Tuesday, August 28, 2018

re: a few things i've learned or realized.....

Hello friends, fans, foe and lovers,

I can't help or stop spilling my guts about the art world and all the crazy stuff you will encounter in that world should you so foolishly feel the call and jump and join it. It's like a suicide pact or a madness pledge, don't do it. Be a banker. An accountant. Something stable and sane and where you will have money coming in endlessly. I know a couple bankers and they live very comfy, if not a bit boring lives, but no complaints from them, they've found their niche and that's great. Becoming an artist is sheer madness. Don't do it. It's a never ending struggle for cash, projects, grants, festivals, exhibition openings and more and more.

In the meantime, enjoy this post and keep coming back, coz it's like a M.A.S.H. unit and i'm spilling my guts because why not? It's meant to be fun and sarcastic, with a thin veil of truth in it all.

Until next time,


Horatio Cornblower. esq.


As I get older:
I realize a few things: A) More people are on pharmaceuticals that we could ever guess. B) Artists are neurotic, self-absorbed, opinionated and the most mood fluctuating people ever when they are drinking, on drugs or a natural high from a show, performance or party. C) Stay away from artists. D) Race is in the arts whether you like it or know it or accept it or not. E) There’s always more money, more time, more projects until there isn’t. F) When you are running out of ideas, time and money, try not to make it obvious, because the stench of failure, poverty and manic spastics as you flail about looking for more gigs, time and money are pretty obvious and it will scare everyone away.

                  

Try to cultivate a cool “mystique” LOL, I actually know some artists that are good at this act, charade or whatever you want to call it. But they also come off as pretentious, self-absorbed idiots, you know the kind of people, they look at themselves in the reflection of glass while you talk to them if you’re outside a building or there just happens to be a shiny surface they can coif their hair, adjust their clothes and wink at themselves. You can tell they don’t have kids because they have a store bought, brand name style or are thrift “chic” or the dreaded word, “hipster.” Unless you’re “made” of have your “bones” you’re fucked, style and fashion go out the window for diapers, strollers and a never ending purchasing of clothes for kids for the next 18 years.

                  

I digress, if you’re cultivating a super fucking cool mystique and a dude, you should have a man bun, and make it the most ostentatious one you can, visible from 20 metres and glorious. If you get looks of disgust or contempt from other shorthaired dudes around you, you know you are fucking winning. If you are glamorous and they type to go “glamping” instead of “camping”, then make sure you have the best handbags and hats, make them as beautiful and outrageous as you can, make everyone jealous. In short, flaunt it if you’ve got it because believe me, it won’t last long and when you’ve got it, someone else is going to get it and do something better. Or steal your ideas and work and do a better or worse job and make money on it. Well, because hey, that’s the art world.

                  

Or you can be the crust punk, gutter roller, which there are a few in the art/music/poetry world, and just think, you can wear all the drab, olive green combat gear possible, pin up your shredded clothes with tons of little gold pins and stink to high hell as much as possible. Just don’t shut up and drink your lucky or pilsner beer, be a loud, stinky crust punk and talk about the joys of riding trains, how much you love your dog and when you got crabs in keremeos from that other crust punk dude/chick during fruit picking season.

                     

A huge leap from the crust punk is the straight edge, poetry reciting, rollins band loving, all black clothes wearing curmudgeon. It’s strange how many straight edge people are either left leaning blowhards pontificating about marx and communism and how “it’s for the people, by the people” self-righteous assholes (who usually have great jobs, disposable cash and a retirement plan) to hard right leaning stormtroopers of Ayn Rand and the glory of the elite and strong. I’ve never met too many plain old, sane, middle of the road straight edge people, beware of any books they bring out to cite or if they try to shove their “hardcore” spoken word/poetry/ideology/brainwashing upon you.

Then there are the straight up junkies, either for fame, drugs, alcohol, attention, fame, drugs, alcohol and attention. At festivals, exhibition launches, film screenings and performances, there are many, plenty opportunities for these folks to get their fix and then some. Fame, notoriety, public appearances and performances are a natural by product of being someone who has for some insane reason, chose to live a life in the arts.
    
                 

The adulation, fans, interviews, attention, fame are enough to intoxicate even the most black clothes wearing, Rollins Band loving straight edge freak, it’s tough to keep your head on your shoulders when everyone is trying to blow it off. And so many people are ready to ride it out with you, parties, hotels, festivals, and performances and after parties; there is no end to the sycophants who have no discernable talents other than to know when a train bound for glory is a shot in a flaccid vein waiting for something to tear it up.

