prize of the bush baby

Before I announce the winner of the What Would George Bush Be if He Werent Born a Bush contest, heres what youve all been playing for. This is a drawing I did in the late 90s. Lets call it, Radio Active Afterlife.

I made this piece during a weird period in my life. I had a pretty good job with a startup satellite communications company. I was in charge of our marketing efforts in support of new products. Anyway, my job required that I be on the road quite a bit, away from the apartment Linette and I shared in Ypsilanti. I had an office in Washington, DC and one in Los Angeles. I spent most of my time flying between those two locations, staying in hotels. I was working my ass off. Id sit at a desk for ten to twelve hours and then go home to a hotel where Id sit on the bed and watch TV. Since I didnt know anyone, that’s pretty much all I did; work, eat and watch TV. Being Obsessive Compulsive though, I couldn’t just sit still and watch TV like a normal person. I had to be doing something else at the same time.

So, I started making collages. I brought glue and scissors back from the office and Id sit there on the edge of the bed clipping pictures from magazines and gluing them together. Id collect interesting bits of paper during the day and Id incorporate them at night A sliver of tinfoil caught in the crack of a sidewalk, the cardboard from the empty cereal box Id been eating breakfast out of, a piece of the map I picked up at the concierges desk Id spend hours during the day staring at the computer screen and hours at night assembling, disassembling and reassembling scraps of paper and bits of trash.

After a few weeks of this secret behavior, I decided to go out and buy paint, a few brushes and a couple of markers. Id work the collages into sheets of about 8-1/2 x 11 and then Id start painting them. Once Id covered them in images I liked, Id let them dry, and then Id start writing all over them Journal entries, phrases that I couldnt get out of my head, lyrics that Id thought up and didnt want to forget Everything would get incorporated into these documents. They contained every image I liked and every phrase I didnt want to forget. They were essentially a private, low-tech blog.

So, this piece that were calling Radio Active Afterlife, is one of those. Hopefully, whoever gets it will appreciate it for what it is documentation of a suppressed mental illness at the height of the late 90’s boom.

As an asside to this story, Ive found life to be much easier to deal with since it occurred to me that all the other asshole businessmen in the world might also be running home to create art. I doubt its true, but its a thought that makes me happy when Im on a subway or in a plane, surrounded by other men in suits. I like to imagine that they have paints, glue and scissors in their suitcases like me.

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