My last post was a little academic in terms of minimalist recording with lofi gear, but that will not be the default case for this blog. I was just coming off from an uncomfortable blogging hiatus and needed to dig my teeth into something tangible, so I decided to spin out the steps of an exercise that those with some musical/technical know-how can partake. This entry stays more on the creatively reflective end of the spectrum.
Frankly, like many “artists”, I do not like artist as a descriptor for an individual. I forget who said this exact version of this concept, but, “You’re only an artist when you’re making art.” If you live by this mantra, you are only an artist when you are performing, not looking back with pride on something you have accomplished a mere two minutes prior. Regarding drawing, I don’t even advertise myself as an “artist”. Drawing is something I have been doing since I was a little kid, drawing tanks and guns inspired by the Marvel comics of the 90’s, He-man, you name it; I was born in 1986, what do you expect?
My first dream was to be a comic book artist, and that was pretty much all I did for years into middle school, when it was clear that my musical abilities presented a greater strength. So I continued to draw, even started out my college experience in the Graphic Design department at Kean University (I wanted to be a web designer, but my technical drawing class pushed me to change majors into English w/ Creative Writing Option).
At various times of my life I have seen my skills soar and stagnate as a fine artist, and the inconsistency has forced me to regard drawing as a hobby, something to bolster my other endeavors (I am driven toward total content creation, nothing derived unless for irony or tribute, and drawings are always one of the best ways to throw some flesh on the bones of your delivery). Though it is a hobby of mine, it is still part of my brand, and something I will continue to embark.
The Human Ink Filter Drawing Technique
Recently I have dabbled more in drawing, and will continue to re-strengthen my skills. Something that I have discussed with several artists lately is a new technique that I have been employing on my Instagram feed. I swear to God, I have always been the type to draw from scratch, not based on photos, comics, or any other media from which I could duplicate. So this new technique is a little different to me, something I have dubbed the “human ink filter”, wherein I trace the source image (will probably always be a photograph, why would I need to duplicate someone else’s drawing?) with pencil, then go over the outline with a pen or marker, erase the pencil, and finish the drawing with various ink and crosshatching techniques. As I describe in the caption of drawings created with this technique, the drawings themselves are meant to convey a sentiment above all, not show off my ability to draw a photo, there are millions of people who do that. So this is me coming clean or sharing something new to me, your choice.
I’m not a goth, horror collector, or movie buff. However, it is clear that my inspirations are drawn from a place darker than the surface layer of reality, a place perhaps far more brutal than the average gore-fiend who looks into the lexicon for their entertainment–it’s all based in reality as I’ve experienced or seen it, not on pushing the boundaries of the audience’s sensibilities. Since I was a kid it has been my favorite genre, even though most horror movies lately are pretty fucking dumb. My fiance is into pop culture, so I don’t even really get to watch them with her.
When it comes to my writing and general, I have a genre-free approach. However, anyone can see that the underpinnings and influence of horror are intact down to the grammar. I am more of a Clive Barker than Stephen King fan when it comes to horror fiction, and Barker carries on literary traditions of horror from prior centuries (even if King is into older horror like Lovecraft or Poe, his aesthetics remind me more of MLB baseball cards from the ’80s and ’90s than tomes of true terror). Even with movies Barker takes the drivers seat of what really got to me as a kid: Hellraiser, Candyman, Lord of Illusions (the introduction really got me as a kid). Last thing on Barker–even though he illustrates hellish landscapes with his fiction, art, and films, the most horrifying feature is his treatment of infidelity and fraudulent trust between people, something that can be installed in a story of any genre and be perceived as horrific.
Last thing on horror is my magnetism toward accounts that are actively fixated on darker aesthetics and horror as a genre–as a creator, I faced a blank slate when I started establishing my online presence. Who the hell do I turn to to build an audience? My material is way too brutal and sexually abrasive/forward for the average mom’s book club, too “mature” for young adults. In short, there is no clean category to place me. However, I know that horror is designed inherently to test the boundaries of the audience, there is no too much. In fact, for many in horror it’s never enough. But for me it has to ring true to some extent, match the color scheme of my imagination, as it were. With me, there will always be more, and there will always be less. There will always be something.
As for aesthetics, again, I’m genre-free. My biggest advantage is that every image I use is created from the world in front of me. I’ll never have to worry about being creative when the world continues to exist, colors continue to swirl. I have no aesthetics. I feel no need to pry into the world around me, I’m already there. I don’t like to push brands, am not a fashionista, don’t have a fixation on dark clothing styles. Besides, look at me: it wouldn’t be hard to imagine me as a vampire feasting on your blood (down to the fact that my paternal grandmother was half Hungarian). But I’m not a vampire, so I don’t feel the need to give that impression. I don’t have any tattoos, I ink pages. Don’t have piercings, I buy earrings for my fiance. You can find me in my pajamas, a black t-shirt and jeans, a button-up, a suit, work uniform… but not in a denim jacket, latex suit, or an overcoat. However–I have a great appreciation for anyone who puts in the effort to create an effect, even down to their style. My goal is to fill a bubble where it is not being filled, and to appreciate those who run at a high creative capacity.
// The Takeaway
I do as I please, expect a seat at the table, and put in enough work to shatter placement in a convenient box.
From the other side of strange,
Bonus; Short Story Transcription:
Love is Blind
“Ben, stop making that stupid face.”
Ben snapped a look at her. He had been staring out the window at passing cacti and endless sand.
“Quit it with that face, too. Jesus, Ben, you’re a grown man, stop acting like a pathetic puppy.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Shirley? I’m just minding my own Goddamn business.”
“No, you’re thinking about that whore.”
Ben winced, the body of their dead relationship was not yet cold–they had woke in the same bed a mere two days before.
“Well, what the hell do you expect, Shirley?”
“That’s your problem, Ben. Even when it’s all laid out before you like Vicky with all those guys, you still can’t be a man. We all knew she was a little internet slut, how could you not have known that she’d get with all those guys?”
“Shut up, Shirley,” he yelled, his voice a loud short delay in the confinement of the shitty old car. He bit his fist, with all his strength fighting back the tears. He didn’t care how Vicky expressed herself, saw her page as a means to purge her soul of the elements that brought such an avid following.
Behind the crimson of his rage, however, was the shame that he had to find out. He felt further shame knowing he would be okay with her alternative lives in continued ignorance. But he felt the most shame knowing that Shirley knew he knew; at this point, what difference did it make that Shirley knew the whole time? He felt so exposed, he could barely look at her.
“I wish I didn’t know,” he said finally. “Then I wouldn’t have to worry about hearing your snide comments for the rest of fucking time.”
“She isn’t the only girl in the world, Ben. Get over her, and get over yourself.”
Ben resisted looking at himself in the passenger side mirror, the lanky, pimple-ridden face he could do nothing to flesh out or clear. He was lost in himself, the rope connecting him to the only thing that anchored him to an external world now snapped, sending him down the familiar river of despair.
“Ben, we all knew,” she pressed, her voice now softer. “You need to let her go.”
Ben yelled out again unintelligibly and banged both hands on the dashboard.
Shirley slammed on the breaks and shifted the car into park. “Stop being a child,” she said firmly.
“I can’t take this anymore,” he whimpered, now allowing the sobs to break the dam. “Stop torturing me.”
“Get out of the car,” Shirley demanded, herself opening the door and climbing out. “Out,” she insisted, tapping on the trunk.
He obeyed and stood beside her.
“I’m not tormenting you,” Shirley said, pressing the button to open the trunk. “And neither is Vicky. Not anymore. It’s only you torturing yourself.”