Art, Food, Sex and Trauma: Mark Maynard shoots the shit with the most important artists to live within a five minute walk from him… Episode 5: Jim Cherewick

Local song and dance man Jim Cherewick, when he’s not singing and dancing his way into the enlarged, slowly-beating hearts of Americans everywhere, can generally be found hunched over napkins and the like, feverishly scratching away, making what he refers to as “art.” Well, I caught up with Jim on one such occasion and forced him to respond to the following questions as part of our Art, Food, Sex and Trauma series… Enjoy.

jimcherewichphoto

MARK: What kind of name is Jim Cherewick?

JIM: It’s a proud name. A strong name. A name that looks great in gold, stone and sky… sand, not so much. I’m named after my dad.

MARK: And, like most people, I suspect that you live somewhere, right?

JIM: With the exception of a brief stint in Ann Arbor, which lasted one year, I’ve been living in Ypsilanti since 2004. Hot potato renting. I move every year. I do it because I like spending money on utility bills. “The bigger the better,” I always say.

tumblr_mm8f86GJRG1qzowhoo1_500MARK: Do you have a problem with commitment, or is it something else that keeps you moving? Are you, maybe, asked to leave for some reason? Excessive sobbing? Purposefully loud lovemaking? A disturbing combination of the two?

JIM: No problem with commitment. I just get bored very easily. (I’m a bit antsy, if you will.) However, I do think moving is the most stressful thing that I can think of, without a doubt. I can easily compare it to highschool homework. Which is kinda why I signed up for another year at this house I’m at currently. “I’m so tired of running, Mark.” I wish it was the latter though… “Ahh, love… when two souls meet, and the neighbor hears and hates it.” I do love a good cry, however. Excessive sobbing? No thanks.

MARK: You lost me at the high school homework comment. Are you saying that, for you, homework was as stressful as moving? And, if so, what the fuck kind of high school did you go to?

JIM: You and me both. What I meant was waiting to the last possible second, then just half- assing… who am I kidding… quarter-assing it… to the finish line. Not very organized planning. Shit show every time.

MARK: What brought you to Ypsi ten years ago, and were did you come from?

FullSizeRender-2JIM: My adventure began in Brighton. I just graduated Schoolcraft College with an Associates degree in graphic design and was approaching mental breakdown. No kid should live with his folks after high school obviously, but I commuted during college and saved up money. My brother Steve had moved to Ypsi with his buddies and I always came out here for weekend parties. Since it was me and my two sisters still living with our folks, I knew it was time to get the hell out of Dodge. I lived with my sister Emily on College Place and Emmet, kitty corner from my brother and his friends. On that street is where it all began for me… my one year living/moving routine.

MARK: Did the other siblings ever make it to Ypsi?

JIM: I come from a 7 sibling family. I’m in the middle. My older sister Julie moved here before we did. My younger sister Celia moved to Grand Rapids.

MARK: Shall we start with art, food, sex or trauma? It’s your choice.

JIM: Damn… I do like sex art, but food trauma? So many stories. Let’s go with sex art.

MARK: What’s the the sexiest thing you’ve ever drawn?

FullSizeRenderJIM: A self portrait?

MARK: Are you asking me?

JIM: No?

MARK: I don’t understand… Why don’t you just draw a self-portrait, send it to me, and I’ll post it here. Then we’ll let America decide how sexy it is. Sound good?

JIM: You’re the boss. [See sexy Jim to the right.]

MARK: Are you ready for a hypothetical?

JIM: Yes. Always.

MARK: You get a late night emergency call from Miley Cyrus. She’s here in Ypsi and she desperately wants a face tattoo designed by Jim Cherewick. You only have five minutes to draw something. What do you draw? And where do you tell the tattoo artist to place it?

FullSizeRender-1JIM: A stormtrooper helmet on her entire face, as if she was wearing it. Also I’d be doing it from memory and I’m not very good at drawing those guys. My second choice would be the words “please love me” as a mustache above her lip. Last idea, her cell phone number on her forehead. [See the stormtrooper helmet tattooed over the face of Miley Cyrus to the right.]

MARK: OK, here’s another one. Your best friend calls you and asks for your help disposing of a body. What do you tell him?

JIM: “Lemme get outta my work clothes,” I say. Then I call 911.

MARK: Why, do you know a dispatcher at 911 who can help get rid of bodies? Or are you saying that you’d turn your friend in?

JIM: Turn him in on a dime. Friend or not. Family, however…

MARK: Has anyone ever paid you for sex?

tumblr_mrfd7kaNpt1qzowhoo2_500JIM: No.

MARK: Have you requested compensation, and they just refused? Or has the subject just never come up?

JIM: Ha ha ha ha ha ha… Next question… Unless, by “compensation,” you mean eggs and toast.

