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(I’ve been enjoying the iPhone but I’m pretty stoked to see the film I’ve been shooting … in like 7 months or something, whenever I can get it processed&scanned.)

09:00 / 8 May 2019
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Day 22

the work I’ve been doing while in Mallorca is various but mostly centered around a couple branding campaigns and a web re-design (to which I’ve learned how much of a bitch woocommerce really is). the branding stuff is coming together though, with logos for a yoga studio and an alternative therapy venture finalized;

I have no problem admitting that part of the reason I enjoy projects like this is because a lot of people, from former professors to contemporary peers, take a look at my work/approach/life and assume I’m some one-trick pony of needing pyrotechnic visuals and unable to do more standard, modern or traditional graphic design, and I like to prove them wrong. It isn’t that I’m unable to compete in traditional methods, it’s that they’re unable to compete with what I can do. I can design a logo rebrand and build a presentation for potential investors while composing abstract soundscapes and still have time left over to write about economics or philosophy.

(I’m a little bitter these days.)

I have been trying to get back in to Capital-A Art, but it seems in dire times, the idea of the Art World seems callous at best; popular entertainment is a farce and things like the Met Gala just make me want to vomit. That artists would embody opulence in times of inequality for the sake of historical significance seems rather shortsighted.

Still, I’m making plans.

22:30 / 7 May 2019
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Losing The Reason

(various, Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

12:00 / 7 May 2019
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Doing The Time

During my years in Portland I’d ended up in a few different social circles, a trait I’ve just sort of carried since middle school.1 I’ve been thinking about them a lot on my travels, who I’ve known, how, in what context and the length of time spent in that regard.

The latter is of particular interest to me while abroad. Traveling alone is the easiest way to feel completely alone in the world. Almost every action is self-reliance, every decision independent and every problem wholly yours to solve. Language is the most immediate barrier; people are more than willing to help, but they can’t if they don’t understand your question. But even if I was fluent in Spanish, I still wouldn’t be part of it here.

It took time to develop friendships and ingratiate myself into the various scenes I’ve associated with over the years. This idea has piqued my interest of late for multiple reasons; it’s coming up because there are obvious cultural tiers here—true Mallorcans,2 there are residents who are Spanish but from the mainland, residents who are of foreign descent, temporary workers, and tourists. But the relationships between culture, association and time are universal.

Commiseration

My general theory is that most relationships are based in commiseration. If you can’t vibe with what someone bitches about, it’s not going to work.3 However, that process of validating mutual despair isn’t immediate. It usually takes time and includes a variety of other occasions—in the end, it can lead to a bond, We’re in this together.

In the past these bonds have formed valuable unions and revolutionary uprisings; they also perpetuate through Ivy League fraternities into Wall Street and the White House. Yet with such an influential media—owned by a select few who certainly feel a sense of common purpose for more—and a diverse population, using the idea of tight-knit, trusted bonds against the people is easier than getting people together for a common cause.4

Evidence

In America I’d see evidence of anxiety and despair all over; street art is usually decent evidence. I see the same things in Mallorca; anti-fascist tags, feminist empowerment, general beauty.5 Then there are more human similarities: the homeless man using the doorway to a bank as a place to sleep at night, the nervous looks of underpaid shopgirls looking to meet a commission quota, the mother deciding what to buy at the market to save the most money.

Of course, all of these people are part of vastly different ‘tribes.’ The homeless man may spend his days in the park with the fellow downtrodden. The shopgirl may take what she can afford from that commission for a night at the club. The mother is concerned with the grades of her children. All economically oppressed, looking for purpose, relief… commiseration. Unity.

Our goals as humans working together should be to figure out how to promote and help one another in exploring and attaining our true potential. In the past this has been achieved through the structures of categorization Facebook now uses for profiteering—further evidence that these methods are outdated.6 However it’s difficult to trust without the test of time, gathering evidence that a person or idea isn’t there to betray you for personal gain—and, in late-capitalism, that is surely a threat at every turn. But it will still be an essential part of bringing humanity over this mountain of despair that is accumulated wealth for a select few.

The friends I’ve had, it took a lot of time to make them. The ones I’ve lost, it took no time at all to lose. They are perhaps the most fragile intangibles, human relationships. Person-to-person can be volatile enough; such a feat en masse feels almost as overwhelming as it does doomed. But there are few greater feelings than to be a part of something meaningful, and in that there is hope.

      Notes
  • Clique culture has always annoyed me. Be it high school where it’s about popularity, early adulthood where it’s about subcultural affiliation, or adulthood which is mostly class-based (with race, gender and various other sorts of tribalism thrown in to the mix). Just be good to one another, y’all.
  • To which I’d include natives or those with a long family history on the island. I’m not sure how they’d draw the lines.
  • Largely this is why unity among the proletariat in America is so difficult to attain: though everyone is in some sort of existential despair, the nuance of that despair is generally still divided—that nuance is preyed upon by those in power to exasperate that divide, and so people feel alone in their misery, looking at the complaints of someone else and being afforded (to a somewhat justifiable extent) the thought, “You think you have it bad…”
  • Bernie Sanders is pretty impressive in that sense, able to aptly message to a variety of American tribes that their economic despair does have a common root; an increasingly difficult task, given who is against him.
  • I would hope that this is evidence the next great international art movement will be to create a universal sense of a bond between all people, in that creation can be something all can appreciate and find significance within. The way politicians have lost their ability to convince the people they are for all, artists remain largely untarnished by the influx of capital (outside of the Art World© types who are more careerists than anything, looking to take selfies at Art Basel).
  • Once a corporation starts profiting from an idea it’s time to throw it away.

