Pop Up Art Show

Tomorrow, Saturday 4/14, I am hosting a pop up art show / fundraiser event in my garage in hopes pf raising a few dollars towards my wife’s medical bills.

I don’t expect a big turnout but I felt the need to do something creative out of a really stressful and difficult situation, so I have cleaned up the garage, put some lights up, and hung all the already framed pieces I recently showed at Downtown Subscription here in Santa Fe.

Doing an event like this is, in some way, also a political act; the fact that anyone in the richest country on earth should have to have a fundraiser to pay for medical bills is shameful.
But this is reality and you have to roll with the punches and do what you can. In some perverted way, the system leads to creative solutions, innovation and thinking outside the box.

If you are in Santa Fe – come on over!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1630982957022279/

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Where Does this Road Lead?

Snow Trail

Untitled. 18X24″. Color pencil on paper, 2018.

I’ve never been much for inspirational quotes, those cheerful, quasi philosophical quotes people like to throw out there to motivate themselves. Or others.

I was going through a really hard time once and I had a yoga teacher that kept saying I needed to smile at myself in the mirror. I refused for the longest time, then one day I tried and it made me really hate myself because I looked like a fucking idiot; a smiling, crying clown. I didn’t feel it, to say the least. It made me feel worse about everything, trying to cover it up instead of letting it out.

And why is it that we are always told to “cheer up” when we really need to let it out, to take out the trash, the weights inside ourselves, that dark matter, whatever it may be, that is holding us down?

I’ve been walking down some very dark roads in my time and I have a way of being that may seem strange to a lot of people.

I am not a “go getter” but I am driven in my own way.

I am not a person to give up, but I certainly procrastinate.

I don’t force my beliefs on others, but I feel strongly about a lot of things. I just don’t feel the need to project it onto others. I am true to myself, I believe, and I am very loyal to those close to me, although those close to me seem to be fewer and fewer as the years go by…

I often feel the urge to just pack some necessities, get in the car and drive off to somewhere, away from all the troubles, all the bills, the reality that is just pushing its ugly face up against mine, park somewhere with a magnificent view and just put everything on hold for a while. Breathe. Shut down. Zone out, or more like it; zone in.

I have a dream to one day buy a small school bus and renovate it and travel across the country. There’s so much to see here… I realize of course that it is just a dream and won’t become reality just yet.

For about three years I had a picture of a Stella scooter taped up by the side of my computer at work. I wanted one so badly and I tried to visualize it and make it real, but in the end I just took it down and tried to forget about it. Life as I have come to know it over the past decade or so, is a life of trials and tribulations. As long as my wife is sick and unable to work, we will struggle. Two people, one salary = struggle.

But then again – who knows, maybe some day something good and positive will happen that makes reality shift for the better?

Where the road leads me, I don’t know, all I can do is keep walking.

And I refuse to smile if I don’t feel like it.

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Coming Back To Austin

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Last night I went down in the basement to start a load of laundry. I put the clothes in the machine and pushed the button. It started filling up with water and I was just about to turn out the light and go back upstairs when I stopped for a moment and looked at this drawing I made a couple of years ago.

I’ve always liked how it turned out, but over time it has been set aside and I kind of forgot about it. Last night I re discovered it. It drew me back in and I stood there for maybe 10 minutes, walking around inside the drawing. I remembered so clearly that intersection where Burnet Road turns to Medical Parkway, as it crosses 45th street; all those days I passed by there on my way to or from work. How many nights did I stand there by the red light, waiting for it to change? How many mornings did I pass through  there on my bike in the humid morning, sweat pouring down my back…?

I wandered around the drawing, stopped by the church there on Maybelle Avenue, I walked up to the pumps at the gas station and I could smell the grease and the gas…the absence of traffic made the crickets sound so much louder and all of it was covered in the warm humid embrace of the Texas night… and as I stood there, taking it all in, a lot of memories came back to me. I spent six and a half years working up on Burnet Road at Next To New, a non profit consignment store. It was a job I loved, but over time it changed. Austin changed and we could no longer afford to live there.

I just roll on, moving forward and I guess I never really stop to think too much about things. Partly because it’s too painful to take it all in. My wife and I never thought we would leave Austin, we thought it was our home forever…but things change and sometimes you just have to move on and find new ways. We moved to Santa Fe and we love it here, but both of us miss Austin – the Austin that used to be before it all changed. The quirky, relaxed, laid back, friendly Austin.

Last night, if only for a few minutes I came back to Austin and it was a warm memory, somewhat sad and a little rough to relive.

Of all the drawings I’ve made over the years, I believe this one will never leave me.

I couldn’t part with it as it has too many memories woven into it. I have never really taken the time to look at this drawing like I did last night. It was almost as if I saw it for the first time and at the same time, it felt like visiting with an old friend.

 

Two Churches

“Two Churches”

Color pencil on paper, 2013.

 

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Climbing the Ladder.

Two days ago, I hung my artwork at Downtown Subscription, a really great cafe here in Santa Fe, NM.

This is a place that invites you to sit and read, work on your laptop and sip on a coffee for hours. A big, open space with lots of wall space – perfect to hang art on!

Just a few blocks off of the world famous Canyon Road, known for being dense with art galleries, this is a great location.

I chose to only show drawings from around Santa Fe in this show.

