It was six months I spent without my own space, with a small crazy feeling growing in the back of my mind preventing me from taking my life too seriously. Half that time, I spent living in the house I helped to build from the remnants of old stuffy 1980s style business men. In the three and a half months I spent there I stayed in four different rooms, from a recently vacated room, to a sublet, to a guest room, to my friend’s room when she left town. I had a desk, a typewriter, my cat, some clothes and music. I played music in a band, hung out with old friends, danced a bunch. I confronted many demons, made scratchy art I hated, and floated around like a ghost in my past life. It was exactly what I needed, to be around folks I loved when my head felt like a festering melon. I went on ridiculous outings to the suburbs to try to find merchandise to pawn on ebay to scrape by with; then settled to dishwashing in a fancy French restaurant. I, the vegan, was getting rashes from peeling shrimps and going home soaking in duck grease. The worst part, probably, was feeling like a set of scattering feathers, flying away from the body and landing who knows where. I realized that New Orleans would be like sinking into an oily puddle if I stayed too long.
After a lot of debate, on whether it was the right thing for me to do, I went around interviewing radical artists on the East Coast and Mid West. Some of the highlights include interviewing a woman, Sue, who was part of the group of women who took over “The Rat” newspaper in New York from the sexist attitudes of the men, in the 60s. She was also involved in SDS and a ton of other groups, protests, organizing. Her artwork, everything from mono-prints, linoleum prints, photography, etc continues to be radical, engaging, inspiring. Her life and art continues to be intertwined with her activism, her kids are radical and her relationship with her partner seems well balanced and loving. Spending time also with people closer to my age working on inspiring projects, from Nicolas teaching radical art history, to Colin making art about factory farm workers and animals; who sold a painting of Tyson (from the chicken) as a “supercreep” to the man himself. It was great to spend time floating around when there were active and awesome people around to inspire creative dialogue. We talked about our visions of utopia, where we put our art, what role art plays in a social movement, what could be the power of radical art. We talked about history and current political movements, how to change things and inspire hope and struggle through art and activism.
I’ve finally landed and I like where I am. I built a wall with the major help of Mike, it’s the room I never got to build while living in a warehouse because I took over an already dry-walled former office space. I have a huge printing desk, a small sleeping area, and a ton of art projects in various stages of completion. My head doesn’t feel like a swollen melon, the crazy feeling is gone, my old demons are lying in rubble, I don’t reek of duck grease, and for now, my own feathers have stuck fast.
I have zines: Crude Noise #4, Mine #1, Mine #2 each $3 postpaid. The reason I’m not actively using ‘merrydeath’ in my address is related to mail issues that began in Pittsburgh, PA with me not receiving various packages because of an angry postal worker offended by the nickname.