G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y

journal

Trying something new with my front page, where I put up a couple layered images to reflect my current status. Not sure whether I'll be updating it monthly or weekly (commitment!), especially because... who looks at anything other than social media now anyway?

Pictured in the foreground is a portrait shot by Nash Baker in front one of my murals at the Baker Institute in Houston a couple weeks back, and in the background is a work-in-progress shot of the mural I'm painting right this minute at Emory's Carlos Museum in Atlanta.

#Journal #Work

I don't usually have my picture taken alongside my artwork, although from what I'm seeing on Instagram these days that seems to be the trend lately. I was over at Rice University's The Baker Institute helping guide Nash Baker with photographing the four murals I had recently completed there, after which he asked if he could snap a portrait of me. Situated in very narrow hallways, these murals aren't at all easy to photograph (let alone paint, btw), so it took multiple attempts before figuring out the right way to go about it. We decided a panoramic view was never going to work, and arguing that they'll likely be shown on a “carousel”-equipped web gallery anyway, perhaps photographing them in vertical segments is best.

They're all up at ganzeer.com for viewing: – Every Beautiful PoemTu LuchaThe ABCs of GrowthThe ABCs of Power

A little low on energy today despite the sun finally emerging after a short absence. A short bike ride to the barbershop ought to help snap me out of it. Not to mention the added benefit of getting a haircut, which—ahem, looks at picture above—I clearly need.

#journal #mural #painting

Spent first week of 2022 wrapping up new edits (plus new illustrations) for a story I wrote four years ago (cannot believe it's actually been that long!). The plan was to have this done by end of 2021, so I'm not entirely happy starting the year off by tying loose ends from the year prior. And I still have two more things I need to work on before I have a clear enough head to resume work on THE SOLAR GRID.

Only a week into 2022, and my to-do list is already stressing me out.

Ten days till I'm in Atlanta to paint a mural at Emory College's Carlos Museum. Should be fun, but also likely solitary as I'm told most everything on campus will be remote this month.

Will have to make do with a good book to bring with.

#Journal #Work

I get a lot of repeat questions by email, and I have no secretary/assistant/staff to address them, and being a neurotic inbox-zeroer I find it quite difficult to get on with my day without tending to unanswered emails, so... I figured I'd put together a little FAQ for some of the most commonly asked questions to save us all a little time and energy.

I am writing a paper/article/book on the art of the Arab Spring. Would you be available for an interview?

I'm afraid not. I've given hundreds of interviews on the subject over the course of the past decade, and seldom is there anything new to be said. And I neither have the time nor inclination to revisit it anymore.

Can you come speak at [—–] about your experience during the Egyptian revolution?

Not anymore, sorry.

We are from [major publisher], and would like to offer you a contract to produce a memoire about your experiences during the Arab Spring.

Thank you for thinking of me, but I'm afraid I'm not interested.

We are doing research on the current state of the Egyptian art scene. Would you be available to answer questions?

I have not been based in Egypt in many many years and know very little about the current state of the art scene there.

Can I commission you to design the cover art for my forthcoming academic book? And how much do you charge?

Absolutely. I charge a flat fee of USD $2000. Based on my experience designing academic book covers though, here are a few things to keep in mind: 1) This will likely have to come out of your research budget, because academic publishing houses certainly don't pay that much for cover art. They usually have an underpaid salaried in-house designer do it along with hundreds of other covers in any given month. 2) The design process from start to finish takes about a month. A nonrefundable 50% down payment is required in advance, with the remaining fees payable upon completion and approval. 3) My schedule is usually laid out for at least a couple months in advance, so keep in mind that I may not be able to start on your project before at least 1-2 months. 4) As far as I'm concerned, cover typography and cover art go hand-in-hand and I will design the cover as such. The publishing house may see it fit to design a different title treatment for the book, and that's totally fine as long as final approval of cover art/design goes through me. My agreement with you will stipulate this. Trust me, this will ensure that the cover art you hire me to work on will be presented in the best possible way. Some of the most prestigious academic publishers in the world have been courteous enough to work with me in this fashion thanks largely to the insistence of the author who originally hired me to create the art. 5) I retain full copyright of everything I create, including commissioned book covers. You will however receive an exclusive license to use it for your book, which means you can rest assured that it'll never appear on any other book.

What about designing non-academic book covers? Sure, I do those as well.

Can I use an older artwork/painting/mural of yours for my book cover? If so, how much would it cost?

Sure. I offer non-exclusive licenses for such usage at $500 a pop.

I heard that your sci-fi graphic novel THE SOLAR GRID has finally been released! Where can I buy it?

It's actually not at all finished yet! But Radix Media (together with my own publishing imprint Mythomatic) has been issuing individual chapter installments in print. To date, #1-5 are available directly from Radix Media. They will soon be available through Mythomatic as well (be sure to sign up for the newsletter to be notified), and you can read them digitally at TheSolarGrid.net.

