"And once the storm is over You won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, that the storm is over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, You won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about."
The world has mostly melted now, the seasons have changed dramatically since my last update. Warmer weather and thunderstorms have pushed the frozen world away, and the green of renewal can be seen across the landscape. I can feel the welcome warmth of summer in the air, but it doesn't feel as inspiring and enlivening as it once did.
A year ago, I left the cushy, comfortable stability of a global corporate job for an unknown world - a future of grit, struggle and fire. I wanted to be a welder, even though it paid poorly and was a stark turn away from my professional history. My metalmorphosis was about surviving as the workers do, understanding their pain and pathway, and living a life of activity and action centered around my art. And telling the story of it. I thought my network would follow along, that all the great people that once praised my talent, production and creative output would be on the ride with me. I thought the universe would provide and come to my aid, that the successes that I had experienced over the last decade would carry into my new adventure. I listened to the wise therapists that said "live your adventure and take risks".
And so I did, and I can truthfully say that I'm now at one of the lowest points in my life. One year removed from my decision, and not a single thing has went as I hoped or planned, apart from having time to focus on my art and art product. I published one of the coolest things I ever have, and the act has felt pointless - far removed from how I thought I'd feel after publishing my 4th book. Yes, the gallery book was developed as a tool to organize my gallery, but it's also a color representation of my gallery, far cheaper than purchasing a piece of my work or spending money to experience multiple individual gallery shows of mine. It is valuable to anyone that cares about my art. I thought the audience I built would appreciate that.
I was wrong.
Even before the virus hit, my art was fading from view and memory, with only a few wonderful people putting passion behind their praise.
Now, I seldom paint. The fires of creativity inside of me have been replaced by worry, regret and frustration at a world that continues to spin and recycle lies. Leaving Facebook and Instagram were good for my soul, as it was a constant reminder of how hollow the praise of people can be. I helped build social media into the beast it is today, through advocacy armies and social strategy and content curation. I trained many on how to use social media, and lauded the benefits of the space. Those trainings and teachings have proved useful to many now that civilization has recessed into caves to dodge the virus.
Social media once made me feel valued and valuable.
Things will never be the same in our world, and the digital experience has been given new life and new meaning now that we observe forced distance. But social media will never replace the necessity of face-to-face interaction, something that was lost on me during all the years I pushed social media and tried to push my brand to new heights and broader audience. The audience metrics were always sweet, but the engagement metrics were deplorable.
I should've recognized that long ago, but there was too much money to be made as part of our current economic engine. We now live by Amazon and remote deliveries. We Happy Hour and meet using Zoom and other digital services. We breathe constant news feeds telling us how bad physical human contact has become, that we should wear masks (if we can find them), stay 6' apart, avoid gatherings and opportunities to spread the disease. Unemployment could hit 20-30%. Companies are freezing jobs and hunkering down. Millions may die, at least hundreds of thousands in the United States. There's a war for ppe, and my former company is on the front lines of criticism by elected officials.
"Our country wasn't built for this, our country wasn't built to be shut down".
No country is. No civilization is. Modern civilization involves a class and caste system that requires poorly-funded and protected slaves. Our King recently met with the heads of all of the professional Gladiator teams in America, and they whined about how their entertainment products are suffering with the country faltering as it faces the toughest test in our young history. People need the comfort of their overpaid Gladiators, they argue. Culture is more important than caution, they demand.
Even grayhairs claim that they'll die for the country, as if they're the only group affected by a bug so viral that you can catch it simply breathing around someone. Our martyrs are those people fighting the bug on the front lines of society - the under-prepared health care workers, delivery people, grocery store workers and caretakers, just to name a few. All else is overhead these days, contributors to an economic engine that cares little for cogs of its wheels.
After my divorce in 2001, I remember looking for a job, even while fighting with a dire chronic condition and suffering mightily. I remember sitting in an interview room with Aon Financial when the towers fell, watching the tragedy on the screen with awe and fear. The world felt very unfamiliar then. It's sad to say that it feels like history is repeating, with the great global human society faltering with a simple breath of the virus.
The world feels very unfamiliar now. Most of the people that I've met since that time have drifted away, leaving a handful of faithful and interested friends. All of the work experience I've had seems useless in the face of massive human tragedy, and spinning the wheels seems like the last thing I should be looking to do.
But I am, and the landscape is more dismal than ever. Few jobs. Few opportunities. No affordable health care. An administration that I don't trust. The rich get richer and the poor get lost in the mix.
And we want things to get "back to normal". I say "Fuck normal".
My girlfriend is a grocery store worker, working sick and sick of working around dangerous environments. She learned yesterday that her brother has liver cancer and needs a transplant. The poor guy needs to have chemo treatment, have a major organ transplant, and needs to survive and thrive with a new liver. He's an electrician - not rich, not affluent, not connected- the salt of the earth type of person that I set out on my journey to learn from and try to help.
Chances are very good that the process will decimate any financial stability he has, and may require help from many other sources to survive (eg. myself and my girlfriend). Chances are good that he will contract the virus with his compromised system. Care has been inconsistent during the virus, and he has waited months to get the cancer diagnosis that the affluent can get in days.
This is a terrible time to be struggling with a debilitating health condition.
When I was suffering from severe ulcerative colitis and the doctors wanted to perform a colostomy on me (incidentally, doctors were never able to pinpoint the cause of why my colitis set in, other than my lifestyle), I felt the same hopelessness. Hopelessness that I would heal. Hopelessness about my survival. Hopelessness that I would have a normal life.
