Work Today

The small town I work in is at the foot of a mountain, on a quiet square in what feels like a peaceful village. It’s a small coffee shop, and I met everyone for the first time today, folks with long histories in the shop, and it was very clear that we all loved being there. It’s still too soon to know regulars, but I loved everyone I met today. And it was a sad day to join the community. Some customers (honestly I can’t stand calling them that, it seems to impersonal) came in and were visibly distraught from the school shooting. I couldn’t help that think that one of the children in the store, whose mother bought her a hot chocolate, might have been one of them. There was a genuine hush behind the counter in the shop, I remember hearing in the warm silences that seemed to envelop us all, as our barista asked what temperature would be best for her. We made the drink very carefully, and the family walked out the door and into the bright, grey day.

It was almost a thunderstorm, like the coulds could burst forth at any time. Each person in the shop was like that, a sadness that could really be felt, and one man suggested that he would renounce his citizenship. It’s a thought I heard echoed by friends of mine who thought that there’s nothing we can do, like nothing will ever get done. What you feel when you’re serving coffee on a square in a small town though, is that you’re very much a part of America. The community we are in feels almost like it’s from a different time, one where this kind of violence didn’t happen, but there it was as it was felt by all of us. “I’m sorry for crying,” a man said as he was overcome with emotion. “It’s OK, it’s human!,” I said back to him. The day just drifted. We were busy but there was a hushed tone, not delicate, just whole. You could feel the community together.

I understand this feeling. I did research when I got home, exhausted from the days work but able to sit through the press conference, and I’ve never seen the press pool like this before, everyone was affected by it, it almost seemed like this time could be different, at least from what I saw when I got home. But it may not be, it could very well be, as an article in the BBC I read suggested, that any laws that will be passed will likely be overturned. It’s easy to give up on America in times like this, but feeling what i felt today in the square wasn’t like that at all. I was in a perfect place to understand just what would be lost if my partner and I left the country, and in the shop and in the people I met, I found something that I didn’t have before.

Something beautiful to protect, at all costs, our multicultural place of happiness in the shop around the square, the shops all around us, the people walking by, the pop music on the radio, the promise of a way to make ends meet, the families and high school kids that came in for some coffee for the day. Every moment I had in that shop made me fall more and more deeply in love with this country, and protecting it is worth fighting for. I’m one small voice, but I ask you, whoever is in the government right now to do everything they can to find a solution to this crisis. This time has to be different. I’m in a community where it could happen. And it can’t happen here too.

We’re part of the community, I felt it from the very first day. I’m not outraged anymore, something else has given way, the deep resolve, so different this time, that we have to protect our communities, at every level, in every shop, in every community center, and that can only happen when we have the tools to do this. Do this America, keep us here. I don’t want to leave, but we may. It was a difficult but beautiful first day in the shop today, one I’ll never forget.

There were no storms today, because the people held up the firmament of the heavens, with every heavy heart, every compassionate cry, and I hope we warmed at least someone in an uncommonly cold summer day. We’re doing all we can, but we can’t do it alone. Do everything you can to change this country, what I saw today gave me complete resolve, I’ll do everything I can, for the communities we’re in deserve true peace, every minute of every day, until we are all free.


