It’s apparent by the jumble of randomness that a creative entity inhabits this space. Without hesitation, items of liquid permanence grace every inch of the abode. As if a rainbow had voided its technicolor bowels without care or embarrassment; mad streaks drip down the wall and puddle on the floor, coagulating in aesthetic splendour. No damage deposit will be returned at the termination of this rental contract, that’s for damn sure.
This is my bad habit, and I suspect it’s relevant to any other artist traversing this world. The aspect of clinical cleanliness and orderly structure are void terms in our vocabularies. My closet hosts elegant party dresses of extravagant value on par with the latest gadgets from Steve Jobs, and each one has a prominent– and proud– paint stain/ink stain/tea stain residing within the fibres. Nothing is safe from my creative drive, and I lack the understanding that yes, expensive garments should be removed before diving into an all-night bender with brushes and acrylics.
Why bother? It’s all part of my being and I take pride wearing the evidence that proves: yes, I do create those artworks strewn on my walls and galleries (using the latter loosely as I admit my gallery CV is abysmal). Seems no one wants to highlight my artistic insanity on any institutional walls.
My medicine bag of instruments is everywhere; splayed like a filleted fish on the docks. Inks nestled in a canvas bag, pencils in a mason jar next to my ruler and scissors, card stock cradled with the watercolours and secured with my hair elastic, canvases piled next to the radiator, tracing paper in the pantry, sketchbooks in the closet and under my pillow, pens always latched in their case. Heed warning: my pens are the only objects one must never touch. They are my lifeblood and I will maim he who ignores the warning. My painting easel has been transformed into a sturdy hat rack. Cross-legged on my bed has always suited my painting process; why change a good thing?
But there comes a time when palpitations of panic arise; when I can’t find my tools and I realize: my creativeness needs organization.
Miracles come in many forms, willed from the heavens at random and without warning. Mine came on Christmas Day when my younger brother constructed a custom art case for my madness. Born from the decaying vessel of a vintage suitcase, he fabricated a unique cell to contain all my tools. One stormy day as I spent hours attempting to locate my crimson ink well, it dawned on me that I should put this miracle to work. So began the process of locating, assigning, ordering and labelling my creative juices. It’s much harder than one would believe. My thought process was as follows: throw inside case, hope case lid shuts. Plunk. Slam. Swear. Remove. Insert. Swear. Regroup. Calculate. Analyze. Place gently to allotted destinations based on height and girth. Close lid with care and due ease. Smile with success. Proceed to spend roughly two hours nestled on floor relishing in monumental achievement. Finally, my artistic life has order. At least the tools of my trade do.
Then I go on a bender of mind-melding chaos in the living room that evening. Case open, all contents abandoning ship and hoping to survive. Many are lost in the depths of couches, tables and holes in the wall. I’ll light a candle for them and say a haiku. New stains are plastered onto the walls, the couch looks like someone pissed his pants with a urine trickling of mars black ink. As I sit there saturated in my comfort a new sensation takes hold; I crave to put away my tools. I crave order. I crave balance. I crave an all night clean up session. Surprisingly, I act on these cravings and do so with gusto and toothy grin.