Scott will never have "normal" again, thanks to a system that only takes care of those that can afford it. He lived a life of excess, never questioning the ripple effects of living drunk or living unhealthy. He trashed his liver living a life that our culture has encouraged. He is now paying for his poor choices.
As I sit here coughing intermittently, with headaches and fever and chills every so often, I know I'll never have a "normal" again either. I'm not asymptomatic; I'm not fully well; and I'm not sure what I have. Unable to have a virus test, I do my best to manage my own health with vitamins and adequate rest, knowing that I have "something" that I could pass onto others. The choices of the last year have jeopardized my professional "career", destroyed my artistic confidence, and put me on a path of self-destruction that has no precedent. The virus has shrunk the world down to my level of desperation.
And, like Scott, I'm just tired. Tired of the lies. Tired of the games. Tired of walking a stormy path. Tired of breathing in this bitter virus called "civilization", the system of excess and inequality that is as callous as our leaders. Don't let the self-help bullshit fool you: success is not guaranteed, and the universe will not come to your rescue, should you drift from your afforded comfort.
Ultimately, I'm reminded of a great song by a favorite band of mine, Morcheeba. Entitled "Self-Made Man", the song is a good reminder of how we're all connected, how we all have a responsibility to care for each other, and how the system we current live in is broken.
The world outside is melting again. Temperatures returning to bearable. Light stretching the days longer. A new groove outside the common social lines. Exited Facebook, Messenger and Myspace this morning. Centralizing my output, thought processes and shares to my Artrovert space and to DeviantArt, if you haven't caught that already.
My plan is to use #SERESTATIC as my content channel for regular reflections and updates around my life which will eventually feed into a newsletter, and #XOTERICA for my more polished and comprehensive rants and rages.
Without further ado, let's get the static on.
My gamecast group recorded our first Podcast yesterday, and it went well. As with any band of geeks, there are challenges with getting a final answer with who we are, what we do and we are going to do. Seems to be a continually evolving story, but exciting progress has been made. Still finalizing the name of the group, but has the potential to be an exciting project with vast opportunity. More to come soon.
Speaking of temperature rising, so is the decision of what's next for me. I'd love to get a decent-paying job outside of marketing, commerce and sales, but am finding it very hard to find a gig that checks all of the soul boxes. This is life off-the-rails, careening with destructive force through a weak forest that applies very little resistance to the rush of metal and deconstruction.
While life is in chaos, my art seems to be finding better order. I planned out the next five years of projects the other day -rebuilds, sequels and other exciting new creations. I'll share more about them someday soon.
In the meantime, I must throw love and appreciation to my long-time friend and artistic compatriot, Terry Bentley. Terry created the acrylic piece below using 3M tape, and allowed me to purchase it. The image is #reflectiveart and imagines a shot from my trip to California last year, using Terry's brilliant and unique abstract skill.
See the original photograph below Terry's work, from my "Fog of Life" photo journey from Summer 2019. His adaptation captures the essence of a scary race with doom, while adding a personal touch of calm. Another piece from a talented artist to add to the Serenity Gallery.
Since this is now my channel of choice, I plan to post more regular updates like this, hopefully a few times a week (possibly even a few times a day, if I'm feeling saucy). The social world has its feeds; I have a blog.
Time to feed my blog, not an endlessly distracting and scrolling trough of nonsense.
”In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.” (Lee)
I did it.
Honestly, I didn't believe that I could, and a year ago at this time, my head was far removed from publishing a gallery book of my Art. In fact, without tragedies of 2019, my vibrant star called "Echoprism" may never have been born.
But it has been, and I couldn't be prouder of my accomplishment. "Echoprism (Volume 1)" is the fourth release from the publishing arm of Seretic Studios, Antithesis Press.
My new gallery book "Echoprism" is based on "Project Alexandria" - an effort which I undertook last year to streamline, organize and digitize my art inventory and library. The scope started at nearly 600 pieces of art, 90% of which I made with pencil, ink, canvas, wax, wood, acrylic, oil, watercolor, resin, and metal. I have since surpassed 600 pieces in my Serenity Gallery inventory.
The effort took a year of my life -- hundreds of dedicated, eye-straining hours of collecting, measuring, cleaning, polishing, updating, fixing, photographing (often in awkward positions for this photographer), detailing, updating inventory spreadsheets and apps, reorganizing, re-labeling, renaming, creating written content, designing a page layout, executing the same framework on 358 pages, revising (multiple times), proofing, editing, updating, digitizing and merchandising.
Whew. That was a mouthful, and this creation has been a daily burden for a long time. Far longer than I've ever experienced for a creative project and/or expected to devote to it.
The birthing of my first book "Obscurious" (2011) was magical, surreal and empowering. Even though it never took off with sales or audience, the sheer awe of holding my own published book in my hands was exciting. "Publish a book every year" was my stated goal after that.
I planned out a path of at least 8 "Bonesetter" books (my "poetical picturebooks"), and immediately got started on "Xenomorphine" (2013). I quickly discovered that the "book-a-year" target wasn't reasonable for a professional adult with a duties and responsibilities. While I have notebooks full of content, ideas and plots, I don't have the time to translate them into reality.