It was February in January, and January was cold. She walked to the edge of the city slightly beyond the lattice wheels, held aloft by a slow rumbling thunder, the sounds of a blanket moving in the darkness, bright as a raincloud. Have I been here before, she asked an open window, that had been following her all morning. “I have no idea” said the mantlepiece. There were two aprons on the shelf underneath her. She picked each one up, trying them on until they resembled a strange dance, held in place by silences, Open is, she said, she didn’t know why. She had come to this part of the city in order to try and make sense of it all, the 12 people she had met briefly before but never had any real conversations, who always seemed ready to destroy her, and take everything away from her. I have a job to go to tomorrow, and it’s important, she wrote out loud on the kitchen side pavement, and then there were ostriches, several in fact, light as air in the winter cold. The sun it was mid-April, now she was July, and she sat awhile and cried, cried for the countless games that people made her watch in horror as the days dragged on, making her life almost a living hell. Each of these people, or resemblances of them like sigils , tried to make a color for each of their own, and January, now back from mid-April, said simply, I refuse to let this happen. I refuse to let this color countless generations, and I’m calling your bluff. My world is a forest, I am neither it nor of it, and I’m not playing a game. Then she sank into a deep slumber, waking three times until she had managed her way up a mountainside, with every closed eyelid a jump across zyx coordinates in a software system display in a museum somewhere, really anywhere I guess. Where was it? Somewhere really Anywhere I guess, anywhere is better than this was, there are infinite colors, not just the ones you chose, if you choose them, enjoy the mess you made, I”m turning away, and never looking back again. Some say they never saw her again, some say she fell in love, some said she was an orangutan, made of newspaper clippings and rumours of unhidden audio cassette cases that played nothing inside. But she knew, she was happy, and walked away, and lived her days in peace and happiness, at least she hoped, and turned her attention to the real things, not the stratified advantaged positions on the radio dial. But she believed in a few things, like her best friend, her cat, and making coffee for strangers, isn’t that good enough for now? And that was how we were told sandwiches were made in cafes on that cold wonderous day. And sometimes that’s enough. I remember me in the gentle places, unremarkable, the quiet of drifting water in an office park, the wind through a suburban landscape on a summer day, the cicadas talking, the espresso machine, and whenever I hear my voice, which is never, not even now.

One Year in the Forest

It’s been an incredible year on an art retreat here in the forests of Fairfax. I really didn’t know what to expect moving into this community, but it’s been incredible. I’ve made a lot of friends and I’m engaged in Climate Action with a local committee, and one national climate outreach group, and there has been so much to learn. The basics of being part of an advisory committee, learnings on the intricacies of state and local resources for mitigating climate change, guiding an All We Can Save Circle, and a genuine friendship with the town itself. But the best thing has been the art.

I’ve had three art shows nationally, one in SF, and made over 200 paintings, with two sold locally. I made two comics and an illustrated book. I learned through a small community on Twitter about the intricacies of the NFT community, opened my first accounts and have a small following on Foundation. I found a way to push through new ideas and concepts, with three completely different art styles that I really feel are groundbreaking and new. And I even own two NFTs.

The forest itself is so incredible. I really learned to respect and be with nature, far from the industrial environment when we lived in the East Bay. It’s been so impactful that I barely remember what it was like when we lived in Emeryville, just a couple of blocks away from Pixar, and nestled between Oakland and Berkeley that combined so many perspectives, diverse and beautiful.

Yet as we did all of this the growing crisis in our world began. Covid was raging in the East Bay, and all over the world, and it was isolating and difficult period happening right after seven years of being in art school. Literally right after. The pandemic started our last semester of school. I went straight from classrooms directly into lockdown, and it took so much to get through that time, much like everyone went through.

When we moved to Fairfax everything changed. Suddenly there were wide spaces to walk in that were so freeing, and I didn’t take a second of it for granted. I started studying nature and post-impressionism, culminating in design and illustrations for the Climate Action Committee, which I rebranded with a logo and style guide, and my private art practice. These were some of the best-received among my friends and colleagues and was both a beginning and completion of spending years studying art. I’ve already moved on to a new period, possibly my fourth since we’ve been in the forest.

I work 12 hour days with just a few reserved for basic life. A lot of that is driven by espresso, which I spent two months studying during a brief period working at Peets. I took online courses from Peets in my spare time, completing the barista training until I was ready to start a shop of my own. But I realized in all this that I couldn’t stop making art. (Besides Peets is the best anyway) It was literally what I lived for, and after all that training in art school, I realized that I could never escape who I am, an artist and illustrator, through and through. The next series I have in my head I promise will be amazing. I’m taking two weeks off to give myself some space to think and plan for the next steps.

