Archive for March, 2010
A bit late, but here’s some photographs from my exhibition “Back to the Future IV” at Nina sagt, Düsseldorf. Thanks to Nina’s dad for some of the photos. At the bottom is a a photo of all but one of them together on my wall before I left for the show. There’s a key thingy there, too, with the titles.
1. Coffee stand
2. Fuck peacocks, I’m a pigeon
3. MGM Grand hotel casino
5. Slice of Antarctica
6. Baseball player
7. Baseball diamonddd
8. Crucifix hoop
9. Tube dancer on Sugar Loaf Mountain
10. Self portrait eating a hot dog
11. New born bird
12. I am a friendly fish
13. Vacant lot on Las Vegas Blvd.
14. Bellagio fountain pool
16. Soccer field in winter
17. Aggressive cloud
18. Chair on fake grass
19. Vapid cunt
20. Hole in a cave or a pile of salt in a cave
The one painitng that’s not in this group shot is called Die Brotchen Maschine – it’s the middle one in the fourth photo from the bottom – and it depicts the two things I think of when I think of Germany: bread and Kraftwerk.
Here’s a couple of things that were going to be a part of the exhibition I had in Düsseldorf, but didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the stuff.
Where do I belong?
(Spray-painted snowglobe, 2010)
I’m not from New York
(White New Era baseball cap, painted dark blue, with hand-stitched Yankees logo, 2010)
fuck you guys!!!
Fuck you, body.
fuck you too
fuck you apple
FUCK YOU SKYPE !!!!
Fuck you doubters.
fuck you life
fuck you minnesota.
FUCK YOU PHILLY
fuck you brazil
FUCK YOU CHILE
Fuck you, Pablo.
Fuck you TOM!!!
Fuck you dad.
Fuck you Mom
Fuck you myspace!
FUCK YOU TUMBLR.
Fuck you, Google.
Fuck you Hitler…
Fuck you Pelosi
Fuck you Palin
fuck you Flyers
Fuck you Penguins
Fuck you winter.
Fuck you Whitney.
fuck you jetlag
Fuck you, family.
fuck you downward dog position.
Fuck You Easter Bunny..
fuck you, H & R block!
Fuck you honey!
Fuck You Twitter
Fuck you Bieber.
fuck you russia.
fuck you argentina
Fuck you human resources
Fuck you crips!
fuck you asshole.
fuck you bitch!
Fuck you, Fred.
Fuck you pussy
fuck you, Microsoft
Fuck you, Kentucky
Fuck you baby
fuck you bro
fuck you haters.
fuck you ho!
mmmmmm wings :)
MMMmmm Could this Caramel Machiatto BE any sweeter??
MMmmmm…chilli cheese fries…I felt SO fat after lol
Mmmmmm doritos and lemon<3 aweee yeah
Mmmmmm, tasty tasty freckles.
mmmmmm smoked haddock!! yummmy!! :D
Mmmmmm cin/apple panie cakes
mmmmmm my fav
Mmmmmm Thai green chicken curry on it's way :o)
Mmmmmm tht was 1 nice sandwich.
Mmmmmm. Miso black cod!!
mmmmmm these fried plantains are so gooood
Mmmmmm. Fanta fruit twist :) it's going down a treat!
Mmmmmm breakfast time!
Mmmmmm taco bell:D!
mmmmmm that sounds crazy delicious
Mmmmmm need to c u
mmmmmm ice-creamm <3 x
Mmmmmm.... Now a benadryl and a nap.
Mmmmmm :) spicy chiken patties n fries babyyy!
mmmmmm sooo goooooodddd! Ham, Cheese, and Egg sandwich!!! with fries
Mmmmmm. Coney dog and a milkshake
Mmmmmm Wendy's baked potato with sour cream and chives and bacon cheeseburger. :)
Mmmmmm vamonos a Six Flags jajajajaja :P
Mmmmmm tea.. Lol
mmmmmm wok stirred eggplant. YUMMMYYYYYY
Mmmmmm, those Caramel Cupcakes are going fast
mmmmmm I'm so hungry
mmmmmm naps !!!
