29 March 2012

Soyuz Buttons Now Available

If you think back just a few short months ago, you'll remember the awesome Soyuz 11 painting project I completed. Well now you can own your very own analogue, in button form!

The set comes with four buttons; three depicting the cosmonauts who perished in space in June 1971, and the fourth featuring the mission emblem. All of them are mounted on a backer card depicting the Soyuz capsule and sealed for launch in a space-age flexible plastic storage pouch. The hanger card depicts a cosmonaut in a Strizh sspacesuit and on the back has informational text about the mission.

Now you can wear a piece of history and my cool art at the same time. Check out the Soyuz 11 Project to see the original artwork, and contact me at eatenbyworms(at)hotmail.com to order your own set for just $8.00. I'll even sign your set & ship 'em anywhere.

Almost but Not Quite

I was just about there. Despite the very nearly prohibitive cost, I was willing to spend the money to move my art studio out of my house into a shared space. An offer from a friend at first seemed like too much to afford, but after encouragement from other friends and some deliberation I decided it was worth the sacrifice.

After being quoted a specific price (not a range, not a "starting at") I met with the friend and his partner who runs the place in order to finalize the deal. My friend already knew what I wanted, (we had discussed it on numerous occasions before), to move my studio out of the house. But when we met yesterday, I found that they wanted a hundred dollars more a month that they had first quoted me. Again, my friend knew what I wanted out of this, and yet he quoted me a lower price. Now for the original amount I would be given the privilege of renting three feet of shelf space, a tote bin and a flat-file drawer with the use of community drawing tables. Basically, for 150 bucks I got to re-live my days in high-school art class. For the higher price I would be able to have my own dedicated drawing table in an already full (cramped) studio. When I told my friend that that was not what I had been led to believe he replied "I know."

This was all explained by saying that the people who paid more had to know they were getting more for their money, to feel justified in their expenditure. Now, I understand the difference in price versus product, pay more, get more, it makes sense economically. True, with my lack of experience for all I know it's a steal at the higher price. In any case, I simply don't see the value. Plus my friend has told me what he pays in rent on the place, which makes it look suspiciously like they're trying to make a profit rather than build a "community space."

Needless to say I don't have the full story on what is going on with these people and what their motivations were, but I was pretty pissed off last night to say the least. Not only because I had gotten so excited only to be let down, but also because it seems that this was intentional, or at the least done through careless miscommunication.
In either case, I can't help but feel manipulated and incredibly disappointed.

27 March 2012

Unfinished Nina

I started working on this Nina Simone project about a month ago and I didn't like where it was ending up so I abandoned it. There is still the possibility that the idea will come back, it certainly hasn't left my head, I just don't know where to go from here.

14 March 2012

Death Troop and the Imperialists, LIVE! One Night Only!

This is a strange ongoing project that has no basis in anything. Ideologically it has a lot of historical threads, but I haven't been into this type of imagery for a while and suddenly it spilled out of me. A major illustration is fully underway and will be finished soonish.

On the General Fairness of Life

When I was growing up one of the things that I was repeatedly told when I complained about things being unfair, was that “life isn’t fair.” This despite the fact that I was also told was that I was supposed to be fair. At the time it didn’t have to make sense, my own life was largely out of my control anyway. Looking back now I’ve found myself rather irritated by what seems to me to be deliberate misinformation. Now I realize that despite all the euphemisms and protestations to the contrary, life actually is fair.

Of course we have to define what we mean by both life, and fair. The latter is I think relatively self explanatory; it is simply egalitarian, unbiased. If one person is allowed to do something then I should be allowed to do it too. This steps over all sorts of relative restrictions like power hierarchies, proximity, availability and the like, but the basic meaning is there; equality or balance.

Life on the other hand is a little more difficult to define because there are a number of uses. In the euphemism “life isn’t fair,” we’re using it as a noun to describe the objective world outside of our own selves, the “not I” of our consciousness. Life in this use means general existence, and our limited awareness of it. As such, it seems that “life” is pretty vast and any one individual comprises only the tiniest fraction of it. It is rather arrogant then to think that the composite material of the universe would single any one of us out as especially deserving of any particular treatment.

Actually, while “life” and “fair” are important, it’s that last word, “treatment” or “treat” that is actually central to my point. Treat is a verb which requires intention of outcome. It needs thought, logic or reasoning behind it because it involves a value judgment. To “treat” one’s self is to choose a preferred option over less preferred options. To treat someone nicely (or not) is to do so knowing one has other choices. These are value judgments, not “natural” ones. Just as life doesn’t make moral judgments, it doesn’t make value judgments (of which the former are a variety); both are creations of the human mind. As such it would be more accurate to say that life as we have defined it is separate from the notion of “fairness” which is a human abstraction of value; life doesn’t care one way or the other. It’s our subjective experience of life that seems unfair because of the actions people take based on their subjective value judgments.

So when people say “Life isn’t fair,” it isn’t exactly a lie, but it isn’t the truth either. It conceals the fact that our experience of life is dependent upon the way people “value” each other, and then act on those values. To say that life isn’t fair then is something of an excuse. If it seems unfair, it is so because of the actions of people. Thus it makes sense to ask what effect our own valuation and subsequent actions has on other people’s experience of fairness.