Recommended: Read Power Trip Poem First
January 2013-April 2014
When I got elected to Student Body President? I thought I made it. The election felt like demons filleting my flesh.
The knife like eyes of my peers judging my every move. I was studying Foucault at the time of the election. His work about the panoptic effect and how it creates a self subjection and internalization of externally imposed norms mixed with his discursive formation theories destroyed me as I tried to form rhetoric for my campaign. The level of understandings I achieved felt nearly too much for me to handle as I was actively synthesizing my studies through my practice. I continuously internalized the rhetoric I crafted from external sources and then re-externalized it through my canvassing and speech giving. I subjected myself to the pan-optic effect from potential voters as I would try and be conscious of what I said wherever I went, and was sure to adhere to norms expected of a potential president (being happy, intelligent, quick, persuasive, confident, to name a few). Then I actively participated in discursive formation as I used the campaign to work to change the discourse of our community.
Getting elected felt like reaching a plateau on the mountain, after crawling through thorny thickets. Little did I realize, I was only at the base of the mountain. Climbing it would be more intense of a taskthan I ever imagined.
Each of these pictures could serve to represent a plateau/new level of synthesis that I reached in understanding and accomplishment along my metaphysical trek through the bureaucracy.
Early on in my term in office, I had a dream that came to serve as a symbolic metaphor for my actions in politics. It was a beautiful and clear day, and I was sitting with warm and friendly company on a grassy area in the Arcata town plaza, facing the south east corner (with a cute café, bank, herbal store, and diner).
I noticed two fluffy white sweatshirt looking things sitting some 30-40 feet ahead of me in the grass. Each had a small round mound on the top. The sweatshirt things were not quite in focus for me to see, so I assumed what they were. Then a tall awkward standing man came into focus in front of me standing next to one of the white fuzzy sweatshirt mound things. He had one leg shorter than the other, jaw tweaked to the side, a goatee, and a grungy blue work jumpsuit. The man took a golf club and lined it up with the mound on the top of the sweatshirt thing. The man swung and lopped off the round little mound on the sweatshirt. It was obvious the man didn’t make direct contact with the “ball”, and rather more of served to sever it from the rest of the thing, as the mound flew awkwardly in the air about 30 feet high and 15 feet far. Then the man started to go for the other sweatshirt thing.
That is when the sweatshirt thing came into focus, and I saw that it was actually a young golden lab retriever puppy. The man had just killed a puppy and was about to kill another!
Next thing I knew I was flying forward running at the man with a golf club in my right hand and a friend at my side charging the man as well. I swung the club towards the man’s head in a fluid running motion, and woke up from the dream from all the adrenaline just before I achieved contact with the man’s head by my golf club.
The metaphor went that the ill plaguing my university political structure was the man with the golf club, and the puppies the willing students.
Little Bear and the Wall of Rainbows
(Crayon, ball point pen, and color pencil)
One of the first things I learned about shamanism is that for the practice of some shaman, they will climb different rungs of a ladder or branches on a tree, and each level upward takes the shaman into a deeper state of the numinous (Numinous defined: the effect a religious experience has on the brain).
The more advanced a shaman is, the higher up they are able to climb, and so on.
I drew this several months before I ran for office.
My original vision for this drawing looked nothing like what was actually produced. When drawing this it felt as though I had gotten possessed of the sort, overcome, as though I was the shaman figure in the drawing being possessed by an ancestral underworld spirit. You’ll see the tool of possession is a rose. It serves as the spirits bridge to the living world.
This really struck later, when I helped to create a political coalition that named it self ROSA with no direct connection. I only realized the rose in the drawing afterword. This has come to mean to me, that by harnessing the power of the numinous, one can formulate great rhetoric to help others access the divine.
How To Make An Exit At The Gates Of Hell
This picture is of a naked human engulfed in the flames of hell. They are parting the flames to make visible the gates of hell, and then likewise are opening the gates. They are opening the gates by harnessing the two different fires, the cold flame and hot flame, one in each palm. This meditative stance is being performed in accordance with the mantras above: “Embrace the eternal fire, and live the lucid reality. Embrace understanding and you won’t need control” (to be read in that order)
These fires are being fused together through the persons heart, channeling in from the back side (facing the viewer of the painting) and outward through the front of the person and to open the gates with a spiraling portal.
