5.16.19: You Can’t Deny The Prize It May Never Fulfill You

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“No matter how much I wanted all those things that I needed money to buy, there was some devilish current pushing me in another direction; toward anarchy and poverty and craziness. That maddening delusion that a man can lead a decent life without hiring himself out as a Judas Goat.”
–Hunter S. Thompson

Welcome to Butterfly Language, a look at the world inside and outside my head!

The type of art I do these days, just for fun & for myself, consists of layering countless images at varying levels of opacity. It’s a meditative practice, akin perhaps to watching those videos on YouTube where they renovate an old rusty metal tool so it becomes all shiny and new. Only, I’m not rendering anything all shiny and new. I’m muddying, metamorphosing.

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There is a point with this practice where the images blur and mix so profoundly that they start to take the texture of oil paint. And I know—I know—that if I keep moving forward, I will eventually find that exact right combination.

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I suppose I have achieved what I set out to do with this website—which was always to create a living, breathing bit of esoteric media to “play” with reality in the manner of Burroughs’ “cut-ups,” Morrison’s hypersigils, or even the Discordian texts. I realize that this sounds rather full of myself and “too cool for school,” but you must understand that I’ve been engaged in this enterprise ever since I was a kid—only, as a kid I intuited it, I didn’t actually understand what I was doing.

Over 20 years ago I was really big on creating collages & various assemblages. I used to create them non-stop, big piles of old magazines and books and comic books—their pages ripped and rearranged—surrounding me as I sat on the floor and glued and tore and painted.

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Many of these pieces were done super-fast—if I was really in a groove, I would “know” exactly what two or three images needed to be merged.

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“Deconstructing” fashion magazines was my favorite…

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I had begun to purchase these magazines while I was on the cusp between graduating college and getting a “real” job (though I had been working since I was 16)—ostensibly, so I could learn some sense of “style.”

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…but I quickly switched to deconstruction.

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And then I began to add more mythic/archetypal content…

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A little bit later, I became interested in meme-like pop-cultural images—similar to the “trollface” digital collages I do on this site…

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But like many things in life I had truly enjoyed and loved…making this stuff was just considered by my immediate “circle” to be ugly, stupid, perverse, and a complete waste of my time.

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That said, I did sell a few originals on eBay…like this one…

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…and this one:

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…and this one:

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Of course…the elephant in the room here is that all these pieces were “built”—”retrofitted”—from the work of others. So in a way, I was like the “invisible” alien from John Carpenter’s The Thing…moving from pre-established entity to pre-established entity and “remixing”…

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And I guess part of my subconscious motivation here was because…I just found mainstream culture to be banal and soulless and ultra-capitalistic and fake and “wanting”…

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It’s like I realized you could completely alter the context of an ad or photo-shoot with just a tiny bit of paint…

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…but that the essential sinister “bone structure” was already there in the image before I applied the paint or tore the page…

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…I was only having “fun” with it…recognizing it, because nobody else would say anything…

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Just for kicks, here’s one I did completely blindfolded. Not great…but I had an appreciation for the relatively synchronous elements of composition that emerged (which is really when the more shamanic “cut-up” aspects of these little artistic exercises come in…)

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Anyway…outside of the eBay sales, I never showed anybody this stuff. Some years later, when I discovered “meme culture,” I was quite excited because I recognized some of the aesthetics of what I was doing…

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…and then I got into photography…

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and some extremely rudimentary computer graphics effects…

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And I guess it’s all looks rather creepy and sinister…but it was what I liked to do, to pass the time & make sense out of this world. Nowadays, I stick mostly to digital…

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…and that’s my post for today. I’m sorry if it’s rather self-indulgent. But this blog is, as they say, “my dime.”

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3 thoughts on “5.16.19: You Can’t Deny The Prize It May Never Fulfill You

  1. Your art is appealing. The few times I mixed hard copy things together they looked pretty good too. When I bought my computer six years ago it came with Photoshop Elements 10. You wouldn’t believe how much artwork they give you that you can mix together. The images on my website Alien Resort came from mixing things together on Photoshop.

    Like

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