Open Letter To Boyd Clark

•September 27, 2016 • 2 Comments

To Whom It May Concern,

Recently I returned from Phuket Thailand, where I had the opportunity to study at one of the premier fighting camps on the Island, Phuket Top Team. Although Top Teams through out the world are recognized for their Brazilian Jujitsu due to time restraints and placement, Thailand, I committed myself to certification courses  that would help me when I returned home. I registered for the Muay Thai Pad holders and Wrestling for MMA courses as both took approximately the same time to complete.

Now I am seasoned fighter, the broken teeth should tell you so, not professional, seasoned none the less. When I got to camp, it was all I expected and a little more. First I was surprised to find myself staying on a rapidly developing part of the Island (mostly based on fitness tourism). Next there were “fighters” training at all levels, from day tourists to pros prepping for their next competitions. The Facilities where partially interior and partly exterior. Outside for the striking, inside for the grappling and pro MMA training. Multiple classes of each discipline were offered daily or at least on a bi-weekly basis in the cases of Yoga and Boxing. I was there for a purpose and knew that in order to accomplish my goals I would have to concentrate on the classes that enhanced the certifications I was taking.

First up was Muay Thai the certification which consisted of 12x 1 on 1 privates over the course of a Month. I felt I had a good grip on that as I had done “North American” Kickboxing for years and started Muay Thai in the past year. I knew I would have to attend group classes to ensure I had a proper technique for those I may work with upon my return. I committed to 1 sometimes 2 group classes a day, I still had my privates and wresting to complete which lead to heavy schedule.

The Wrestling Certification consisted of 3 group classes a week and 1 private.  First off I have ground fighting experience but very little PURE WRESTLING to speak of. As a matter of fact you could count my previous wrestling experience on one hand. Secondly , my wrestling instructor Eric Uresk, is a WRESTLING THOUROGHBRED. The type of coach you see in movies. He is tough, discipline, demands and expects a lot. He also gives a lot. He straight up told me “Just because someone paid for certification doesn’t mean they get it, you gotta work”.  And work I did signing up for extra privates to ensure a pass.

The Majority of my training days looked something like this….. Morning 1 hour of wrestling, afternoon 1 hour private with Athit for my Pad Holding, evening 1 ½ hours group class. Wrestling privates mixed intermittently dependent on schedules. Some days equalled out to 5 hours of training depending on what I committed to.  Things did not always go according to plan. As such I found myself off the mats for a week due to a possible staph infection. The time off let me enjoy some of the island I might not have caught, it also led to me having to play catch up. The team was cool about it, none the less there was no give on fulfilling requirements for certifications.   I was prepared and extended my stay a bit to ensure I finished up.  Receiving both accreditations approximately 1 month and ten days after arriving.

The Muay Thai Classes were run under the guidance of approximately 9 fighters. And yes I mean at the same damn time. All levels trained together and classes went something like this warm up 20-30 mins. Students where then separated into different group heavy bags, pad work, clinching drills, light sparring etc.. Each student went through each station with the Krus holding pads there by giving each person individual instruction. My Privates were something completely different.

Kru Kiatchai (Athit Praditphon )

I studied with Kru Kiatchai who had over 600 fights, very few losses he also had 10 years experience as a Kru. Still actively competing he was training for 2 fights while I was there. One just as I arrived and one shortly after I left. The privates went like this warm up, hand wrap, light kick boxing combos on the hands, boxing combos, then punches and elbows on pads, then kicking combinations.  Each session I was shown not only combinations but also new techniques. Anybody could have taken this course, previous experience determines what you walked away with. We moved rapidly and I learned a great deal. He was skilled and understanding adjusting to a persons level and kicked so hard I swear he gave me a conclusion through the pads. My final test consisted of leading a group class through warm up and holding pads for different students, under the watchful eyes of the Krus.

Now lets talk grappling. So one of the certifications they offer was a white to blue belt in 3 months. I knew I wasn’t gonna be there that long but figured I might have time to dabble. Truth was with my training schedule (and being careful with injuries), I managed to take 2 bjj classes and a couple no gi grappling. As I stated I was there for my wrestling certification. First off, the mats where clean and new. For group classes we all started together and then were subdivided dependent on level of experience and interest. Every Pro interested in MMA showed up for wrestling. Maybe it was a requirement , I think a huge part had to do with respect for the head coach(Eric). Classes were an hour and after a quick warm up we went into technique then free rolling with partners, working take-downs, positioning and submissions. Classes where “short” but intensive. On more then one occasion you heard “Class is only an hour, you don’t need water” He wanted you drilling, drilling what you learned that class which was almost always a continuation from the previous. Off the top of my head I learned stance, headlock take-downs, escapes, trips , pummeling for position, leg pummeling, head & arm control, the 5 defensive points in wresting and proper wrestling sprawls.