Mmmmmm Thai green curry
Mmmmmm. Coffee.... Must get coffee...
Mmmmmm there guac and margaritas are poppin
mmmmmm, candy!! :)
mmmmmm soft juicy plums lol
OMG i have your new cd!i love it, your voice so sexy!
Omg I tweeted over 600 times in the past 2 1/2 days
omg ….hahahah hahaha ha ha ha … no. Its from guitar fool :P
omg… let’s go just let me borrow $35 until tomorrow… :)
OMG CHUCK E. CHEESE YOU ARE SO COOL!!!!
OMG! I totally forgot that my tunic is see-through! And I wore it today with nothing else.. I hope no one noticed?!
omg. my family are the only people to make me cry
omg. oooo stop texting me!
Omg I wanna go hang out with aileen.
OMG he is even adorable sleepin my goodness! Aloha and have a wonderful wensday!!!
OMG i was reading a magazine!!!
OMG what I wouldn’t give for a nap right now!!!
Omg my mom just handed in my resume at her work.
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG heart mended.
Omg I messed up!!
Omg..imma go crazy!
omg, he’s looking at me :o i could die right there… and his eyes are SO pretty!
OMG!!r u serious??
OMG IM GETTN A ROOT CANAL TODAY :-(
omg! your background is amazing!!!
OMG!!! THIS WEEKEND WILL BE AMAZING!!!
Omg u are making me so happy rite now :)
OMG ! i can’t believe u sent a direct message TO ME ! i’m crying ! i love SO SO SO MUCH !
OMG how rude :|
OMG Why are you fucking with me? #Getoverit LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE #killyoself #losemynumber
omg, super freaking awesome, i’m cereal!
omg how many newspapers are in NY!
Omg I cannot stop =S
Omg. That article made me feel soo proud of Green Day!! :’D
your 17 really omg cant belive that haha are u really ? haha x
OMG!!!!! MY EARS!!!!! I think I’m bleeding!!!
OMG, we woulda missed it!
omg omg omg lmao gone color purple
omg she’s beautiful…. How adorable is she
OMG best ride home ever with Hubbies mom. Epic.
omg wish I could.
OMG!!!how crazy,im 11 weeks pregnant!?!?
omg i luv this song
Omg I have got to get on this pile of laundry!
Omg! It is so Wine o’ Clock!
Omg plz take those 20′s off that neon
omg I’m going to go crazzzy
Omg! Henry didn’t even touch him! Fuck you reff
OMG I THPUGHT SOMETHING WAS BURNING!!!
OMG! ONE OF MY BEST FRIEND FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL IS GETTING MARRIED THIS NOVEMBER!! INSANITY!!
Omg it was huge!
OMG now I go outside and scream
omg fuuuu that looks amazin
OMG OMG OMG!!!!! THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH! 5000 WOW! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!
Omg, people can be a pain in the ass sometimes!
OMG! I cleared my email inbox
Omg i heart sushi..
OMG, cute dog swinging on a swingset!
Omg i always feel so bad when i dont know someones name and they know mine.
Omg pt cruiser or dodge caliber???