"A man's reach should exceed his grasp", from a poem by Robert Browning, suggests that we should attempt things that we may not attain, reach for things, even though we may never hold them. I suppose I'm the poster-child for that. My goals often seem to be an exercise in reaching, rather than holding. Most goals I target and dreams I strive for slide just beyond my grasp and float at the edge of my life, both mocking me as another failed effort and teasing me with plotlines still available.
Paths possible under the right circumstances, of course.
My metalmorphosis - the dream of taking my art and life in a different direction - was birthed to this world as stillborn. I made a series of choices that backfired. Despite Browning's poetic positivity, aiming for the impossible can have damaging effects on your timeline. I will work to survive the fallout of my failed choices for the rest of my life.
I reached into the unknown for a new hope, and the Universe laughed in my face.
And presented me with "Echoprism", as if I'm a slave to a different fate, one that keeps me focused on the madness and poverty of Art, as opposed to the mechanics of a normal life and its trendy, comfortable dreams.
Seven years after I published my second book "Xenomorphine", and one year after the passing of my Father, I've birthed the biggest, brightest star that I have in my life. As it settles into its place in my history and the Universe, painstaking in development and viewed by few, I take pride in this massive accomplishment. I'm confident that the Echo star could only have been born with this path, which has allowed me the complete freedom of schedule to pour hundreds of hours - possibly over a thousand over the last year - into redefining my Gallery, getting reacquainted with all that I've done over the course of my life, inventorying and cataloging and capturing, refreshing on Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, reviewing and tweaking every pixel and page number.
All for the calm that follows creation, recognition that both reach and grasp are part of flawed human process that starts at the crib and ends in the grave.
Everything is impermanent. Even stars, like "Echoprism", may someday fade from existence. For now, I hope it lights the life of family, friends, and fans for as long as fate allows.
For me, it is a stone on the path of artistic legacy, one that will exist long after I'm gone. The journey has been an arduous one, but productive and cathartic.
"Echoprism (Volume 2)" is over 50% complete, and will be available 4/1/2020 via Blurb and Amazon. I'm excited to say that Volume 2 is EVEN BETTER than Volume 1, as it contains many of my more recent pieces and creations. Watch for excerpts from both on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
I'm 45 years old and have been creating art in many forms and across mediums and media for the bulk of that time. Historically, my productivity has been derailed by major life events - such as divorce, job loss or chronic health condition -- but I still managed to remain creative during that time.
My failure has been my ability to keep my creations coordinated. Up until this year, my life was an ever-expanding quagmire of great works without a coordinated titling, identification and/or inventory system that tied everything together in a fashion that represents a professional artist appropriately.
I credit my closest friends for pushing me to build a better Art user experience. I could list them all here, but if you're reading this, you can take credit. You got me this far through your belief in my work.
The first step in the building of the library is the collection of the content -- the books -- or, as in my case, books plus canvas art plus philosophy plus photography plus digital art plus mixed media art plus candles.
All these pluses equal a lot of hours constructing walls that many will never see, but the few that do will appreciate the journey.
The Library of Alexandria
I named the revolution of my inventory and user experience after the marvel of the third and second centuries because it is the model for my direction: The Library of Alexandria wasn't just a historical landmark our timeline of knowledge; with thousands of scrolls collected from vast spaces, it tackled the user experience of tracking, managing and maintaining collections of content that were nothing more than papyrus. In order to appreciate the important information locked in the shelves and stacks, there had to be a system. It helped pass the torch of knowledge to continous generations through commitment to the collecting of content.
My #projectalexandria doesn't purport to be as important as the Great Library. I don't have hundreds of thousands of scrolls. And I won't be using tablets and rustic tools to connect visitors to my Serenity Gallery works.
However, as I've spent time digging through my creations in the wake of my Father's death, I discovered so many phases of my life that generated art that I've dismissed. My collection became dismally fragmented, disjointed and disconnected. I became a distant appreciator of my own work, having forgotten much of what I created. The rare finds and forgotten gems are exciting, but add to the work of consideration into the full Gallery experience. I've mostly ignored the expanse of my creative abilities for the span of my life, operating under creative amnesia that helped forget the greatness throughout the journey. For decades, there have been creations that never saw the light of day.
A Legacy Evolves
Like a miner who continues to discover veins of gold, the more I dig through my dusty papyrus, paper, canvas, pixels and photos, the more I'm presented with a forgotten treasure trove.
5,000 Instagram photos, hundreds of thousands of posts across Facebook and Twitter, hundreds of photo collections from all over the world, hundreds of candles and works of art and a few books have all generated unique content - often via digital remixes of content -- that deserve consideration in the Library of Artemis Sere, the Serenity Gallery.
And now, with my new direction towards welding and metal fab art (SereSteel), I will add to the Gallery in exciting, dramatic and interesting ways.
No matter what I add to the legacy of Artemis Sere, the core conundrum remains the same: the Library, and how interested fans of my work can access and engage with what I've produced and accomplished as Artemis Sere across the course of my lifetime.
If my digital training has taught me anything, it's how to build and connect experiences, like bridges to unknown realms.
The Drudge to Somewhere
I left a 50-hour work week in Corporate America this year, intending to spend more time enjoying my life and freedom of schedule, a personal commitment to the memory of my Father. I didn't concept this as a "Project" until I realized I was rebuilding my library, its inventory and its user experience from the ground up.
To do this, I had to figure out what my own pieces were named. And whether I had accurate sizing. And whether I had an HD picture for prints and low-qual one for a quick pic experience. And pricing. The last time I updated my inventory was in 2016, and in the three years following, I created hundreds of new pieces. As I am constantly creating and always have a piece in process, my inventory of fine art work has bloomed to near 600 pieces.
