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One of my nephews asked me why my logo, and in some cases nick name is Angry Brain. It was time for a story so I told him to sit down for a second.

"What do you see when you look at my logo?"

"I don't know Uncle James, I see a brain with an attitude."

"That's Accurate."

When I was a kid I had a lot of emotions about a lot of things, and I had very little ability tor elate to others. I would say I understood literally no one most of my life. People made no sense to me. I am not just talking about bullies, I am talking about people. though Bullies are a topic I have strong emotions about to. Because we grew up in squalor, and because I was always taunted for not fitting in I somehow began using my intelligence was a coping mechanism. If I couldn't wear the right clothes I thought the best solution was to beat everyone on test scores. Let all of these others be embarrassed to say the poorest kid in the class wrecked the bell curve...again.

It was better than getting in fights over and over again. They got old and only rarely changed anything. Not only that but six kids can't gang up on you in an english essay, even in group exercises they may try but for the kids in my classes it was an unfair fight. Their motivation was not there. Over a few years I began scoring so High they wanted to skip me ahead multiple years etc, but because of my social anxiety I refused to go, I began internalizing my anger, with a single outlet to cope with my anger.

After each lesson I would be done well ahead and began drawing things on any scrap of paper I could steal from the supplies at school. It literally got to the point where teachers would move me to remote places in the room because looking over my shoulder was more fun then the teachers lesson. A bit by bit even though no one liked me, even though no one related to me, they would admit I was smarter and could do something none of them could.

That was not all it was about for me. In fact those worlds I preferred to spend my time in my head were far more hospitable. Things were fair there. Justice existed instead of being strangled by the greed and ego I see in our real world. There my anger could be righteous , and I could set wrong things right. There I got to be a hero, it didn't matter what people felt about me in that world. There I had no anxiety, no one noticed I was wearing my punker sisters hand me downs, no one noticed hole in my shoes.

Later on in High School I was in art class, one of my closest friends decided to do a senior project on his favorite artist, thinking it would be easy he chose me. In the process for the first time in my life there was a review of the whole class where all thirty people had a rather lively discussion of what they saw in my art. Here is where I tell you that all of what I just spoke about were things I had never considered, none of it was done with forethought. It was all on instinct nothing else. I had never once thought about why I liked to draw so much or what I got out of it.

With in a short amount of time my friend had stalled out, so the teacher invited the class to speak on the impressions my work left, what emotions did it invoke. I expected to hear things about artistic skill or depiction of nobility etc. That is not what I got back. In stead I got back time after time was anger, raw anger at many things. One person had said I used violence like some used poetry. Another had said even in the stillness of someones eyes he could see an icy rage.

Within a few days I had a new moniker, I was being called Angry Dwarf (I'm stalky and kind of short, and I'm a gamer.) This would later become my Angry Brain Artworks basis. Art is therapeutic, it has allowed my energy and frustration from my upbringing to have a channel. A constructive mode that I can build on, and without it, I fear that rage would have consumed me dragging me into the places that created my father and leaving me there to self destruct.

I'm attaching a link today. I have been getting more and more vocal about the disgraceful treatment of the arts in the classroom. It speaks to the way underprivileged kids cope with things using the arts. This no child left behind teaching to the test ridiculousness is leaving kids behind in the ghettos of our cities with the ability to be a new math calculator and nothing to be creative. No outlet for the violence in their lives, no way of transforming that knowledge into something constructive.

For each of us its our own responsibility to grow beyond where and what we were born into. No arts makes it so much more difficult for the kids who need to make sense of seeing a rape, watching a drug dealer throw drugs forma  car in a chase with the local cop throwing weapons out the car window along with a 5 lb package of heroine, I once saw a 12 skinhead beaten near to death on a hill next to a shopping center by 4 black kids. I didn't have it that bad compared to some kids. I never saw my parents shoot up, I was not sold for crack. But still. Without Art I just may be worse than my dad ever was. Rage is so seductive, and the only thing that ever staved it off was art. It was my only way of making sense of the chaos that moved around me.

Next time you have a kid who can not sit still, or one who keeps getting into fights, ask yourself what outlets does this kid have? Bullies and criminals are made of children who had no other way of working through their fear and pain. We are more than just calculators, we are more than were and to whom we were born, but if the only tool one has is a hammer every challenge is going to look like a nail.

Serendip Studio Underprivileged children coping with Anger

Today's Bible entry is of one of my favorite little bad guys. The Cuddlefish. He was a shape-changer who came to the city with high hopes of being a hard Noir crime solving badass, but right away he screwed up, and found himself getting caught by the thugs he was trying to bust. He was beaten and later sold into use in a crime ring for the pleasures of others, never to be the hero he wanted to be.

He crosses Damage's Path on occasion for minor crimes, and always lands in awful situations. I guess its his name that makes him endea

 

 

This won't be the last time we speak of this. I'm not done, and in all honesty....

 

I'm a bit Angry