As a younger kid I moved around a fair amount. My parents had gotten divorced when I was five and so my mom, my sister and myself tried a few different places before settling down in Iowa City. It took me until around 6th grade before I had any actual school friends to speak of. One problem I may have had was my inability to decipher the moment when kids were laughing with me, laughing at me and just tired of me. In school I fancied myself the class clown. As a kid I saw movies like The Breakfast Club and read books like Catcher in the Rye and fantasized about being a quick witted rebel who managed to "out clever" every authority figure with some hilarious retort that took the piss out of them in front of a class full of my peers, all enamored with my rapier wit and keen ability to detect BS from adults. So I made a lot of jokes in class. Like… a LOT of jokes. Instead of one or two, well timed comments, I'd go with the "Will Ferrel movie" method of comedy and tell a million jokes in a short span of time and hope that a few of them would make somebody laugh. Mostly though, it just made my teachers and fellow peers exhausted and frustrated. Eventually the few laughs I'd get would turn into sighs and awkward silence. I'd always wonder how I missed the road signs- how the moment when I should have wrapped up my schtick for the day managed to elude me. I couldn't tell that from the start, the kids were probably laughing as much at my desperate need for approval as anything I was actually saying. That they could innately sense that my entire school day was just one long audition for acceptance. The truth is, I'm not sure it mattered to me. I just needed to be acknowledged. I just needed to feel like someone was listening. These days, it seems that little has changed, except that now- there are people who actually like what I have to say. But for everyone who does, I'm sure there is someone with a distaste for street art or my work specifically. Their reactions vary from ambivalence to annoyance, from hostility to outrage. When I first started putting up my posters, I had no real way of knowing what the reception would be. It was like I was in school all over again, and each poster was a joke, a petty rebellion, a harmless jab at authority, or maybe just one more desperate display of need. For the time being, it seems what I'm doing is having a positive effect and the response has been better than I could have hoped for. But I can't say I planned it or could have known that people wouldn't find my work much more than a nuisance. I guess I just got lucky. Often I post these stories and I worry that they're taken as me fishing for compliments- because they're not, they're really just me meditating on my past and explaining my work a little bit. I'm not expecting you'll shower me with compliments, rather my hope is that those who relate to what I'm saying will find some solace in knowing they're not alone. That maybe that lonely kid who wanted to be John Bender from The Breakfast Club was never as isolated as he thought he was- that there were (and are) people just like him all over- and that even though they might be hundreds or thousands of miles away, we are all laughing together, for the right reasons, in unity, as one.
"Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile."
- Franklin P. Jones
A peek inside my "studio" aka "the storage room under my apartment neighbor's staircase. After taking part in their Ice Cream Truck Project (alongside a few other amazing artists), Uber did a little blog post on us. Check it out HERE.
(photo by James Gallagher)
Apparently, Friday the 18th was "National Ice Cream Day" which- to be honest, I think my very existence is "National Ice Cream Life." Anywho, Uber asked me to contribute a canvas to decorate their ice cream truck that was giving away free ice cream at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital (where the piece will be donated after the event).
Victor Hugo once wrote "Intelligence is the wife, imagination is the mistress, memory is the servant." For me though, I often feel like the servant to my memory. That the regrets of a missed opportunity or a cherished bygone era in your life force you to reconcile that time moves forward with or without you. It's also hard not to feel submissive to something that you can't argue with. You can't pick and choose what you remember, as much as I'd like to bury a few embarrassing moments, they're always there- and in truth, as much as we'd occasionally like to bury some of the happy moments that we relate to someone who left us or moved on, someone who perhaps doesn't put the same value on a shared past- our memories can feel like anchors, keeping our hearts in an emotional rut, like a skipping cd, replaying the same words over and over while everyone else seems to have changed songs. In the end though, Victor Hugo is right- it is up to us to wield our past and what we recall from it- to use the memories, both good and bad as fuel for who and where we want to be.
"And they all pretend they're Orphans
And their memory's like a train
You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away
And the things you can't remember
Tell the things you can't forget that
History puts a saint in every dream."
From "Time" by Tom Waits.
Ready... Set... Go!
