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Why I love Halloween the most

Here’s what I think we should do. Instead of dismissing and/or demonizing the phrase “Happy holidays!,” because doing so misses the religious respect rooted in that statement, we should all just say whatever we’re celebrating this time of year and if the recipient of the greeting is celebrating something else (INCLUDING HAPPY HOLIDAYS), they should smile, say thank you and then say merry/happy whatever they are celebrating. For example:

“Happy Hanukkah, Jackie!”

“Thank you! And a very merry Brian Boitano Season, The Greatest Babe on Blades, to you!”

“Thank you!”

And then we all eat our fruit fly cake latkes in peace and harmony.

Ice skates to all! And to all a good night!

Ice skates to all! And to all a good night!

Change your mind, change your life

Deny your shame and your guilt and all the things that make you feel lesser than.

Deny “that one time” and the sense that you have someone to be other than what you are right now.

Deny the thoughts that take time away from you being the best version of you, as determined by yourself.

Deny caring whether you are liked or loved by anyone other than yourself.

Deny the things that make you not love yourself.

Deny the self hatred, the stories you tell yourself, your strongest belief about the world and the most negative one about who you are.

You’ll find nothing but heartbreak in self-denial unless you deny the right thing and make it work for you. 

And you are worth the work.

ilovemyself

Now, a word from Scully and Mulder’s estranged daughter

Following, a character piece I did for the sci-fi edition of Struck a Nerve. EnJoY, nerds.

i want to believe


Hello.

My name is Andrea Mulder.

And I am here to save you.

Now before you take one more sip from that bottle of satan’s semen, let me tell you about my father.

God.

I discovered God’s salvation because of my of-flesh father, Fox. Fox was not a believer.

I grew up in a trailer in the middle of a New Mexico dessert. My parents were loners, and my father was often not around.

My mother, Dana, was a simple woman, particularly adept at homeschooling me in math and science, but she was quite depressed—bored, she often confided—and very, very paranoid.

She spent a lot of time inspecting the few tchotchkes in the trailer to see if they had been bugged with recording devices… as if anyone ever came out to our neck of the dessert.

< snort laugh >

And father, well, he would disappear for long stretches of time, claiming to have been “abducted by aliens.” My poor simple mother believed him, bless her soul.

Fox and Dana, my earth parents, never told me what their lives were like before they had me, but I figured it out. I’m a pretty good detective.

My father was a drug addict.

See, when he would return from these absences, my mother and him would go to their bedroom, close the curtain door and talk in hushed whispers of the “black oil.”

They could only have been talking about one thing.

mcaulay-caulkin-bek

Heroin.

My parents thought I would never figure it out. As if code words could delude me.

It’s like when the church elders secretly discuss the “kool aid” and I know they mean the communion wine. They’re right! I did drink it.

Or when they talk of the “secret room for the little boys in the back”… they mean the bathroom.

I first discovered Jesus when I was trying on my mom’s jewelry. Dana had a beautiful gold necklace bearing a charm of the crucifix. She kept it hidden in her drawer of the trailer restroom, and I snuck it out one day while playing dress up.

When father came inside, he was so angry that I was wearing it. My parents then got in a fight about whether they should teach me about God. I knew right then I needed to know everything about this man, if for nothing more than to punish my wayward father.

One day, a short while later, I was studying behind a cactus from my bootleg bible when a giant helicopter landed next to our trailer and big men with boots and guns kidnapped my parents and flew off.

Scared and alone, I traveled one dessert over and found my flock. I quickly learned the ways of our Shepard and I now tour the country spreading the good word. I was lost. And now I am found.

And you can too!… live a life of salvation despite the troubles that befell you in years past and the cravings for debauchery that present themselves now.

To believe, all you have to do is want it.

Not to worry, though. I believe they are now fine and father is up to his old tricks. Last I heard, Fox is an alcoholic sex addict in California.

Thank you for your time. I will have trifold pamphlets describing the miracles of Christ in the back. They are $20 each.

andrea mulder

A Sandburg Kind of Saturday

Thinking about Daddy as the ground gets cold, as the cows gather for comfort, as my roots are as warm as ever, as Tupac’s on the radio.

