Xoterica 4: The Buzz

Artemis Sere Xoterica

Hump day. The sexual innuendo of the term makes me giggle, but I appreciate that I've made it to the middle of the work week nonetheless. For those of you who don't know, Artemis Sere is a pseudonym and brand; behind the façade exists a normal human with real life problems and 45-50 hour a week Corporate work schedule.

My life can get a little nutty, and I don't even have kids. Making time for art is a challenge these days, on top of all the day-to-day drama.

Music is the primary source of my inspiration and a common thread of my world, a consistent resource for my creativity. For years now, I've tracked my favorite music in annual "Best of" blogs, and I spend a fair amount of my time researching what's new and juicy in the genres that I follow.

These #xoterica blogs will highlight what I'm listening to, and often these shouts will introduce content that will be featured in my annual countdown of best music.

Starting off the day with the new Rabbit Junk EP "Like the Flesh Does the Knife". I'm a big fan of remixes, extending the creative life of a great song and giving it a different atmosphere. I love listening to how another artist would approach a music piece differently than the original artist – or if the original artist augments the experience of a song with different atmosphere. I first encountered remixing via Rob Zombie -- who remixed his classics in the 90s, such as "More Human than Human" -- and Trent Reznor, who remixed Megadeth's "Symphony of Destruction".

I'm a big fan of what friend JP Anderson and  his wife do with their band Rabbit Junk. I've been listening to Rabbit Junk as a favorite artist since I discovered them in 2009. Their style of "Hardclash" is a refreshing, glitchy mix of many different styles with an aggressive edge.

In the rotation this morning is also Cyanotic's "Tech Noir" album, which is another great entry into the Cyanotic catalog. I'll have a more lengthy review for my upcoming "Best Music of 2017" blog. My friend Sean Payne of Cyanotic runs a label named Glitch Mode, and helps polish, produce and promote the work of Rabbit Junk, and has for a really long time. Cyanotic and Rabbit Junk are tandem bands in my mind, heralds of the glitch and hardclash techno-industrial genre, each woefully underrated and underappreciated.

[ESOTERICA: Yesterday was picking day of the harvest. 6'- 8' tall plants. 22 jars of output.]


Xoterica 3: The Gust

Artemis Sere Coagulative Spill

I awoke to the howl of winds this morning. Appropriate background noise for my life these days. The union of storms of life continues to attack, ENE at 33 MPH in a circular motion towards a dissipating horizon.

I deftly duck my head and another gust rushes at me, tempting to topple me and my life down. The cold is coming; I can feel the chill in my bones as the temperatures dip. Another long winter of hibernation, creation and reflection ahead.

Most in the U.S. look toward the end of the year with excitement for Thanksgiving and Christmas or other family-oriented holidays. I look forward to disconnecting from the ties that bind, and being at one with that dissipating horizon. I miss the ties that once kept me happy and healthy, but don't miss the mythical fanfare of the season. Beyond the pretty wrapping paper and seasonal propaganda, time-off and time away are the benefits I look forward to.

An appreciation of the silence and stillness of life. The storm has weathered me so much that I yearn for quiet spaces away from the buzz of the human world. Now in my 40s, I suppose you could chalk that up to getting old.

The reality is that I'm getting worn down by the responsibility, pressures and the politics of this path.

The #YearoftheSere has whizzed by, my ten-year celebration almost used up and tossed into dusty files of the history of my brand. Onto the next decade, I say to myself and charge ahead. (NOTE: I won't feel fully "moved on to" 2018 until I finish my #Xposed blog series, which I will complete and share by the end of 2017). This year was supposed to be a recognition of all that I've accomplished over the last decade, but it's turned into a busy year of creative projects and deep contemplation about my existence as an artist.

I should be proud of what I've achieved in 2017.

A first this year -- my art was part of two album releases for two different bands: one, a Twin Cities metal band that I've known since my Sound and Fury days; the other, a national act that found my art by chance on Instagram and became good friends of mine over the years.

Another first – two diverse gallery shows: one, supporting a Rap/Hip-Hop Label Relaunch in St. Paul; the other, a national show that featured an eclectic mix of arts and artists.

Other firsts that were in the mix for 2017 -- countless new paintings, creation of angular stretchers with self-stretched canvas and integration of art resin into my creative process.

Final tally – few painting sales, a brand following/audience in decline, and another year of missing my creative goal of "publishing a new book every year". I feel like this result report – the one that recalls how unsuccessful I've been at selling my art product over the course of the year -- is a recurring tempest that I can't seem to get to stop from spinning out of control.

With the state of the storms these days, I have started to wonder if my gusty goals are even achievable, or if I should simplify my efforts and strive for the best artistic effort possible. Set easier goals, and let my creative winds fill the sails to power my progress toward success. Sounds good in theory.

The howls remind me that time is always moving forward, with or without my observation and participation in the world around me. The SERE in me feels unsettled, even as the human requests acquiescence and respite.



Artemis Sere Coagulative Spill

Xoterica 2: The Wheel

xoterica 2

End one, begin another. The days same to cycle swiftly at present. A veritable blur between today

and yesterday.

Own your hours. It's catchy wisdom but difficult in practice. Most of us are chained to the wheel of servitude, rather than productive autonomy.

What would you do if you had no one to answer to? Who would you be if time was completely yours?

The machines will deliver humanity that question someday. They'll do what we can, only better. Humanity will eventually phase it's pure self off the assembly line. Too fragile, too resource-intense,

Too late. The wisdom of all the ages and sages can't fix the flaws of the human creature. Yeah, it's pessimistic, but it's true: just look at the imperfect people we elect and direct to be our leaders.

Certainly, that's the case in the U.S. right now with Drumpf. He does not lead by example; he leads by the terroristic threat of "firing" people. Or at them, as is the case with regimes around the world with or in which we have conflicts, like North Korea and Afghanistan.

War is good business, and business is good.

Own your hours. When you live in constant fear, they tend to own you. In a sense, our king-president owns us now more than he ever did when he was running flashy casinos or starring in soulless shows.

The terrain is different but the terms are the same: we live in the age of the American tyrant.

America-first thinking is egotistical narscicism at it's finest. Gone are the altruistic and heroic positions of yesterday; Enter unquestionable nationalism and a regression from decency and an honorable place as a trusted world leader.

#humanfirst is the focus we should have. Instead of bullying and building tall walls to keep people out, we should create faster roads for them to come in, even if they aren't citizens. They serve a purpose and keep the wheel moving, as deserving of a shot at stability as you and I have had.

Leaders should live humbly, not inhumanely.