This will obviously mean nothing to you if you don’t follow baseball. He’s a Boston Red Sox player called Kevin Youkilis. That, in my head, often gets amended to Kevin Eucalyptus. So, y’know, koala…
Today was a lovely day. T-shirt weather. I went for a nice long walk through the park and around the neighbourhood, did some grocery shopping. I amuse myself at how coming back to the apartment so often goes the same way. Just a cloudy mess of hurried half-concentration. And for no real reason. My headphones will still be on which always feels a bit weird indoors. Put my rucksack on the counter, open rucksack, think that I should switch on my laptop so it’ll be ready to check emails when I’m done. Back to the kitchen, fill kettle. Back to the office, empty wallet, keys, coins into dish. Forgot to put kettle on its podium, so do that and switch it on. Take groceries out of the rucksack, stomach growling because I’ve not eaten all day. Put stuff for fridge on one side of the rucksack, stuff for the shelf on the other side. Pop open the Pringles to see me through those few short minutes before I make a sandwich. Take iPod out of my pocket, hit the back button so I can listen to “Sara” again. Put a tea bag in a mug. No clean teaspoons. Push plug into the hole, squirt of washing-up liquid, hot tap on. Back to office, open email program. Watch a few names appear with blue dots next to them. Back to kitchen, turn off tap. Back to office, turn on camera, plug in cable, put the USB end into the slot in laptop, click click, download photos. Back to kitchen, put hand in the too-hot water, fuck shit, pull out a spoon, give it a quick clean with my fingers, rinse. Pour water in mug, impatiently splosh the tea bag around. Put stuff on shelf, put stuff in fridge. Remove old spring onion from fridge and put it in the- put in on the side, cos there’s no bin bag. Get a new bin bag (from a fresh roll; I like how the first item you put in the first bag from a new roll is the wrapper that was around the roll), shake it shake it shake it open, take it into to office, empty the waste paper basket. Back to kitchen, put that lonely limp spring onion in the bag. Make a sandwich: turkey slices, cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes, and mustard. Wash a plate. Dry plate. Put sandwich on plate. Teaspoon squeezes the tea bag against the inside of the mug and drip it over to the bin. Milk out of the fridge, splash, milk back in the fridge. Sandwich and tea in hand, back to the office. Sit down, take off headphones. Take iPod out of pocket. Put the iPod and headphones on the desk. Open first email, grab sandwich, take a bite. Realise I’ve flustered the enjoyment out of my life for the last ten minutes. Pause. Just for a few moments to let some relaxation sink in a bit. NYTimes.com, read about the Yankees, enjoy my sandwich, tea, and a cigarette. It’ll be the same again one day next week. And the week after that. And the week after that. Breathe, Craig, it was a lovely day.
Today I thought I’d do a bit of a plug for two really good magazines. Manzine is a British magazine on its third issue now. It is run by a friend of mine called Kevin Braddock. And each of the three issues has been funny, interesting, and a refreshing change from most magazines you see. And in the current issue there’s four – yes! four – things by me me me. I’m not just saying this because my stuff is in it, or because Kevin is my friend, but it really is a great magazine, and it’s most definitely worth £2.50 of your money.
Whim Quarterly is an American humour magazine. I did a piece about Steven Seagal for the first issue, which has been out for a couple of months. The second issue is due quite soon. It costs $4. What’s enjoyable about both of these magazines is the amount of love that has gone into them. You can feel it when you flick through, they are both put together by people who aren’t luddites, but simply love the idea of having a printed thing that you can hold in your hands and enjoy. If like me you’ve kinda stopped buying magazines unless you’re at an airport, Manzine and Whim Quarterly are both very pleasant surprises: magazines that you’ll read, like the cliche goes, from cover to cover.
Sorting through a box of crap the other day, I found this.
Since the move from Blogger to WordPress, the RSS feed has changed. Because of the way I had to leave Blogger – by getting myself kinda locked out of updating stuff – I was unable to tell you that I’d be moving properly. That is, no post that’d come up in your RSS informing you of the change. Of course, the worrying side of my brain now envisages lots of people not even knowing because there’ll be nothing in their RSS thingy. So, in case you happened to come here in a browser, there’s a new RSS feed: feed:http://flipflopflyin.com/g/feed/
As I’ve said before, I’m doing a book of baseball infographics based around the stuff I’ve done on my Flip Flop Fly Ball site. This will be my fourth book, and it’s interesting to me how the process each time has been a little different. The first book, Minipops (2004), was mainly using work that already existed. It was a moderately smooth process, and the only issue that came up with the publisher was the colour of the paper. They were in favour of white paper, I wanted off-white paper. I won that battle. Yay for me. I do wish someone had said something about the colour of the title on the cover, though. The yellow is too close to the green background and is difficult to see. That was corrected for the German edition, though.
The second book, Fun Fun Fun (2005), was for a smaller publisher. Two-thirds of that book was already done before it was re-formatted for publishing, and it didn’t really take much longer than a month to put together. No interference whatsoever from the publisher with that one. The only weird thing was that it was done before Minipops. The publication date kept getting put back and back until it was due to come out within a few weeks of Minipops coming out, so to avoid that, it was shelved for another seven or eight months.
Atlas, Schmatlas (2007), my third book took a good six months to write and illustrate. By far the longest I’d worked on any project. I’m still kind of amazed at how I did that so quickly. It was a fairly hardcore time of research and writing. Researching the history of countries is a fascinating thing to do. Trying to be funny about those countries, every day of the week, even when you’re in a bad mood, is hard work. And it can be quite depressing, especially when you’re researching African nations and all the shitty things we Europeans have done to them over the years. But I was quite methodical about it. I’d work continent by continent. If I couldn’t think of anything to write about a particular nation, I highlighted it on my Excel spreadsheet of all the countries, so I could return to it at a later date, and just ploughed on to the next country. I’m not sure why it happened like this, but if my memory of it is correct, Spain was the last country I wrote about. I must’ve found it tough to think of a joke about Spain, and looking at what I wrote, I still didn’t find a joke; the history of their nation is boiled down to an unfunny comment about Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise. Once the writing was done, I set about the 100 or so illustrations, which, after all the researchy stuff was fairly mindless stuff cos I knew what I wanted to draw, so I was just systematically going through it one by one.
I’ve been deep into working on Flip Flop Fly Ball for about a month now. I did some stuff over the winter, but I was doing it when I felt like it, rather than as my daily work. I’d forgotten how enjoyable it is to be buried deep in one project. It’s a lot of fun, but also tends to make me a fairly uninteresting person. It’s more or less impossible to have a conversation with me without me mentioning something about stadium financing, some random player’s statistics, or the history of a minor league. Every day I wake up, open a browser and Excel and start making spreadsheet, roughing out the information. And considering it is often the butt of many a joke, Wikipedia is really really good. There are very few instances where information is wrong, and at most it’ll be stuff like saying a team’s name changed in 1952 instead of 1953. Wikipedia tends to be my first port of call for most things. Basic info there, then on to other resources like Baseball-Reference (my favourite web site bar none) to check things and get deeper info. When I stop working, usually around 11pm or midnight, I’ll either watch a baseball-related film (I watched Major League II last night) or read one of the four baseball books I’ve currently got on the go. Other elements of my life are suffering because of this, I think, but I’m really enjoying it. Oh, and I started a baseball-related Tumblr site, too, cos, y’know, I don’t spend enough time thinking about it. It’s basically a place where I dump nice old photos and stuff that I come across. It’s here: http://flipflopflyball.tumblr.com/
Anyway, I was researching the Pacific Coast League earlier this week, and came across this footage of the 1918 Oakland Oaks. It’s nice bit of film.
The blog is back here now. Big thanks to Bulldog Drummond for all of his help. I could not have done it without his help. Well, I probably could have, but I’d have hurt my hands from punching the wall out of frustration.
Due to the Blogger issues, I’m in the process of changing things. It might be a bit scaffold-y around here for a little while, but should be back to some semblance of normal tomorrow.
Some people are dead clever. Ricardo Cabello, for example. He’s made this thing called Harmony which is a lot of fun to play with. It’s a drawing tool made in HTML5. I have no idea what HTML5 is. I didn’t even know there was anything beyond HTML without a number at the end. Anyway, it’s a really pleasant tool, and while it’s not perfect, it would be churlish to mention the things it can’t do. What it can do is make thirty second sketches look pretty. I spent some time this morning typing names of baseball players into Google Images, and doing speedy copies; using the mouse and trackpad. Interestingly, using the trackpad, I can draw way better with my weaker right hand than my left hand.
