The Struggling Artist (USA)

USA – Atlanta, Georgia ~2010

As a kid I could sit at the kitchen table for hours and hours drawing – whether it was superheroes, monsters or my teachers – my imagination was my own limit, and I did it all on reams of cheap copier paper (my Dad “knew a guy”)…unfortunately this passion was sidelined to the meager position of hobby once I was pushed into university. Sad times, but that’s life I guess. OR SO I THOUGHT!

After I was accepted to the Georgia State exchange programme, I was told that there was next to no limitation on what I could select for my classes, and that it would all count towards my degree. Four hours of art? No problem! So yes, not only would I be checking out if the food portions really are that much bigger (British people are fascinated by this for some reason), but I would also be enjoying four hours of unadulterated drawing every week, and it would actually be worth something! Drawing?! Obviously, I thought I was well on my way to becoming the next BIG THING…all sorts of thoughts flooded through my head; maybe I should change my name to Salvador…or maybe I should start wearing some weird shit to throw people off…or maybe I should invent something life changing – how about, a sandwich, that never runs out?

Genius GIF

Well I was getting a little ahead of myself, clearly. But it was fantastic news nonetheless.

Let’s fast forward a little bit…so it’s a warm summer day in downtown Atlanta, I’m certainly looking the part of “artist”; that is to say I am lugging an obnoxiously large art folder with me and I have a regrettable hat defying gravity on the back of my skull, possibly cut off jean shorts? Who knows. Basically, I looked liked the kind of guy you would strongly dislike on first sight, the kind of guy who invited and endorsed that kind of bitter prejudice. The kind of guy…well you get the point.

Surprising then, that as I am standing at the “sidewalk”, a busy looking business man runs up to me and grabs me by the shoulders…”EXXXXX-EXXXX-EXCUUZ ME?!” he stammered, in a caffeinated flurry. “Err?” I manage to reply.  “ARRR YOU AN, ARTIST?” I pause for some time due to sheer confusion, you see I wasn’t sure if taking an art class and holding a folder meant that I was a fully fledged “artist” (whatever that means)…but then I remembered I was wearing a hat and cut off jean shorts, so I landed on a definite…

“YES.!”

YES GIF

AWESOME! I NEED AN INSTALLATION DOING, LIKE…SOON! DO YOU HAVE YOUR CARD?!

“Ah. No. I don’t have one of those.”

DO YOU HAVE…A NUMBER THEN?

“Ahhh, no. I don’t have one of those either.”

DO YOU HAVE A SPARE PIECE OF PAPER THEN?

“Sorry, no. I need this for my-”

WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE?

And that was that. He stormed off into the cosmopolitan crowd never to be seen again. He probably found another person wearing a hat, who DID have a card, or a phone number, or a piece of paper, or a fully functioning brain. Anyway, after this I carried on to my class and immediately told my teacher what had happened…she seemed intrigued, and asked me to repeat the exact specifics of the encounter at least a couple of times – after which she looked at me closely with comforting eyes, held my quivering hands in hers and with a reassuring tone said…

“You fucking stupid bastard.”

Shock GIF

And that was the first and last day I ever considered myself to be, an artist. It was a tough gig guys, not for me.

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Caricature – Attack of the KENK.

Thanks to some significant peer pressure I faced one of my fears last week…getting a caricature of myself drawn – to my surprise (not really) the elephant pinocchio concord kenk stole the show:

Caricature

What do you reckon then? Spot on, or way off?

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KID’S DRAWINGS SUCK! (RANT)

I had to get this off my chest – it’s an injustice that should be made history, immediately! Why we put up with it I just don’t know! 

I think I made my point…ish…kinda

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The Forking Path

As this year draws to a close, I find myself musing on all that has happened up till now – and pondering on what may come my way in the future…the funny thing is, things never turn out the way you expect – which is what makes life so interesting! Or scary depending on how you look at things…

Fargo GIF

I could have taken a lot of different pathways already, and by not following certain ones it has in turn led me on to other things – for better, or for worse! 

Like when I was seventeen, or eighteen…or something, I found myself on the pathway to becoming an accountant. Yeah, exactly…ME…an accountant?! It was complete madness, as I have never been any good at maths; actually even now I find myself counting on my fingers out of force of habit! I recall in school I was often lucky to even get a C grade…that was probably because it didn’t engage, or excite me as a subject – instead I did a lot of looking out of the window, and day-dreaming, which for some reason didn’t pay dividends when it came to my exams. In English it did…which may be unsurprising, but more on that later…

But you see I wasn’t on the accountancy pathway by chance. I had purposefully plonked myself there, albeit with a somewhat faulty compass. I had my (first) girlfriend, who I loved a horrendous amount…you know, the horrible first love where you would tear your eyes out, and fry them for dinner should it ever be requested. It’s manic, and a total roller-coaster – it has ups, and downs,  makes you physically sick, and  leaves you full of regret afterwards. That’s why I only like the bumper cars at theme parks. Wait that sounds like a weird metaphor…