Using the Sortly app, I began pulling together the scattered papyri of my life into the Great Library of Artemis Sere. I've estimated that each piece will require an average of an hour for full digitization, including being set up for prints.
Which puts me at 500 estimated hours of work for just one phase of the Project.
At 40-50 hours/week, that means I'll be done the project completely in 3-4 months. The renovation of the user experience of the Library is key to the project as well, and calls for its own dedicated work.
Began development of the Seretic Studios business section, with pages to Portfolios of my expertise and other business information. Currently hidden, more info coming soon.
All the administrative and maintenance work aside, when the digital Serenity Gallery has been built, it will be the accomplishment of my lifetime -- and set a legacy up for lifetimes to follow. One that can't be burned down by Romans, or be completely abandoned by time.
The digital footprint for Artemis Sere and Seretic Studios will be broad and profound soon.
Justifying the Means
These days, I burn the candle at both ends, but know the work is valuable. By the inventory count, I'm about halfway through the Project, but am meeting the timeline I defined. I'm distant from friends and family, and have become consumed by the project, but know I've been building this my whole life - from when my Dad forced me to track the family VHS video collection on looseleaf paper; to the details of inventory tracking systems and digital experience; to content marketing and storytelling. The content and story I'm creating right now will resonate from this Seretic base for years to come. As I invite others to dance with the Gallery through social media, I will have years worth of content to share and create conversations around.
An artistic experience aligned to the SERE purpose.
A Gallery with a redesigned experience, given the attention it deserves.
Ultimately, creating content has never been my challenge; building and maintaining a consistent and accessible library of content has. Project Alexandria, when fully completed, will solve most of my current challenges.
Thank you for your patience as I undertake this important life calling. If you're interested in getting advanced access to the Seretic Studios Sortly inventory, contact me with your email address and I'll give you access.
You'll need to download the Sortly app in order to access, but once you have access, you'll have a first-look at the Seretic Studios inventory.
ABSTRACT:Tag, picture and catalog all current Serenity Gallery items, and create a digital library of Artemis Sere organized and available to the public for print or purchase off my Seretic Studios website
GOAL:Organize art collection into a digital library that smartly represents Seretic Studios products, offers an efficient viewing experience for all Artemis Sere creations and enables ecommerce and portfolio reproduction for all current and future work.
PHASE 1: Gathering the Collection (April - July 2019)
Inventory refresh - product info collection, correction and cataloging
PHASE 2: (Re)Building the Library (August - September 2019)
Redesign the digital experience to support and connect all content for tracking, print and product purchasing, and easy search engine access. Additionally, the refreshed experience will reflect the portfolio of Artemis Sere and serve as the information hub for Seretic Studios LLC and its associated products. Launch of "The Static", Seretic Studios Newsletter.
PHASE 3: Opening the Doors (October 2019)
Re-launch the SereticStudios.com experience with the full story of the SERE philosophy, information on Seretic Studios LLC and Seretic Studios creations and products, and the artist Artemis Sere.
PHASE 4: Invitation to the Dance (October 2019 - December 2019)
Drive traffic to the refreshed Seretic Studios experience, collections, publications and octaves and Serenity Gallery. Reinforce Sereticstudios.com as the hub for all content and experiences, while using social channels to promote the new experiences.
PHASE 5: Year of Serenity (January 2020 - December 2020)
Execute #YearofSerenity and #serestorm calendars starting Jan 1, 2020 to promote and drive traffic to Serenity Gallery pieces and other Seretic Studios productions.
I am privileged to have been invited to participate in an event that showcases local Twin Cities artists. The event is coordinated by an arts organization named RAW. The showcase will take place at The Pourhouse in Minneapolis on October 18, 2017, and will feature an eclectic mix of 40+ artists that span visual arts, fashion, music, film, hair, makeup, photography, performance art and accessories. The showcase costs $22.00 to attend, but attendance and proceeds go back to supporting arts and artists and will showcase some of the best local creative talents.
If you plan on attending, please email me at [email protected] and let me know! I’m working on a surprise gift for every ticketholder. Tickets to the showcase are accessible here.
For more information on Artemis Sere’s “Netherwhere” Gallery Show, read on…
(excerpted from RAW website)
RAW is an international arts organization, for artists by artists. They have no investors and started this all with passion, blood, sweat and elbow grease. They are 100% sustained by ticket sales to RAW showcases. They are accountable only to RAW artists; they have no shareholders, board members or venture capitalists in their corner. They built this organization from scratch.
RAW provides a platform for independent artists and they focus on artists that are within the first 10 years of their career. Their platform exists both online—through their web site and social media—and offline through bi-monthly showcase events (in over 70 cities, internationally).
Their web site features artist’s profiles from around the world. It is an online hub where you can discover independent filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians, artists, performing artists, hair stylists, makeup artists, accessories designers, and photographers. Their showcases consist of short film screenings, fashion shows, a pop-up art and photo gallery, performances, hair and makeup shows and accessories vendors.
(excerpted from RAW website) To provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their creative career with the tools, resources, and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity. RAW ventures to provide the platform for these artists to be seen, heard, and loved.
RAW showcases indie talent in visual art, film, fashion design, music, performance art, hair and makeup artistry, and photography.
