Yep! Today is my birthday and I thank God for another day! I turn 46 which is hard to believe because I kid you not, yesterday I was 28. This morning I woke up with the usual aches and pains with an Achilles that was a-killing me, and some little muscle ache in my arm that mysteriously arose from playing volleyball. It’s all good because it tells me I’m alive, and that I’m old.
This day also marks my jumping off point to get my behind in gear as I’ve not done a single final work this year. So I entered this self-portrait in an upcoming group show at Twenty-Two, on Saturday, May 9.
I haven’t done a self-portrait since I was in college and it wasn’t even really a self-portrait. So here it is! If someone buys it, well that would just make for an awesome birthday present for me.
Yesterday was Trayvon Martin’s birthday. He would have been 19 years old. The whole event, from the actual shooting to the trial, still feels like it took place yesterday. I am mulling over the irony of this young man being born and then also dying in the same month many years later.
Sad to say, I was not surprised that the verdict was in Zimmerman’s favor. During the trial, there was endless debate as to whether the shooting was self-defense or murder, whether the recorded screams were the teenage boy’s or that of the shooter’s, or whom between them had the spottiest record. All of this is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned, as NONE of this would have happened had Zimmerman heeded the advice of 911 in the first place, and that was NOT to follow Trayvon.
I created this piece last year shortly after the verdict was given which was around 10:00 that night. Really, there’s not much more I can say except, “Happy birthday, Trayvon, and rest in peace.”
I don’t do it often, but every now and then, I will make art specifically for a friend for a special occasion. In this case this piece was a birthday gift for one of my volleyball buddies whom I have known for years.
I started this drawing a few hours before the party, although I had been processing the idea in my mind for several weeks. I did a quick preliminary sketch and then went to work immediately on the final. Unfortunately I had no time to scan the final product after I was done, so in a mat and plastic sleeve it went.
There were just so many scenarios that I could draw from, and so many sarcastic one-liners that I could use. I couldn’t get the voices to stop talking. You would have to understand the personality types and day to day activities and conversations of all of the players, in order to really appreciate this. As a rule, Jim, the birthday boy, definitely does his share of trash-talking in a “I-like-to-toss-a-grenade-into-a-room-and-see-what-happens” kind of way. I will have to give him credit for earnestly taking as much crap as he gives.
On his Facebook post he announced he was having a birthday party and that he didn’t want any gifts, just money and some volleyball wins. There was no way I was gong to give him any volleyball wins. Historically, any victory that he has had over me and my partner (or anyone else for that matter) typically results in much trash talking via Facebook. Mostly the phrase, “I am awesome!” is often interjected into his bragadocious remarks. This prompted me to create the scenario with him napping at work, dreaming that he won while Jen, his longtime volleyball partner, best friend and coworker, hacks into his Facebook page.
I was told that I was spot on in my interpretation of everyone. There were the personal touches that we all could appreciate such as Jim’s ankle braces, Jen’s bandana, my big hair, and my partner Don’s seemingly permanent tanline above the ankles.
In the end Jim really loved the gift and it was passed around to everyone at the party generating lots of laughs. Even people at the party that didn’t play volleyball with us got the gist of it. Months later at Jen’s birthday party he made a copy of it, framed it and gave it to her for her birthday. And thankfully, he also made copies for me and Don as well which is why it is on this blog today.