16 June 2008

Something is Wrong

Very wrong and my vise is slipping because of it. This wrong goes beyond the panic of unfinished errands.
I've started to remember the reverse writing from a while back. The image of my hand moving across the page. The feel of something, some part that hasn't come out before and just how important that part was. I was panicked and excited and stuffed it back down immediately - and it this moment, this breach that has me thinking about what edge I need to walk... what functions I can't have and still achieve something-- no not something: the thing. Start being fucking honest with myself. The thing I could achieve.
It's a brink, a teeter. Sometimes I'm headed with full kinetic force towards the thing. But other times the mere thought of grander aspiration feels shameful. It's the logistics, the lack of drive, thats what makes it so far away. It's what makes me feel foolish for believing.
If I'm ever going to make it, I'd better have a long life.


It's what I really miss-- held away from the outside, getting lost in a fictional world is the closest i get. They aren't even mine anymore. I'm drawing other people's words other people desires hoping to spark something that never seems to get any close. It's empty, it's habit.
I miss wanting something
This is what I feared the other side of a goal. The next stage. It doesn't drive me. Fantasy.(don't forget) How do I work that into my new life.(may be that's it. this is essentially a new life)

Puzzles Pieces Made to Fit... Or

Revisionist History.

When I was a kid I slipped through the cracks. I was quiet and smart. I adapted, I compensated as the learning went on. After it was 'caught' and 'fixed', a lot of what I knew changed and it was a struggle to adapt back. And now i have to do it all again. I have to go back and find motivation and desire again. It's fear stopping me. I can't understand how i could have ever had the level of passion I once did. How could I ever feel with that instensecity if it's controlled? How could I ever risk loosing control?-- This isn't fire, this is explosives. Things won't slowly char before before it could be smothered, they'll be torn apart violently without time to salvage or dampen.
But i cause more damage when I go back and forth.


There's a paradox, (is that the right word?) between the unhealthy state, the imbalanced that I railed against, and the well one... Without desire or motivation, without the crazybeing constantly at my door step. I am "functional". But without those states without the chaos to rail against, I don't know what to function for.

The Crux

They've done studies, it's been proven you can't live without desire. I have none left-- it's been drained. I have a vague memory of once having it. The feel of it making empty acts more important. Made me feel.. something. The escapes were enough, were calling me, were so grand.
I hope it comes back. But it's an empty hope-- one i don't believe in.

How to maintain

How many things I am convinced i won't be able to... stand. The dread is worst than the act. I don't know how long I'll be able to maintain the limited existence I'm in now.

Do, Complete, Stand

While my day passes with so little being done, I'm convinced I can't keep a job. Even if I started looking, (which will be a feat in and of its self) whatever kind of job I'll finally get will be beyond my ability.

In and Of

Life after college. There's more time but so far everyday has been the same: wake up, waist time, at 3pm: be surprised, let time pass, it's dark, wait to sleep. repeat.

10 May 2008

So who are you really?

I don't know who i'm talking to. i am unsure what i'm doing by typing away.

After looking at my past entries (as few i have), i'm struck by one blaring commonality--
I only did them when i was at a loss for something 'productive'.

After consideration i realized i don't know you.

Therefore i don't have any sense who i am talking to.

Maybe that's what's missing from these 'blogs'. (i really hate that word, is that really the official name?)

A sense of with whom i am conversing.

Is it the teachers who have completed the grading of the contents?
But will they still come?

Is it my fellow students who i have strived to disassociate myself from?
But have they ever come?

Will it be random users who happen upon this page?
But they are only drawn in by the first flashy content visible.

Whoever you are what ever you think of me this is my waste, my ultimate procrastination.

In the span between entries do you care what i am doing?

Do you care about me?

Whoever you are know that in the span between entries i am working or thinking or writing...

I am producing,

I am creating something that will benefit me

Whoever you are know that what isn't said here is funneled into something wonderful

And i will try and remember that too.

07 April 2008

Depression Or Debilitation

Why are these my only options?

