Acid Heroes

November 6, 2009

2002_10_16 This is art, goddammit! And if it isn’t, I sincerely apologize

Filed under: Random Archives — Ace Backwords @ 7:46 pm
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I don’t know why I do this: send out my thoughts to thousands of strangers at the other end of my reality. I’ve been doing it off and on for 20 years; I’m compelled to do it in a way, but there’s always been something a little weird about the whole deal.

At one point, I couldn’t come up with any good reason to do it, so I stopped doing it. I sat under a tree in the woods and mostly kept my damn thoughts to myself. But doing nothing really didn’t work either, so I went back to doing it again.

I suppose I do it for a lot of reasons; both good and bad; both noble and ignoble. Fame, glory, and money. And self-expression and self-knowledge. To impress chicks. And to understand my soul a little better. It was an odd hodge-podge of motivations for sure.

Joan Rivers once said: “You have to be a little screwed up in the first place to have this need to stand up in front of thousands of strangers and win their approval.” I suppose you can look at anything from a neurotic side. “Sure, you’ve created this artistic masterpiece, but you’re just doing it to over-compensate for your lack of self-esteem and your tiny dink.” On the positive side you could say you’re trying to offer other people something worthwhile to feed on: food for thought or whatever. I know a lot of people on the street scene who don’t contribute anything to the world. They don’t produce; they just consume. I doubt that’s healthy.

At the peak of my so-called cartooning career in the early 90s, I was reaching about a million people every month. Minor-league stuff compared to real media celebrity. But it was too much of an over-load for my fragile psyche. It was one reason I ended up sitting under a tree in a daze for a year or six. Its no wonder all the truly famous people are mostly nuts. Communicating to even a minor-mass audience was like talking into a powerful microphone hooked up to an echo machine. Words you said 5 or 10 years earlier would come flying back at you when you least expected it. It was a lot like carrying on a conversation with thousands of people simultaneously. And if your work has a “personal” edge, or a weird cutting edge to it, the audience feedback can be doubly jarring. You can get lost in the feedback loop of it all. I mean, jeez, just regular life alone can be enough of a mind-fukk. Having intense personal relations with the mindless beast known as Your Audience added another layer to it.

I’d have people come up to me and say: “There was something you wrote 5 years ago that totally changed my thinking! It totally changed my life!”
“Aw gee shucks!” I’d say, all bashful and humble.
“Yeah, it totally screwed up my head! I’ve never been the same!”
Oh. Uh. Oops.

There was another guy who came up to me a couple years ago and said: “I’ve seen you around for years, and I’m still pizzed at you for what you said in that one comic strip back in 1992!”

He was legitimately angry at me, in fact he was seething with hatred towards me. Eight years after the fact. I asked him what the strip was, and it turned out it was some lame strip that I hacked out one night in 30 minutes one night when I really couldn’t think of anything to say, and then I never thought about again until that moment. Recently I came across that strip on a random search of the web. So it’s still out there, active, its wonders to perform.

Not that I’m complaining. Is there anything more insipid than famous people who spend their lives striving to get “known” by millions of strangers, and then, the minute their dream comes true, the first thing they start crying about is: they want their damn “privacy.” Stupid fukks.

Overall, its a great game. It’s all just Show Biz, right? Whether it’s high art at the one end, or schlock journalism at the other. And I can honestly say I’d be sitting here typing the same thing whether 2 people or 2 million people were reading it. Because really, I’m really just doing it for myself. It’s nice if people like what I do sometimes, but in truth, the best I hope for is that what I do isn’t harmful. And there are times when I’m not even sure of that.


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