My campaign for student government left me stuck in a realm built for immortals and demons. I became student body president, my ex-girlfriend moved back to town, and I got sent to the Panetta institute for public policy (Leon Panetta was head of the CIA, the Secretary of Defense, Presidents Chief of Staff, long time congressmen, and all around an integral component of the military industrial complex and education privatization).
This painting took me several months to paint and learning how to master the water colors served a vital meditative purpose.
My inspiration for the mantras came from an essay I wrote in 2012 where I attempted to write out a numinous experience I was undergoing (I also pull from this essay for the last painting in the series):
“I have recently found myself lost in a craze of hustle and haste, with a variety of other forms of habitual complicity in counterproductive systems of destruction. I have mindlessly, maliciously, and recklessly, ripped through many of my conscious layers of perception. This is such as I so adamantly wish to reach my internal and the eternal truths, the great sources of control.
Then I realize: “forget control.”
I must seek understanding.“
Molten Love: Democracy, Freedom, and Progress
(Ball Point Pen, Watercolor, Colored Pencil, Sharpie, Highlighter)
This painting depicts what happened once I escaped through the flames to see the cold hard truth, and brutal devastating reality.
The city scape, buildings, the hills, allusions to the state, religion, mechanical horsepower are all inspired by other artists. Also present is my shaman spirit from the earlier drawing getting butchered.
I once met a stereotypical filthy evil capitalist. He owned 50 something grain trucks and was vice president at an industrial agriculture melon company. I had a discussion with him where he told me how the problem with hippies was that they refused to respect the horse power.
I agreed with him.
Unfortunately, he only respected the horse power.
The machine at the top of the ivory pillar is a representation for the state. The most bureaucratic people I have ever met always tell me about what they term the caged bird theory, which they all seem to suffer from but wont admit. The caged bird theory in those instances appeared to me; that there was somebody who while trying to make the world a better place, joined the system by attaining an official title holding position, whereby their heart then gets put in a cage. The cage has a nice view, but the heart is still a jar filled with koolaid and all of its efforts and aspirations towards freedom are used to fuel the destructive nature of the machine, particularly by providing fuel for rhetorical notions of progress, freedom, and democracy.
Also present is a homage to the tarsands pipeline and the Idle No More native movement against the pipeline.
In relation to my direct experience at the University, this ivory tower crushes and feeds off of the souls hippies, natives, and all else.
The heart beating to the drum of freedom is vital in maintaining the states dominance, allowing it to march forward civilizing all in its path with concrete and exploitation.
Chlorophyll is the Best Solar Power (Taking Back the Pasture)
(Crayon, Color Pencil, Ball Point Pen, Water Color)
I made this on a brutal day. I had a dream that’s message seemed to mean I could only find happiness through myself. I think I had reached a new plateau in my learning, a new level of synthesis in learning and understanding that I wasn’t quite worthy of. I felt like I had achieved an enlightenment, I understood something on the level of the gods but I was only a mere mortal and not worthy of such understanding, so such knowledge was torturous. I could see how mental forces would work and function in accordance to the bureaucracy. I lucidly saw the different trains of metaphysical mental energy moving within the bureaucracy. I saw how people manipulate these forces. I understood why people were operating within the bureaucracy the way they were. I knew why they were doing what they were doing to a degree that became very uncomfortable.
This piece depicts a scene years after dominance over the native occupants and land had been achieved.
It is a representation of farming techniques being lost to industrial society and the ever encroaching pavement.
Not only did I draw the experience I had that day but I also tried to write it out below:
“You can’t read people’s minds… but you can sort of read your own mind. Understanding another person entirely is an elusive feat of immortal proportions, but when it comes to the system you can observe the effects of its mechanisms conforming to your routine and your routine to its mechanisms. This is the routine of humanity, the cycle of human experience within the confines of contextual existence. Within the current contextual existence of globalized “civilized” community, individuality, and extreme specialization, our archetypal perceptions of experience interface with a system of order on which we are entirely dependent.
This is the order of the street signs governing the tarmac paved earth. The vehicles subjected to such a reign of these signs seek to liberate themselves from such order, in a quest for exhilarating adrenaline filled glory that comes from the pure uninhibited raw horsepower.
Thousands of years of civilization’s dissection of domination and we can now harness the power of universally charged, gravitationally built, energy stores from millions/billions of years ago, to fuel 1000’s of pounds of metals and polymers to speeds faster than any known biological organism, and with enough force to readily kill any known biological organism that happens in its way.
