May 5th, 2014

In the late end of 1995, shortly after graduating high school, I embarked on the personal mission to become an ‘artist’. The notion of which was supplanted in me since childhood. I recall my earliest drawings were of Garfield in grade 3. I learned from the back of a comic how Jim Davis drew the character. It seemed to me to be an apparent hit with everyone that seen the drawing. So I drew more and continued to draw them at the behest of anyone that asked. During this time, family turmoil aside, it became a way of getting praise and giving others some sort of apparent joy. Joy in the eyes of a child, to any extent, is a precious commodity.
The encouragement carried forward for a time. When we moved from one city to another, given the nature of my fathers career in government transportation work, the artwork took a back seat for a time, as I followed other family members into finding ‘joy’ in petty crime. The thrill of wreaking havoc, thru vandalism and theft. Finding friends who shared the mutual interest in seeing how many items they could get out of the local grocery store was an amusing thing. We would usually end our day off by running through construction sites and smashing all we could. My mother and father for a time were busy watching out after others in the family. Abuse brings rebellion and rebellion in turn when fostered brings much disheartening regrets by all involved. The friends I kept at that time were in no better straights. Small town life was limited and the opportunities for delinquent behavior abundant. This all ended when my Dad finally let the RCMP, police, have at me in a back office for a good 20 minute break down. The particulars of that conversation are a little hazy now, but I do know that officer of all people finally hit an emotional chord for me, I only wish I knew now which one that was.
My mother alternatively, found the parents of every other kid I was hanging out with. In the end all my relationships with them ended, right then and there. What friends I had left were of a different sort. Mostly younger than me and more appreciative of a creative style of ‘play’. We would often create characters and draw these out, inspired by what was popular back then. He-man, GI Joe, MASK, Transformers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to name but a few. Most of those my Mom disapproved of as they often portrayed violence and war as a primary plot. In the end, the TMNT’s won approval as they were cute animals. If only my mother knew. That or she just allowed them as they seemed to inspire my artistic outlets again.
Inspired then by comic books and cartoon shows I began the path of expressing myself through creating similar worlds. Again this came at the approval of many and the encouragement to continue drawing them was one of my few forms of gaining attention. Emotionally I would ebb and flow through my art. Guilty feelings buried in hate and sadness, mixed in with the usual early teen years with hormones and the likes. Depression would come and go in real highs and real lows. It became a very bipolar experience, one that continues to this day, albeit more subtle and controlled.
After the age of 14, fighting depression and pouring into my art, it became my crux to foster appreciation from others. My family of course wasn’t fully aware of my depression, just stupid angst and selfishness, which was true to an extent. Until in an explosive family crisis, my Dad put me into a community health counselling sessions. Where I learned to talk about my emotions. Sure I was in enough AA meeting before then to see other peoples emotions, but that usually sent me backward to try and ignore the reality of the world my parents were coping with. My art work continued. It evolved into finer methods of creativity and become something I would be always connected to. My personal ‘cum laude’.
After all of this, building my work to a point, where in fact it was not my school marks that got me into art college, but my art itself. Ranking in the top 3 best applicants for portfolio work when applying for the college. A professor later told me they would have rejected me out right as my grade point average was mediocre at best and if it wasn’t for my portfolio and the number of recommendations I had, well college would not have happened. Needless to say, I am not the brightest stone in the lot. So breaking out of school and home I was dropped into the cold world of reality, un-sheltered by being the most artistic in my world, to becoming only one of many and without the personal drive to see myself use my talent for anything else outside of my personal selfish goals. I never really had to work for anyone else. I had only ever done art my way. If someone asked for work, it was done how I felt it needed to be done. I had a very myopic view of my creative power and an ego to go with it. I was too set on the past to realize the honesty some of my close friends at that time were trying to tell me. I shortly afterwards fell apart and dropped out of College. I had been creatively broken. Choosing then to distract myself with eating, drinking, getting married and working. All typical of anything plebeian as I would have seen it.
I never gave up the idea of doing art work as a career. I would always dabble on the side, trying hard to carry on as I had in high school. The difference was I did not have a ready audience and well my wife was not a fan. I did not have the tenacity to do as some of my other former companions forged on to do. To actually complete a project. My art, including everything shown on this site would be incomplete. I would latch onto what ever audience I could find. Online forums, gaming groups, local comic book groups anyone, but without the actual fortitude to try for an actual career. I would fantasize about doing art and some rich patron paying me to do so. False hopes if there is no effort to follow it through. Ledsoul was born of this idea online. A graphics artist that would provide digital art. But… I did not have the lifer to do any of such.

