1. I'm asking similar questions of a lot of my artistically-inclined friends, but I'm curious. Where/when do you tend to get your inspiration? What do you do when you want or need to create, but things just aren't coming smoothly?
That's really really hard to say. It all depends. Lately I haven't been artistically inspired (at least in the classic sense) at all. That's why there haven't been any bits of artwork or writing showing up. I have been a lot more into whipping myself into shape. The weight lifting, the wrestling. I don't know why. I guess I just go through phases. That said, let me try to give you something of an answer. For writing, I guess I just write whatever I have to say. And that varies. It might be fiction because I feel like there's a story I just have to tell. It might be an essay because someone has pissed me off, and I have a bug so far up my ass I just have to cut loose. For the drawing its all about just seeing something and getting a picture in my head. Then I just try to put it out there. Sometimes the process is really really slow. For instance, I still haven't done anything at all with my safadancer or theadana photoshoots. I have an idea of what I want to do with the Laura one, but no fucking clue where I am going with Claire. But neither idea is baked to the point that its totally pressing on me, so I haven't felt driven to do anything. Its all about the drive. In reality, I guess I'm actually a lazy person, but when something forces me to act (and that might be outside forces, but it can just as easily be me being neurotic) I spring into action.
2. You're a fellow pro-wrestling fan. For you, what's the allure of it? What do you plan to do with your newly-developed wrestling abilities?
Well there are a few things. One is the getting in shape, which I already talked about. I just feel driven to do that right now. Another is just the athletic spectacle. I love watching wrestling. I have since I was a little kid. The realness or fakeness of it never mattered to me. I never really care much who wins or loses. I love to see an incredible match. I want to be a part of that. I've spent a lot of my life learning one martial art or another, but the simple truth is that in real life I never actually get to use any of that. Also, and any of my fellow martial art afficianados reading this will probably concur, in real life fights just don't last that long. They're generally over in a matter of seconds. Or they're really long and boring to the casual eye, like an hour of a single bearhug while the other guy repeatedly punches the same spot on your head (We miss you Oleg Taktarov!). Wrestling gives something more. Its like watching a Bruce Lee movie. Or even better, now its like I'm in it. Hopefully I'll be able to keep with it. I'd ultimately like to do this. I don't have delusions of being the next WWE champion or anything. Honestly I'm too old, and too small. But really, I'll be ecstatic if I ever manage to headline a local show somewhere. And if the day comes where I do hit the big time, then so much the better.
3. You get to dictate public policy on any one issue you choose. What issue, and what is your decree?
This a pretty hard one. Mostly because it varies for me depending on what stick is up my ass at the moment. :-) so I guess I could point you at some of the 1000 words of free-flowing hostility. If I had to pick one that is pretty consistently near the top of my list though, I guess it would be freedom of speech(and press and artistic expression). That one has always been pretty important to me. My decree would be pretty close to the first ammendmant really. Freedom of speech shall not be hampered in any way shape or form. I guess I'd just work hard at making sure that was upheld.
4. You seem to know a hella-lot of people. How'd you get to be so popular? What are the upsides and downsides of having so many friends and friendly acquaintances?
It's all done with mirrors. Honestly, part of it was luck, part of it was conscious choice. You'd never guess it looking at the charming, studly, charasmatic, fun-loving, outgoing and delightfully gorgeous hunk of manhood that I am today, but I was actually incredibly shy growing up. I just made a decision one day that I didn't want that to be my life anymore, so I made it a point to make myself into the kind of person that I would really want to hang out with. I started caring a whole lot about my appearance and my mannerisms and I just put myself out there. I forced myself to be fun and became the guy who tries to make everyone else have fun. Frankly it scared the shit out of me. Sometimes it still does. But it also works. So I was just this really fun guy to hang around, I guess and then I kind of ended up pledging a fraternity (KDR) meeting a large subsection of the CMU geek culture, becoming good friends with a couple of people who were really popular (Faisal Jawdat and Tommy Tarka). So I sort of became a nexus between all those groups. I also started rooming with jameel who honestly wasn't very popular at the time, but would go on to become so years later (largely by copying a lot of my mannerisms, I might add), then feed his large group of friends back into mine. And I throw a kickass party. Word spreads and more and more people start showing up. That helps. Also, never be afraid to let them see you in your underwear.
Well, the good points are just that I meet more and more people and people are interesting, which is good in and of itself. Also, just by law of averages, sooner or later you have to meet a few people who you really click with. So you make some good friends.
The bad points are that it is exhausting. Jammy Jam this year just completely drained me, and as fun as it was, part of me is just glad its over. Another drawback is that I always feel bad when someone knows me but I don't quite remember who they are, and that can happen a lot. Finally, part of me still really is a shy and timid little kid, particularly when I'm depressed. So sometimes, it can be a little overwhelming.
5. What does the tattoo mean?
ahhh... very sneaky. Ok, well the first tattoo, the one I already have on my right shoulder blade is the culmination of about 10 years of reworking a design based on chaos arrows, a yin yang, an ankh, a cross, a star and the moon. There have been various variations over the years, and I eventually settled on that. It was never quite right when I was working on it, but then max1975 worked out his hell sigil, I decided to push towards a heaven sigil. Heaven (or similar realms) has been a theme in my fiction for longer than I care to remember. As I wrote I worked out the kind of person I wanted to be in life and I began to think that aside from whether or not there was a heaven or hell or god or good or evil, the code that i would live my life by would be to "run with the angels" as it were. I have a whole bunch of concious rules I try to follow which involve being helpful and honest and honorable and a whole bunch of other crap that just doesn't matter right now, but the point is, I wanted to be worthy of being chosen by the angels, or valkyries or whoever. In my stories, certain individuals who are chosen were given a mark that denoted such. A kiss of the valkyries as it were. So when I had settled on what it was, I gave myself that tattoo as a reminder to myself and as a symbol of my work.
As for the other tattoo, the one you probably meant, which I don't yet have. Well, I wanted something more symbolic of my personality as I am as opposed to what I aspire to be, so I designed that one. Elements that are included are moons (again) an eye (very prevalent in my artwork), the head of a wolf (a shadowolf, specifically... but that's another story), a scarab (representing strength and rebirth), a spider (representing creativity), a yin yang and finally the entire thing is composed of the letters M A V superimposed on each other, which is just very obvious to me, and I am amazed no one got that. I will be getting option 2 tattooed on my left shoulder as soon as I get my first paycheck.
So, anyone want an interview?