Access Calgary

The scene of my constant humiliation, Access Calgary where I go to be defined by my disability.
Eighteen months ago I had a devastating life event affecting my mobility. After 6 months in hospital, I moved into my home, fully dependant on these characters in cabs to move me to outpatient facilities and for essentials like groceries.
Excuse me I need to stop, here at this Starbucks, I need to use the washroom.
We don’t stop.
Not even for basic human needs.
I asked the guy in the wheelchair, what do you do? Piss yourself and sit in it, they don’t give a fuck he says.
So right away I get the message, this is for the cab company’s convenience, not mine. On time and fuck you.
I used to manage the dispatch for this cab company. I bailed and went to art school, glad to be away from this harsh draconian conservative regime. After I graduated, I trained special needs bus drivers for a fleet with 2000 vehicles as a day gig. First thing I told the drivers, don’t treat them like they are broken, just drive safe and be pleasant, give them a comfortable ride like you would for anybody.
So, when I get in the Access car, the driver starts doing my seatbelt, and won’t take no for an answer. Faster this way he says. Never mind that his body rubs against my genitals, if I had breasts, well I don’t know what they do.
Put up with being felt up by the driver. It’s not like you have a choice.
There is a monopoly in place and they are fighting to maintain the 300 bucks a day per driver (his share).
The attitude is friendly and helpful with the part-time relief guys, but the regular drivers, forget it. They hate the job, and they hate you. They live in fear of being fired.
If you assert your rights you are being difficult. Every trip is an arguement or passive aggressive silences, watched by video cameras, every trip. Orwell was right.
I’m waiting alone at my building, the driver comes to the lobby, and demands, What’s your name!
My name is Jerald.
What’s your last name!
OK are you here for Jerald? I’m the only one here named Jerald who is waiting for Access.
If you don’t tell me your last name you are not getting in the car! The Access Nazi, no ride for you.
I chose to stay home, called Access and told them what happened.
The next day, the same driver was sent again, same scene over again.
Access apologised again, and put on my file don’t ask his last name, like I am the problem, I am difficult.
After a successful career spanning 40 years in transportation, of special needs folks, I’m the problem.
I called the cab company, talked to the dispatcher, a deeply stupid gent who has been doing a bad job there since I left. Jerry, (they call me Jerry) he was just following orders, you want I should fire him for following orders? No fire the insane individual who gave him the orders then threatened his job if he didn’t comply, was my thought, but I said, uh, this is your policy isn’t it. Yes, he said proudly.
This would be so simple to fix.
Call a cab, Uber, whatever.
Go where you want when you want.
Give them your access card. Process it.
Get out of the cab.
Duh, is that so hard?
Bad weather, call and book a reservation. Access goes to the head of the list. These people have computer dispatch, I know I helped build it. They can do this.
Well only certain drivers have Access training, you say? Ya from now on if your company wants Access trips, all drivers have Access training, it’s called career development.
Sorry about your monopoly but it sure wasn’t in my best interests, was it?

Calgary Arts Development

I took a course in cultural anthropology one time or maybe it was the other one about the bones and stuff, where I learned that humans migrate, for the usual reasons, war being a big one because it wipes out shelter and food. Following the herd, weather events on a global scale, cosmic events like asteroid collisions causing a type of nuclear winter. Not much has changed really. Random shit still happens and we up and move. Brexit from genetically defective inbred island mutants notwithstanding.

Folks take their better war tech with them, Neanderthals with their bigger brains and bigger bodies were wiped right out because we had domesticated wolves, a really viscous war tool, and the resident folks living in the new place, got raped and their heads bashed, killed by new diseases to them..

This is actually good for our species because the immune system seems to like the challenge of new foreign bugs, our bodies are strong because of adversity, we overcome injury through exercise. We are built to run all day and follow the herd.

Herds migrate.

And we evolve as a species.

A kind of evolutionary tough love.

Here in North America my grandfather migrated/immigrated to lands west of Calgary, the army had displaced the usual residents using their better war tech for him, he proceeded to grow grasses (wheat) to live off, promptly got diabetes went blind and went broke.

