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The Fringe Benefits of Failure

New Drawings

I’ve had a bit of an off day, to be honest. I stayed up late last night talking about art and teaching and life and telling embarrassing personal stories to people who probably weren’t interested in hearing them, the poor things. I ended the evening by breaking into my iced-stuck car several times through the trunk, waiting for the drive-by police cars to move on after witnessing my forced entry, and arriving home just before 3:00 in the morning. My butt is bruised from the breaking and entering of my own vehicle.

New Drawings

I took a bath, read, and woke up at 7:30am, lying in the very middle of the bed with no covers on and the overhead light bulb burning. I scarfed down some lunch meat and cheese and then proceeded to watch 3 or 4 episodes of Season 3 of the West Wing for the 1,000th time while dozing off and on and drinking water out of an old orange juice bottle.

I lunched on Brussels sprouts with onions and an over easy egg with yet more cheese and proceeded to waste the entire rest of my day. I got nothing productive done except some laundry, which I didn’t even fold. I was a complete blub. I have a lot of things to do in the next 2-3 days, and I simply ignored all of them, ate too much food, drank entire pots of coffee and glasses full of pickle juice and tonic water spiked with grapefruit juice (sounds terrible, I know, but it’s a thing I do.)

I just ate half a can of tuna fish cooked in olive oil with onions and several pickled beets for dinner. Now I’m drinking more coffee with bits of candy cane dissolved in the bottom. These past few days I’ve been a parody of the cliched “Bachelor” figure, wandering the house in my over-sized fraying silk bathrobe (which has dragons embroidered on it–you know the sort,) surfing the internet, re-reading Harry Potter Vol. 3, and drinking and eating complete crap that comes in cans.

By the way, here’s a lovely quote from Mrs. J.K. Rowling that seems somewhat pertinent to my day or, at least, something I need to recognize:

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. – J. K. Rowling, “The fringe benefits of failure”, 2008.

New Drawings

As images for this post, I have put up work that I have gotten done other days. I plan on waking up early tomorrow morning and being highly productive. I hope this empty day of nothingness will spur me to get a lot done tomorrow.

I’ve spent a lot of my mental time pondering my art making goals and process, in response to the lecture I attended last night by visiting artist Tim Eads. His thoughts on art making, which I feel were particularly good for students to hear, paired with the gallerist Collin’s narrative about jurying an archaic all “Nudes” exhibition, reading a paper on how art isn’t research by our friend and art PHD Bruce Mackh, and Relational Aesthetics by Nicholas Bourriaud, I have a lot to think about.

I thought I was making this post to talk about those thoughts, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to do that yet. It drives Blake crazy that I go through these “what does it all mean?” art conundrums twice a year. I talked with him about it on the phone earlier today and got him a bit bent, I think. But I honestly feel fine about what I do and what I make and the reasons I do it. I just want to be able to explain it better.

Which, hopefully, I’ll get around to doing soon.

New Drawings

6 thoughts on “The Fringe Benefits of Failure”

  1. I feel you. I have days like that, too. Except for breaking into my own car, and the tonic and grapefruit juice. The tonic and grapefruit juice I might try. I love gin and tonic but in quantity that’s not good for you.

    By the way, the drawings are nutty and fantastic. Love them.

  2. Pingback: Favorite Quote from “The Fringe Benefits of Failure” By J. K. Rowling. | Deo Volente

  3. Pingback: Most Really Pretty Girls Have Pretty Ugly Feet: Fresh Raw Drawings | Orange Barrel Industries

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