Anyway, as I was in love, like true Disney style love – and clearly this young lady was the one with which I would spend the rest of my days, and nights with – it would be necessary that I provide for my to-be wife, and our inevitable swarm of children. It sounds farcical, and ridiculous now – but at the time I was very serious about all of this. So I found an accountancy training programme with Proctor & Gamble, in which they would pay for me to do a finance degree (OH MY GOD CAN YOU IMAGINE MAN?!), whilst also earning a good salary. Sure, I would hate my working life from start to finish, and would probably eagerly await death to put an end to the constant Matrix style stream of numbers, as every day I would return from my toil to my resentful wife, and the children who hate me because I am never there – because I am at a job I don’t even like, to get things I don’t even want…but still, at least I would have money. Which is all that is really important, right? …wait, RIGHT?!

So I told my plan to one of my best friends…who in turn told me I was a fool, and reminded me in no uncertain terms that this was a silly choice to make. I tried in vain to create circumstances in which my life in accountancy would be one of excitement, and thrill…

Accountancy Cool GIF

But he came back in amazing style, bombarding me with text, after text, after text, of cruel accountancy jokes – of which most centered on the premise of how boring that career path would potentially be for me, a person with no interest in mathematics whatsoever. I wasn’t convinced, or at least I told myself I wasn’t. That is until my girlfriend broke up with me out of the blue, (leaving me utterly destroyed may I add) and I came to a new clearing in which another pathway emerged…after the soul-blackening anguish that was getting over her, of course. But after that I saw the pathways more clearly – filled with real dreams, and hopes – not made up ones that were only fueled by money, and things.

So sure I headed on with my heart as my guide, rather than my head – but I am glad I did. Even if my Mother does often hark back to those times whenever I am hard up; whether it be facing rejections, unemployment, or general urghhhhhnessss frustrations – all things that will come to writers/English graduates. She likes to reminisce, and remind me that I could be driving a “flash sports car”, and living in a “classy apartment” now, like the guys in American Psycho. Well, nerr. It’s not me.

Instead here I am, suddenly at a spaghetti junction of pathways, which stretch out, and wind in all different directions. And despite all the madness…I am happy, and I am hopeful. 2015. I am pretty much blind to what you may have to offer along the road, but I am walking with you all the same. 

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I Will NaNoWriMo No-Mo

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Well mission accomplished ladies, and gentlemen! Kinda. The novel is nowhere near finished, and is an absolute train-wreck of a narrative…but I reached 50,000 words, so technically I have won NaNoWriMo. 

My work in progress, named: Delusions of Grandeur, follows the daily life, thoughts, and ravings, of an average middle-aged man, who is seeking something more in a world he truly doesn’t understand. The novel is a dark comedy which will hopefully taunt, and tease the reader…but also serves as a social critique of many pressing issues, mainly the treatment of mental health, and the desire to fit in to the confines laid out in front of us…

I hope you are intrigued! I will be back at it tomorrow, and editing away until it is done! This month was stressful…but it has forced me to put pen to paper – well, you know, fingers to keyboard. And now I have the bare bones of something I hope will be great. 

Thank you for your sustained support my friends, it is more than appreciated!

Winner Certificate

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Banksy-man

The internet was going crazy for a second, due to a rumor stating the infamous artist Banksy, had been stripped of his mysterious guise by the uncaring English police force.  Well I will admit, they got me too. And before I heard it was false, I was crazily infuriated…so much so, I haphazardly threw out some rather condemning comments – only to be told it was a hoax…naturally, I then shriveled into a ball, shrank back into my cave – to curse myself for being so damn stupid. 

Pikachu Slap GIF

 But what was it about this (false) news that angered me so? I had to think about that for a second…but after a little bit of time I recognised this – that I believe it is to do with what he represents, he stands for something – and could be anyone…isn’t that a wonderful thing? In a world that heralds celebrity individuals, who are desperate to cash in, and use any pull they have to generate income…he stands alone. A bit like the idea behind imaginary superheroes like Spiderman, or Batman…they are a symbol, a symbol that could be represented by anyone.

Probably not me…I mean, I doubt I would look good in spandex, it would look embarrassing…particularly around the groin-ish area…but you get my point. 

Danger GIF

A good friend of mine who is an artist, posted this in reaction: “This has actually made me quite emotional. I spent my whole life up to now admiring the mystery behind my all time favourite graffiti artist, Banksy. And now… Well now the government have just taken that away like they do anything that is ‘good and free’ – gutted!” Well thankfully it wasn’t true – and long may he continue with his artistry, and social critique!

What do you think? Were you fooled? Lemme know my potential crime fighter friends! And make sure you like the page at facebook.com/storytimewithjohn for more posts!

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