We have only been trying to live off grass (agriculture) for 6 thousand years or so (?), and we are not good at it. Sedentary diabetes modules is what we have become, what with sugar thrown in the mix life is short but its not sweet. Don’t even get me started on what tobacco and high fructose corn syrup (other types of grasses) does to us.

The mapping of the human genome wiped out the notion of race, but we have different cultures for sure, based on different war tech primarily (IMHO) to deal with our anxiety that all humans have brought with them from the jungle. Oh and religion for the same reason. Anxiety and hostility and religion go hand in hand.

So one of our cultures or religions is not better than the other, and because we are the same human species we are all thinking the grass is greener in our neighbor’s yard let’s migrate there or in our retirement let’s travel, and we have a taste for rape called lets meet interesting people and sleep with them, in college, or any opportunity really, sowing our wild oats continually as it were.

So now I am an artist, my preference.

It’s insane, eugenics really, to think I am smarter or more talented than anyone else. I have a preference for making art so I learned and practiced and tolerated the huge frustration of doing that, and now I make satisfaction for me, the purpose of life.


Rooty toot toot.

The City of Calgary wants me to meet with them about the uselessness of being on a jury to decide what art to buy and show with public funds, a practice fraught with abuse from the public here. Indigenous art of the conquered folks is preferred these days, but so is gay/lesbian and gender issues. Handicapped art like the freak in the circus is also cool.

Since I’m white, male, straight, and  middle age I’m usually the anti-Christ of art selection committees so this is rather peculiar to me, I hope they pay for my bus ticket to the meeting, but I doubt they will.  Perhaps I am considered handicapped after a stroke so that is the appeal.

So basically they traditionally make selections based on some physical attribute.

The non eugenics viewpoint says we are all intelligent we are all talented and we have different passions that we tolerate frustration in order to succeed at.

So making art selections based on physical characteristics of the artist, who their grandparents were, who conquered them, who they like to socialize their mastubation with (all sex is masturbation, we just invite friends along sometimes) whether they walk or roll, is really a kind of Barnum and Bailey freak show for the entertainment of the uneducated who are paying us to pick this stuff so they don’t have to bother with frustration of an education in the 800 years of history and tradition of the conquering culture, or the thousands of years of the conquered one either.

So a eugenics scorecard was developed to help spread the blame for this really authoritarian even fascist Hitlerian selection process. Each proposal that took months even years to develop and asking for thousands of public dollars is given half an hour, the juror paid $7.50, and based on a score of 10, a rating of artistic merit and social impact. Both of which are meaningless terms based on a prejudiced belief rather than evidence, so it fits right in with the eugenics model that one human is better than another based on conditions.

So what’s the solution?

Fire the notion of a jury.

Hire an art historian, as curator, to develop a curatorial them in conjunction with your art committee/board of directors, whatever.

Put out a call for artists based on the curatorial theme.

Send the curator off to do studio visits and make selections, leave her alone to do her job.

Support her in her decisions.

Educate the public with publications on this is the curatorial theme, this is the expert hired to curate it, these are the accomplished artists chosen to execute it.

Live with the inevitable flak from a city of Trump loving expert hating nazis.

Learn to dodge bullets.

This is business as usual as an artist.

Your likes and dislikes only describe you, not the art.

Grow a set and don’t stand to be pushed around.

Celebrate ‘it’s art because I say its art because I am an artist based on qualifications’.

Learn to dodge more bullets.

That’s our job, that’s what we do.

Stand up and do it.

Free Will and the Power of Choice

Photo: António José Cravo

“Libet found the readiness potential starts to rise before people report they are aware of their decision to move. Many took that as a challenge to the existence of free will. But subsequent studies argued that was a flawed interpretation, and that the results said little about free will.”

My point of view is that if I am to form new neural pathways around the stroke damage in my brain, I must choose to move, consciously and repetitively, they even know how many repetitions of the attempt it takes for the brain to form the new pathway. (a few thousand, I forget)

I am involved in a study that suggests the white matter of the brain plays a role with folks like me who had a stroke for no discernible reason, and are more able to choose to do the repetitions and regain motion.
If I choose to not do the repetitions I’m without use of my body.

