The Model

Why don’t you get model releases? Well it’s collaborative, so they get half. I get verbal permission to use their image, how they have chosen to present themselves to the world after my work is finished, if they don’t approve I destroy it. Two artists working together. Some people like to be nude, but not painted blues and nude. *shrug*

30 Years…

From across the restaurant, “I hear Jerry Blackstock was arrested for sodomy!”

“You got me pregnant ya bastard, I had to have an abortion because of your herpes!” I yelled back

Lunch with a poet…

Murdock Burnett and I met at poor kids summer camp, we were age 6. His Dad was a drunk and his Mom a codependent abandoning her 11 or so kids for a life in AA. The kids were entirely fucked by their parents narcissism. Murd’s oldest brother became my dearest friend, we had keys to each others homes, shared a place a few times, consoled each other through the repeated loss of our mothers that we kept finding for girlfriends. Addicted to the sun (kids of alcoholics are always cold) and cigarettes, 2 packs a day of comfort for anxiety, he died of skin cancer, living in my camper, my guest room, till he moved to the hospice where he lived without skin, on morphine for months.

Murdock and I shared the Edinburgh abandoned street kid sense of outrageous sexual imagery humour, learned on the streets of Calgary, it was still a Scottish immigrant working class town while we were growing up. ‘Cunt’ wasn’t a negative word describing a female body part, it was everything from a term of endearment to a password of inclusion and acceptance on the street.

Murd lived off various women, using the narcissists charm, and writing really awful poetry, for which his various women got him gigs in the Calgary art scene.

When he got throat cancer from his 2 pack a day habit, he married his publishers daughter. His publisher was a former high school teacher at my school, who got punted for sleeping with his students. He started a book store and imported The Georgia Straight from Vancouver, which I sold on the streets of Calgary, for food, while living alone in a boarding house, trying to complete high school. His publishers daughter inherited, then moved them to the Caribbean, so he’d be warm, where he died.

He was a lot of fun.

In 1988 we had the Olympics in Calgary, my personal Olympics started the following New Years eve, I quietly had my last drink and toke of booze and pot.

I started to search for other ways to manage lifelong over-anxiety to be able to learn to be alone in comfort without mind freezing shame and embarrassment of over-worry.

I tried yoga, meditation, living ‘in community’ aka an ashram cult in the Kootenays, Taoist Tai Chi.. even living with a woman and lots of great sex and though all were nice distractions, nothing was a cure until I went to the hospital, where it took them 10 minutes to diagnose and treat me.

Very common condition.

A lot and I mean a lot of kids are emotionally abandoned, essentially orphans, used  like bargaining chips in a business deal, in order to get welfare money or hang on to a partner, or generate self esteem, conservative family values, whatever, for parents who are no more than dependant life long children themselves.

The hospital suggested cognitive therapy, now I use the original form REBT. Relief from life long over-worry is like being given a million dollars, simply knowing the evidence of  ‘I’ll figure it out, whatever it is, eventually’.

19 years ago I quit cigarettes.

10 years ago I quit sugar.

8 years ago I quit grains and over use of carbs.

All are self comfort strategies with negative consequences that are so self defeating they cause slow miserable squalid death.

So I tolerated short term pain for long term gain.

That’s what adults do.

They do this in order to care for children, by caring for themselves, staying strong and healthy and keep the species going.

It’s an evolutionary imperative.

It takes a lot of over-indulgence in feel good behaviors to suppress an evolutionary imperative.

An incredible force of will, to kill yourself slowly.

Or the same force of will to tolerate short term pain for long term gain…





Slavery

why

I feel like I have paid off a huge mortgage. Dumping guilt when it has been used for a lifetime, to manipulate me is like that.

Guilt is the result of feeling responsible for things we aren’t responsible for, Dr. David Burns, Feeling Good the New Mood Therapy.