“Chicago” by Carl Sandburg

Hog Butcher for the World,
   Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
   Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
   Stormy, husky, brawling,
   City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
   Bareheaded,
   Shoveling,
   Wrecking,
   Planning,
   Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
                   Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

 

10 Questions for an Artist: Painter Nikolaos Hulme

Hulme*photo by Ryan Lewis*

Talk to Nikolaos Hulme about his latest series of watercolor paintings, and it becomes fairly obvious he’s been wrastlin’ with some demons… wrastlin’ and learning where they go on the memory board and then putting and leaving them there to gather dust.

A curated version of the series is showing this month at Brothers Drake Meadery. The images are object memories watered down by time but ever as colorful—a pack of Marlboro cigarettes, a whale, a heroin needle and spoon.

“Some of the work is really racy,” Nikolaos said. “It will either offend people or they will look at it with an open mind.”

Of course, I recommend going in with an open mind so you can experience this artist’s great ability to tell a story with just a few objects. This series is a stark departure from his usual bold poppy subject matter (which is also so fun and gorgeous for their jagged line work and the way he’s able to inject his own voice into a popular or recognizable image without shouting over it and without ripping off the original idea).

I think it’s part of the mid-twenties life crisis. Nikolaos just turned 27. I think after 25 you start to learn to settle into past pain, or figure out a way around it, through it, over it. Whatever. You recognize that pain will always be here, but how can you manage it best? What do you want to say about it? How is it not anybody’s “fault,” per se?

When I talked to Nikolaos for this interview, he was still developing the series. Not in the final show, but part of the process, were other images reminiscent of his childhood but with a knowing grownup touch. The trailer he lived in when he was a kid, a grief stricken but acceptant Mary and Jesus.

What I love about this series is that I don’t think he’s judging anyone or anything related to the iconography, even if that iconography is a bottle of prescription pills, which likely holds a painful memory if you’re associating that with your childhood. There’s a humility and acceptance in the paintings that is comforting, and watercolor proves to be a very effective medium in balancing subtle power through color.

Nikolaos, 1. Demons… eh, .5?

“I don’t look at art as a way to make money. I look at it as my therapy,” Nikolaos said. “I want to leave something behind when I’m not here anymore. It’s nothing else. It’s what I want to do, what I’m passionate about.”

Love it! But, of course, y’all got bill$. We talked about that, too; balancing freelance work with personal projects. That and more below. Read it, then go see the show.

What’s your artist origin story?

I was just always drawing. It’s a natural thing for a kid to draw but it just always stuck with me. My grandma Hulme would sit down with me and draw batman and mermaids. I had a very supportive family. When I was very young they put me in the Saturday morning CCAD classes. I won a scholarship and it was a big deal to my family. I was always involved in contests. It was always an escape thing because I was never into sports and my dad would try to push my brother and I into boy scouts and football but I never connected, never really stuck. Art was always the outlet. I was always the weirdo drawing Garfield in class.

What mediums do you use?

Right now just water color and Indian ink. That’s what I’m mainly using. I love acrylics and oils. Oils are also therapeutic to me I just hate how long it takes for them to dry. I’ll just set it in the corner and run into it and ruin it.

I’m obsessed with these watercolors. I was just playing around one day. I fell in love with the technique. It’s easy and it’s natural letting the water move the paint. You end up with this beautiful, organic-feeling piece of artwork. If you don’t do it right the first time, you have to do it again. If I don’t like something I’ll just do multiple versions of it or I’ll scrap it all together.

Did you study art collegiately?

I am self-taught. I think if you’re passionate about anything the drive will push you to become better at whatever you’re into. You’re going to get better if you just keep doing something. I think art school’s an awesome thing, but I think we have an issue where we’re taught we have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars and put ourselves in debt to do what we love to do to survive. If we’re given a gift naturally, if you have a vision, you should pursue it, whether you have schooling or not.

