I was walking with Raven back in Moncton New-Brunswick, playfully drunk. We were trying to hide the fact that we had both had a drinking session before entering “Japan!Go”, a sushi restaurant. The (non-Japanese) waiter had to’ve noticed right away despite our attempt to be minimally subtle – Before we sat down, I dropped metal chopsticks on the floor making a really loud noise, as Raven proceeded to break (?) the log-like chair he was going to seat himself in.
Coming back from this walk, I was feeling blue. I had spent the last bit of my money on this indulgence. (my favorite food is sushi and I never allow myself to spend the bit of money I ever do have on such an absolute luxury) It was painfully delicious & lots of silly fun, looking for all the ways we could mock the fancy social atmosphere we were in, but my breaking my “wallet” (if I were to have one) had reminded me of how I had no job. For the millionth time, it came down on me how despite that I may be a very artistic person, I have no income. At the time, my “game plan” was to sell paintings in the streets I would encounter in any given town throughout my explorer’s lifestyle.
I had started a painting on an enormous canvas that got donated to me. Though I had incredible visions for this painting, it felt as though I had little to no reason to hope that I would succeed at selling my art. I am not a very good vendor, I despise the idea of selling myself. I was in despair.
Then Raven came up with the story of his success as a Youtuber. He explained to me that he used to have a gamer’s channel that got very popular. He posted videos on a regular basis, had a fan base, products, and an income from “monetizing” his YouTube videos. He cooperated with other people and the project was indeed a successful one.
Raven was suggesting that if I had a Youtube channel where I talked about my process as an artist, it would be a good way to bring attention to my art & would help me sell the finished paintings I would produce.
At first, I reacted the way I typically always have: I am FAR from good enough for that. It would NEVER take off. The idea seemed terrible to me but I treated his suggestion with curiosity, because part of me actually loved it. What could make me happier than being seen & understood by people around the world? Equals, rather than people to look down on me. Society has always looked down on me, for my lack of freedom, of money. Of continued education. Transportation. Realistic career direction. (& so on)
As he explained the details of how he was able to truly catch on and grow his fan base, he made it sound like if I gave it enough effort, eventually it would have to catch on. He named examples of people who posted videos every day, who’s lives were far from particularly interesting – but they were able to catch on because some people enjoyed their personalities enough to make a regular space for their videos in their time. People like hick trucker fathers or depressed young women.
We then went into details about how I could (theoretically) start filming my painting process. That afternoon, when we got back from drunk sushi, he helped me carve slits into a little cardboard box, so that my cell phone could stand despite it’s thin round edges. We connected my cell phone to the wall with a USB extension.
I placed some library books open & standing on a shelf next to the giant canvas I was in the process of painting. Chose two illustrations (among many) of complex patterns in some foreign materials. I used them as inspiration for colors – suggestion color palettes, if you will. Then I set up my paints, placed my cell phone and it’s box-stand on an ironing board behind me, sat on a tool box & waited to know what I wanted to begin painting. Turning my head from side to side in an attempt to better visualize endless hesitations in my head, I heard a familiar digital chime:
(Listen to Fountain by iamamiwhoami on SoundCloud:)
What this song does to me can’t be described in words. And yes, I’m going to do the cheesy writer’s thing – and not at all bother.
When that song started, my red ring sprouted a twisted blue wave out from a sea in my mind. The twisted blue wave turned into a twisted blue tree. The tree eventually grew a yellow blotch of leaves with a semi-detailed silhouette. From this corner on, and within the red ring, it all branched out.
I don’t want to talk about this painting in this article. The reason for this is that I would rather take my time in doing so. This painting will always mean so much to me, and it was going so many different directions within it’s own rectangular self. I take it with me, even though I wasn’t aloud to take it with me in a physical sense. In a nutshell, a few hours before our train trip permanently out of town & toward Halifax nova scotia, VIA rails Canada straight up told me it could neither be brought in the cargo, nor in the passenger’s area. I won’t branch out on how this broke my heart, either. In time I’ll go through it all in detail, in another post.
From that point on, it had been my goal to give the Youtube project a strongly motivated & hopeful go. It was to be be adjacent with my passion & my right to continue it. No one can realistically continue on without an income. Surely I knew how this wasn’t necessarily true – I’d been submerged in Montreal culture for the past several months. I won’t go in detail, but as much as I reaped so much wonderful from this experience in Quebec’s most exciting city, it wasn’t all beautiful. The culture I was submerged in was that of homeless urban youth. This culture is still in my (metaphorical) “heart” & I still stand behind them in many ways, but I’ve seen allot of drug abuse & regular bouts of great discouragement. I’ve seen the lengths young people have to go to in order to get their hands on any money at all. Though nearly all of them wear this lifestyle proudly & though their values fall into it like fate, it’s a fate that acts as such – without permission, or control. We can’t control everything, I know – but I always aimed to have some control. My pride was snug when I was broke among street folk, but my home was threatened & I had access to so little. I went hungry all the time, regardless of any on-off dieting decisions. It was the way things were.
So here is my Youtube channel for anyone who’d like to follow my experiences & art projects. Though school & browsing the internet has taught me that the appropriate thing here would be to proceed to some sort of advertising as a perfect closure to this extensive blog article, I won’t indulge in this. Instead I’d like to mention that I will be recording, editing & posting videos regularly hens forth. As for my career altogether, I will continue on the wave I’ve always been on even in times of doubt – amplified. This is what I want to & chose to do with my life. The necessary efforts will be put in.