RAW is a fun and alternative way for artists to showcase both to their local community and the world-at-large. We are not your average art show. We are loud, colorful, creative, and all about our artists. We are RAW.
(excerpted from RAW website)
Artists are hand-selected to participate in RAW. Artists receive an opportunity to showcase and sell their work at these events (to a crowd of people that probably would have never been exposed to it otherwise).
They bring artists to the people, and people to artists. The showcase events aren’t stuffy — they are fun, loud, and colorful and are usually hosted in a music venue. These are alternative venues that accommodate all of the different genres of art that they showcase. They’re not a white wall gallery or Mercedes Benz Fashion Week—nor are they trying to be. They’re RAW and their mission is to think outside of the box to create opportunities for artists to be seen, heard and loved.
RAW currently operates in over 60 cities across the United States, Australia, Canada and the UK!
What is Artemis Sere’s “Netherwhere”?
The Netherwhere showcase will feature recent regular and glow-in-the-dark acrylic paintings on canvas, and some of my best art resin fusion pieces developed in the last year, with some angular frames created by friend and artist Mike Cowell. Truly, these paintings are a sight to behold in person. Images that I share on social media DO NOT do them justice, as I architect the texture, tone and feel of each piece.
The Netherwhere collection has been specifically curated to highlight the visual horror story of “Oviod and the Od” — the primary antagonists of my “Fetch” novels (in development). Some of the pieces of the Netherwhere collection have been shared on my Instagram. If you’d like to see some examples of my work, click here to view my Instagram feed.
Will other Art of Artemis Sere be available at the show?
Of course! I will have candles available, as well as my first two books — “Obscurious” and “Xenomorphine” — on-hand for purchase. Art featured in the showcase will be available for purchase, and I will have other pieces on-hand for perusal. All sales at the showcase will be final.
Can I bring the family?
The show is 18+ since it takes place at a bar. Sadly, the kiddies will have to stay home. Take advantage of a mid-week party with your of-age friends and fam! 8)
This is an 8-part blog series covering the history, highlights and future of the artist Artemis Sere — poet, philosopher, publisher, photographer, pixelfiend, painter, creator and imagineer.
INTO THE MAELSTROM
Billy Ocean harmonized in a popular 80s song “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. I’d never call Mr. Ocean a prophet, but he was right. When times are tough, change is unavoidable.
This is a story of a tragedy that evolved into majesty, the story of a broken, exasperated man who found solace and substance in the comfort of shadow. Who embraced the need to evolve, and rode the ghost until it was corporeal. Who discovered compassion, companionship, and confidence in the wake of days and in the shadow’s counsel.
But I’m jumping ahead. This journey begins in an empty Applewoods apartment on Pennock Avenue in Apple Valley, MN. For the first time in my life, I was faced with living completely alone in the wake of a major life collapse. In July 2007, my fiance decided to call it quits and drive separation between myself and her three children, some of which had taken to calling me “Dad”. Losing the woman and three kids that I loved dropped me into an abysmal depression, as I was still not healed fully from my painful divorce.
It was a violent, turbulent storm for the five of us. My chronic health conditions, her difficult divorce, and her mother’s heart problems all contributed to a maelstrom of stress that we had trouble distancing ourselves from. I sacrificed my physical, creative and financial self to try to keep our attempt at family together. But it was all for naught.
“We turn this wheel. We push people away, through our words and actions, when we should be healing each other and bringing each other closer. Where there was once a glimmer of me, now there is only him. Artemis. The dark archer. Shooting holes in the veil of lies of this world to get to the truth. Relentless. Unflinching. Separated.
It is the best defense against a world of hypocrites that would much rather cast you into darkness than bring you closer to light.”.
At the edge of the storm, I found a window into a new light.
PSEUDO – DEAD
As with every oasis, the illumination and the promise of respite from the wasteland were short-lived. My second major separation, coupled with a chronic health condition that never let me rest, regain strength or find comforting repose, dropped his human in a place so dark that I began to feel less than human. In the darker hours, I let the alien, the shadow, take over; its voice became mine, its sight seen through my eyes.
I began Journaling daily. It was truly the only way to keep from going insane, or returning to a suicidal solution (one I explored six years earlier after my divorce). I could feel the storms of darkness raging within me on a regular basis. Stricken with illness, separated from the path I knew and abandoned by most, my shadow surge enlivened Artemis Seer, my beast of creative burden and the herald of a new era. Out of early arrogance and assumption of skills and abilities I thought I possessed, I used the Seer surname. That changed soon after another event that would alter my future.
Be patient; I’ll get to that tragic day shortly.
Before 2007 I had published under the pseudonym K. Dorian Krowe. I had several poems published under that moniker while in college, and once tried to evolve my creative brand under Krowe Creations. But the ghosts were calling for blood, and I was happy to let the empire fall to ruin, erect a new realm in its place.
Every tortured artist dwells on the pain. In this somber and seemingly still place of residence, my dim shadow awakened with new purpose, passion, and orientation.
REBORN IN SHADOW
In the solitary hours and busy months that followed July 2007, the dark nucleus assembled. I worked 2 jobs for sixty plus hours a week to stay afloat — an administrative day job at the University of Minnesota, and a delivery job at Broadway pizza. I would work from 700 AM to 1000 PM five or six days a week, leaving me little time to grieve or breathe. During this time, my illnesses were never far away and forced me into a relentless battle against my body and my life. More to come on that too. Surviving my twin curses was a constant effort and an effort that fostered my artistic rebirth.
