Artist. Designer. Awkward wad of nerd. Fights off existential terror and self-loathing with Godzilla films.

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The sky clears

I haven't done much since the last blog post. My brain has been kind of all over the place. Not that that's anything new, but I've been feeling more stretched thin lately.

One of my big anxieties lately has been the returned cyst in my jaw, which isn't actually a cyst but a kind of benign tumor with a long name I don't remember, so I call it a cyst because that's easier. Insurance never would work with the doctor in Knoxville, so the next bet is in Richmond, 5 hours away. An appointment was scheduled last month. To make the most of the trip, we decided to go up the day before to hang out in Washington, DC. There, at the National Zoo, the doctor's office called and canceled the appointment. It wasn't a wasted trip, it meant we could spend the next day in DC too, but it still felt like a waste and I came home depressed.

My other big anxiety: Since November, I've felt useless. I'm chipping away at a comic, working on other projects, or trying to brainstorm at least, and I keep thinking to myself, what's the point? What good does this serve? Will this stuff make the world a better place? I keep thinking no. I keep thinking about HyperNormalization, when Adam Curtis states that artists and self expression are virtually useless at enacting any great or necessary political change. It's a paralyzing thought.

This week, the two anxieties dissipated. Sort of. Hopefully.

We returned to DC on Wednesday, with the rescheduled appointment in Richmond on Thursday. We went back to the National Gallery of Art, not getting through it all in the first trip. It's such an overwhelming amount of art, spanning multiple centuries. It's staggering. But one scene struck me pretty hard: there was a group there that day, people moving arm in arm as couples. Half of the group was blind, the other half leading them through the museum, stopping in front of paintings and talking about them.

I think we were near the French paintings, past the Goyas I enjoyed seeing last time. Or maybe American works, I don't recall. But, I don't know. Someone considered the paintings on display important enough to organize this group to escort blind people through. It was emotional.

We moved on to the Eastern Wing, where the modern and contemporary art are displayed. I managed not to spit on the Jackson Pollock painting they had, but more importantly, I wandered into a little section on surrealism, turned and came face to face with Max Ernst's painting, A Moment of Calm, pictured above. It's a huge thing. It took up the entire little wall it was on, and it was such a staggering encounter. Another part of the gallery was filled with Mark Rothko paintings, which are incredibly inviting to my gaze. I could've stared into them forever.

I don't know. Seeing those works, as well as paintings by Picasso, Sargent, Matisse, Klimt, Bosch, and so many others in person stirred me up.

The night before the trip, getting little sleep, I got up during the night, inspiration striking hard, and scribbled down a series of ideas that came to me. Nude portraits and odd landscapes similar to this one that I had just finished days before:
I need to find models, but I think I can pull it off. It's the first idea I've felt GREAT about in a while. And seeing all that art the next day just motivated me even further. And I kept thinking of something a friend told me: my reach is further than I may ever realize. This was confirmed when someone Instagrammed a copy of All of This Will Crumble, which they found and read in a used bookstore's zine library. They tagged me, saying they were excited for whatever I do next. That was...incredibly gratifying.

So now I know what to do, going forward from here. I hope.

Oh, and the appointment wasn't canceled this time. The specialist is an energetic guy, and he got all the annoying stuff knocked out while I was there so that the next appointment will be me going straight into surgery, no more scans or anything like that. Fingers crossed it'll all go well.

The FRAG group is having a figure drawing meeting this weekend, I was worried I'd be too beat from the trip to be able to go, but now I'm thrilled. The Asheville Zine Fest is May 7th, and I should also be doing Free Comic Book Day before that, the 6th, at my local shop as usual.

For the first time in quite a while I'm feeling really excited. It's good. Let's keep this energy up.

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