Monday, March 19, 2012

Dealing With Flakes, New Work, & Bargain Priced Fellatio

Been slacking off on blogging for a bit. Well not really slacking off, I just didn't have anything worth blogging about. There has been a lot of Musser Family upheaval in the past month, but it's highly personal stuff that perhaps I can get into another time, or maybe my Dad can do a future guest spot. Anyhow, onto the good stuff.

I Left My Heart And My Pants in San Francisco

When I venture out of my painting cave, I enjoy making the most of what Sacramento has to offer. But I must admit, I never really need a reason to get out and travel. One of the great things about Sacramento is its close proximity to other places like Tahoe, and the Bay Area, even LA is only 70 minutes away by plane.

I’m not much of a snowboard or ski enthusiast and the last time I was near Tahoe was last spring when I was "working" with John Pugh, aka Mr. Creepers (that's not him btw, that's the creepy preacher from one of the Poltergeister Movies) so getting away to Tahoe doesn’t really appeal to me. 

The San Francisco/Bay Area and LA area, now that’s a different story. About six months ago I heard from a former Sacramento resident who had found work at a small up and coming coop gallery in San Francisco called Big Umbrella Studios.

He was putting together a group show for early spring (first week in March) and wanted to include me in the lineup. I of course said yes and in late January, I started sketching out ideas for the theme Girls And Guns. I knew that most artists would immediately go with the sex/death type angle of a scantily clad woman suggestively holding a handgun, lips slightly parted, a modern day siren sitting on the back of a Harley, sort of vibe.

While those kind of images appeal to my archaic, caveman “must ravage and impregnate now” DNA, that’s not where my art is going. I chose to make something more personal and introspective, but still created a piece within the theme of the show.

More on that later.

Welcome To Flake City
Those of you that know me know that I like to be prepared and organized. When it comes to my career as an artist, I arrive when I say I’m going to arrive, I return phone calls, I sign paperwork, I do research, I say “please” and “thank you” and while I have made monumental mistakes in the recent past, to the to best of my ability, I maintain a high level of professionalism. It’s my career, my job, my only source of income, so the mantra of “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” is paramount. 

So you can imagine when I enter into a business arrangement with someone who acts likes the polar opposite, I go a little insane.

My contact up until recently was a guy, let’s just say his name is Ary Chezans, who from all my interactions, seemed like someone who was serious about art and serious about the business of art. 

Around early February, I inquired about when and what time I should show up to the gallery, should I email an image of my work for press releases, do they need help setting up, can I submit more than one piece, what are the size requirements, you know usual stuff. Ary informed me via Facebook of all the particulars, gave me his new number, and told me he was really looking forward to the show; all seemed well in the world.

Fast forward to first week in March when I’m putting the finishing touches on my piece, a time when I should be feeling euphoric about the finish line. But I’m not feeling the usual accomplishment because Ary has dropped off the fucking map and I am beyond annoyed! He informed me via text message he and his girl are “taking a break from FB” but won’t return my calls or answer text messages. Taking a break form FB is fine, I recommend we all do a FB cleans now and then, but not returning my text messages or phone calls when I’m supposed to be showing in your gallery, that is un-fucking-acceptable!

Attention All Artists! Always, always, always keep in frequent contact with the gallery in which you plan to show! Up until this point, I never had any problems, and I could have just let it go and chalked it up to experience. But thankfully my folks taught me to be assertive. Had I not followed up with the gallery, I feel I would have been letting them down. Plus I had invited at least 20 people and I would have looked like a fool if they showed up and I wasn’t in the show.

Don’t Be A Self Righteous Fuck Stick
Now I don’t know what happened with Ary. Maybe he is going through some personal drama involving his immediate family. With the recent turmoil I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I know that life can change instantly. Maybe he has mental issues that have completely overwhelmed him. Some of you are keen to the details of my 2009-2010 and know that I almost didn’t make it.

Perhaps Ary’s life was a bit like the closing scene in Dumb and Dumber, he was just walking to the gallery (via desert detour with Jim Carrey) when a bus full of Tropicana Swimsuit models pulled up.

These lovely, barely clothed damsels in distress are lost, they are in need of someone to apply sun tan lotion, and Ary is the only guy they’ve seen in 100+ miles.

But instead of giving them directions to the next town, Ary got on the bus and tried to impregnate all of them! If that was the case, I would have said “Man forget this Girls and Guns bullshit. Forget painting for at least 18 months. I want to see if it’s possible, if I can actually run out of sperm, aka I’m going to have so much sex, with all of these swimsuit models, when I ejaculate only water comes out!”

Any of those reasons would have been valid reasons to walk away from the gallery. But is it too much to ask to leave a note? Or call? Or email? The answer is no, it’s not too much ask.

Here is was kills me about Ary; when he was active on FB, his posts were always rants about the flaky nature of artists, the unprofessional nature of people within the art realm, and when the revolution comes, people won’t be ready bla bla bla.
“ I can’t wait until I work with people who can do this…” and “ Man I wish artists knew that 10:30 means 10:30, not 11” or " Being a professional is…” or “ I’m so excited to be working with…SF won’t know what hit them.”
Maybe Ary is going through some tough times. If he is, I wish him the best of luck. But don’t be a hypocrite; you make artists like myself look bad. Luckily for me I reached out to the gallery a few days before the opening. The way Ary just disappeared, my instincts told me I shouldn’t just arrive the day of the opening and expect everything to be smooth. 

When I did call the gallery to let them know of my arrival, the conversation went how I had imagined it would go; the person the other end had no fucking clue who I was, nor did they have any idea that Ary had curated a show with non-member artists!
Ahhh good times.

Luckily for me, they had room in the show and all I had to do was send them an image and they would honor the commitment that Ary had made. And a special thank you to Rick Kitagawa (orange tie) for being professional and giving me the green light to be included in the show. 

Everything after that phone call went according to plan: I showed up, dropped off my work, signed paper work, walked around for a bit, arrived at the reception and enjoyed the rest of the night.

Thank you Bailey Nguyen for the sharing photos from the opening with me:

There some details from opening night that I’m leaving out:
1. Like being propositioned by a homeless guy in Alamo Square,
“I’ll show you my downstairs for 50cents or give you a hummer for $1 !”
Now I do love me a sale, but sorry guy I'm not into getting BJ's from random men* who smell like dumpsters in July.

2. The joyous time I had walking over 5 miles up and down 45 degree hills just to save a $3 atm fee, but seeing some immaculate property and amazing city views in the process.

3. There was the artsy party I attended with friends after dinner where the people and atmosphere reminded me of how much I hated 90% of the parties I attended will I was a student in Chicago.

Although I enjoyed my time there, I never really fit in at SAIC. I just never vibed with people who tried waayyyyyy too hard to be different and be “artsy” because they bought into the notion of what people see artists as.

I knew I wasn’t going to have fun at this party when 30 seconds after I arrived, I spied a woman/man who looked like Pat from Saturday Night Live dancing like she/he was having a seizure, drinking a 40oz of Mickey’s, dressed in a full size, novelty hot dog outfit.

4. And as much as I love animals, cats that don’t allow me to sleep and do so by jumping on me constantly during the night while I’m trying to catch some zzzz’s on a hardwood floor, are assholes and should be put to death! But all of that will have to wait until a future blog post.

And yes this picture is blurry, but it’s only photo I have of the new work, better photos soon.

Acrylic, pencil, and collage on paper, roughly 18 x 24 inches in size. Here is a side shot:

Stay tuned for more fun stuff, and if you haven't subscribed yet, get on it! :)

*I'm a Vagatarian.

No comments: