The Belly of the Whale


Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Parting Glass:

Well. I suppose if this isnt my last post in Ireland it'll be my second to last. A lot is swinging on this volcano nonsense.

Anyway. I'm torn as far as going home. I've had the time of my life here! Adventure, art, music, Guinness, pub life. Saw some sights, good and bad. Didnt make too many mistakes. Took risks, strayed from my comfort zone and found out I love it. Made a pile of new friends I hope to stay in touch with and hopefully I'll have a place to stay next time I come around.

But the air back home is warming up and so is the water. Summer is just about here which means I'll be sailing and diving and hopefully working soon. I'm expecting nothing less than a jam-packed adventure marathon on my ocean this summer, with breaks for movies and video games i suppose, and maybe some time to get out on my own some more and see a bit of my own country. I miss a lot of people back home and cant wait to see them all and I'll venture some cautious optimism that the feeling is mutual...? Ha. Anyhow.

Not much to say at this point. Had a blast. Its all over in a few days and I'll be stuck with a bald head full of memories and not as much art as I'd like to show for a full semester and no idea how to explain to my instructors back home that I didnt follow through with that whole book idea.

Truth was there wasnt a lot of guidance available for that sort of plan to take shape here. Maybe back home I'll do something with my work and get it printed. Give it a year or so. I stand by my work however, and maintain that coming here has improved my art probably more so than another semester at Montserrat. Just need to polish up that old work ethic I had coming in...

Ideas I want to explore:
tall ships
battle scenes
oil paint (gonna get you berger)
scratchboard (gonna get you kevin)

So. Goodbye to Ireland. Goodbye to the home of Guinness. Goodbye to decent music in decent bars. Goodbye to open friendly people who get to know you by name. Goodbye to all the friends I've made here. Goodbye to friends I never got to meet. Goodbye to the Burren and its limestone mountains. Goodbye to beautiful accents and baby sheeps. Goodbye to the town dog and the town drunk(s) Goodbye to green hills and goats and cows. Goodbye again, to Guinness cause its not the same in the states, but most of all, goodbye to an island thats made me feel home.

But my dogs miss me.

I'll close out with this:

Of all the money that ever I spent, I spent it in good company,
And of all the harm that ever I've done [most of it] to none but me,
But since it falls unto my lot, that I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and I softly call,
Goodnight and joy be with you all.

*the parting glass*

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Winding Down:

So the opening for the BCA Undergrad show happened. Went in the night before and took some pictures of my space. Here they are.

This was fun and completely spontaneous. Theres tons of scrap wood laying around here. I got a bit tired of tight lining and small illustrative works so I broke out the nails and ink and did this and I feel pretty good about it. More when I get home. The sea monsters are fun but I dont think they belong there...

And the infamous HeartBreak Nook turned out nice I think. These are all bad pictures because I was lazy at the time.

And heres a picture of a clown.


Monday, April 12, 2010

The HeartBreak Nook:

The year end BCA exhibition is coming up this saturday. For the most part I'm all set. Cleaned out the studio and started hanging some work. My friend Nick Jackson and I quarantined off a section of my studio for a sort of collaborated presentation. Both of us have a fair quantity of somewhat melodramatic work having to do with 'heartbreak' and that tweaked, delicate sort of masculinity that comes with y'know. emotions.
We've got the space pretty much set up. Picture to come when its all set and finished. For now heres a look at what'll be in...

"the HeartBreak Nook :("

A nice little sign that sits atop the installation.
And the rest of the bottles finally finished.
Keep an eye out for pictures of the exhibition coming soon!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Photo Work:

Some pinhole stuff.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Follow Up:

So here are some more angry bottles. Had a crit on them today. I talked about how some words and actions are literally on the other side of alcohol, (hence the text written backwards on the other side of the bottle so that it is read forwards when looking past the figure and through the glass.)

I am continuing to sneak into peoples studios like a ninja (more like a weasel,) and take things that hold liquid to stamp my face on. The messages in the beard relate to my interactions with that person. Almost as a way of saying goodbye to everyone here, as the semester is winding down quite quickly now...(that ones on a block cause he didnt have any containers in his studio.)

Also, I should have mentioned that Barry McGee hit up the whole faces on bottles thing before I did, (and yes i were aware of it beforehand.) Look at the book Beautiful Losers.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Whisky and Art (A Love Story):

Been a bit blue recently. It donned on me that even here with all these wonderful people and thrilling adventures and exciting places that home is home is where I'm not. And I started to feel real bad. I hit the studio pretty hard. Turned most of what I was feeling into something thats hopefully pretty, which is good to be able to do that. I will definitely be doing more of these and possibly a collaboration with a friend whose got some pretty interesting work.

I did not drink these either. Salvaged them from the recycling bin. Cause I know your going to ask.

And after I did those I ran out of whiskey bottles so I started creeping into peoples studios and taking cups or containers, (anything that holds liquid) and stamping my face on it then returning it to its original spot.

Nick's a good friend, so it says thanks for the man talk. We have man talk.

This one is on a mug that lives by the sink in the studios. I decided to leave it there even though it will get destroyed.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Lisdoonvarna Adventure:

So ok.
This was my night in Lisdoonvarna. What brought me to Lisdoon? In a word, a pub, brought me to Lisdoon. My painting instructor and I were talking about my work, how it revolves around pubs and stomachs, things inside other things, alcohol and most of all, interesting people. He told me he's got a friend who runs this pub called the Roadside Tavern. We called the guy up and decided that it would be a good idea if I stayed in the one pub from open to close and just sketch and take in the atmosphere from a single vantage point and see how it changes over time etc. In truth I think it helped. I've been in a deep dark funk associated with the burnt-out feeling of the end of a semester. Anyway.

(my accomadations.)

The guy who ran the place was named Peter. Didnt catch his last name despite him repeating it for me a few times. Apparently he is supposed to be absolutely mad, but unfortunately my interactions with him were very few and on the formal side.

He offered me a room upstairs.

There was a used condom in plain view on the sheets of the unmade bed. Peter either didnt notice it or was too crazy and embarrassed to acknowledge it. Either way I thought it was hilarious. I thanked him for the room and waited for him to close the door behind him before removing the 'glass slipper' as we're calling it, with a yellow pair of rubber gloves I found in the bathroom. (I took a picture because it was just so funny, but I will not be posting it.)

Went back downstairs and Peter bought me a pint and some lunch which was very good. Some conversation before I got settled in by the fire which radiated no heat. (I had to get a cab to Lisdoon, by the way, because everyone in Ballyvaughan gave me a different answer when I asked what time the morning bus came and ended up missing it when it showed up early.) Billy was the name of the man behind the bar. He was older and awful quiet. I wrote this about him: it was a bit inspired by my percieved relationship between him and Peter. Where Billy was very down to earth and reserved, Peter I'd heard, was plain crazy; a scatterbrain and space cadet of he highest rank.

"I wonder how he felt; working for a madman. He'd a weary sort of glare as his eyes met mine, and he silently gestured with a butler's sweep of his arm to the German couple situated next to me as he set a dainty little half pint of Guinness on my coaster. I nodded first to him and then to the beaming red faces of the lady and gentleman who had bought me the drink. We held up our glasses in an awkward toast that spanned two languages, two nationalities and three countries."

(Billy looking more content than he did the entire night.)

The thing here is, only girls drink a half pint of Guinness, and not even the girls drink just a half pint. I dont particularly care myself, but apparently in Ireland if your a man, you'd never be caught dead with a half-pint of Guinness. I thanked the couple graciously and drank it as fast as I could before going to the bar and getting a proper pint. I guess I just thought that was funny. You can argue with me if you want but I wont be interested.

A few hours later and nothing had happened. I'd been working on some sketches but I was getting a bit tired. I went upstairs and endured a broken sleep for 45 minutes on the cold hard floor because the bed had, however unrecently, (judging by the stiffness of the present left behind it'd been there awhile, and indeed the entire upstairs seemed unlived in. There were rooms stacked high with furniture, cardboard boxes. The hallways themselves doubled as storage space.) been soiled.

Fast foward to the night.

I met a nice young couple who were very outgoing and funny. Michelle and Mark, 28 and 31, theyd been together for 11 years and seemed perfectly in love. We talked for most of the night while the live music railed on with the crowd around us. They bought me a drink or two and we went on about our philosophies about life and the universe. we talked about love, hate, violence, loyalty, being Irish. (They and most everyone else I talked to that night insisted I was full blood Irish.) They told me as they left that they werent doing anything in the morning and that they'd be happy to give me a lift back to Ballyvaughan when we woke up, and indeed I ended up in the back of Mark's van, ass atop tool chest and we found our way to my house with sore heads and uneasy stomachs on roads unconducive to such conditions.

Anyway. The folks in that photo up there were great too. A bit younger than me I think. They'd smuggled some vodka into the pub which I thought rude but kept it to myself. They took quite a liking to me really. I gave them a few sketches of them, they bought me a pint and asked if I was a vodka man and I cringed and said not at all. They laughed and Paul, The fella with the hat said I was tonight. So we passed around a glass of vodka and ginger ale. It didnt really do much for me even though they were cringing and making faces. We sang a bunch of songs and they were all thrilled that I knew as many words as they did. They started calling me Donegal Catch, or just Catch for short after some commercial. Donegal is a big fishing area, and true, I look an awful lot like a fisherman though I'm not. Either way, I took it to heart and fell in love with my new name. For some reason it meant a lot to hear them refer to me as Catch with such camaradere, (sp?) We got some great pictures, I'd the time of my life, once again on a solo mission to a strange pub. Hope I dont forget them anytime soon. Extremely open and friendly where in America it feels like you have to know someone before you talk to them. I like it better here anyway.

So the night ended with me having bought less than half my drinks starting out around 1 in the afternoon. I had a comfortable buzz going and I slunked up to bed, willing in my state, to sleep on the very edge of the bed in the fetal position under heavy wool blankets. (I felt hot blankets like they were, they'd had nothing to do with the events that took place in that bed before I got there.) It was simply too cold to sleep on the floor or in the chair again.

In the morning I returned my key and bade Billy a strange enough farewell, (Peter was nowhere to be found,) and stepped outside to meet Mark and Michelle.


(if you read this whole thing I applaud you.)