When will THE SOLAR GRID be finished?

You can't rush genius, dammit! Okay, in all seriousness: the end date keeps getting pushed back year after year, so I'm quite reluctant to give a for-sure date at this time. It sucks, I know. As a reader, I also don't appreciate it when creators don't stick to an aforementioned schedule, but as a creator I also understand when the nature of the work itself demands a unique approach to its creation. Let's just say I'm operating on an ASAP basis right now, with hopes of completing it in 2022. Sign up for the Mythomatic newsletter to get notified.

I see you have an online shop. Do you ship to [—–]?

I ship everywhere, baby. 😎

I'll be coming back to this post and updating it as needed, and will also be adding a version of it directly on ganzeer.com

#journal #FAQ

Gave another interview the other day reminiscing about things that took place over a decade ago halfway across the world. I've been feeling some disconnect with reality lately, not as a direct result of this one single interview, but certainly compounded by it and other things like it. It's as if all the things that happened ten years ago—and my entire life before even—never really happened at all. Like they're false memory implants, or perhaps the memories of another me from a different dimension. Notice that I use the word “feeling”. None of this is a product of intellect, but of emotion.

The fact of the matter is; very little of my life right now has any semblance to the life I remember from ten years prior. The streets I walk down today have little in common with the streets my memory claims I used to walk down before. Same goes for the sounds I hear, the scents I smell, the flavors I taste, the conversations I have, and faces I see. It's one thing if some of the faces in your life have only been introduced to you in the last few years, but every face? That's kind of a mindfuck, and the greater the gap in time between old faces and new, the greater the mindfuck. With that being said, the inclusion of old faces and familiar conversations wouldn't necessarily spell the solution to the dilemma at hand. Take Berlin as an example, which for one reason or another became the refuge for a good chunk of Egypt's young revolutionary core (as well as that of a few other countries from the region). Despite what has been purported of Berlin becoming a new center of Arab cultural renaissance, I have been told by actual Egyptian exiles on the ground that the “scene” is largely engulfed in a haze of narcotics and depression. Exiles in New York have been unable to form any coherent community largely due to the high cost of living demanded by the city; the vast majority of their waking life spent working to make rent. Whatever time left is used to soak in booze and dope. The DC scene seems to have its shit together—as far as I can tell anyway—being plugged into various NGOs and human rights organizations, they seem to be the most politically active. But their work demands being constantly connected to what's happening on the ground thousands of miles away, with little chance to develop a life independent of that and more in touch with where their bodies are physically located right now. And that can mess you up in a different kinda way.

Like I said, this is all the product of emotion rather than intellect. You can allow your mind to give into these emotions and conclude that yeah, this must be an alternate life and all those memories never actually happened, or perhaps happened to someone else somewhere else. Or... you can invite your intellect in to reason with your emotions and conduct a little problem-solving. As far as I can tell (at least for the time being), the solution is no longer to attempt to hold onto the past or to maintain a connection with “the motherland”, but rather to cut all ties with it and begin completely anew (with that being said, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy food, music, or books from said motherland—after all, “non-natives” do all the time). That is not to say that the experiences from one's past would not in some way factor into their ideas, choices, and lifestyle going forward. But it's one thing to be informed by the past, and another thing entirely to hold onto it. And that's also not to say that one is to completely give in to the currents of their surrounding environment and allow themselves to be completely shaped by it either. One's situation is to be factored in for sure, but used as a basis to determine how we would like to go about living our lives. One has to ask themselves: What is the lifestyle I'd like to have? What are the activities I'd like to regularly be engaged in? What are the conversations I'd like to be having? So on and so forth.

And once you've figured that out, you make it happen.

#journal

“To me punk rock is not about kilts, mohawk haircuts, fast guitar rock...”

Excerpt from an index card posted on Gary Panter's instagram, which got me thinking about how the problem with culture(s) today is how pretty much everything is reduced to a style. I just watched DUNE last night (beautiful film btw), and I'm pretty sure the only thing that'll come out of it is a proliferation of militarist and desert-apocalypse wear and very little of anything else that is at the core of DUNE: eco-consciousness, multiculturalism, a critique of imperialism, etc.

It's one of the reasons I decided to coin a name for the type of art I do; Concept Pop, wherein the name itself highlights the ethos more so than the aesthetic style, which quite frankly is of little concern to me and comes secondary to purpose. Or a direct byproduct of it rather.

Today is the day I add ceramic tiles to the last of the 4 murals I've been working on, which should finally mark the end of the project. By next week I'll be back to working full time from home again where I feel more grounded and am better equipped at maintaining a healthier work/life balance (granted that I still make time to step out of the house every now and again). First month will likely be a little rough because I'm gonna need to play catchup on multiple projects, but I imagine that by year's end things should start to look a little saner. And with that, a return to more regular blogging, newslettering, and so on.