My privates for this were a little different we focused mostly on conditioning, strengthen my flexibility and back strength and double leg shoots. Once again it was a warm up then drill, drill, drill. I am half laughing half crying as I write this, cause when you are alone in a room with Eric there is NO ONE who can save you. He wants results and doesn’t accept excuses. On multiple occasions he brought in other students for me to work with so we could work live wrestling shoots. By the end of it all could double leg shoot a guy half my age, I still wasn’t ready to play with pros though. I passed certification with extra classes and with the respect of my coach.


Things I got that I didn’t expect. Training with top level COMPETITIVE fighters from around the globe. Including my main trainer Athit Praditphon multiple time Muay Thai Champion ,  access to the pro teams head coach Eric Uresk whom I also took my certification from. Coaches and Krus with more gold then a bank vault including WCB Oleydong Sithsamerchai . Training Partners that consisted of the likes of  Nikolay Alekshakhin, who was competing against Ben Askren for One Champion Welterweight Belt.  Japanese Muay Thai Champion Yukiya Nakamura to name a few. Ultimate Fighter Competitor Luke Barnnett. Although I did not train with these guys one on one, it was very influential to be around them. Coach

I  enjoyed many of the Luxuries’ of western living while being immersed in Thai culture.  A Sak Yant Tattoo, from a top artist. I learned to ride a motor scooter.  I got to enjoy the Thai New Year, Whiskey and the water festival. I saw Monkeys and touched an elephant, got my teeth fixed and even tried a little Thai Gambling. All  within a stones throw away from the gym. Most importantly what I took away from time while training at Phuket Top Team, was a rejuvenation in my personal and spiritual life. I have not felt more like myself in years. Even months after returning to western world. I HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND a visit to Top Team Phuket whether you’re a day tripper, looking for the ultimate fitness vacation and ESPECIALLY if you are a “young” fighter looking to pursue your dreams. Thailand is the one place you can make some money while fighting, Top Team might just be the place to get you there. Sincerely
Richard Rossetto


Heavy Metal Christmas 2015 

•December 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

So it’s December 24 and if you have been around for sometime you know where I am at. It has been a long time tradition in my family to get together enjoy so food play some video games and spin some of our favorite albums. For a number of years I have shared that tradition for those who haven’t been able to make home for the holidays or just some how found themselves bored with no particular place to go. So this year I found myself in that exact position. No complaints just a reality of the way things go. As such this year is a little different but pretty much the same and so I thought I might keep the tradition continued. One of the ways it’s a little different this year is I happen to find myself LIVING well AFTER MIDNIGHT so why not kick this of with a little

Judas Priest

And we will try to keep you up till Santa visits with a little help from Ratt by keeping it spinning….

And something that needs to be remembered this time of year is that every single person just wants to be heard, recognized,loved & cared for. As as W.A.S.P. once put it….

And if that doesn’t make you feel nostalgic maybe you would prefer to 

Now I know I have gotten a little “HAIR BANDISH” with this so you will have to excuse me, it must have been those young and impressionable preteen years. If we where to look at where this started we would have to remember that it all started a little before this when I wanted to be something like …

Cuz I was always hoping to be..,,

Which then turned into something like this

Then somehow became heavily influenced by this 

Which lead me into

Then this…

All the way through a crazy life of art and rock n roll which some how leads us back too 

Or even scary as a rebel of my age…

And if you don’t believe that Santa like his Rock n Roll

Merry Christmas from my family to yours and may the best come to you in the new year.

A Crash Course in Canadian Art by Heffel Auction House part 2

•November 19, 2015 • 1 Comment


 Untitled by Riopelle

As I walked in I was greeted with 2 large “Automatistes” works as only Jean Paul Riopelle could create. Thick textured pallet knife paintings so thick they could almost be tasted. In true Riopelle style the colors and mark makings where guttural and layered. So much so that at one point the Heffel staff delighted in wearing a magnifying visor to catch a more intamite glimpse of the strokes the “Wild Canadian” had laid. In direct contrast was “Libellules egarees” by Paul Emile Bourduas mentor to Riopelle & creator of the group “Les Automatistes”. similarities are apparent as both worked in the Automatistes style , a style influenced by the surrealists and based upon the idea of “spontaneity” of action or creation without thought or worry about representation with Bourduas pallet and hand being much lighter then that of Riopelle.