Public service is something I’ll always do, and I was a little shocked when I was elected Vice-Chair, which I’m learning about while I take time off of art while I build my practice and look for grants and opportunities. But I’ll never stop making art. Art means so much to me that I can make things for hours, and have to remind myself to sleep. When I’m not making art I’m studying it, going through hundreds of paintings and often returning to a selection of Van Gough’s work I have as an open book in my office, returning to single entries day after day until I let the colourwork seep into my consciousness. In our little apartment in the forest, sometimes it’s quiet and I’ve been given a space to grow, which is exactly what I needed after the formalities of contemporary art education.

When I wasn’t studying art I was enraptured with the UN. I attended every session of the General Assembly and researched economics and culture for each country each leader spoke of. I learned about SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), the importance of biodiversity and multilateralism, and started earnestly learning new languages with the dream that one day I might work at the UN, but for now, I’m happy to be one of its biggest fans. I really got into global culture, assembling a range of historical analyses and cultures across the continents, all packed away on my kindle so I won’t be bored for years. But it hasn’t been time for that. It’s been time to focus and study art in all of its forms, in both two dimensional and three-dimensional visualizations. I’m starting to learn Unity and learned Marvelous Designer for a book and NFT series called Light Fields. It has been an incredible, relentless year of growth, and I haven’t slowed down.

But I’m now turning my gaze away from the blank page and back into research, while I”m not working on my current assignments. I have so much to read, and while I’ve grown by leaps and bounds I still feel like I’m at the beginning of something. There is so much I want to do. I’ve written so much on this blog, among two books, one science fiction novel and a book on design. I haven’t taken a vacation in two years, so having a working holiday to look for new assignments seems like a dream right now.

And of course, I won’t stop making art, as if I could ever try, as this blog has been such a record of my day to day thoughts, I thought I would write this entry to let it stay for awhile, until I think things through and really plan and prepare for the next phase of our lives. Where will it be? Berlin? New York? Paris? Montreal? Here? I have no idea right now but I wouldn’t take this year back for a second. I learned so much here, and still am. The world is still in crisis, but in moments, in my art, and in poetry, across two languages, I found a true solace that will never leave. I was always looking for a new home, and what I found is it was always within me, in my body, heart and mind. I hope we travel the world again someday, but for now, with the world still in crisis, I hope there is a world we can return to, which I have tried my best to try and create with all my abilities, curiosity, and relentless love of life that is always greater than despair, even though it sometimes gets the best of us, peace is always there. As clear as day, bright as the moonlight across our consciouness. The ever-growing possibility, that the future could be a truly beautiful place, of peace, equality, true happiness, and inescapable reality, that even in our most desperate moments, our hearts are the true refuge, that we have a little time on this earth to help and bring to life.

The Lamp is Yellow, And Creates a Smile like the Moon on the Windowshade

There are a lot of ways to deal with despair, and many of them come more naturally than others. Fear is one, you let all of the amalgamated thoughts of possibilities of the unknown enter your mind until they grow in such number that they can make a new city, only of unknowns, the worst of which is death, the lesser is annoyance. Sometimes in this world we don’t know which is which, even the slightest thing can become amplified into something it’s not, the play of shadow from an object nearby, like the moonshape on the windowshade I’m looking at up to my upper right right now as the evening approaches. This is perhaps the easiest and most obvious ways that despair grows, the possibilities seem to shout down any hope of salvation, as if you’ll always be trapped in the unholy world of a city of fear, the contours of which we may never know

A second one is hate, the pain of division as we separate one thing from another, the forced comparison of likes and opposites, as if each moment you had to choose your favorite color. This is the worst of them. Hate cuts both ways, it’s like a pain inside that just grows deeper and deeper the longer the aversion lasts. Also easy to feel, and so destructive, creating countless wars, strife in families, friendships severed, always a cutting, something that only takes careful mending, somewhere between a needle and thread, or the detailed inner workings of the United Nations Security Council. And which is the more delicate work, it might be between the two, or perhaps exactly the same.