I used my past, present and passion for survival as fuel for my resurrection, and a journal as my vehicle of escape. I employed circles that kept me solitary but kept me writing, voiding the poison and vengeance that was borne from my unfortunate path. Every work day at lunch, I would take my 45-minute break with a journal in hand, sitting on the same bench, and staring up at the skies and busy bridge above me, screaming for retribution.
Seriously. I uttered and scribed words and thoughts that dark. We all do from time to time. Life puts us in maddening, depressing and aggressive places, even if we try to avoid them. With the burden of my past failures and present pain, it was easy to be selfish and scream out at those who had hurt me. Not physically, mind you. I don’t resort to physical violence. And I know the wisdom of digging two graves if vengeance is what you seek.
But it all became unavoidable when my dark fantasy intersected with present reality. One day, I walked under the bridge on my lunch break and was propositioned to cover a shift at my pizza job on a night that I normally wouldn’t work and under circumstances I normally wouldn’t accept. But, times were brutally tight, and I could use the extra $40 in tips the delivery job could guarantee me per night. I accepted the offer and zoomed down a different-than-normal road for my different-than-normal night.
A couple hours into my shift, I delivered a pizza to a house. A nice lady answered the door, and our transaction was relatively mundane until she asked me if I’d heard what happened downtown.
As someone that would rather jam to loud music, rather than listen to the news while driving, it wasn’t a big surprise that I completely missed one of the biggest tragedies in the history of Minneapolis, Minnesota. “No. What happened” I responded, fully expecting a report of a terrorist attack, but definitely curious.
“The 35W bridge collapsed”, she replied. “During rush hour.”
My mind zoomed back to my common nightly path and realized I should’ve been on that. I was immediately concerned for my coworkers that took the same road home. “Next to the University of Minnesota?”
“Yes”, she shook her head and responded, in visible shock. “It’s gone. Totally collapsed. There are casualties. Such a tragedy.”
I stood there in shock myself, shaking from head to toe. I was no longer at an affluent house in Apple Valley, I was amongst the rubble, pinned in a world of ash and dust and blood and twisted metal. At a parallel path in time, I was pulled into the buckling of concrete caused by failing gusset plates and swallowed by the void, its chalky breath filling my lungs, heavy lean of earth pulverizing my bones,
The bridge I sat under during my lunch time at work, my respite from the pains of the real world, collapsed into a wicked heap of death, tragedy, law suits and questions. Not for me, because words alone cannot fell a mighty bridge, but coincidence or not, something surreal happened that day, to the underside of a bridge I stared at with anger for 30 minutes while I had cathartic time with my journal. To this day, those pages burn with a seething rage that I cannot duplicate,
nor try to.
On that day, I reconcepted the pseudonym: I didn’t believe I could see the future. If I could, I would’ve stopped the collapse of the mighty 35W bridge, or at least saved lives by having the traffic stop, knowing there was structural instability. On that day, I surrendered the alignment to prophesy, and I vowed to be
An artist committed to pushing the human species to evolve through observation, evidence, and presence, aligned to continuous production, reporting and supporting of art and other artists. From that time forward, I approached my union of storms quite differently. Rather than existing as the victim of the wrath of Fate and Nature, I became the attacker.
With pencil, and ink and paper and patchwork.
With prose, and fiction and pixel and photography.
This is an 8-part blog series covering the history, highlights and future of the artist Artemis Sere — poet, philosopher, publisher, photographer, pixelfiend, painter, creator and imagineer.
SET IN BONE
In 2000, I was a healthy, hearty, happy 260 lb married winner of a trip to President’s Club at work; by the next year, I was a stricken, sickened shell of the fat, cheery man I once was, unable to hold a normal job due to illness and forced into an exile by betrayal and a lack of faith in the human race. By autumn 2001, I had lost over 100 lbs in 8 months to an infestation of ulcers in my pipes, a problem exacerbated by the stress of divorce. Everything, including water, would pass through me in minutes, regardless of proper time or place, calendar or commitments. At a fundamental level, I had to void every couple hours, including at night, which led to an ending cycle of broken sleep. Anemic. Abandoned. Overworked. Overtired.
Under the gun. This bitter state continued relentlessly until 2013 when I found equilibrium with my storms. Discovery of that equilibrium, and how the process changed me to my core foundation, is a focus of these blogs, my creations, and my art. It guides my method and influences my purpose. My work is inked with the passion of my pain and the color of my dreams, and that dye bleeds into my core, setting the internal skeletal framework alight and alive.
It wasn’t always that way. In fact, while I was once voted “Most Artistic” of my high school, I veered away from creative endeavors once I married. In truth, I hadn’t found my passion or voice yet, so my ex-wife was shocked when my artistic side started bleeding through my emaciated smile.
It took losing half of my body weight, most of my possessions and loves and all of my known sense of direction to find my way. It wasn’t by accident that I became an artist focused on production and evolution. I toyed with the concept throughout my life, through creation of elaborate Dungeons & Dragons Campaigns to producing two comic strips in the college newspaper, from assisting rock bands to publishing websites and running forums.
The Imagineer was always within, looking for a compass and real commitment.
COMPASS AND CONTRACT
In the early stages of the creation of Artemis Sere, I wrote two passages in my journal that became foundational to the brand. They operate as my objectives, disclaimers and the weather vanes for my work. Both are printed in the introduction to the books of my Bonesetter’s Revenge series.
