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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

No Wonder Van Gogh Went Nuts

I was reminded again today of one of the more depressing aspects of being me: I have zero artistic talent whatsoever. None. Bupkis. I do art like William Shatner does ‘subtle’. As in, ‘not at all’.

But occasionally, I’m pressed into service, and I have to struggle through some artsy-type nightmare or other. Like when I wasted a full night making banners for the site. And that quarter-assed attempt at artwork is about the limits of my capabilities, which is frankly rather sad. A chimp could piss in a paint can and smear it on the walls to better aesthetic effect than I could manage with a month of prep time, an art history class, and a staff of easel folders. I do many things — not many things well, granted — but I don’t do art. Not if I can help it.

(Which is actually pretty liberating, in its own twisted way. It’s frustrating to be fairly bad at something, but see glimmers of hope and talent and improvement. The entire golf industry, for example, relies on this phenomenon. If Granny Nine-Strokes didn’t get lucky every once in a while and bang one onto the green from a hundred yards out, she’d quit the damned sport and go back to her knitting. It’s those small victories between all the horrible sucking that keep us coming back.

But with art — like basketball, archery, and enjoying ballet — I don’t have those glimmers of hope. I suck, from beginning to end, consistently, every time I try. So eventually, I stopped trying. Basketball and archery have been good to me, and never asked me back. Thanks to my wife and my comedic aspirations, respectively, I sometimes have to bite the bullet and sit through a ballet or struggle with Photoshop. Just when I think I’m done, they pull me back in.)

Anyway, here’s the thing — there’s a little powwow for area comics going on tonight, and those of us hoping to find paid work have been encouraged to bring along tapes of our work, if we have them. Which I do. But said tapes aren’t labelled, which is where the art crap comes in.

See, I thought it would be cool to be just a little bit different. Nothing too outlandish — no stereograms of my name or pics of me wearing nothing but a Charlie Chaplin bowler and moustache on the label. Still, I figured even I could do better than black text on a white background, yawn, stretch, boooo-ring.

That’s when I had the bright idea to make the tape labels look like the site. See, I’m putting the URL on there anyway, in case anyone wants to see how I waste the rest of my free time when I’m not doing standup. So why not use the colors here — light and dark blues, with white text — on the labels? Then it all seems tied together, right? Planned, and shit. Why, if I were a more important person — like a businessman, or an entrepreneur, or a bag lady — that would be called ‘branding‘.

(Of course, as it is, it’s called ‘wasting an entire damned Sunday afternoon‘. But I digress.)

So, I fiddled around, and cursed my more-autistic-than-artistic sensibilities, and finally — finally, after hours of hopeless bullshit — worked out labels that I don’t think completely suck donkey ass.

(They only mostly suck donkey ass. Or they suck most of a donkey’s ass, leaving one little patch dry and unsuckified. Or maybe they suck most donkeys’ asses, but certain donkeys are exempt, for some reason. Like the really huge-assed donkeys, or maybe donkeys with no asses. I don’t know. It’s possible I’m overthinking this, just a tad.)

Anyway, I went through all of that, and found label sheets for the printer, and calibrated those, and finally got everything working, and labelled the damned tapes.

And then, after I was all finished, I looked at one of them. And it was fine… except I noticed that if you actually held the tape, as though you were putting it into a VCR, the labels were all wrong. My name on the spine was upside-down, and the label on the face was facing away. But that’s okay. I decided it didn’t bother me.

tick tick tick tick tick…

Well, I do want to look professional. Still, that’s a lot of work, scraping all those labels off. It’s fine.

tick tick tick tick tick…

Man, that does look pretty bad. But nobody notices those things, right? They can read it, and then turn it over and flip it around to play it. It’s cool.

tick tick tick tick tick…

Goddamnit. That’s it — they’re coming off. I’m such a douchebag.

So, I spent another hour peeling the bastards off, printing out more, and plopping them on in a way that won’t keep me awake at night. The moral of the story, folks? To paraphrase our beloved Dean Wormer:

Flighty, dimwitted and perfectionistic is no way to go through life, son.

(It doesn’t help that I do a pretty damned good job with ‘fat, drunk and stupid’, either.)

Damn, I hate art. Meh.

Permalink  |  5 Comments

5 Responses to “No Wonder Van Gogh Went Nuts”

  1. dzeni says:

    I enjoyed your post on your art inability. Very funny. I usually stick to digital art and creating fractals. That way, I get a great graphic and my computer has done all the work.

  2. chasmyn says:

    But you do funny well, Charlie. Even when it’s art. :)

  3. Misangela says:

    Oh, hell, Charlie, you crack me up! Although I am somewhat arty, I have felt exactly the same way about SO MANY things…

    Like Illustrator. Bezier curves. ::shudder::

    Or baking. (NOT cooking, mind you, just baking)

    Or configuring Movable Type.

    There’s more, but the flu meds are kicking in…gotta jet!

    Identify this line: “OK lady, love you, bye bye!”



  4. jermdw says:

    i could make you a banner for free, no guarantee on the looks though

  5. kiko says:

    Identify this line: “OK lady, love you, bye bye!”

    got it Misangela, it’s that annoyingly annoying Mindy from Animaniacs. damn i miss that show.

    “goodnight everybody!” –yakko

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