the fringes.

4. I am a white male, that lives in the suburbs, and due to my chosen profession spend much time in isolation. Despite my choices, the ease with which people can disconnect and comfort themselves in unconstructive ways has never sat well with me. I can remember my highschool being on the technology-trap bandwagon and requiring students to have laptops (why???) when the library introduced LAN ports and a group of kids started playing LAN party games during lunchtime. I dissapproved strongly, yet my socially awkward friend argued that the socially awkward needed their refuge.

No they don't. They require intervention. You may never be able to get gun control in place in America, but you could get school uniforms in place that I feel reduce social stratification because cliques and tribes cannot so readily uniform themselves, plus remove stimulus for bullies. You could get rid of cheerleaders and trench-coat mafias in one motion. You also aleviate the economic burden to be cool. It may seem superficial to point to the clothes, but every socially awkward guy I have ever met has a strong behavioural profile of being dressed by their mother, and subsequently being ridiculed for it.

In so many ways, kids on the fringe tend to be relieved of the anxieties socialising puts on them rather than helped to overcome them. Japan operates a culture where a student being bullied upon confessing to their parents will be asked 'what are you doing wrong? why can't you fit in?' and that has myriad fucken problems but saying 'my kid is being bullied, I want them exempt from sports, clubs and any kid that so much as criticises them will be sued and so help ME GOD I will sue this fucking school too!' is perhaps fostering the sense of entitlement and rage that ones problems and demons are not their own responsibility to overcome but societies.

5. Twice in my life I have been sitting on a train and observed a father quiz his infant child on mathematical questions. One was an indian man and his daughter on the Tokyo Subway, another was a Caucasian male and his daughter on the New York subway. The Indian father's question was from memory more challenging, whereas NY daddy asked at 56th street how many more stops till we get there?

On both occassions I sniggered. Mathematics is a gateway to academic excellence, but the people who owe their success in life to prodigal-mathematic ability <1 144="144" a="a" ability="ability" and="and" are="are" be="be" calculate="calculate" dads="dads" dividends="dividends" exceed="exceed" firm="firm" from="from" handshake="handshake" hello="hello" is="is" kids="kids" logarithms="logarithms" man="man" manually="manually" much="much" must="must" not="not" of="of" or="or" owe="owe" paid="paid" people="people" pretty="pretty" rest.="rest." root="root" say="say" should="should" skills="skills" smile="smile" social="social" square="square" subway="subway" success="success" teaching="teaching" that="that" the="the" their="their" thousandfold.="thousandfold." to="to" what="what" who="who">

Social skills can be taught, what does not come naturally can come with effort. I have known (and possibly been, I don't have necessarily the most accurate self-image) kids on the fringe that go either way. Surprisingly, rap music never hurts from what I can observe.

But the fact that our social education falls mainly on observing our parents and peers, there is no risk spreading in society and perhaps insofar as that society is to blame for these tragedies. Home-schooling should certainly be a no-no, I cannot imagine any justification that isn't 'I want to indoctrinate my kid with my marginal views of how the world works.' beyond that though, not just these but much more banal (and damaging) social issues could be avoided if kids were taught that their parents are but one exception, rather than the rule.

Our quality of life is determined far more by questions of 'who' than 'what', the substances abused in substance abuse tend to simulate the chemical experience of emotions felt naturally by people who are happy and contented. Divorces are driven by poor choices of marriage partners, and careers tend to be more fulfulling the less they are based on the expectations of others and the more they are based on the aspirations of the individual. Through neglect and misdirection our schools teach us nothing of how to achieve quality of life. Nor do they teach us how to deal with our problems by avoiding them in the first place.

Education needs a quality revolution as badly as manufacturing did.

6. An effort to understand the minds and plights of these white boys on the fringes of society is in some way admirable and in some ways offensive. I wish we would extend the same charity though to understanding the brown people and yellow people whom impose no such tragedies on us, yet garner attention widely in the form of xenophobia and aggression.

Figure AND Ground

It's the latter I struggle with. I've resuscitated my old collaborative project 12 moments, although there's no new content yet, it seemed like a good thing to knock over while getting back into the old 'sequential art' mode. Having basically had an easy run of drawing individual pieces for a year. At the moment though I don't know whether the impression that I basically suck is reflective of growth in ability I have obtained or a sudden loss in confidence.

But right now I think you could throw the grand canyon into the chasm between where I think 'viable comic book artist' is and the other side of that chasm which is where I'm at.

Basically, I would say that I am pretty good for a kid in year 8 of highschool, drawing in ballpoint pen in a notebook. That's my standard.

