But then, as a very smart person reminded me when I voiced this concern:
Isn’t all art crazy person art?
But then the other person I asked straight up did not respond, so that seems like a vote FOR crazy, right?
At least that’s how my brain interpreted it. But then it let it go because I liked what I did this weekend SO MUCH.
I will explain to you.
So, I have been trying to get someone to come do a Brockmire sleepover with me for a couple months now. It’s a big investment time-wise, but I feel that the emotional punch of this show is much better served in a concentrated way.
Brockmire is one of the best examples of character development I’ve ever seen and I love sharing it with people. It was made by IFC based on a character Hank Azaria created for a Funny or Die sketch in 2010.
Enough babbling about the show, go watch it. It’s on Hulu. 4 seasons, 8 episodes each.
So, with no Brockmire sleepover on the horizon, I decided to watch it alone this past weekend.
My brain told me to get out the art supplies, so I did.
Now, since we started working on Your Favorite Episode, I’ve been taking a lot of notes while we watch TV.
I love quotes in TV & movies because of the way my brain works. I cannot visualize, so I cannot recall scenes or the way people look, but I can definitely remember the words they said.
So I started taking notes.
And started thinking about the first season of Brockmire and how he’s so stuck inside his own head with this expectation that he feels the world has of him. (this is really dumbing it down, it’s much more nuanced than that). So I found a pic of Azaria as Brockmire and I printed it out.
Midway through the episode, I decided to use “baseball colors” on the canvas, so I painted it.
At the end of episode 1, I looked at my blue and green canvas, my printed Brockmire and my quotes.
And I just did what felt right to me in the moment. I didn’t plan anything, because honestly, I really can’t. I have no idea how art is gonna turn out and honestly it kind of freaks me out to think that y’all can just plan it in your head and make it come out on paper or canvas or whatever.
It seems like kind of a let down. I like the surprise as the art reveals itself to me.
Here’s the thing though.
I NEVER KNEW THAT BEFORE. Because before this weekend, I was still trying to make art the way ‘normal’ people did it. Or the way I’ve been taught that ‘normal’ people do it. You know, think of a thing and then paint it. Except I always had to look at the picture of the thing to paint it and no one else did and I never knew why and I am just now realizing that this is most likely why I quit art club after middle school.
And, y’all that makes me super-fucking sad, because I truly truly loved art club. Even if I “wasn’t any good”.
I never knew how satisfying it would feel to create something, trust my instinct and let the art introduce itself to me.
After episode 1, my first Brockmire was placed and I’d copied some of my favorite quotes from the episode to the canvas.
I did the same thing for the following seven episodes, with an ever-decreasing-in-size Brockmire and new quotes each time. And of course I had to add an “Anywhoodle!” and some random objects related to the show in some blank space I didn’t know what to do with.
Here is the finished product:
You can watch a progress video here.
The next day, I woke up and watched Season 2.
I learned a lot of lessons the previous day, so I went in with more of a structure. Not so much a plan, but I knew a few things I wanted to do differently this time.
Season 2 is set in New Orleans and the city is almost like a new character, so I wanted it to be prominently featured. It took me a while to find the perfect backdrop, but honestly, I think I nailed it. I’m pretty happy with it.
I also knew it was a much darker season and I wanted that to be reflected in the background.
I also wanted to be more strict with the quotes, so I decided to take 8 quotes from episode 1, 7 from episode 2, 6 from episode 3, etc etc until I could choose only one quote from episode 8. My brain really liked this extra rule. I also did not want to write them all willy nilly around the canvas. Furthermore, I wanted to change “font” each season, so you could visually see which quotes came from which season.
That was it, though. I had no plans for decreasing Brockmires or other characters at all on it. I planned to let the words and the city speak for themselves.
Then Season 2, Episode 1 happened and there was the most gorgeous shot (that’s another thing… this show is a treat to look at, always) of Jim and Charles in the booth, looking out over the field. It took my breath away.
So I paused the TV, took a pic of it and fucked with in photoshop a bit and then I printed it out, cut it out and placed it right in the center of the pic.
Every episode I found something similar. I didn’t try to pick characters intentionally, it came together on its own.
When I looked at it when Season 2 was over, I realized I accidentally included every single character present at a very pivotal scene in the show.
Thanks for looking out, brain.
AND THEN, as I got nearer to the end, I started getting worried that I was gonna run out of room for quotes, so I moved my “frame tape” down a bit so I could write beneath the characters where the gilding was gonna go.
In my brain the gilding would be like a scratch off… you can reveal the spoilers if you want to.
Here is the final product for Season 2.
In the moment and right when I was done, I was exhilarated and thrilled with how the art turned out. I loved that the sky and the road are made up of words. I love the Brockmire and Charles are looking out at all the words.
I love that Joe Buck is on a fucking TV screen. That and the crawdad make me laugh so much on this piece.
Then I stepped away from it. And did some other things around the house
And when I looked at it again, I wondered if I had just made crazy person art.
It fucking sucks that my brain does this to me. I was so happy with what I created. I loved the process. I couldn’t wait to do it again.
But my brain has taken in so many negative or questioning things in my life, it still runs through this long list of terrible things people can say about it and all the possible negative reactions.
You know, so I can be prepared for whatever bad things get said about it.
I am trying my hardest to stifle this voice in my brain, because, not since tap dancing have I been as focused on a single task as I was when making these.
No exaggeration, I completely forgot to eat a meal Saturday, instead just snacking.
Y’all know how much I love food, right? That’s a big deal for me.
I also learned so much about the writing of the show as I went through this process. I was very focused on getting the words exact, so I did a lot of rewinding and pausing.
By the end of Season 2, I knew not to write down the first joke about an unusual topic, because a funnier one would inevitably come later. I knew that Jim Brockmire almost always gets the best lines. I also could notices nuances in the interactions between characters that previously went unnoticed.
So, I’m gonna do Season 3 & 4 next and my brain is spinning with giddiness about all the potential.
I want to do an episode by episode series for P-Valley. I wanna do Search Party, Six Feet Under, Mad Men, Dead Like Me, Community, all of the TV Shows I love. And movies! And albums! And books!
If I could only shut up that tiny annoying part of my brain that’s still looking for attention.