I’m painting again. It’s been what? Like seven years? More? Less? I’ve no idea. I forgot almost everything about the process of painting. Every recipe, every method, everything. Each painting I’m working on is constructed differently. Changing everything. The ground, the medium, the order, the pigments… I’ve no fucking clue what I’m doing. Miraculously, it’s given me a freedom to move untethered. I’m a hungry student again.
I feel like I’ve been dropped back into a high school English class. I know so fucking much about the power and arrangement of words, but it doesn’t matter because I can’t spell, and I can’t remember what a gerund is. I think the teacher is younger than I am, and everything in my ape brain says “If I fight him and steal his wife, would I get an ‘A’? Is there any way out? What the fuck am I doing here getting my ass humbled?”
Why do I do this? Honestly, what is my drive? Approval? Geezus, that can’t be it. I mean, humanity has already placed me in a specific corner of the room. I’m the Venture guy. Anything else I do will look like a hobby, and be “approved” of as such. “Nice job, Venture guy! Where’s my next season?” (NOTE: It’s coming, it’ll be great, and Venture is eternally a huge and beautiful part of my life… I can do many things at once. Ya gotta trust me.) So approval can’t be it. For fun? Do I paint for fun? Ummm, fuck no. Painting brings me a constant crisis of faith. It’s a miserable process of balancing never ending disappointments on the trembling back of your expectations. True, there are moments of glorious understandings that fill the entire body with intoxications unavailable through pharmaceuticals. A glimpse of Truth that almost explains every ‘why’ you’ve pondered. But for the most part, painting makes my heart hurt.
So what’s the reason I do this? Okay, fine, I’ll give you the goo in my chest, the blood in my veins, and the tears locked behind my eyeballs: I feel I must paint. I must paint alone and consider nothing but my esthetics. No opinions, voices, judgments, kudos, praise, scorn or demands but my own. It’s torture. Every stroke keeps me alive or pierces my heart. I must drive myself like a hateful employer. Maybe I’m proving something to myself. Or! Maybe some asshole broke into my parents house, and as a joke leaned over my crib and whispered “You are the greatest painter of your generation, now prove it, you worthless shithead.” Or! Maybe we have a destiny. Okay, wait, hear me out! I don’t mean that we have a fate. That we can’t make choices, and everything happens for a reason. C’mon, that isn’t what saying. I’m saying that maybe life is a journey from A to B. There is a path that we feel below our feet. We know when we’re on it. And we know when we’ve walked off of it. And at our worst, we know when we’ve strayed so far off the path that we are just fucking full-on lost. Ya see what I’m saying? Like, we still make choices, change our fate, and control our destiny. But it sure feels like this “destiny” has carved a path for us that we can either take, or not… But I think the thing with somebody breaking into a child’s bedroom and setting the seeds of later torments is probably what happened. I mean, messing around with the cosmic unknowable is fun and all, but I know my parents didn’t always keep our front door locked when I was a tyke.
I love you,