Who said I couldn’t be more than a shadow, it’s a very cruel joke. And I think I’m starting to get it, maybe to chuckle. The punch line is real hidden so bear with me:
The last medication I got on worked great, my clarity went up, my energy went up -- I could continue through my day while keeping my patience and my confidence intact. But about a month and a half into it, these severe waving migraine pains started in, and even with small reprieves it stopped me cold. This is a not common side effect of the medication I started, but for those that do get it they don't go away and there really isn't any choice but to stop this med, wait till it’s out of my system then try another.... Again. So choiceless, I went off the best advantage to my functionality to date because it caused me pain, and you know there was still a moment of pause where I wonder if debilitation was better than depression. Because I like functioning, it seems like such a little thing to want, and I feel so validated when I do.
The ratio of meds in my system and pain in my head seems consistently proportional. Now, it's a mild throb, no more than remnant, and I can feel the depression seeping back in its place.
And that what has me ready to scream, out of frustration, out of surrender, out of lost patience, confidence, energy... I’ve already cried, already planned my drop out, into whatever vise presents itself first. The number question when starting with a new therapist is have you ever tried or thought about killing yourself. Since I was 11 my standard answer to them and to myself has been no, that only because I know I have to answer the question do I ever give it thought
But you know what. I realized it’s a lie. I do think about it, when I’m too tired to keep any of it up, when I think about my status as a burden, when I don’t think I’ll ever reach the point where I’m a contrition, when I become so disgusted with myself because I can’t get out of bed, not so much killing, as allowing myself to be pulled in a direction. But damn it I’m here, I don't want to pause my life anymore for something in my head.
And it is in my head. That’s the joke, the biggest vat of chemicals controls the our very essence, how we think, what we see from the most subjective to the most literal, is being fucked with and there’s nothing we can do, except sit back and be case studies.
There's no denying it, that is where the problem is, completely within my head, mind, brain. Valid, real, and out of my control problem in my brain. And even I don’t know why I can’t just get over it; let it stop being a weight on me.
I want to be able to push through it, I want people to understand just how much I do that already and give me a cookie for it.
I want to have control over my energy, my perception; I want so little, something so simple. I've already compromised so much, and I still can't have it.

I want to function, to be at least a semi productive member of society, maybe just a bit part. I want more than to merely exist. And I’m not sure I can have that.

13 March 2008

Getting my thesis back on track

I've been working pretty hard trying to explain the complexities of my chosen topic. The mental state of the artist, how that effects their work, and why a larger percentage of mentally unstable people gravitate to creative fields. Obviously this is a topic for books, in fact several, so i've narrowed down somewhat dealing with manic-depression and visual artists. It still complex and in my progression to explain all aspects of this connection, I think I've lost sight of what my original objective, along with required elements i need to cover. Mainly talking about actual artist that prove what I've stated in this incredibly long explanation.
So the real question I need to answer is:
How does Manic-depressive illness effect the work produced by artists afflict with it?

Their isn't a short answer to this but with the three examples I have chosen represent differences in perception, treatment, and severity of manic depression, as well as its manifestation in their work. These three artists are Richard Dadd (1817-1886), Ralph Barton (1891-1931), and Henry Darger (1892-1973).
So here's what I've found about each from my research, and my own evaluation of how they represent common reaction to this illness.

Richard Dadd suffered from a severe case of manic-depression, which went untreated until a psychotic break in 1843. Coupled by stresses in career, travel and family dilemmas Dadd began to slip into a self-created delusion, which culminated with him murdering his father, stating he was an agent of the devil. He then fled and attempted to kill again to evade capture. This series of events is an example of an untreated manic stage. Having a history of mental illness in his family, his father and siblings felt they could maintain Dadd, however a letter from his sister to their brother suggested her fear of his safety and those around him. While vacationing in a small village fairly near London, where his family were hoping Dadd would be able to recuperate, Dadd psychosis progressed to the point he felt compelled to kill his father and in doing so would be carrying out God’s work.

After his arrest and trial where evidence of his mental instability was clear, he was sent to Bethlem Psychiatric Hospital in London, the oldest psychiatric hospital in the western world. Bethlem at the time had a reputation for mistreatment of the mental patients, who were there more to keep them out of the public’s way then for any benefit to them. However Dadd’s time there seem to have been among the better cases. His condition did not improve, but did not worsen either, and he was able to keep painting, which was most likely the best course of treatment he could have had at the time. In fact the majority of his work was produced after his commitment. Including his two most noted pieces, which took up nine years each to complete. Both these pieces contain highly structured and detailed fantasy settings with an array of figures epitomizing kings, fairies, and other mythical human like creatures, all staggered in a giant wooded hill, with flowers, twigs and nuts lager than most of the figures. These two highly detailed paintings best express the commitment manic-depression can instill. Dadd also completed several illustrations on various themes and subjects. One such series encapsulates sins and states of mind humans endure. Within this series Dadd illustrated the sin of murder and the state of madness with a subtly and power that can be attributed to his familiarity to both.