The third, and one I’d like to posit, is love. When we break down, we can see the distances less clearly. The earth can seem to shift beneath our feet, either to fall down, or be suspended in mid air. Do you remember the first time you fell in love? How the room felt lighter, how you might have glided with every step, almost as if you could fly, high above the everyday experiences into a view of the world around you, locked into two people, yet surrounded by so much more. This is also one of those kinds of senses of divisions, and so close, as I have read, and find in my notes here, so close to love. But a choice is made, the division is made into a desire for a union, stronger than the bonds of the physical world, limitless in the threads of time that love creates with every moment of being. Between ourselves and other, the greatest mending that could ever be found. It’s Easter, a day that asks us as Christians which we choose. Do we choose death, or choose life, maybe it’s not a question at all. We choose not to believe in hatred, we choose to believe in love, a love that removes all barriers, that leads us up into the sky, and endless world of discovery, the moment that could change the shape of time.

What we choose in these moments defines our reality, and is the gift we leave to the world, is what we can perceive. In the small room I’m sitting in, there are two lamps both emitting a calm glow, the shapes making shapes from the shadows, something that may or may not be there. In this small room, listening to music, I read about lands far away, places gripped by war. Sometimes it’s like we’re in one too, but not one where there has been actual death. But we die a little when we lose hope, and that’s not something I think we should ever do. It’s easy to say in the calm perfection of this evening, but I hope everyone tonight, can think a bit about it. What do we choose in our moments of greatest adversity, If we choose to love, the city of fear in our mind is made invisible, and in it’s place a limitless forest of wonder, or even a quiet place to collect our thoughts, but all this is held in our minds like a whisper, something gentle and kind, and what is this feeling? Is it like our first memories, or even as simple and impossible as being? Let’s see through all the mirage of hate. Lets choose to believe what we know to be true, that there is no division between self and other, but a chasm of space with which we have to pour the limitless love of our thoughts. All over the world, the answers are simple, it is so much easier to love than hate, for the shape of reality could be seen to be infinite, or as indefinable as a space large enough to carry our thoughts, and our hearts, both as small as a raindrop, and as vast as the limitless sky.

One Small Artist to Russia

Russian culture has always been a source of inspiration for me. My first films were Eisenstein and Tarkovsky, as an animator, Soyuzmutlfim. My earliest novels were Dostoyevsky, and later as a Graphic Designer Mayakovsky and El Lissitsky. These artists have been a source of much of my work as I’ve been growing up (and yes, I’m still growing up, as we all are.)These artists are so great, please remember the richness of the culture you have, and put an end to this horrible conflict. Please find peace. It’s gone on far too long and it’s growing more traumatic day by day, hour by hour. I know what it’s like to live in conflict.

It’s paralyzing, life almost becomes unlivable, but that spark that keeps us going as artists is the same spark within your artists that we all stay in dialogue with throughout our lives. Art is a conversation, it asks us to create, not destroy, when I think of their art, I hope not to associate it with these horrors. I’d love to sit down and have a conversation with them, and hear what they’d have to say. I think it’s very simple, creation is more vital than destruction, and at our best we can shape new worlds, for a time yet to become.

But this loss of life, what will it become? How many future dreamers were killed by this horrific tragedy? We will never know, and those who loved your culture as much as I do, where will their love go once they are gone? As powerful as all the speeches I’ve heard have been, take a moment to listen to your artists, I am not one of them but I can speak as one from a distant land. Your culture had so much potential. Please don’t let it fall another day. And that light is in all people, by listening, you’ll hear it, a promise of another day.

And here’s a secret of art: the light artists bring to the world exists in us all, artists just know how to see it, because we’ve been training to look for years. Here’s my suggestion for today: Walk outside, or even look around the room you’re in. Notice the colors, really try to feel the shapes and forms as they flow in your mind, go outside and see the world around you. Then pick an area and just look at it, and hold your gaze, for longer than usual, maybe even a full minute, and feel the absolute joy of the colors and all that it contains, this unbelievable world that makes the impossible real. Then ask yourself, would you deny this to another person, would you burn it away? Would you blind it so we could no longer see? I don’t believe that if we all sat down and felt this way, we would ever want to take it from another person, because for every single death, there are thousands, if not millions, who go blind, from despair, from rage, toward things so easy to feel, so impossible to leave, but we can. Let’s back from the edges, lets walk through this world. We’re all here for just a little while, lets give all of us the chance to be.