Behind greeting desk hung “Harbor” by Alex Colville, who , in this little boys heart there are few greater then. If you were my age and travelled through out Canada you would have come across his catalogue for his 82 show at the National Gallery in book collections more times then one could shake a stick at. In this classic Coville style the artist is seated in a vehicle facing the viewer, a small terroir looks away into the background . Most Coville lovers would recognize these familiar compositional elements. One subjects face obscured , the other looking towards the viewer, the recognizable coolness of the pallet,  “lines” creating the composition all recognizable.By this point I am in a complete feeding frenzy , my adrenaline has spiked, I have forget what I came here for and I am foaming at the mouth. This is a formal setting and suddenly I am too drunk off art to hold any form of composure. And this is just having entered the space.

  Lawren Harris’ “Winter Landscape”

 The next room was concentrated with images Canadian art is most recognized for, Landscapes. It consisted of works by the Group of Seven, their influences, their associates and those they influenced. The largest work in this room was Lawren Harris‘”Winter Landscape” which also happened to be a work expected to catch the highest bidding price….PURE CANADIANA . Large snow packed trees, pack with an alluring sky.  The feeling of a walk on a crisp winters day. Works by David Milne whose work landscapes have a sketch like quality to them,as well as contemporarys AY Jackson and Emily Carr. The Carr’s if I am not mistaken are from a series of works in which she used gasoline as a thinner. Giving  these works a particularly “vaporous” look or feeling. Carr is also one of my favorite Canadian artists.

  Carr’s “Farm Forest Sea”

  Heading towards the second level I was ecstatic to find a copy of the afore mentioned Bourduas’ limited edition Automatist manifest “Refus Global” , another Colville “study for the River Spree” which showed the “mathematical” equation with which he created most of his compositions . As well as a small and intamite Christopher Pratt entitled “Sheep


Pellan’s “Les Bucherons

   The top floor consisted of works by renowned Quebec artists Guido Molinari , JeanPhilippe Dallaire ,Jean Paul Lemieux, Alferd Pellan. Many of whom studied abroad giving them both national and international recognition. Molinari was best recognized for his works in the Plasticien style. A Quebec movement in reaction to the Automatists which in turn was a reaction to the religious paintings that preceded them. He was also an avid art collector owning Modrians, Matisses and even a Ozias Leduc(French Canadian Church painter and teacher of Paul Emile Borduas). Dallaire’s works are reminiscent of his European contemporaries Klee, Miro, and Chagall with good reason as as not only did he spend years of his practice there but was also held in a internment for four years by the Germans , a period in which he still created. Pellan whose paintings have an illustrative quality in their Surrealism was one of the first Canadian to have a solo exhibition sponsored in France by both governments. As for the work of Lemieux it is rich in style of the Canadian/Québécois traditions and one can still see his influence in  modern works throughout Quebec.

  Foiled Gold Mary Pratt

  The exhibition rounded itself off with Mr. Christopher Pratt & Ms.Mary Pratt. Christopher whose work is some what reminiscent of in both style, subject matter and color of Alex Colville’s . And Ms.Mary’s whose ultra realism leaves one wondering just how such an image could be created.The afore mentioned works just scratch the surface of the works being offered the 26th of November during LIVE STREAM AUCTION. It does not include artists I was not neccisarily familiar with or artists being offered that were not exhibited. Notable artist on the block I love that I haven’t mentioned Paterson Ewan, , EJ Hughes, Scultors Joe Fafard, William Mcelcheran and some super cool aboriginal works from different “nations”.

This show was an ABSOLUTE ART LOVERS DELIGHT and if you have the desire and coin to sink your teeth into some investing in art….. I HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU DO! Not a one percenter  but have an itching for Canadian art? No sweat because the starting bids on some of these rarities start as low as 4000 dollars. A perfect place to set a side some savings and enjoy them while you watch them grow. For more information go to Heffel Auction.

A Crash Course in Canadian Art by Heffel Auction (part 1)

•November 18, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Today I finally found the excuse I needed and had been looking for , for sometime to take a visit to Heffel Gallery and Auction house here in Montreal. For the those in the know, Heffel is a national gallery and auction house that has been a protector, educator & vender of Canadian art since 1978. Serving Canadians from it’s four locations in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto & Ottawa it is a recognized Canadian institute for the what is what in Canadian historical art. In the past number of years they have also started offering the public access to Canadian art as well as Canadian Collections online. The cherry on top being their LIVE STREAM ONLINE AUCTIONS.