I choose to tolerate the frustration of not having instant gratification.
Success in any endeavor is high tolerance of frustration.
A four year old demands instant gratification.
An adult is capable of short term pain for long term gain.

Therefore adulthood is the result of free will and power of choice.
Narcissists, (Trump) who are adult children, are examples of choosing not to grow up, and manipulate others instead of saying ‘if it is to be, it is up to me’.

Stroke folks are often people who have low tolerance of exercise and choosing healthy foods anyway and this is one of the potential consequences.

I have the gene for diabetes, but since I choose not to have genetic nihilism, I haven’t given that gene expression by eating what I please, a kid in a candy store.

My philosophy of life is based upon the teachings of Epicurus turned into cognitive therapy by Ellis.

Dick Passingham, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Oxford in the U.K., says the paper clears up one of the major concerns about the original Libet experiment. “This activity that occurs earlier is … not just general preparation, it really is a proper decision,” he says.

The Joy of Teeth

I was at the dentist the other day. I felt treated with such care and consideration and empathy. Not the sentimentality that would keep her from removing a tooth if necessary but true compassion.
I was able to recognize that same care and compassion, in me, I was able to finally see it, by her example, in myself, too close to it to see it previously, taking my care of others for granted.
You see, was constantly panicked and hurt and depressed ashamed and embarrassed and worried from the harm done to me from my parent and siblings. They hate us for our compassion for it makes them look bad, so they attack, the narcissists in my life, my so called family.
The knowledge that I can handle life comes with the knowledge that I can give myself this unconditional care and understanding independent of others.
My lifelong anxiety and loss was as a child who had never known anything but institutional care, an virtual orphan who needed to ‘be of use’ to have any worth to himself and only conditionally to others.
I became free of these emotional consequences when I decided I no longer had to ‘be of use’ as I was no longer dependant on others for care, I am self caring. Both sides of the business contract of love and compassion for hire, thrown in the trash.
So my being treated with unconditional care, it an intimate physical way, my mouth, with no expectation of similar return, gave me an example, a reminder, of how to treat myself. I don’t believe that I had ever had a relationship of any kind, professional or otherwise, where there was such obvious care.
My typical relationships were like the social worker in the hospital, whose focus was on what an inconvenience I was, how I made life difficult for her, with my situation, conditions of no supportive family, only able to support myself and my art by working hard, none left over to save, not yet old enough for seniors annual income.
She said, ‘your body has let you down’, whereas I thought my body had suffered a random injury in my brain, and was busy healing, taking care of it.
She scared me, typical of the harsh institutional ‘care’ I had known since birth. When she left, her replacement was even worse, a true conservative sent in to deal harshly with the freeloaders like me. Either get a job or we send you to the single men’s hostel she said. But I can’t walk, and my right dominant arm is flaccid. Doesn’t matter, lots of people in wheelchairs have jobs… My previously agreed upon recovery plan was to apply for government funding for the severely handicapped and stay in hospital continuing to recover and receive treatment till the funding arrived, then see where I was going to go, an institution probably, assisted living, where someone wipes your ass at worst, or set up my own home at best.
I mean this nazi social worker hadn’t even read my file, she was a former welfare intake worker whose job it was to reject folks, with a holy zeal. This I knew how to deal with, having grown up in the welfare system. These types of bullies are common and revert to their sycophantic ways in the presence of authority, in this case the Doc who ran the unit, making a proclamation that it wouldn’t be appropriate to send me to the single men’s hostel.
He knew me as a professional artist, making me the same class of professional as him, the welfare worker knew me as a labourer, my day gig at the time, self employed courier of meds to patients from the hospital.
The system warehoused working class people regularly, on foam mats on the floor, side by side, in neat rows, puking from a nights drinking of Listerine.
I first experienced real compassionate care when I met Arlo Guthrie the folk singer. His Mom had started the Huntington’s Society after her husband Woody Guthrie and his siblings and kids died of this genetic degenerative terminal brain disease. His Aunt woke up one day and decided to set the kids on fire. Brain diseases are like that.
I knocked on his bus at the folk fest where I was volunteering with my wife with Huntington’s disease. Hi we’re with the Huntington’s Society…C’mon in!
Turns out he was mainly an aids worker in NY, touring a bit, and making sure he made time to spend with folks who were lonely and scared and hurting. He wasn’t asking for anything in return, he already had it, he was giving it to himself.
And now since that fateful and loving dental appointment, so am I.