When you have had a narcissistic parent, or have belonged to a religion, or have been groomed by cult recruiters, they all used guilt. Backed up and reinforced with obligation and fear.
Authoritarian in the extreme, which is another way of describing fascism, living in a world of black and white, all or nothing, should and must.
For the purposes of Slavery. Very simply, you exist to give your life for another’s satisfaction, not your own.

Emotional consequences of being a slave of should and must are: guilt, shame, embarrassment, rage, depression and anxiety. Dr. Albert Ellis, The Myth of Self Esteem.

Musts and shoulds are a programmed belief system. They are deprogrammed by one simple question: where is the evidence for my belief?

There never is any. Ever. Period.

The slavery programming beliefs all boil down to this:

I must do well and win the approval of others or else I am no good.

Other people must do “the right thing” or else they are no good and deserve to be punished.

Life must be easy, without discomfort or inconvenience.

The dispute to being a slave goes like this:

Others likes and dislikes only describe them, never me. The fact someone prefers chocolate over strawberry doesn’t describe me one bit. Since the purpose of my life is satisfaction, even if I lose an arm and a leg, I can deal with it as best I can, then ignore it, and create some form of satisfaction for myself using my free will and power of choice. I may not have as many choices as I had before, but I still have some.
Slaves have no free will and power of choice. There is no evidence that I am a slave.

I am not the ruler of the universe, there is no evidence that I know what is ‘the right thing’ for anyone or often even myself. I use my preferred satisfactions, sometimes get professional help, like when my car needs work or I require medical or legal advice, then use my best guess to guide my decisions. The evidence is I am human so I am often mistaken and so is everyone else. We often need to make adjustments to our thinking and actions. This is called creativity and problem solving. We are very very good at this. This is normal.

When life is not easy, uncomfortable and inconvenient there is no evidence that I can’t stand it. Saying I can’t stand it, it’s terrible and awful, is saying I will die from this. There is no evidence that I am dead.
There is evidence that this is a royal pain and very inconvenient, and I should feel motivating disappointment and sadness, grief and a sense of loss because something uncomfortable and inconvenient just happened. This is a healthy negative response which motivates me to do something, take some action to deal with it., suchs talking to strangers and asking for what I want. The best love affairs and biggest business deals were all created starting with small talk between strangers asking for what they want.

Q: What are you doing since having a stroke, just sitting on the couch? I actually had a doc who said this to me.
A: Well, if I found that satisfying I would certainly do that, since the purpose of my life is my satisfaction. Since it’s in my best interests to exercise daily, and at the gym 3 times a week, write and publish 2 artbooks, working on a third, apply to do public art in Calgary and Banff, apply for project grants and provincial acquisition of my work and start dating again since I really like sex with interesting strange women and that’s the best way to meet them and do that, start driving again and do road trips with my camera, all the while learning French, Spanish and Italian from posts by beautiful and talented self portrait artist friends, because life is too short to learn German, while learning publishing creation tools like Illustrator and Indesign, yes, when I’m not doing those things I love just sitting on the couch. Going for walks to the coffee shop is fun too…

Art as Choice

A professional artist (visual) after 6 years of 12 to 18 hours a day training, looking at images, the genius of art history, and a further say 20 years of practice, understands every pictorial element they choose to place in an image and why they made those choices. A composer knows every note on the page, a writer every word, of conscious choice.
Those who don’t are called amateurs.
The notions of subconscious theory of art making were made popular in modernity by Clement Greenberg, a non art maker wanting to keep his status as godlike critic, gatekeeper for the galleries, like Jerry Saltz is struggling to do today. Greenberg was against artist education famously saying ‘keep them stupid’.
The psychotherapeutic notions of subconscious and ego are from the early 1900’s, and have been long replaced by evidence based cognitive therapies. 
The evidence is I placed these visual elements together using educated free will and power of choice, based on the 800 years of history and tradition of western European Art History. I favour the use of the golden mean from ancient Greece as a composition technique for example. I choose not to use the history and traditions of Indigenous culture, or the cultures thousands of years older than mine of India, China or the Middle East.
That there are secret motivations (my subconscious sexual attraction to my mother and my ego wanting to kill my father to replace him) with secret mind powers that control my choices is not supported by known evidence.
Free will and the power of choice, grant me responsibility and authorship of my work, no one else.