                 

I have had my share of wrestling matches and parties in my hotel rooms, bar fights, hungover pranks and shenanigans and other sordid tales from the road from spending almost all of my adult life touring and traveling as a salesman, I mean creative individual you could ever imagine. If you see me out in the streets or forest, ask me, I might spin a yarn and tell ye a puking good story. Also, never trust academics, they are the fucking thieves and liars of the industry. Fuck them. I mean don’t fuck them because they are gross parasites who will latch onto you and suck you dry and take all the credit. 


Until next time lovers,

Horatio Cornblower.

re: the art world....


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Hello Friends, Fans, Foe and Lovers,

my non-fiction, essay, confessional style continues, today it's the experiences i had in the art world. enjoy!

CB



The Art world:
Out for a walk this morning and started thinking about the art world a bit. There’s something genuinely revolting about being in it, because so much of it ends up being about getting more. More fame, which is really a by-product of good art, something you have to adore or revile from, and I would rather hide than get into it. Another thing is the power of curator’s and tastemakers. Well, they have too much power. People are sheep. They rely on people to tell them what they like and what they don’t and all too often if you’re not in the inner circle, you’re fucked. There’s a Toronto inner circle of the art world. Then there’s a Vancouver one, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Regina and so on and on it goes. Then there’s the curator’s and tastemakers circles, which revolve around the big centre’s because that’s where all the money gathers. When you’re in vogue, you’ve got to make the most of it, even if you hate it, I know artists, writers and filmmakers that hate it. The game, the schmoozing, the parties and fundraisers that help fund the arts and exhibitions and festivals.

                

I’ve been invited to my share and hate them once you realize you’re on display for the organization, gallery or festival that invited you. Some are so proud of their inclusivity that they should practically put a sign on you that says “token” person of colour. But good things can happen at these heinous events, you can connect with like-minded people and perhaps work on a cool project or exhibition or something. Not always though, so be prepared to work your way through rivers and lakes of bullshit at these parties and events, lots of sycophants at these things and if you’re the next big thing, they will attach themselves to you like barnacles on a hull. Some are failed artists, some are artists no longer in vogue and some are just batshit stinking crazy and will cling to anyone like a drowning person, frantically flailing about in the ocean of sleaze, mediocrity and lies. Try to figure out which one you are and go from there, haha, just remember the next big ticket is always just over the horizon and try to enjoy it while it lasts.

                 

The inner circle has too much power over who makes it big and who doesn’t. I’ve seen so much bad art, film, writing and music in my time, I have no faith in too many curator’s, tastemakers and critics. It’s lost it’s way and soul I think, too many non-artists making bullshit art because it’s easy. It’s been coming a long time too, conceptual art and installation based art that’s basically found art with a good bullshit story attached. You know what I’m talking about, something that’s found and then a concept is thought up and then typed out and sent off into the world to become something like an anchor in a show. Or a piece of driftwood, or piles of grass and dirt or bits of cut up logs wrapped in ribbon and forestry spray paint in galleries. What is art? What constitutes a definition? To me it feels like we’re in a weird post-something phase in art and things that aren’t really created by artists, more found and then thought up are what’s big on the scene. Too many academics have found their way into the art world and are clogging it up with their scatological bullshit.



I see more terrible art than I see good or exciting works. Same with film, books and music, it’s as though the older I get, the more I’ve seen, experienced and survived, the less excited I get about stuff I see being done creatively. Living in rural areas affords little luxuries such as access to nature, silence and peace with only a 20-minute walk from where I live. It is a slower pace and I enjoy it a lot, whenever I have friends from the city come visit it takes time to slow them down. They speak faster, louder and more obnoxiously and they tend to do everything faster, walking, talking and more fidgety. Almost all my friends are artists or creative types in one-way or another, and are pretty good friends, they’ve been there through thick and thin with me. But there’s something weird about the art world, is that when some artists are in the inner circles or sanctums of curator’s, tastemakers, and the larger centres, they lose themselves a little and don’t realize it. When I was there I didn’t really like it and was trying to get focus off me and onto other artists or writers or whatever.



When you’re in, you’re in and you know it, but it doesn’t last forever and when you’re out, it’s best to know when and get the fuck out. Don’t overstay your welcome, haha, I’ve done that a few times and it’s like bumping into your ex at a party. Things get awkward really fast. When you’re in, try to kick the door open wider for others, it’s part of our responsibility as artists. Our voices are barely heard anyway, so why not make it a chorus of voices? Make it stronger! Also, don’t expect too many favours if any, everyone is struggling to make it, I think there’s this fear of scarcity that keeps people apart in any sort of industry. The art world is no different. 