This is blasphemous work. These are dangerous words. Consider with caution. Contemplate with conviction.
I will aim to create what has never been with eyes that see differently with words that speak of twilight reverie with the darkness of a full eclipse with sun and moon intersecting at the archer’s tip until the light returns one day to the shade
i will silently away
Wrapped in these passages is my commitment to Art, artistic production and focus. I try to hold true to these words, as much as possible. I’ve been told that my paintings are a stunning, amazing, and unique experience. My digital art has garnered praise from across the spectrum. I have developed an audience that appreciates my style and substance. I have amassed tens of thousands of high quality photos from around the world, made thousand or so pieces of art and published 3 books without the guidance or financial support of anyone.
Following my convictions into the away has done me wonders, and I continue to experience the benefits.
When it comes to religion, I’ve always had a complex relationship. I was brought up in a mixed household (Father is Roman Catholic, Mother is Protestant) where my loving parents granted me freedom of choice. I attended church and Sunday school when I was young, visited amazing places of worship in Germany and Italy when I lived in Europe. I also was a lover of Greek mythology and dinosaurs when I was a very young boy and was confused by the conflict of one God versus many, monotheism versus our polytheistic past.
But I also visited Auschwitz, Anne Frank’s house and other dark places of human history. Talk about humbling trips. When I truly had adult freedom of theological lean, I chose Agnosticism; after jarring events like 9/11, the unnecessary wars and the rise of ISIS, I chose Humanism. I may not believe in a God or subscribe to any associated mythologies, but I do revere human beings, their exquisite diversity, and their vibrant passions. In the absence of answers, mythologies were born, which evolved into passion enclaves with pulpits and preachers. The robes became more elegant, but many of the inhumane practices remain the same.
I’ve found it best to be boundless as an artist. It is the only way to objectively experience art, culture, and nature and find ways of incorporating them into my methods and creations. Satanic symbols are often present in my work, but I am an atheist. I don’t actually believe in any of the horrors I create. I just reflect the dark reality we’ve built for ourselves.
I work to be a human mirror, one with cracked and jagged and off-color perspective.
All artists are part of the color wheel of this mosaic, not removed from it. We bleed the pain of this planet, its creatures, and this species into our creations so the memories of this place are not forgotten. The minor of my English degree was in Humanistic Studies, the appreciation of the history and culture of Humanity through art, religion, philosophy and a variety of other topics. I studied the Bible for a year, as well as Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. I probably don’t remember as much as I should about all of them, as an English major must read a maddening amount of content during his degree study, but I did come away with a Humanist mindset and an appreciation of the human species. In all hues.
And possible futures. Along the way, I became fascinated with Leonardo Da Vinci and his intersection of art and science. I am also intrigued by the progress of technological evolution, and its impact on human societies and our collective creature. I created a Secular Transhumanist Facebook page some years to curate content on the subject. I invite you to visit it if you want more information on the subject.
It’s also my duty to not be a selfish human. I go to secondhand stores in the area and “rescue” fine art pieces that are relegated to the thrift store trash heap. I do my best to support other artists in my network by purchasing their product (even if I can’t make it out to every show, I still do my best to be present). I volunteer my time towards United Way and other agencies at my day job. I give to the poor when possible. These are my attempts at being “Resident”, and my duty as an #Artrovert. I would do more if I had more resource that I could commit to others.
And time management certainly is a challenge when you work a day job a day run your own art brand in the background.
THE HUMAN STRUGGLE
To be fair, an artist needs ample time to produce, enough of a buffer to be patient with a paragraph of a story or a paint-splattered canvas. I have made art time a primary priority in my life — to the detriment of personal and professional relationships. I have missed some major life events of the friends in my orbit in the name of Art. Sometimes, my family connection is strained, and my work focus suffers.
Equilibrium of identities is a struggle. Not just an artist struggle, but a human one. Without all systems operating in the necessary fashion, resource streams maintained and audiences attended to, life falls apart. And when life falls apart, it takes a lot more resources to put it back together. After every one of my major breakups in my life, I had a period of time of major instability that wrecked me financially and kept me from standing on my feet. Much of that could be due to the fact that I didn’t know who I was yet, didn’t fully comprehend how important it was to focus on core competencies first.
When I tried to live off the identity of the artist, I couldn’t. That didn’t mean I was a bad artist, but it did mean that I had to reprioritize, put the day job first and progress the brand as I could. Adherence to the S.E.R.E. concept became penultimate as work weeks stretched into sixty or seventy hours when time was leeching away while driving from job to job, from pizza delivery to pizza delivery.
Through it all, I always had a notebook close — ready to capture a piece of a poem, a story idea, a character note or a quick sketch. Sometimes, the purpose would drive the method, but my methods have always been aligned with a purpose:
On 7.7.17 Artemis Sere will have existed as a concept, practice and persona for ten years. Artemis Sere is a pseudonym — part Greek God, part acronym, all artist.
Over the course of the next week leading up to the observation of 10 years of my Art under the Sere moniker, I will be publishing and promoting a series of blogs that cover the recent history, highlights and future of the artist Artemis Sere — poet, philosopher, publisher, photographer, pixelfiend, painter, creator and imagineer.
Here is the list of upcoming blogs:
Part 1: A Union of Storms
Part 2: Method and Purpose
Part 3: Obscurious Rising
Part 4: The Alien Within
Part 5: Xenomorphine
Part 6: The Dirge
Part 7: Becoming the Cacophony
Part 8: Defining Night (by Darkness)
Watch for these blogs, and please join in the celebration of the Art of Artemis Sere by engaging with me in social spaces.