Which is how I found myself at the door steps of building I had ridden past so many times. I don’t think I had stepped into the Montreal gallery space since I first moved here in 2001. Mostly I was caught up in other things. Which is the slight irony in doing what you love for a living that once what you love becomes your work often you loose why it was your loved it in the first place. Top that with the fact I don’t often carry around twenty thousand in pocket change to buy a work of art & I had forgotten it as a resource of inspiration in my own practice. 

 None the less I knew I should have visited them and started following them on Twitter for sometime. Part of my hesitation for regular visits steamed from feeling as though I might not fit in er belong.The building itself exudes wealth as it is an impressive structure on its own. Add to that it is just down the street from Holt Renfew and the Ritz Carlton and that gives you an idea of what area of town its in and the kind of wealth we are dealing with. Seeing as I stick out like a sore thumb in da middle class I wasn’t too sure how I might be appreciated in such settings. It never ceases to amaze me though how a man such as myself can be appreciated by those with affluence.

 Like it er love it one can not deny that the old school has their eye on what has old school “significance” & “value”. You see they, overtime, have had the chance to appreciate the “finer” things in life. They also have an understanding of the drive and sacrifice one might have undergone in order accomplish a legacy greater then themselves. In general one might state they may not judge things at face value. Even if it is miss a couple of teeth and all tattooed up. Of course we all know one does not have to be “well off” in order to appreciate such a reflection but it seems to me such an idea is lost on the majority of the masses. Unless of course one is an artist, a philosopher, or intellect. All of which require sacrifice or leisure time and whom are often supported by protectors of the arts and culture. Which in general is the bourgeois.


A collection of works at Heffel

If one wanted to be ideological they could state that is what museums and schools are for, but truth is institutions have a prerogative of their own and really who the hell do you think the museum is supported by? And who loans them works from their private collections? That infamous 1% everyone is always taking about. Hence the reason between prolonged visits to a prestigest auction house.

All that aside ,when I noticed that Heffel’s next upcoming online auction was being exhibited here in Montreal and its estimated value was approximately ten million dollars I was DEFINITELY intrigued. Ten mill may not sound impressive for a modern collection in this day and age…..unless you take into consideration we are talking bout the red headed bastard step child of the art world and are familiar with Canadian Art history as a whole….. Then you have an IDEA of what you might be in store for….


Canvas as signed by Emily Carr

You see here in Canada our artistic heritage is questioned as a whole by the international market. Far too often the “youth” of our country allows others to negate what we might contribute culturally. Another reason has to do with that often the works created are seen as Canadian version of “The New York School of Painting”, descendants or “reproductions” of European works. As in they came after or were referential to other schools of thought.

A lot of that steams from early works painted in realist or romantic styles European settlers brought with them. As for Canadian Artists who added to the “language” of visual art they often go “unnoticed” on a whole. Just ask the “Picasso of the North“, whose works look nothing like Picasso. With the exception of Landscapes of course. Which is probably what we as Canadians are best known for in the art market. It is due to our distinct scenery and diverse country side. And there is nothing wrong with that. I can guarantee you though a great deal of other things happened in art in the past 150 years or so and knowing that gave me a hint of what I might find at this exhibit. And I was not disappointed ……………….

  Tom Thompson’s “Jack Pine”

About the past 30 days in Art: the Imagination

•October 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

me as captured at the Ford #FordTryMore party 

So here is my long over due post The Past 30 Days in Art …. It is not your typical post and even gets a little choppy at the end because I was a little rushed. I also came to the realization of all the other things I had on my plate that consist of running a practice. I don’t necessarily call them art but they are essential in keeping things going. So when it came to this I wasn’t shooting for perfection. My interest was more in having a “finished” product so as I could say to myself that was done.

All that being said as I re-watched the video I realized how much I left out. I can not even tell you the amount of projects I consistently have on the go. videos, writings, approach letters , performance pieces and everything  else that goes hand & hand with running an art practice. None of that is ever mentioned because it seems to be just a given of things that gotta be done. None of which includes my training or learning routines. I am also a teacher & in general do what ever I gotta do to get threw in a month.

