S-E-L-F

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Sean, 1978-

“I allowed myself to feel there was nothing else I could possibly do in the world, and I allowed myself to be scared of actually going forward. Then one Sunday, I said, ‘No more!’”

I am most proud of my art. And also, I am proud of me learning about myself. S-E-L-F, self. I came out here on a whim, I came out here because I got so sick and tired of my life that I was going to shoot myself. I had it all planned out. But I didn’t pussy out, I took responsibility for my own life, everything that was happening in my life. Like the misery of other people, and I was in the middle of it. I was so much in the middle of it, I didn’t even realize it until about the third day out here.

‘Oh my God!’ I couldn’t believe I was living those years like that. I couldn’t believe that I really wanted to shoot myself. It is weird, I could go back to that person, and I would slap him, I would beat the living crap out of the old Sean. Really, because I ain’t deserve that, and it was all my fault. It was all my fault because I allowed it to happen, I allowed myself to hang out with people who did not want to do any good, allowed myself to be around people who wanted to take my damn money, my hard-earned money, always.

I allowed myself to feel there was nothing else I could possibly do in the world, and I allowed myself to be scared of actually going further beyond what I had already done. Then one Sunday, I said, ‘No more! I’m moving to California.’ The next day I quit my job, I gave away all my stuff, and in five days, traveling with Greyhound, I landed in California. I haven’t been back since.


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Genghis Kahn

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Sean, 1978-

“He fanatically loved artists, engineers, and everyone with a different mind. Whenever he raided a place, he would line them all up, get everyone together and separate them to groups. Who’s an artist here? And I’d be in that group. ”

Right now, I’m reading a book about Genghis Kahn. Did you know that one percent of the population of all the world can say ‘I’m related Genghis Kahn!’? The book goes through his entire life. He was born in the year of the horse and was a Cancer. So am I. He took an arrow to the neck, right to the neck and lived. No one lives after that, but he did.

Most of the time, when he conquered a place, he would take some of the children, especially from the royal court, and raise them as his own, so he had accustomeds. Also, he fanatically loved artists, engineers, and everyone with a different mind. Whenever he raided a place, he would line them all up, get everyone together and separate them to groups. Who’s an artist here? And I’d be in that group. He’ll take us and find something for us to do. ‘Paint my wall’, ‘be my advisor’, because artists always have this different kind of mind.

Most of the time people would open their doors for him, because he would lower taxes, and he owned the Silk Road, that’s huge. You got to remember, they didn’t fly airplanes and their wagons didn’t go very fast, but the Silk Road was all protected. Can you imagine going to work and being attacked by another car? Who wants to take all the stuff out of your car, can you imagine? he laughs. It didn’t happen on the Silk Road because of Genghis.

What I liked about the book? The history and the personal; the military tactics, socio-economics, and the personal stuff. Like how he acted, how he was. For example, he loved women way too much; way, way too much! Like I said, one percent of the world population. . . That’s a lot of women!


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Call Me Patches

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Sean, 1978-

“My art, my entire life is based on my art. First it was an interest, then it was a passion, and then an obsession. I can’t imagine my life without doing any artwork or something creative.”

My name is Sean, everyone calls me Patches. I am an artist, freelance artist. I am also a free spirit, and like to say the word ‘free’, he smiles. I make patches; have been doing it for six years. Before that, I did various things. Regular canvass work, like the guy right there, he points at a young man, a few feet away on the sideway, painting on canvass. I did canvass work, I did murals, I did comic books. You name it, I’ve done it, artistically-wise. I have done many things in my life, I am very fortunate and blessed.

The patches started by accident: I was in Venice beach and one of my friends moved to the Bay area. At the time, I was doing canvas work, and so he left me a bunch of canvas. There were small scraps of canvass, and since I don’t like the waste, I started drawing on them with a Sharpie marker. I made one and was looking at it, and thought, ‘That’s a patch! It looks like a patch!’ And some woman randomly walks by and says, ‘Oh, cool patch!’

