Art Wank Questions (extended)

“Shit Rock” by Odd Nerdrum 2001

Doing street art is difficult, while I do enjoy it, sometimes it really gripes me. So I woke up today with questions that have been asked of me while I work on the street. Now, at the time I’m usually focused on art and in a mindstate that is unable to eloquently respond to these questions. Being in a mood today I wrote down a series of questions and my wishful responses (Originally posted on facebook.) I’ve put them here and also included an additional question, not asked on the street – yet asked a lot in the art world.

Art Wank Question No. 1: Are pastels drawing or painting?

Me: I don’t fucking care! If I was forced down and interrogated via torture though, I would have to say it depends on the application of pastels. When one looks at what makes a pastel. it’s actually no different from any other paint, it just lacks a medium to make it sloppy. So you can draw with it (just as you can draw with ink or acrylics) or you can paint with it (just as you can paint with ink or acrylics). My application of pastels is in layers, purposely designed to be built up. Sometimes between 2 to 10+ layers of pastel. Therefore I categorise *my* use of pastel as painting. But I use drawing/painting interchangeable because I DON’T CARE.

Art Wank Question No. 2: Is what I do on the street “Craft” or “Art”?

Me: I love Ancient Greece and look back to it a lot. They had no definition between a craftsman or an artist. The whole conception of an artist is very European and not really seen in other cultures, throw modern art theory into the mix… and boy… do you get a lot of pretentious philosophical bullshit. Like seriously… have you read the shit they say? I have, and I feel like doing a turd on their fucking faces after reading that blubbering diarrhoea.
A lot of folk say a reproduction of an artwork is “craft”, but the original is “art”. But I regard them as both. That said, in our case. as street artists and applying wank art theory, Wayne and I are being “artists” because of context of environment. Our street art is a performance, we are performance artists. That does not mean we’re faking it or anything, it means that the act of creating art (be it original or reproduction) is the art itself.

Art Wank Question No. 3: Do you consider your art kitsch?

Me: Okay, big fucking can of worms there, *cunt*. I get your subtle insult and it makes me angry, so I propose an art project: go lay on the tram tracks.
For one, kitsch art is an art movement, with a philosophical –art theory- backing. Do I agree with it? No. But if someone like Odd Nerdrum calls his art “kitsch”, it is (even though I would not regard it as kitsch). Second, I have two views on our art, our original art I do not regard as kitsch, because that is not the intention – in actuality the original art does not fall into modern art theory because it is devotional. But the reproduction art… maybe… it is designed and chosen to please people, however we do choose artworks that we like and will find entertaining for ourselves to reproduce… as art making can be *really* boring.
Anyways, in this Post-post-“Pomo” era, any art can be regarded as kitsch, modern art is old hat now and it got fucked over by Pop-Art and continues to do so ever since. I’ve never seen a contemporary piece which has truly made me feel awe or any emotion, (not even “shock” art) thus I’m pretty jaded towards art. Actually, if there is anything to say about this culture is that it is jaded as fuck. Everyone has the ability to see anything, read anything, do anything – people are over saturated to the point they can’t feel anything. The one fear I have is that Nietzsche will turn out to be a prophet with his “last-man” of nihilism, the cynic in me thinks that’s our next evolutionary step and maybe it should be.

*Bonus* Art Wank Question No. 4: What is an Artist?

Many of my gen are shying away from calling themselves artists, opting for stupid terms like a “creative”, like sit back for a moment and think on that:  *in a dry, stiffy, jaded hipster voice*: “Oh, I am a creative”, how fucking stupid does that sound?! Whatever.

I can’t tell you want and artist is because an artist is someone who calls themselves that. That’s the answer, simple and flat out.

Art is a broad spectrum of topics and subjects. One of the very few things I agree with modern art theory is that anything can be art. On a personal level I think anyone that endeavours to make something is an artist and if they don’t want to call themselves that, or do – fine by me. With The Dionysian Artists of old, not only the actors, writer or the director were considered artists, (craftspeople in their sense, as mentioned above), but everyone was given credit towards the play and named a Dionysian Artist. This echoes in film today with the credit reel including everyone, even the caterers, the drivers, the first aid etc., all of these people are involved in creating the film, which is indisputably a piece of art, thus they are all artists in that sense. This is how art should be viewed and what I encourage with The Dionysian Artist guild today. It’s a matter of altering our way of looking at “what is art”, “what is an artist/craftsman” and fucking respect art.

I think about art a lot, a lot more than other artists. I’ve studied it, read about it and write about it. You know what? I just find it so fucking frustrating that these are serious questions! That books, entire books, are written on these subjects here. Art should be direct, confrontational, without consent. In these moments there should be no thought or questions only awe.


On Going Mad

I’ve been trying to keep myself motivated and continuing to contribute to my blog, re: Dionysos Cyclopaedia and several other projects like a 111 divination card deck (first mention of that project here, more info soon I hope) and a massive public pastel drawing of Lord Shiva (who came to me in dream, even though I have little connection to Hindu gods).

Yet, things feel like I have come to a standstill.

I have suffered depression all my life, so much so, I don’t know what happiness is. This year has been a year where my mind has exploded. It begun on the 20th of February exactly a month after the Bourke Street Mall attack: where a mad man, on drugs, drove down the pavement I regularly work upon and killed several people, injuring many. This devastating event really hurt me and opened mental scars that had been lying dormant in my mind since I was a child. I have been suffering from severe depression / anxiety including agoraphobia and PTSD.

This has been the first time I have ever sort medical treatment and beginning to analyse and assess the things I hold dear. But most of the time I find myself physically crippled, I cannot do basic things to subsist as a human, like eating, sleeping, even going to the toilet. Most of these things link back to childhood trauma.