I read about the NDN group of 7 and how they struggled and fought and starved and finally made headway in the art world. I don’t really see that sort of camaraderie often in the art world. It flourishes up here and there but fades away before it has a chance to really take hold and create something that moves towards a bigger event. I pay it forward as much as I can and continue trying to help emerging artists out because there was no one there when I was coming up and struggling. We all start with nothing and move forward through the light and darkness struggling to make an impact, to have some sort of meaning in all this chaos. So, I guess I’m saying, good luck, godspeed, all the best, but if you make it, invite others along for the ride and have fun. Don’t be a greedy idiot about it all, lol, have some fun and be a good person, don’t overstay your welcome and be grateful about it all. Hahaha.

Chris Bose. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

re: a life in art?! part 2

Hello friends, fans, foe, and lovers,

here is another short story/essay/nugget of wisdom or experience about life on the road, in the arts and generally what it's like to forge your own path without guidance or experience, haha. When i first started on this path, i had some mentors, great ones like Garry Gottfriedson and Richard Van Camp, Janet Rogers and more, but i strayed down a different path and took some wrong turns. My hope is these will help people on their own path and maybe keep them in a good direction without screwing things up now and then like i did. haha.

who knows, sometimes that were the best times, other times, not so much. for now, enjoy and i'll keep going and hopefully you'll keep coming back. kukstemc, cheers!


CB


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Part 2:
Growing up I had few role models, I grew up during the tumultuous 70’s and 80’s and a lot of the guys my mum dated were not exactly winners. NDN country itself at that time was in a period of violent, chaotic flux, so it was nationwide. My aunt’s were my role models, they overcame a lot to become successful, own homes and new cars and lived somewhat normal lives, at least on the outside it appeared. Once I got published and started touring and hitting the road around 2005, I was able to meet some of my hero’s in the publishing world, film and music and even arts.

Hitting the road. 


It was cool, it was fun and I was doing pretty good, behavior wise, for the first 3 years or so, but it takes a lot out of you. So, here’s the deal, to “make it” in a small town or city, as an artist, writer, filmmaker or musician, eventually you have got to take your ass on the road. Why? To promote what you’re doing, get on the festival circuit, get into exhibitions, play gigs, do readings, workshops, schmooze with other creative types and mainly just to experience life! I was straight edge from about 2001 to 2006 or so, but a life on the road and the constant parties on the circuit, well, it didn’t take too long for temptation to start winning.


My ancestors or Nshaytkin


Plus, you are away from your loved ones, your friends, for sometimes weeks or months at a time. Stuck in hotels, or waiting for a plane, or a bus, or whatever alone. This is how relationships fail, because you’re never home to help out and when you’re home, you’re exhausted from the road and here is the catch 22. You make a living on the road, have fun, experience amazing things, but if you stay home, you’re income drops by easily half, there’s not a lot going on in small towns/cities and mostly you fall into day-to-day routine and life glazes over in a blurry smear of repetition and monotony before you know it. Then you start to doubt yourself and hate your existence.

My son, when i first started hitting the road 2005
we missed a lot as i was away for sometimes weeks 
and months at a time.


My last relationship crashed a couple times before we accepted it in 2010 and decided to move on as a single human being and keep on touring. Bad decision, but it is what it is, because the alternative was nothing, at least at the time I thought that’s what it was, so I slogged on like an idiot. So from about 2005 to 2015 I was on the road, and that is a long damn time. I had incredible highs and tremendous, terrifying lows and during that time I was trying to get home alive and spend time with my kids. Most of the time I was exhausted, strung out and eventually miserable. Eventually around late summer 2015 my kids asked me to spend more time at home with them and I decided to get off the road. By that time, I was an embarrassing idiot, drinking too much, jaded, sullen and miserable. Even a bit distrustful and resentful of my fellow creative types, in short I was the Wildman or Wile E. Coyote that couldn’t really be trusted anymore.

I had worn out my welcome on the national stage.