Blah blah blah, Blogger is stopping allowing FTP transfer stuff, and the whole process is way beyond my technical ability. I don’t know what the fuck a CNAME is, so I’m moving here. I’m assuming that all the old stuff will stay in the same place, cos it’s on the same server as the rest of the Flip Flop Flyin’ stuff. But I did notice that comments on the old blog aren’t coming up. Sorry. (And thanks to Anna and The Bulkeleys for their kind words about the drawings on the last post.)
I swapped up one of the images at the top of the last post over there so that it redirects you here, but for some idiotic reason, I’m unable to actually edit the blog post to redirect here. Stomp stomp stomp my feet like a child: I hate Blogger, waaah! So things might look a bit unlike the old blog over here for a while until I get to grips with how to edit the HTML to put the masthead etc. up here. Ho hum.
Anyway, because I swapped out one of the images in the last post, I’ll post them all here now. Let’s see if this works, shall we?
(Images now back in their original post below, here.)
I’m not sure it should feel like this. I’ve felt differently at other exhibitions. There were a couple that I didn’t go to, but there was one in Amsterdam in 2003 where I felt great on the opening night. I was way more nervous, but after a few drinks I felt good, chatty, and enjoyed it. And the exhibition of my work at the Rock en Seine festival in 2007 was fun because I could be totally anonymous and I could watch people looking at my work, which was incredibly enjoyable. Plus, the stuff that was on show there, I was already fond of and confident about. This time it was different.
As I’ve said recently, I was nervous leading up to the show. I wasn’t confident about the worth of my work. All day Saturday I felt oddly blank. The nerves weren’t manifesting themselves in my belly like they ordinarily should. I felt… nothing. Empty.
In the afternoon, I went for a walk along the Rhine. It was a nice day. The sun was out and it was warm, so I abandoned my plan to go to a couple of museums and just enjoyed the sunshine by the river with my headphones on. Before the opening, Nina and I went to a fantastic sushi restaurant called Na Ni Wa, picked up the DJ, and headed to the gallery. That would be the perfect time for a beer to loosen up a bit, but my cluster headaches mean no alcohol at the moment.
Shortly after 8pm, the first people arrived, and I couldn’t make eye contact with them. I couldn’t watch them looking at the paintings. The gallery has two adjoining rooms, and when they were in one of them, I was in the other. More people arrive and there were no longer places to hide. I could go outside and smoke, though. And I could stand in the kitchen talking to Nina’s mum.
After a while, I was annoying myself with my behaviour. I still stood in an uncrowded corner of the gallery, talking to Nina’s sister Julia, and their father mostly, but as the night wore on, I ended up talking to a few people. I’m sure some people thrive on being told their work is good, but it just makes me feel awkward. I try and be gracious, I try to be chatty, but it doesn’t come naturally. It not that it’s fake, but it does feel forced. And when a couple of the paintings sold, well, how am I to cope with that? I know it sounds stupid, but it blows my mind, it’s overwhelming to think that these pictures I did whilst sat in my apartment in my slippers, drinking tea, listening to ESPN podcasts, that they will be in someone’s home.
And that’s the stupid dichotomy: if one is – for want of a better word – an artist, you want people to look at your work, and you want people to like your work. I crave it a lot of the time. If I put something online and it doesn’t get many comments or emails, it gets me down, especially if I’m particularly fond of the work in question. So there is obviously some sort of need for that validation. But I guess it says something about my personality that I’m more comfortable receiving that validation electronically.
You’d think it would get easier, (well, I feel it should be getting easier) but as time goes on, it seems to get more difficult. Part of the joy of the baseball-related infographics stuff I’ve been doing is that what I’m doing is essentially filtering information that is already there. With drawing, stories, paintings, it’s more exposed. Putting them online or in a gallery is saying, I have these ideas and I think you should look at them. And by extension, you should look at them, consider them, then tell me I’m great.