#journal

I've worked on 4-story high murals before, which I can pull off in 5-6 days easy. But for the past 3 months I've been working on a series of murals much smaller in scale but far more complex in their “construction”, hence my absence from writing for awhile.

My days have more or less looked like this:

6:30am – Wake up, feed Moony, make coffee (the wife and I will sometimes alternate the “feed Moony” and “make coffee” parts).

7:30am – Breakfast (typically a granola bowl or somesuch). Also, put out birdfeeders (racoons get to them overnight).

8:00am – Shower, shave, look human.

8:30am – Moony's off to daycare (usually handled by the wife, but this coming week will be all on me).

9:00am – Exercise.

9:45am – Cut stencils and/or pickup supplies and/or other preparatory things (also, fill up birdbath).

11:30am – Head over to the Baker Institute at Rice University (where the murals are being painted).

12:00pm – Paint murals.

02:00pm – Break for lunch and coffee.

02:30pm – Continue painting.

04:30pm – Stop painting.

05:00pm – Pickup Moony from daycare.

05:30pm – Prepare dinner + feed Moony

06:15pm – Bathe Moony.

06:30pm – Slip Moony into PJs, bedtime reading + milk.

06:55pm – Tuck Moony in crib.

07:00pm – Kitchen cleanup and bring in birdfeeders.

07:30pm – Play dead in front of TV (A short show, some Youtube, or Cathode TV).

08:00pm – Fall asleep (actually).

If I'm really tired (and I usually am) I sleep right through to 6:30am the next day, but sometimes I'll wake up around 1 or 2am and read for a bit before I doze off again. These days it's DUNE.

Tonight however, I was only able to doze off for half an hour before snapping awake again. I hope that writing this will put me back to bed.

And I'm also hoping to wrap those murals up by next week.

But, I also told myself that last week, so...

#journal #work

I was quite excited about the child starting daycare. That is until he brought back some of the ghastly sicknesses of his cohort. I may have to take to wearing a face mask at home now.

Hey, it beats getting sick for a couple days out of the blue.

Y'know that sci-fi trope of the astronaut stumbling upon cute little alien children that actually turn out to be vicious monsters out to kill you? (Also adapted for a scene in the first Jurassic Park movie) Yeah, now I know where it comes from.

#journal

I don't remember the first time I watched LA JETEE, but I do remember almost every single frame. It helps, I'm sure, that it is a film comprised entirely of stills. In fact, it's one of the reasons LA JETEE is regarded a landmark of storytelling. It is able to explore themes of war, post-apocalypse, scientific experimentation, and time-travel all through a series of still black and white photographs shot in 1962! The technique wouldn't have mattered of course had the actual narrative not been so compelling. Indeed, if you were to take the narration as stand alone text, even that would've been a revolutionary piece of text that would still hold to this day, as is the case for any compelling true work of art created anytime.

This Saturday, September 18, I get to virtually sit down with film aficionado supreme Walter Chaw to discuss Chris Marker's LA JETEE and also another film: Lluis Quilez's GRAFFITI (2015).

The latter I discovered only recently by complete chance. While browsing Kanopy's listing of Science Fiction films (a bit of an obsession of mine), GRAFFITI stood out to me as an oddity of a title for what we understand to be science fiction. Upon watching it, I certainly wasn't disappointed. In fact, I readily consider it to be one of the smartest films ever made. I do love that it's one of the few films (if not the only one?) that utilizes graffiti (another obsession of mine) as both a communication tool and window into the psyche, which is the best a worthwhile graffito could ever accomplish. The fact that it all takes place in a frozen-over post apocalypse? * chef's kiss *

“Attendance” to our virtual discussion is free, but registration is required: here.

Chatting with Walter about all things sci-fi (or all things in general really) is always engaging and illuminating, and I'm really excited to be able to dive into two these great gems with him and see what other fascinating facets we may uncover.

Talk takes place at: 10:30am PST / 12:30pm CST / 1:30pm EST

#journal #event

It's been awhile since I journaled or newslettered or anything of the sort. Much work and travel in the past month (NYC and Seattle) that has stirred up much thinking but no time to jot it down or attempt a recap. Still quite busy; yesterday was a full 7 hour workday on foot with no sitting down to speak of whatsoever, in addition to whipping up a home-cooked meal (oven-roasted chicken drumsticks and mini potatoes with a side of salad) and bathing the toddler.

Still no time to sit down and write (in fact, my timer just went off), but still want to use this space so will likely turn it into a very practical daily to-do list of sorts. And maybe also a very dry log of accomplished tasks maybe. Something I typically do anyway on paper, might as well do it here.

Today: – Watch Moony for 2 Hours – Exercise – Fill birdfeeders – Email Rohan – See Aida – Cut stencils – Sift through ceramic tiles

#journal