Exit stage right:


I got off the road and detoxed hard, surviving on whatever I had from the road and odd jobs or gigs and slowly over a period of two years created a new trap-line and started doing gigs in town and the surrounding area. It wasn’t easy and there were lean times, but it’s been worth it overall. My friends and colleagues have surpassed me many times over and I no longer care because I get to spend time with my kids. The exhibitions, friends, festivals, live gigs, readings, crowd roar and applause and even heckles I do sometimes miss, but I don’t miss that circus and bullshit it takes to maintain that world or lifestyle. It can be toxic but I think it’s getting better. Who knows? Maybe I’ll eventually/probably have to throw my hat back in and see where it takes me, because I love performing live and I can work a crowd into a frenzy. So that’s what it’s like being an artist/filmmaker/writer/musician/dad in a small town, I’m not really sure if I answered that question, but maybe that wasn’t the goal now that I think of it. Haha.

Kamloops, BC


Always find a good mentor. Through each stage of your growth and development and that’s all I have to say on that! Haha. Until next time lovers,

CB

Sunday, July 29, 2018

re: a life in art?!

Hello friends, fans, foe and lovers,

here is another post on what it's like hustling a life in the world of the arts....

please, have a read, these are hard won lessons, hopefully they'll keep people from making the same mistakes i did.

CB


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Being an artist/writer/filmmaker/musician/dad/one of those/types.
What’s it like?!

Part 1:

I get asked this question a lot, during festivals, conferences, workshops, etc and let me tell you, in a small town, making a living off of creativity is an incredible challenge; unless you’re one of those incredibly talented individuals that make it look too easy and effortless. If this is you, congratulations, because the world is yours, just don’t fuck it up like I did. Haha. Here’s the thing, I’m “aging out” as in, the world sucks young blood and I’m nearly half a century old, although it doesn’t feel like it in my mind, my body is sure feeling all the years of wear and tear.

Memorial Piece for Mike Jules, 2014


It feels great, over 10 years of it now, but it’s an incredible challenge that isn’t easy, lots of hard work and dedication when the whole world doesn’t believe in you but you have to keep slogging through the mud, debris and bullshit to get anyway. But, I digress, because most people never leave their small town or city and those who do leave whatever small town they are from to “make it” in the big cities of the world, do so because they feel they have to, and in many ways, this is true.

               
Hot dawg!!

Not to say I didn’t do that either, I left for 5 years and traveled far and wide, 3 continents, many countries I don’t remember and good times I do, and bad ones I’m still trying to forget. I basically left home/got kicked out when I was 16 years old. Went to Vancouver, got chewed up and spit out in a year, and then I was in Merritt, BC, until I got kicked out of that town, and then ended up back in Kamloops. I was rowdy and full of anger. I knocked around Kamloops getting in trouble and scrapping, playing guitar in bands and doing shows until I turned 19 and then I got the fuck out of here.

                 
Mile end: Montreal, Rue Mozart et ?

Eventually after many, many crazy adventures I came back to Kamloops around 1994 or so, but ended up back on the road touring a couple years in various bands and whatnot. I went to university, got a degree in the Arts, (B.A. Arts) met a woman, fell in love, had a kid, 5 years later, separated, and then was single for a couple years, met another woman, fell in love, had 3 kids.

                
Mural Kamloops, BC, behind Kamloops Immigrant Services, this is about 1/4 of the mural.

But something strange happened. After a long time, years in fact, of self-publishing my poetry, stories and recording guitar instrumentals, I started getting a little attention. Then I booked my own tours, selling books, shirts and music on the road. This all started around 2005. Then Richard Van Camp moved to Kamloops and once I found that out, it became my mission to get him one of my chapbooks. In a short time, I found out someone who knew him at the university TRU and I gave her a chapbook with my email and begged her to get it to him. Amazingly, she did and within a week, I received an email from him wanting to meet at a Tim Horton’s in Sahali that is now a pho/donut place. I’ll never forget that awkward first meeting there and how we forged a friendship nearly twenty years onward.

                
graffiti art, undisclosed location.

He became my champion, my mentor and helped me secure publishing in the mysterious world of literary magazines, then got my manuscript into the hands of select publishers. At that time, I was pretty broke and was dumpster diving at TRU for paper to print my manuscript selections to send to publishers. I found one recently and the backside of the manuscript was full of research on AIDS in Africa and other medical stuff. It was funny because I had to cross an “X” over each page, and in my query letter to publishers or magazines, explain to them I was using recycled paper to print my manuscripts. Haha.

               
Mural commission, Prince Albert, Sask, 2014

One time I found the poetry of “Chrystos” in the English department, and many years later met her in person at a festival somewhere and told her how I discovered her work. She laughed out loud at the journey it took to get to that stage beside her, which is pretty funny and weird when you think about it. From the dumpster to the stage is pretty much been my trajectory and it’s been a long haul to get there, believe me.