The catch is, when in the machine, you can only stay on the path set forth by utter domination and oppression of all that is naturally human. No matter how “free” you think you are, so long as you use the vehicle, you’re stuck on this path.
If you help create the signs, you can come to predict with great accuracy how different people will operate in accordance and response to the signs you have laid along the path of oppression.
This is the oppression of the collection of all of the acquired knowledge of all of human evolution. We hold the tools that break through the barriers and ruthlessness of the concrete polymer metal bureaucratic billy clubbing riot geared good old fashioned order.
At the status quo, only an immortal cow with a gas mask can harness the tools alone (or violently). We must work together and grow the grass for the cows. We must be the weeds that break through the concrete.”
Unfinished Space Monkey Business
(Water Color, Ball Point Pen, Highlighter, Sharpie)
This is the first piece of art I did after resigning from student government office.
In it, my spirit sticks around to haunt the school administrators, even when they think their technology is top of the line and they are ready to conquer space.
My spirit destroys the crap out of them.
I was feeling a lot happier with this drawing. Unlike the others, I drew this for the fun of it, not to channel my depression.
I love the colors, the science fiction, and the spirit world directly interacting with the physical world.
Whenever I look at this picture I imagine more pictures following it with the snake biting into the glass of the ship, unhinging its jaw to swallow it.
I can only imagine what the people on the ship are thinking. What a futile scary place to be in. A giant space spirit snake is about to inject its poisonness fangs into your ship and that hardly matters because a spirit is taking over your ship and crew with crazy blue red energy magic.
Conquer the Jungle
Fortunately we have peeps like Juan who are taking down the eye on the dollar Buddhist capitalist alpha male silverback gorilla, and he will take what he knows from Humboldt and make serious change when he moves back to Los Angeles! In reality, Juan doesn’t pay credence to those at the top of hierarchies. Instead he works to create grassroots networks in manners that are inherently subversive to strict power structures, but do not seek to directly challenge them.
The humor of this drawing lies in the strict hierarchical pyramid which Juan creates as he attempts to take down the power structure by killing the capitalist. If you attack the animal (human capitalist,) you’ll be left with the golden pyramid with the eye that ends up on every dollar which everybody worships.
Juan had just shown me his roots in East L.A. before I drew this. We also explored all over Southern California. I had never been to the area for anything other than with my family for sporting events, where we stayed at hotels, played the games, and went home.
We met a man on the tram at one point who could tell that I was not from the area. He started talking to us about all the people that move out there with hopeful ideas of opportunity, only to find their dreams crushed by cold hard capitalism. He didn’t say it quite like that, he was drunk and more perverted… He ended his rant with saying “Welcome to the Jungle”. L.A. really is a concrete jungle. Endless suburban sprawl built upon a paved desert, complete with wildlife, and even wilder humans.
During the same experience that helped to inspire the text for the How To Make An Exit At The Gates Of Hell drawing, I felt as though I was on hallucinogenic drugs, but I was sober. It felt as though a tornado of consciousness was spinning around in my head, and wherever it landed became conscious. As I worked through the experience, I gained control of where the tornado would point by meditating in the half lotus position. When I focused control to point the tornado towards my vision, a golden Buddha statue would appear amidst purple fractals and gold rays.
The statue had a Buddha sitting in the same position as the gorrilla in this drawing, and in front of a golden pyramid, and the statue and pyramid and all was spinning incredibly fast on top of the purple background while emanating golden rays. The more I meditated on the statue, the slower it would spin, and when I directed full focus onto it, it would stop spinning and hold still in the center, but as soon as my thoughts slipped, it would spin off into infinite oblivion.
The rich capitalist ape that runs the jungle of L.A. harnesses this rhetorical power, and Juan the rock star (notice guitar in his hand) student organizer, caps him in the head with a Beretta (Juan’s choice in guns) and conquers the jungle. This is part of the cycle of the futility of man, for violence is necessary because violence begets violence, and there is no other way for Juan to go but to conquer… or is there? The joke goes that Juan fighting the man helps to reinforce the man. Juan’s putting a bullet through the giant apes creates the eye at the top of the pyramid that watches us, that we find on every dollar and let govern our lives. The joke of our trip was that Juan was Jesus. Jesus didn’t play into the power structures. He didn’t give them any avenue of validation. Jesus gave his compassion to the misfits and outcasts, just as Juan organizes them in a grass roots fashion. Juan is the fuel for weeds to break through the concrete, and reconquer the concrete jungle.