But the thing is, I'm 29, and thus the path that makes most sense for me developmentally is to combine my development with my active publication. So hopefully my output reflects for those that think I'm pretty good right now, that I am in fact, still on the steep part of the learning curve.

And I am. And for me really the only viable option when doing 'deliberate practice' is to stylise away my actual technical limitations.

I think this is what agravated me about the VCA students' grad show, here you have people who have all these advantages over me - they are A) young, B) financially supported C) supervised and D) given time and space to practice. And most of them are choosing media, subject matter etc. that is highly conceptual and requires almost no technical ability/expertise whatsoever. And a lot of it I just don't understand, and I guess one can only conclude that I am not a fine artist. But I'm also inclined to conclude that the term 'fine arts' doesn't have any real currency anymore.

But yeah, had I done a design course at uni, specifically graphic design I would have picked up heaps of technical abilities I could now put to use. Or had I done architecture, I could have been on top of 1-point, 2-point and 3-point perspective drawing. Rendering and inking, or even if I got down regularly to life drawing... the thing is, I'd just be a different artist though, albeit a neater one.

I guess for me, I have more ideas, more inspiration than I have time and material to convert into end product. So it really doesn't matter to me that my figures will be leaps and bounds ahead of the backgrounds, but I just am sweating on my next major project because I just don't know what it is going to look like.

Part of that is for exciting reasons, I have a colourist who will contribute about as much to the look of this comic as I do through my linework, but part of it is because I haven't resolved in my mind what anything looks like beyond the characters. And there will be plenty of distortion when I transfer the image of characters from my minds eye to paper.

So I just don't know, but I'm not going to blow off 3 months to sit and do perspective drawing, and then try and reconcile it with the very 2d curvy linear figures I have come to draw and love.

Good is the enemy of done. I will just have to get it done. Then take a look at it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


An old housemate worked in a videostore and was approached by a customer whom somewhat unconventionally asked him 'what's your philosophy of life?' which is one of those questions you ask somebody to simply go through the mechanics that get you to 'what's yours?' so they can infact outlay their philosophy of life, which is why if you want to be a cunt, you should always have a lengthy dissertation ready for such questions in the hope that they will lose interest and walk away.

My sentences have been criticised recently.

Anyway, I can't recall if my former housemate actually asked him or whether he just said 'mine's "ain't nothin' to it but to do it."'

Anyway, that's the story.

wiw-wiw-wiw my friendly friend Bryce wrote about once, Bryce gets annoyed if I refer to him not by name but I forget the reason. Anyway wiw-wiw-wiw is shorthand for 'what-I-want-when-I-want-where-I-want' and describes our new consumption habits.

On the subway in New York, the people of the subway, the subway dwellers, if you will... if you would?... what am I trying to say?

IF YOU WERE SO INCLINED to ask one of 'the locals' one of the 'native-new-yorkers' what was the most interesting thing about the new york subway, what would they tell you?

They would tell you fucken lies.

But if you just observe, and it's fascinating to observe, New York is a fascinating place filled with all kinds of fascinating people. And nowdays all those fascinating people are fascinated by the internet.

The internet and aps, casual games. streaming movies. facebook.

At some point we have reached a point, this point where if we don't want to be productive, ever, and to just consume. We can. We can. Any fucking time of day.

And it makes being productive, just fucken dooin' it, so to speak. Quite hard.

And if you have boldly decided to identify as a 'creative' you kind of eventually need to be creating stuff, and continue to do so, to hold onto that mantle.

But the thing is that you can fucking rationalise away your overconsumption of entertainment, art, whatever.

You are just like 'I'm getting inspiration' or like 'i'm researching.' and even 'it's my education'.

And you know, you probably should be feeding yourself some education, learning by observing the best, and getting inspired. But you know, of all the slippery slopes, I find these activities the slipperiest(?)

Whatever, remember where if you wanted to see a movie, you had to go to a video store? A video store populated by philosophers.

And those philosophers, they were right. At the end of the day, so many of the artists and creators you admire, you admire because they didn't meticulously research or keep their thumb on the pulse or whatever, they just fucking did whatever was required to output the fucking work.

So guy in video store was right.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


My father once told my brother that "Success = Failure - A Good Excuse" and claimed it was a "mathematical truth". I forget the context, I guess the point was this was one of the earlier introductions to taking responsibility.

I recently forgot an important person's birthday. And an important birthday at that, a big round one. I mean I didn't forget it, so much as what day it was. I had excuses for doing so, but these were irrelevent. The fact I identify him as 'important' deny me the privelege of having excuses.

