2020 was a manifested dumpster fire of a year that most, if not all of us still remain feeling a bit complacently numb, from the sum of events that transpired. Whichever side of whichever fence you find yourself standing on, the common ground those fences are staked upon is a mutual bond from surviving the nonsense that was 2020.
My own 2020 tribulations - which were really simple consequences resulting from a series of impressively poor choices on my part - facilitated some of the harshest, most devastating lessons I’ve faced so far , bringing onto my path a plentiful amount of opportunities for personal growth... All of a sudden I feel like I’m starting to sound like:
Before I mantra myself into a coma, I’ll sum this part of the story up by saying that part of what I was able to learn from last year was the importance of gratitude.
So in the spirit of mindfulness, I pinpointed something I’m grateful for in my life that 2020 gifted unto me - An old steamer trunk.
It had a broken handle, and the lock mechanism was busted, but I’ve wanted one ever since I was much younger awaiting a Hogwarts letter that would never be delivered. As it had only one handle and the lock was basically destroyed, I gallantly saved it from the landfill of a storage unit my friend was going to throw it in, and he let me take it off his hands for free!..
I didn’t care that it was basically garbage, I loved it! It came to me at a time when I was residentially challenged, and may or may not have been avoiding certain branches of law enforcement while also being broke, and having no feasible means of transportation/feasible way to even feed myself… This all happened around the time that Covid-19 had just begun appearing in news headlines.
What I had left for material possessions fit into a backpack, and that trunk. As I slid into the home plate of rock bottom, that chest was with me through it all.. And somehow, it remains one of the few material pieces of my life that made it with me through it all, even after all has been said and done.
Eventually, I was finally able to turn the page and move on to the next chapter of my life. In early December of 2020, as the year that lasted a decade was coming to a close, I had ended up spending some time in jail. - My first and hopefully only time - I had been released to pursue substance abuse treatment through a 30-day program. An experience that ended up jump-starting my journey to recovery as I awaited a trial that could have ended with me going away for a long, long time..
Thankfully, 2020 did come to an end. That trip around the sun burned into me the truth of the old adage "everything is temporary," and "eventually, this too, shall pass."
It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.
With the passing of 2020 came my completion of that treatment program, aiding my legal situating helping me avoid some years of incarceration. With an improved capacity for healthy decision making sponsored by sobriety, I came home to a new start. I was granted a 3rd, 2nd chance to begin again, again.
I walked through the dumpster fire of 2020, and came out the other side - not completely unscathed, somewhat singed - with the pieces of what makes me, me shaped differently than they used to be, but still somehow forming a whole.
What does all of this criminal history and descent into addiction have to do with the “Love” print? I’m getting there, I promise!
When I arrived home, and was learning to adjust to my newly regained freedom stipulated upon adherence to bail conditions, I was seeking to gain my footing around some semblance of who I wanted to be and what it would take to lead to a happy, “normal” life.
I attended virtual daily group and one-on-one outpatient sessions via Zoom, and jumping through the hoops of court mandated drug-tests over Google Duo, all while acclimating to a new residence with food and an actual roof, while reconnecting with friends and family after basically vanishing, and to whom I had yet to attempt amends...
Freshly sober facing all of this - I needed therapy away from the therapy in order to sustain my recovery. I dove deep and hard back into a hobby I loved and knew that I could lose myself in, as I did before I started using drugs.
After spending those last few years self-destructing, the only thing I wanted to do was
I started painting again. I started looking at the Sploosh Facebook page I had thrown together quickly back when I had just sold one or two posters, and was doing them as a way to unwind after my day job in the kitchen of my inner city, one bedroom studio apartment.
I replaced being addicted to drugs with being addicted to developing myself as an artist, and dedicated myself to try and do that thing where I find a way to support myself doing something I love, so that I would never actually have to work, at least not for anyone other than myself.
I spent hours doing research and experimenting with how to prepare and photograph a painting to make prints, and stumbled upon the world of ecommerce and print-on-demand, and the rest is now @splooshpaints.
-But before I even opened a bank account, or got my drivers license renewed-
Fresh out of rehab, the first project I started as a free man and addict in recovery was upcycling my steamer chest. I repaired the top cover of the lid and did as best I could to patch and prime the sore spots. I went shopping for my first set of quality paint markers, and started to paint everything.
Here's a screenshot of the original post:
There it is. That's the story behind how the “Love” print collection came to
The steamer chest is still in my living room. It’s a one of a kind, beaten up and been tossed around a block or two. I turned it into a brightly vandalized vintage coffee table. Wear and tear is inevitable, it has broken hinge now so you have to hold it open, and it's missing brass accents in a few places-
But it still looks fucking cool.
It reminds me that sometimes something broken can be more beautiful than something brand new.
The “Love” print steamer chest has developed an epic history of sentimental value, always reminding me that even garbage can be transformed into something that makes the world look a little better and suck a little less.
As the great, homeless philosopher, Oscar the Grouch once said:
“It’s garbage CAN. - Not garbage CANNOT.”
To see what else garbage can do, check out the full "Love" Print Collection click on over to: