Counterfeit Commonality

1. Wonder and Awe

2. Doubt

3. Forsakenness; retreat to self.

Karl Jaspers talked at me about this.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


What's news? A relocation to Chicago has found me 12 pounds lighter, more tan, more resilient, and pining for some of Pittsburgh's hills.

I've been a resident of Chicago for a month now. One single move by car with a small Uhaul trailer. Most of everything I brought was work and studio related. I'd say a good ninety six percent. Ridiculous. It drove home the realization of my arranging and rearranging my life in order to accommodate making things for the past fifteen years.

C'mon man and rain down on me

My first night here I moved all of my belongs up to our third floor apartment in Roscoe Village. Elise and I had beers. I was out of sorts but elated. I had no bed yet so I (happily) nestled into Elise's couch (think of a burlesque house where Sesame and Bourbon intersect and you can see this couch). The windows were open right over my head and between three and four in the morning a sudden and torrential downpour broke out. Violent and ferocious on the tree limbs just outside.
It was lovely. I love summer storms. Then a shock went through my body as I realized I'd left my much beloved bicycle, Ettiene, out on the second floor deck. Fucking hell.

I sprang out of couch, threw on the filthy shorts I'd worn during the drive and clambered outside to retrieve him. A waterfall of freezing water coming off of the sloped third story roof nearly sent me into shock. I scooped up Ettiene and turned to run back up the stairs only to find that the door had shut and locked behind me. I was outside in a torrential downpour in nothing but a pair of shorts with no keys or phone. Elise did eventually hear my pleas and let me back inside. Ettiene went into the bathtub for the night. Shivering and feeling like I was swimming through a dream I toweled off and went back to sleep.

Missing: 12 pounds of boy-man

So, I think all the time biking the eight miles to and from work would have made me more tan by now if I were still dimensional enough to cast a shadow. I've shed weight but I'm making a conscious effort to up my intake at meals.

Hell Raiser Bun Bun

Thrifting and vintage shopping in Chicago is incredible. It's a goldmine. My favorite find by far as of yet is a ten inch ceramic rabbit whom I'm fairly certain has absorbed the bubonic plague. I saw it on a shelf with other castoffs at a Village Discount. From a distance it grabbed me and when I got close and picked him up for a good look I almost vomited. So, I knew I had to have him.

Lost Twin

Elise and I are of the same blood. I adore her and I love living with she and her boy Jason. Elise is a performance and installation artist. Our work springs from the same place but manifests completely different. She moms me. It's good, I need it. I get her laughing. It's good, she needs it.

Move, Goddammit

The paint is just moving again. The newest chamber is the smallest I've yet had, but quite adequate. Putting up one of the larger paintings is akin to being trapped in a small room with a large unpredictable animal. We're pinned together in a much more urgent way. Proximity is my latest element of emphasis. The music waves over me like a good massage in a small room, too.

The room already feels rich with cultivation and fermentation. The work and I, we coerce one another into behaviors very intensely very quickly in a small well-lit space.

New Enablers

We live almost directly above two key locations: A bar and a thrift store. We finally met one of the bartenders recently. Amiable, and forthcoming. Now he remembers me and it seems like we'll get along well enough. There's an older photo booth in the bar. Good way to get actual photo documentation of how much money I will drink in the next year. I think the bartender will react alright when I inevitably misbehave in the future.

A History of Bad Rock

The bartender, John, has revealed to us that our apartment is the former residence of one Fall Out Boy. Ok.


Elise and I have been shopping for a dog. We need a mammal around. Cats are preferred by me, but Jason is allergic. We test walked a little guy named Gandolf from a local shelter, but he's strangely detached. Actually, he behaves a little like a cat. Another heavy hitter was a French Bulldog puppy we were going to call Bruce (after Mr. Wayne) but he's too expensive. And he'll probably shit on the floor.

The Vinyl Say

I ponied up the cash, bought a record player. It's a very charming thing from a local vintage shop. Talking down the price didn't require much effort. I even got a free Ray Charles record with it. So whenever I can I will very slowly and with heavy consideration collect some vinyl. Lady Holiday is here already, and some $.99 records that seem like decent finds. Elise is also very enthusiastic about this avenue.

Tenderly Burn What is Left of Me

So far, so good. I'm not sure how I fit in here but I feel settled. Everyone still thinks I'm strange. Even Elise, but we're siblings. Paint is moving more, but I remain skeptical that I'll find gallery support.
I've been reading an autobiography of William Segal. He was a boy born in Macon, Georgia long ago. A great athlete growing up, and then a great publishing entreprenuer. Best known for Gentry. From the fifties through the nineties of the last century he studied mainly Zen meditation, painted, and pursued the work and company of such esoterics as G.I. Gurdjieff. A smart, somewhat brash and very compassionate man. It's been a life that was meant to fall into my realm of consciousness at the right juncture.

There is much concentration on a state of no-thing related heavily, of course, to Zen Buddhist meditation. There was one very beautiful phrase someone uttered to him, the state one reaches in meditation when one "is breathed" rather than breathing. This is a oneness, a path to the connectivity of being to the real world of no-thing.

He speaks beautifully and right on the mark about how I feel about paintings's connection to oneness, to a level of consciousness and love beyond intellectualization.

But really, the jury is still out on my feelings about Chicago. I've not been out much. People seem to make communication a low priority. At a year's mark, or even ten months, I'll be very attune as to whether a longer stay is appropriate.

Chicago's an Asshole

Yep. This is another month later. Parking tickets like a motherfucker. Ok. Only two, but they add up to $110 I don't have.
No matter how much one tells one's self that one will inevitably eat shit for months when one moves to a new city one cannot help but despair some in between mouthfuls of shit. Mmmmhmm.
It's mostly financial I suppose. And it won't kill me to have to eschew bourbon for a while. That part is easy, but couple that with being quite alone working for shit money, being completely uninterested in romantic entanglement, etcetera, blah, blah, blah, whine.

First arrival brought a heavy dose of William Segal and therefore Gurdjieff's teachings into my life. All of that is processing, but I feel numb and feverish and exhausted and in a malaise of sorts.

I'm making a broader range of work. I like it and it's emotionally messy, and what's more I don't care who doesn't respond. Not as much as I used to. It springs from a place of sincerity I cannot fake in my haggard state. So fuck 'em. Chicago's filthy lesson. I know how to keep it all close to the chest and be colder than anyone. Reading peoples' insecurities coming through their actions and words is like braille to a blind man for me. You don't think I see but I do.


I'm dredging my character to test my aggressiveness again. It's a survival tactic. It's crude and cruel at times right now, but it falls back into a graceful assertiveness after the airing out. I even yelled "TURN SIGNAL, MOTHERFUCKER!!!" into a cab driver's window today in heavy traffic. It felt goooood.

I'm 30 and I belong to no one and I belong nowhere.