being as this site is still only a few days old, i’m still posting things here, just to provide a bit of content for anyone who might stumble in. until i get the main body of my site complete, i won’t be adding many genuine posts here. i’m almost done with the free download pagesÂ which is somethingÂ i reckoned on taking much longer. i’ve also started writing a brief history of me, which is probably a bit self-indulgent, but i genuinely feel i have a few stories to spin. See extract below:-
Asides from working to create my own unique artistic voice over the last eleven years, Iâ€™d say I done a few other things that are worth a mentioning and actually might be more interesting to the reader. In 97 I got up one morning from the floor of my bed-sit and decided to go and live in the States in a Zen Buddhist Monastery. Iâ€™d been developing a practice of Zen Meditation since leaving art school, in an attempt to grabble with a bit of existential disorder. By the summer of 97 Iâ€™d developed a quite rigorous and austere practice of meditating in a full lotus for five hours a day. As a direct result of this mind training I genuinely felt pretty impervious to all adversity. However, nothing particularly testing was happening to me, so I decided to put my calmness to the test. I should add, this process, was quite genuine and the effort I made at the time, to transform my mind from being prettyÂ messed up to being pretty sane, was beyond any effort I could imagine summoning now.
So in August 97, I got up and decided to bury my art for an undetermined period and fly to the States to attain â€˜enlightenmentâ€™. It took me a few weeks to raise the cash for the flight, which I done by selling some old work for peanuts. When I landed in Toronto, I had 20$ to my name. I deliberately spent this in the first day just to limit my options. When your options are limited, itâ€™s easier to live and work instinctively and not get caught up weighing the pro and cons of every possibility. Thatâ€™s my take anyway. Living on the road, with no money, in the States is actually quite easy; if you are prepare to rough it. I read somewhere before I made the transatlantic journey, that the US as a nation wasted a third of its food. The US also had some of the best Zen teachers in the world. It was the natural choice for as Zen Bum. Iâ€™d already picked up this persona in limited experiments hitching about in the UK, stealing food from supermarket dumpstersBy September 97, Iâ€™d become the Ray Mears of the Interstate. Iâ€™d say the estimate of a third of food wasted was conservative. I ate a lot of cold junk food from the bins of truck stops, but I never went hungry. Being a veggie for a year previous to this, I couldn’t go to the toilet for a few weeks either. My body simply couldn’t digest my new found taste for salty fatty meat products. In truth I tried to avoid them, but it was either that or cold French fries which had the consistency of earwax. It strikes me now that this life style of sleeping on concrete under bridges and porches and dumpster diving could have formed the basis of a number of anthropological studies. Those readers who have seen the superb â€˜Super Size Meâ€™ may get where Iâ€™m coming from. We see in this documentary what one month of eating shit can do to a healthy body. As it turned out, greasy dumpsters and service station bins became my larder for nearly half a year.
During my Journey in the Sates I hitch hiked and freight train hoped about 12000 miles. Most of this without a penny to my name. Occasionally, people I met gave me some cash, but I usually would end up giving it to a pan handler. Not because I was being particularly generous, but I generally felt it interfered with what I was doing. In the end, what I was doing there, was not what I had first intended. I never got to see a Zen teach, although I did continue to meditate every morning and night. There are limited entertainment facilities under most interstate bridges, so there were often few desirable options. In this journey, meditation was what made living as a bum fairly easy, but meditating living like a bum was reallyÂ very hard. Living in this way, if one whatâ€™s to keep a feeling of self-worth and purpose, one needs a daily structure which needs to be adhered to with discipline and diligence. Being a dedicated artist, who works in isolation is little different. Even the strongest feelings of humiliation, that were inevitable when living for those months in the states, do not compare to the feelings of inadequacy I have felt at times when simply justifying my life as an artist. In 11 years of dedication to making art, I have not made a penny from it to help support my family. I have done this by other means, but not from distributing my art.