So here are a couple side notes not mentioned. I read this incredible book called “Making Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson.. ” by Elizabeth Stevens . Assessed the successes of my career including : First year scholarships, free publishings, countless stage proformances & photo shoots & solo shows and even sold out sets of editions(even if they were produced on a minor scale). Which lead to the writing of my Artist resume and signing with an agent. Not bad fer a 120 days work.

All of which I manage to make look relatively easy due to my nonchalant attitude and joy of life. Truth be told it is a lot of the daily grind , boring nights and hours & hours of work. None of which is what I signed up for when I started all this. So that’s about the past 30 day’s and it’s also how the next 30 are looking

UNDERSTANDING David Altmejd !!!!!!

•August 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I just returned from the David Altmejd show at the Musee D’art Contemporain , it had been a long time time since I had visited my friends at the MAC. I guess in truth I was burnt out. I was tired of not getting it. My personal jealousy  of the success of contemporary artists was making it hard for me to see what was in front of me. I felt like a lost voyager being left in the past, struggling to understand the future that stood before me. David Altmejd’s work struck me as such. He was one of the those artists that had me wondering…. Thankfully this retrospective set things straight.

So I had seen Mr.Altmejds works many, many times before. I think I even talked to him once at the unveiling of his sculpture at the Beau Arts. Somehow when previously looking at his works I always felt slighted. It is the way I think most people feel when looking at “CONTEMPORAY ART”…. the funny thing about being duped is no one ever likes to admit it. SO there always seems to be a certain uncomfortable silence that goes along with the stunned looks as viewers leave a gallery. Like a conman telling you, you just got a good deal as he stole your last penny most people are unsure whether they just saw good art or whether  it good because it was in a “proper setting” and they were told so. Er maybe even worse I needed to afraid to admit  my intelligence just robbed at gun point. These are the type of questions that leave the viewer frustrated and dissapointed but to scared to admit to anyone they didn’t understand it. It was how I felt  when looking at the work of David Altmejd. Never certain whether his heavy handed, unfinished looking representations were part of his style with a deeper meaning then I could understand or whether he was just another undeveloped talent getting the push because of the lack of talent the “CONTEMPORAY ART WORLD” had to offer. This show proved me otherwise.

Now I will be the first to admit I rarely read the press package er listen to anything anyone is saying before I see a show (that is how they dupe you) I even rarely read the titles of the works…. (another way the dupe ya). I am a  go with my gut kindda guy and if a work speaks to me either singularly or as a collective at a show, it does, if it don’t, it don’t and I leave it it at that. All the intellectual diarrhea one can throw at a wall wont change that. I am also the biggest skeptic in the room always looking for the slight of hand. put that together and I guess I tend to miss somethings, That with my education in art also gives me a much different perspecitive than most other viewers, which there by gives me a much different view of most shows and most art.
From the moment I stepped into this retrospective I some how knew it was different. Rather than foaming at the mouth and beast-fully devouring  the show as I tore through the works , I found myself stopping and listening to what THEY HAD TO SAY. Collectively they spoke to me in a different language then I had heard before. Mr. Altmejd’s style was ever present with guttural installations from a melange of mixed media including glass, crystal, wire, clay, human hair, mirrors, lighting and the environment in which they were set. Part sculptor, part environment giving the space the feeling of a B-grade sc-fi movie from the time when I was a kid.

This time when confronted with the works there was a certain completeness I hadn’t understood before. Maybe it had been my need for a certain completeness that had made me misunderstand the work before! Maybe it had been the fact I felt I had lived these creatures and environments 20 years earlier as as a child in such films and T.V. shows such as Logan’s Run, Buck Rogers, Krull and Battlestar Galactica. This time when viewing these works there was a certian finished asthetic I hadn’t understood before. maybe it was my need for “completely rendered object” that had made me miss the point before. Maybe that need was satisfied through fresh eyes. I think it was about half way through the show when I finally understood twhat Mr.Altmejd had been saying to me .The reoccurring theme throughout the works struck me like a hammer, the hammer used to smash mirrors throughout these instilations .