So here I am now and the crux of my website spouting on about the past and failure of a methodology. The moral point being. Teach your children to be responsible and with a strong work ethic. These farty dreams of being artists are tales told like fantasy with no direction. Work hard and anything is possible, fortune cookies give better advice. I am using my life as a sordid lesson and I know its not done yet. I am a walking mistake, so where I get things right, I hope and pray that it goes well for those it affects.

RIP Ledsoul.

Being Critical

September 10th, 2013

There is a very easy tendency to take the default disposition of the observer in this world , that being cynical, and transferring our negative sentiments on to the ‘as you see it’ expression. It is in fact to be said that the cynical position is the fail safe way of observing, as it gives you the questioning edge. Why did they do that, what does that do, what happens if… all you have to do now is add ‘to us’ at the end of any of those questions, (purporting our natural inclination towards selfish reason), and you have the perfect concoction to make it a negative. Fight or Flight puts in us the greatest innate method of negativity, being that survival mode dictates we view our surroundings with some suspicion to do us harm.

In a flock of birds, the response of the neighbor to take flight means that everyone must take flight, as they have seen something frightening. Its the same responsive nature that allows a school of fish to swim as one. It is our social drives that force us to be sensitive towards others perplexing responses to the same environment. The social synapse between humans is complex, as we all assimilate our world through individual ideas, long stored history and stories in layers in the mind. However, that innate nature to pickup on the negative expression (our human default), allows for a counter negative feedback that may compel the group to grow increasingly agitated in our social behavior with one another.

Our response may reflect much about the personality we have, if we introvert and withdraw, or extrovert and yell like a screaming goat. We know that the inner anima, animus, conscience, nurture and nature all play out ideas of that same struggling. We have trouble discerning the shadows of our mind when inner conflicts about what we perceive from others, confuses us, introduces new feelings or ideas, putting up a figurative fog of war as it were, where in the moment we cannot understand what is happening over the hedge of our limited understanding. That instinctual part that drives our desires and needs, conflicting with our taught notions of doing what is right for our community or neighbors, confused by irregularities in another persons reaction to something that we originally viewed as innocuous.

With each new situation, we continually learn and grow to understand. By seeing how we react to others we can sometimes surprise ourselves, or have unexpected feelings on how others are reacting to us. We judge ourselves and each other by our reactions. Its taking the plain of fear, like a bird watching out for predators on the physical plain of existence and turning it towards the inner plain of understanding. What is causing this negative feeling I am having by this others persons reaction? Then do we react in an equally confusing way and lash out or do we withdraw and perhaps cause just as much confusion to our neighbor who is trying to understand our reaction?

As humans we have the ability to see it and even override our natural inclinations. How though? Its a problem that many have fought with and struggled with for a long time. Humans have this ability to understand this struggle as a moral dilemma. Theological systems built upon the ideals of doing what is right; “I find, then, this law in my case: that when I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me. I really delight in the law of God according to the man I am within, but I behold in my members another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law that is in my members”. God has been a moral compass for centuries, and if people actually looked at the tenet of their religious beliefs they would find many very good ‘rules’, as it were, on how to deal with situations. Its unfortunate however that many have also taken advantage of the inner conflict to incite fear and twist morals into radical ideas to make them superior. (Your going to hell if you don’t pay us your tithe.) This all makes the point that the inner struggle to do good for our neighbor can be difficult, especially when we ‘perceive’ them as doing bad.

All the more apparent this becomes when you are even more familiar with your neighbor, especially when they are family. ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’, is a very true notion. When the negative feelings of one member, bring up negative feelings in another, usually we cannot perceive how that is being translated in your acquaintances mind, but with family your already slightly familiar, so it can easily become personal. We know how, either innately or through history, to push each others buttons. This is very evident in spousal relationships. Comments about your personality happen more with family than those outside. They are familiar with you and should know you. Comments about your work ethic, mannerisms, expressions, intellectual ability, social capacity, emotional stability, and simple things like your decorations in your home. If the comments are positive and complimentary, this is huge coming from a person relative to you, but just as important as the negative disparagement they may give in critical way. The importance of delivery becomes even more sensitive in these areas.

