No one can teach me how to draw, I can’t draw a stickman. Which means I tried and failed and was bitterly disappointed. (And so is everyone who ever said that).
Gary Ripley was listening, we were at a party for aspiring musicians, smoking dope and playing guitar. He said, ummm I can teach you, and for the next several years he became a friend, mentor, and instructor. And he did, teach me, using the same techniques that he was taught, the same way artists had been training each other for 800 years in the history and traditions of western European art history. It’s A professional responsibility to recognize and nurture talent, we take our responsibilities seriously, he said in the love bombing stage of our relationship.
His father was run over by a steam roller when he was 3 and my father died a lung cancerous coal miner when I was 2. He had a crazy narcissist Mom and so did I.
We became brothers.
I continued to study psychology, learn painting, and to heal from my family of origin. Gary belittled my study, continuing to drink, and finally did the narcissist manifesto learned from his Mom, overvalued (his star student), undervalued (academics is for losers) and dump. After 8 years my mentor, teacher and brother, threw me out of his life. I didn’t paint for 15 years. Total devastation.
My wife at the time, a psychologist going to law school, freaked out when Ripley and art appeared in my life, and left. I was devastated once again. Worst of all, I went from the joy of discovery of the essence of who I am, to a person dependant on art for my self esteem. Self esteem is the worst disease known to mankind. If you have it you can lose it. It turns out that it is impossible to lose deep satisfaction that comes with following your passions.
So bereft and bitter, sans wife and brother/teacher, I fell into a life of drugs and cab driving.
It took 10 years to heal, and when I was 40 I entered art school clean of substances. I was on the Presidents honour roll 3 times, gained employment in my 2nd year at a contemporary artist run centre, discovered the birth of the internet, and digital art. I was home.
Predatory narcissism played a major role in the psychological trauma of my life, over many relationships, having been groomed to that form of slavery from birth by my parent. I’m only OK , worthy and accepted, safe and happy if certain conditions are in place, but mostly it’s needing the love, approval and empathy of manipulators, who oddly enough, are incapable, but really good at faking it. Serial disappointment, to put it mildly.
The one that hooked me for 10 years with FOG, fear, obligation and guilt, had the gene for Huntingtons disease and would require a primary care giver. She was shopping (hunting) for a nuturing guy when she found me. Six months later we moved in together, I entered art ischool, for six years, damn the torpedos, grab another student loan, carry on at all costs.
Eventually she found cause to dump me, asking for what I want isn’t allowed, and since her Dad paid for the house, hit the curb, loser.
Art sustained me. I got a gig making gifs for ads, mostly email spam. It was awful but the money was good and I needed it, but 12 hrs a day on a computer made me prediabetic and heart diseased. Fortunately India came online and scooped all the spam business for peanuts and I went courier driving.
Courier gave me a healthy body, the freedom to learn image capturing, and photo equipment so I could follow my love, digital fine art. The Internet gave me the freedom from galleries, the slavery of the artist stable, the politics of the wall.
Art is my freedom from slavery of all kinds. When I was taught at the hospital (!!!) to accept myself without those conditions ( Www.rebtnetwork.org ), freedom from the slavery of self esteem essentially, I was sent on an assertive training course as well. The cure for a narcissistic upbringing. You have the right to hurt people. Huh? Sure, the slaves in the south hurt their masters by being free. Big time.
If I think that every time I express my freedom, God kills a puppy, I’m a slave looking for a master. Jerald, you are an artist, you can do anything you want. The most valuable thing I learned in art school.