One Year Later

From Cassady:
"Wow. Like a year ago I was visiting DC and had lunch with you and my sister in some diner in the weird township you live in (I'm trying to think of that Jim Carey movie where he lives in a town which is a movie set but he doesn't know it) on what I think was your birthday...and now--one year later--here we are.

As for the question of if you are a Professional Photographer/Blogger/Musician/Etc., that's an interesting problem. In the traditional sense as soon as you start getting PAID you're a pro...but I sympathize with your desire to remain known as an amateur.... God only knows what possessed me to decide to try to go to school to become a Professional Photo Hack...but this is the hand I've dealt (to myself) and now I'm in the thick of it and through the looking glass so to speak (and honestly very excited about realizing that my curse in life is to be an artist).

But where was I going with this anyway? Oh yes one year ago...a lot of things have changed and a lot more are about to change. The shit seems simultaneously poised to hit the fan AND get better, if that's possible. A lot of people are worried about The Depression and losing all of their collective 401K, but I'm as broke now as I was 10 years ago (or more) so it really hasn't hit home for me. I mean what's so bad about a Depression anyway, we all can sit around on the steps and talk shit and drink and not have to go to work, right? I mean maybe its time to think about growing a garden out back, buying a bike and feeding ourselves...instead of relying on Whole Foods and Wal*Mart to bring us our booty.

I'm just happy to have found that, given my current career path I'll never be rich, will constantly be tormented and will spend all of my life trying to be noticed by people who don't really give a shit. There's a certain calmness that comes over you when you finally realize that you've found that thing that you enjoy...I mean I can stop worrying about all of those 'other' things that come with being rich and famous, right?

But again I got off track, what I wanted to say was happy birthday, keep doing your thing AND thanks for pushing me in the right direction and shooting me straight...qualities which are hard to find these days.

Anyway Best of Luck and I'm sure you (and I) will have lots to say in the next month or so...."

Back to Ty:

Sure signs that you've become an artist:
- Realizing that one's curse in life is to be an artist.

- The realization that one will never be rich, will constantly be tormented, and will spend all of one's life trying to be noticed by people who don't really give a shit.

- The certain calmness that comes over you when you finally realize that you've found that thing that you enjoy.
No lie, son. I, too, am saddled with the inherent responsibility that I've been predetermined by the gods to make shit called "the art." Thanks a lot the gods. I am constantly tormented. I will never be rich or famous. And I will probably spend my entire life trying to be noticed by people who don't get my work and who cannot do art themselves if they were struck by lightning. But I keep making this shit called "the art" without target audience or retail intent. Sucks! And if you can escape it, Cass, do it now. Art sucks much. It's hard and it's baffling. It's murder and it's sorrow. It's never ever making what you wanted to make. It's trying to do the exact same thing for years and years and years. It's never making sense to anyone. It's always being 180 degrees wrong.

It's the best.

So yeah, fuck all the kids who lost their fortunes playing the market. I'll say it again, this so-called depression is only the great equalizer. No longer at the bottom of totem poles, we makers and creators are now the new elite. We encourage each other to push the remaining boundaries.

Cassady, thank you for your note and birthday wishes. Thank you for your kind words over time. Thank you for your questions about how I do stuff (because that is the hardest thing for me to do; explain what I do). Remember that I empathize with what you're going through. Alls I can say is: keep pushing. Keep in touch and keep pushing. I'll always be available to advise and critique.

It's funny. At this wedding this past weekend, Christine was introducing me to people as her "photography teacher." I know that was Christine just being kind but it was pretty weird. Her work is generally brilliant and I just try to be an honest admirerer. It's not like I've ever taught her anything (aside from using spit and t-shirts to clean lenses and to just get in your subjects' space). I was deeply humbled (and mortified) at the introduction though.

I guess it's about this community that we're part of and that we're building and that we're expanding. It's a Kingdom of Leisure in the New America.