Dadd’s case shows some key factors that have come to be textbook examples of manic-depression and it’s relationship to the creative mind; factors such as family history, focused dedication to a specific theme or themes, as well as his wild personality that allowed the milder indications of his condition to be overlooked. His stated goals and early artistic connections followed a sense of passions that at first was shared but then over the course of a decade his fellow artists found his single minded focus and over barring personality to be too much, eventually he was alone in his consistent drive. This slow isolation can be seen as another element of his breakdown in 1843. But after his commitment Dadd’s disconnection from the world served to help ease the stress and allow him the focus he truly wanted. The period was not a picnic for by any means, conditions in the hospital were unsanitary and overcrowded, many times the less stable patients were beaten or shackled to the floor, even though it is most likely Dadd did not receive such harsh treatment, he was exposed to a grueling atmosphere which would cause anyone strain. However Dadd was able to focus solely on painting and creating the expressive fantastical imagery he wanted. This counteracted the negative elements of Bethlem enough for him to maintain some level of the control he had once lost.

Ralph Barton contrasts Dadd’s condition in several ways, almost to the other end of the bi-polar spectrum. Barton projected a calculated public image that allowed him to be quite social and charismatic while masking a deep depression. He remained in constant control of himself and well isolated from personal relationships that would allow anyone to see beyond what he wanted to show. In the prime of his career he was one of the most sought after illustrators for his unique caricature style. He became a regular within the New York and Hollywood socialite circles, where he gain a reputation for his refined dress and a string of women. He was also quite hard and demanding of himself, which only grew with his progressively unchecked depressive bouts. His negative views began to seep into his work, which in his later years portrayed a cynical tone of greed and materialism. By comparing two illustrations from early and late in his career, this cynicism is quite notable in composition and color choice. Barton internalized his problems and with his move from his home in Kansas he further isolated himself from a familial support system that could have help him. But in May of 1931, he killed himself. There are varying accounts as to exactly how but he most likely shot himself in his apartment. Only two people, including long time friend Charlie Chaplin, are known to have gone to his funeral, most who had known him had long sense written him off and an ill tempered hermit. Compounding his down fall was real stigma attached to mental illness within the 1920’s and surrounding decades. Most perceived these states as weaknesses, those that clearly display them were avoided and relegated to invalid status. Mostly likely his surviving friendship with Charlie Chaplin was more do to Chaplin’s own history and reoccupation with mental illness.

Henry Darger spent majority of his life on his own, his mother dying before he was five. Darger became a ward of the state of Illinois at age eight, where conditions were hard, with frequent punishments and forced labor. At the age of 16 he successfully escaped the institution and made his way back to Chicago, where he was able to find work in menial labor, which is how he continued to support himself up until his death. Although he was a solitary man, he became active in helping abused and neglected children find homes. He also rented a second floor room where he lived for the last 40 years of his life. For the most part Darger’s life stayed consistent, working as a dishwasher, attending mass everyday and spending his remanding time alone. Not until his own failing health placed him in the same mission that his father had died in some 70 years earlier, did anyone discover his work. His landlords first entered Darger’s apartment shortly before his death, soon afterwards the couple took charge Darger’s estate, publicizing his work. The subject matter of his work covers somewhat disturbing depictions of the same fantasies that Darger had used to preoccupied himself while living in the boy’s home. This is common a way to cope and developing a mechanism for independently dealing with harsh and cold conditions is not in itself a sign of any mental illness. However his continued preoccupation, coupled with what is seen as a manic state, even if only in isolation, in a way show a combination of Dadd and Barton. Dadd's more manic states and interest in fantasy, and Barton's tight control and avoidance of personal relationships. The volume of collages, illustrations, and writings found shows how vast and compulsory Darger’s fantasies had become; not only the need to escape into them but the need to manifest them in some form. The events of his life compounded preexisting tendencies, creating a high level of independence to the point of avoiding social interaction. Although unlike Barton, Darger’s methods of escapism was enough to counter act more the extremes associated with bi-polar disorder. Although little about his mood could be gleamed from interaction or his own personality, his work tells a great deal about his mental state and the inner workings of his mind.