What are your thoughts on the Columbus art scene?

I think it’s amazing. There’s a lot of diversity. The art scene’s growing. And it’s nice to feel appreciated. There’s so many people that are into art. They like to follow what you’re doing and that’s nice and it’s motivating. I think that helps give me drive.

Can you describe your artistic process?

Sometimes I’ll paint nonstop. Watercolors are so therapeutic and so simple. It’s easy to bust a couple out in a day. I like to incorporate things that stood out to me as a kid or teenager. Things that represent family members, good and bad experiences growing up. It’s me confronting demons, confronting things I struggled with and tried to hide or keep in. It’s me coming to terms with who I am as an adult.

I didn’t go to art school, I’m struggling to do what I love. Do I need to go school to get a piece of paper to do a job that I already know I’m qualified for? Painting is me coming to terms with who I am and learning to love myself and accept all that I’ve gone through.

Brother Drake

What has painting this series (now at Brothers Drake) revealed to you? (Part of the show is pictured above.)

I realize there’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’m painting a trailer. It’s something I didn’t really think about, but once I painted it and thought about it, any shame I had about it came to the surface and I was like, “Who gives a fuck?”

It’s weird how we just tuck things away and forget about it and then you talk about it and you’re like, wait I feel so much better now that I told somebody that.

This series is the most personal I’ve gotten with my artwork. After I painted it and let it out, I realized something I didn’t realize was bothering me. I like the mystery.

Painting this series, I started off with the whales and the marine life. I was really intrigued by mermaids and fish and whales as a kid. My favorite animal is the humpback whale. I love their fins and how they swim and jump out of the water. I was just always obsessed with them and the idea of living underwater and all that weird stuff. Then I started painting palm trees, which led into my pre-teen years of living in Florida and then that all led into the bad experiences of living in Florida, and then it kind of took off from there and getting really personal with all the work. It’s fun. It’s weird because when you have this theme just start pouring out of you and stay on track. I haven’t thought hard about what I’ve been painting, I just let it naturally flow.

What other work have you done that you’re really proud of?

I’m obsessed with pop art. I did a series of Wizard of Oz paintings [that showed at The Candle Lab in the Short North]. The mechanical guy for Steve Aoki, when he was in town, he bought them all. It was awesome. That was the biggest sale I’ve done so far.

I have a problem with committing to one series. I’ll paint and paint and paint and then decide the next day, yeah I painted these 12 paintings but I don’t think I want to show them, and they’ll get tucked away in the attic. I do that all the time. If I don’t like and I’m not happy with it I won’t show it.

I did this series of circus illustrations that were weird and quirky. I didn’t do anything with them. I just become interested in different styles and I like to evolve my work. It’s my therapy.

How do you deal with painters’ block?

I get bored easily. I like having a distinct style that’s recognizable, but if I work on something too much I lose interest and I have to start doing something different. I just move on to something different. I go through spells where I won’t paint for a few months. I’ll just live life. I’ll work on projects Nina West or other local assignments or travel. I want to travel more, see more and do more things. That alone is inspiring. Life experiences are what I’m inspired by. There are stages where I don’t want to do anything or have a lot going on.

How do you balance freelancing with personal work?

Even when I do freelance work, unless they let me have free rein, I’m not completely happy with it.  I’m learning as I get older how to be better at making time to paint for myself. If I have something bad or stressful or even good in my life, it’s good to paint it. It’s something that symbolizes it. I’m getting it out of my body. It’s just like a journal.

How do you get freelance work?

People just contact me and ask me to do paintings. If you’re involved in the community and do good work, your name will get around. It’s nice. I’ve been privileged to be able to do the freelancing. But again, I don’t do it all the time because I can get lost in it.

I’m horrible at procrastinating too. I embrace it. I wish I didn’t. I wish I would do what I was supposed to be doing. But I work really well under pressure. If I’m reaching a deadline, I will bust it out in a few days, which is kind of nice. That adrenaline and that motivation forces you to come up with an awesome project…. And lots of caffeine.

