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Comic for: June 9th, 2009
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Artwork: "Binky"
Posted: Tuesday June 9th, 2009 by

As I mentioned last Friday, you get asked to do a lot of self portraits while you're in college. This one was no different, well except that it was for an advanced painting class. The instructor said "self-portrait", "interpret that as you will", and "it must be at least 3 feet tall".

There's more of a story to tell about Binky the Pissed Off Clown though. See the teacher and I had been "at war" for years. He'd say "do this/do that" and I'd either say "why?" or just plain ol' "no". This would provoke long discussion about what I was doing, where I was headed with a project, what my influences were etc. He loved it, though he'd never admit it, because everyone else was terrified of him. They wouldn't question; they would just do. I challenged him and had the knowledge and references to back up my decisions. So he actually managed to get an intelligent artistic debate out of me.

Anyway, we had been "at war" over this piece too. At the time it was as shaping up to be as photo realistic as I could make it. But this was my senior year and I was getting tired of the project fast. So one day after class I kind of had a minor mental break down. I loaded my paintbrush, walked across the room (probably about 15-20 feet), and promptly heaved the utensil back at my painted self. **grins**

I think I was hoping for a huge red splotch that would pretty much ruin every bit of work I'd done to that point. What I got was a small red splotch right in the middle of my face. The result hinted at destiny. I'd literally, figuratively, and accidentally made a clown out of myself. I went back to work in a flourish. Green, krusty the clown style hair, a propellar on my hat, a flower in my lapel, polka dots. But sitting right underneath the changes was the same grumpiness that had flowed from me into the features in the first place. I loved it. I was a pissed off clown. If that wasn't a self portrait I didn't know what was.

The story doesn't end there though. The teacher got to see some of the changes. But I wasn't done when class ended for the week. The project was due on the next class session which was the following week, giving me the weekend to really get in there and finish the image. First thing I did after class was to add the white face paint. It added the necessary contract to make the image pop. When I was done with the white, I called it a night. When I came back the next day the painting was gone. Come the next class session, I had nothing to show. My report to the campus police and comments from other students that had been in the class with me while I was adding the white didn't matter. The teacher graded me on what he remembered of the UNFINISHED painting and docked me points for having nothing to critique. I got a big fat B- to add insult to my injury. I got my degree a few months later.

The story still isn't done though...
Several years later I got a phone call from the VSU Campus Police. They had my painting. I made a special trip to go retrieve it. Here's what happened. Les, a guy that was in the class with me had gone to a party off campus. And there hanging on the wall was my painting. The asshat that stole it even had the nerve to sign his name on my piece. Les left the party, knowing that I had reported the theft to the campus police, reported the painting's location, and the campus police prompty went and retrieved it. Though it wouldn't change anything, I tried desperately to track down the teacher to show him that the painting had been stolen, and to toss out a "See Dammit!" about the changes to the image.

I never have removed the asshat's name from the bottom of the painting.

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