Social Anxiety

There is a grandiosity and arrogance that says that I can have an effect on anyone’s choices. People make up their own minds. When setting boundaries with narcissist and borderline personalities, the response from them has always been to call me abusive. I call bullshit. According to Dr Tara J. Palmatier they are manipulating with fear, obligation and guilt.
“Bullies, narcissists and borderlines, whether they’re female or male, experience other people’s boundaries as a form of control and being held accountable as abuse.” – SHRINK4MEN

This has been a recurring scenario in my life in the past 15 years. I left a 9 year live in relationship with a narcissist woman, who was due to get Huntington’s Disease, who had found me by hunting for a nurturing unassertive guy, to be a primary caretaker when her disease kicked in. She waited till we bonded before she told me of her genetic future, the hook well set. Essentially, after I began to learn to set boundaries through the counsellors while attending art school at this time, her increasing response was that I am an abusive man, and eventually she ordered me out of the house, (similar to what my seriously disturbed mental health patient mother did when I was 14 testing adult limits). She went online hunting for another nurturing guy. She was coached by her long-time ‘friend’ (isn’t there always a ‘friend’ hanging about), an industrial psychologist named Fred Alder, who was also a cult recruiter and groomer, a.k.a. ‘minister’, for their Science of Mind church. Fred moved in shortly after I moved out, having left his wife recently under shady circumstances, involving getting caught having sex with my partner as it turned out. They had been at it for years, one of many affairs for my partner who typically bored easily, unable to deepen a relationship, but good at faking it.

After I moved out, I went to the hospital and found a family therapist, Dwayne Johnston, and an entire psychiatric staff to support and educate me. I was devastated, racked with guilt and shame, seriously depressed. I had been crying for six months with frustration. It turns out that I had been this way since birth, raised by a narcissist, borderline personality mother, groomed from day 1 to be her little adult-child caretaker. I had been repeating this scenario over and over with my choice in women. All of this is very common, the therapist, Dwayne, spotted it in 5 minutes, and the deprogramming education began, and continues today.

There were a series of books, Feeling Good by Dr. Burns, which led me to discover the cognitive therapies’ originator Dr. Ellis and REBT, whose base philosophy, Epicureanism,  I now use daily as a lifestyle to manage my emotions about life’s random and not so random events.

The hospital could only give me 10 sessions with Dwayne, and my issues didn’t require hospitalization treatment, I mean that’s how common the devastating effects, and treatment for recovery of narcissists victims are. So I sought a private cognitive therapist, Dr. Deb Dobson, an expert in anger management, since I was still convinced (programmed) that I was an angry abusive man, and she began to deprogram me from that self defeating idea for which there was no evidence. Frustrated yes, but with a lifetime’s ability for high tolerance of it, the key to success in any endeavor. It turns out that the notion, you MUST be ‘nice’ (unassertive) was used to manipulate me with guilt and obligation and fear by my narcissist parent and subsequent lovers, then the spiritual cult recruiters, my alternative strategy to daily pot use for anxiety, encouraging my self downing  and self hate for their purposes of fostering dependency. Encouraging anxiety as it turns out, then offering distraction for temporary relief: prayer, meditation and sex. Since we can only concentrate on one thing at a time, it’s difficult to be anxious when you are getting your brains fucked out or what have you. A temporary respite used to create dependance, instead of a cure. This had been going on through the church and my homelife and relationships of choice, since birth.

It turns out that the ‘cure’ is being rational. Is there any evidence for my self downing belief, and if there is, what strategy will I put in place to live with the situation or change it, and finally, what good can I make of this situation.