"The work of art is a scream of freedom"
I made a few Morley temporary tattoos (no regret required). I tested this one on myself. I'll be giving a couple away at the next event I do. More info on that later.
July 11th was the four year anniversary of being married to my wife. For most of my life I've wished that I possessed a skill that I could show off and impress people with. Something physical that people could watch. Skateboarding, music, basketball, cooking maybe. Pinball even, air-hockey- that kind of thing. But some how I've never found such a skill that was a performance of sorts. The kind of thing that when someone watches they just go "wow, that is special!" Because ability and confidence on display is attractive and people just innately want to be around people that posses such qualities. Thus far though, I've never found anything that I was preternaturally good at. I'm okay at music, basketball and pinball but nothing impressive. My street art is something I've found some level of success in over the last few years and while it may not be impressive to watch, I do find a level of confidence in knowing it's made some small difference in a few people's lives. This poster was created to reflect the desire I have to make the people in my life (my lovely wife included) proud of me and that in doing so, perhaps I can be proud of myself. Then maybe it won't sting as much when that little air-hockey puck slips past me with that sickening "clack" sound. I hate that sound.
My Fourth of July themed piece.
From Sea to Shining Sea.
It may look like the desert, but I left this on a hill near a Trader Joe's just before July 4th. Just a bit of advice for anyone who may be picking up supplies for a party or BBQ.
I still wanna party like it's 1999... but maybe that's just because back then I was 18 and didn't feel the need to take as many naps.
"The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality."
- Conan O'Brien
Even though it never snows in Los Angeles, I wanted to add a sort of short story/poem I wrote with a wintery edge in the midst of the hot summer days.
The text on the poster is:
WE TOOK THE LONG WAY TO YOUR PARENTS’ HOUSE THAT NIGHT, THE CHILL IN THE AIR EXPOSED OUR FRAGILE BREATH AS IT FLED OUR LUNGS AND EVAPORATED LIKE THE DETAILS OF A DREAM INFECTED WITH DAYLIGHT. AND AS THE SNOW GRACEFULLY FELL UPON US, I OFFERED YOU MY SCARF, YOU REPLIED THAT YOU WEREN’T COLD, THOUGH THE TREMBLING FINGERS LACED WITHIN MINE REVEALED YOUR DECEPTION AND FORCED ME TO INSIST. WE KEPT A HESITANT PACE AS WE NEARED YOUR HOME, HOPING THAT OUR STEPS MIRRORED EVERY CLOCK IN THE WORLD AND LENGTHENED EACH MOMENT TO ITS NEGOTIABLE BREAKING POINT. WE SPOKE OF DISTANT DREAMS, AND MADE PREDICTIONS OF THE NUMEROUS FUTURES THAT COULD AWAIT US. WE WERE ROCK STARS AND ASTRONAUTS AND NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS. WE HAD DOZENS OF CHILDREN AND ROBOT PETS AND CARS THAT DROVE THEMSELVES. WE JOKED AND CURSED AND SWORE TO SECRECY OUR PREDICTIONS OF THE FRIENDS WE SUSPECTED WOULD AMOUNT TO NOTHING. WE REVELED IN THE INTOXICATING POTENTIAL WE CARRIED WITHIN OUR YOUTH. AND FOR THE LENGTH OF THAT CRUELY SHORT WALK, WE LIVED LIKE A MOVIE SCRIPT FOR A FILM IN WHICH I FOUND A FLEETING PEACE INSIDE MY SKIN, AN EASE INSIDE MY MIND AND A MEMORY I’D HOPE TO ONE DAY RECALL AS I SAT, RECLINED WITH MY ROBOT PET, IN MY CAR THAT DROVE ITSELF.
I NEVER DID GET THAT SCARF BACK.
Hey gang! I'm selling this unlimited edition poster for those who have wanted a poster but can't afford a screen print. They're 20 bucks and I'm happy to sign and personalize them- so be sure to include who you want me to sign it to if it's not the person buying it.
One good twist deserves another.
I posted this a while back in San Francisco during the book tour. Someone will have to tell me what those red things are exactly. I can't decide between fire alarm and luxury condo for some rich Keebler elf.