Mr. Admjed’s work was not about half composed grotesque creatures manufactured from disguarded objects left as waste with the intent of reconstructing the imaginary world and creatures from childhood movies. The undertone in this work was evolution, humans manipulation of the natural world, it’s effects on our envioroment and the eventual counter action from that.The creation, de-evolution and decomposition that will take place as a result.  Progress and nature’s reaction to it.. These works are artistic representations of the world that is rapidly changing around us. Subtle reference to the not to distant future. Representing the world as it changed natuirally through the law of natural selection and the changes that correspond with our influence and interference. (hence his reoccureing theme of the human hand through out many works.)
Natural objects are seen morphing into humanesque figures representing humanities state of being as it is. These humans often evolve further into part animal beings with humanesque characteristics( humans manipulation??? the enviorments response???)  This continual “evolution” then leads to its natural “Flux” of decomposition.  These beings are often seen through encasements or structures. These “structures” are are created from glass, wire, thread. At first the viewers see these simply as encasments for the works. Further insight leads one to believe that these are not meant as containers but actually are part of the works themselves. The encasement are man made with man man made objects. Often “organic parts or beings in these structures “come through” or break out of their cases. Seemly signifying the glass we are looking through are simply “barriers” through which we view our enviorment. Or how we are “connected” to the world in which we are surrounded by. It is as though we are slightly seperated, blinded by the surrounding of the world we created, Our vision obscured by the “unnatural” world which we have created as to the world in which we actually live.  thereby also effecting the “evolution” or the direction of both our speices and our world.


Through out these works animals we recognize as being extinct or close to exctinct are seen in various states of decomposition or maybe as partialy constructed. The idea of partial construction is actually an illusion as the animals are being deconstructed to a point of nothingness. Eluding to a future that is impacted both by natural as well as man made influences (hybride createures) The man made changes are often seen influenceing enviorments outside our awarness as mirrors are broken outside of the viewers direct vision yet still placed with in direct contection of the sculptures themselves.

The subtle irony of all this, is that,we chase the idea of progression with the pretense or thought that progress will lead to a “better” place. Ironiclly as suggested in certian works progress has the power to take us to greater states. Consequently as we look at these works and  the world around us it can be clearly seen this state of progress has lead us slightly off track.  Instead of progress possible the majority has been lead to a cullture of consumption and status. Status through image and through consumption. Which there by further pulls us from our natural state and further effects the world we  in which we live.
There is a subtlte irony that underlines the work as a whole in the fact that all the works suggest man drive or desire for progression or “moving forward” and our manipulation to make it happen further pushes us to a state in which we have less control.  Much like the hurrieed lives we live, there is almost a race or quickness a to the works . We are sepperated friom the works/or reality through the looking glass so to speak. That seperation from our natural world creates the way we as a society views progress… instead of digging deep finding spiritual bliss, creating new ideas, or developing socially we get lost in the ideals of climbing the corperate ladder , Social status , MASS consumption and SELF IMPORTANCE. All at the expense of the world and IMPORTANT things around us. Further pulling us from our natural state increasing the speed in which we decimate our natural earth . Thereby increasing our need to cling to the society and technology we have created around us.
So coming around  full circle Mr.Altmejd ‘s work REALLY is just a subtle references to B grade Sci Fi Films we would have seen as kids ( I did my home work and he is about my age) Not your average shoot em up cowboys in space type of movie though. It ends up being the more deep underlying message those films were WARNING US ABOUT, the ones we may have missed while digging the cool space creatures all the F/X we could have only imagined previously. the messages we might not have gotten that none the less resonated deep within us. Those lesson that are now more prevallent then ever. As techknology has now advanced to the degree it is almost beyond us. The final lesson in this reterospective is not only about what it means to be human in our present time but also a deep deep lesson in installation and modern art. In that if you look at this work long enough one has to ask “What have I seen, What does it represent and how is it a reflection of US?”


•April 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

****DISCLAIMER**** before I get into this subject I would like it clearly stated that I never experment with drugs until I had graduated high school and that anything they ever gave me, they took a great deal more. this was written as we currently live in a culture consistently promoting the notion of drugs being “no big deal”. Which I guess they are not if you can control them and use them recreationally. history consistently proves other wise. Maybe the machine works best all it’s sheep are lined up and ready for the slaughter?!? if you are 16 and getting high at 7:30 am or 4:20 gives you a sense of Identity drugs are a band aid for something bigger.

