This commission, from the insane 1979 slasher flick Tourist Trap, took me way too long to finish and waaaaaay too long to mail out. It’s the only time I’ve brainfarted like that on a request, and I’m thankful the recipient was extremely patient.
One of the first things I did after launching Operation: Stream Netflix Through My Xbox 360 (aka the best thing ever) was spend a lazy Sunday watching documentaries. By the time I was on my second doc of the day, I realized that there was a theme running through all the choices I had queued up: sex. More specifically, I suppose, the business of sex. From American Swing to Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate, I watched everything Netflix had to offer. Included in my flesh overload was Inside Deep Throat, a look at the story behind the infamous 1972 porno. The point of this intro, I guess, is that this painting of Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace.
Forgive the crappy photo, please.
The truth is, I’ve long considered starting a series of paintings of porn stars and this is as good a place as any to start. Sex work (in all its forms) completely fascinates me. I don’t judge anyone who engages in it, and I don’t romanticize it…but I can’t get enough of it. I’ve read Alexa Albert’s Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women, and I’ve seen the unrelentingly depressing Born Into Brothels. It’s all endlessly intriguing, this peddling of flesh and intimacy.
I think the genesis of this dates back to my childhood…and before you get any ideas about what that might mean, let me explain.
When driving home from my gramma’s house, my mother always took the same way. This entailed driving down Bank Street, which, as I was led to believe, was a hotbed of nefarious activity. During the day, it was fine- but at night? My mom would practically induce panic with a “Make sure your doors are locked!” before we got there. Mind you, if it truly was that seedy and dangerous, I think she would have taken another route.
In my head, Bank Street was akin to the Bronx- or at least what 70s & early 80s television had be believe was the Bronx. There would be drug dealers and hookers on every corner, as far as the eye could see! Couple this notion with the story my mom told me about one of her childhood friends turning to prostitution later in life and, well, you can bet that my forehead was pressed against the car window during the entire trip down Bank Street (all two blocks of it) looking for illicit activity.
I never saw anything. Not a thing. No women in hot pants and thigh-high boots beckoning…and so, somehow, they became…I don’t know, extra-special. They might as well have been unicorns- every time we went home from gramma’s, I looked for hookers, every time in vain.
I can’t say that I don’t still look for them, because I do. Earlier this month I came home from the store and blurted to my roommate “I think I saw a hooker!” After disseminating the clues (strolling casually down Sepulveda in front of a string of cheap motels, constantly looking over her shoulder, umm…me spotting a car pull over in front of her…), we figure that yeah, she was.
My immediate urge was to grab a video camera, to start a documentary where I’d ask these women questions. To find out what their lives were like, if they’d answer; to find out what led them to a life walking up and down Sepulveda, to exchanging sex for money. When I threw this idea by my roommate, all excited because I’m endlessly curious about human nature, she simply said “Drugs.”
And she’s probably right. I know every story will be a sad one, that these women are closer to Kerry Washington in The Dead Girl than they are to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. As I said, I don’t romanticize any of it…but the ugliness and sadness of it all doesn’t make their stories not worth telling. Maybe some day I will pick up a camera…but for now, I paint.
Man, I converted my personal website to a blog format because I thought it would make for easy updates. I suppose it does make for easy updates…I simply never do any updating. I’m not sure why that is. Or do I? I guess it’s because most of my life revolves around horror movies and for that, I’ve got Final Girl. I’m not sure what else to talk about, except maybe art. I haven’t done much in recent months, but I did recently paint MacReady from The Thing:
Someone commissioned a Thing painting from me- or rather, four paintings that, when combined, would form one large image. I’m still waiting to get the go ahead from the client. This is one of the rejected proposals; while it may not have been to his liking exactly, I dig it so I decided to paint it up.
See, isn’t that fascinating? What else? I’ve got a few projects at the not quite ready to talk about yet stage. I have plans for other projects, some which have been percolating in my brain place for months, if not years. For some, I just have to stop thinking about them and start doing them- that’s difficult for me, because I plan out everything before I put pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard or whatever to whatever. But there comes a time when my head is just running in circles and the thinking has to stop.
See, isn’t that fascinating? I could also tell you that I’ve been playing Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins. I could tell you that because it’s true! I guess if I have a hobby, it’s video games. Eh, there are worse things I could do.
I suppose I could also tell you I’ve recently discovered George RR Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire. As much of a geek as I am, I’ve never much been able to get into fantasy novels. Not sure why. Not to sound douchey, but a friend of mine has been cast in HBO’s forthcoming adaptation of A Game of Thrones, the first volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, so I picked it up to check it out, to see what my friend was getting herself into, to see why hardcore Martin fans were so miffed that she was cast (the reason being, I suppose, is that said fans have never heard of WIGS).
Wow. The book hooked me right away. By the time I was halfway through, I couldn’t put it down. When I finished it after a marathon 200 page reading session, I immediately went out and picked up volume 2, A Clash of Kings. Martin is a fantastically engaging writer, and I guess my enjoyment of this fantasy series has granted me a +15 in nerdery. Eh, there are worse things I could do.
So, I don’t know. Is that how these updates are supposed to go? Seems boring to me, but what do I know?