My wife Sara helped me hang. She has a great eye for placing, composing and spacing wall hangings and she made it look great! You can find her photographs at https://www.instagram.com/saraculler/

This is me, in action, climbing the ladder:

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Trails, Trials and Tribulations

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“On Norski Trail” 2018. Color pencil on paper.

 

Life has been throwing challenge after challenge at my wife and me for many years now, health, money, friendships…we’ve been through a lot together and we have endured somehow.

One thing that makes life worth living right now are the numerous trails around Santa Fe, where we live. You can get to a trail within minutes from our house and we go as often as we can. Watching our two dogs run, tails up, sniffing, playing, rolling in the snow, chewing on sticks, chasing each other is the simplest and most rewarding break from reality that I can think of.

We have no money for movies, dinners, trips, whatever…and these little hikes with our four legged friends mean so much. Any dog owner will understand.

I think we are in the deepest darkness of our lives right now, but I still believe that we will get out of it someday.

Until we do, the trails will trump the trials and tribulations life is throwing at us right now.

 

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The Light at the End of the Tunnel.

“Sam’s Auto”

Color pencil on paper, 2015. Sold.

Sometimes when I doubt myself and feel like a total loser, I have to remind myself of all the things I have accomplished in life.
I went from a miserable 16 year old to a flourishing young man when I was accepted into an art school after ninth grade. A few years later I went on to create music, writing songs to deal with the pain of losing my mother to mental illness and suicide.
I dreamed of recording an album and play the music festivals and with hard work and a little bit of luck and people who believed in me, I did all that; I released a total of 5 full length albums and a bunch of EP’s, toured a lot and played at all those festivals I dreamed of, did music videos, radio, TV and loads and loads of interviews with newspapers and magazines.
I want to believe that all that mattered, not just to me, but to those who bought my records, those who listened and came to the shows.
Still, to this day, I get emails from people who loves my music and it’s the most incredible feeling when they tell me stories from their own lives and how my songs helped them get through things. I think that because my songs were so personal, they touched the listener deeply; I have had many people tell me how my songs put them in touch with their own emotions and helped them deal with loss of a close friend or family member and it is THE most awarding feeling to hear their stories!

In another adventure, my wife and I moved to the US, starting a new life from scratch and we have struggled for years and years now. My wife being chronically ill has made everything even tougher and at the time of writing this, we are in the deepest financial crisis of our life, not sure how to put food on the table from one day to the next.

When I question myself, my choices in life and the roads I have taken, I always come to the same conclusion; I don’t really have any regrets.
I am happy and proud of who I am and what I have done. Do I wish things were different for us? Sure, absolutely – the constant financial struggle is unbelievably tough and it wears you down so hard, especially when the one you love is struggling and there’s nothing you can do to help…
But I have to believe that there’s a way out of it.
I have to believe that eventually, there will be a light at the end of the long tunnel we’re in right now…
And so I keep going to work every day, doing my best.
I keep working on my art, learning something new with every new drawing.
I keep treating others with love and respect, as I know we don’t know what others are going through on a daily basis…

And somewhere in the back of my head, I think that I will make music again, some day.

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The World Outside

Looking Out At the World Outside.

This is Max, peeking out the screen door.

He’s a rescue and he came to us in 2012 along with his “sister”, Neko.  They’re indoor cats, their world is our apartment and they seem happy that way.  They are both declawed, they came to us that way, so a life outdoors will never happen.

This morning, the thought popped into my head that instead of Max sitting there, peeking out at the world outside, I could have drawn my wife.

For three years now, she has been going through treatment for Neuro Borreliosis ( Lyme) and a long list of other co infections. She has not been able to work for five years now and her life is a very isolated one. With no friends or family around, nobody ever comes to visit, nobody calls…there’s nobody there, ever…and I pictured her for a moment in my head sitting there behind the screen door, longing for something else.

I’ve known my wife since 1999. She worked at the place where I had my very first gig with my band David & the Citizens. May 6th, 1999.

I remember her talking about the USA, where she grew up. Always talking about Dallas, the warmth of the people and the humidity in the air. I remember her telling me about the time when her grandfather had been diagnosed with cancer; neighbors coming over with food and empathy. Longingly, she told me about those years and how much she missed it; the friendships, the feeling of togetherness and maybe a simpler time. I guess she hoped to reconnect with that feeling when we moved back to the US in 2009.

Since moving here, we have indeed gotten a lot of help from people. We started a new life from scratch and we have struggled for years now. The feeling of friendship and community that she had hoped for has, however, not appeared. Since she started her treatment people around us have gradually disappeared. Fewer and fewer people have kept in touch and these days we are totally isolated from the rest of the world.

My wife in particular.

I have a job to go to five days a week, eight hours a day. I meet people, I interact, I socialize…she sits at home alone. No phone calls, no visitors. Nobody. She takes a yoga class every day, as it helps with the detox from all the medicines she takes. I drive her when I can. I pick her up every day on my lunch break as nobody else ever offers her a ride.

Recently, a guy who practices at the studio had an accident and broke his leg. Within a week there was a carpool set up with other students taking him to and from class. He lives two blocks from us and they have to pass our house on the way to the studio. Not once have they offered my wife a ride.

She looks out through the screen door, longing to be part of the world, but the world seem to be slipping away…

 

https://www.gofundme.com/2bbs9xfq

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