MARK: Do you ever eat fruit while lovemaking?

JIM: No… but I’ve eaten fruit while going to the bathroom.

MARK: Was this a one-time occurrence, or is this something you always do? Do you keep a fruit bowl on your toilet tank?

JIM: No but I like that. (Writes down “toilet fruit” on palm.)

MARK: What’s your favorite kind of pie?

tumblr_mn07dwvj0M1qzowhoo1_500JIM: Peach pie, Boston cream pie, pizza pie.

MARK: In that order?

JIM: No. In order, it would be; pizza pie, Boston cream pie, peach pie.

MARK: Is that ascending or descending?

JIM: Defending.

MARK: What’s the worst pie you’ve ever eaten?

JJIM: Cherry pie. It was so tart it made me rethink my life goals.

MARK: You have life goals?

JIM: Had. (Looks out window at passing homeless man.) stay on course.

MARK: Have you ever had a near death experience?

IMG_0583JIM: I’ve had some close calls while driving, but who hasn’t? I’ve also had out-of-body experiences. 80% of them were during speeches that I was giving in school. Every time the view was the same. I was looking into the classroom from the hallway. “Who’s that kid with the shaky voice reading from his notecards? Someone should let him sit down, give him an A for effort. C’mon, buddy, it’s okay. He drew a great picture of a cheetah though.”

MARK: I too have been involved in a number of public speaking incidents which left people in the audience visibly shaken and confused. I don’t think, however, that I’d refer to any of them as having been like out-of-body experiences. When I hear the phrase out-of-body, I think complete serenity, like you’re just floating above the scene, watching it unfold. My experiences were the exact opposite of that. They were total, full-body panic attacks. No escape… Are you telling me that, in times of great stress, you can just disconnect and float away? If so, that’s awesome.

JIM: There’s always panic, and then, “Oh, let me pass out already, and wake up on the couch at home, watching The Price is Right.” no serenity brother.

tumblr_mmzzr1NTV91qzowhoo1_500MARK: What’s the best Ypsi rumor you’ve ever heard?

JIM: That Andy Garis is going to return someday and save us all. I’m hopeful.

MARK: We need to send an R2 unit into the bar where Andy’s working now in Ann Arbor, and have it project a tiny holographic image of you saying, “Andy, you’re our only hope.”

JIM: No… there is another. Bona Sera’s logo in blue holographic light.

MARK: I have no idea what that was in reference to? Are you out of body right now?

JIM: Just another Star Wars reference, sorta… kinda… always.

MARK: When was your last physical altercation?

JIM: I’m not a fighter, but a lover… of avoiding fights altogether.

MARK: Tell me about your art?

JIM: I’ve been drawing since I can remember. Robots, ninja turtles, video game levels, more robots. Art classes were both my sanctuary and my Thunderdome.

MARK: While you eschew altercations in real life, you choose to describe your art class experience as Thunderdome-esque. I find that interesting.

JIM: I was safe there from locker room bullies and gym class jerks. Art class was me battling and proving my self worth… and drawing stuff.

MARK: Were you bullied a lot as a kid?

JIM: Well, I was picked on weekly.

MARK: Kids are wicked. It’s a wonder that any of us survive childhood.

tumblr_mmlcm0aB4W1qzowhoo1_500JIM: Seriously. I want a rematch… but not really.

MARK: What does your family make of your work?

JIM: They encourage me to pursue it for a career. I would like to do that. I should probably take some classes to sharpen up these fangs.

MARK: We’ve already established that you don’t charge for sex. What do you do for a living?

JIM: To pay the bills, I work retail. I scan boxes in a backroom, with a tune in my heart.

MARK: What’s the tune?

JIM: I’d like to say its usually a Jason Molina song. In reality it’s probably Smash Mouth’s Allstar… I have no control of my brain jukebox. It runs in the family.

MARK: What was your first experience with death?

JIM: My Grandma died and I saw her in the coffin. It reminded me of the electric grandmother movie. Very odd. A turned-off robot. it was heartbreaking and terrifying.

MARK: I’m not familiar with “the electric grandmother” movie? Was it an afterschool special? An “adult” feature?

JIM: It felt like an after school special. Same eerie vibe as A Watcher in the Woods, but with a touch of A.I.. Apparently it was based on a Ray Bradbury book.

MARK: I’m not as familiar with your music as I am with your art. How would you define it within the context of your drawings? Are there similar themes being explored?

JIM: I recently had a person use the phrase, ”hauntingly beautiful.”

tumblr_mn002ftwWm1qzowhoo1_500MARK: You heard a person use that phrase? Or you heard a person use that phrase in response to your work? Those are two different things.