10:30 / 7 May 2019
Posted to Opinion

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Day 21

I don’t know if it’s a European trend or if this shit is in the States and I’ve just been fortunate to not see it, but people walking around on a phone call using speakerphone in public is just fucking nuts.

00:30 / 7 May 2019
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Day 20

the immediate future is the only future: a week in Paris with my dad and then off to Ireland for a spell, where I intend to record and release some new music. outside of that—

09:00 / 6 May 2019
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Day 19

Street art in Palma de Mallorca, Spain

the Old Town of Palma is quintessentially Mediterranean. It reminds me of both Madrid and Morocco—which makes sense, given it’s about halfway between the two. Condensed, winding streets with slivers of back alleys and architecture built with the direction of the sun in mind, it has stood the tests of time. Much like the medinas of Marrakech and Essouaria in the constant confusion of which direction one might be facing, much like the original centers of Madrid or Toulouse, France; nestled at the core of more modern, urban development. I’m sure the building codes here are a nightmare for developers.1

But what strikes me most is how much graffiti and street art I see. I did not expect a town that caters so much to—especially wealthy—tourism to be tagged with such a volume. And the spray paint isn’t even just teenagers and their names: there are consistently great paintings on closed storefronts, along alleyways and walls surrounding open lots.

In another life I probably would have tried to document as much of it as I could, but the sheer volume—as well as the fact I’m more concentrated on film-based street photography right now—makes that pretty much impossible. That being said, it is wonderful to be in a place where art is just everywhere. It’s dismal so many tourists probably see it as a sign of decay and not growth.

the fact making things like this can be considered a crime is criminal.

      Notes
  • As they should be.

10:00 / 5 May 2019
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a television version of a person with a broken heart

When I was maybe 10 or 11, my mother and I agreed one summer that for every day I spent without watching television she’d pay me $1. The only caveat was it had to be subsequent: I couldn’t go three days on, four days off, then back on. I ended up with 90 days.

To this day, it’s the longest I’ve been able to last without any screen interaction. I’ve always been a sucker for television—I deeply identify with David Foster Wallace’s take on the preeminent force of American culture1—and to me it’s become quite maddening. As an alcoholic I can tell you the difference between feelings of a long day at a bar and a few hours watching Netflix are nil. Most nights I do not want to watch TV, but I do anyway. I spend more time trying to decide what to watch—as most of the time the feature is relegated to the background of something else I’ve actual desire to do—than I do watching said material. It is, straight up, an addiction.

Though ‘revolutionary,’ the confluence of consumption and creation that is the internet is, at absolute best, distracting to the pure process of trying to make something. Even in this moment, writing on this blog, in a WordPress text window, I can opt out to read my previously-linked article or listen to Wallace talking about water or watch Jason Segel portray him. The very medium interferes with the flow of inspiration like a horde of zombies on a highway slowing down an escape route in some B-movie.

(I am struggling with dealing with myself, as even living a ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’ life has still been filled with a certain type of despair that feels… unfamiliar. Sadness and misanthropy are nothing new to me, but since the dawn of streaming media, a constant ability to escape by way of repetitive, un-engaging fiction,2 there is a weight in my soul that just knows this blue glow is Hell Itself; that the internet is the Golden Calf of the mind.)

If there is a great existential crisis of our time, it is how our human nature for social interaction—and the growth and formations of civilization that has come with it throughout history—has been consumed by the medium providing media we consume. It is that we, as people, are not designed for a wholly intangible environment, for we are physical and spatial beings. Yet the fix this space provides 99% of us—an escape from the oppressive and psychologically violent act of merely waking each morning—is nearly impossible to overcome in the face of not only the social pressures to imbibe but the internal battle of Well what the fuck else am I supposed to do in a world that just doesn’t care?

That summer that I spent without television, playing baseball in the park and riding bikes all day? I took my $90 and bought a Sega Game Gear.3 Thinking about that now, I just … feel so defeated. I should have seen this coming.

