Growing Pains Expressed In Art

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I was twenty years old, give or take a year, when I drew this picture. It was back in the 2007-2008 time frame. I was a freshly minted father who was freshly unemployed due to the housing market crash of 2007. All I had was a G.E.D (General Education Diploma), no marketable skills, and no idea what I was supposed to do. After loosing my apartment, my car, and my unemployment income, I did the only thing I knew how to do in order to cope with stress at the time. I began to draw.

I sat down one night and let my hands do the work. I still don’t remember drawing this, but I remember the feeling of being incredibly angry and depressed all at once. The unnamed feeling we all go through when life introduces us our new limits of expectation. I was trying to sum up my life at that point in one image, one drawing. I wanted to express all the pain and damage I was feeling. It worked, for me at least. I look at this image and it still sends a shiver down my spine.

Abstract art#3
A piece of me is buried in one of those graves…

Those times were tough and terrifying, but I dealt with it as best as I could. Through my art and my writing… I was able to get everything out in the open so I could think clearly, and make a plan. Having the ability to cope in this way was quite possibly the thing that changed my life around. I went through my emotions and worked things out with myself so that I could accept everything that had happened and begin working on the next step in my life. That next step happened to be enlisting in the U.S. Army.

I thought life was hard before joining the Military, and it was in its own special ways, but the Army was a whole different beast entirely. Luckily I still had my way of dealing with it.



…isn’t always about making a pretty picture.


Sometimes you just need the art to display a certain emotion or feeling. Something it is a feeling you maybe can’t put into words. It won’t always make sense to others but it doesn’t always have to. The image above may seem exceptionally violent, and it is. But there is more to see here. That image is a representation of my life in the Army killing my old idea of how to live. Basically I am shooting myself in some sort of convoluted grandfather-paradox nightmare, if you will. The military toughened me up for sure, made me more resilient to life and all of its woes. Though life is better these days, I do occasionally come across bits of stress that need to be sorted out and filed away, thus….

sgt-stach0001….I was created. A sarcastic web cartoon character with horrible hair, a crooked mustache, and killer abs. Thanks for reading, sorry for the anti-climatic ending.





Zelda Folder Art (1999)

Well, it’s almost time. Breath of The Wild will be launching soon and the hype train is moving full steam ahead (Possibly missing a Spirit Tracks pun here). In honor of the new release I dug up some more of my shitty Zelda art brought to you by the younger version of myself. (Possibly missing an Ocarina of Time pun here).

Front Cover

You may notice the giant stamp in the top right corner of the front cover. If you can imagine this, I was considered a problem kid because I would draw pictures in class quite often. After a few warnings, my teacher decided she would stamp my art with a signature stamp so I “wouldn’t forget” to pay attention in class… I don’t even remember what she taught.

Back Cover

Epona hasn’t been running for a few years…

Inside Flap



Sophia – Spring 2016

The little human in the image above is named Sophia, and she is my youngest daughter. She was born with a rare disorder known as Turner Syndrome which you can read all about here if you want to know more. All you really need to know about this image is that Sophia was four years of age at the time of this sketch. Due to her condition however, she looks as if she were only a toddler. She cannot walk, her hair barely grows, she is extremely short, and she has never spoken a word, but she can scream and cry quite well.

I could say some BS about how enriched my life has become with a disabled child, but i’ll be honest, this shit sucks. It’s hard work and it never stops. You never get a break. You don’t get a life outside of home anymore. You can’t take her anywhere. Last time we did  go out we went to a pizza place. She threw a small packet of ranch sauce at the man next to us. It exploded on him, we left. Like I said, it’s hard.

With all of that said however, I love this kid to death. She drives me up the wall everyday with her antics… but when she gives my that goofy smile you see in the sketch above… I melt everytime. She is the epitome of innocence and sometimes I envy that about her. She will never have to understand how scary this world really is. She just keeps doing her own thing, marching to her own beat while the rest of us keep pretending we know how to adult the right way. I want to be more like her honestly, just hit you with a sauce packet and scream in your face…

Deku Link


deku link0001.jpg
Deku Link- 2002

I finally came around to picking up the 3DS version of both Majora’s Mask  and Ocarina of Time. After spending a few nights in the lands of Termina and Hyrule for the first time in fifteen years or so, I was inspired to dig up a few more of my Legend of Zelda drawings from days past. This drawing of Deku link does not have a unique story behind its creation so far as I can remember. It is nothing more than a love letter from the young me to the adult me that says do not fret, it will get better.


No-Name 2002

The Story.

Fifteen years ago, I was really into mythology and monsters. The monsters of Grecian mythology were my gateway drug into the world of beast, but the monsters created by H.P Lovecraft was my cocaine. I would spend many nights writing short stories about monsters like the ones Lovecraft described, but they never seemed quite right to me. My abilities as a writer were never satisfactory enough for me to share my stories with anyone. I still think that is true today. Illustrations however were no problem at all… well, except this one time.

Now I don’t know how familiar you are with the “South” here in America so let me take a moment to get you up to speed. All the things you think are probably true. The South is by far the most fucked up part of America. I have lived here most of my life so I should know. The public school systems in the South are often intertwined with the local Christian churches. This basically means that if you are not Christian in the South, then you are about to have a shit time (It’s even worse if you happen to be black or hispanic).