In Venice beach there are a lot of vendors. We share ideas, we talk to each other, actively trying to make each other better. I kept showing it to the other vendors, and made a few of them. They sold more than my other artwork, and after a week I said, let me try and make 50 of these. I made 50 patches, and sold them all in a week. So, I thought I might as well start getting more creative.

These are my patches, he points at his collection. Most of them are $3 each. I make them out of denim, acrylic paint for the color, and a black Sharpie for the lines, so they don’t leek, they don’t fade, they don’t wash off, they don’t scratch off. The ideas for the patches just pop into my head.

That is what I enjoy doing most. My art, my entire life is based on my art. First it was an interest, then it was a passion, and then an obsession. I can’t imagine my life without doing any artwork or something creative.

By the way, I’m reading about Genghis Kahn. Did you know he fanatically loved artists, engineers, and everyone with a different mind? Whenever he raided a place, he’d get everyone together and separate them to groups. He’s ask, ‘who’s the artist out here?’ And I’d be in that group. He’d take us and find something for us to do. ‘Paint my wall’ or ‘be my advisor’ because artists always have this different kind of mind.


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A Message

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Sean, 1978-

“You just gave those people a death sentence, and everyone is la-di-da about it; whatever, it’s not me. But you know what? You’re next. You’re next for something.”

Get these old people off the streets, get the handicaps off the streets. There’s no excuse, it’s a shame that we keep forgetting our history. All these people here, who have mental problems, talk to themselves because no one wanted to talk to them, so they started to talk to themselves. It is a form of isolationism. They isolated themselves: sometimes it is curable, sometimes it is not. We need to find ways for them.

Reagan closed half the psych wards, you remember? To save money. We are still feeling it, and those people are still walking around, and the ones not walking around are dead. You just gave those people a death sentence, and everyone is la-di-da about it; whatever, it’s not me. But you know what? You’re next. You’re next for something. You are, and that’s not a fear tactic. You stand up. You stand up, and stop being scared! It sickens me, it sickens me to be around it. I don’t want to be in a barbaric society anymore. Stop acting like that, stop this ‘me versus you versus us, versus him, versus them’. Man, it’s nuts! It drives me crazy to see people acting like that. I want to take them and shake them, ‘What the fuck are you doing? Why are you like this?’ Your parents couldn’t have been that bad. Doing it to a 60 years old person? Just stop it!


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Thieves

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Sean, 1978-

“‘My son stole this candy bar, I want to pay for it, and he is going to apologize to you right now. Go ahead!’”

You see, I hate thieves, I have total disdain for them. I was about six years old, and it was winter in upstate NY. I was my mom’s favorite to go grocery shopping with. We went down to a store called Food Circus, and were shopping around. My mom has a rule, ‘Don’t ask for anything until I’m done shopping, just help me out.’ Well, I was looking around and didn’t have money for anything, so I stole a candy bar, put it in my pocket.

A few hours later, we were back home, my mom comes to me, ‘Sean, what’s this?!’ ‘Ah. . . it’s a candy bar wrapper,’ I tell her, ‘You bought it for me.’ {He laughs.} ‘No, I didn’t buy this, I don’t buy you candy bars! Put your clothes back on, we’re going back to Food Circus!’ I got my clothes on, straight back to Food Circus. My mom the manager of the store, she goes up to him and says, ‘My son stole this candy bar, I want to pay for it, and he is going to apologize to you right now. Go ahead!’ The manager looks at me and says, ‘Why? Why did you steal from me? I have a family, too. Your mom is an excellent woman, you can’t grow up to be like that.’

Man, I started crying so bad, I didn’t even remember the ass-whipping I got, that was the worst part of it. So, I don’t steal, fuck that. I don’t like it because it is taking from someone else. On every turn, people go into stores, Walmart, Walgreens or somewhere else, they steal and think, ‘we’re stealing from a corporation.’ No you are not, you are stealing from the people who work for it. The cooperate gets their money back, but they fire people to make even more money. So, why? Do you really need things that badly?! I mean food is one thing, but things, objects? Whatever, man! Did you know that the average American has 400,000 different things inside their house?!


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