I was a victim of psychological slavery using fear, obligation and guilt. The main three notions that all people use to upset themselves were nurtured and encouraged. These people were well educated and used this abuse with intent, whether it was to secure a future primary care giver, or in my Yoga world, to get free labour and secure funds.

Dr. Dobson started with a book of strategies, to teach me to talk to people who scared me, so that now I am more able to be self helping by talking to strangers and asking for what I want. The biggest business deals and the the greatest love affairs all started with small talk between strangers at some point. Asserting Yourself, a step by step how-to-book. Very Cool.

I started with my coffee shop of 15 years, Cafe Beano. A meeting place for artists of all kinds, but it had recently (2007) changed hands, and started to go downhill, the music becoming loud and intrusive, among other things. In my assertive training book I learned that I have the right to get what I pay for, and I was paying for coffee and conversation. So I began to practice my techniques, and respectfully but persistently ask for the music to be turned down (ironically called the broken record technique.)

I was eventually and predictably thrown out. Told never to return. I wasn’t being ‘nice’, in fact, I was even called abusive, the usual smear campaign, and told there were customer complaints because I had recently taken up photography, and was capturing their cups, for all the world to see. Perhaps I was capturing rich closeted conservatives meeting their gay lovers, who knows. Dr. Dobson told me to expect this, and not take on too many situations at once, it’s kind of devastating getting used to rejection and takes time.

So here I am 12 years later, setting boundaries and asking for what I want, the only difference is now I am doing stroke recovery as well, I walk with aids and my speech is slurred at times. Narcissists are bullies and seek victims who can’t readily defend themselves. Consequently I have recently been dumped several times by folks not used to being stood up to by their victims that they hunt for and prey upon. These include the manager at the Eddie Bauer, Chinook mall who kept walking away from me mid sentence, apparently the attention span of narcissists is lacking, they get bored easily, and when I expressed my preference to finish my sentence, that was called abusive and I was banned from the store. The local gym, Repsol, banned me and threatened police action if I returned when a staff member walked into a private conversation between me and another stroke victim and was asked politely and assertively to come back later, ( I thought I was having a stroke event ) even then she ignored us and kept intruding, demanding attention like any 4 year old. Her pre-emptive move was to complain to management that we had abused her somehow by asserting our right to not be intruded on in a possible medical event. Gyms are narcissist hell, well, this one is for sure, complete with naturopaths and yoga woo woo. Namaste eh?

According to Dr Tara J. Palmatier , Boundaries Are the Best Protection Against Narcissists, Borderlines and Other Predators. And she is correct. This is the wolf’s bane, the garlic necklace to repel these leeches that prey upon us nice nurturing folks with round open honest faces, They are seeking to suck us dry of our time (our very lives) and money. Just mention evidence based psychology to your local minister, swami or similar cult recruiter and see them head for the hills, name calling as they go out the door.

This is typical narcissist behavior: overvalue, undervalue, dump then smear. For example, both the occupational therapist, and the Eddie Bauer store manager, used a lot of sexual innuendo and physical closeness in the overvalue flirting stage. Being well trained, and ill, I didn’t respond in kind, besides I wanted shoes and therapy, not sex. When I trotted out the dreaded ‘I prefer’ statement, such as, “I prefer to keep this on a professional level, I’m uncomfortable with your leg rubbing mine”, this was responded to by, “I’m the only neuro driver examiner for the hospital in southern Alberta, (a lie), you’d better get along with me (undervalue), or you will never drive again (dump).” I received my driver’s licence last week after a successful exam with a different therapist but I spent an uncomfortable anxious 4 months waiting for this to resolve itself, I was so nervous I only received a borderline pass, and I’ve been training professional drivers as a day gig my entire life.
The Eddie Bauer manager called me abusive and threw me out when I said I
preferred to finish my sentence, I but didn’t elaborate on the fact she constantly bent over and exposed her breasts as a seduction (overvalue) for sales technique. She constantly walked away in mid sentence (undervalue), it was when I spoke up that I preferred to finish my sentence, that I was smeared as abusive then dumped and thrown out of the store.

