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.