recklessly ambitiously decided I’d enter a piece, neatly fulfilling an item on my omnipresent List.
The Task: Display a painting of my own in a gallery or show.
The Execution: The show’s theme this year was ’80’s Time-Travel With Zombies In.
It didn’t really speak to me, as other themes in years past had, but I’d committed myself – the show is run by friends, and I couldn’t let them down. All that came to mind was Back to the Future, and I knew for a fact that the Colonel had that covered. I wasn’t thrilled, but it was all I had, so I settled on a sufficiently dramatic scene – the one where lightning strikes City Hall.
For six weeks, I struggled with that painting. I’d start work on it, and the next day I’d cringe. The piece just wasn’t working – my concept was inherently flawed – I grew to hate it. My deadline loomed, and though I’d started over a dozen times already, I’d simply have to begin again. Finally, frustrated beyond belief, I threw that damned canvas across the room.
Fresh paint stuck to the carpet. I nearly bailed on the show, at that point – but then it hit me: Doctor Who existed in the ’80’s. Perfect! I aimed for a highly stylized scene involving the Fourth Doctor – the most easily recognizable Doctor of Classic Who. I had two weeks left – but I actually liked this piece. This one went much more smoothly.
The night before I was to hand my piece over – and begin the arduous process of going back to school, I might add – I finished painting the Doctor’s iconic scarf. It was the last touch, that brought the whole thing together. I handed it off to the Colonel, and waited eagerly for the reception, to be held at Destiny City Comics.
After two years off, and in a smaller location*, there was a lot less art in this year’s Tacomapocalypse. Word hadn’t spread very far that it was back, and the opening event felt more subdued than usual. A lot of great people made it out, though, and I got to catch up with some old friends and local personalities, such as Adam the Alien (who, I might add, took the photos you’re about to see of the actual event).
There was a coloring contest, for the children – the Colonel drew the originals; the four separate pages told a story about zombiehood, and friendship.
Here, you can see the members of Treefish pose with some of their work. Here’s Kendra (who you can find at Treefish Studio’s Facebook Page):
And here’s the Colonel (You can find him at SustainableStuart.com):
Finally – and I know you’ve been waiting for this, Gentle Reader – here I am, with my humble little piece:
And here’s a closer look at the piece itself, Rays of Hope. It’s nothing to write home about, but I’m happy with how it turned out.
The Verdict: Would I do this again? Obviously. But I’d like to have pieces that were a little more finished, that I felt better about, be in the show. As ever, I found I had trouble working towards a theme – I’ve found that to be the case even when I’m working on my own and I’m the one to set the theme, as in my forthcoming book, #NoHetero. At any rate, on balance, this was a great experience.
You can see Adam the Alien‘s video about the Tacomapocalypse below, which contains great footage from every iteration of the show since the first one, back in 2011.
*The former venue, the Amocat Cafe, is now the Tacoma Brewing Company – while there was a transitional period where both coffee and beer were served there, the premises are now occupied by the brewery and aren’t open to the general public.
Special Thanks go out to Stuart M. Dempster for always encouraging my artistic endeavors, Kendra Breeden for putting together the show, Adam J. Manley for the photos and excellent conversation, Shaun D. Mattingly for helping me deal with Crazy Bus People, and Destiny City Comics for hosting.