That is that.

I similarly believe if you want to do something, if you want to succeed at something, you have handed in the keys to the excuse closet. You can't use them anymore. There are no longer 'reasons' you failed, you simply fucked up. Learn. Correct. Mitigate where possible.

That is that.

patron of the arts part twix

So yesterday I was the first ever buyer of a Thao original artwork. And though it was for less money than my commissioned piece (it was in fact, a steal) it's the first time I've bought a local and fledgling artists piece from an actual gallery and hence qualifies for a notch on my system. It also represented around 30% of my current net worth, so it was in relative terms my most expensive purchase also.

It felt great, and it's a great piece and it will hang on my wall and I may have been part of the catylist that encourages a young artist to go on and create more.

past pays dividends

In an unlikely sequence of events, one of my sisters friends that attended the Black Exhibition was talking to my sister about her work in the state library and noticed that my debut work 'Fear of A White Planet' is preserved there for posterity, alongside such zine masterpieces as 'It'll Be Morning' I don't know if this means any old zine crap fits the state library's archiving criteria or whether I actually sold enough for it to be collected, but still it feels good to have some of my mind grapes bottled and stored in a place more secure than my or any of my friends abodes for shit printed on copy paper and bound with string and electrical tape.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

tohm gets narky

I'm in a rare reclusive creative mode at the moment. Actually sitting down to write, for long periods of time. Which is good, great, but indulgent given the commitments I have made for others of my time prior to now.

And I get narky, because I feel time poor. Part of my creative productivity at the moment is good because it involves being honest about how much I procrastinate, I have always been good at productive procrastination, whereas most people I feel pretend as if this time they won't procrastinate and they will sit down and get the job done, and this is the way to wind up playing video games for a whole day and just feel worse.

I know how I work, and it's a fine, delicate matter of allowing the time to contract to fit the work available, rather than the old work expands to fit the time available. But as I said it is delicate, and then and thereby any demands on my time that are new become hostile in my mind.

A certain level of self awareness prevails, and thus if people are asking me to go to their album launch, exhibition opening, gig, a friends exhibition opening I can usually knuckle down and do everything. These things become part of my productive procrastination.

But I have noticed, yet do not possess the self-awareness, that there are things that people quite innocently do that set me off. Right off, I lose my shit.

I am still trying to figure it out, so I can stop being so narky, but let's just say that it is a human failing akin to sitting in a hospital ward with a dislocated shoulder, and there's only so long you can endure such constant nagging pain before you will be less than courteous to a staff member that doesn't deserve it, that or have an emotional breakdown.

But it isn't purely random, I don't simply go a while where I feel pressed for time and that I am not achieving enough and snapping. There seem to be particular triggers that I can't see when they trigger me.

This is as far as I can discern:

1. An invitation to participate in some sort of intellectual past time - watching a documentary, discussing books, debating foreign policy. debating anything.
2. An invitation to a social event for its own sake - as in people standing around enjoying eachothers company. Nobody's birthday, nobody's milestone, just a mixer.

And usually the two combine into one thing, there is nothing that sets me off more than a social function populated by intellectuals.

At root, I guess I take offense, because it implies that I have been invited, not more reasonably simply because I am just another friend to invite, but because people think I would enjoy such things. I feel slighted that they don't know me well.

And even that, I understand is grossly unfair, for example I could totally understand how people could get the impression that I enjoy reading books, watching documentarys, debating foreign policy or the 'sport' of debating in general. I could also totally understand how people could think me an extravert, I have been impersonating one for decades.

But the fact is, that while I enjoy dabbling in reading from time to time, I am generally unenthusiastic about it, and especially unenthusiastic about discussing books. Why discuss books when there is explosive NBA action to talk about for 8 months of the year?! Or comics, why debate foreign policy? forget the clowns in congress lets talk about the clowns in DC and Marvel's head offices. And why socialise when you can spend 2 and 1/2 hours circumnavigating the Melbourne inner city running? thinking all the while.

Of course the tricky thing about being narky, is that it is simply an emotional state representing impermanent circumstances, the fact is I don't want to stop being invited to social mixers populated by intellectuals, nor is it 'unimportant' or 'uninteresting' to me what other people read and what other people think about the things they read (indeed this saves me from having to do a lot of actual reading) nor is it coma-inducing to debate foreign policy with another idiot that like me has no practical and immediate way of effecting the things we are debating. It can be quite stimulating.

