I am thirty six – but I don’t feel any older than twenty-five. But then again since the age of six I have felt ninety nine. I have a thin scrawny body. But I now have a potbelly. When I was young I went to the doctors to try to put on weight. I thought every woman liked Chippendale type men - and would never fancy me. I was twenty four before I met girls who liked me and I am chronically shy in public. But I am full of life around friends I trust.
I still don’t know who I am. If I am anything I a someone who sufferers from a Borderline Personality Disorder. Which means I swing from the pits of depression to elation on a daily basis. Moreover my feeling and thoughts about things ricochet around like demented ping-pong balls. That’s why I have no one style and I swing from aggression to self-pity in my art.
I have dark hair – slightly graying. I have an oval face, green eyes (my girlfriend says ‘dark hair and green eyes a lethal combination’) and a rosebud mouth which I hate. I have no fucking chin! So I wear a goatee. Oh and I am practically blind – I wear glasses! I smell of tobacco, Joop aftershave and Linx deodorant. I dress in skater indie clothes.
I have no tattoos because I could never make up my mind what I wanted to have tattooed. I have five piercings – one in my left nostril, one in my left ear, one in my right eyebrow and one in my right upper ear. I used to have four more piercings in my left ear but they have fallen out over the course of fifteen years. My piercings are the vestiges of my young aggressive Grunger and Punk self. God I was an angry young man! I can’t remember the number of punch ups I had in nightclubs as a youth. And I loved to fucking mosh! These days I can’t mosh and I haven’t raised my fists to someone in maybe five years. These days I try to be a softer and more conciliatory self.
On my left arm I have twenty thick and thin scars from cutting my wrists. On my right arm I have eight thick and thin scars. Some of my scars have little white spots running along them, they were the sewtcher marks the Nurses made when sowing up my arms. They are twenty five years old and yet they still mock me. Trying to cut your wrists is hard. I had to listen to The Pixies song ‘Debaser’ to do it. First I would slash into the wrist with the razor blade exposing the blue worm of a vein underneath. Then slashing into that to release the blood in spurts – God the pain! But once your wrists are in the bath the pain subsides. Overdoses are much easier and they leave no scars. But being forced to drink Epcot syrup to throw up, and then throwing up for twelve hours is hard too. Stumock pumps are the worst – it feels like oral rape. Psychiatric hospitals are mind numbingly boring and sad places. But they are a good chance to catch up on some essential reading of Nietzsche or Wittgenstein. That’s another thing of youth! I spent ten years reading philosophy to try and understand the world, but I just ended up with more questions than answers. Trying to understand women through Feminist books was another lunatic idea of mine. I ended up hating being a man and feeling guilty for all men's sins.
When I was ten I vowed to myself “One Day I Will Be The Greatest Artist In The World” but then I was also playing wargames with toy soldiers thinking I was Napoleon! After my fathers death and my mothers slide into paranoid schizophrenia I looked around for something in life that seemed permanent and meaningful. Art seemed to offer immortality. Whats more I seemed to have a talent for it. I spent my youth bunking off school and haunting the museums and art galleries of Dublin. I took night classes in watercolour and oils. No matter how bad my mothers illness or her abuse of me got I could retreat into my bedroom and paint. While painting I lost myself and all my troubles seemed to disappear. Even when you are starving, painting can ease your hunger. Art seemed like a demon obsession in me. I can honestly say that there hasn’t been a day in twenty six years when I have not thought about art, dreamed of being famous and finally respected and loved.
The trouble is when your ambition is to be ‘The Greatest Artist In The World’ and your actual abilities are about a quarter of what that would require – you are going to live a life of unrelieved misery.
I love music but I am very picky. Morrissey is my God. I think I have lived every line of his songs. I love originals in music – The Beatles, The Smiths, The Libertines, Charlie Parker, Billy Holiday, Leonard Cohen you get the idea. I constantly listen to music as I paint and sometimes write lyrics from songs on my paintings. I like films but not that much. Again I am very picky – The Godfather, Scarface, Once Upon A time In America, The Rebel, Tango In Paris, Lust For Life, Basquiat, Blue Velvet, Taxi Driver, Naked - you get the picture.
I have never taken a meaningful exam in my life. I have absolutely no qualifications to my name. I got into art college at the age of eighteen on the basis of ‘exceptional talent’ in other words on my portfolio alone. But I absolutely hated art college. I only went to make my mother happy. I barely attended. I stayed home and painted the pictures I really wanted to paint like nude self-portraits masturbating – which I had enough sense to know would not go down well in college. I was expelled after a year. I didn’t give a dam it was one of the happiest days of my life! Years later my attitude would change and I would have sold my soul to go to N.C.A.D. But every time I applied - I was rejected. My art career such as it is - has been a story of one rejection after another. To date I have 87 of them. My only lucky break was in November 2000 when in my ‘Twenty Years of Panic Art’ Exhibition in the Oisin gallery in Dublin, I sold over e37,500 worth of art. But that was seven years ago. And now I can’t even give away my work. It is staked up around my house like a giant folly.
I have smoked hash since the age of twenty one in Amsterdam. That was also where I lost my virginity to a series of prostitutes. In fact I had my first kiss from a prostitute. I hated myself so much and thought the only girl who would touch me would have to be paid to do it. After a series of one night stands I met my first girlfriend who I went out with for seven years - before she dumped me because I was too needy and too poor. I thought I would never find love again but I am very happy with my second girlfriend who I have been going out with for two years. She has Pink Hair! Died from a bottle of course! We both love art! We are both recluses! We are both shy. We met on ‘Faceparty’!
Like I said I have smoked dope for fifteen years! It’s the only thing that has ever seemed to cure my depression. I have tried all kinds of other drugs, but hash is the one for me. I think that's because I never did things like have sex, drink or take drugs until I was twenty-one - I have spent the last fifteen years rebelling.
I am a voyeur. As an artist my life is all about looking. So naturally I love pornography! I feel safe looking at porn. I don’t have to risk rejection from a woman. I don’t have to risk not getting it up or getting it hard enough. I don’t have to worry about being judged. As my interest in art reached fever pitch when I had passed the witching hour of sixteen - I also became intrested in erotic art. Why couldn’t art be honest about the body? Why couldn’t an artist paint the genitals and the act of ‘love making’? This was after all fundamental to human existence.
Another word for a schizophrenic is a compulsive lier. My mother lied so much to me that I swore never to. I vowed to make the most honest art the world had ever seen. I would out do Egon Schiele for sexual explicitness!
But painting porn has brought me nothing but misery, rejection, hate, and criticism. No one has applauded my honesty the way Henry Miller was applauded for his sexual honesty in his books. Maybe because my work is mad!
Before my very first exhibition in 1994, I decide to write a small manifesto. It was four pages long and was called ‘The Panic Artist.’ Today it is 960 pages long! I can’t stop writing about myself! I am utterly fascinated by myself! I have never really given a dam about my writing. By which I mean my only dream is to be recognized as a painter and draughtsman. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent years studying the great writers of art criticism and history (like Robert Hughes, Brian Sewell, Clement Greenburg, Harlod Rosenberg and artist/writers like Delacroix and Van Gogh) in order to improve my own writing skills. The trouble is I am a murderous speller! It is only in the last few years as a logger that I have begun to enjoy writing and the feedback it gets. I think many people prefer me as a writer to a painter – which is really annoying!