2013

Oh hi, whats up bro. I’m well. How are you? Actually—

I’ve had my usual  ups and downs. But I can tell you I had an amazing 2012. New job, health benefits, personal trainer, and new love interest that’s looking solid. Will update in more detail but for now… I’m back!

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Paintings That Live —or— How Abandoning the Art World Saved My Life.

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I think I’m done with the art world. But I swear this has a happy ending.

I’ve been grappling with this for about 2 years now. The thought of letting go of the career path I’d invested so much in has been unsettling to say the least. Painting began to feel awful for me. So many toxic ideas floating around my head: I have to make a coherent body of work that makes it easy for dealers or collectors to understand and sell/buy. I have to do what dealer X wants me to do and also what dealer Y expects of me. Nevermind that it’s conflicting feedback…

Thing is, coherent bodies of work are boring and usually contain one good piece with 8 other copies of it that suck. That’s just for lazy art collectors… the ones that only care about making money from my work (which is not going to happen anytime soon). And having art dealers tell me what to do is the surest way to kill my interest in making anything. Who would want to paint someone else’s ideas?

Then there’s getting ripped off and lied to. But we won’t get into that.

My very last show was, creatively speaking, the most successful. My ideas manifested in 3 or 4 distinct ways. I loved that nothing was obvious, nothing was handed to the viewer, nothing was made to be easily digested The pieces were moving and alive, which is what counts.

One collector told me he didn’t understand how the images were connected. I thought, “Good!” Finding what each piece had in common doesn’t take THAT much work on the part of the viewer, and if you’re not willing to put in the effort, then you’re lazy. I usually put weeks and months into my paintings, not including all of the pre-production of staging photo shoots, digital editing, travel to locations, canvas stretching etc. Asking for half an hour of contemplation isn’t above and beyond. It’s called being engaged. Not engaged? Then my work wasn’t for you to begin with.

So I’m stepping out of it. I’m done busting my ass pouring my guts and my soul into paintings to have them sell, in the very best circumstances, for less than minimum wage, and then wind up in storage only to be damaged. I’m done having dinner with collectors that confront me about the meaning of my work. I’m done hearing about how they gutted the price of one of their favorite artists and scored their trophy for pennies. I listened to one collector brag about how she hung her drawings up on her metal wall using magnets. My god.

I have had support… I’ve had some very good people support me. Maybe that should be enough, but sadly it isn’t.

And now for the happy ending: I’m painting again… everyday. And I mean REALLY painting… making images that I really care about, that are coming from the right place and for the right reasons. I wondered if painting would ever be exciting, mysterious, or gratifying again. It is, and I firmly believe it has to do with taking a leave of absence from the art world. I know now, after some experience, that my best work is made in solitude, without anyone in my head giving me their feedback. It’s like I’m back in high school sitting on my bed with a pencil and sketchbook, drawing or painting for hours, enjoying every minute of it. No agenda, no thoughts of selling the work, or getting reviewed, or expecting external validation.

I rock, my paintings kick ass, and they’re ALIVE again. Successful work is always animated; they’re vessels of intention, exploration, and emotion. I can feel when they don’t work at all, when they do nothing, when they’re dead on arrival.

I have no idea how I’m going to talk truthfully about this new work. I’m painting mania, my hallucinations, and my adventure through bipolar disorder. I HAVE to go there, even if it doesn’t sound marketable. That’s the story in them, that’s the place — a dark and uncomfortable place — that they’re born and live. And I’m so happy, after so long, to fully embrace this.

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New Painting

First new painting of 2012. I have energy for painting again!!! This one just took about a total of 3 days. Nothing too bad. It’s the first of a series of images dealing with my hallucinations. They’re going to have a decidedly She-Ra Princess of Power look to them. You know all the sparks and shit that fly out of her sword in the opening theme? Just like that.

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Looking Forward

So down today. And last night. I still look forward to some things 🙂 painting, Pete the cat (my cat lol), a weekend trip to Vermont to relax. I want to go to Buffalo to see my family but this I need the country right now. I need a break. I’ve thought a few times that I’d like to be hospitalized… for a rest. But I think it’s just a vacation that I’d like.

Driving there from NYC will be a lot of fun. There’s a wood fire hot tub with a view of mountains. I’ll be trying in a little cabin in the woods. I need this. I guess it could be worse. I could be looking forward to nothing at all. In still working, tho not concentrating very well and taking breaks every hour or so. It’s a good thing my boss is so understanding. She doesn’t know I’m bipolar but she does know I’m on Lamictal after a conversation where she let me know someone close to her is on it for seizures. She’s smart. She even once told me that her nutritionist treats psychological issues, so I know she’s not gonna be surprised if she finds out about me if she hasnt guessed already. She did let me go home early when I was manic last Friday. I’m thankful that my job is a good fit while I recover.

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Gather Me Up Because I’m Lost

September 29. 1984

Dear So and So,

Gather me up because I’m lost. Or I’m back where I started from. Crawling on the floor, rolling on the ground. I might cry. I won’t go home.

So here’s the story. I’m turning up in circles and I’m spinning on m knuckles. Don’t forget that there are circles left undone, very close to me. Forgive me.

Comfort me, you comfort me. I’m crawling on the floor, rolling on the ground. There’s a blanket wrapped around my head. I’m moving in a line, it’s shaped like this. I’m holding in my breath. I have a room. Can you tell if I am lying? Don’t forget that I’m living inside the space where walls and floors meet. A box inside my chest, an animal stuck with my frustration. Can you hear me?

Don’t forget that I’m alone when you’re away. You make me act like other people do. Forgive me.