I doesn’t matter if it’s your church or coffee shop or gym, narcissists go to these places hunting, using charm, often sexual promise, as bait. When you refuse to be charmed by a stranger and keep your hand on your emotional wallet, and your penis in your pants, saying those hated words of self respect, I prefer, they get the message real quick. I try not to let the smear campaign as they go out the door, sting, in fact this deprogramming and information is a good technique for how to take the major sting out of this kind of loss, realizing that even high functioning narcissists and borderline personalities, like my assigned psychotherapist and occupational therapist at community stroke recovery, have no empathy, tend to fake it well, but really hate me for my empathy because it makes them look bad for not having any.
The community psychotherapist, a self proclaimed adult child of narcissistic parents, overvalue stage was to attempt to create emotional intimacy and sympathy by sharing that knowledge of her life. Essentially I was to care for her not the other way around. Her undervalue was to start shitting on my use of Dr. Ellis’ evidence based techniques (narcissists hate evidence) as passe and the dump was saying she would have none of it, she was a relational psychologist. I was in and out the door in 10 minutes, her screaming in the background, like any 4 year old. I had told her I found her abusive, and left.

Don’t even get me started on the Foothills hospital, that entire health system of evidence based medicine that I lived in for 6 months, day and night, is a coven of conservative Catholic cult recruiters preying upon the vulnerable and their families. The hurting overly dependant kids who have lost parents being a sexual predator specialty of record.
God is healing you, the nurse said (not most folks, just me was the seduction overvalue). Oh, where was the the fucker when I had the stroke? Asleep at the wheel? Filthy looks of hate (under value) and nurse abandoned patient was the dump.
I approached another nurse, James, wondering how do I deal with this brain damaged guy in my room, he was really angry and scary. James said that when he had these questions he asked his lord Jesus Christ. It was only after I was attacked, the trigger being I talk too loud, that his meds were adjusted and he was sent to the dementia ward for temporary storage.

Dr. Burns is his book, Intimate Connections, suggests that getting used to rejection is a necessary life social skill, we attain it by talking to strangers and asking for what we want then getting rejected. Social anxiety didn’t seem to ever go away, but it lessened, and I sure had a lot more fun than when I isolated. I felt safer knowing to expect the random leeches and how better to dislodge them. This self respect and self care has helped immensely.

Dr Ellis takes it one step further in his book, The Myth of Self Esteem. If I have self esteem I can lose self esteem. His simple and elegant solution is to dump the notion of esteem of my characteristics, because it is conditional and they can change in a moment, a stroke for example where one loses function. Better to do what I can to recover, say from a lost arm and leg, then ignore it, and focus on my strategies for satisfaction. I may not have as many choices but I still have some. This is self acceptance. So I lived in hospital dodging narcissists (they are everywhere) and spent each morning in the coffee shop, writing with my left hand on a tablet, doing REBT  self help forms and creating a blog which became my book. After I read The Myth of Self Esteem in 2007 I wrote a poem:

A Real Treasure

There is only one of me.

I am a unique individual, one of a kind.

Therefore I have value,

Whether I am young

Or old

Fat or thin

Tall or short

I accept myself as a unique work of art

Vastly interesting

Fascinating

Endlessly changing

Person

Of limitless possibilities (I think of Steven Hawking, wheelchair bound, immobile, scientist, professor, husband and father if I happen to contemplate my `inability’ to create satisfaction in my life)

Because:

I am always in this process of change

Therefore:

I cannot be a finished perfect ’Anything’ (Insert label here [if you must])

This imperfection (by definition) has no bearing whatsoever

On my `value’ or `worth’

I have value or worth because I am a unique one of a kind piece of very fine constantly evolving art that has perhaps not existed before and perhaps may not again

And in my mind, so are you.

So I take pleasure in you, simply because I want it,

A real Treasure.

