1.- How do you want to go out?I always imagined my death as something violent and over-the-top like a shoot out with the cops after a 36-hour stand off or being eaten whole by a megalodon while trying to prove they still exist in our oceans. I spend a lot of time alone in my studio or in nature, so either one of those deaths would make people say "damn, that guy kept to himself, but holy shit did he go out with a bang!" Ultimately, dying from a clash with authority or some sort of natural freak accident seems very romantic and cinematic to me, so either will do.
2.- If you could take one person with you, who would you take?Being that I have never been able to adopt the concept of an afterlife, I wouldn’t choose someone that was close to me. I try to surround myself with talented, passionate people that are wonderful to be around, so if I took any of them with me, I feel that I would be depriving the world of someone trying to positively change things. If I had the choice, I would probably choose to take someone that has spent their entire life being a parasite on the planet, slowly causing her harm over time through their actions. If I named names, it might seem like a hit list, so instead, I’ll say this: I don’t advocate killing anyone for the liberation of animals or the environment, but one of my favorite quotes has always been “The Earth is not dying, it is being killed, and the people who are killing it have names and addresses.” If I could put a good word in with Death, I might just point him or her in the direction of those addresses.
3.- What do you think is on the other side?I’ve struggled with ideas around this subject for years and the only conclusion I have come to is an afterlife of infinite darkness. I recognise that nonexistence isn’t comforting to most people, which is the reason they often turn to one of the major religions promising an afterlife of never-ending happiness for those that are good. But, I was never able to fully grasp that concept, and I find the most comforting idea to be nonexistence of the conscious mind. For years, I had issues combining this thought with experiences I have had with supernatural forces and energies, but eventually, I began explaining it using a basic scientific fact: energy cannot be created or destroyed. Your energy is left on the Earth, while the conscious mind slips into nothingness.
4.- If you could choose, what would your last meal be?Oh, I would have a blast with this one! It would be an ultra fancy, multi course vegan meal consisting of porcini cigars from Blossom in NYC, gold beets from Vedge in Philadelphia, an artisan cashew cheese spread by Jay Astafa, seitan piccata from Candle 79 in NYC, little slices of fungi pizza from Blackbird Pizzeria in Philadelphia, and for dessert, I would have anything from Vegan Treats Bakery with a warm beverage from Grindcore House. That would be my ultimate last meal.
5.- What's the last thing you want to do / or who is the last person you want to see?As the nerves are firing off their last few sparks and flickers in my brain, I would want to see my parents and my siblings to say that while no one can choose their family, I made out pretty well, even if they are seemingly more wild and crazy than most.
6.- (If there was one) What would your tombstone say?I urge everyone to read Henry David Thoreau. One of the thousands of quotes that always resonated with me is “Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.” Live your life respecting the Earth, the flora and fauna, but be prepared to fight for her by any means necessary if need be.
7.- If you could come back after death as anything, what would you be?If I could come back to this Earth after this life, I would want to be a redwood tree. I can’t imagine anything more magical. Being able to spend multiple human lifetimes alone in nature, with one of the most incredible views the planet has to offer… It’s not even a question.
8.- What's the last thing you would sketch?My favorite things to draw are trees and skulls, so I might draw a tree growing out of a skull or something, HA. I might as well reference the process of birth – bloom – decay right before I die. It would be my final act of acceptance.
9.- What's the last worst idea you would have?My brain is a factory for bad ideas. Knowing this, I don’t take myself too seriously. Even if I say something serious, there is usually a cynical, sarcastic joke underlying. Most people don’t get my humor and none of them find me funny even if they get the joke, haha. It’s hard to tell what my last horrible idea would be since I’m constantly setting high standards for myself. All I know is fire will probably be involved. Every great/bad idea starts with fire.
10.- What's the last artwork or related accomplishment you would think of?In those last moments of life, I expect to see some incredibly wild shit. Maybe I could record everything I say through the process of the brain shutting down so I can explain everything I’m seeing. I would love to be able tell people what that experience is like. My experience might even inspire some future artistic works and expand the visual encyclopedia of memento mori further.
11.- What's the last thing you would get drunk on, literally or metaphorically?I was never interested in alcohol or drugs, so I’ll have to take the latter route. I would do one of my favorite things: go on a long hike, looking for bones, feathers, and other interesting and beautiful things. Wandering through the forest and stumbling upon a pile of bones is one of my favorite feelings in the world. It’s probably when I’m at my happiest.
12.- What's the last thing you REALLY wanted but didn't get?In the moments before I die, I don't think I'll be all that concerned with material possessions. I would probably be thinking about the things I wanted to DO, but never got a chance to experience. One thing I’ve always wanted to do is write a book, but I know I’ll most likely die before I get to. For me, writing requires more motivation than creating visual art, so it’s safe to say I’ll make one thousand paintings and drawings before I complete a novel. Now that I’m acknowledging this, it’s motivating me to write, though. Life is hard, ha
13.- Last Words?I would like to thank you for asking me these fun questions and I’d like to thank anyone that takes the time to look at my art, reads what I have to say, attends openings of exhibitions that my art is featured in, wears one of my shirts or patches, hangs one of my prints or drawings or paintings on their wall, feels inspired to take a walk through the forest after seeing my art, or tells a friend to take a look at the things I make. I’m very grateful and appreciative.
While everything that lives must also die, nothing and no one has to suffer or have their life cut short for your necessities or desires. Never be afraid to give a fuck.
If we don’t meet in this life and I’m wrong about everything I have come to believe, I’ll see you on the other side.