When I was studying sociology, I had a great discussion with the instructor about some ideas I had at the time in writing a fictional story about a war. The nature of war and its destructiveness and the causes of wars, she mentioned wouldn’t it be interesting if someone could find a way to write about a constructive war and how that could happen. That perplexing idea stuck with me and allowed me to look at writing about things in a constructive way. How do you perceive a war as being constructive, when by all accounts war has only been destructive. You can’t have an arms race, building weapons, that only leads to destruction. (That and its been done.) To have anything in competition would likely be a war of sorts, but eventually how do you create a struggle or conflict, and keep it positive, constructive. (This is really a story to discuss at another time.) The base of it comes down to, in order to build, sometimes you must tear down or create a level playing field. How do we build a positive response, in an environment where someone, who may be in that default cynical observation mode and alighting on the facts, saying how they perceive the cause of the observed situation to be that of sheer idiocy?

When we choose to try and express the negative feeling and banter in cynical, sarcastic, sardonic or plain mean commentary, the exchange will only exacerbate a perceived dangerous or conflicting situation that may have not existed to begin with. Stopping that counter negative response may be difficult however, when its so easy, taking the path of least resistance in our mind to fight or flee. Its difficult to stop a stream when its already furrowed a pathway, nature has its course and the instincts we were born with are powerful drives telling us how to react emotionally.

In a public speaking course I am involved with, the instructors are always encouraged to first find a point of counsel that was good, a compliment to the persons public speech. They by doing this, they create a positive atmosphere where they are showing that they are going to help the speaker to improve. The instructor will then share with the student how they can improve. By first laying a foundation based on humility and not attempting to prove that their superior speaking skills are the reason they are the instructor, they level the playing field as it were, to have a face value conversation. This allows a normally defensive, cynical person to accept what is being said. Sometimes that trust takes time, to level the field.

In our conversations, we should not open with a negative commentary. Not expressing sentiments that are destructive is the best way of doing that. Comments that degrade anyone or anything. The moment we call someone a derogatory or defamatory name, is immediately destructive. Expressing how unfortunate that someone or something makes you feel, be it angry or depressed, this then turns the conversation not on destroying another, but focuses it on the individual feelings you have. Watching that in a conversation where someone must talk about how another acted or responded, should not turn your attention to that other person, but towards the situation and the feelings that it incited. This can be very difficult, cause usually if one does not want to ‘talk about how they feel’ they will only talk about what they see.

Being aware of negative sentiment and looking for ways to not destroy one another, is a great first step towards protecting each other from harmful elements in the world around us. Like the birds, we can create a positive atmosphere if we show first we are inclined to help others and not express our own self survival mechanism, by only critically demeaning our neighbor or the world. We are a complex social creature, that must work within our social realm in order to prosper and survive happy.

But what do I know, I can only tell you what I’ve seen and heard, maybe you’ve learned differently.

Let it be…

May 27th, 2012

Ive been called morbid. Its a goth fad to be morbid. But true morbidity does not always show itself in the dark negative that it is popularized to be. In fact, to be morbid is to dwell on the moment of one’s or anyone’s death. Ive been, as of late, in close association with the notion of one’s death. What of the thereafter and such. I have no reason to fear it, as fearing death only means that they hold no hope or faith in something more than nothing. No, I do not forlorn the notion that I will burn in hell. (As hell is a Platonic notion created to inspire fear in the plebeians.) But to surmise I may have a hope, if I remember our creator in my limited years. That is to be presumptuous of me however. I pray that I am not a complete loss to my God. But that after this ill begotten corporeal mass of mine has transpired, I shall be granted that second chance to do right to my fellow mankind. My brothers and sisters.