Returning Home

It’s been awhile since I really treated this site as more as a journal and less about criticism, and the urgency under that reason is easily considered. I sometimes need to speak in poetry more than prose to explain some of the things in my mind, and at times I feel the need to be as direct as possible, and through poetry, that comes from the soul. But prose is not that different. It just exists in a different purpose and reality. We don’t typically go around speaking in poetry all the time, and I lost track of it when I’ve been in silence except in poetry most of the day. It’s almost conversational, and that’s where I really feel like this day is one of the most important days of my life.

My partner and I needed to go to San Francisco so I could pick up a painting from a show I was in last month at the Drawing Room. It was the first time I’ve been in the space since I first dropped the piece off. It’s a really amazing gallery, and from what I’ve been told the show went well. I’m on their mailing list and they’re having cool events all the time. If you’re ever around there definitely visit and check out the work. But I digress, that’s not what I wanted to write this post about. What was amazing about the afternoon was how much I had a chance to really think of language in a different way. I was distracted, so every word mattered and was spoken against so much fear, and that’s when it stopped.

I told my partner what was happening and we talked for almost two hours in total, maybe more, between having lunch and taking the long drive between Fairfax and SF. I won’t go into details here, but I told her how down I was about what some people have said about me. That outrage was what was captured in the poetry, but it’s resolution was in the effortless simple act of love, not necessarily romantic, but just the little things, the call and response of our cadences, the questions and replies, and she reminded me what I already know. That I have done nothing wrong and I’m a good person. It’s that simple statement that guarded me against so much depression, and we both decided that I should ignore it. Ignore what? What people try to believe about me that is untrue, the threats that people make when we make challenging work.

“Is there anything that makes you not think about these things?” she asked. I thought for a minute, actually I didn’t have to, and I just realized that when I make art, I think about absolutely nothing else. I could use a colloquialism and just say I get lost in it, but that isn’t as realistic as what happens. It becomes my world, and you’ll never know quite what this is like if you haven’t worked your whole life to do it, everything that happens when I’m making comics feels as real as if it’s happening to me when I make it. It’s like nothing else, and I love doing it. I’m making art right now at the best of my abilities, with nothing but the best intentions in mind. Against so much, this is the only way I know how to be, without it, it’s almost as if I didn’t exist at all. And that’s an easy choice to make, I want to exist, and I want to make art, doesn’t that sound like a simple fact of reality. We all deserve to live and create, that’s without question the right that simply being alive is, without it, it’s like nothing. And nothing is impossible.

And to continue with the approach that poetry and prose can have, and conversation reveals a call and response dialog between our memories, our loved ones, whatever can be meant by spirit, and each other. Perhaps if we elevate the everyday language into that rarified reality, the world will always be new. It already is every day. Every moment is born into another. Is that something we can remember, can our thoughts become like this, like one moment into another? With so much about diplomacy, and peacemaking that our moment needs, perhaps that may guide our way, and as an offering of life against negation, peace against war, and the reality that we all belong to each other. Could we imagine that? Could that make a better world? I’d like to close out this entry with a simple poem that came to mind as I was writing this as I found earlier in this piece. It is simply this:

We can always dream

Nothing is impossible.

Une braise chaude au coeur de la nuit.

Une horreur indescriptible est entrée dans une pièce comme une prison

Jour après jour

Jour après jour

Chaque mouvement

réinterprété dans un mensonge, les simples vérités d’être vivant

Les caméras étaient toujours allumées, chaque mouvement perçu

pourtant dans l’esprit de la haine, tout s’est transformé en désespoir

le travail a continué et dans les limites de l’existence, il a continué à continuer

Enlevant les enseignants, enlevant le bien, refaçonné de leur propre brutalité

mensonge sur mensonge, haine sur haine, mais ce qu’ils ont vu ne remplacerait jamais la maladie de leur propre esprit.

Pourtant, à l’intérieur, un feu brûlait, pas un feu de haine ou de destruction, mais une lueur chaude, qui était toujours là,

Même dans une tragédie insensée.

