Self Portrait as the Devil, 1973

Self Portrait with Broken Capillaries

Self Portrait with Broken Capillaries, 1975

I’d sell my wife, my dog, and both my daughters to be able to draw; I’m sure they wouldn’t mind, not after all I’ve done for them. But since that sort of compact exists only in weird fiction, I’m stuck, goddammit, with doodling.

Every day of my life till I was about 22, I drew, and drew, and drew, but I never got really good—or, truthfully, any good. With a biblical shake of my fist, I used to blame that sorrowful defeat on my Catholic education, which from kindergarten through high school never offered a single art class, as well as on our dismal family finances, which prevented me (Aw, c’mon, Ma, we don’t have to eat!) from enrolling in the Famous Artists home-study school founded—in the magical realm of Westport, Connecticut!—by a lot of big-name guys like Norman Rockwell and Al Capp. Finally, though, I realized that nothing, nothing could’ve made me a decent artist; the realization dawned at long last the day I was brought to salty tears of frustration by my inability to figure out how to assemble an Office Max cardboard box—Side A goes where? I had, and I have, no 3D faculties whatsoever—none! So how the hell had I ever expected to draw figures in space and learn and apply scientific perspective?   Continue reading