Artistic Excellence

What is art? Well, that answer will be very different depending on who you ask. To me, art is anything that makes someone feel something. I know, it’s a super broad definition, but I think that it needs to be broad in order to cover all creative mediums. Art isn’t just some asshole throwing paint droplets on a canvas, it’s the emotion the artist embedded in the piece, combined with the reception that the piece receives. Now, because I consider what I do art, I have to acknowledge that other people may have differing opinions on my work. This is where I struggle.

I’m super selfish when it comes to art: I don’t make things for other people, I make things because it helps me keep some semblance of sanity. Each medium that I make things in has its own purposes and flaws, but it really comes down to how I feel at a particular moment in time. I honestly couldn’t give less of a fuck what you think about my content, I’m more interested in seeing where you would build upon what I’ve created, and if you can correct my sometimes-spotty grammar: even better. When I look at other people’s art, I immediately blast off into space, creating a narrative based on how the piece strikes me, and use that feeling to help make my own stuff.

I try not to be wild pretentious when it comes to art, I know I don’t always achieve this goal, but fuck you, it’s a process, I’ll get there eventually. I used to be obsessed with this “tortured genius” idea, but the more I learn about the world, the dumber I realize I am, and the more I look back at myself and realize I was a huge douchebag. I used to think that only miserable people could make good art, but now I realize that being functional and happy while maintaining creativity is the more impressive feat. I respect people like Charles Dickens, Curren$y, Mac Miller, Van Gogh, David Ogilvy, and pre-MAGA Kanye West. They are prolific artists, people obsessed with the creative process, always working, no matter what it does to their mental health (with the exception of Curren$y, who seems like he’s living his best life right now). I feel the same way, but with a thousandth of the creative potential. Due to a lovely neurological disorder, I have a pretty rocky relationship with sanity, so I do my best to be as clear and concise as possible, even when my brain is firing off signals in every direction.

I may be nuts, but if I’m properly motivated, I will give 200% effort in achieving my goals. It might strain my relationships, ruin my physical and mental well-being, and my overall quality of life, but if I want to do something, and I have the ability to do so, I will devote every fabric of my being to achieving my goals. The only issue is that sometimes my goals are fucking stupid, and shouldn’t be pursued. For instance, I can say with complete certainty that I spent more time and effort getting the Fall Camo for the M21 sniper rifle in Modern Warfare 2 than I did getting a 3.7 GPA in college. Maybe I’m actually smart, but more likely, this country has devalued education to the point where grades don’t matter, and that I’m just average. I can snipe the fuck out of you in a video game though, so it’s a bit of a win-win.

The Death of an Empire

What the fuck are we doing? Has everyone lost their goddamn mind? What in the hell is wrong with you people? We have people killing eachother over the right to protest, we have a president who should’ve been sent off to pasture years ago, and we have a percentage of the country that just wants to see the world burn.

I want to believe that we’re better than this, I want to believe that we’re still the greatest country on Earth. It’s kind of like being a Browns fan: you see their potential, but they keep fucking it up.

That picture of Minneapolis burning is iconic, it should be someone’s album cover, it speaks to everything that needs to be said right now. I’m not a good mouthpiece for change, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life, so don’t make me delve too deep into the stupid shit I say to give me that momentary serotonin hit that keeps me going.

We Are Immortal

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy; why people do the things they do to ensure they are remembered. I think I’ve figured it out. Most of the things people do after a certain age are to prolong the amount of time that people talk about them after they’re gone. I know that as long as the Internet is around, I’ll still be around, even if I’m dead. Somebody will find these posts, read them, and hopefully talk about it with others, keeping my spirit alive long after I’m gone.

You hear stories about people hoarding absurd amounts of wealth that they could never spend in a hundred lifetimes, I get that it makes people mad, but these people don’t care what you think, they just want to be remembered for working hard enough that entire generations of their family can live comfortably. Sure, the way they get their money might not be the most noble, but the intent has to mean something. I think artists are the same way, except instead of leaving their children a shit-ton of money that will end up making them spoiled assholes, artists leave their impression on the world by showing others how they see it.

