from Lumpen magazine (2008)
Drawing comics is therapeutic. The narrator in the last panel spells it out: “I have to construct something or I’ll lose my mind.” Finding myself sitting at the kitchen table, having that thought, this is what I ended up constructing. It was less an attempt at artistry and more something to keep my hands occupied, and my mind off of darker alternatives for what to do with myself. But looking at it now, I realize that the problem described still resonates, and is still unsolved. Art therapy has the same flaw as all therapy: the erroneous idea that when you address the root causes of your neuroses, the Gordian knot unties itself.
I gave up on my aspirations of being a professional comic artist around the age of nine, but I’ve continued to make comics anyway, in a haphazard manner. My creative pursuits generally are more compulsion than calculation, but drawing comics is a particularly reptilian reflex: my earliest work dates back to age three (a scuba-diving adventure– I figured that setting it underwater would save me the trouble of having to write dialogue, which was my artistic weak point at that age). I’ve kept at it, creating comics sporadically over the years, and I’ve been lucky enough to stumble into avenues for publication pretty consistently. Having gotten this far, why not keep going with it? But then, seen from another perspective: having never pursued it, why bother?
The “meaninglessness” problem is, admittedly, a pretty lightweight sort of problem. It is a first world discomfort that boils down to too much time to think; when you are foraging for survival you don’t have time for ennui. The marginally employed group of young adults hanging out at parties and wringing their hands about the future– my peer group when I drew this, thirteen years ago– has graduated on to being methadone addicts, advertising executives, college professors, artists, parents, alcoholics, full-time publishers of radical anarchist literature. People pick their paths, and they all have something to recommend them. If you have the problem that you can’t pick, if all you can do is pick everything apart, rest assured that the range and sophistication of pharmaceuticals designed to narrow your focus and get you on track has only increased exponentially in the last years.