Ever seen 10 Cloverfield Lane? An awesome sci-fi film about a woman is ‘saved’ and locked in a bunker by a man named Howard who claims the world is ending (Howard is brilliantly played by John Goodman). Howard is a possessive domineering and damn frightening figure. I mention this film because Howard was my stepfather. He was authoritarian in every aspect of life.  He would stalk me when I was walking to school and watch me during lunchbreaks, then confront me for not doing “manly” things. He’d listen to me go to the toilet and walk in on me when showering. He would abuse me with food, force me to eat half cooked or raw meat and offal. He would hit me and call me stupid for being unable to read. Call me a pansy for being effeminate. Force me to be alone, lock me in dark rooms, knock on doors during private situations, force me to run, attack me for watching TV without his permission, etc. This made it feel like he was an omniscient presence.

The results being regressive memory, much of my childhood is missing from my life.

With the 20th February mental breakdown it came back, all of it, at once, in fast motion and slow motion at the same time. All those emotions, fears, anger – pent up for 20 years started overwhelming my brain. Since then I’ve been having “aftershocks”, panic attacks. Everyday household items “triggering” me. Like just last week, I picked up a power cord and suffered a memory, like I was living in that moment, of a forgotten time my stepfather hit me with a power cord.

So it’s been really, really hard for me to do things. Yes, I am seeking medical treatment, yes I’m trying to work myself out of this, yes I’m considering getting disability pension (the first time I have asked for welfare). But it’s really fucking tough, not to mention physically straining (fasting for days, makes me physically weak.)

Anyway, I hope this brings things up to date on my current situation. I have no idea how long this will last or when I will be feeling back to my normal self.

The Artists of this Art are GAY!

Being Out and proud is not a privilege I have. I have told reporters and film makers to be cautious of elaborating on my relationship with my life partner (13 years now!) because of the dangers of the street.
I worship the street, it is our Agora, a bustling mix of sanity of madness. On one side of the street is a multimillionaire dealing in the stock exchange, on the other is a homeless man openly smoking meth in a crack pipe. The extremities of the street is something I have to deal with every day, it is something I deeply respect and really it does take a toll upon me emotionally. I quite literally sit in the middle of it and draw pictures upon the ground. Not only am I in the middle of it, I soak it up like sawdust on a pile of vomit.
Now with that in mind, I hope that one can understand how vulnerable I am on the street. On the ground, hunched over, back turned to the mob itself, meanwhile exploring the alternate reality of Art, (which is transversive of the universe and mind in its mere function).
Being Out and Proud is not a priority, nor a concern. I don’t consider myself a gay artist, nor do I really don’t care about the whole subculture. I am gay. It’s as simple as that, it is how my brain works and what appeals to me. In actuality, this fact should not affect anyone, I’m a monogamous dude and dedicated to The Wayne, my beloved.

Australia is still one the few Western countries that has not legalised gay marriage. A topic I don’t actually care about, but it inadvertently affecting me as it’s now going towards a postal vote. The first serious attempt to deal with the subject.

On Saturday I was working by myself. Some thirty meters, on a amp, is a preacher. I know the guy, his name is “Dusty” and is a former alcoholic, gambler and abusive parent. He was an orphan and suffered from sexual abuse from Catholic priests when raised in a mission. Now that he has found God he transfers his self-justified anger and hate upon the masses on the street every Saturday. His offenses against me have included calling me an Idolater, a pervert, “semen spitting abomination” (which is a titled I take pride in!), telling people not to give me donations because, “I worship the devil”, that my art is “rubbish and should be destroyed” – you get the point. Anyway, he’s a fucking nuisance nutcase I have to put up with every damn Saturday.

Well last Saturday was naturally topical, on the “Wrongs of Gays” and “Gay Marriage”. How homosexuals are unnatural sinners before god – blah, blah – how voting Yes on gay marriage is a sin before god and an insult to our Christian nation.

Here I am *trying*, like really trying, to draw this beautiful reproduction of Bouguereau and being forced to listen to this shit. This same shit I’ve had to put up with my entire life. So I cracked it, I unplugged his amp and threatened the guy if he doesn’t shut the fuck up I’m going to knock his fucking teeth out.

He did shut up, but called the cops on me. I told them to fuck off, but explained to them, I am gay, I suffer from PTSD and a long list of mental problems because of people like that preacher, (a truthful statement: I suffered another severe mental breakdown a few days after this event).  Being reduced to animals, child abusers, being told I’m not untitled to basic human rights is what is called “Triggering”, used in its proper context, not in the way the term is thrown around online flippantly.

What “straight” people reduce to a political topic is an actuality to gays. Being gay is not being political. Expecting to be entitled to the same rights of others is not political.

Now, as my religious role dictates, I must be apolitical. It’s a really hard task. But I do not believe this is a political subject.

In my own religion marriage is a sacred act, it is holy and universal, it’s literally like death. Sex, gender does not even compute in the equations of what is marriage. So male/female only marriage is actually against my religious beliefs. By Australian laws on freedom of religion, I should be entitled to be married to my partner for religious reasons, regardless of if it is commonly recognised as being legal or not.

Anyway, being exposed to this garbage from this preacher, this despicable man, I came out on the street. I wrote in big bold letters “I am gay!”

As I mentioned at the start, this is a statement that can have serious repercussions to me. I’ve already been gang bashed, and Wayne has had his jaw broken for less. So it’s dangerous for me to do this. But fuck it. It needs to be said and I did.

I’m fucking proud of being homosexual, I think it is a sacred thing, it brings me closer to my god, to my love for life and to my partner. It’s about time for this backwater country stolen by whites and called “Australia” to embrace the universal rights of homosexuals.

Vote YES.