And there we are, back at the beginning: I want to be told I’m great but can’t handle it if someone tells me I’m great. It’s a big fucking mess in my head. Times like this, it’s very easy to understand the Henry Dargers of the world, who do things to only please themselves. It’s tempting. But I know my ego ultimately won’t allow it. And, yep, I know what you are thinking: I should shut up, stop being a moany dick, and enjoy it while I can. Stupid brain.
And the stupid dilated blood vessels near my stupid brain caused pressure on the stupid trigeminal nerve and gave me a stupid cluster headache. Of course, after recently feeling that I’d started to figure out ways of dampening their effects, this time it came out and gave me a five hour headache, despite chugging down Red Bull and oxygen. Five hours has never felt so long. So it was nice to have a leisurely breakfast with Nina and Julia after just four hours of sleep. And I took advantage of the bath tub in Nina’s apartment (I only have a shower in mine) before packing my bag and heading out into the windy Düsseldorf afternoon to get the train.
For the train journey back, I’d not reserved a seat. I need not have bothered on the outbound journey, and not making another reservation saved me 4.50 euros (that’s a packet of fags). Not really a problem at the start of the journey, but as we intermittently shot through the windy and rainy countryside, the weather creating several long periods of the train sitting inactive waiting for something. Each station stop filled the train up a little more until the inevitable happened and some guy told me I was sitting in his reserved seat. Fine. Not particularly stressed out to have to spend the rest of the journey standing up. I’ve got my headphones on, listening to some Black Mountain, and reading all about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds in Joe Posnanski’s thoroughly enjoyable book, The Machine. I was stood next to the door of a carriage, but there was enough room for people to get by without having to move. Not perfect, but okay.
Then – and there had to be a “then,” right? – this guy walks towards me. He’s probably in his mid-forties, kinda longish grey hair. (Note to Brits: he looked a lot like Brookside and Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond.) He walked towards the doorway and kinda came to a stop next to me and started talking. I didn’t hear his words because of my headphones, but I did recognise the slight sway, and the fumes coming from his mouth. Without removing my headphones I told him, in English, that I don’t speak German, which is a handy tactic more often than you’d imagine, especially with people wanting to sign you up for charity stuff on the street. He leant in this time, breathing that warm boozy breath all over me, and started talking again, semi-leaning on my shoulder. I pushed him off my shoulder. He leant in again and started singing along to the tune of the Black Mountain song – Druganaut – that was on my headphones, which was a bit odd. Again leaning on me, but a bit more in my face. I pushed him away again; nothing over the top, nothing aggressive, just a leave-me-alone push. He did it again and asked in English if I was American. That’s when I gave up with the charade of pretending to continue reading, and raised my voice, telling him to fuck off.
He leant in again, this time, though, I gave him a proper angry push. Considering he was drunk, he was amazingly surefooted. He called me an arschloch. And then I pulled out a German swear word that I wish I’d never learnt; once you learn the German word for cunt, its only a matter of time before you use it. I used it. Fotze. In my experience, Germans don’t use their word for cunt as willy nilly as some British people (me) do. I noticed the face of an elderly lady sat nearby. She looked as shocked as she would’ve been if I’d just done a poo on her sudoku book.
By this time, a youngish guy sat nearby had turned around to see if he could help with the situation, and another studious, friendly-faced guy had walked up the aisle. He asked if I needed help. I told him it was okay. The drunk guy was never threatening, just persistant and foul-breathed. He kept on talking, I kept doing my best to ignore him. I repeated several times that I wanted him to leave me alone. Each time he told me, “I want to tell you-” and each time I shushed him. Then friendly-faced man came back with a conductor, and drunk man was preparing himself to be taken away by offerin
g to shake my hand. I refused cos his hand with filthy and had a big open cut and dried blood on one of the fingers. I got some sympathetic looks from people around me and five minutes later the conductor returned to apologise. I smiled, told him it was no problem, and caught the gaze of the elderly woman who still looked at me like I’d soiled her puzzles.