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…

Empathy in the Genius of Art and Art Criticism

Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch Painter, Draftsman, Printmaker
Movements and Styles: The BaroqueDutch Golden Age
Born: July 15, 1607 – Leiden, the Dutch Republic
Died: October 4, 1669 – Amsterdam

The writer says Emanuela Cau has a lot of empathy, and she’s right.

This lifetime light came on then for me, I realized it’s why I prefer artists like Rembrandt and Cliff Eyland. Empathy.

Others who are good technicians, of any discipline, learned a technique and practised it, like anyone can, and that’s their work for life, some get incredibly good at it.

Based on the criteria of art is a record of the human experience, valuing the beauty of the handmade mark for instance, the technician is lost, all he values is technique, which anyone can learn.
He is likened to a recording where all trace of the human hand on the strings is removed, like photoshopped breasts, the ‘blemishes’ removed.

The technicians are crafty, clever and manipulative. Con-men.
Banksy is a good example for me. An amusing well executed one off. I have no interest in seeing his cartoons more than once.

I could look at Rembrandt’s feathers for days and have. “An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.” – wiki.

Rembrandt never travelled in search of technique to copy. Lastman, Caravaggio and Rubens came to him. Why? Empathy, that made him the real deal, genuine, not a trickster not a scam artist.
His personal tragedy was great, losing several children and his wife, eventually all his money as well. This informed his art and his audience with humanity.
We have never seen Banksy, that’s part of his scam, like a bank robber we only see an effect.

Why do I value empathy? It’s those who don’t have it who have hurt me. The defining characteristic of sociopaths is their lack of empathy.
Narcissists are good at the technique of appearance of empathy, but they hate me for mine.
I make them look bad when I call them on the bullshit they use to make themselves appear special, usually by removing any evidence of themselves in their guilt and shame.

I hate bullies who try to make themselves look better by making others look bad. The art critics without empathy specializes in that technique and are my special disgust.

Art critics who care deeply about the human condition, like Paddy Johnson, are my special love, and when they call bullshit, I get a great feeling of satisfaction, and appreciation for the cost of their sacrifice.

People with empathy, like Rembrandt, don’t have what it takes to fuck people over, to be true capitalists and they often die in the poorhouse. I was born there and learned survival there. I’m used to it, so I have less risk in calling bullshit and being alone, and ill without funds. It ain’t pleasant but it ain’t terrible neither.
I am not dependant, and overly scared, using people with the technique of charm.
I have a very few friends and a few acquaintances, all with empathy, so I am rich beyond measure. It’s like having Rembrandt and his feathers to hang around with.
I would rather see the pain in the eyes of his self portraits or the love in those of Emanuela Cau, than the stone coldness of the words of a faked empathy used by a manipulator and a con man.

Everybody Looks At Their Poop

The nurses at the hospital where I lived for 6 months, recovering from a stroke asked sordid and squalid questions.
How are your bowels dear?
Did you have a bowel movement today dear?
Do you need a laxative dear?

Fine, Yes, No. The next person to call me ‘dear’ in that condescending fashion while speaking too loudly….were my thoughts on the subject.
Still I managed my frustration with humour, at least humour to me; nurses have none, zero, zip.

Fine how are yours? Said with a sweet smile…invoking the lewd and lascivious innuendo of anal intercourse. I could see the thought bubble ‘creepy old man’.

I did, it was monstrous, like giving birth…the female nurses hated that metaphor.

And finally the one they most disliked that invoked the most jealousy and competitive rivalry: no thanks I’m regular as clockwork. They detested that, because they weren’t. I was given stoney looks, the glare of envy.

Why? Because everyone in medicine is concerned with money. So they cheap out on food, low fibre prefabricated crap carbs that sit in the intestines like cement bridgework. AKA hospital food. They eat at work, they think laxatives are normal, stools need to be softened as a lifestyle. Hoarders all, money and poop.

The first month I was there, with little control over my food choices, I was plugged like the Hoover dam. As I gained control over my income through a grant from an artists relief association (pun intended) and a purchase of my work by Cliff Eyland, I was able to avoid the pizza and pasta and add broccoli and green beans. It was similar to being in a Mexican prison, no money no food kind of thing. I ate in the public cafeteria, 10 slices of bacon and a tomato please. They thought I was brain damaged.

The dietician, when I finally got a consult, knew exactly what I was doing, very familiar with wheat belly, grain brain lifestyle of low carb.
I mean the dietician was trying to get diabetics to simply reduce salt, and here I was, her star patient dumping sugar and carbs like grains, and not diabetic or overweight or constipated, her diet dream come true.
She ordered changes to my menu, eggs for breakfast, chicken thighs and green beans for lunch, beef and broccoli for dinner, sugar free yogurt 3 times a day. I still had tomatoes and bacon for an afternoon snack in the cafeteria. Of course the dietician was roundly ignored by the kitchen, and the food servers. You can’t live on that! as they dumped pizza and pasta on my plate. They thought, like many patients, I had stroke induced dementia.

Ever try to argue with a nurse from Nigeria, 6 feet tall, with a strong accent, a poor grasp of English and clogged bowels? She is boss with a capital B for bowel movement. It ain’t gonna happen, not from a wheelchair. Finally I got the kitchen supervisor and asked her why were they ignoring the dietician? I mean these people are conservatives, would vote for Trump, hate authority, they think they know best, that kind of loading dock mentality.

She gave me a survey to fill out, to complete with a pencil with not much lead, with my left hand, the dominant right being flaccid. One of my heroes, Lord Nelson, commanded a large sea battle of sail rigged war ships while tied to a chair and only his left arm to use, at sea, in a storm. All I had to do was describe my lack of satisfaction 3 times a day for a week . Easy peasy.

I once lived with a nurse, bat shit crazy hated the sight of blood. We would drive by a motorcycle collision, those are alway life threatening requiring immediate treatment, saying to herself, “I’m not a nurse, I’m not a nurse…” She worked on the psych ward and ate at the hospital for free. One of her colleagues went home every night got into bed and ate a can of cake frosting. She was skinny as a rail with a large belly, apparently.
While I knew my nurse/lover she had three operations for hemorrhoids, couldn’t understand why I ate from my garden in Victoria where we lived. She thought I was growing pot and screwing the neighbors. Eventually she met a rich abusive engineer just like her Dad and quit coming home at night, so I insisted she move out. I saw her and the engineer 20 years later, both looked bitter and hateful and plugged up. A good match.

I once dated a female engineer, met her in Starbucks, that bastion of dispensed diuretics and laxatives in grande form. She was dealing with ‘a depression’ as she called it, on medical leave. She was smart and loved sex, could talk about things other than oil refineries which she built, but bored easily and played with her poop. We didn’t last, the 50 shades of poop was a deal breaker. I decided I would wait for the movie, then avoid the void. She decided to hate me for cause: poop rejection. Love me love my poop kind of thing.

People obsessed with their poop do that.They hate everybody. You can spot them a mile away by their gait, walking like their buttplut is in a little too tight. They really got perturbed, those butt-plugged nurses, when they would grab my boiled eggs to peel them, unasked, and I would say, “did you wash your hands?” Guilt ridden they assumed I knew their shame secrets, and they were right, who wants fecal matter on their boiled eggs?

I was really glad to get a new home 6 months later and move in…still am…what a shitty experience that was.

Plenty of Fish

It’s not much to go on, my little profile. Quick decisions and a desire for perfection are a desire for loneliness and staying single. Also, to say that you can know me without getting to knowing me, is pretty offensive not to mention grandiose in your god like power to reduce a very complicated thing like a human to a few lines on a screen. It displays a lot of anxiety, and probably depression, if not full blown narcissism.
This is good information and your preferences describe you of course and not me. I would prefer someone who is not a perfectionist, who sees all humans without condition, who doesn’t see age or skin colour or religion or ability to walk fast or slow. Someone like me, and probably not you. I’m patient, my partner is rare as am I.

