In the meantime, my story continues….
So… the ghost gig has been going on for more than twenty years now, and everybody is happy about it. I guess that some pretty prominent guys are afraid that one day I’ll spill beans about it, but no way I’d do that. I made a deal, and I’m good to live with it.
Of course, no matter how hard you try and keep something secret, there’s going to be some determined guy out there who is going to crack your secret. They didn’t exactly hunt me down, they hunted down my father and that lead them to me. He’d been making his living with gambling. I think he got a little bit of the same gift that I did, only it was with cards – or maybe he had a system. He’d been a mathematician at one point. He made his money playing poker. Made a ton of it. Anyway, he took his trademark sunglasses off one day in the casino, probably to wipe the blear from his eyes, and somebody spotted him.
Pretty soon, I was approached by a fellow from the NIA. He said they had used people like me. He called us ‘specials’ or ‘sensitives’ or something. It was while I was walking back from an art supplies store. He handed me his card. Told me he’d be in touch. He said I wasn’t in trouble or anything. Far from it and that he wouldn’t bother me. He told me if I ever wanted to do some stuff for the government to put a coded message in my art, and they’d come find me.
I thought that was kind of spooky and intriguing at the same time. So I was drawing an issue of a book (no, I can’t tell you which one) and I put a secret message in the shading of one of the characters. It was so well hidden that even I had trouble reading it later on.
A week later, the guy showed up again. He said that something called ‘Omnivore’ found the picture. I told him that I didn’t know what Omnivore was. He said that was strange, because I’d done a background in one of my comics that looked a lot like the NIA room where Omnivore was housed. I told him it was a coincidence. He winked at me.
I mean, where do ideas and images come from? I’ve heard that it’s impossible to dream about something you haven’t seen before. And that might be true, but I have dreams all the time that don’t remind me of anywhere I’ve been. But I guess I’ve seen all of the colors and places before, they’re just kind of osterized together in a way that there’s no one obvious source. I guess if I were going to explain to people how my ‘visions’ work, it would be that. They’re like dreams. But really strong. You can’t get them out of your head. Yeah, they’re like dreams that stick with you all the way into the next day. But amp them up. Like turn the dial until it stops. You can’t get rid of the images except for one way, you have to draw them.
You have to let them out. Once you’ve let them out, they’re gone.\
It’s like they were never there. The strange thing about the Omnivore image is that I couldn’t possibly have seen that room, but maybe I’ve seen a picture like it, or maybe there was something like it in a movie. I was just thinking about that. If everything you dream about is already something you’ve already seen, then think about it. If you lived two hundred years ago and never left your small town, you and everybody in that town would be working from the same palette… Have the same visions, literally. A shared dream reality.
But now, we get half of our fresh visual data from movies and TV, so everybody in the whole world is pulling from the same palette… Working from overlapping visual datasets… I’m not sure what that means to the future of humanity. Are we all going to have the same dreamsets, generated by the dreamsets of other artists? After all, what is a theater but a man made place of dreams? Plato figured that out with his cave metaphor about 3000 years ago.
But what if a dreamset is something else. My entire adolescence was spent moving from place to place. But I found that no matter where I went, there were certain locations where I could feel connected to the universe. Like there was something special about the places. And it seemed like they were all marked with statues, like somebody was desperately communicating to us to ‘note this place.’ There is something special here. It’s like there’s a different kind of air in these places. Something unique that transmits visions from the past. From the future. They’re like hot spots connecting to the universe of space and time. Most people don’t notice these things. They just pass by. Maybe they notice them and shrug them off. But some notice. At all of these places I find people who stop and look. Put themselves on some kind of a ‘receive mode.’
That’s what I do.
Sometimes I receive visions. Things to come. I see places and people and hear things all in a blur. But they seem to order themselves into a single reality. I try to freeze and capture that with my art. Frozen slices of other time and places.
That’s the special stuff I add to my drawings.