Braving new territory. New blog. New approach. Ten years in the build. Tonight, I partner up with long-time friend, rap/hip-pop labelrunner and artist, Pete Rentz, and his merry crew of lyricists and disc spinners. Pete runs an outfit called Bloody Boombox, and is a kindred spirit when it comes to artistic endeavors. He and I are working on securing a location where we can make and display art.
Hopefully, my dream of having an external Serenity Gallery will come to pass soon.
However, until that happens, external gallery shows are a necessity. Or so I’ve discovered. I’ve effectively been a closet artist — imagineering in the dark, and shining light to my production through social media windows. I’m obviously active in social media, and launched a new website and associated properties this year.
But that’s not enough. As everyone who sees my art echoes, “My art is much different when seen live”. Truly, it is hard to capture all the work I put into the texture and physical tone of a piece. My works are more than just a spectrum of vibrancy; they’re an exercise in making the illusion real. Seeing one of my pieces live is a holistic dive into chaos and madness.
I invite you to dive with me.
So, tonight, I show. To line up with the Bloody Boombox theme, I have selected specific pieces to support his concept. I’ve entitled this show “Bloody Hell”, and it spans many of my octaves, targeting pieces that are gruesome, disturbing or hellish. This is a brutal and loud collection of pieces, stretching into a macabre landscape that will be massive when partnered with music.
Bloody Hell Event Details
Artemis Sere’s “Bloody Hell” Gallery Show Bloody Boombox Relaunch Tour Amsterdam Hall and Bar St. Paul, MN 55119 8:00PM Doors / $8.00 Cover
This isn’t a story of wallowing in yesterday. Nor of glorification or celebration. No patting myself on the back for what I accomplished as Artemis Sere over the last decade of commitment to Art. No catching a breath, smelling the roses, lauding the great turns in the road. No slowing down.
No observing contentment and complacency.This is now, a point ten years in the making. This is the penultimate illustration of the path — of sentience, of evidence, of residence and of evolution. This the year of the Sere, the once-haunting X Days and X ways brought to light in an obscurious kaleidoscope of ten years of artistic production.
On 7/7/07, I was in a very dark place in my life. Many heartstrings had been severed on the way to that dismal day, where I ultimately made a choice to live or die. There was only one other time I’d contemplated suicide, and it was in the months following my divorce from a wife.
On that day, the day of Genesis of Artemis Sere, I made a compromise to the question of checking out: I would no longer live the same as a human, and I would bring back the artist that I mostly quieted to live for others.
Evolution and growth became my orientation.
Artist and poetic revenge became my compass.
Humanist and change agent became my identity.
A moonlit archer with a quiver of syllables, pixels, strokes
Dig Two Graves
I’ve created more content than I know what to do with and track. My wish of becoming a productive and producing artist has come true, even if I haven’t been true to my goal of publishing a book every year until I’m dust (goal started in 2011). I even painted close to 500 acrylic pieces since I took up painting, have tens of thousands of professional photos and thousands of digital art creations. I’ve come close to my original goals and have created imperfect, flawed works of wisdom and wanton creativity that I’m proud of.
While I haven’t experienced commercial success, I can confidently proclaim that I’ve followed the S.E.R.E. philosophy.
I have been sentient,someone ever-watchful and critical of this creature and this society.
I have been evident, someone transparent, truthful, honest, and productive of tangible proof of my path and orientation.
I have been resident, someone present among the people when the purpose calls for it.
I have consistently evolved and am committed to a path of continuousevolution.
The reality is that a human life only has so many hours in it, and through the process of this S.E.R.E. commitment, I have sacrificed the commitments and responsibilities and connections of a normal human (if there is indeed one). I have over corrected into the existence of the imagineer,
and I’m not sure of there is a way back to balanced, or if at the end there will be two souls buried side by side.
The War of Art
If I could do it, I would focus my human hours completely in the realm of Artemis Sere in 2017, building the brand, the base and the legacy to a strong foundation for the next decade. But at the end of the day, Artemis Sere is a side project of an actual human named Chris. It is the superhero costume for someone with a 9-5 job, family, health challenges, social and civil responsibilities and bills.
Ultimately, I’m no different than you, only a bit more interested in seeing what happens when I let the demons run free. And when my demons are loose, hell and its minions follow.
And living is hell. Life is war, and humanity is on the brink of recession and regression. This human race is a bitter game that pits us against each other, elevating the rich and dismissing the broken.Fractures built upon fractures, ultimately resulting in an unstable foundation.
We are a creature forced to fight to survive, sold shiny objects and told menacing lies as truth.
The human race needs honesty and transparency and serenity more now than ever. Before we’re split like a wishbone and cracked completely as a species.
Rise of the Bonesetter
My answer is Art. Through the scope of the S.E.R.E., I am committed to fuzing the fractures and becoming a bridge for a new way to exist. This isn’t about artistic sales and/or getting rich. I have no sales goals set for 2017 and make very little money off my art. This is about evolution, and always has been.
This is about setting an example, proving out the altruistic path of the artist and influencing other creators to stand up and stop the madness, before it is too late. This is about stabilizing the seesaw of art and science, and showing the interconnectedness of both.
Throughout this year, I invite you to follow the #YearoftheSere hashtag in all social spaces and across all of my platforms.