I am living the life, in a place I love, in the city I love. This is a choice and I choose to love myself and my life, and given half a chance, you as well. These are good choices. I’m a professional artist, documenting and commenting on what I love.
I don’t see age, once folks are an adult, or colour or ‘disability’ whatever that is, we all deal with challenges. That’s why I don’t prefer religion, new age woo woo and yoga cults. I tried them all and found them to be overly-authoritarian creating anxiety and depression.
I am not looking for a lifeline, someone to get me away from all this, and neither are you. We are where we want to be with goals for future satisfactions.
I am self sufficient, even while recovering from injuries, the part of life that happens to all of us, from time to time.
I remember when I first had a stroke, and in a wheelchair, some friends and colleagues wouldn’t be seen with me in public, even the coffee shop at the hospital, afraid of standing out in public, being exposed by being with a freak, a gimp. They were more handicapped than I was at the time.
Now I can walk, and drive a car, live not in hospital, that was 6 months of hell; it was full of damaged perfectionists, hating themselves and each other.
I am happy I exist and with my ability to create satisfaction in my life. I’m not waiting to have a life somewhere else at some future time, I’m doing it now, dealing with the hardships everyone has, then ignoring them and creating enjoyment. ( This my self care and my responsibility, I take it seriously. Besides it’s fun. Care to share my enjoyment? I hope you brought your sense of humour, you are going to need it. 🙂

My artists statement, it says a lot about me:

I was born in the Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada, my grandfather was a homesteader near Blue Rock, west of Turner Valley. The Bow Valley has been my life.

After working as the art director at Chinook Plastics, where I supervised and produced the architectural signage for large projects such as the Cave and Basin in Banff and the University of Calgary I moved on to a career at Art School (Alberta University for the Arts) where after 6 years of study I taught painting and drawing. (c.v. attached)

By editing to create fleeting moments of exaggerated light, colour and pattern, my contemporary approach to digital painting has created a body of work that is brimming with nostalgia for my first homes (after the loss of parents): the streets of Calgary, and the mountains of the Bow Valley

The works are similar in spirit to Nouvelle Vague:

“From this passion for art they developed a belief in the theory of the auteur: that is, a conviction that the best works are the product of a personal artistic expression and should bear the stamp of personal authorship, much as great works of literature bear the stamp of the writer.” © 2008 Simon Hitchman

“(An artist) makes liberal use of artistic license to significantly embellish or change the circumstances of real-life incidents by any means possible” – Rosalind E. Krauss – Wiki.

With my emphasis on feeling, I’m a personal history expressionist. I relate to Alice Neel, who as “A successor to the expressionism of Chaim Soutine, Edward Munch, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Neel used distorted drawing and invented color to reveal the character beneath each sitter’s physical appearance. (© Artsy)”

I use the camera, editing software, a formal education in painting aesthetics and a lifetime of fine art practice to reveal what lies beneath; the poetry of existence.

How Do You Keep Them Down On The Farm?