The fact is that these just prompt a level of enthusiasm from me that cannot compete with the enthusiasm I feel for going to a friends place and eating hamburgers while watching Ru-Pauls Drag Race, Jersey Shore, or movies featuring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah fighting in a family restaurant. And some things for me are just not something I want to do in company - like watch a documentary, nor will I probably ever shake the feeling that documentaries are not something you pay to go and see at a cinema.

Having said that, one of the best things I've seen all year, and struggled to not cry through, was 'Being Elmo' a documentary I saw at a cinema and paid money to see, in company.

Which is why when I am narky, I feel remorse. Because ultimately, I value that people are enthusiastic about stuff that I can't bring myself to be enthusiastic about. Even 'The Black Exhibition' the greatest thing I have done thus far in my life to date, if you asked me how I felt about it in the preparation times - my answer was 'tired' thus I was very grateful to have my friend Sarah to be excited about it for me.

Against my judgement, I do enjoy things, the problem is I don't anticipate enjoying things. Sure I will never, ever, join a book club, or sit around watching TED talks with an open bottle of red in company, because I know when things cause me pain and my own participation will damage myself and everyone in the room, so too do I never wish to have an athiest vs. theological debate again if I can help it, although at some points you need to call believers out when they overextend themselves, just as athiests need to be called out when they are being particularly intolerent or intellectual bullies.

But I am enjoying writing, it's tricky. Comic writing is dead prose, but it comes alive in my head as I envision the artwork, the layouts. And I enjoy the problem solving of working in such a constrained medium. Exposition in comics is really fucking hard. Really hard.

Monday, December 03, 2012

I am writing a comic again

Writing comics forces me to be succinct.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Communications Breakdown

So I lost my phone, and after an initial 'how am I going to track it down and get it back?' flurry of thought reason once again took hold of my emotion and pointed out it simply wasn't worth the effort.

But it's curious, a decade ago this would probably have been more of a problem than it is now. Now I think the problem is that there is no universally socially accepted mandatory way of communicating.

I hosted a bbq thingy a couple of months back in which one of my friends remarked that they hadn't gotten much notice because I'd arranged it as a facebook event, and facebook events were not an acceptable way to arrange events anymore, but everyone else there was like 'facebook events are all I use' or some shit, and that doesn't really proove anything because all my guests would evidently use facebook events because I organised it through facebook.

I haven't been able to figure out what means of communication is effective with that friend, if you are reading this and hopefully you know who you are post a comment if my blogs are the best form of communication...

But I digress, gone is the neat dichotomy of people who prefer texts (my camp) and people who prefer calls (the mysterious other) to a plethora of people who are facebook dependent (I wouldn't say I am, I know all the important people's birthdays but if there's a facebook event I am 1000% more likely to attend) to facebook voyeurs (who look but don't publish) to passive facebook users (who read IT articles about facebook all the time on the interwebs but log into facebook once a year) to people waging a one-man personal war against facebook by deleting their account and refusing to use.

And then there's people like me who refuse to use twitter due to an inability to imagine it's appeal and a suspicion that anything that gets a column of content in the Mx daily can't be a good thing. But probably the people that are best at communicating use a combination of all the methods available to them and simply adjust to the preferences of others.

Like Drucker wrote real way early how your boss is either going to be 'a listener' who appreciates a meeting where you verbally brief them vs 'a reader' who want a written report on their desk, and you job to be effective is to figure out their preference and communicate to them according to their preference.

But I suspect our media usage and the explosion in options for how we communicate probably increasingly dictates our social life. The friends I spend the most time with are the ones that text or email, and this may seem arbitrary or may just be a quite reasonable demonstration of the principle of 'like attracts like'

I must confess I have friends that I am reluctant to text because they call me back. After years of annoyance, I eventually just adapted to call them instead of texting and it has worked out well because my phone credit tends to expire rather than run out, so it appeases my frugality, that is until I lost my phone friday night.

Even though the dissemination of the understanding that people are different, think different and have different behavioural preferences is increasing we are but in early days. I know the revelation of different 'management' preferences known by models such as DiSC were generally employed not as leading to adjustment by people but rather a forceful 'Well I'm a high I so you just have to accept me for what I am.'

It would be wrong of me to demand my friends only communicate with me in written form, just as it's lazy of me to only communicate with the friends that share my preference. But whether I win or lose the accepted universal platform, maybe having the choices we do now to indulge our personal preferences (broadcasting vs narrowcasting, verbal vs vocal, substantive vs insubstantive etc) maybe communication is something that just NEEDS a socially dictated standard like which side of the road to drive on and the interpretation of green vs red traffic signals.

I dunno man, I dunno, I dunno, I dunno...