JIM: In relation to my song work. “It makes me wanna close the curtains, pour a glass of wine, and have a listening party,” she said. I paint small vignettes of scenes or interactions between people and places. Moments that hop around. Perspective always changing. Stream of conscious writing really. Most times, I write something, then I read it later, and realize that I’ve hit the nail better than I would have if I’d tried to say something directly.

MARK: So, would you say there’s any commonality between your recorded and written work?

JIM: Stream of thought. Brain drain, faces and interaction. Similar, but different, animals.

MARK: What’s the worst meal you’ve ever eaten?

JIM: Wow. Maybe black eyed peas, when I was little. I remember me and my brother smuggling them in napkins and tossing them in the toilet. I’d eat that now, though. One time I had ginger and noodles at an Asian place in Athens, Georgia around 12 years ago. I only had one bite. I remember comparing it to Pine-Sol cleaner. Terrible. I’m not really a ginger fan. I’d probably eat it today, though. My palate has changed quite a bit.

MARK: So your palate has evolved to be more accepting of household cleaners?

JIM: Only if you’re buying.

MARK: What’s the last thing that you ate?

goodbbarJIM: A Mr. Good Bar. I do cook food, though. I swear it’s true.

MARK: Do they still make those, or are you living off of Halloween candy from your youth?

JIM: They do. Such a cartoony wrapper. It reminds me of Wonka bars… Different colors of course.

MARK: You told me you’d make a new header for this site. But you haven’t. Do you lie often?

JIM: Sometimes projects that are free get put on the back burner.

MARK: Like sex?

JIM: Exactly. (Swish.)

MARK: Is there anything that I might be able to help you with? Do you require any advice?

JIM: I need to find a better job. Tell the world that I exist. Tell me that I exist. Share my music. Buy me a beer. I need a hug… I feel better. Thanks, Mark.

MARK: I hear that they’re opening a dollar store in Ypsi. People seem excited about. I searched the company online once, and discovered that, on average, they pay their people four-cents above minimum wage. Maybe they’ll have some boxes that need scanning. As for hugs, can I get back to you after I see your sexy self-portrait?

JIM: I feel I did my work in retail. This angel needs its wings now.

MARK: Please complete the following sentence… “If I could travel back in time and make love to any historic figure, it would be _______ .”

Screen shot 2014-11-20 at 9.16.09 PMJIM: I’d like to woo the heart of Debbie Harry from Blondie, or a gal more akin to my personality. I sound so distinguished, chicks dig that.

MARK: Is there anything else that you’d like for people to know about you?

JIM: I’m not above shameless promotion. GYMSEE @twitter @instagram @soundcloud.
If you need art or music, hit me up. Also, I’m still rocking out in my bands Wicker Chairs and Congress. If ya want something different, follow us gang!

[Top photo courtesy Victoria Weeber.]

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5 Comments

  1. Caleb Zweifler
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    This is the guy. I look up to this guy. He’s doin’ the first-ever outsourced album art for The Plaqueys. And he played an awesome show at First Fridays at Beezy’s Cafe once. He’s a genu(w)ine omni-artist; he’ll draw you a guinea pig. Shake his hand, he has magic fingers. Give him a hug, he has nervous lungs!

  2. idea man
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only who feels that, if she knew about this idea, Miley Cyrus might actually consider tattooing a storm trooper face over her own?

  3. XXX
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Then, a few days later, Wayne Coyne would do the same thing!

  4. Fit
    Posted January 3, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    This was all I needed to know about Jim Cherewick. I am now done. I can cross “get to know Jim Cherewick” off my bucket list.

  5. Posted January 4, 2015 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    I think I might have heard of this person.

7 Trackbacks

  1. […] 6:30, Ann and I will be joined in the studio by Linda Jordan and Jim Cherewick, who perform together as Best Exes. According to Linda, the band’s name was inspired by a […]

  2. […] the 29-minute mark, Linda Ann Jordan, Caleb Elijah-Molejo Zweifler and Jim Cherewick, who perform together as Best Exes, came in to wish us a happy holiday and play a few lovely songs […]

  3. […] not sure if he’ll come through for us, but I’m told that local song and dance man Jim Cherewick, who came in and visited us during last week’s show with his band Best Exes, is, at this very […]

  4. […] started the show off with a new intro created by local musician Jim Cherewick. It has a very submersive quality to it. If you listen, you’ll see what I mean. It’s a lovely, […]

  5. […] of an on-air food challenge of some kind. And, as if that weren’t enough, the multi-talented Jim Cherewick, who wrote the theme song for last week’s show, will be in the studio with his pens, drawing […]

  6. […] at some point, Jim Cherewick, who wrote the theme song for last week’s show, came in with his pens and started drawing […]

  7. […] most importantly, this will be our fist episode with a house band, thanks to the heroic efforts of Jim Cherewick… And, as always, our intrepid downtown reporter Chris Sandon will be out on the street, […]

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