The Art of Chelsey Pettyjohn

The amazing style of Brooklyn artist Chelsey Pettyjohn, that I just happened upon in Instagram this morning.

Some of my favorites are embedded below. Note: I think they’re beautiful but some might consider them dark, disturbing, perhaps nightmarish, so fair warning.

potato connection

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


Chompity chomp

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


fry daddies

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


you again

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


stoned again

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


candyman

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


killer smile

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on



Peek

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


devil take the hindmost

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


chop chop

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


born to lose

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


poodle party

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


in the garden

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


comforting sounds

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


old stuff- moon bison

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


bone daddy

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


old habits die hard

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


chomp chomp

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on

Keith Haring Interview

How did Burroughs influence you?

Burroughs’s work with Brion Gysin with the cutup method became the basis for the whole way that I approached making art then. The idea of their book, The Third Mind, is that when two separate things are cut up and fused together, completely randomly, the thing that is born of that combination is this completely separate thing, a third mind with its own life. Sometimes the result was not that interesting, but sometimes it was prophetic. The main point was that by relying on so-called chance, they would uncover the essence of things, things below the surface that were more significant than what was visible.

As a fan of Burroughs, both his work and the stories about him and his approach to writing, this answer was a highlight of the excellent Rolling Stone interview with Keith Haring.

[Usual disclaimer that these photos do not do justice to seeing the works in person. One of my favorite aspects of attending The Political Line exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco was getting transfixed in all the little paint drips and splatters that were present in many of the large vinyl/tarp pieces.]

Keith Haring "The Political Line" exhibit at de Young

Keith Haring "The Political Line" exhibit at de Young

Keith Haring "The Political Line" exhibit at de Young
Keith Haring "The Political Line" exhibit at de Young

Keith Haring "The Political Line" exhibit at de Young

Keith Haring "The Political Line" exhibit at de Young

Keith Haring "The Political Line" exhibit at de Young

Keith Haring "The Political Line" exhibit at de Young

Keith Haring "The Political Line" exhibit at de Young

Experimentation

So much good comes from experimentation; if you don’t set up the circumstances to approach the same old things in new ways, you’re doing yourself wrong.

Though this idea applies so readily to creating art, I think it’s applicable to so much of modern life. I’ve been meaning to read more in-depth at Nietzsche’s ideas, specifically his idea of the Ubermenschen, which, as I heard it put recently, isn’t about the inactive despair of Nihilism—nor is it actually proto-Nazism—and has more to do with living all aspects of one’s life in an artful manner. Put another way: it’s like active buddhism; taking control of your life and redefining what the middle-path can be.

I’ve also been meaning to muse on “good failure” and the importance of play.

new alt Instagram account

A photo posted by Dominick (@subtle.psych) on

So I’ve started an alt account at @subtle.psych. I’ll still be posting roughly the same amount of art here to my personal account, but the new one will be a platform for more experimentation and likely a different overall aesthetic.

Feel free to take a peek. Not a lot posted thus far and not sure what the volume of output will be, but we’ll see how it goes.

Haterade

Haterade: it’s drunk with the ubiquity and ease of those that carry mystery whiskey in hard, little, metal flasks, because why pay for others hate when yours is so readily available, and much, much cheaper?

Of course hate is not hate in this context; it’s criticism. But like most things, it’s not inherently bad on its own; it’s how it’s used that imbues it with its acridity. Because most people don’t sip their haterade—they spew it. It sprays from their lips, it slops out their glass as they boorishly walk through a crowded space to return to their circle, it dribbles down onto hands, cuffs, tables, devices. And now it’s available everywhere, accessible from the airwaves and groundwaves, seawaves and fiberwaves, coaxial waves and telewaves.

What bothers me, a critic if there ever was one, is that hating or debasing is a thing to be kept proper, handled in form, and recognized. Sipped, aerated, swirled, even enjoyed.

Because this is about taste, about ideas, judgment, art, feelings—things that are impactful. I’m constantly a witness and participant in discussions, small-talk, debates, banter, arguments, and the like, where the territory takes turns quickly and spritely, and the immediate response of someone to the subject broached is “that is good” or “that is bad” or “I like that” or “I hate that.” But rarely are those ideas elaborated on, elucidated about, given life and air to breathe and float and receive input. When pressed, people fumble around the basest notions of their opinion, and, if we’re lucky, how they arrived at it. It’s one thing to be a critic with a breadth of knowledge of a field, and to be able to discuss, critique fairly, to put into context. Though for the vast majority of what I witness everywhere around me is just flaccid opinion presented as de facto correctness. And if not that, a pure statement of boring taste.

If you’re going to undercut something in conversation, whether it be a film, an album, a book, a piece of art, the way someone sings, give a good reason, give openings to others to connect the dots as to how that thing fits into the greater scheme of things, of what we can access as beings on one little, bursting planet. If you can’t sip your haterade through a crazy-straw, or swirl it up and out of the glass into your gullet in the manner of a magician, or blow bubbles into it like a lovely child before slurping it up humbly and winkingly, then just sit there and drink quietly. Then try a different drink.

Creative Commons

Hey, friends who are artists or even just those that post a fair amount of content to content-sharing sites like Flickr, Soundcloud, YouTube, DeviantArt, etc.: if a) all stuff is “All Rights Reserved” copyrighted AND b) you don’t really know much about Creative Commons, then please: read up on it, it’ll take you 5 minutes to get the basics. Read up on it, and consider changing the licensing on your content. The Internet is a tool for many things, one of the most prominent being creative, artistic collaboration. I won’t give the whole spiel about how novel this is because you’ve heard that before, likely many times over. But please don’t waste a good thing by not flipping a switch that opens a floodgate of collaborative potential.

Nearly forgot the part about having fun: Have fun!

Feature image via Kristina Alexanderson