Monday, February 28, 2011

Instead of painting today

I probably won't paint today.  I'm feeling a little lousy in general between the residual headaches from the skull fracture, weaning myself off the narcotics, it being after 2pm and not having eaten, being a little depressed because I didn't get to see my son this past weekend, Meghan not being here and it being a crappy, rainy day out today. Besides, I have laundry to do, and other excuses I could make up faster if I weren't feeling like such a lump.

Maybe I should photograph all the unfinished paintings just in this apartment (I have likely a couple hundred in storage) and post those photos to shame myself publicly into finishing them.

I should also clean my studio.  It's entirely disorganized, cluttered up with junk, and in no way laid out in a way conducive to my process.  It seems like this area keeps turning into the de facto dumpster for every odd or end I encounter and think might someday be useful for something.  I've got the blades from fans, the masks from lacrosse helmets, armature wire, Fimo clay, a giant lazy susan filled with squirt bottles and a 14" tall funnel all just within my view sitting here writing this.  How do I organize that kind of stuff? How many drawers can I label "Random Junk" before I can't really call it organization any more?

Hopefully I can call this a "before" shot sooner rather than later.
Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have something worthwhile finished besides laundry.  Even if no more than an organized space.  On the other hand, I've been watching Farscape straight through from Season 1 to the Peacekeeper Wars, and am currently toward the beginning of Season 4.  So maybe I'll just do that instead.  I can't tell you though how much I hope if I can even manage to post here daily it's not a constant stream of reasons why I'm not painting today.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day One of My New Blog

I am an artist. The goal with this blog is going to be to provide as truthful and complete a picture as possible of the reality of my creative process.  I want to keep things simple and concise, but in truth, I will likely often meander quite a bit.

Here's some probably necessary contextual background, of which I suspect more may be required in future entries.  My name is Jason Randolph Burrell.  Burrell is a monosyllabic name pronounced "Burl."  I am, as of today, 31 years old, having been born on the 4th of July, 1979 in the city of Brockton, Massachusetts, in the USA, about an hour's drive south of Boston.  I was raised in East Bridgewater, one town south of the city of my birth, and lived there until I was 19, when I met a girl named Jennifer. We fell in love and had a son we named Jarvis Randolph Burrell.  He was born in the same hospital in Brockton that I was, on August 2nd, 2000.  Jenn and I broke up not long after his first birthday and so he and I visit one another most weekends.

I was always active in the arts, but never a good student, and it wasn't until I dropped out of school when Jarvis' mother and I were living together that I got serious about my artwork.  At the time, I was working at a paint and hardware store in Brockton called Irving's.  Irving's was a great family-owned business catering both to contractors and homeowners in the area.  I worked the cash register at the counter and had other duties, but primarily, I was the paint colour matcher.  ( a note here, I prefer the British spellings of a lot of words and have no good reason for it.  Deal with it).  People would bring in samples of things they wanted colour-matched and it was my job to tint the paint.  I worked using three basic tools: a spectrophotometer, the experience and expertise of the owner, Dick, and his son, Dave, and my own eye, which had always been pretty good anyway.

If you've ever bought a custom-tinted can of paint, you may or may not have had the opportunity to look over the paint tech's shoulder and actually see what it looks like in the can before he pops it in the shaker.  The colourants swirl and churn in the upper, usually clear, couple of inches in the can, with the solids of the paint having settled to the bottom. The liquid colourants get shot into the can at high speed and create the most amazing patterns and textures suspended in those few clear upper inches.  I grew obsessed with them around the same time my relationship with my son's mother started to visibly crumble, and without really being sure what I was going to use them for, started hoarding large amounts of mistinted house paints that had been piling up in Irving's for years, having been given a $1/gallon price from the owner to help him clear some space in the store.

When Jenn and I broke up, I started locking myself alone in my art studio at my mother's house and eating large amounts of psychotropic mushrooms surrounded by dozens of gallons of paint and standing over large blank canvases.  I started to develop a very Pollock-esque style of painting, but one which relied more on the use of squirt bottles than paint sticks, which allowed me to create certain mixtures of colours before the paint even touched the canvas.

That style has evolved considerably over the years, and I no longer require drugs to get into a creative mental space.  When a current experiment I'm trying to explain in this blog requires contextualization based on older work, I'll go back and where possible dig up old photographs from my pre-digital days.  Jarvis is 10 years old now, and so has gotten an unlikely and in all likelihood unique art education of sorts as I experiment in various ways with paint and oftentimes allow him to help in the process.  I'll try to help you catch up to him.

Currently, I live in a small studio apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts, across the river from Boston, in Central Square with Meghan Guidry, the love of my life.  A small portion of the room is set aside for my use as an art studio, while Meghan writes at her desk by the window.  I'm on medical leave from work right now because a few weeks ago (on Sunday, January 9th, 2011) I fractured my skull sledding with Jarvis.  I've been sitting around in here in varying amounts of pain for weeks now doing a lot of the same sort of introspection and soul-searching I did locked up in the studio all those years ago on mushrooms, except this time, it's Dilaudid, and it's a whole different game.  Hopefully I'll be off this crap completely before I have to go back to work on March 11th, but in the meantime, I'm starting to get to a place where I can begin to paint again, and maybe even explain a little bit about what I'm doing.

If you'd like to see a couple of my paintings, visit