Le cœur est intact, l’amour toujours dans les silences

et dans ces moments, il y avait une paix absolue.

On Critique and Theft

S’il vous plaît, permettez-moi de dire quelque chose très clairement dans un langage simple de pragmatisme. Je me fiche de ce que quiconque pense de mon travail et je refuse de croire qu’il représente autre chose que mes propres opinions. C’est du plus profond de mon âme, mon histoire et une inspiration. Si jamais vous voulez savoir qui je suis, mon travail est là. Ce que les artistes créent leur appartient, et je fais du travail pour inspirer tous ceux qui traversent des difficultés, car j’ai tellement souffert.

Mais c’est le mien et j’ai besoin d’être indemnisé pour cela. Je me bats en tant qu’artiste, et le monde numérique est dangereux, absolument nécessaire, mais il y a tellement de menaces. Beaucoup d’entre nous passent leur vie entière à expérimenter et à faire de nouvelles découvertes, et à leur tour, cela nous est parfois volé. L’inspiration est valable, et si mon travail inspire, je suis reconnaissant, et je le reconnais. Mais j’ai vu des comptes NFT voler des œuvres d’art et les revendre par eux-mêmes. Ceux d’entre nous qui sont dans des positions vulnérables se font voler leur travail. Ça s’est passé toute ma vie, depuis le premier album de mon groupe jusqu’à aujourd’hui.

Ça arrive. Je l’ai vu. C’est tellement décourageant et parfois j’ai juste envie d’arrêter. Mais je ne le fais pas, car ma passion sans bornes pour l’art, qui alimente en partie ce poste, me permet de continuer. Je fais de l’art pour le monde, pas pour le vol ou l’identité. Donner aux artistes le mérite de ce qu’ils font, sinon économiquement, d’une autre manière, mais le vol scandaleux de l’art pour quoi ? Rappelez-vous que je fais de l’art pour tout le monde.

Please allow me to say something very clearly in a simple language of pragmatism. I don’t care what anyone thinks of my work, and I refuse to believe that it represents anything other than my own views. It’s from the depths of my soul, my story, and an inspiration. If you ever want to know who I am, my work is there. What artists create belongs to them, and I make work to inspire anyone going through hardship, because I have suffered so much. But it is mine and I need to be compensated for it. I’m struggling as an artist, and the digital world is dangerous, absolutely necessary, but there are so many threats. A lot of us spend our entire lives experimenting and making new discoveries, and in turn it is sometimes stolen from us. Inspiration is valid. and if my work inspires I’m grateful, and I acknowledge it has but I’ve seen NFT accounts stealing art work and selling it on their own. Those of us who are in vulnerable positions have our work stolen. It’s been happening my whole life, everything from my bands first album even until today. It happens. I’ve seen it. It’s so discouraging and sometimes I just want to quit. But I don’t, because my boundless passion for art, which is partly fueling this post, keeps me going. I make art for the world, not for theft or identity. Give artists credit for what they do, if not economically then some other way, but the outrageous theft of art for what? Remember that I make art for everyone.

Je ne connais pas

Je ne connais pas le cri de la faim, au plus profond de la nuit, je n’ai jamais été perdu sans maison, pas comme métaphore, mais aussi réel que le jour, pourtant à travers toi je ressens tout, mon cœur se brise profondément dans la nuit, et Je trouve un espace pour guérir, et peut-être que le fil qui répare ces blessures renvoie à ce qui est en nous tous, une lumière brillante dans l’obscurité, un lien ininterrompu qui peut être nié, mais qui ne cesse jamais d’être.

Un Jardin de l’esprit

Je connais non une guerre en pensée, en liberté, garde contre le crain, reve en tout la nuit, avec quelque fois, quelque chose, dans tour le chanson le mond, le mystère dans lumière. Je mort, je mort un peu, mais dans mon esprit, une jardin de l’esprit, dans mon couer la mer, les nuages, en ciel.

Le vent, plus rapide que la lumière, léger comme le jour, invisible comme la nuit, se déplace à travers les arbres, ne laissant qu’un souvenir, d’un cœur tremblant, rempli d’amour.