So through out history people have wondered what stimulates creativity, makes genius’ create great works of art and come up with “alternative” ideas to the norm. When looking back one can clearly see a link between drugs and creative thought. At least that is the one ideal a certain segment of society will point it’s figure towards. Wether it was the Beatles dropping LSD, Kurt Cobain shooting H, Hunter S Thompson doing all the above and adding a little extra, it seems there is a direct correlation between art and drugs. There are those who even state Plato took hallucinogenics while in the cave before or while writing the theories a great deal of modern society is based on. Ideas created through hallucinations of from shadows seen on the wall. That is a pretty heavy thought considering he is one  of the major philosophers of western civilization.
Now I am no history expert but I know my fair share of things about creativity, I also studied a great deal about drugs. If nothing else to justify taking them. Anybody who knows me would tell you I had a liking for a tab of this or a pill of that through out my days. So who better to cut it you straight then a guy who created original art, broke boundaries and rules of what creativity was to give it you. Yeah I know I am tooting my own horn the proof is in the pudding as they say cause I have yet to see any other freak who created cool drawings like this out of written word.

So to start off with one of the many, many reasons I got into the creative arts, was SEX, DRUGS and ROCK N ROLL. I was greatly influenced by rock from the 70’s and artists from the cafes of France at the beginning of the century. At just over 40 I had my share of it all. Looking back you realize you make some mistakes and seeing the lives you now influence makes you realize you have an obligation to others, especially in a world that sensationalize the shit outta everything to a youth oriented culture. I will be the first to state and it has taken years to accept this,  I came from a place of very low self esteem, I lacked self confidence and in truth at a very young age was told by the system I wouldn’t make much of myself. Which would not have mattered if I had not believed them, unfortunately I did.
So when it came time to make decisions in my life I wasn’t shooting to high. I was a skinny whimp, did not consider myself very smart, and wished for death long before life even started. What I did have was an explosive amount of energy and a creative mind. As such, as a young boy the heroes I looked too were often those who never fit in and had yet somehow managed to make it beyond the expectations of society. I found visual art at about 16 before that I was involved in the performance arts. I had a great deal of experience on stage playing in a band as well as acting. When I decided to make art my passion I chose it because it was something I believed in and thought it was something I could accomplish through my creativity. My heroes where drunks,drug addicts and underdogs.  As such that is who I unconsciously role modelled my life after. I got no regrets but say if I had realized far more people accomplished nothing while getting high and messed up then ever accomplished I may have chosen differently. I also didn’t expect to live this long.
I was pretty straight through out high school (and it is you kids that I am writing this for) I was always involved in extra curricular activities and really far to busy for alcohol and drugs ( I was also scared shitless cuz my father would kick my ass if I did not at least try and walk a straight line ) It wasn’t until my second er third  year of grade 12 that I started drinking and playing with the notation of drugs at which point I was 18 (the legal drinking age in Canada and yes you read that right 2nd er 3rd year of grade 12 hence the low self esteem). Part of it had to do with those I was looking up too as “heroes” at the time. For what ever reason those were the figures I could relate too. I guess they were the people I believed I could become and that stimulated my imagination. Really if you can’t succeed at being a starving artist there must be something really wrong with you. I was also set on living fast and dieing young, I think we all were.
it was about 1993 when my band broke up that i really started concentrating on art , believe it er not it was partly my “drug” use that created stress and lead to parting of ways, drug use in quotes because I dropped some Acid here and there and smoked a lot of pot which I would have never really considered drug use till recently. I  started smoking more dope and dropping more mushrooms and things. I never thought it was a big deal and as a matter of fact I considered it pART of the job description. I always had a “wild” personality and use that to enhance my “image” there wasn’t too much I wouldn’t try or wouldn’t do. I remember hearing the words “ARE you on DRUGS!!!” long before I ever took em. At the same it would be a little known secret that when all the partying stopped I went to work and was studying my practice…. The Practice of creating ART with a capital A. often holding 2 or three jobs while working on it. highagainlowres
portrait on LSD 2014
By the time time I got into college I was already creating ART(much of which was left through out time and space). If you had asked me at the time a HUGE PART OF THAT was the DRUGS. I loved to loose myself in images. Drugs were a way to separate myself from the real world. I often skipped class gettn high all night and making art. I didn’t wanna be part of the art scene I had already been there and done that. If you were to ask anyone from college they would most likely tell you I was a slacker, truth is I had little or no interest in being an academic. As a matter of fact I wanted be recognized as anything but. I went to college for my fathers sake and for the chance to concentrate on creation for a couple of years. I was hell bent on proving the rebel madman could out create the system. I did it but it mattered not, WHY cuz no one took me seriously. It was easy to right off my work because of my antics. I knew that place would be a small part of my history and I would continue on regardless. I did so for many years after, making great art and living what I believed was the artists life. It wasn’t till about 5 years ago I started questioning my way of doing things.
First off I had outlived the time in which I expected to be dead, secondly the world had changed a great deal, my model of artist was no longer accepted and thirdly it was the second time I had lived with out electricity in a few years (wether it was the drugs er dedication to the art I am not too sure  ). None the less I was pretty much third world poor in a first world country. My out dated my career mood was nowhere, nobody was taking my art seriously cause I was I “high” and really had no other skills people would recognize other then being a “fucked up” artist. Which would be okay If I was content with my life, but I wasn’t. So I started weighing in the factor that. Although art, drugs and creativity had served me on the one side on the other I was a miserable failure and hated my life. I had no choice but to change. Now some people can do whatever they want and not be judged because of my personality I found drugs gave the people the excuse to write off what I accomplished , which  means nothing unless they are the people you are hoping to make your living off .
The Paradox was something I couldn’t accept any more. I just wasn’t feeling good about myself cause I seemed to constantly be spinning my wheels. Something had to change. At which point I decided that regardless of the “benefits” I believed drugs had given my creative works, the trade off was no longer worth it. If that meant art had to be sacrificed so be it. So I started “cleaning up” my act.
So did drugs help me create art. The answer is YES , if they didn’t I couldn’t tell you other wise because that is the way I did it. Are there other ways I could have created a lifetime of art, YES. We will never know what could have been cause this is how I did things, right or wrong. You see thing I had failed to notice was there were creative minds that had created great things with out drugs. I had never thought about Henry Ford, Tesla or Leonardo.Creativity and drugs was the story I bought.