Think about Picasso: there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at least heard his name. He is immortal, even though he died hundreds of years ago. It would be an honor to be remembered for that long after I died, although I may be getting ahead of myself a bit.

The Time Capsule

Periodically, I like to read my old posts. Partly because I love to read my writing, but partly because my posts are snapshots on time, and sometimes I like to visit them. I’ve written a whole lot of stupid shit, things that will probably embarrass me in the future, but I will never erase them. I’m embarrassed by all the drunken rants about how miserable I am, but not only is it true, it’s necessary.

Sometimes, I feel like writing is an art, and as an artist, I shouldn’t care about what anyone thinks of my art. That’s usually the case, but sometimes I get super anxious sharing intimate details about who I am, and it fucks up my creative space. If you’re an employer, or one of my friends who stumble upon this, I’m respectfully asking you to fuck off. This isn’t meant for you, I don’t write for you, so keep it moving.

I’ve got a shit memory. Maybe it’s from the executive processing issues brought on by ADHD, maybe it’s because I don’t get enough Omega-3, or maybe it’s because of all the (alleged) drug and alcohol use. In any case, my brain’s all fucked up and I’m not good at remembering things, so I write them down to create tangible memories. I’m not really a social person, so this is super out of my comfort zone, but every time I talk about personal issues, I feel a little better talking about them, so if reading about my personal life bothers you; go back to Barstool.com, and go fuck yourself.

Music Is The New Religion

I’ve always noticed a connection between music and religion; they both try and explain the world around us, they both inspire us to be better, they both try to take us out of our heads. Kanye West literally featured God on Yeezus, solidifying my theory that he might actually need to go therapy and stop jerking his ego off so much.

Music is undoubtably art, but is religion? To me, art is anything that can make you feel something, and religion was called “the opiate of the masses.” Does that make religion art?

Those pastors at superchurches in Texas whip their crowds into a frenzy, and help them feel better about themselves, albeit for a fee. Are they not artists? Now, some of them might be con-artists, but I think the majority are just skilled public speakers who want to make a difference.

Let’s get back to music for a second. I’ve been on Twitter long enough to see some wild things, but the craziest of them all has to be “music Twitter”: where people debate who’s the best, who’s the worst, who makes them feel what emotions where, etc. This is where I started to realize the power these artists have, some of these people say that so-and-so’s music kept them alive, or helped them quit drugs, or acted as a safety blanket after a traumatic event. Isn’t that what religion does?

There are even some people who worship artists. I saw one person talk about Frank Ocean like he was a God amongst men, and attacked anyone who said any different. Is that any different than arguing about Bible interpretations or the Old vs. New Testament?

Almost everyone listens to music, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, and truthfully, I don’t think I’d trust someone who isn’t moved by anything in any genre. Even Charles Manson liked music. It helps people see the world from different perspectives, which is something the world desperately needs right now. It teaches lessons to people who won’t listen to anyone else. It entertains us and turns the volume down when we have a bad day.

Music has helped me immensely, when I have a really awful day, I don’t want to watch TV, I don’t want to overeat, I just want to sit back and listen to my records and tune the rest of the world out.

Heaven

You hear so many things about Heaven, there are entire religions based on getting there, but what’s up there?

For me, my totally-uninformed, hopeful take on it is this: Heaven is whatever you want it to be.

For me, Heaven is a place with unlimited resources and time, somewhere I can just creatively go crazy without any restrictions or concerns. Think about it: all of the most creative people who have ever lived, all in one place. There must be billions of songs, paintings, movies, you name it.

I get really annoyed when I have a decent idea that I can’t execute, so thinking there’s a place where all of those ideas can be fleshed out and expanded makes me feel good, and I want to be able to talk to history’s best thinkers and writers and come up with better ideas to work on.

I want to be able to bounce taglines off of David Ogilvy. I want to pitch movie ideas to Stanley Kubrick. I want Picasso to teach me how to paint. I want to learn how write more coherently from Bukowski and Hemingway. I hope all of those people are just up in Heaven, sitting at a cloudtop bar sipping drinks and swapping ideas for all eternity.

I’m not going to know what Heaven’s like for a long time, ( hopefully, although life is weird, so you never know) so I’ll just have to do my best with what I’ve been given.