Within Darger’s lifetime, large step forward were taken in understanding and treating mental illnesses. But Darger’s himself was more a product of an older system, one that more resembles segregation and strict punishment for what was seen as deviant behavior. While residing in the boy’s home, Darger was noted as not having his heart in the right place, and punished for self-abuse. The latter term is mentioned in some sources as a euphemism for masturbation, while he first phrase clearly shows the behavioral or emotional causes of this assessment to be seen as character flaws. Once Darger develop a consistent enough coping mechanism he had limited to no interaction with any sort of authority that would have detected a problem, thus any new insight to treatment of mental illness would have been outside his purview.

This was more from memory than straight from the sources I've read. So my next step is to go back and find the areas that support what I have just said. This also means that some of my fact may not be exactly accurate, but they will be before they make it into my paper...
This works out to be about five pages, and still needs more added. Not just the citings, but also more indepth analysis of specific works.

I'd appreciate any comments for anyone who was patient enough to read the whole thing. Does it make sense? Do you having any questions or suggestions for what else i could add (or take away) for it to read better?

Ready Set Go...

I know I should be posting more often, and I have been trying to think of what I want to say in them. But I'm mainly drawing a blank. I'm confident in the concept for my show, the work is going great, I'm actually ahead which is so weird to me. I'm really interested in talking about what I'm doing, and have had some great conversations. I've always been apprehensive about talking out into this vast space where people can ignore me or read my thoughts without me knowing their reaction. Retardedly insecure I know and I don't think that is stopping me, just lingering there making what I've attempted far more calculated than it needs to be. Maybe I'm just over thinking this whole damn thing, like I do with everything else and I just need to do it.

Next post is coming and will contain a hell of a lot more than inconsequential ramblings.

08 February 2008

A Plethora of Negative Cognition

Nifty phrases always stick with me more than their meaning. Sometimes I'll listen to Diane Rehms or Science Friday on Talk of the Nation and I'll think how smart I am cause I understand the big words, completely forgetting to actually listen to the content.

My thesis seems stalled. I've got my opinion down...ish. But I can't find the research to support it. Not that I find contradictory research, I'm finding nothing on the artists I'm so keen on using that benefits my topic... so stalled.
I seem to stall on either the thesis or the work at any given time, both are pretty ambitious, which means I can't really pause the work on either. Studio work's going forward, I've got a lot to do, and some aspects of it I have never attempted before so of course I'm stalling on them. (sensing a theme?) I'm going to pipe in auto over top each piece, I know what I am going to record and the simplest and first step is to record several tracks of myself whispering these phrases, to be played simultaneously. Later I want to manipulate them some, but to start just the raw voices is all I need and it's really simple to do in garage band, but I still haven't gotten around to it, guess I'm still trying to figure out where I can without the background interference I got the first time I tried. But I think if I put up my piece for the NASAD walk around without it it will be lacking, so thats what, two days really if i want it up by Sunday night.

There are some other things I'm stalling on, little things that I need to push the work and frankly I need to do them like now, May ain't that far away people and I sure as hell don't want to be here another year or another semester. So this is my last chance, last hooray, whatever you call it... so what if every other senior seems to be able to function better, stronger, faster than me, so what if I my social life has stalled to the point of atrophy, so what if all I'm trying to do seems to only be leading to solely advance my internal over thinking and won't to contribute on any professional level. I'm still closer to a piece a paper that will give me status in our society, closer than I have ever been... and a status I wouldn't otherwise think I deserve. I can go out, look pretty and turn my brain off on May 18th... right... it's over and life will be shiny and carefree right... well that's what the brochure said!
f-ing liars

02 February 2008

Mid year block

I think my convoluted thought process that has lead me to creating my current works has started to confuse even me. I think i need to do like a flow chart. Or maybe like 6 degrees of sparartion to figure out how these ideas really did go together. I feel talked out, too many times i tried to explain, there's a degradation with every attempt something is left out...
Wow, this post turned into a pity party. Well i'll truck on through and get back to it

28 January 2008


Well there are a lot of cool things to say which will come some other