Comfort me. You comfort me. You make me die. I’m gonna cry. I won’t go home. Dont kill the god of sadness just dont let her get you down. See this man inside a book I read can’t handle his own head. So what the hell am I supposed to do. I’d like to know how he died. My hands are shaking, don’t you love me anymore? I only need a person. Keep my shoulders, stand around. Lie down, move you hand above the floor.

Gather me up because I’m lost or I’m back where I started from crawling on the ground I’m gonna cry you look for me.

Love,

Kristin

PS: keep them coming.

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Boss Level

I’ve decided how I feel right now is like a boss level. Its my job to figure out the combination of attacks that will take it down.

 

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NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

ImageSorry I’ve been away for so long. I was feeling alright.

As I said in earlier posts I Iost my health insurance. Or rather my douchebag ex vindicately cancelled it. Anyways… I’ve had a bad week. The worst I can recall. Since I was a kid.

When I was 16 I was hospitalized twice, and then once again at 17. The generic medications that I’m now on (because they’re all I can afford) are not working.

And I’ve started cycling. Intensely.

Tuesday, May 1 — Total despair. Alone in the world.

Wednesday, May 2 — Aggressive. Agitated. Kicking garbage cans. Ran into my ex’s asshole boss. Wanted to tell him to not ever ride my fucking train again!!!! Didn’t. Swore, then moved to the other side of the car.

Thursday, May 3 — OK

Friday, May 4 — Worst mania I can remember. Racing thoughts, constant commentary in my head about everything I’m doing, everything I’m thinking, everything going on around me. My thoughts became bizarre. Preocupied with what constitutes “normal” behavior, and whether or not I was acting normal. I knew I wasn’t. Goofy, angry energy. Laughing at random things: the delivery truck that got stuck, the man that bumped into someone, the receipt machine that wouldn’t work. Didn’t care how people perceived me. Tried to hold it in when I talked with my boss… god I didn’t want her to see the crazy leeking out of my ears. Do I go around the pillar this way or THIS way? Which way is the normal way? Think the word SAMPLE, and then see the word SAMPLE written on a poster. Take note of this because it’s very notable. Called my Dr. Texted everyone that knows I’m bipolar for help. Went home early.

Saturday, May 5 — Painted. Productive.

Sunday, May 6 — Manic again. Waiting for my Dr at her office who is late at 9:15 in the morning. Wait on the street. I sit down on the sidewalk. Normal people don’t do this, only homeless people do that. Chain smoke a pack of cigarettes.  Shift. Listen to music. Walk around. Hide. Hide behind the payphone booth because I don’t want my Dr to see me on the street like this when she arrives. Glance around the corner every 5 seconds like a fucking paranoid lunatic ÷≥to see if she’s arrived

Told her about my thoughts and tried to explain how they felt special, or notable. or significant. She said my thoughts felt like they had MEANING.  That was exactly it.

She confirmed I was manic, or as psychiatrists say, “you have symptoms of mania.” lol. They never say you ARE X or you ARE Y. Just that you have symptoms.

She prescribed Seroquel.

Took my first pill of the new med that night.

Knocks me out like a motherfucker.

Monday, May 6 — Met my Dr again at her office at 4:45. She gave me a bottle of Seroquel she swiped from somewhere. The drug is $600 and she knows I can’t afford that. She told me not to worry about getting it as long as I need it. And she didn’t charge me for either visit.

Tuesday, May 7 — So drowsy and foggy and not present. After work and the gym, became utterly depressed. Sat outside on the street, on the sidewalk, in the rain, on west 25 and 6th Ave, chain smoking. I can do this because I’m not in the world. Not really. I’m invisible. Meaningless. Existing is meaningless. God I’m back in that place, after 17 years. It’s not an I’m sad kind of down. It’s an emptiness, a void. A lack of being attached to life.

I keep thinking about a text I had with a friend last Friday. He told me not to off myself because if he finds out I’m not taking my meds that he’s gonna kill me. For just a moment, a very brief moment, the idea felt appealing. No more hurt, no more feeling crazy. It’s a dark thought. I remember it. I remember what happens after it takes up residence in me.

I’m a teenager again. I’ve been rebelling. I’m skipping school. I’m hanging out in downtown Buffalo at a big marble statue that was my friends’ favorite place to meet up when we decided to cut class together. Meet at 9am at the statue. It was in a little park, with a traffic rotary around it. In front of the library. far away enough from anyone from our school that might see us. I felt so free when I was there. It was a break from all the bs of school. I had a lot of fun with my friends there… laughed. Stole things from stores like blue nail polish or magenta hair dye. Or my friends would give me gifts of things they had stolen the day before when they thought of me. Lillian. She was really cool.

But then I’d start going there on my own. In winter. in the snow. I thought I could bundle up and just stay there all day, but I’d last about 2 hours. Then I went to school to get warm. Then had those dark thoughts… and left a note with the guidance counselor saying I was afraid of hurting myself and I needed to leave. I walked back downtown and hid in a parking garage.

Hiding. I also hid in a closet once during a class I hated. I layed down on the floor. WHen she came to get her coat, she screamed and ran out yelling, “THERE’S A BODY IN THERE!.” lol. I hated her so I’m glad to traumatize that homophobic bitch.

Anyway… I’m back there again. Somehow all of the feelings and thoughts that drove me crazy as a kid have returned. I’m thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same feelings, doing the same things. Like hiding in plain site.

I forgot about what it’s like to go through this. I forgot how hard it is. There’s a middle ground where you’re very unwell, but you’re still well enough to be aware of this fact. That’s where I am… aware.

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