Fear and Loathing in Massachusetts

So, I’m a tad drunk, (shocker), and I’ve been thinking about the creative process, how the flow of ideas in my brain translates to the words I type out. I can’t control their generation, so I have to filter them for content. Due to my wonderful neurological disorder, I’m bombarded by thoughts every second of every day, and some of them aren’t pretty.

My thoughts are coming in free form jazz, with no semblance of structure or decorum, they just exist. I’m not blessed, I’m cursed by the inability to capitalize on the ideas I have, and when they don’t materialize, I feel like a lazy sack of donkey shit for not being focused enough to do anything with the gift I’ve been given. Wow, that’s such a douchey thing to say, there are millions of people who also got straight A’s in English who don’t think they’re gifted writers, so what makes me so fucking special?

Maybe bitching about how unhappy I am online isn’t healthy, maybe it’s just a coping mechanism, maybe I’m just full of myself and like to read my own writing, I really don’t know. What I do know is that Frank Sinatra sounds better on vinyl, Hunter S Thompson was a genius, and that Lil B the Based God is an internet icon.

Why My Life Would Suck Without Music

Image result for juicy j

Every morning at 8:30 I awake to the gentle, soothing sounds of “GET UP BITCH, GET UP BITCH, GET UP BITCH GET UP!” Juicy J has a knack for getting me out of bed. After jamming out with Mr.J for a minute, I get up, get dressed, and put on something more relaxing, (I’ve been leaning towards Mac Miller’s Swimming lately). Then I get into my car and push play on my “Driving” playlist, belting out lines from “99 Problems” while stuck in traffic. After properly hyping myself up for work, I start to veer off in different directions while I try and make 8 hours of Dunkin Donuts tolerable. After finishing my shift in Hell, I like to put on something happy to offset all the stupidity that I usually have to deal with working retail. Music is a constant part of my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life’s better with a soundtrack, in my opinion. Most of my memories are hazy and faint, but certain songs crystallize these fragments and make them feel more significant. My life is divided into genres of music. I first started listening to Dad Rock (Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, The Who, etc) in middle school, because that’s what my parents listened to, and I had nothing to compare it to. As I grew up, I started to branch out and explore other genres. Ironically, I got into rap with Cypress Hill, before I started smoking weed. I don’t think many people can say the same. Cypress Hill introduced me to a whole different sound: that dark, ominous production style that DJ Muggs birthed. Cypress Hill introduced me to a bunch of old-school rappers that I probably wouldn’tve had access to before; Snoop Dogg, Eminem, The Alchemist, Dr.Dre, Kottonmouth Kings (yikes) These were my staples up until college. These were the people I listened to and took advice from, as stupid as that is.

The songs I used to listen to on repeat don’t hit me the same: they have a hint of nostalgia to them. Every time I listen to “Hits from the Bong” I flash back to those worry-free days, smoking a dime bag out of a bong I made out of a liter bottle, a pen, and a trumpet mouthpiece, thinking I was on top of the world. Now, I look for music that blows my mind. For example, the first time I heard “Space Song” by Beach House, I was blown away, I’d never heard anything like it and I had to have more. It took me by surprise that something that awesome had been waiting for me, within my reach. I usually hate change and trying new things, but I’ll listen to pretty much anything once. I don’t understand it, but it’s exposed me to so many different artists that I would’ve shrugged off otherwise.

Whenever I’m feeling shitty, or unhappy, or tired, or angry, anything really, music can Image result for mac millerchange that, and that’s incredible to me. If work’s got me down and miserable, I put on Malibu by Anderson .Paak, and 15 minutes later, I’m belting out the words to “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” with a smile on my face. That is something precious, there aren’t many things that effect my mood anymore. I can put on Jay-Z and feel like I can take on the world. I put on Mac Miller and close myself off to that world. Music is also something I use to relate to people: I’m not a big “people” person, I’m quiet and grumpy, and don’t like meeting new people. That all changes if I find out you like the same music as I do, I’ll probably like you a whole lot more and be nicer to you than if you kept it to yourself. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t put on my headphones and escape for a while. I’m sure I probably would’ve snapped long ago.