As a typical nerdy kid growing up in the ďRust BeltĒ of upstate New York during the sixties, I squandered countless hours scribbling designs for monsters, extraterrestrials, fantasy cars, and imaginary warriors on recycled scraps of newsprint. In response, my mother would, upon locating my stash, hold ritual burnings in a backyard trash can along with accumulated collections of the pulp literature that inspired me. (see Mad, Creepy, and Famous Monsters) She saw no future in it and she may have been right, but her efforts to thwart me, only added further credibility to my quest.  

My adolescence segued with the late sixties arrival of hippy culture and the ďNew LeftĒ and my imagination shifted to album cover art, political revolutionaries, and negative caricatures of authority. My motherís burnings now included copies of Ramparts and the Panther Papers.

Arriving at college in the early seventies, all that kid stuff had to be shelved.  Hungry for the Grail, I dove, head first, into western art history and, to the chagrin of my more traditional instructors, was quickly drawn to the more extreme of the avant garde. My minimalist monochrome paintings soon climbed off the walls and became installation art. Next came performance art and conceptual art, all of which reflected my devotion to all things post-modern.

I graduated in 76í, along with thousands of other post moderns and grabbed the first day job I could get. Soon, my dreaded day job turned into a series of dreaded careers, none of which addressed my, so called, creative talents in any way. I continued sporadically making art works and showing/installing/performing where ever possible. These were the early days of the Punk aesthetic and I carried on accordingly.

By the early nineties, Iíd reached the limits of my frustrations (donít get me started) with the commercial and institutional art establishment and effectively dropped out of the scene. Hereís an example of an installation from 1989. I spent the next few years studying and writing screen plays when I wasnít busy paying the rent. This pretty much brings me to my current state of affairs, almost.

In 1999, I purchased a digital camera, some imaging software, and set about learning computer graphics, specifically photography and web design. The following year, I uploaded my pet project, the Art Moratorium Project and began a series of photo essays in collaboration with an artist friend named Cupcake. Some of these photos screamed at me. COMIC STRIP! COMIC STRIP! Click here for a gallery of photos created for the Cupcake Project. So I signed up for a night class in digital drawing. In just a few weeks, all the monsters, cartoon characters, and political buffoons came rushing back to me. Iíd come full circle and I bet even my mother would have liked it. Itís all the fun of making art without the oily aftertaste. The ephemeral nature of creating on a computer makes the quest for the eternal, moot. I no longer have to carry the weight of a thousand years of art history. Iím not obliged to compete with everybody from Caravaggio to Picasso. Yet the library of all this stuff, and more, is packed inside my head ready to be maligned as I see fit. Thereís a whole lot I donít know, but Iím sure gonna have fun finding out.

Oh, by the way, Iíd still like to quit my day job, so, if youíve got any suggestions, donít hesitate to let me know.

J C Garrett, December, 2002.