Sure it has long been proven that drugs and alcohol break the repression barrier between the conscious and subconscious mind ( see the work of Freud and Jung for further information) allowing us to access other parts of the mind. The part I neglected to study was that the subconscious mind can be accessed in many other ways as well.  Meditation, dreaming, hell even exercise takes us into other states of being. All of these allow us to access different parts of the human psyche. the choice we have as creators is how we choose to access them.

Stimulants is probably the easiest way to access these parts, which is also why most people natural drawn toward them. the truth is we don’t need them as a matter of fact often the use of stimulants just creates a crutch the person believes they need  in order to create. What we fail to to discuss is how those crutches and the use of them can end up effecting creators lives. Would Cobain and Hunter S have taken their lives if there was not some sort of negative aspect from drug use, of course there are all sorts of other factors, drugs didn’t help though
I have now been sober on and off for the past number of years, like I said before some people can control their substance abuse, I am one who can or chooses not too. I have now had a chance to see how drugs effects my creativity. Is it different? DEFINITELY . Would I have created the art I created had I not taken drugs? probably not. Am I still creative , yes it is just far more physical. That was one of the reasons I justified my drug use, maybe it has something to do with age. Are there a great number of artists I have seen their works change after they got off drugs. YES . Often the creativity becomes far less ethereal, could be age though. Truth is we will never know the answer. WHY because the people who created things while on drugs created them while on drugs and those who didn’t, well didn’t. is there a difference in what was created, YES. there is a difference in the people, the lives they led and their reaction to the lives they lived as well. really the choice is up to you. and that is what drugs and creativity is all about.CHOICE it comes town to the quality of life YOU WANT. primary_EB19860210PEOPLE362363802AR

Sure you can be Nikki Sixx and shoot heroine for 20+ years and play bass for one of the worlds most notorious rock n roll bands and get through to the other side. You could also be Sid Vicious and die at 21. Worse yet you could die an unknown junkie after 33 years of use and hard living which is probably the most common scenario.
I have known a great deal more people who never did a thing on drugs then ever accomplished anything with them. Hell you might even write some of the worlds most beautiful modern literature and live till the ripe old age of 83 a la William S Burroughs. None the less no one can be all that happy crumpled in the fetal position vomiting due to a dependency on their next fix.Hell it’s a crap shoot I guess. The question to ask is what you want out of your life, sure I never had a hard drug problem I can admit regular drug use greatly effected certain out comes in my life. (so did negative thinking and lack of self belief).
So you may ask would I do it again, the selfish part of me says YES, because that is the life I sought. Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll and I had my share. Now that I know there were other options would I change that too. SURE, this life didn’t get me everything I wanted.  Like I said it is a crap shoot there is no guarantee things will work out as we hope er plan.  I guess what it really comes down to is life style and the style of life you want. Reality is, life is based on habits and a habit regardless of what it is can be a hard thing to break and life can be a hell of a lot longer journey (or shorter) than we think. So for what it’s worth choose wise. It is not all as pretty as it is written in the papers and history book.