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Self Portrait

------------------------The Last Charge------------------------- --From the world of a Raggedy Man.-- -----------------------------------------------------------

Did you ever dream of being an artist? Yeah, me too.

There was a time when I thought about little else. For years I'd been doing art to amuse myself, it appeared that in my first-grade class that I could draw clouds with the best of them. My father took full advantage of this, whenever I would bother him in his office, he'd hand me a pencil with a piece of paper and tell me to go draw him a picture. Little did he know how this would come back to bite him in the ass.

Time passes and in the early 70's I did a painting for a couple, they loved the painting and then they asked that life-altering question, "Hey, Alyn, me and my wife love your artwork, do you think you could letter up the transom of my boat?" Sure, why not, after all, I was still earning money making my art. And therein my friend lie's the rub.

Hand lettering was actually something that I enjoyed. This being way before the age of computer-generated lettering. Everything was still hand done, so it was a form of art, in a way. Before I continue, allow me to give a brief history and background of myself.

A writer once said that.

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing thoughts in the mind and still retain the ability to function."

To, in fact, see that sign painting was in and of itself a form of art, and that in and of itself a descent into madness. As incomprehensible as it seemed, this idea would grow to haunt me.

I started my artistic life at the age of 6, that's when my older brother brought home a finger painting from school. I was amazed. Now I am sure that every child probably does the same finger painting of a tornado but the swirling colors of maroon and red on that white background, I was hooked. This, I said, is what I want to do, and I did.

Though, I must admit that my grades were horrible for one that showed such imagination. It wasn't until a PTA meeting with my fifth-grade teacher that my parents began to understand. At the meeting, my mother, who was starting to get distraught over my grades, had it demonstrated to her, why. The explanation was very simple when my teacher pulled a pile of drawings out of her desk drawer and announced to my parents that their son wants nothing more than to be an artist. And so, that's how it began. By the age of eleven friends, and acquaintances were paying me for my work. It's really a wonderful feeling to see your dreams start to come true. Then in the 1970's, the dream began to fade, all because of a question that was asked. Can you letter my transom?

One quickly comes to realize with a sense of regret, that sign work is a necessity and that artwork is more of a luxury. Though, as the years past, artwork and sign painting afforded me the ability to travel, anywhere. Airbrushing had also become a keen interest of mine, and, along with my sign painting abilities, I was able to travel across the country and around the world. Again, to quote an author, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

As the 90s approached, the age of the computer was firmly entrenched. It seemed it was so much easier to get a tackle box full of brushes and a few cans of paint into the trunk of your car. Then suddenly you realize that there was a paradigm shift in the Cosmos. Almost imperceptible at first, that feeling, like that silence before the fall. Suddenly you realize that you couldn't travel with your computer and plotter with rolls of vinyl, so you had to just put down roots and set up shop. And so, little by little. the drive for artistic expression.was replaced by the chase for bigger sign jobs.

And his list of enchanted items was diminished by one.

Finally, the Millennium came and with it more technology. What before had been a chase for larger signs jobs was now replaced with a need to be more technologically advanced. Software, flatbed printers, CNC Routing machines and plotters that were sold with monthly contacts and lease options. Slowly, assuredly and inevitably the more you made, the more you owe.

I saw the snake eating its own tail, enough, I said, put a fork in me, I'm done, enough!

The sign business had become one of those easily marketed franchised entities that were offered to the masses. With the promise of a quick learning curve and even easier money, they had finally found a way to take the art out even that. It didn't matter in the least that most stary eyed buyers knew nothing of sign work, to them, it was just "peel and stick." Signs had become the kind of business that with a little money down, you could sign a contract and ease yourself into that Faustian existence. All of which had left me totally disenfranchised and feeling as though the artistic element that I had convinced myself of, was actually nothing more than an illusion.

Yup, the lipstick had definitely worn off that pig.

I decided to go back to the beginning, or as near to it as I felt would be prudent and satisfying. To dust off the tackle box which held numerous airbrushes, paint brushes, along with my favorite drawing pencils and go back to the world of Art.

It seemed like it was sitting there in the corner waiting for me. The tackle box that I had left behind, as a child might forget a toy.

I had no desire to go back to the chemically toxic world of custom painting boats, cars, planes, and bikes, that was a world for the young. Somehow, I had survived those years without my lungs looking like a Walt Disney nightmare. Nor would I go back to airbrushing t-shirts. After painting countless ones with crossed palm trees and endless waves rolling before torrid sunsets, in hearts that read...Tony loves Gina....or Harley's Rule. With skulls and flames, along with the obligatory naked woman holding a sword...while riding a Polar Bear.

No, not this time, not again.

This time it will be different, it will be done not to please the masses. but to please myself, my soul, if you will, or to that portion of which I still possessed. This time it will be an attempt to raise the lowly airbrush and pencil from the art of the pedestrian to the ranks of "Fine Art."

I feel as if this is a moral imperative, that I've been given another chance to do it right. I thought I'd lost it, I really did but as it turns out it was waiting there all along.

And to that end, I have decided that the Art Show Circuit is the place where I can do the most damage, get my name out there, and all the while, hopefully, make some money.

F. Scott Fitzgerald probably said it best. From the "Crack-Up."

"In the practice of my trade I will forever be dissatisfied, but I for one, would not have chosen any other."

So if you enjoy my work leave a comment, shy of that, give a like. I feel like Rodney Dangerfield, "Just give me one these.", with him showing the OK sign with his fingers.

To whom it may concern.

I would just like it to be recorded, noted, if you will, that in this year of our Lord, that I sold a painting. On this bleak February day, which happens to be the anniversary of my joining this group, this rabble, this band of brothers.

How quickly the time passes when you have something to paint.

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I've been told that I should include my educational history. This idea seemed prudent and if you will allow me to do so., I will

In 1964 I had 10 art lessons from a guy that whose name I don't remember but he taught me how to use pastels. That and the fact that he was pretty good.

In 1976, at the age of 23, I went to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. Now before you get ahead of yourselves I only went there for three months They were a lot like the Marine Corps, their motto was, "Forget everything you think you know about Art." Perhaps you can understand why I didn't stay longer.

Nope, that's about it, for all of those that have the need to know it.

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Another painting one Sold

Well, it seems the sale of my first painting wasn't just a fluke after all Last week, in the city of Rochester< NY I sold another painting. Now, The first one might just have been luck but this second one adds a whole different dimension to the mix. It appears that finally, my Demons have been tackled,....if not tackled, then mildly concussed.

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