What do you want to do next?

I’ve already started working on my next series, which is a series of inkblots. I’m really obsessed with psychological things right now. I’m doing the water colors again and I’m letting them do their own things. So I’m examining these inkblots after I make them and try to figure out what I see in them. Then I will add to that. And I’m trying to give something to the audience too and give them something to see and explore too.

I want to experiment with more, or different elements of art. I want to learn how to get really good at oil and other mediums.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being an artist?

I’m crazy. My emotions are up and down constantly. You’re very in tune with everything around you and it kind of drives you insane sometimes. At least that’s how I feel. I think maybe we’re all just a little crazy. We’re expected to be robots or be a certain way. We have to be a certain way to succeed. Some of the most successful people in history were insane! Why can’t we all be insane? Being an artist pushes us to have our own identity and be ourselves.

What has been inspiring you lately?

I’m really into, this sounds tacky, but scientists and Nostradamus. I love watching those documentaries on Netflix. I am obsessed with how a lot of things were discovered by star gazing and studying the stars. I’m really inspired by what drives us to do certain things or live certain lifestyles and how it affects us.

What three artists, living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

I’d probably have to go with David Lynch, Francis Bacon and Salvador Dalí. I’m sure that this mix would make for an interesting evening.

 

My mermaid by Nick. A gnarly lady that makes me feel at home, too. Safe, unconditional, mutilated love <3

My mermaid by Nick. A gnarly lady that makes me feel at home-built-for-myself. Safe, unconditional, mutilated love <3

Spoooooky videos

‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year! Halloweeeeeen season! Here are my favorite spooky videos to watch every fall.

 

skeletondance03

 

An appetizer: The Skeleton Dance, 1929. Disney does it best.

 

First course: The cutest little ducklings visit their stingy Uncle Donald, a perpetual bachelor because he was kind of an asshole, as deftly evidenced here.

Main course: My favorite! We watched this every October when I was a kid. Autumn is so exciting when you’re young. There’s so much adrenaline to be found in everything… you’ve settled into school, it’s homecoming season and you probably have a new crush, the weather is cool and you can play outside for hours, there’s something magical in there air… danger lurks just around the corner and mother nature is setting the mood, but a warm bed and hug are just inside. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1949.

Dessert (a Reese’s Cup of a video, obviously): The music video for “The Ghost of Stephen Foster,” by the Squirrel Nut Zippers. This song is The. Best.

Camptown ladies never sang oh dah doo dah day!

To the fruit flies living in my kitchen

I am the Joe to your singing cockroach as you settle in, making a nest of my banana’s ripening skin. Bananas I promised to turn into smoothies a week ago but ordered pizza instead.

Open a cupboard door, and there you all swarm. Your ability for reproduction is admirable, wasting none of your short eight-day life span, 10 if you’re lucky and find a good banana, 12 if you live in my place.

Internet says you are dumb little buggers. Then why can’t I manage to fend you off? You were too smart for my Farmers’ Almanac-found recipe to drown you in simmered milk and sugar and flakes of ground pepper. More probable: I just made the trap wrong. The bad cook is a lonely hunter.

I could make a vinegar trap, but I don’t own vinegar, just bananas longing to be pulverized in my blender. A red wine trap with perforated plastic wrap would do, but who wants to enlist a good Cab to the mercenary business? So cheers to your science and survival. I’ll just squash the stinkbugs instead.

Ain’t no party like a Gatsby party

While looking for something to listen to this morning, I found this website. The Library of Philadelphia offers free podcast downloads on topics of literature, life and culture. If you’re a fan of “The Great Gatsby,” check out the lecture by Maureen Corrigan, an author who has studied F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. The work has lent Corrigan powerful theories on why the book has had such longevity with the American public and on symbols that Fitzgerald worked into the story that are not as obvious as, for example, the eyes of TJ Eckleburg. Not a fan of “The Great Gatsby”? That’s OK–neither were most critics when it first was published. Even more reason to listen. She might convince you to try the the great American UnAmerican novel another go.

gatsby quote