The length of his days shall not pass 1 day.
In one thousand years how will we be remember if at all. Those artists of the past, circa 1012 AD, are they known today? And if so, what are they known for. Oh, you say you don’t know any from that time period? That’s because they are forgotten, only to be remembered as part of a culture of peoples marked by their remains.
Do I expect to be remembered, no. In fact, I hope that most of what Ive done, in so much as my worldly pursuits are forgotten and separated from what our culture is to be remembered for. My misanthropic, amorphic ideas that are scrawled across paper and said to mean nothing. Honestly it doesn’t amount to anything more than what anyone else can do when they work hard at it. I dream fantasies that are easily passed over. Even if I ever did write that epic novel, what would it amount to but a means to money in my pocket. I don’t believe in artist that sell out. They are all doing exactly what the world expects, earning a living. That notion of my halcyon days of past, where we dreamed of a pure world of emotionally driven art. Engaging the viewer in a similar fantasy. Ive found my niche now in this world of engineering and dry anti-art that only engages the people that know how to read an electrical schematic, because it pays. I expect to be forgotten, infact I certainly hope I am not remembered as a driving part of this societies aspirations.

When I die, I need someone to burn all my art.

Why can I not do it myself. Perhaps its because Im still attached to it. Perhaps its something that I need others to think about. The things we create in this world, are they something that others will consider with implicit value. An epitaph to read, what was created was merely carbon dust, and so it should return such.

Depression besets us all, perhaps if one day I actually create something beautiful, I wont put my name to it. Ill just say… created by the inspiration of another. Perhaps we should all pass it along like that. Not with our name, but something up buidling that will inspire beauty and positive growth in others. Thus far, what I see in my work is not that. This isnt me cutting off my ear, but if I die, I sure hope I wont be remembered for such.


August 25th, 2009

Agoraphobia. Some say its of open spaces, or crowded places. When in fact its the fear of being someplace that for one reason or another makes you very very uncomfortable. I suffered from it for a time. Panic attacks in crowded spaces, brought on by a subtle frustration pent up until I could no longer focus on what was happening until I needed to escape. I dealt with it.

Paper Sticks Rock !!

The United States of America, known well for its abundant space and leisurely use of that space, unbounded in its self-glorified grandeur. Also known for having alot of people in some very tight corners of that place. That said, the space is indeed beautiful in many places, and those massive gatherings of people has made for some of the greatest cultural pavillions in the world to explore. I have a wanton to visit New York some day. But the key word there is visit.

I used the term America loosely, cause this is not an anti-american sentiment. What would the pot be calling the furnace black, theyre of the same metal, just one is smaller than the other. Canada to me has been my heritage in growing up here, yet this very culture is not that disimmilar to one someone may have experienced just south of us. So why would I fear the United States part of the Americas, in some Gringophobic anxiety. Ill sum it up in a short statement my father told me one day…

“When the boss in charge, starts cutting the budget and not spreading the funds where their needed, mechanics start taking short cuts in their work. Eventually gears dont get the grease and the motor fails. Medicine is the same, when people dont pay, they cut corners and some people die.” Ok not his exact words, but close enough.

Ive been fortunate to be in Canada where our “socialist” governement has taken care of the medical system and taken the weight off of the people to foot the bill. If I walk into the hospital, I dont even worry about money. Watching the news lately (A VERY DANGEROUS PASTTIME), it seems to me unless your really well off, being in the US with medical issues your a second class citizen and liable to be ignored.

Hold on Chuck! I dont want to jump on a political debate about the current healthcare system and the adjudication of the lazy, ignomious layman that takes advantage of a system. One way or another yeah everyone get taken care of. Meanwhile however there are some very mentally unhealthy people running around waiting for the public to take care of them. Which brings me to my next point of fear.

Guns. All that right-wing freedoms to bare arms free willied about with a dubious dealing to anyone that can present an ID frightens me greatly. Not so much the idea of someone having the guns, but the attitude that they can shoot at will and call it defense. Ok, its been said before, columbine and all that gangland joy in Detroit. Why kick a dead horse, we shot it 12 times already. Im just saying, its a frightening fact that ALOT of people die of gun fire. Seriously, why even count how many soldiers die in the middle east when 10 times as many has died in your own homeland.

Patriotism makes me twitch. I laughed at the reflection on a particular talent show when one of the judges (not american), said what the others wanted to say but couldnt cause perhaps they were american. ‘Its Cheezey’ I think that about sums up American Patiotism. The isocentric veiw that they are on top of the world. True or not, its like that sickening fat rich kid that flouts about how much more they have than everyone else. The frightening thing is its all pervasive in the US culture that its a running joke, even with in its own. I wont deny that every country has their patriotic movements, but. . . there is a whole world out there.