Blackstock ‘07

Cloud Gazing

DSC_6062_HDR1

“The I Ching (Classic of Changes or Book of Changes), also known as the Yi Jing, Yijing, or I Ging, is one of the Five Classics, the fundamental books of Confucianism. It is over 3000 years old (the symbols used in divination are over 5000 years old), making it both one of the oldest surviving books in the world, and one of the oldest forms of divination. It is by far the most popular spiritual resource and oracle in Asia, and has a growing following in Europe and the Americas based on its uncanny ability to provide detailed insights to those who study it carefully.”  http://www.facade.com/iching/

“The I Ching or Book of Changes is an ancient Chinese text used as an oracle to find out the answers to troubling questions such as “what does the future hold for me?” The book consists of 64 hexagrams, which is the number of possible combinations of pairs of three broken or unbroken lines (trigrams).* The lines represent the two primal cosmic principles in the universe, yin (the broken lines) and yang (the unbroken lines). The trigrams represent heaven, earth, thunder, water, mountain, wind, fire, and lake.

The meanings of the hexagrams were divined many years ago by Chinese philosopher-priests in tune with the tao (Chinese for path or way). They consist of such bits of fortune cookie wisdom as: “If you are sincere, you have light and success. Perseverance brings good fortune” Or, “the superior man discriminates between high and low.”

One may consult the I Ching by flipping numbered coins and adding up the numbers to determine the hexagram. Another method involves dividing up bundles of yarrow stalks.

Carl Jung saw the I Ching as exemplifying what he called synchronicity. Others might see it as exemplifying our ability to create significance from ambiguous data with vague and ambiguous language”.  http://skepdic.com/iching.html

Much as the art world marketers seek to create significance with vague and ambiguous language about visual data. AKA cloud gazing in one form or another.

Graphic Design

I like design that isn’t grid based, so that means its organic, so that means its reduced to one of the fundamentals, so that means it’s an abstraction, emphasizing one element and reducing the rest. Grid based organization of pictorial elements is fascist and over authoritarian, such as ‘best practices’ nonsense for web and print design…such as typing in this little box…

Lawyers Hate Me


Rembrandt, The Prodigal Son in the Tavern, a self-portrait with Saskia, c. 1635, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

Never mess up a good memory with the facts. My lawyer wrote a book. I have lifetime training and practice in speed reading, and I read the story of his life in 15 minutes in his waiting room. Less really. There was no imagination, just an accounting. It was like reading a spreadsheet.
He offered me a free copy and when I said no thanks I’ve already read it, he didn’t believe me. I said I prefer creative descriptive writing, that takes hours to savor and enjoy and re-read just for the pleasure of the words. I could look at Rembrandts feathers all day long… Steinbeck could take 3 pages to describe a drop of dew on a leaf…and I could read your entire life in less than 15 minutes. There is nothing to hold the eye or capture the imagination. You are a very interesting guy, I said, you should learn how to write.
Lawyers hate me. QC’s despise me.
My wife went law school, I went to art school.
The sex was dry and mundane, worse than the nurse but not as bad as the engineer. 50 shades of blah. I liked the part where you moved, then smiled and kissed me back; we laughed with joy, in my imagination.
I was more in love with Rembrandt’s wife than my own.
At least the divorce was free.

Dog Town

I live in a very conservative, orderly, and authoritarian city. I make art about it, and have studied it all my life. The residents are typical fascists, who like dogs because they are predictable, obey commands and are orderly, friendly and are ‘good for something’.
Friendly fascists who are stone cold killers, who start wars, they like wars, and the orderly authoritarian military in charge. In other words they suffer from a deep anxiety, as all bullies do and the cognitive distortion, “others must do the right thing or they deserve to be punished” like the dogs mentioned previously. More consequences of that notion here: http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/musts.html
I paint the world around me that has been stripped of life and colour by folks like this and notions they suffer from, and impose on others.