Notes on the artistic process and how my
art was influenced by the pandemic
I froze. During the Pandemic. Health concerns took priority over family, over work. I dialed back activities and started learning about my diagnoses and how to beat them back. During this time I was in Art therapy and I am so glad I was. It helped me break through my artistic blocks.
I paid no attention to my web properties. I ignored the fact that I could just keep the Zine Club going. It was enough that I was just getting through day to day tasks, managing the pain and other very distressing symptoms.
In therapy I was focusing on small works and started to play with clay. But with the lockdown we switched to telehealth and I didn’t have access to studio supplies. I was then using the pastels, pens, and sketchbooks I had at home to get my expressions out.
I am ever so grateful for this opportunity. And I’ll get better about sharing my stuff. If you are curious about my current creations, follow me on Instagram @zine_dad.
What’s with the Video?
During the last year I’ve been recording little videos, mainly if I am taking a walk or when Dez is working. It is an outlet I discovered that helps me get feelings out, a little bit better than just writing them. I don’t have to stop and worry about spelling and grammar and stuff.
I’m also making short films. Putting together little pieces of my day and adding some music. I like making and sharing these videos, mostly because I know there are a few people out there who also enjoy them. You can also find these on my Instagram account.
Here is a sample of my Video Poetry.
Where are the Golden Queers?
We are still here!
I’m still working on the name change video that we recorded back in September of 2020. We hope to release that video soon on the Golden Queers YouTube channel. I’m not sure how soon, but I am pushing myself to finish it. I’ve been resistant to publishing this video and I’ve been working on identifying why. There is something vulnerable about revealing these intimate moments in my life. Letting you in on a process that I watched Dez go through. And then I went through it too, when I finally realized that I needed to officially change my name to Johnnie.
When did this happen? During 2020, the Year of COVID 19. It took a little longer than I wanted to. I had to wait until the County and Federal buildings opened back up in July. But I was able to file the paperwork. In September 2020 I was awarded my name change.
And this video talks about the process, and what we both went through. Changing your name can be a powerful and empowering act of self-love.
What’s Wrong with this Picture
Why is it so hard to publish a video about a process?
I dug around to find out, and came to the conclusion that I was feeling vulnerable; with the Pandemic, my health, and our family.
I have health issues, with an Auto-immune disorder. I have mental health issues . The main reason I’m in therapy is for Chronic PTSD. Being around crowds can be challenging. During any Fireworks display I wear noise cancelling headphones. But through art expression and the guidance of my therapist, the PTSD is finally starting to recede.
Now I’m back in the studio and I’m painting on canvas. My first painting Dragon Head is almost done and there is another canvas in the works. These new works will soon be available at a local art gallery.
Dragon Head has taken about 8 weeks to complete. A much slower pace than I am used to working. It just means I’m being more patient than usual when it comes to creating. Waiting for paint to dry, thinking about the process, the color.
And I’ll get that damn video published on YouTube…SOON!
When the traveling stopped
In October 2019 we drove out to table at the Phoenix Zine Fest in Phoenix, Arizona. We were also there to spend time with my family. We stayed with my cousin and her spouse. Their house was really comfortable for our kind-of-sort-of vacation. I got to spend a few hours of quality time with my brother. It had been a awhile since we were just able to sit down and talk without anyone else around.
And then, the last trip we were able to take before the Pandemic took over was a weekend trip to Kansas City. That was November 2019. We haven’t been able to travel since then.
Hopefully we will be able to travel again in the coming Fall, but with an auto-immune disorder, travel restrictions still apply to me. Because of this I can only take short trips. Our options are short hops to Kansas City or Manhattan, and going out to state parks.
We do get to go to Lawrence (LFK) for shopping at one of our favorite grocery stores. Its only a twenty-minute drive from home, so it really doesn’t count as a “trip.” Over the last year I took the ride with my spouse to our favorite grocery store then I sat in the car while they went inside and gathered what we need. One of the things I miss is fondling all the produce. Now that I’m fully vaccinated, we’ll be going to Lawrence again soon: the produce better watch out.
I’ve learned many lessons over the last year, some hard, some positive. I’ll be writing about them and posting the stories here. If anything in the last year I felt more solidarity with the Zine community, the trans community, and the artists that I know who have been working through their process as well. One thing I have not felt during isolation was alone. And for that I am grateful.
Remember: support and buy from local businesses, support/buy zines, and please continue to wear a mask. It saves lives!