Population. Thats the grand excuse for all of the above. We have all these problems more than Canada, England and the rest of the world, cause of our population. Well thats a knicker of a problem you got there. So perhaps I should be more afraid of the population than any of the other issues.

Im just stating those fears that many have noted and I have felt. And no doubt many can argue them until the proverbial cows come home from their lecherous lives in Vegas. I have walked the crowded city streets here in Canada and in the US. Homelessness is everywhere. So are stupid people. The world is a crazy place. I just fear the most publicized and largest density of people with liberal ideas. (Some not so good) Its like they say, many stereotypes are based on some reality, no mater how skewed.

So I was at a good friends for dinner the other night. They had immigrated here to Canada from Nigeria. Nigeria is a wealthy country, not unlike the US. They are however right smack dab in the middle of the African continent where even the media fear to tread. She related stories of how often gangs of armed men would ransack a house regardless if you were home or not, take your valuables and leave. Im not talking huts of grass and straw, but houses, with iron bars and gates of steel. She related to me how she had held herself up in a guest room while her home was raided. And that it was not the first time it happened there. Thats why she came to Canada, where she finally after a long time, she could feel safe. Needless to say, she misses the warmth of Nigeria, both physical and social. (One may argue the balance between social standoffish feelings for security.)

They say many phobias are formed from rational fears. Spiders, drowning, falling, suffocating. But when they become irrational, the mear idea of them can cause a panic attack. Is it the idea of what is in the US that frightens me. Both of my sisters have lived in the US now for a large part of their lives. They seem comfortable with it, now. And they’re not dead. (I really wish my younger sister was better off.)

Perhaps many of my fears can be summed up to worries about my childs future on Earth in its present condition. Afterall, how much better off could she be in say… India.

Edumacational Constraints

April 27th, 2009

I hate Math. Perhaps Hate is a strong word. I am very averse to it. Uninclined to understand the language of numeric theory. And then some genius thought that algebraic formula would help. It would help only if they drew me a picture, has anyone created pictorial… oh wait they did, Geometry. Geomaticians. Its a whole world of aliens, compared to my pathological intuitive understandings of the world.

So Im in class, taking thermodynamics and air systems design fundamentals and feeling more and more foreign. So I give kudos to those that can calculate clearly.

Bagged Babies, a warning label

Technically speaking, I have fallen deeper into the feild of technical art (Drafting in some circles) and graphic design than I thought was possible. Im learning all this stuff about the stuff Im drawing to make the engineering look good. To be honest, its heavy and my brain is not designed, so to put it, to deal with it all.

Do I blame my parents and their genes or my upbringing for my educationally retardation.

No. I just learn different than other people. My older brother did this same course and is now an expert in his feild. (Not art, but actually buiding… buildings.)

My mother gave me a call today and expressed her dissappointment at my alleged statement about my daughter having more than I had. She stopped to remind me that she had less than I had, and her parents had even less. Its an interesting notion to consider the “progressive” nature of the generations in what ‘riches’ they may have had. I speak of course of material possessions. Ofcourse that was not my point. Although happy that she has plenty, my fear would be that with all the more material possession, perhaps my girl will loose sight of the love and spirit that we give her also. (Something Grama, reminded me of and I had to reassure her that I had not forgotten that either.)

Bagged Head

Growing up I had plenty. Plenty enough. And wonder if I am mearly expressing on my daughter what I wished I may have had when I was her age. Perhaps unconsciously giving to her what I think would make her happier. When infact many children usually play with the box more than the actual toy sometimes. (Thus the warning lable on bags, telling parents that children will play with the packaging.)

We were in a parent teacher interview not too long ago. They had her ‘tested’ as her reading skils apparently are 8 grades above her current grade. That said, her other skills (math) are still at grade one level. (Her current grade.) This was facinating new and frightening at the same time. It meant she would excell very well in the reading and writing and arts. But struggle with math as I do. Again I am very grateful for a school like the one she is in with a arts immersion focus.

Diversity of skill and learning is a good thing, it makes for a world of differnt personalities. Accountants, Architechs and Artists. In the end, if my girl was more inclined to be an accountant, I would not stop her to do that, in so much as my parents did not stop me from becoming an artist.

Just a quick plug. Photography is one of those fine arts that is clearly a technical feild more people should have interest in… Check out my brother in laws pictures.
Carrion Flower

(Special thanks to the unnamed artist that created those warning lables on a software packaging.)