My uncle “was a safe man, a jugger, a man whose specialty was opening safes by whatever means was most appropriate. He was comfortable with liquid nitro and with plastic explosive, he was expert at peeling, he could drill out a combination lock or cut a circular hole in the top of a solid steel safe. He had helped to tunnel into vaults, to by-pass time locks and to remove wall safes entirely, so they could be worked on at leisure somewhere else.” Butcher’s Moon – Richard Stark.
My uncle was a skilled craftsman, as devoted to his work as any fine jeweler. My Uncle Harvey was a hard case criminal, often addicted to heroin and a dealer, a famous guy, the first Canadian to be put in jail forever under the new incorrigible prisoners act. This, I believe, was a law instituted at the behest of Senator Patrick Burns, whose Burns meat packing safe was blown up regularly by my uncle, using nitro he made a few blocks away on Prince’s Island, a local lumber magnate.
I had my first painting and drawing lessons in the Burn’s building when it was run down and infested with artists.
My uncle shipped heroin from Vancouver via the Royal Mail (Canada Post) to my grandmother in Turner Valley, a micro town in Alberta, famous for the first oil well, where I was born into poverty.
The Mounties, who often got it wrong, raided my Mom’s house a few blocks away instead, ripping open the furniture while watched by 4 small kids, as my Dad, a former soldier and coal miner, lay dying of lung cancer in a Calgary military hospital.
My uncle, while languishing in his fame/shame in Canada’s toughest prison, Kingston penitentiary, as Canada’s first incorrigible, got a BA, an English degree, in prison in the 1950’s, wrote a book, Bitter Humour by Harvey Blackstock. He was released to Toronto upon publication, as evidence of his rehabilitation, where like a lot of career criminals and artists, he drove cab.
His book is a series of anecdotes about how crime doesn’t pay, reminding of the Coen brothers movies, in that it details a series of fuck ups and lost profits, a description made for the parole board to demonstrate his penance learned in penitentiary. I suspect it was a total fabrication
In no way, for example, does it describe how much fun he had, with the drugs, the sex workers, the excitement of making nitro and subsequent, explosions.
He was a sociopath narcissist, which he learned at his mother’s knee. Passed on from generation to generation, the reason why my father married one. Typically, he liked change, commitments weren’t for him.
He started riding the rails during the Depression, when my Irish Catholic grandmother sent half of his 17 younger brothers and sisters to the Salvation Army, for lack of food on the farm, to end up as 3 meetings a day AA cult recruiters.
According to his book, his drug of choice was codeine which medicated his chronic lung disease, a gateway drug to heroin. He rode the rails and was a small time criminal, breaking into drugstores for cough syrup, leading to prison time and higher education as a safe cracker and artist.
This was, and remains today in police circles, the current theory of gateway drugs and activities, controlling our free will and power of choice by some form of magic.
Personally, because I’ve met a lot of artists and similar convicts driving cab, I think he had a lot of fun, with like minded souls, prison as an artist colony.
Sex drugs, rock and roll, how can you keep them down on the farm?

Taking Back My Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships

REBT Self-Help Form

What is the situation that you are upset about?
     Answer: I put it together. Devastated by narcissist dumping, by a live in partner a business deal I made when I was preyed upon and vulnerable, followed by a fiancé business deal I made when I was preyed upon and vulnerable, followed by an art director dumping me a deal I made when preyed upon and vulnerable, followed by Ashram fiends that I made when I was preyed upon and vulnerable. Followed by being dumped by my minister at the church when I sought evidenced based medical help for the consequential loss. The vulnerability was in times of loss, transition, and I was their prime target, intelligent, and hurting, unassertive. Serial narcs all in a row. I was extremely susceptible to their love bombing. Source: Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships

What are the unhealthy negative emotions that you are experiencing?
     Answer: depression rage anxiety shame embarrassment hurt guilt jealousy

What self-defeating behaviors would you like to change?
     Answer: withdrawing, avoiding art work and social contact, I dropped art, went driving courier, procrastination about art and exercise then overindulged in feel good behaviors by overeating. It took several years to recover from the devastation, and become more self helping, with diet and exercise and learing a new art form that wasn’t a trigger, years of creative development.

What demand are you making about the situation?
     Answer: I MUST be liked and accepted, loved by significant others, perform well, or else I am an inadequate worthless person. This notion I was indoctrinated in since birth, reinforced by physical and emotional beatings.
     Dispute: Why must I? Is there any evidence that I am inadequate and worthless?
     Rational Belief: No there is no evidence that I am a useless unworthy person, that conclusion just loops back to the original self abusive statement and is self defeating, that I must do as others say or they won’t like me, and if they don’t like me I am a shit. That’s just slavery. Others likes and dislikes describe only their likes and dislikes. Not me, ever. This is motivating to make new public art and risk, actually guarantee, the displeasure of millions.

What are your new healthy negative emotions?
     Answer: sadness concern disappointment, regret about getting manipulated, even though it was hard to see it coming. I have learned recently that setting boundaries is my best protection, even though I will be disliked and called abusive for stating my preferences.

Warning: This form should not be considered a substitute for individualized treatment with a mental health professional. If you are seeing a counselor or a therapist, it is recommended that you print this page and discuss your responses with him or her.

Designed by Will Ross © 2006

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