The reason I bring this up is to show how a person like myself could easily be targeted by the school system. You see, I’ve never had a belief in a God or any kind of spiritual inclinations at all. It had nothing to do with making a statement or proving a point. It just wasn’t necessary for me growing up to give a shit about something that had no impact on my life. My mom would go to church occasionally and give money when we had no money or food. What did the church do for us in return? Give us used jackets once!? Oh well, better be grateful. That new speaker system in the church sure sounds nice though. Yeah, fuck that.


How People Look At Me In The South


With all of this in mind I now take you to the setting of my 8th grade science classroom. I asked my science teacher a simple question one day. “What came first? Hydrogen or Oxygen?” I have no idea why I wanted to know this, I just remember asking the question because what happened next forever burned that exchange of words into my memory. As my science teacher struggled to find an answer for me, another student approached our conversation without invitation and said ” I thought God created the world, so wasn’t everything created at the same time?”

I remember thinking that this had to be a joke question. I looked back to my teacher with a confused look on my face. “That’s not Science” I said

“But it’s in the Bible.” The student shot back.

“Yeah, I know. But those are stories. ”

The teacher shot me a disdainful glance and then turned to the student. “You are right” the teacher said to the student.

The words seemed to echo in my head. I looked around and noticed another student nearby nodding in agreement to the teacher’s statement. The teacher continued the conversation with the student without another glance in my direction.

I slowly walked away knowing that I had just encountered a pivotal moment in my life. My search for an answer was thwarted by a teacher with an agenda. It was surreal. I felt I could no longer trust my teachers or my school with my education. The seed that was planted in my mind would have far-reaching implications for my life that I will tackle in later post. For this story, just know that I was the outsider in my class without any doubt.

A few days after that event I was again in the science classroom waiting for my bus. To fill my time I was working on the picture you saw at the top of this post. The science teacher took notice of my work while passing by but made no comment. A moment later she returned and told me that I was “not allowed draw things like that.”


“Why not?” I protested.

“Because it goes against the school’s zero tolerance policy. You can’t draw weapons of any kind. He has a knife in his shoulder!”

I knew she was right, but I also knew that my drawings had never been an issue before. I obliged her request and pulled out a different picture to work on.


Immediately she told me to “Put that away”.

“What’s wrong with this one?” I asked without hesitation. I could feel myself getting angry now. I knew I was basically being harassed at this point.

“You can’t draw weapons or gore on school property.” She said this with a kind of smugness that I’ll never forget. It was like an iPhone user telling me how much better it is than an android (We can argue that out in comments). I wanted to protest. I wanted to argue. I just remained silent and slammed my notebook shut. She took this as a threatening gesture and decided that I deserved detention the next day.

The next day, detention was being held by my language arts teacher. When I arrived, my art teacher was also present. They both wanted to know from me what had happened, so I told them my story. They listened without judgement and when I finished they both agreed that I should not be drawing those things in the science teachers classroom. However, I was told that I could draw whatever I pleased while in their classrooms so long as it did not interfere with actual school work. While this didn’t correct the overall problem, it was at least a patch I could live with. Someone understood…


In my finale week of 8th grade, my language arts teacher presented me with a book.


Inside the book she scribbled me a note that I have read many times in the last fifteen years.


I still have it…

Ms Dillbeck (a teacher who deserves an entire blog post of her own), was one of my first supporters. She didn’t care about what I was drawing, writing or believing, only that I was drawing and writing. When she gave me the book she said something I will never forget.

“keep drawing your monsters, they can’t hurt anyone. The real monsters are people”


Dummy Holes

The Foreman – 2006

The Story.

My first real job was working as a laborhand on a natural gas installation crew. My foreman was a short redheaded man known as “Shorty”. Shorty was so short that he had to look up at me as he told me what to do. Though this was somewhat comical to me, he always had the last laugh. Often it felt as if he were singling me out more than other guys on the crew. My only job was to grab a shovel, dig a hole, and find the buried pipe. Shorty points and I dig. That’s how it worked.

Sometimes he would make me dig, what I would later call “dummy holes”. These are holes that have nothing for you to find. There is no pipe in these holes. There is no real reason to dig at all. The foreman would use dummy holes as punishment for guys who didn’t want to do their job. If you tried to protest they just pretend they had picked the wrong spot by mistake. Of course, this was only after you spent a couple of hours digging and sweating. I didn’t like this job and I didn’t like Shorty. To be fair I hadn’t liked this man for a very long time, since I was about eight years old to be precise.

Shorty was not only my boss, he had been my stepfather since I was eight years old. We didn’t get along very well as I made my way through adolescence. At home it didn’t matter if we got along, I could just be a little bitch and leave the house. At work it was different. He was the Boss at work. You were going to show up on time and do your job… or you were going to dig dummy holes all day until you got fired or you quit.

…I was fired.


I hated him even more after he fired me. How could he fire his own stepson? I was so delusional that I decided I could figure this whole “life” thing out on my own. I set off searching for my dream job. No one was going to dictate my life.  One month later I was still jobless and broke. Shorty offered me my job back… I accepted.

The truth is Shorty was a great stepfather. He did his best even if I couldn’t see it growing up. He could have easily given up on me but he never did. He rehired me but he never showed me favoritism. He made me do the hard work that was required to build my career in the industry I work in today. Though I proudly say that I have went well beyond those early days, I know where I started and I know who was there when I began.

Shorty is one of the biggest people in my life… even if I still have to get stuff off of the top shelf for him.

“Shorty” 2016- Night Time Emergency Call