This painting is from before I had COVID and I wasn’t sure I was going to share it, and I’m still not sure as I write this. I’m scheduling it for later so I have time to change my mind.
My therapist suggested I paint “failure” and I couldn’t even cry about it because there were only 90 seconds left in the session so I didn’t have time to lose my shit. I just had to cover my face and swallow it down until composed enough to leave. Anyway, this is what happens when you teach your kids that anything less than perfection is shameful and worthy of punishment/ridicule and they’re grown adults and you still constantly tell them that their lives are meaningless because they don’t make six figures, which is obviously the only measure of a human being’s worth. The image appeared to me fairly clearly.
I’ve shows the actual painting to a few people. The artists always get it. Other people seem to think this image is beautiful, which makes perfect sense, because I’m a beautiful failure at capitalism.
When I showed it to my therapist, she loved it. I thought she was going to tell me to paint “success” next but instead she told me to paint “what it would look like if you loved yourself.” That didn’t make me cry. Just bitter laughter. I also know what that painting should be, but I haven’t found the right thing on which to paint it yet.
This comic was a lot of fun to draw, although after I drew it, I realized that Marika should have been wearing a lab coat, not scrubs. But that’s a minor point and I don’t think it detracts from the overall theme. Here’s another character who just loves too much, just like yesterday’s comic, except that Marika is (apparently) a virgin who’s never had real relationship, so she pours her love into people and places and things that don’t even know her. It’s a sad story to me. At least the protagonist in “Somewhere Warm” has a her ungrateful daughter back in the end, and a military son, and a tabula rasa grandbaby. Marika, it seems to me, is going to end up with a pink slip. Her awakening is unlikely to make up for whatever would happen in panel 7 if the story kept going.
I love how the burned boy came out, and the window with the cardboard sign. Panel 5 has to be my favorite, even though every time I have to cut an idea for space, I get a little sad, and even in that panel I ended up leaving a lot of the material out. If you haven’t read the book, the crazy homeless guy is referred to as the Lightning Man, having been, as far as anyone can tell, hit by lightning preceding what seems to have been his first visit to the hospital. When human being are hit by lightning, they can exhibit Lichtenberg scars, fractal-shaped burn marks created by electricity. Lichtenberg figures are observed most commonly inside insulation materials, but they can form in solids, liquids, or gases, so it’s not strange that electricity etches upon human flesh. The background of panel 5 mimics the shape of a Lichtenberg scar.
Being obsessed with lightning, I’ve always thought this would be a wicked tattoo.