      Notes
  • for all the faults Aaron Sorkin’s short-lived The Newsroom had, his meta-commentary on television as the most influential and important medium in American history is on point, as well.
  • Marshall McLuhan’s difficult but mostly accurate—if, perhaps poorly-labeled—take on ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ media is essential for truly understanding the different relationships between human behavior and art/entertainment. A medium like a novel allows the brain to follow along and imagine the visuals; words are a form of language that inspire the mind and assist it in growing by providing the trampoline for imagination. Television and film are contrary in that they consume the mind and create definitive parameters of interaction, so that the brain can ‘turn off.’ Comic books exist somewhere in-between, but for the most part media can be on one of two sides of the line in the mind between stimulation and subjugation. (I say mostly accurate because I would situate television with film as a ‘spoon-feeding’ medium.)
  • To my mind video games are the modern comic book, in that they constrain the mind and allow for an escape but do provide a narrative that allows for (a bit of) imagination… walking the line between that notion of inspiration and intellectual containment. I’m not a gamer—nor have I really ever been outside of a few years of obsessive Counter-Strike play in my early 20s—but it seems equally addictive.

12:00 / 4 May 2019
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Day 18

I feel less like a foreigner here than I have in most other places I’ve visited. It’s probably a benefit of a major tourist port; especially as a photographer, a generic looking white dude with a camera is mostly ignored by the crowd in Mallorca. The men who get attention have manicured features, clothes that look never-worn (and may not have been), and don’t wear sunglasses bought for five euro at a local Saturday market. Even when I dress in what I’d consider a decent outfit, it’s a far cry from the high fashion assemblies I see on the streets.

In turn, I have seen enough tourists to know how to act like one when need be; playing on the idea of ignorance in order to get photo opportunities. I’m quite looking forward to the results from shooting in Palma—the natural beauty compromised by the superficial opulence, an astounding confluence of the issues humanity has created for itself to maintain an establishment of structured power.

(today, though, the weather did turn come the evening; no matter how much wealth exists, it still cannot stop the rain)

01:00 / 4 May 2019
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Day 17

Adelina and I’ve ended up at Antoine’s most nights here. Just down the street, his miracle of a studio includes two different professional-caliber audio setups, a myriad of instruments and a few computers to boot. In the past it’s been a painting studio, an art school—a space for creativity, passed down through a couple generations and sold to him after a death.

He spoke to me of this last night—his last in town before a trip to Los Angeles that will keep him back in the States until just after I’ve left Spain—and the weight that comes with such a context. A sense of artistic responsibility to the efforts and energy that have come before. His voice thinned in emotion at the talk of tragedy that had struck the previous owner’s family. He understands.

“The world … you must be aware, but it’s so difficult now,” he transitioned into a broader theme. “Especially now, I read this political story about these guys you have in your country, this Barr and Mueller, and it’s all a scam. And one can go crazy, you know. It’s difficult for us, for people like us, to be sensitive from birth but then to choose to explore what that means as a life—this world can just be too much.”

His accent is a fascinating combination of French and Spanish, his heritage Italian and the 25 years he lived in Los Angeles didn’t quell it much at all. He plays music effortlessly, both keenly aware of the sounds produced and an expert at all the tools to produce them. His demeanor is instantly likable.

“I tell you what, the suit and the tie, nothing is more terrifying to me today than a suit and a tie. I see a man in a suit and a tie and I think he’s a bandit,” I take a drag from the small spliff being passed and smile immediately. He stands to continue, “I remember that picture of all the political leaders, and it’s Angela Merkel in the middle, in a red dress, and everyone else on either side of her,”—he slows to side-step, arms extended, emphasizing the breadth of men surrounding her in the fashion of a chorus line—”and they’re all in suits either blue or black, with ties either red or blue, and she’s just in this red dress and I swear, I saw that and knew that this is the modern armor of a criminal.”

I sit back and smile and think about how these are the conversations I specifically have missed having. A commiseration with a point, a sense of duty to discuss such things. In the States these moments quickly dissolve into bickering about inconsequential party lines or the news. “It’s because your system, America… It’s a wonderful thing, to have a place where you can be anything. But your views are all so distorted, because then someone will do anything to get anything. And the men like this Barr, or the Bush family, they lie to your face, and everyone knows they are a liar, and everyone knows they will get away with it, and nowhere else in the world does this happen. It’s so fucked.”

I sip on a cup of warm oat milk and sigh. I know, I reply. Why else do you think I’m here? I can’t be in America anymore. I haven’t been able to function there for years. It’s overwhelming. Every day, the noise, people angry, but not acting, not changing, just going along. The anger is a routine, not a purpose.

He mentions how he’d never been depressed, or met a depressed person, until being in America. How it shocks him to hear the amount of depression and anxiety that populates Americans. How he couldn’t imagine it. And I realize, looking at him, that he and I are so much alike except for this; his past—which he mentioned to include bouts of poverty, homelessness, and imprisonment into his middle-age—was decorated with challenges greater than mine, yet he always found a joy in life. I, and most I know in America, struggle incredibly with a mental anguish and I can’t help but determine that sense of despair is a very American trait, incurred by a society designed for liars and thieves, propagated by personal and moral compromise with only materialistic payoffs for such existential debts.

We called it another evening half past midnight and sorted the recycling into the bins across the street. We wished one another well, hoping to meet again in the future. We both meant it.

09:00 / 3 May 2019
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Clear History

(even though this web site has operated with a blog—in some form or another—since 1999, it has undergone semi-annual design changes and annual database dumps throughout the years. thus, the "Archive" is actually only evidence of what has not yet been deleted.)