Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Most great ideas are simple. I came up with this one out of nowhere. Sitting in class, day dreaming it occurred to me that all my work is about my father, but he is not depicted in any painting or drawing. His fingerprints are always there though. I think about him non stop when I am working.

Lately, I have been painting watercolor portraits of girls drinking from red keg cups, and after looking at the work of Zak Smith, I went out and bought some black india ink. The ink had been sitting in a drawer of my studio for months. Thats not good. I believe when you get a new material you should experiment with it immediately. Over the course of painting these watercolor portraits, the thought had crossed my mind to use beer instead of water. Why wouldn't it work? Trying to come up with an idea for a new project, I started sketching a portrait of my dad. My dad the way I know him. Depressed, mean and beer in hand. Later on that night I hung a 36" x 48" piece of thick paper on the wall of my studio and started to roughly draw out the sketch of my father. I went to the corner store and bought a twenty-four ounce Natural Light (Dad's brand of choice) for a dollar thirty-nine, came back, poured the beer in a cup, got out my biggest brush and started soaking the paper with beer. I then diluted some ink with the beer to make three different values. Around a two, a five and a nine. I painted unlike I ever had before. I wasn't worried about what it was going to turn out like. I wasn't even thinking about art. I was just thinking about my dad and how this soaked piece of paper smelled just like him. I got his face pretty much done and just kept going. I only worked on the piece for an hour and a half before it was done. After I felt like the ink drawing was finished I used a clean brush to paint the rest of the beer on. This made the drawing run down to the floor. When I drug the alcoholful brush across my dad's forehead the beer ran down through both of his eyes, giving the illusion he was crying. I started to cry at this point. Crying by myself at 12:30 am in the studio. I kept on painting the beer on. More and more until the can was empty and soaked into the paper, dripping onto the floor. I painted until everything I saw was clouded with tears. I am not sure what this meant, but I felt better about things. I think it was just what I needed. All my work really revolves around what I see in my father, but this was the first painting I have ever done of him. I think it was long over due.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

when i was seventeen

I have always been the youngest one of all my friends. Even the guys in my grade were older than me, due to my birthday being in September. But i didn't act my age. I had this friend in high school named Geoff, but we all called him Cookie. He was senior when I was a sophmore. After Cookie graduated he started DJ-ing at all these clubs and bars in Cincinnati. He was getting pretty popular around town for being, as he called himself, "The Professional Partier."

He calls me up one Wendsday and asks me to come hang out at this club called Jeckle and Hyde, he will put us on the VIP list. I was a little nervous being that I was seventeen, had school the next day, and didn't want my mom to find out what I was going out to do, but I shoved all that to the back of my mind and called up a few friends. I get there with my buddies and see that there is a line halfway down the block to get into this place. A line overflowing with slutty looking girls with spagetti string t-shirts and skirts so short you could see their asses. Those girls that look like they're on springbreak year round. All the guys in line were wearing striped suit shirts but no suit jackets, silver chains, and almost every one of then had gelled, spikey hair. After we walk by a group of them my buddy, Shaun, says to me, "Fuckin Fags."

We, in our worn out Arizona jeans and plaid button downs, walk past the entire line of people, right to the bouncer and tell him we are on the list. He looks, says, "Alright," and without taking our ten dollar cover charge or checking our IDs, gives us the paper braclets that mean nothing except, we can buy drinks. It made me laugh then and it makes me laugh now. Idiot thought we were twenty-one. Cookie always worked the "College Nights" at the clubs, but the rule has always been, "Eighteen and Up." I still had a baby face and two teenage birthdays left.

Once we were re in, I go right up to Cookie to say, "What's up?," and he screams to me, over the blarring rap music, that he told the bartender we worked for him. That meant free drinks all night long. Kids in a candy store. We ended up spending most of our time right in front of the bar, ordering beer after beer, sending girls drinks and lieing to them about who we were. We left stumbling drunk with smiles on our faces that you couldn't have slapped off.

That first Wednesday turned into every Wednesday. Pretty soon Thursdays we were going with Cookie to a club called Purgatory. Fridays we went Club Exchange. And Mondays we went to a bar called Fat Shannon's in Mainstrauss Village, where Cookie landed a bartending job. Seventeen and eighteen year olds getting drunk for free, four and five nights a week. Getting a couple hours sleep and going right to school for Religion IV in the morning.

One Monday night we actually saw a group of our teachers walk into that bar, Fat Shannon's. But we snuck out the back just before they saw us, with two pitchers of beer and finished them in the ally. We liked going to Fat Shannon's the most because it was quieter, not to much rap music playing on the jukebox, and they had a fifty-cent pool table. We were getting pretty good at playing guys for five bucks or a pitcher of beer a game. I remeber one time these guys from the Chicago asked to play. Two giant, older, black guys, probably in their late thirties. They had brought there own pool cues, which we took as a sign that they knew what they were doing. It was our table so my buddy Shaun broke, and made a couple solids in on the break and then followed it up with another shot. One of them shot and missed so it was now my turn. I ran the rest of our balls in, calling each shot, and then pocketed the eight ball to win. We were all laughing and taking high fives from the locals that had gotten to know us pretty well. They asked us for a rematch, but it was after two and we had drank our far fill, not to mention we had school the next morning. As we were walking out, one of the guys we beat asked me how old I was, and with a drunken smerk I said, "Seventeen, how old are you?"